Assignment Two – Tutor Feedback and final video

I have just seen my tutor feedback for assignment two failed to upload hence why I am posting it now.

Assignment 2_

annotatedtutor report assignment 2

Having read through Peter’s feedback several times I am feeling motivated to investigate different aspects of film making and also to try things outside the box and beyond what is expected. I’ve ordered the British Documentary movement boxset which I’m sure will keep me busy with 40 movies! I found it on Amazon secondhand for only twenty pounds as opposed to eighty pounds for brand new.

Some points I found especially useful –

  • To take it to the next level, perhaps beyond what you were asked to do, I think you need to ask yourself if the movie itself in total tells us something we don’t already know, or at least think we know. It may be that you need to exaggerate or repress certain elements to achieve this, even to totally inventing something to do it. Perhaps looking at some of the early British documentary films (see below) will give you some idea of what I am trying to say.
  • Think about the relationship of rehearsal to impromptu to unscripted/improvised ways of working impact on the outcome and how you may best utilise these different methodologies to best express your particular ideas in the different projects you are engaged on.
  • As a video making the ‘mundane’; perhaps the everyday is a better description; interesting I think it works pretty well. However, I wonder if it really says anything much about your chosen topic, Mindfullness. It is more a narrative than an exploration of a state of being and I take Mindfulness to be the latter; that it touches on Mindfullness I have no doubt and there is no reason why a narrative should not explore a philosophical or psychological way of being but it is important to privilege the one over the other and for me it is the narrative of wish making that is foremost here. Only you can say if that really matters in the end.

His comment regarding the theme of the assignment is a good one. Perhaps it would have been more suited to choose the atmosphere of calmness, relaxation or purely peace. It did seem to encompass mindfulness with all the elements though. I will have to think what to do for assessment.

I’m pleased Peter thinks my blog is progressing and that I could be successful in final assessment. It feels like the end of the course is creeping up fast and I’m going to miss it when I finish it. So I want to learn as much as I possibly can and research a wide and diverse range of subjects. What appealed to me especially of his comments were ‘to think about more relevant or less relevant subjects (sometimes the ‘less’ ones are the most revealing and useful in the long run!)

I’ve been thinking about assignment three and have decided to go for the poisoned drink scenario. I don’t usually start with the assignment plan in mind but I feel for Part three it will be interesting to take part in the exercises and determine how it will work with the assignment.

Finished Video (Note due to Vimeo upload limits I had to submit at a slightly lower resolution)

Assignment Two – Updated ChloeClik from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

I took on board the points Peter had made and changed the following.

  • The atmosphere. As mentioned above Peter felt that the title didn’t quite match the video. Could mindfulness be an atmosphere. Personally I feel it can, it’s a feeling of being aware of your surroundings, using all your senses but I decided to follow his advice and change the atmosphere to ‘tranquility’ I do feel this works well now, the video doesn’t change and nor so does the mood but the title now works fluidly with the video.
  • Sound levels of the crows. Blending them a little. Fixed any sound issues that had escaped me such as the sudden decrease of volume of the crows.
  • Trimmed the shot when I walked around my actor. Due to shaky camera.
  • Added clink as pebbles touch. Replicated with stones in garden.
  • Evened out sound level.

Assignment Two

Assignment Two – ChloeClik from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

Assignment Two 

For this assignment you’ll create a scene with a strong sense of atmosphere.

You will explore in practise the range of techniques and concepts covered in Part Two and demonstrate an ability to employ them in your own work. You should be able to demonstrate a critical awareness of the effectiveness of the use of these techniques in your own work.

Intro 

Choose an everyday scenario and an atmosphere or mood in which to represent it. Be creative or use an idea from the list.

Describe what you hope to produce and the techniques you will employ to achieve this. Describe what you hope to to produce and the techniques you will employ to achieve this. (50-100 words)

Storyboard a short sequence You should not have more than 12 shots. Think about every shot carefully. Consider what information you need to convey about the action and how you will compose the shot to create the mood or atmosphere you have chosen.

Record and edit your sequence. 

You can include diegetic sound but not music. Or it can be silent.

It should contain a maximum of 12 shots.

It should be no more than three minutes long – but shorter is often better.

Write an evaluation of your finished sequence (500 words) 

Critically assess your finished product

Identity and analyse the reasons for both successful and unsuccessful techniques that you have employed.

Consider where you need to strengthen your skills and understanding and suggest how you may achieve this.

Planning – 

I had a few ideas in the pipeline as I reached this assignment but realised most of them seemed slightly dramatic, tangled with mystery or magic and after receiving feedback on Assignment One, a piece of advice stood out strongly. “Don’t let the idea of a ‘dramatic story’ always be your driving force. Search for the story in the everyday.”  My first idea was to photograph my actor on washing day, I could imagine the birds singing, the whirling colours of the clothes in the washing machine, and garments flapping in the wind. I was drawn to this but when assignment two came around we were in our holiday home in Scotland. It seemed the perfect setting for assignment two. With my tutors comments in mind I decided to go to the furtherest end of the spectrum from drama and choose the activity of mindfulness and the atmosphere of calm and appreciation.

I wanted to create feelings of peacefulness with a relaxed atmosphere. I decided on the beach as it is a very peaceful relaxing place with a wide range of diegetic sounds, the lapping of the sea, the wailing seagulls and the crunch of feet on pebbles. This was why Sandhead near Stranraer was the best beach as it is covered in pebbles. The activity playing out would be mindfulness, enjoying a day on the beach. Mindfulness is a concept that has been used for millennia’s but has recently had a surge of interest. It’s the process of slowing time down, enjoying the little things, exploring taste of food, the sounds around you, the feel of a pebble, just enjoying the little things in life. The story of everyday life for this assignment was a woman enjoying a day on the beach, skimming a few stones, making a wish before leaving the beach. The scene had to be calm and diegetic sound would play a very strong part as to show the mindfulness the senses must be covered.

Storyboards – 

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The Shoot –

The location was Sandhead beach in Dumfries and Galloway. The sun was fleeting in out behind the clouds which was good as it’s technically difficult to work in midday conditions. I had my storyboard and discussed it with my actor so she knew what to do though I would give her directions as well.

The beach was empty which was perfect as my actor could be relaxed and the beach was essentially ours to film on. The actual shoot went well, each shot fitted well into the storyboard. As the shoot progressed though I asked my actress to blow some dust off the stone. As she did so it brought up connotations of someone making a wish. I immediately added it to the storyboard and it encapsulated mindfulness really well bringing a beginning middle and end to the story (though subtle and gentle).

Once the shoot was over I edited the selection. It was clear that my love of drama had found it’s way in and I had to remove scenes of my actor tossing stones in the water by the handful and the giant splashes. When the final scenes had been selected I made a list of all the diegetic sounds I needed to record separately.

Sea wind

Pushing through grasses 

Twigs snapping

Footsteps on grass 

Bird song by the sea

Waves 

Crunching on pebbles 

Skimming stone sound 

Scraping on rock sound 

Actors Comments

I thought Chloe directed me well and I enjoyed doing it. I found that as she went along and filmed, her ideas evolved in a good way. Sometimes though Chloe knew what she wanted me to do but expected me to know as well from the first briefing. It’s good to have things repeated.

Analysis – Assignment Two 

Equipment – Canon Leigra camcorder HR56

Location – Sandhead Beach. Calm. Midday. I chose this beach as it was usually deserted and would fit in with the mindfulness ethos.

Aim – create a short scene filled with the atmosphere of tranquility. Mindful moments. Peaceful. Relaxed.

Information Create feelings of peaceful, tranquility.

Character –  Anne. On a walk along the beach. Thoughtful.

Colours – dependant on the beach. Clothing blue, calm. Explore different areas of the beach to include different colours. Green of grass. Grey pebbles. Blue sea.

Frame One – Begins with a setting scene of the path to the beach. This conveys location and sets the mood with the bird song and relaxing sounds. Footsteps are heard introducing the character. We follow her with a tracking shot, the camera pushes aside the grasses, notorious for documentary shots and also used in Jurassic Park when Tim walks through the grass. This also holds interest. The original shot was lacking, my actress walked from the car to the beach which is why I reshot this one.  Anne reaches the edge of the beach which motivates a frame change. Bird song is in the background (the beach was right next to a rookery which has the sound in almost every shot)

Frame Two. Changing to a low angle to appreciate the sounds and textures of the rocks. Her footsteps crackle in an onomatopoeic fashion. It reinforces the mindful feeling, hearing the crunching. This leads into the next frame.

Frame Three. I found this giant log and positioned the camera so it leads the eye as Anne walks to the distance thus creating a feeling of depth. Before she started walking I thought about the French wave and the way it’s very often not scripted. I told my model to do some beach combing and let her improvise at will. When she was positioned in the rule of thirds she bent down to pick up the stone and threw it out to sea. This added interest.

Frame Four.  I lay on the beach and placed some stones on my stomach. I then asked Anne to bend down and pick them up. This produced an immediate relation between the viewer and the actor and to create a different POV of Anne picking up the rocks.

Frame Five. I wanted to create a feeling of the skimmed stone so shot from above. As the hand pulls back and throws the stone it jumps to the next shot.

Frame Six. Where the stone skims across the water. It’s a little bit of excitement in a calm scene.

Frame Seven –  Positioned in the rule of thirds, Anne stands contemplative, watching the sea. I walked around her to capture her expression from the different angles. (could have been steadier though the surface I was walking on was only pebbles).

Frame Eight – To increase the feeling of mindfulness and to show what Anne is seeing we flick to a low angle shot of the sea lapping. The sound is gentle and for me conjures up days spent by the sea as a child.

Frame Nine – Now the story of the wish joins in, Anne has had a nice time on the beach, enjoying the waves and now picks up a stone and holds it to the sun. It’s a sign of hope and a change in the scene. This was an almost impossible shot as I couldn’t see my screen to see the positioning of the sun and the pebble.

Frame Ten – The scraping sound of the shell on the pebble is striking. The viewer is wondering what she’s writing. A close up was needed.

Frame Eleven –  To keep the interest I cut from the pebble to a different angle so it wasn’t clear what she was writing. She then holds it to her heart and keeps the viewer guessing and suggests she’s hoping for something.

Frame Twelve –  In the final shot Anne places the pebble on the beach and packs up and walks away. I used a tracking shot here but I wish I had just left it as a static shot and positioned the camera instead of tracking it as due to the uneven terrain it is slightly jerky. The words on the stone are revealed giving the story a beginning a middle and and an end.

Thoughts

Whilst the beach was a lovely location to shoot I thought a beach with rocks may create sound interest but it was definitely not practical to walk on. With my muscles being weak having been ill so many years, I turned my ankle several times and even managed to slash my leg on a piece of sharp seaweed! I do need to consider my own practicalities in future as well.

Successful – I think I achieved the feeling of mindfulness, all the sounds, the crunch of pebbles, the sounds of the sea. And I did achieve a calm scene not based on drama.

Unsuccessful. Once again camera shake is an issue especially with the first and final shots. The final shot could have been steadied by using a static shot.  I regret not bringing my tripod on holiday!

Conclusion

It was very enjoyable and informative shooting a completely different scene compared to the drama I have been doing so far. I also applied this effect in the atmosphere exercise with my sister ill following the French wave ethos. I feel I have composed the scenes with interest and variety and included a wide selection of camera angles, sounds, sensations and feelings of mindfulness.