FInal Reflection- Digital Director


What a semester it has been! I just can’t believe that it has come to an end of a wonderful studio. At first I was allocated to a different studio but due to clash with my contextual, I was moved to Digital Director studio. At the start of the studio, it was kind of vague of what was this studio about and how will it go on. As we progressed we learned more about the usage of technology and crowdfunding for your projects, which I believe is vital for an emerging filmmaker or for any project. What I liked about the studio is that it kept on changing as we progressed and in the end all of us decided to work in a single project of a mockumentary based on university life. I was part of production team mainly handling the lightning aspect of the shooting and syncing audio in the editing. To my surprise, when the time came to character selection, almost no one volunteered, I always wanted to act in a project and said to myself ‘this is your chance’. I play part of Dorian Mathews, who is a dedicated student and loves to do assignments, or in uni life’s language, ‘Teacher’s Pet’.

Throughout the studio, there are lots of things I learned, but most importantly I learned how important communication is with the team and it is a collaborative effort and that everyone needs to put their effort in. More importantly, how hectic it is to be an actor. Starting of with the trailer, no one had any idea how to perform their individual roles, no one knew from where to begin. One other issue was time management as our original was to finish the whole production by end of week 12. I understand that even if it is frustrating, it is part of our learning curve and with these mistakes we did, we pushed them away and had a smooth running as we progressed further. As for my group mates, all of them were excellent in their respective jobs, and specially Nathaniel. He made sure that each of us were on the track and managed the time of the shooting with shorter but effective shot selection as we just had less than 3 hours to shoot for each episode.  Just one concern I had with this whole experience is that the management team were more involved in other groups work. I don’t blame it as few of us were inconsistent with the project. If they would have put some trust in us, then we would have had a smooth production going on.

With this studio, I think this is has been more practical than theoretical as what I thought before. I enjoyed it throughout and also, not only I learned about the my role in production, but I also got the chance to see how writing and social media team run things. As we depart from this studio, I’m taking Dorian Mathews with me!

Until we meet again.

Trailer Shoot

In week 8, our priority was to shoot the trailer and the episode one but due to slow pacing in finalising the script and shot list weren’t online for us (production team) to decide what to do on thursday shooting, so all the planning happened was on that very shotting date. It took us about 30 minutes to set up the equipment (while also waiting for the rest of the cast and crew to show up). The whole shoot for the trailer happened during the class timing and we only could come up with just three shoots for episode one. It was a bit frustrating at first as continuously we were planning shoots as we were going along which consumed half of the time. Secondly, we forgot to attach Lapel microphone with the camera for which we were left behind with the schedule planned.

As we are going along with the project, we are learning from our mistakes as well. We have noted down our mistakes and for the next week shoot, we plan to shoot both episode one and two on thursday as we have made all the shot lists. One the plus side, the trailer turned out to be fantastic. This thursday is the trailer launch. I’m excited and nervous as I make a debut in acting!

Change in Plans!

So apparently in week 7 Thursday’s class, we had to shoot the character profile or at least the trailer of the project, but for some apparent reasons, the cast is not finalised yet, mainly because only few people(including me) volunteered to act in the project and the number of characters were more than the volunteer ones. So after the presentation, all of us had a meeting and discussed with regards to crowdfunding, cast and things to be done by tuesday.

With the crowdfunding we decided that we will utilize it after many promotions be done by posting enough content on social media, with that we would have enough people to trigger funding for our project.

The cast is almost finalised, I’ll be playing the part of ‘teacher’s pet’, taking it for the team to be honest as I’m not a good actor but I’ll try my best. Finally with the production team, as for now we will be searching sounds at the moment. The guest panel Merran and Rohan suggested that it is best to find sounds early for the project. If we leave it to the end, we would only be struggling to best suit the video and wasting our time in the process. So all of the production crew will be finding both diegetic and nondiegetic sounds.


Role Distribution and testing equipment

In week 7 Tuesdays class, all of us were given specific group tasks by the management team. So our production team had to just test the equipment. Nethaniel brought his Sony A77 DSLR, tripod and an external mic input to record sound. Aravindha brought his Sony stills camera (don’t remember the model) and Aref brought his Canon 5D Mark III. Yuxin and I helped them out, set up the equipment and tested it with them. We all were pleased with the video quality that it was giving us. But there are some things we must be concerned with. Firstly as we were using the external mic attached with Sony A77, it didn’t gave us manual audio control, Aref’s Canon 5D Mark III has that feature so we’ll use that as our main camera for shooting. Also we have to keep in mind that external mic won’t do a good job at recording quality sound, so we would record it by using Zoom H4N sound recorder and attach a boom mic to it for high quality output.

Beside that, we also decided what our main roles will be in terms of producing the content. Nethaniel will be the director (will overlook everyaspect of the production), Aref and Aravindha will be in charge of Camera operations, Yuxin will in charge of Editing and Sound, and I’ll be the co editor and lighting technician for the project. These roles will be shared as we continue on so that everyone gets a taste of everything. I really want to find out how to record quality sound, so I guess Yuxin will be a great help as she has industry experience. On thursday we will start shooting for the trailer, hope all goes well

Team Allocation and Goals

In week 6 Thursday’s class our group sat down to discuss our goals and individual roles. We also talked about our skills set as well. All of us share equal level of skills that is required for this campaign like camera work, sound, lighting and editing, so we will share different roles as we move along this journey of our campaign. Till now, our goals are to produce video and image content that attracts the interest of the campaign’s target audience, to understand how different departments of the media industry collaborate in a project, and how to collaborate with a diverse range of both cultural and media backgrounds, both within the group and with the rest of the campaign departments.

While we agreed to our goals, we also did a test video for a sketch that the writing team prepared, it was fun and we have some idea as to how it may happen in weeks time. It may seem easy but I know that it will be a challenging job to produce high quality content. By next class hopefully each of our roles would be clear as who is doing what, I have a feeling that I might be getting the role of the editor. No one has shown any interest in editing besides nodding their heads to every skills they know, haha!

Deciding about Campaign!

In week 6 tuesday’s class, all of us had in our minds (well at least what i thought) about project brief 3. Two to four members will have to devise a campaign strategy about any idea to be realised. It was then of our classmates suggested that it would be better if we all work on a single idea and divide roles between us. We all agreed to it and Mark gave a green signal as well, but the question was as to what idea we should work on. Couple of us gave some ideas and all of them were workable, it was then Dylan’s idea that we decided to work on. So the idea is simply to make a Mockumentary on the mishaps happening in university life. We unanimously divided ourselves into groups of management, content, production and social media. I’m paired with Nathaniel, Yuxin, Aravindha and Aref in production team.

I’m quite excited to work in this group, it is always challenging when you work with new people every semester for a studio and I’m fully committed to perform best and be a key player. I’m not sure as yet what role will I be doing in production, I’ll know that in next class when all of us will sit down and discuss our next move.

Pitching Screen Australia

Yesterday all of us had to pitch our ideas which could have potential to send it Screen Australia (but it wasn’t necessary). Everyone had different unique ideas to put upon. My idea was of a documentary on a Pakistani traditional style wrestling called “Kushti”. It was two years ago when I actually experienced with my own eyes. I knew what it was and saw couple of pictures but never live before. My friend’s father passed away at that time and it was then I saw these wrestlers at the graveyard doing training. I was amazed that of all the places why would they pick such a place for their training, I started talking to them and getting more information about its sport and where it stood now and what they do when they are not wrestling. I took some pictures of them and thought to make a documentary someday after carefully studying them, but the project was postponed as I had to come to Australia for my education. Who knows maybe I go back someday and make a documentary on them. Some may think it’s a cliche idea as mentioned on one of the feedback I got in class, but I’m hopeful that it’s not something we have seen before, many have tried and made documentaries  on what it is and how it is done but never they thought of its dying popularity and the people that are trying to save it; what do they do when they are not training? What are their views on it? These are the questions that I wish I can get answers one day.

Another Semester, Another Studio

Due to clash with my contextual subject, I had to change my studio to “The Digital Director’. To be honest I’m not sure what is going to happen, all I know is that I have to give my best in this studio. In this week, we were introduced to Digital Filmmaking and had a chat of how is it changing the landscape of cinema. Mark Poole mentioned there are three streams of Filmmaking, the technical side, the audience stream and the director.

We also got to watch a bit of ‘Side by Side’ by Keanu Reeves which compares and contrast the film camera and the digital camera. In my view, filmmaking should jump to the digital realm now for numerous reasons, the production cost is lower as compared to using film cameras, in case of bad shot; the film reel goes to waste which increases the production value as compared to digital cameras where you can live view the scene you are shooting at the same time recording it.

I would definitely prefer digital camera for my projects; as being a student, they are in my price range and with the post production now portable (editing softwares on tablets and smartphones), it has become a life changing and easier to produce a film.