PP1: 500 Word Research Report

Research  report

The majority of the PP1 module has cantered on getting us accustomed to our new surroundings, our class mates and working practices at university through the use of various small research tasks. The research tasks such as tasks in the library and our guided walk to the centre of Bristol were interesting introductions to what Bristol has to offer. The research for the media futures factual film encouraged us to build on this research and explore further the types of opportunities that Bristol has to offer in terms of Media production.

Through our research for the Media Futures film we discovered that although Bristol is known for its big name production companies such as Aardman animations and The BBC’s Natural History unit it was also home to a vast number of smaller independent production companies, many of which specialise in their own areas of the production process. I found a great resource for my research was the directory website ‘Bristol Media’ which is like a yellow pages of all the relevant media practitioners in the area. An article on the Bristol Media website states that according to a NESTA poll Bristol & Bath account for 2 out of the top 9 cities in the UK for creative industries. The Bristol Media Barometer (2014) reports that there are 15,900 jobs in the creative industries across the Bristol and Bath region, amounting to £660m in Gross value added (GVA) each year.

A lot of my own research for this project came with researching our media practitioner prior to setting interview questions. Research was essential to ensure the questions we asked were relevant to both the practitioner and our films theme. Luckily there was a lot of information on our practitioner on his website biography and there were many other sources of research available online. The interview itself offered some interesting information about why Bristol is such a great media city with our contributor explaining that it was relatively cheap to set up here when compared to other cities and the close nit feel of the city means that small production companies can work and socialise with each other making for a more creative and productive environment.

The Sweding and TV Studio exercises were an excellent opportunity to jump into media head first and a great way to break the ice with our fellow students. The Sweding was an interesting way to show how using fundamental scenes we could re-create a film in its basic form using basic methods. The TV studio exercise was a real eye opener for the majority of us and introduced us to the fast paced (and exciting) world of live TV broadcast and the many different job roles that there are when creating such a product.

All three of our projects in this module have introduced us to the importance of productive group work when creating media products, they encouraged us to try out different skills while working together and sharing expertise to create a product. We learned how if the group doesn’t work together then the end products quality will be affected. The Module has been a good introduction to Bristol as a media city and encouraged me to continue researching what the city has to offer in terms of employment opportunities when I finish my studies.

References:

http://www.bristolmedia.co.uk/Media/new-assets/14305bristolmedia_0.pdf

http://www.bristolmedia.co.uk/

http://www.nesta.org.uk/

http://davealexriddett.com/biography/

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Research Database: Bad Chicken Productions

 Bad Chicken Productions

1416926892

Totterdown,                                                                                                                              Bristol                                                                                                                              Matt… 07980580707 Angie… 07733298378                                                                            http://www.badchickenproductions.com/

A Small production company based in bristol and specialising in small scale event documentaries, corporate and web based videos. Projects completed in house  with a small team skilled in all aspects of production. Good scope for training/ work experience.

Past work:

This production house appeals to me because it’s small size and the type of work I have had experience with in the past, could be a good opportunity to work in this area proffesional and continue learning my craft.

 

Story Telling Workshop – Production Day

Production Journal

Today after planning our storytelling film we had the use of the small studio space to film. We had only 3 hours to shoot all of our shots and it became clear how planning out the shots we needed on both a storyboard and shot list meant we could be more productive when filming, managing to get most of the shots we needed and a few extra shots to give more options in the edit.

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The studios black walls were an ideal backdrop, we dressed the set using the props we had organised in our previous meeting. To light the scene we used a large LED light and some smaller lamps to take out some of the harsh shadows and light the talent from a number of angles. We hung a lower wattage bulb from the scaffolding above the set to act as the source of the light for the scene, this light was purely for decoration and wouldn’t be suitable to use to light the talent.

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When filming the scene we decided to get our talent to act out the whole scene over again for each camera angle, we decided to film in this way as we found that filming just the shots we needed for each angle was difficult for the talent as it interrupted their flow. The extreme close ups were filmed after we had the main wide and mid shots and were filmed as required according to the shot list.

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For each angle we had to reposition our lights to correctly light our talent. We captured sound separately on a Tascam recorder with a shotgun microphone.

We finished filming with 20 minutes to spare which we set aside to transfer our footage off the cards, we backed up the footage on two computers for safe keeping ready for the edit.

During the day we had some issues that had to be addressed. We had to find a way of mounting our go-pro to the scaffolding (using a monopod and gaffer tape), we ran out of memory on a card because it wasn’t formatted at the start of filming and we also had complications initially with too many people directing the talent which left the talent confused when trying to understand what we wanted from them.

Story Telling Workshop – Production Meeting 2

Having discussed some initial ideas and creating some rough storyboard and shot lists, our second production meeting was used to expand on our ideas and sort through some of the finer details including setting roles, finding locations and creating a production schedule.

Firstly we met with Ann-Marie McCormack who took a look over all our material and discussed with us how we could make some changes to enable the final product to be more appealing to an audience. Ann-Marie introduced the idea of having a man and a woman play our fake poker game which would add an interesting angle possibly bringing some sibling rivalry, gender dominance or sexual tension into the piece.

As we discussed the different background ideas for our story it became a lot easier to think of other elements such as the plot, shot types and props that could be used to convey a message.

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Having spent some time discussing our ideas we spent the afternoon adjusting our script, sourcing props and hiring out equipment. We were lucky enough to be able to book the small studio which will be an ideal location for our project.

Research Database: Films At 59

Films at 59 Post Production
59 Cotham Hill
Clifton
Bristol
BS6 6JR

Tel: 0117 906 4300
Fax: 0117 923 7003

http://www.filmsat59.com/

Pre and post production services founded in 1990. Specialise in supporting productions providing services such as editing, suites, grading , equipment hire and specialist crew.

Recent Projects:

image_newsitem

This company will be useful to follow when trying to move into documentary filmmaking. Aswell as offering post production services which I am interested in they also hire out equipment and act as a database for freelance workers which is how most people in the industry work.

 

Media Futures Factual Film

Credits:
Gareth Croft – Camera, Sound, Assistant Producer, Editor
Bart Chomiszczak – Research, Location Manager
Jack Anthony Coliandris – Research, Camera, Location Director
Tom Creagh – Presenter, Interview researcher, Camera
Hannah-Jane Churchman – Producer, Camera
Simona Cucinella – Camera
Today we presented our final edit of our Media Futures fil to the rest of the group. We had to do a short presentation and take questions about the film and hear some critical feedback.
The majority of the feedback was positive, people liked the way it was edited and said it felt like a ‘real’ short film that they might see on TV which is pleasing. There was some critical feedback, Charlotte thought that we had missed an opportunity with the green screen footage and thought that we perhaps could have used it further to contribute to the film instead of just using a static background. Dominic commented on our choice of music and how while it was music that related to the film we might have wanted to consider how the lyrics (which mentioned drugs and prostitution) might not fit in with the theme we were trying to portray.
Having been a bit nervous at how the film would be received I was relieved to get positive comments, having had to change our initial idea and opt for a more ‘bog standard’ style that we are used to on TV I expected to face some harsher criticism.
I think this process has proved to highlight to all of us in the group the importance of setting roles and proper commitment to planning and research, we started out in a lack lustre fashion but have quickly gelled into a group that I think can go forward to create some well produced work together.

Story Telling Workshop – Production Meeting 1

As part as our ongoing introduction to filmmaking we have been tasked in our groups to create a short sequence of shots that tell a story. We have to include a number of camera angles and framing techniques and characters expressions to tell the story rather than relying on sound and dialogue.

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Our first production meeting focused on generating an idea of what we could use as a story and what shots we could use to tell the story and create a certain mood. We had a number of options including a parody of the Good the Bad and the Ugly, replacing the guns with packets of biscuits.

 

Our final choice was to create a suspense sequence in the form of a poker game, using shots to show increasing tension throughout the game. We didn’t want this to be a normal game though and decided the payoff for the audience would be a joke at the end where we find out that the two characters were actually playing the card game snap.

Storyboard 1 SNAP

We set about creating a storyboard to plan out the rough framing of the shots; this made us think about camera placement and the use of framing sizes we might need to highlight elements that would help tell the story.

Snap Shot list

After we had agreed on the storyboard we transferred the storyboard into shot list which we could use on the day to give precise direction to the camera operators so they had a general idea of what we wanted to achieve.

The next step in the process was to meet with Rod Gray to go over the storyboard and make any adjustments to the concept or technical sheets to enable us to create a better production. We also had to agree on production roles and source locations, cast and props.

Media Futures – Editorial Decisions

Production Journal 

When filming our documentary we decided to split it up into 4 sequences to make it easier to gather footage and construct the final product. Sequence 1 would be an introduction to Bristol. Sequence 2 was introducing our contributor and getting soundbites related to our brief. Sequence 3 was added after our interview where we realised the topic was more focused on Aardman than just bristol so we wanted to include some stock footage and additional material from our contributor. Sequence 4 would be a conclusion.

Bristol Media Edit

Our brief stated that the final product should be no more than 4 minutes, this created a problem during editing as it became clear that with the voice over we would be way over time if we included everything we had planned. We took the decision to reluctantly remove our sequence about Aardman, this was a shame because it was very interesting but I think it was a good lesson about having to make editorial decisions in post production and made me think about how much useful material must get left on the cutting room floor during programme making.

Sweded Film – Forrest Gump

Credits:

Gareth Croft – Camera, Director of Photography, props
Bart Chomiszczak – Talent, Grip
Jack Anthony Coliandris – Talent, Script Editor
Tom Creagh – Talent, Script Editor
Hannah-Jane Churchman – Talent, Props, Sound
Simona Cucinella – Grip, Prop assistant

The Sweded film project was something I was looking forward to ever since my UWE interview, it was a chance to dive in and get making something and also a chance to get to know our Media Futures project group. While I wasn’t aware of the term Sweding (coined in Michel Gondry’s film Be Kind Rewind.) I was aware of the concept and it was something that appealed to me.

We had a very short time to prepare for this assignment so it was essential that the group quickly got together to create a plan; the same afternoon we were due to visit the scrapstore in Bristol to buy props.

We had around 2 days to prepare and 2 hours to film our Sweded film before presenting it to the rest of the group. I’m a person who likes to be prepared so it was unsettling when there was a lacklustre response to my requests for a script or a shooting list. We seemed to adopt a ‘we’ll sort it out on the day’ approach.

I became the cameraman/DoP as well as preparing some props for us to use (Rugby posts/ Gravestone) and on the day when it mattered the sort it out on the day approach seemed to work. Underpressure the group sprang into action and from nowhere seemingly we had a team effort and an impressive product created in just over an hour and a half.

When we showed our product the rest of the group were impressed. We seemed to have reproduced some of the key scenes that form the narrative and using creative camera angles and props we did seem to have a relatively good standard of production value.

I think the fact that we discovered another group sweding the same film as us made us realise we had a bit of competition and maybe helped us to concentrate our efforts.

Overall it was a great experience and the response from the group and our tutor was a great confidence builder. Working so closely together so soon into the course really helped to break the ice in the group and gave an opportunity to show of some of our individual skills which brought us to uni in the first place.

 

Media Futures – Finding Music

Production Journal:

Having decided on the use of a montage to open our factual film I began looking for music that would be appropriate for the production. I wanted something that would be relevant to Bristol and also suit the style of the film as well as complimenting the style of our interview. I discovered a track called ‘Bristol Love’ by a group called Laid Blak.

While some of the lyrics depict drug use and prostitution I felt that overall the song fitted quite well with what we wanted to achieve in the introducing bristol with a montage of unusual clips as opposed to the more traditional images of landmarks and attractions. I posted the link on our facebook page and after some discussion the rest of the group agreed that we should use the track in the opening montage as a way to set the tone of our film.

TV Studio Exercise

The TV Studio exercise was a fantastic introduction to both how the TV industry works and the facilities that will be available to us at UWE. It was also a chance to break up the from the very large class into smaller groups so we could get to know each other without being overwhelmed. I think it’s placement at the end of  of week one after we had been sitting through lectures about campus policy and H&S rules was refreshing.

Before undertaking our exercise it was interesting to hear some of the inside knowledge from our tutors about how live TV works, Tim explained how TV networks operate and how important it is to keep to strict timings in order to be able to sync up to the main network operator when it returns to national broadcasts, this really interested me and is something that goes unnoticed when we watch TV (unless it goes wrong).

Before we undertook our exercise we were given the chance to choose our roles and get an introduction to the equipment. To fill the roles we went around the group and people expressed an interest in a particular role. My preferred role was to be a vision mixer or camera operator but these seemed to be popular in the group so at this point I decided that I would be happy taking on one of the less desirable tasks within the group as I knew I could undertake other roles at a later stage.

My role for the TV Studio exercise was to run the autocue, this at first seemed like it would be a pretty easy job that might go unnoticed but it quickly became apparent that if I messed it up then the whole show could suddenly look very unprofessional.

On the day of recording we had 3 hour to prepare for the show, during this time I had to input the script into the autocue system, check for errors and make any changes to the script as required from the script editor. We had a number of run throughs which gave me a chance to gauge the correct speed to run the autocue at in relation to how fast the talent naturally spoke. Both presenters required a slightly different speed of autocue so it was important that I listened as they read in order to keep up with them or slow down.

I think the end product overall was pretty impressive considering the time we had to produce the show, I think the task really motivated the group and got people interested in learning about different TV production roles. The task definitely highlighted how technically complicated it is to produce a live TV show, particularly the size of the production crew needed and how important it is to constantly monitor the output to ensure you keep to the strict time constraints.

Sparked

Brilliant short film, as a quadcopter owner this strikes a nerve. Mines spent more time on its arse or in for repair than gracefully floating in the air.

Inspirational Geek

Lately it seems that drones are encroaching on everyday life more and more.  From security and warfare, to sight-seeing, Amazon deliveries, and, of course, good ol’ fashioned fun.

The word “drone” often seems to have a somewhat negative connotation to it, though this video definitely proves otherwise.  It falls into the latter category I mentioned, albeit with a touch more finesse and coordination than your average RC helicopter user crashing into trees at the park.

any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

Sparked was performed live with perfectly synchronised human and drone quadcopter interactions to conjure up the magic of lampshades flying into life around an electrician who is working late into the night.

No CGI.  No post-production.  100% live and awesome.

The production was a collaboration between the incredibly famous Cirque du Soleil (if you ever get the chance to go to a show then you must), ETH Zurich

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Final Script for Production

Production Journal

Today we got the final script from Tom which combines both the narrated parts of the film and the responses to questions from Dave. We conducted a few read throughs and recorded these to use as a base for editing and to check the timings.

Dave Riddett Interview Script

Filming Locations

Production Journal

Bart has produced a list of locations for our filming days. He will be responsible for organising a route for the locations to enable the most efficient use of our time.

Locations for the shoot –

Clifton:
BBC Broadcasting House – Whiteladies Road, Avon, Bristol BS8 2LR
Films at 59 – 59 Cotham Hill, Avon, Bristol BS6 6JR

City Centre:
Hippodrome Theatre Box Office – 10A Saint Augustine’s Parade, Bristol BS1 4UZ (theatre)
Colston Hall – Colston Street, Bristol BS1 5AR
Watershed – 1 Canon’s Road, Bristol, City of Bristol BS1 5TX

(On the other side of the river)
Arnolfini – 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA (this place is more arty but yeah)
M Shed – Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 4RN
Aardman Animations, Gas Ferry Road, Bristol BS1 6UN

Other places of interest:
ITV – Bath Road, Bristol BS4 3HG
Knowle West Media Centre – Leinster Avenue, Bristol BS4 1NL