Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Today is the dreaded day, where we would be drowning in Milkybar wrappers and running around Uni like wild things. As my role was directing the whole video, I found it particularly stressful throughout the day to try and coordinate everybody, especially when people wouldn't listen to me and did what they wanted to do (wasting a lot of time, camera battery and my patience). It was particularly bad in the morning for our first shot. This was only supposed to take a few seconds to film, but ended up taking half an hour, as everybody kept changing the lighting and over complicating the shot. Funnily (or not so funnily, depends how you look at it) enough, the first shot that we laboured over for over half an hour wasn't actually used in any of the edit as all of the footage wasn't simply good enough, which meant that we had to start the video footage at the election which didn't give enough of an opening to the narrative.

After such a disorganised first shot, the group was starting to feel the strain, especially when the other actors for the election section started arriving and nothing was particularly organised well at all. So we quickly set up the props, briefed the actors and made do with the lighting settings we already had. Even though we had a printed version of the storyboard for everyone to refer to when taking the shots, I did have to direct them still to the right positioning. As we only had one extra arrive, we seriously needed to recruit some people for the crowd scene, and quickly, as we didn't want to mess around the other actors which had arrived and leave them waiting around. So it was James' job to try and recruit some people to help us out, and generally bribe them with free Milkybars (which surprisingly worked well, and emptied the cafe!). I was also able to get James and Kate who are employed to work for the Students' Union to stand in the crowd scene too. I found it really funny personally to have members of the current Union in our mock election, as it made the film seem more real to me, and I'm sure it would for others who knew them personally. To save time for the actors, as a lot of them had places to be, and the majority of them didn't realise that they would even be taking part in a film, we tried to hurry up with the filming of those shots, which meant that we had a really limited amount of footage to work with. Each shot was pretty much taken in one, with limited angles and perspectives.

For the shot where Stuart throws out Milkybars into the crowd, we were hoping to use the slow motion camera to emphasise the effect that they were going to have. However Matt said that it would be really difficult to light the area enough for it to pick up any lights, and if we wanted to keep the same setting and aesthetic then we may be better off shooting interlaced footage and slowing down that section. However I didn't realise that Simon shot the whole film in that setting, which lost a lot of the quality of the footage. In the end we didn't even slow down that section as the footage simply wasn't shot close enough and would look badly and unprofessionally done.

For all of this scene, the sound quality wasn't great, even though we used the boom mic, mainly as the levels weren't changed correctly. We also had difficulty with the main actors not projecting loud enough, and the extras not being enthusiastic enough in the Milkybar section. If we had more time we would have used the sound booth to rerecord and dub the sound over the footage, but unfortunately we don't.

Once we had finished that one scene it was lunch time, where we weren't able to shoot in the office as it is their busiest time. So we all went off for our breaks, but when we came back James and Kate were still in the office trying to work, which was difficult to set up around them. So when we were able to have the office free for half an hour, we all squished in. As there simply isn't enough room to have space for any added lighting we simply had to work with natural light. As director, I found it extremely difficult to control everyone (in such a small space particularly) as there was probably 'too many cooks in the kitchen', all having different ideas and opinions on how to film everything and didn't seem to want to listen to me or look at the storyboard. In these shots, very few of them used a tripod, as members of the group thought this would waste time (even though it was already set up, and all it needed was the height adjusting, which meant that most of the shots came out shaky and looked unprofessional. Another problem I had, was that even if the storyboard was being followed, the shot type would be different, for example it would be turned into either a pan shot, tracking shot, or a zoom shot, if not any of those then the camera would follow the main point of action. Even when stating firmly that these types of shots don't work well for the scenes we were doing, and editing between the shot types would be difficult, I felt ignored and disregarded as the director. Another example of me being ignored in this scene, is when we were shooting a very important shot where Stuart looks at the financing charts on the computer, where I specifically said that the settings on the camera will need to be changed to stop the wavering, but the camera man was determined that it wouldn't need to be as it was an LCD screen, but he said he would do it his way first and then change the settings and listen to me. In the end he completely ignored my advice and went straight onto a different shot. Watching this footage back the screen is unpleasant to look at, which meant we had to cut loads of that shot out so it didn't strain the viewers eyes too much, but this may have been too much as now it is a very fleeting shot which is hard to fully understand and acknowledge.

After a stressful few scenes, I was hoping it would get easier when we were working in the drawing room upstairs, as there is more natural light, it is a bigger space to work with, and we were all determined to get at least one decent scene. However motivation started to drain, and again we were starting to face some difficulties. For this scene me and James really pushed for everyone to act as a team and communicate more, as well as taking a wide variety of shots, so we ran through the same action 3/4 times but had the camera in different places each time, meaning when it came to edit we would be able to cut smoothly from one shot to another. To record sound in this section Sara and James took it in turn to sit under the table with the boom mic to follow the footsteps around the room. All the sound effects in this scene was recorded perfectly, but because at the beginning of the day the sound levels hadn't been properly adjusted when we got to edit there was far too much ambient noise.

We then had the difficult task of shooting the chase scene, where again no one arrived to be an extra after having a promising interest. So James took it into his hands to try and recruit people from the cafe or corridor areas who were free to help us for twenty minutes; luckily one of the extras for this scene had been in the Milkybar section of the film earlier, which gave the footage more fluidity. Once we had a handful of helpful actors, we were able to start filming this scene. We started with the camera on the second floor and the actors on the ground floor, where the camera was looking through the gap above the lift area down at the action. I feel this shot worked really well, and gave the comic effect we wanted perfectly. We then took the camera down to the ground floor, where we filmed the same shot but looking directly at the lift where the angry crowd runs out of towards the Milkybar kid, who in turn runs towards the stairs. The next shot was from the bottom of the stairs looking upwards, then the one after the camera is moved to the middle of the stair case where you can see people running up towards the camera and then running away from the camera up the next flight. From this we cut to a shot of them running past the camera in a corridor. By using these clever shots, it looks as if they've only gone up one floor, which gives the illusion that there was less of a chase scene, and flows better into the next scene. We were extremely lucky that all of our actors were able and happy enough to do this chase scene for us! The last thing we asked from them was for Stuart to look out through the window, of the drawing room into the corridor they were running through, in a panic watching them run past, which will be used at the end of our film to show that he is still being chased.

After we had shot the chase scene, we went back to the drawing room to film our last bit of footage, where Stuart is walking from the sink to the chair to sit down and drink his cup of tea and sits down to eat his last Milkybar. Again we made sure we used a wide variety of takes from different angles with this shot.

At the very end of the filming day, I started messing around filming a 'behind the scenes section' of everyone excited to be finished, where I put the wig on the top of the camera with the fringe falling down into frame. This piece of silly messing about, ended up being used in the film where I ran to the door window, and then watched James run past pretending to be part of the screaming mob. As badly filmed and improvised this scene was, I feel it highlights the fact that this story is so ridiculous and is supposed to be humorous.

Overall the whole day was frustrating from start to end, and I really struggled to control everyone to stick to the storyboard. By the end of the filming session when we said 'It's a wrap', instead of feeling relieved that the best part of it was over, I was concerned by how much post work would need to be done to get the footage up to scratch, little did I know that the footage would be a lot worse than expected.

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