Monday, 10 December 2012

Emote- concept one

For the 'Emote' section of this module, I was lucky to sort out a film group on my very first day of joining the course with Simon Sturgeon and Sara Gowthorpe. Simon had already planned and written the concept, script and shot list within the first few days of me joining the course, and everything seemed to be going smoothly, considering we were technically two weeks ahead! Simon's initial idea was to create a film under the theme 'chase', where somebody steals an unknown item from a local corner shop, and another customer runs out and 'chases' the m

A few days after me joining the course we decided to go on a location hunt, to try to find alleyways we could use for the chase scene. We all agreed on the area near the train station, as it had just the right architecture, atmosphere and lighting. While we were there I took loads of photographs to use as reference when making the storyboards.

From these location photographs, I began to make environment backgrounds for the storyboard, simply by drawing over the photos on a separate layer on photoshop. Some of the pictures I took were slightly wonky or had people/cars in shot, so I simply didn't draw those into the storyboards and rotated some of the images slightly to make them easier to draw from.

We were just about to make these images background art for the storyboards, and start adding in the action layers, when Simon and I decided to go down to the AV suite to talk to Matt Burton about the problems we may encounter filming in that area. At first we were just talking about the practicalities of having a chase scene and the potential need to use a crash mat. Which then led us to talking about location, where all of the problems started to arise. As expected we would need to contact the police to inform them that we would be filming in that area at the said time, incase any members of public were concerned that it was real. To overcome this problem further we could make it clear that we were part of a film by wearing crew jackets, but this has it's downside as the area we wished to film in is a busy commuting area and quite rough in places, and it may be a bad idea to draw too much attention to us, especially with such expensive equipment. We then found out that all of the areas we had visited (and took site photographs of) were actually private property, which would mean that we needed to get permission from the landowners to film there, and then from all of the businesses which use the alleyways, which may not be processed in time. So Matt's first suggestion was to look at other similar areas that we could film.

The first area we looked at was the Leeds University campus, which is only a two minute walk away (if that), which would be perfect for transporting the equipment there. The main problem with that area though, is they don't have alley ways as such, so we would need to carefully plan out each shot to give the illusion that the space is smaller than it is. Another massive problem is that as it's a main University, it has people walking around the premises at most hours of the day, so we would probably have to resort to filming at night, which is not what we wanted to do. Again we would have to get permission to film in the areas, but this would probably be easier to gain permission for it sooner, as it is for educational purposes.

One of the most feasible places we could film, is the back-streets of our own University, as getting permission would be really easy, and we could thread through wires to any lights or cameras through the windows. There is the limitation that there isn't a wide variety
 (not got the right look/feel, too limited to spaces used),

When Simon and I were discussing different areas we could use, Jamie suggested we looked at the abandoned China town, which sounded perfect for our video, as we wouldn't need permission, there are plenty of shops we could adapt to be the shop in our initial script. Just when we thought we had sorted out our location, we asked Mike if he knew where this location is, and after a quick Google map search we found out that it isn't actually abandoned! So we went back to the drawing board...

Our last hope location wise was to film in Hyde Park somewhere, as between the terraced houses there are often thin alley ways. With this area you wouldn't need permission to film, especially if you knew people living in the area you were filming. So I set out to go around asking people I knew who lived in that area. Annoyingly everyone I asked lived in the stand alone houses in Hyde Park, and not the terraced areas. So it would be a waiting game until someone contacted me instead about being able to film, which simply isn't feasible in the time frame we're given.

With all of these area's we potentially have to contact the council and the police to make them aware that we are filming in those areas, as well as asking permission to shoot in those areas. Like any film project, we will have to undertake a risk assessment for each area to cover any potential issues we may come across when filming and how to solve these. With all of these locations, there is a potential problem that if we were unable to get a power supply, that the planned slow motion section of the film would need to be green screened and composited afterwards.

The other suggestion given by Matt is that we could potentially create our own 3D environment (perhaps by making a set and filming this and match the other shots filmed and green-screened, or to create an environment on After Effect), which would solve the limitation problems we were having with location. As an animator (or so I like to call myself anyway), I was really interested in this idea and decided to look further into how we could potentially make it work within the time we are given to create it. I mainly looked into projection and video mapping, and revisited videos I have already seen and added as a favourite on Vimeo.

The first video I was desperate to find again was 'The Icebook', which is a pop up storybook which has been made especially to be projected onto. This amazing piece of craftsmanship is really brought to life, quite literally. As beautiful and perfect that this is, the time it would take to make the book alone and to that quality would be ridiculous in the timescale, let alone the planning of where the projections would have to be placed on the book, and the interaction of the characters with the space.
The Icebook (HD) from Davy and Kristin McGuire on Vimeo.

The next video I revisited was a close friends Final Major Project (under the Self Directed Project) for her first year on the Visual Communications course. I was creating my first 'proper' animation with Lydia at the same time as Sophie creating this, so we were able to talk about how she created it in the AV suite as she was editing. She is stupidly good at visual mapping, and I am actually currently working on a collaborative project with her using a combination of visual mapping and animation, so I was hoping to learn a bit of the software she uses as well as hopefully picking up some of her skills along the way! I feel that if we took plenty of footage and edited it well, we could potentially show all angles and views of the chase, and project it well, then we may not need a location to film on, and it could all be done in the lecture theatre on the slow motion camera. We could also add the element of the street/ally way by projecting onto a brick wall, and then film that! Again, this would take a lot of planning and time, especially to learn everything we would need to create something as impressive as this.
//SDP from Sophie Marschner on Vimeo.

I found this beautiful video when working on another project, but this is relevant in the way that it uses projection to display the video. This time however it is on water, giving the extra element of texture and depth. I absolutely adore this projection video, but for this project I don't think projecting onto water would be relevant
BEGINNING / Water projection from Grzegorz NowiƄski on Vimeo.

When Matt mentioned creating a 3D space, this was the first video that came into my head. Each frame of the video has been cut out and placed into the environment, in a stop-motion style, whilst retaining the film element of the module. I love the mixture of materials used, and the 'hand made' aesthetic, but like the other videos, this technique simply wouldn't be feasible in the small time frame, especially if we wanted a good quality of work.
Coffee or Not - Dear Moon (Official Video Clip) from PIKABOO on Vimeo.

My final example of what we could potentially do, comes in the form of a small and quick indent made by an ex student, and friend, Matt Saunders of Rabbitportal. This was created on After Effects and would be really easy to make our own similar version. Like my initial plan, the film footage of the people has been filmed on a green screen, allowing the footage to be easily composited into the hand made environment smoothly.
Night of the Dead from Matt Saunders on Vimeo.

As many of these initial plans, and revisits of the initial concept seems unattainable in the short turn around time, Simon and I sat down to discuss the dreaded option of rewriting the concept. It was difficult at first to try and find a plot which included the main elements of the last concept which we enjoyed, but giving it a new context and twisting the narrative slightly. We mainly wanted to keep the key elements of having a chase scene as well as using milkybars in some way. After brainstorming together, we both made compromises to come up with the new concept, where we were able to retain the original charm of the first idea, but also resolving the problems involving location for filming. It mainly seemed less hassle compared to the other concept really!

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