Throughout the past year of college I have worked on 8 films, and while they’ve all been very different formats, they’ve all led me to the same realisation about myself. Using cinematography for visual impact is the part of film I enjoy the most. The ideas of mis en scene and the rule of thirds – both I learned about and explored during my time at college – are incredibly interesting to me, and I’ve discovered that more than anything I enjoy using these new ideas to try and set up aesthetically pleasing shots. Because of this, I want to focus on creating visually striking shots and shot sequences in my FMP rather than worrying about overly complicated storylines.
Before college I was terrified of using the film equipment, and setting up and confidently using the gear was one of my weaknesses. But after eight films I have familiarised myself with the ins and outs of the camera, tripod, sound equipment, and so I’d like to reach out further by trying to utilise the steadicam and jib for this project. Both create smooth footage which I think would raise the quality of my film.
‘Home’, one of the three themes we have been given, relates immediately to planet Earth for me, the home of every single living being. For this project, all of my subsequent work will be based off a single quote, taken from the writings of Douglas Adams.
“Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, may have been made to have me in it!””
This quote has stuck in my head for years and came to mind straight away. I’ve always been interested/disappointed in the way humans use and abuse the notion that this planet was made to have them in it, how they take a natural landscape and alter it. So for my film I want to explore the way humans and nature interact together and how we are slowly destroying our home in order to make it feel ‘homely’. I plan on presenting it in a documentation style, writing and recording a short speech and overlaying it with many shots showing human and nature side by side, wide shots showing sweeping landscapes and close shots showing the intricate details in our modern world. No shaky hand-held shots, all will be tripod or steadicam. I want the peaceful filming to contrast with the dark topic.
There are plenty of speeches and interviews on the matter on YouTube which I can use as resource material, and documentaries like Planet Earth that I can study so I can learn how to put together a successful documentary. However I think most of my research will come from me physically going outside, exploring the land around me and finding examples of man-made intruding in nature-e.g. rubbish on beaches, wind turbines on fells. I will take photographs as evidence and write about them on my blog. I can also conduct interviews and surveys with people to see their views on how humans are changing the lanscape.
Every stage in this project will be evaluated as I go. Every bit of research I do, any test shoots, my filming and editing will all be separately evaluated. Linked in with my written work will be screen grabs, quotes and short film clips that I can use to back up and illustrate my statements, and when evaluating, I should focus on both the technical challenges and the conceptual challenges of the process.
At the end of the project, all my work will be brought together in on final major evaluation. This will make links between all the preproduction, production and postproduction, showing how my workflow shaped the final film and explaining the relevance of all my research and test shoots to the task.
Project action plan and timetable (not including Easter holiday
Week 1, 11th April: Online research (blog posts, interviews & documentaries on the way humans have affected Earth).
Week 2, 18th April : More online research. Conduct interviews with peers to see their views. List the points that I want to cover in the short voice over & write up.
Week 2 and 3, 25th April : Take a camera and go for, scouting out potential shots and taking pictures for documentation. Upload pictures to blog explaining why I chose them and how they link to the voice-over.Find a person for the voice-over. I will have to ask different types of people to read a couple of lines from it to see whether and old, wise voice or a youthful, fresh voice fits better.
Week 4, 2nd May : Test shoot. Get a couple of shots to go with the voice-over experiments and practice using steadicam.
Week 5, 9th May : Edit test shoots and write up conclusions I draw from them on my blog. Write up final draft for voice-over.
Week 6 and 7, 16th May : Shooting. Take out DSLR, tripod and at some point the steadicam. Arrange recording date with the voice actor and record voice-over.
Week 8, 30th May : Review footage and audio and write up an evaluation for the shoot. Lay down footage on premier pro in a basic timeline and create a rough cut of the film. Find appropriate music to accompany the speech.
Week 9, 6th June: get peer feedback and use to create final cut of film. Export.Write final evaluation.
Week 10 : Film screenings on Tuesday 14th June
Proposed research sources
Most of my research will come from YouTube video where I can explore a wide variety of spoken word films of varying quality to see what works. Also on YouTube is a National Geographic channel, which has many videos all a similar length to the one mine will be that all document some part of the natural or man mad world. I think that channel will be key in helping me to understand how to condense my information into under two minutes and also might influence my visual aesthetic. As well as YouTube I will be using Netflix, as they have many documentaries I can study, especially the BBC series Planet Earth, which I will use to understand how to put together shots to make it visually striking. The website No Film School has many relevant articles which I can read through, and I have loaned a book called The Anatomy of Film by Bernard F. Dick, which covers a broad range of topics relating to all aspects of film. I will format/alphabetise my research sources when I have completely finished this project.