Annick Thompson

In this studio I’ve been developing my research question throughout the semester and have landed on (in simpler terms) the question of exploring colour and text on screen. In more depth, I have been researching ways of communicating text on screen through both production, through use of an intimate objects as well as in post-post production through use of on screen titles. In terms of exploring colour, I have been experimenting with utilising colours in production such as in costuming, and lighting as well as experimenting with post-production colour work through use of Premiere Pro/After Effects in colour-grading and effects.

The start of my ideas began to develop through my inspiration of seeing a short film called ‘Joy’ directed by Cate Sutherland. The film follows a young girl on a night out, whilst also displaying bold red text across screen.

What really inspired me about this film is the use of text in the film. The red bold text that crawls across the screen is actually what seems to be commentary from her parents, which adds to the youthful, teen angst theme of the film. It is also a very interesting way that adds context within the film through its use of text. Also what is great about this film is its overall composition as well as colouring/lightning. There is great use of costuming through this film from the casualness of the teen’s outfits to the use of the children’s sunglasses they steal in the film. My favourite part of the film is the scene where they are in the store laughing about stealing the children’s sunglasses, before they run out of the mall and get split up. The scene utilises fast cuts to add suspense as well as switching between security footage perspective. I also really like the use of lightning which switches mainly from a warm hue to a greenish tint.

I was also inspired by the short film IRL by Grant Singer. Again, inspired by the use of colouring in costuming, lightning and overall mood of the film.

Another film I took inspiration was the Napoleon Dynamite opening sequences, which I aimed to recreate due to its experimentation with creating text on screen through food and objects.

In the beginning of this studio we started with doing lots of practical exercises, both in an out of class. I really enjoyed these as we had the ability to enhance on practical skills and gained better understanding of practical equipment. Below I have the early stages of my experimentation with colour/text. The ‘experimental’ video was shot handheld in my friends house, on a sony ex3. ‘The call’ was a collaborative shoot during class on campus. ‘The Call’ was my favourite practical exercise that we did in class as myself and 2 other students managed to capture some really great imagery on the staircase.

In exploring my research question of colouring and lightning I planned to do several shoots. I decided to explore the use of coloured lightning by experimenting with cellophane over my lights to create the effect in production rather than adding it in post-production. I found that this really gave dimension to the colours and all of the shadows and highlights were tinted in the colour perfectly. I initially wanted to experiment with all different types of colours, however ended up only using pink and green lights. My shoots involved a group of friends and was filmed in my house, for pure convenience and the flexibility to muck around with location. Ideally I would’ve loved to use one of the ex200 cameras from RMIT, but the 24 hour hold and transportation of the equipment I found was too much of a hassle. Instead I used my canon 550D, which isn’t really a film camera, but worked just as well.

To experiment with text I wanted to recreate the opening credits from the film ‘Napoleon Dynamite’. I decided to just use fake names and see what I can use to represent text on screen. I experimented with using food, paper, objects and pieces of clothing to represent text on screen. I also wanted to shoot with the birds-eye-view angle, which was a bit difficult to create but through a bit of manoeuvring I managed to place my camera horizontally across a table. I only realised the best way of filming was ultimately filming upside down, which I then did when I reshot the scenes.

I was able to do a second shoot for my title sequence, unlike my coloured lightning shoot. Unfortunately, due to time management I wasn’t able to have another full day of filming and so just continued to experiment with the footage I already had. The second title sequence footage utilised more ways of representing text. This was around the same time I also created another title sequence for the exhibition. One of the main lights I was using broke before I was finished filming, but the show went on.

Here are the final sequences I came up with, one using my footage from the coloured lightning and the other creating a mock opening credits. Overall I am quite happy without how they turned out, although I know there was so many more possibilities with footage I had taken.

Reflecting on this semester I can definitely see improvements I could have made in my organisation skills. I could have definitely stayed more on top of my blog as well as kept weekly planning/filming/editing schedules. This ultimately would’ve allowed me to have been more productive and used my time more wisely, however, you live and you learn.

Overall, I really found that this studio gave me and my classmates the opportunity to enhance both my practical knowledge of technical equipment as well as my increase my ability to create and develop ideas. I really enjoyed the freedom we had in this studio to pursue our own particular interest in filmmaking. This studio was truly an eye-opener into the ‘ways of making’ film, in all aspects and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Annick Thompson, Ways of Making, 2016.

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