My R.E.D project has made several changes throughout its development, my initial proposal was to create a film that focused on shape, space, colour, and texture all whilst trying to dabble with slow motion. Through various tests and lack of specialised equipment I found myself unable to create the film I had originally pitched. This caused me to take a step back and think about my options and what I was really capable of doing with my limited resources.
I was lucky enough to have a professional placement with the Open Studios artist group, this required me to head to Mount Edgecombe to shoot a documentary about the group and the event they were running.
While on this placement I noted the variety of colours around the location and the mixed environments it had to offer, so I began to shoot whatever I saw. This on the fly shoot delivered some unexpected results as I had ended up capturing over 12gb of footage, all of which was diverse and had its own feel to it.
I began to play around with the footage and created a few tests which focused on different ideas from my proposal, completing these tests I was able to have two short pieces which focused on space and shape, while having another that focused on colour and texture.
Through editing these pieces I found myself finding new skills and improving on ones that had faltered in the past months. My understanding of colour correction had increased significantly and I found my footage looked much better for it, with much more vibrant colours or darker tones depending on the style I was going for.
Not only had my post production skills improved but I found myself way more competent with a camera, especially with the Canon C100 which I had never used prior to this shoot.
I found that I was thinking more cinematically about the environments before me and what would be the best way to encapsulate them, this was an unconscious development that I was making but one that I had briefly spoken about in my initial pitch to the group.
I had originally said that for my final major film that I wanted to focus more on the cinematography aspect of my work as I felt that in previous pieces I had been lacking in that area. While shooting on the fly and experimenting with the camera I was attempting techniques that I had never used before, mainly pull focuses. Through this I was finding that I actually got some really well composed shots with some added depth to them due to these techniques.
Working as both a cameraman and an editor on this project gave me quite a lot of creative freedom as I could get a great shot on set and plan out mentally where it would go in the finished project, being able to do this not only improved the way I conducted myself on set but gave me a lot more confidence when discussing with the client what I planned to do and how that related toward what they were looking for.
This subtle and unconscious development is something that I would like to carry on into my final major film and the experiments done within this module will follow me throughout the foreseeable future as a film maker.
The decision to make the final film for this placement my R.E.D project came from various sources over the past months, I found while editing the piece that everything that I wanted to experiment with was there in front of me, just not in the form I had originally envisioned.
Playing with this footage further only cemented the fact I wanted to use it due to it taking me out of my comfort zone.
I have never shot a documentary piece before, not since the interview project from the first year, and so I had to think outside of the box. I am used to shooting story driven narratives and so I decided to take that style and implement it into this piece, as after all a documentary follows a narrative as well.
I began interviewing the organisers behind the group to get an idea of what they were about and why they were running this event, from these interviews I gained an understanding of the underlying story I had in front of me.
I took this to the editing booth and began to lay down a structure with Kurt who had worked with me on the shoot. This collaboration made things a lot easier to see as we both had a similar understanding of the story behind this piece, which ultimately only made for a stronger film.
Using online resources such as Lynda.com gave me a lot of help along the way as I could stop and look up online lectures on a variety of topics ranging from how to shoot a documentary to how colour correct footage.
I found the collaboration with Kurt worked really well as we both have very similar shooting and editing styles which we have used to form a basis for future films throughout the year, I feel this joint work ethic we have going will only help me develop further when it comes to conceptualising and creating my grad film.
The piece itself encapsulates everything I originally wanted to get from this project and while I managed to experiment with shape, space, colour and texture it took on a form entirely of its own, I have become a much stronger film maker due to the issues I encountered such as lack of equipment for my ideas, overcoming these difficulties forced me to think in new ways and taught me much more than I would of learned if everything went according to plan.
This module taught me a lot more then I originally thought it would and it has forced me to grow and improve as a film maker on and off the set, I now am a much more confident director and camera man who now feels much more confident leading a group toward a completed film.