Bibliography – Creating Screen Fiction Research

Bibliography

A Look Through 14 Beautiful Video Game HUD Designs. 2015. A Look Through 14 Beautiful Video Game HUD Designs. [ONLINE] Available at:http://feedgrids.com/originals/post/a_look_through_14_beautiful_video_game_hud_designs/. [Accessed 12 March 2015]

BBC Academy – Production – Profile: 1st assistant director. 2015. BBC Academy – Production – Profile: 1st assistant director. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/production/article/art20130702112135660. [Accessed 19 February  2015]

 

BBC Radio 4 – The Media Show, The Clarkson Row and Handling ‘Difficult’ stars, The Future for Netflix, The Green Party Media Policy. 2015. BBC Radio 4 – The Media Show, The Clarkson Row and Handling ‘Difficult’ stars, The Future for Netflix, The Green Party Media Policy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b055gcbf. [Accessed 18 March 2015]

 

CREW CALL: Location Manager/Scout Rob Story – YouTube. 2015. CREW CALL: Location Manager/Scout Rob Story – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R_W2WDTi2k. [Accessed 26 Janurary 2015]

First Assistant Director Greg Zekowski interviewed by Robert Reber (cinematographer) – YouTube. 2015. First Assistant Director Greg Zekowski interviewed by Robert Reber (cinematographer) – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89f87abF2Wc. [Accessed 15 Feburary 2015]

I am the location scout for the show Breaking Bad AMA : IAmA. 2015.  [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/zaw2h/i_am_the_location_scout_for_the_show_breaking_bad. [Accessed 26 Janurary 2015]

Location Manager (Film) | Creative Skillset. 2015. Location Manager (Film) | Creative Skillset. [ONLINE] Available at:http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles_and_stories/job_roles/2943_location_manager_film. [Accessed 25 Janurary 2015]

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Special Effects and Graphics – Research and Creation

For pre-production I took on the role of SFX/Graphics. As our film is meant to centre around a video game addiction the script calls for some graphics that makes the audience feel as though they are in a video game. To achieve the video game feel I researched how first person shooting games look and feel to the player and will try and replicate this with the use of Adobe After Effects and Photoshop.

Ghost_Recon_2 metroid_1

To create my initial concept I looked at examples of real video games. We discussed using video game footage in our film but this would cause a problem with copyright and we wouldn’t be able to use our own ‘game’ footage underneath which is important in moving the story forward.

There were also a number of templates online for computer game Heads up Displays (HUD) but these again would infringe copyright and also had copyrighted logos involved from real computer games.

I decided to use these HUD’s and the templates online to learn how to adapt them for our project.

game_look

I used photoshop to create static images such as the text backgrounds and targets, then animated them with text and motion effects in After Effects. I overlaid a grid effect, cartoon and a colour gradient to try and replicate the game colour and high contrast look.

chat screen 2 chat screen audio premier

To create the ‘screen chat’ graphic that is displayed on screen I created a screen from scratch again in After Effects and Photoshop. I used images such as Army men and satellites to emphasis the games violent genre and used motion toles to make slight movements to give a more professional feel and make it more interesting for the audience. I incorporated audio effects that hopefully will be used in the final version of the film that sound like a home screen of a video game. roto

For our gun scene we wanted something highly exaggerated to finally get the ‘Unreal’ message across to the audience. I used rotoscoping to cut enable me to place explosion visual behind the character and again included the HUD effect.

Working with Difficult ‘Stars’ BBC Radio 4 ‘The Media Show’

In light of the Jeremy Clarkson saga with Top Gear, I found this episode of ‘The Media Show’ to be interesting in helping understand how producers should work with celebrities and how poor management can lead to celebrities thinking they are bigger than the show itself.

The Media Show – BBC Radio 4

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b055gcbf

Creating Props in Photoshop

While I wasn’t tasked exclusively with prop sourcing I agreed as I have some photoshop skills I would try to create some of the props required to help tell our story. We required some fake ‘final demand’ bills for our character to discover as well as some family photos that showed both our adult characters as a couple.

Creating the final demand documents was pretty easy and just involved some cloning of areas to enable me to replace names and addresses on stock images. These didn’t have to be too detailed as the camera wouldn’t be giving an extreme close up but they had to look realistic from a distance.

warning 3

 

The more complicated task was in the creation of the family photographs. We asked all of our actors to provide images of when they were younger for us to use in these images. Luckily our female actor had a younger daughter and she agree for us to use her photos in our project. I took all of the images and manipulated them in photoshop to create a set of family images that showed our characters as a couple.

Original Images

Final Photoshopped Images

 

Last Minute Location Change to Wales

Two Weeks before we are due to shoot our short film and i’ve been getting increasingly anxious about the locations I have chosen. It has become clear that our access to the house is increasingly restricted and we are struggling to get time to visit with the crew to arrange lighting and camera plans.

During our tutorials we discussed the benefits of filming in Bristol which would be easier logistically but with what seems to be vague prop and set design plans and a lot of work to be done in set design I feel that although filming at my original location choice would mean having to factor in extra time to travel, we would benefit from having a most of the set dressing already completed which would in fact save time in the long run. There is also the benefit of being able to leave kit such as lighting set up and having unrestricted access for shooting and any re-shoot if required.

I have suggested that we keep our outdoor locations in Bristol as we already have the filming permit for them and it has proved difficult communicating with the council in Wales for a short notice permit.

Working with Planning Offices.

During my location managers job I’ve had a number of dealings with the Bristol Film office. The Film office has been an incredibly useful resource when getting permits and advice related to filming on location. They have a simple to use system that allows permits to be submitted online and they have a relatively quick turnaround of applications. As we were planning on using fake weapons they were also helpful in contacting the police on our behalf. Even though the initial application was refused, it was helpful that they were doing the leg work for us with relation to other departments.

The usefulness of the film office became apparent when I tried to gain permission to film in Wales. Newport doesn’t have a film office (although Cardiff does) and because of this I had to do everything more traditionally though the post to the streets department of the council. This was a laborious task and while it may work for bigger productions which are planned well in advance I don’t think it works when you have a short notice request of even a couple of weeks as with our production.

Secured Location in Bristol

After some thought about the problem of filming in Wales I decided to try and secure a location in Bristol. I know a friend who rents a room and she was happy for us to film out indoor scenes their after consulting her room mates. I proposed the location to the group and we all agreed this would be beneficial logistically although we would have to film in restricted times (when the house was empty) and dress the rooms ourselves.

As with the initial location planning I looked at securing outdoor locations near by the main location to enable faster movement of crew and equipment when changing locations. I settled on a small shopping street and local park in the Horfield area of Bristol. This was walking distance from our main location.

As our location was a rented house I had to gain extra permission from the landlord and this proved difficult because he lived in Ireland and used a management company to rent the house out. After a few emails back and forth though I have secured permission and we can go ahead with Planning the shoot.

BBC Academy 1st AD Research

This article offers an insight to the role of Jon Midlane who is a 1st Assistant Director on the BBC TV Series ‘Doctors’. Jon manages a team of junior assistant director who would take on the roles that I am undertaking on our project.

BBC Academy – !st Assistant Director Roles

http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/production/article/art20130702112135660

1st AD Initial Role Research

Initially I totally misinterpreted the role of 1st AD and it wasn’t until I researched into what is involved did I think it was a role that appealed to me. I wouldn’t class myself as a Director; I have some direction skills and can help in that department but I see myself as more a technical member of the crew or increasing i’m enjoying the administration roles and the 1st AD does seem to fit in as one of the roles i’d consider myself useful in.

During my research I came across a 1st AD called Greg Zekowski. As with most Assistant Directors Zekowski has worked his way through the ranks from 3rd or even 4th AD up to 1st AD. He explained in an interview that his job as 1st AD mainly is a balancing act between Cast and Crew and his role essentially is to get the job done in the time specified. To achieve this he must have a good working relationship with the Crew and to a point ensure the cast are looked after while keeping an eye over everything that is happening and making sure it runs to schedule.

Zekowski explains that one of his key roles is keeping people motivated, this is important especially for the crew and ‘grip’ as they are often seen as unimportant members of the team when compared to the talent but without them it is impossible to get the job done on time and to a good standard.

As I will be taking on the full assistant directors role I will not only be in charge of running the schedule on the day but I have responsibility of the putting together of the schedule,call sheets and associated paperwork. I think this is an area that I will enjoy as my main cause of anxiety when working on a project is not being organised, this role give me the chance to get ontop of the organization while still letting the director and producer tke charge of the creative processes.

Location Initial Recces

I’ve taken on the role of Location manager and have been looking into possible locations for filming. As we require the use of a House we have a restricted amount of options. I’m looking at trying to source locations that are available from people in the group but as i’m the only homeowner I thought it would be a good idea to offer up my space to film.

The benefits to using my home will be unrestricted access and a ready made teenage boys room which is called for in the script. The downsides being my house is in Wales so could cause problems with logistics and would increase the budget because of transport costs. There may also be an issue with the ability for the actors to travel if they have other commitments in Bristol.

after a meeting with Abigail she suggested if we wanted to use the locations in Wales then we should try and find suitable outdoor locations close by for our outdoor scenes to prevent having to move crew too far from our base which would take additional time. I looked into a small village near by in Caldicot that seemed to offer the ‘High Street’ location that we were looking for.

 

Location Manager Initial Research

The job of location manager is one that has always fascinated me and during this assignment I was keen to take on the role to research how to complete it to a professional standard rather than just treating it like a small part of the production as is usually the case.

Initial research on the Creative Skillset website suggests that the Location manager not only sources suitable locations for the film crew but must also manage the whole crew when on set; this is a much bigger role that I imagined and was keen to take it on.  I was keen to work out what exactly was involved and how I could best do my job so I researched a number of professional location managers and also some of the agencies that assist location managers in my local area.

Alex Giannopoulos – Breaking Bad

Alex Gianopoulos was one of the location management team on HBO’s successful drama ‘Breaking Bad’. I chose this show to research because for me one of the key things I enjoyed in this show was the cinematic locations used and the detail that seemed to have gone in to choosing exactly the right location to fit the narrative.

Over time I learned that to please Vince, I just have to find cool looking shit holes..

In a Blog Q&A, Gianopoulos described the tight deadlines that he faced between getting the script and shooting the scenes, He explained that often they could have less than 8 days of planning before shooting commenced. Having such short deadlines I think emphasises the need to have a good database of possible locations to hand and having a really good working relationship with a network of local planning agencies and landowners, as well as a great knowledge of the producer’s vision for the scene so that time isn’t wasted on unsuitable locations.

Four Corners Monument Breaking Bad

Interestingly Gianopoulos also provided some information about the logistics of filming on location, He highlighted a scene at the popular ‘Four Corners’ monument on the border of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The monument is normally very busy and Gianopoulos described how they combated this by filming wide scenes on location at dusk when it was quieter, using a standing actor and then the close-ups were filmed on a soundstage where they could re-create a small portion of the monument and use the actual actor for close-up shots.  Filming a scene in this way saves money on closing an attraction and hiring the more expensive actor for scenes where they are not necessarily needed. This highlights also the need for a location manager to be considerate of budget constraints during production.

Location Manager – Rob Story

CREW CALL  Location Manager Scout Rob Story   YouTube

If found Rob Story through my research on YouTube into Location mangers and the way he works and his motivation was really something that I could relate to.  Story explained that as a location manager his job was a professional liar which ties in with my experiences of location managing small projects of my own. To have to have the ability to negotiate with clients and property owners is key to doing a great job.

With regard to actually scouting, much like Gianopoulos there is an emphasis in knowing your own local ‘patch’ like the back of your hand and being able to call up an ideal location quickly. Story explained that a locatons are normally picked not just because of their visual appeal but how close they are to the Airport so satisfy budget and time constraints, in fact he says that this is one of the first questions he asks a producer during the initial negotiations.

Story says that he enjoys driving and this is something that has helped him get to know knew locations. I can definitely relate to this and can understand that having a sense of adventure and just driving around exploring new areas, even as a way of self-therapy will be a massive benefit when building a database of locations to call up when required in the role of location manager.

When carrying out my role I’d like to take inspiration from Story. I don’t want to be they type of location manager that hides things from clients; I think the key thing when building a contact network for me will be honesty. I think if you hide the fact that things will take longer and be messier than explained will just prevent you from using that location again for other projects or even if you have to return for re-shoots.

 

 

BBC Panorama ‘Addicted to Games?’ (Dec 2010)

As part of my research into how to construct our short film in terms of both narrative and craft skills I have been researching how the media have documented the issue of video games previously. I discovered a short documentary from the BBC’s Panorama brand that aims to highlight the growing issue of video game addiction.

I found this documentary to be useful in both helping identify the type of characters who play videogames and also techniques used by the film maker to portray the  narrative in terms of shots and audio used selectively to give an underlying tone. I will explore both aspects below.

Narrative

I don’t think there is any doubting that the use of video games has risen dramatically over the past 20 years, they are now common place in society and part of many peoples daily lives, be it on mobile, tablet pac or more traditionally the home console. I found it interesting that when creating this documentary the programme makers chose to emphasise violent games in particular over the many other forms of game genre that are equally addictive and I think this was done to fit into the programmes narrative that games or game addiction is somewhat akin to other types of addiction such as alcohol or drugs.

By relating the narrative to other hard forms of addiction I think makes it easier to shock the audience and create more of a talking point by including shocking figures and statistics to back up claims.

With any documentary narrative I think it’s important to stand back and consider all the information presented. In ‘Addicted to games?’ one sequence concentrates on an artist. Robbie Cooper and how he filmed peoples reactions through the screen of their TV’s while playing video games and watching normal TV programmes.

BBC`s panorama   videogame addiction     part 1   2   YouTube

In this sequence the presenter discussed how the reactions were different between normal TV viewing and the use of video games suggesting that somehow video games were more addictive based on reflexes in participants faces. I found this information to be a bit misleading as the two forms of media (Video game and General TV) have major differences, ‘normal’ TV being predominantly a passive experience while gaming due to it’s very nature is highly interactive. I think the use of this information in the documentary with little context as to the differences between the mediums only serves to further cement the programme makers intended narrative that computer games and excessive gaming in general is something that should be frowned upon.

In relation to our short film I think we will be using the narrative that has already be set by the media in general that video games can be dangerous to society. We will be making assumptions that our audience is aware of the suggested dangers of compulsive video gaming  and use this to build up a story based on this assumption.

Audio Visual Concepts

While I think the topics raised are questionable I found the techniques and conventions used in the making of the documentary to be really useful when researching how our film will look.

In our production meetings we discussed how the finished film might look, we wan a mix of both handheld camera shots alongside more static and stable shots to emphasise the difference between the gamer and the other characters in our story. ‘Addicted to Games?’ employs similar characteristics in terms of look to how I think we want our film to look. In this documentary when there is focus on the gamer the shots become noticeably more hand held or ‘rough and ready’, I think this builds on the idea that this is some sort of underworld environment, that we as an audience are exploring voyeuristically. When the shots move to general views and expert opinions they are more stable which I think emphasises that this what we are hearing from ‘experts’ is to be believed and the norm.

To further portray this ‘underworld’ environment that the programme makers have constructed they use a lot of extreme closeups which suggest to me we don’t get to see the whole picture ,we are given snippets of the environment in order to create our own image of what it might be like to live in this environment. Closeups include the players eyes, hand movements, shots of the controller being used and closeup over the shoulder shots of the player playing a game. I think these shots are just enough to explain the environment and adds to the impression that this type of activity is claustrophobic and is anti social.

BBC`s panorama   videogame addiction     part 1   2   YouTube

The selective use of audio, game footage and lighting is also important when creating the look for this documentary. At the very start of the programme the audience are jolted with load sounds associated with violent gaming such as gunshots and shouting, The gamers rooms are dark and cold with blueish tints and the footage is faced paced with agitated camera work. Using this audio and game footage immediately places the audience in a certain mindset when considering the programmes theme. You could argue that if the programme had opened with less of an impact, maybe using the ‘Candy Crush’ or ‘Super Mario’ soundtrack then the audience would be in a totally different place when considering the ‘dangers’ of video game addictions.

I think the techniques used to convey the different environments will definitely be useful when thinking of our film. Our film has similar contrasts between the everyday life of a family and this dark environment that our main character inhabits. I think we can use similar types of shot sizes and audio techniques to portray the environment to the audience quickly and effectively especially as we have limited time to explain the story world in a five minute short.

 

 

 

 

 

Unreal – My Production Roles

I have a number of roles in our assignment that will take place throughout the who production process from planning through to post production. I have tried to choose roles that don’t overlap too much to give me time to focus on our other assignments and not cause too much of a workload at any particular stage during production.

Pre Production

Location Manager

SFX/Graphics Design

1st Assistant Director

Health & Safety Roles

Production

1st AD

H&S

Camera Assistant

Post Production

SFX/Graphics Design

Assistant Editor

I felt the H&S department fitted quite well with the 1st aD role so I could do both together and it would enable me to complete it accurately. The SFX role is an ongoing role that will see me creating concepts in pre-production and switch to creating final graphics in post production.