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.

Exercise – Emotive

We are looking at how emotion can be conveyed in a single frame and the emotions and feelings you respond with. Also how the frame causes this.

 

Jurassic Park

I took the following screenshots of Jurassic Park. This is one of my favourite movies of all time and the plot, the characters and the action are all created to perfection. I know that there are more accomplished dinosaur movies where they may look more realistic and special effects are more explosive but this movie never fails to impress not the first time I watched it or now. It could have been filmed round now the effects are so good. You can’t look at the creatures in it and think ‘Well that’s clearly fake,’ it’s all real and infused with the childhood fears from when I first watched it this is an unforgettable movie.

I remember the first time I watched Jurassic Park. I think I was about six or seven, I’d heard of it but I’d never seen it. My friend invited me round and after locking me in his garage and being rescued by his Mum he ate a whole piece of paper in front of me and then switched on Jurassic Park. I don’t remember much of it apart from the kitchen scene. And for some reason I thought that was set in an old shop after they’d run across a field of pylons “my friend told me how his cousin had climbed a pylon so that’s probably why”

Several years later we watched it again and needless to say I was terrified. The T-Rex, The Velociraptors, the electric fence, the kitchen scene (not shop) and the fight at the end. My sister and I were riveted, terrified and enthralled all in one. I don’t know how many times me and my sister have watched it but it never fails to disappoint, never seems monotonous even though I can recite a lot of it.
Lex and Tim, they look terrified as the velociraptor has entered the kitchen. The close up allows the viewer to see their fear and emotion, wide eyed, Lex staring straight ahead Tim with his hands jammed over his ears frozen with terror. It’s filmed on the children’s eye level to make the raptor seem even more of a threat large and oposing. The framing ensures that one half is the children hiding, terrified, whilst  the rest of the frame occupies the velociraptor. It’s like a ‘it’s behind you’ clip and there’s nothing they can do. It gives information showing the viewer everything they need, the position of the children, the creature, the fact that there is nothing on the left hand side makes it feel like they are cornered. The low key lighting adds to the mood creating a feeling of fear and darkness. The viewer is on the edge of their seat fearful for the children and what is going to happen. Even though I’ve watched it so many times, this part still scares me even thought I know what’s going to happen.

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This frame is fantastic, the low angle gives the velociraptors an extreme height and prominence in the frame, they fill half of the frame and Tim looks so small and terrified backed against the kitchen. The light behind them touches the creatures head so the eye is drawn there straight away. The tense moment as the raptor sniffs the ladle that Tim has knocked increases the tension and fear. Is he going to be caught?

These two frames are also very powerful, the camera moves to floor level so you are dragged into the chase. Tim is framed between the raptors legs, showing the terrifying size difference but also it feels to the viewer like Tim is going to be caught.

Finally, Tim is gasping for breath after having escaped the second raptor. His sister grabs him and his look of terror and fear that another raptor has got him make the viewer jump too. It also reminds the viewer that whilst they are safe for the moment other raptors are out there!

Series of Unfortunate Events

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Another of my favourite movies and book series as well. We follow Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire as they find themselves orphaned and in the care of their crazy, murderous Uncle, Count Olaf. The children find themselves in situations that get more dire as it goes on from being deliberately stuck on a level crossing with a train coming to having to escape a house perched on the edge of a cliff as it literally is torn apart.

This is the action sequence I am focusing on here and have chosen this frame below.

Netflix wouldn’t allow me to take a screenshot so I had to take a photo of my laptop screen hence the bad quality and reflections.

Nethertheless you can still see the powerful frame. As above the low angle view point heightens the feeling of fear and show how the three children are so defenceless compared to what’s happening above them. There’s a sense of trepidation as they look down into the jagged abyss watching the burning oven falling to the sea below. Violet clutches baby Sonny to her, a maternal instinct protecting her, showing she won’t let any harm come to her. The diagonal composition makes everything seem unnatural and violent. It’s like a cubism composition representing chaos and unnatural moments.

 

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This scene in Italian job is a very memorable and striking scene as the bank robbers cower in the van which is jutting out over a cliff. The man is crawling towards the back of the van struggling to reach the gold so it doesn’t pull them over the edge and in the background his comrades back against the wall watching in terrified fascination. The shot I’ve chosen however is the one as the camera draws back from the stranded robbers, it’s a feeling of helplessness, they’ve just been left there, on the edge of everything and can’t do anything. The smaller it gets the more vulnerable it appears until it’s just a tiny little dinky toy and the viewer has no idea what happens next, the diagonal of the cliff edge representing danger and uncertainty. Leaving the viewer with a feeling of ambiguity has a very powerful effect though it has to be created carefully, no one wants to leave a mystery film not knowing any more than they did when it started.