Exercise – Shooting a short sequence

You are an alcoholic alone in your home

  • You look around your empty room
  • Nothing interests you
  • You notice a bottle
  • You hold the bottle and unscrew the lid
  • Something attracts your attention, you look round
  • Nothing happens
  • You look back at the bottle and pour yourself a drink.

Sketch out some basic storyboards to remind yourself of the images you visualised.

I will scan the storyboards tomorrow. 

Look back at your finished sequence (after leaving it a day or two ideally) and reflect on it’s success.

Here is my finished movie below (due to file size issues I had to use a medium quality setting on uploading)

Alcholic – ChloeClik from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

 

I didn’t launch straight into this exercise, instead I wrote up several ideas and ways to produce this. For several days I had the idea of a phone call between myself and  my sister she was inviting me to a party, I couldn’t care less and hung up especially when she started nagging about my drinking. As she was telling me not to drink I went to the kitchen and poured myself a drink. Then I decided I would go to the party but drove there and the scene went black, an advertisement of don’t drink and drive (I may work with this later) I had to postpone this as my sister was feeling ill and made some casual videos of my day out at the Zoo and a trip to the local park. I returned to the project feeling fresh with new ideas and enthusiasm. I started filming in the lounge but it felt really static so I decided to use by best asset. The wood. In the time it took to scan the room I was out in the wood. My new plan hit me in seconds. I was alcoholic who was partying in the woods so hard that I passed out and woke up in the leaf litter confused and disorientated the next morning.

In photography I generally don’t mind what I have to do to get a photo, I’ll crawl in the mud, lie on the ground and hang upside down to just get that angle. But lying in the wood leaf litter with who knows what lurking beneath was a little bit too much so I just placed my camcorder there instead. I had originally shot it on my Canon 70D 50mm lens, the quality was nice but it suffered from camera shake and I really needed to hold it. I opted instead for my Canon Legria HFR56. I was hesitant at first as my 70D had manual settings to change the focus which the Leigra didn’t. So I decided to add any blurred effects in iMovie.

The video begins with the disorientating swirl of tree branches spinning round and round like something out of the Omen. This was filmed by me pointing the camera up at the canopy and swirling around on the spot. I converted it to night on iMovie and put a cathedral effect on the vocals to make it sound unearthly and to represent the feeling of passing out.

A thud signifies this.

With the romantic filter applied blurring the images and creating a true representation of hungover vision (though I wouldn’t know as I don’t drink much) I added some dictation to further show what had happened ‘I’m never drinking again’ Making the camcorder slightly jerky and panicked added to the disorientated feeling of waking up in the wood.

Watching it back a family member commented that I sounded more like a smoker with all the coughing and choking.

Moving into the house (after slipping on ice) I collapse on my bed and the duvet fills the frame. I stare aimlessly around my room, throwing a book aside and strumming mindlessly at the guitar. This bit seems a bit repetitive but it’s to get the feeling of boredom and show how my character is not interested in anything, anything except drink.

Moving to the kitchen in a hungover state, vision slowly returning, I grab my phone to create some diegetic sound, then hone in on the drinks cupboard. Shooting from above makes you feel powerful.

As I don’t drink the first footage didn’t work as I couldn’t find where the wine glasses were kept, I went through about four cupboard until I found them. I cut this and jumped straight to the glass.

I worry I hear someone and look hurriedly at the door but it’s fine. I return to the glass and gulp it down. The screen sounds black but my frantic breathing still continues as the credits go up.

I’m pleased with this video, I tried to make it visually interesting and while I followed the plan I also added my own story and beginning. Next time I’ll ensure the kitchen is tidying. Moving the kitchen roll doesn’t add much to it but it was in the way. I left the knife and scissors there to signify threat of the danger of the alcohol.

Fellow students thoughts. 

Jane 

I think this is a very creative interpretation of the exercise, however it is not really the sequence that you were asked to film. It’s difficult to see your thinking process without looking at your stills and storyboarding which you haven’t included in your blog. I’m not sure how many frames are included in this sequence and I think it’s a lot longer than it needs to be for the purposes of the exercise. I think at this stage of the course you need to focus on planning and storyboarding much more than the filming and editing, though you clearly have a talent and passion for film production.

Paul

The piece is longer than I would have expected, I feel that there are parts that aren’t needed, everything before bedroom really, while they establish the drunken state I think that can also be established in a shorter sequence. The cuts in the kitchen are reflected in the music playing in the background, what about overlaying the music if you want to keep it in?

The first person view is great at showing that drunken, uncoordinated state and it works really well in your piece. And the blur gives that impression as well.

The location is something I have had to think about, although I’m not at this exercise yet, to find an empty room as per the exercise requirements is proving a little difficult. I’m wondering if the book and guitar provide an unnecessary distraction?

Its certainly a decent effort and only the second one I have seen so far.

Catherine
Very well thought-through. I enjoyed i. I felt quite dizzy in the woods! Particularly noticed the checking through the door to see if someone was outside before you opened the fridge. the music was very fitting as well.
 

My thoughts after a few days. 

I realised that I had once again got carried away and that had made me add to the brief. In future I should focus on the brief and save any creative flair for the assignments. I think in the other photography units I was always asked to follow the brief but then interpret it in my own way. It seems here that isn’t the case. With that in mind I re edited the video removing the beginning part in the wood so it started solely with the duvet filling the cover.

I will focus on the storyboarding from now on and ensure the videos are not too long. I edited the music as well so the transitions were more successful. I couldn’t record straight as it would have missed all the diegetic sounds of the clink of the bottle.

I spoke to Paul about the empty room as I didn’t think it required an actual empty room, empty of items. I kept the book in as the brief stated that ‘nothing interests you’ so there had to be an element that you could use be it a book, guitar etc.

I agree that the first person POV is a great representation of someone being drunk, the blurring of the camera portraying the blurred vision and the shaky handheld camera being like that of an alcoholics vision at that moment in time.

Below you can see the newly edited video. 

Alcoholic Reprise – ChloeClik from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

 

What works? 

How did the choice of frame affect the meaning and feel of each shot?

The diegetic sounds of heavy breathing work as do the effect I put on the camera to replicate vision blurring at the edges. The slow panning of the room.

The close up of the door and the phone turning on. When the music arrives it signals that something is going to happen. It’s a mysterious, creepy background song so you know they shouldn’t be doing what they are.

I like the canted camera angle as the cupboard with the drinks is opened and the bottle fills the frame to show this is the focus.

The chorus starts up as the drink is opened in harmony with the harsh breathing.

I like how my hand hesitates over the drink as I know what I’m doing is wrong. Then the sudden draw back and flick to the door.

My hand is shaking emphasising the mood.

I also like how it goes to black and all you can hear is the chorus fading away and the coughing as I swallow the demon drink.

What doesn’t work and why?

The one thing that annoys me in this video is the removal of the kitchen roll. I shot the whole thing in one shot in the kitchen and was pleased with. The only other option would have been to leave it in and then suddenly it was gone but I didn’t want it to be one of those ‘movie mistakes’ I added a blurred transition so it wasn’t as noticeable.

 

How could you improve the piece. 

I would forget the kitchen roll moment for sure and maybe work on recording sound on an external device as opposed to relying on the built in microphone on the camcorder. Also I will concentrate more on storyboarding and following the brief.

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3 thoughts on “Exercise – Shooting a short sequence

  1. Paul Maconald says:

    The piece is longer than I would have expected, I feel that there are parts that aren’t needed, everything before bedroom really, while they establish the drunken state I think that can also be established in a shorter sequence. The cuts in the kitchen are reflected in the music playing in the background, what about overlaying the music if you want to keep it in?

    The first person view is great at showing that drunken, uncoordinated state and it works really well in your piece. And the blur gives that impression as well.

    The location is something I have had to think about, although I’m not at this exercise yet, to find an empty room as per the exercise requirements is proving a little difficult. I’m wondering if the book and guitar provide an unnecessary distraction?

    Its certainly a decent effort and only the second one I have seen so far.

    Like

  2. Very well thought-through. I enjoyed i. I felt quite dizzy in the woods! Particularly noticed the checking through the door to see if someone was outside before you opened the fridge. the music was very fitting as well.

    Like

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