Wildscreen Work Experience Final day with Floating Harbour

Today was my Final day of work experience with the Floating Harbour team. We started once again at the boat at 8am, kitting up. Our main focus of the day had moved from the Arnolfini to the the Watershed where we had to film the days Wildlife Photography seminars.  After the seminars we had a quick turnaround of locations as we had to film a final presentation at St Georges Hall which is about a 10 minute fast walk from the watershed.

After filming Seminars all week the final day was pretty straight forward. I took control of the back camera next to the stage which was a new Canon 5d mark 4. This was my first time using this camera and it seemed a lot better than i had been led to believe. It’s still really a stills camera but does have all the video functions you’d expect.

At 5pm we had to rush everything up to st Georges Hall for the final presentation. I had to leave at 7pm but agreed to help with the setup as we had a lot to do before the presentation as we were filming with 4 cameras. By this time in the week as a team we knew exactly what to do and with this in Mind Rich suggested that we could up the aunty a it and try to live mix this presentation too, this would require laying cables around the hall from the cameras to the mixer. We also had to consider sound capture too as the Hall wasn’t able to offer a live sound feed. I left the team after setup was completed just before the presentation began, we had worked well as a team to complete such an elaborate camera setup in record time.

Summary of the Week

I Really enjoyed my time at Floating Harbour, particularly because this is the area of the media that I feel most comfortable working in. When thinking about life after university and the growing trend for online/corporate video I feel working in this area to be an achievable ambition.

The team at Floating Harbour were very welcoming and the work I was doing helped introduce me to the workflows of a professional company. I learned new camera positioning skills, Scheduling and got my hands on some of the latest equipment which will stand out well on my CV and I learnt some new Editing workflow techniques such as creating selects of good footage which will make my own editing quicker.  During the week I also learnt more about working with people and networking, how to act professionally with clients and how to promote yourself when working in order to plant seeds with potential clients in the future.

I’d  like to thank the Floating Harbour team for this amazing opportunity.

 

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Wildscreen Festival Day 3 Work Experience

Later start today, But caught in traffic so we were a bit late arriving. The Boat is lovely to work from but it’s right in the centre of Bristol so is a nightmare if you’re in a car during rush hour. On the plus side, I have free parking which is a rarity in the centre of Bristol, well more than rare, it just doesn’t happen at all.

Today we had to film more talks and couch sessions and later had to do an interview with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. Rich suggested we split the team up today. We had a team working on filming the coach sessions and another starting edits and gathering some more GV footage. This was a great opportunity for me to get behind the camera and film using the Panasonic during the talks. I was in control of the main close-up camera using the canon 70-200mm lens with an extender making it 400mm. Jake was on the back stage camera and Rich/Tom took control of the safe wide and the vision mixer. Using such a long lens at a ow aperture was tricky keeping focus, especially as some of the talks had moving guest speakers. The couch sessions were much easier as the speakers remained static. Working with Tom on Vision mixer was great, I could keep an eye on the camera that was live by looking at his screen and he allowed me to use my intuition to find him suitable shots to cut to.

The live mixing became sort of a game, we were trying to complete it in the apollo to save us time in editing and the further we got into the talk with no issues the more challenging it was not to mess up a shot. Unfortunately we still had sound issues which means the recordings will once again need some re-editing. The sound issues are stating to frustrate, especially as the sounds team don’t seem very approachable, i’d expect them to be a bit more professional.

In the afternoon I went back to the boat to start work on the Highlights film edit. I was given the job of creating a timeline of ‘Selects.’ This meant going through the footage so far and picking out shots that could be used in the highlights film. I had to trip out bad bits, shaky footage so that the timeline only contained usable footage. This process will make creating a highlights film a lot simpler, the editor will know that all shots can be used and won’t have to root around in different folders to find footage as all the good stuff will be in one place. This is an idea I will now adopt in my editing workflow.

This evening we had to pack up quick and take our gear to the Watershed Cinema. We had a 5 minute slot with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall for an interview. We quickly scouted out a location, a balcony with a view of the harbour and we set up ready to go. We used the Panasonic Varicam for the interview and a Sony A7r2 for some behind the scenes footage. The interview was short and sweet and Rich managed to get Hugh to give some sound bites that we can use in the highlights video. We seem pretty slick now and are producing some really nice content. The team seem to be feeding off each other which is great for Moral.

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We ended with a Pint and Ben and Matt went off to film one of the evening events while myself and Jake packed up and headed back to wales.

Wildscreen Festival Work Experience Opening Day

The Wildscreen Festival got underway today and this was our first day of propper filming. We arrived at the boat at 8:30, grabbed the cameras and headed straight over to the registration area to meet Rich and gather some footage for the promo video. This was a great chance for myself and Jake to get a go on the Panasonic Varicam LT. We spent half hour gathering shots of delegates registering for the event and then we headed over to the Arnolfini to setup the cameras ready for the first talks.

The schedule is very tight and luckily Anne has been working to sort our timings out for us so we know where we should be at specific times; we also have a WhatsApp group for communication on the go which is good idea.

The initial talk was an introduction to the Festival for new delegates, it was hosted by Laura Marshall, Managing Director. of Icon films. She seemed like a really lovely lady and gave some useful tips on how to get the best use of the festival in terms of networking, most importantly not to interrupt people who are talking as they my be in the middle of an important one time opportunity pitch to a potential backer. Very good advice I though. Laura seemed really approachable and so maybe I will contact her in the future for more work experience or even film ideas, she seems keen to nurture new talent.

This initial talk was mainly a live test for us. We seemed to handle the mixing well, myself and Jake watched from the seats while the Floating Harbour team took on the important roles. We did have an issue with communication with the camera operator on the stage. We did have talkback units but we didn’t have an easy way to communicate and tell the op not to move as they were live in the mix. I had a torch with me and covered it with red gaff tape, from my position I was able to see when the camera was live and lit my touch so the operator on the stage had a visual indication to tell him not to move, this seemed to work well and was a good on the spot problem fix.

The introductory talk was followed by some ‘on the couch’ sessions with big name industry professionals and a number of other seminars. These were interesting to watch as well as film. I felt privileged to be able to attend these talks, not just film them. They were full of good advice from people who work in this industry.

While our technical end seemed to run smoothly we did have some sound problems, this was not our department as we were receiving a feed from the sound guys but it didn’t seem professional and means we’ll probably have to re-cut the days talks to fix the sound, this isn’t ideal on such a short turnaround time. Hopefully the sound problems will get sorted for tomorrows talks.

After the final talk we packed up for the day; returned the cameras to the boat and had a quick de-brief and planning session for the next day. Overall all seemed to go OK for the first day. We had some GV shot and worked well to capture all of the events, the only issue seemed to be the sound problems which was out of our control.

Overall a good day.

Floating Harbour Day 1 W/E Setup of Equipment

Today we started setting up equipment ready for our week of filming Wild screen. During the week we will be filming most of the talks at the Arnolfini Arts Centre so we moved all the equipment we needed for the talks over to there, It’s a short walk from the boat where we will be using as our main base for the week.

The filming of the talks will be a 3 camera live edit we set up two cameras in the stalls to act as our wide and closeup cameras and we also had a camera on the stage behind the guest speakers to gather audience reactions and a different angle for the gust speaker.

Today was very much a technical rehearsal, we ran BNC cables from all of the cameras to the apollo recorder which we’ll be using for the live edit. We also linked in with the centres sound and visual department to arrange feeds for from the microphones and the projector where guest speakers will be displaying work.

Setting up the cameras was a daunting experience, these cameras (varicam lt) are worth around £15,000 so dropping it would be a complete no no. The ursa was also brand new and worth around £5000. Getting this hands-on experience with the cameras was very useful, we got a feeling for the settings and capabilities of the camera which will be essential for this weeks filming and for my general development.

The apollo recorder seems like a great tool for live editing, it takes in all 4 of our feeds and you can live edit with the touch screen. The Apollo also records all 4 of the feeds along with sound onto SSD drives and can be edited again later if there are any mistakes. I wish I could use this workflow for my Weddings, it would be so much faster but unfortunately we’d never have time to run all the cabling in a church.

Once setup was complete we de-rigged the cameras and took them back to the boat for safe keeping, luckily we were able to leave all the grip in situe ready for filming tomorrow. Today was really exciting, we seem to work well as a tam even though we have only just been introduced, looking forward now to the actual recording days.

Bracken Films – Corporate and Documentary Small Film making Company

UWE Industry Talk – Bracken Films

Bracken Films is a small Corporate and documentary film company headed up by Two ex UWE Film making students Jim Smith and Zander Mavor. They created the company after leaving UNI and have secured a number of contracts with high profile customers to create promotional videos and internal team videos for company training and information.

Jim and Zander came to UWE to give an industry talk. he main focus was of their experience since leaving UWE and how they went about setting up their company; they also showed us some of their past work including Jims documentary ‘The man who fell from the sky’ which documents the story of immigrants fell from a planes landing gear onto a London street.

This talk was very useful to me because it’s the sort of area I wish to go into after finishing in UWE. While I feel many people will turn their noses up at corporate work, i think it’s a good way to build a brand and a reputation which could in tern lead to bigger more creative documentary work, Also I think this steady work offers stability while still offering the opportunity to work on passion projects for low or no income.

Jim and Zander explained that they have a good working relationship because both of them specialist in different aspects of the film making process. Jim is more of the DoP while Zander takes on the sound roles, I think having these specialisms is a real asset because it means that both parties need each other which will help strengthen the bond of the owners while also easing the pressure on each person.

Jim and Zander explained some of the pitfalls of setting up their company and things we might avoid. they explained how they contacted a number of companies to offer their corporate video services and that this didn’t get them much work; the work they currently get comes through networking and through contacts through friends so this is something to think about when I start my business. The boys talked about some of the processes such as invoicing the company (40% pre-production & 60% on delivery) and the importance of contracts to protect yourself. They also explained some of the other work that may be involved including pitching ideas from a brief to potential clients.

Zander and Jim also stayed behind after the talk for a beer and had some great personal advice for myself and Hanna-Jane.

One criticism I do have around Bracken Films would be the lack of online presence, while the boys had business cards it is very hard to find any information on the company and there is currently no website to get contact information or view the companies show reel of past work. I think when building my company this will be one of the first things I should look into initially.

Home

 

Research – Social Services – “Mum locks Kids in Room”

Interactive Media Research Material

I first heard about this story while traveling to Uni listening to BBC Radio 4 and thought it was related to the work we are doing for our Interactive Media module where our story centers on (fictional) failings of the social services departments in the UK.

Mirror

Click here to view the story in full on the Mirrors website.

This news story centres on the probable failings of a number of council bodies including social services who are allowing two Thirteen year old girls to be locked in their bedroom at night with a baby monitor as a way of communication between themselves and their mother in the event that they need to leave the room or are in danger from their ‘peodophile’ step father.

This story raises some serious questions about how government bodies seem to not act in a reasonable and responsible way but instead rely on a number of ‘tick box’ solutions to close a case.

This story is interesting in developing the story we are creating in which we see our characters (2 young children) separated from their father and imprisoned by a person who has been elected to protect them. I think it offers an interesting insight into how some of the decisions are made in cases like these and we could use this information to further develop our narrative and ensure realism in the story.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Can a Music Video be a Documentary?

We had just discussed our plans for our short documentary about Bristol and the opportunities for media in the city. We came up with a narrative that explored how Bristol was probably now known as a ‘one trick pony’ in media (everyone is always harping on about Aardman) so we wanted to show something different. Driving home I hear Sigmas latest dance tune, featuring Paloma Faith ‘Changes’. I’ve heard it many times before (being a bit of a fan) but never really heard the lyrics.

Now listening to the lyrics it seemed like it would fit ideally as our background audio and could even be used to push the narrative along. I had visions of fast moving shots of Bristol landmarks and people along with our ‘sheep’ narrative that had already been discussed. The main issue that I was debating with myself was can a music video be a documentary?

I think Documentary or Factual as a genre has a very wide reach. As long as something is being ‘documented’ then does it matter if it’s being done in the style of a music video?

I don’t think it’s a problem but would be interested to hear what other people think.