This week, we chose our poem and worked around it for our experimental short Sentiment Creeping In. We went with the work of Elizabeth Jennings, In Memory of Anyone Unknown to Me, in part because the poem really resonated with us- its language and the feelings it evokes- and in part, because it is licensed under creative commons. Originally, we planned on creating something along the lines of Saltby Ollie Ritchie, although I think the use of a voiceover, or even text on screen, will be more effective overall and personally, I like this approach better as it moves away from our video simply being a series of ‘nice’ shots.
This week I also decided that I wanted to try my hand with film photography. While it’s something I’ve dabbled with in the past (owning a great deal of old Polaroid cameras), I wanted to expand my skills and knowledge beyond an automatic 35mm and point-and-shoot Instax.
While I wasn’t able to fill up my roll of 24 exposures this week, I did do a great deal of reading to 35mm and 110mm film- 110mm being too impractically expensive to shoot, which is a shame considering the practicality of the tiny spy-camera cameras that take this sort of film. I settled on using my Canon TL QL with AGFA ISO 200 film- posts to follow with results.
Test shots at Macedon! This week we made the trek (well, I did being the only ‘westie’ in the group) up to Mount Macedon in order to shoot some more test shots for our piece, now that we had a rough storyboard and a firmer grasp on what exactly it was we wanted to shoot and express in our video. The day itself was incredibly hot, reaching temperatures of above 30 degrees- which helped us to really consider the implications of the weather when shooting and getting to our location (hiking up the hills with all our equipment). Overall, the day wrapped up fairly quickly, only taking approximately two hours to shoot in total. What we really wanted to achieve with this test shoot though, was to test out ideas and techniques so that when it came to our actual filming date, that we wouldn’t waste our actress’ time, and possibly run out of time. I’ve included some of our shots (please ignore the audio) to give a grasp on what it was we did that day.
I loved our group’s ability to not only compromise, but get completely on board with everyone’s ideas- instead of shutting something down immediately, or arguing about it, we simply said ‘Okay! Let’s give it a shot. If it works great, if it doesn’t, no matter’. I think this really helped when it came to experimenting with lens flares, as it was something we struggled with at first seeing as no one had any experience before (see video three). We did learn from the exercise and with the use of a flash from one of our phones, we learnt to make it work.
Developing the photos. This week I managed to get the shots developed, and while not amazingly composed, I was pretty happy with the ‘vibe’ they gave off. I’ve shared a couple below.
I think I need to work on balancing grain with lighting and overall exposure of the shots- low light, night lighting probably isn’t the best situation without a flash (a phone torch was used for the first photo).
Our second to final shoot at Mount Macedon was this week. Getting there, again, was quite hard and because of the early wake-up and late night before, it left me feeling quite stressed and all around tired for the shoot. Despite this, the day ended up going pretty smoothly- even though it took longer than originally anticipated. Working with Bay, who is involved in media making herself, made for a really easy directing experience and she knew herself what would and wouldn’t work well when translated on camera/screen. Her experience as being a model (for almost all of Sam’s photos) also helped her look very natural and serene on film.
As mentioned before, we did end up running quite a bit behind schedule and because of this, I think by the end of the day everyone was quite drained, but still managed to keep up with what we had to get done. It did become difficult at points to make sure that we weren’t including outsiders in our shots as there were a few joggers and families hiking the track, although not having to worry about sound, as we were using atmos, for most of the shots did help a great deal. The fact that I was able to work with a crew who were so open to everyone else’s ideas and opinions also helped in creating a smooth shoot as there wasn’t bickering and time wasting because of this.
We were also incredibly lucky to capture a few unscripted shots, such as the ones below with a ladybug. The serendipitous nature of the shot really helped me to appreciate the fact that when there are moments like this on a set, to capture them, regardless of whether it ends up on the editing floor in post-production.
My second lot of photos, I believe, turned out a lot better. I think there was a greater depth of field to each shot and overall, a more aesthetic photo. While again, the exposure is a little off for some of the shots, I think this comes down to the fact that I didn’t account for the light that would reflect off the white surfaces in some of the shots- also the fact that I was guessing my aperture and f-stop from the top of my head as my metre is broken, and I didn’t have a digital one (a phone app) at the time.
Personally, I liked this lot of photos the most from the ‘lot’. I feel like the exposure and focus are most on point and overall, the most well shot of the bunch. While my composition isn’t exactly perfect- the rule of thirds is fairly off- I believe the colours are most true to life and flattering in these two pieces. Working with someone (a disgruntled and unfed boyfriend) who did not want to have his photo take proved problematic, although I believe the end result turned out quite pleasant.
Collaboration is interwoven in posts.