Epiphanies (Week 4)

#1: WK 3 Friday Class Feedback: 

-No one thought that the shots were good, not much time. No time to watch any of them again, or retake the shot we wanted. The task was overwhelming, as it is easier to visualise, but then it is harder adapting, so we can create it. Harder to visualise what it will look like  in front of the lens. We have gone from working together, to having to tell each other what to do. It was hard to plan until we got to the location. We could look at the scripts all we wanted but then it would change depending on what we had to work with due to the location. Looking back on this exercise now, and having had a couple of days to think about it, I came up with various coverage situations for multiple scenes, including other peoples; which meant that when Paul showed us the shots in class, I wasn’t thinking about how bad they were, I was thinking of what could have been done to improve them.

Listening to what everyone thought about week 3’s activity from the Friday class, it was good to hear that we were all in the same position. We all felt the same, and wanted each other to lean back on. This eased my nerves on whether I can handle being a director. Saying this, after this exercise I found that I am more confident in sharing my ideas, and when we were planing the next exercise on Monday in week 4, I was voicing my opinion, and I gained confidence because people were then relying on me to make the next shot decision. Sometimes you have to step up to the plate, and by doing this, it improves your knowledge and skills, guiding us on the path to finding our own methodology.

Paul told us about shooting outside, and told us to consider the prospect of lines, and the framing of the shot. There was a significant amount of head room in the majority of the shots, and he is lead to believe it is due to having no constraints, so the space above the characters’ heads keeps creeping up until that is the new focus point. This is point that I will always remember and that I haven’t considered before. Shooting inside you have the constraints of walls and ceilings, however outside you have to work with natural objects to be the subject of framing.

#2: Exercise 4B

Week 4 is planing and covering a scene that was given to us on a script. The class was divided into two groups. From here we had to complete pre-production from Wednesday to Friday, so that Friday we were able to shoot the scene. The two groups were then divided in half so that one half of the team was the executive group, with 3 actors, director, and a DOP. The other half were the support team, with sound operator, sound assistant, camera operator, camera assistant and 1st AD/Safety officer. We then had to switch the roles. Sitting down with the script and picturing how the scene will be covered is easier than putting this into action. It is always the way, when on paper the shots sound well covered, but then looking at it through the lens you have to think to yourself, is this the best way? Can it be covered differently? This took a bit of time to figure out, and planning the logistics of the scene, how it will all come together to be successful, through shot sizes and angles, actors, framing and pacing. Robin (tutor of second class) asked us questions that are valuable to the course, and what we will get out of it.

1.What is it like to work in a big group? I find working in a group both challenging and productive. Challenging in the way you need to contribute as much as you can, so that no one is doing more work than they need to. People rely on you as a team member to have the ideas, and to know what is going next and how the next shot will be covered. You need to be constantly giving feedback to your peers, and you need to be at the same level of knowledge and understanding in order to keep up. On the contrary, I thoroughly enjoy working in groups, the larger the better. You all work collaboratively and there are ideas flying around the room that you personally might never think of. More heads are better than one, because each member has their individual style; allowing everyone to learn off each other. With this exercise you could see how the other group covered their scene differently to ours, and I started asking myself, why did they do that? Is it for better or for worse? I started analysing every move they made, in the hope I learn more, and come closer to understanding my own methodology.

2. Filmmaking is a higher order of thinking.  This statement shows you that we have to be about to think outside of the box. Having to think about every possible encounter we are going to have shooting this scene. We have to think at a higher level to cover a scene successfully and have the greatest impact.

Found Scene WK 4 cont.

This post is directly responding to the technical aspects of coverage in the found scene, an extension from the first post. These aspects include: pacing, shot sizes, camera angles, and the framing of actors. These are all critical elements in working out, how a scene is covered.

Pacing: At the beginning of this scene the pacing of the shots are slow, however this pace picks up at a gradual speed throughout the scene. We start the scene by seeing the two characters shown in a single person shot, with no movements except talking. On the contrary, the end of the scene shows the entertainer in the same shot, however with fast head movements and singing. Having this pacing at a gradual speed, adds to the final shots of the film, creating an emphasis on a big finish.

Shot Sizes: The beginning of the scene starts out as medium close up shots, having the characters engaging with the audience with the facial expressions. The medium shots then are introduced when the action starts occurring, so the audience sees the characters’ body language. The CU’s and MS’s are then repeated with the entertainment, which is the opposite to the crowd shots which vary from CU’s to LS’s. These dynamics work well for this scene as it gives it balance with the constant cutting to different shot types.

Camera Angles: The camera angles and shot types are taken from various positions. Still shots, panning, and also tilting. The panning and tilting occur when the pace of the scene develops. The way the camera is angled suggests how the audience sees what is going on. In some cases the director has covered the shots so that the audience feels apart of the action, all of the dancing, laughing an hugging, but then there will be a shot tilted down or tilted up. This allows the audience to see what is going on from a birds eye perspective, and also see the action as it unfolds.

Framing: In the beginning of the scene the main character if framed to the left of shot, the 2nd character is framed to the right of shot, suggesting a conversation between the two. If they were framed differently, the audience wouldn’t automatically assume they are talking to each other. As stated in my previous post about this scene, within the party shot, the main character is framed in the centre, while the other characters are coming in and out of shot; keeping the framing symmetrical, and keeping the focus on character 1.

This scene is constantly cutting back an forth from various shot, this adds a repetitive quality that allows the audience to understand what is going on adding a more personal touch. It is as of the camera is a person, looking around the room, and your eyes always go back to the same key features. I enjoyed the coverage of this scene, and thought that it was successful in the way it developed a narrative storyline, being seen through the eyes of the audience as it unfolds.



Found Scene (Week 4 Brief)

Film: ‘O, Lucky man’

Director: Lindsay Anderson

The scene starts with close ups of character one – an old man, and character two – the main character. There conversation is serious and they are talking about smiling. Character 1 keeps saying to the main charter, smile, when he doesn’t know why he should. Both of them have serious expressions, they are in a white room, no blank space behind them, the camera is focusing on the faces. The edited shots are planned in the way that the characters speak then we are shown the other character to see their reaction and response. This is using cause-and-effect to engage the audience, and show a narrative structure of the conversation.

The director, Lindsay Anderson, has a tendency to make the audience feel surprised, and does this by having close ups then cutting to a medium shot, allowing the action to take place. This was when character 1 hits the main character over the head. This is similar to the first scene I analysed, with the main character jumping out of the window. This destroys the audience’s expectations completely. After character 1 hits him over the head, the storyline changes. The shot cuts to black and reappears with close ups of the characters, and they are acting differently, as if the hit never happened. The camera then focuses on the main characters face and zooms in, so the audience is just looking at his face, mainly his lips and eyes, trying to figure out what is happening, the same when he is lying in the hospital bed. Anderson uses this as a motif, and a way to change what is happening within a scene. A J cut is then used from a close up of the face to hearing music from the next shot.

The next shot changes the storyline completely. It is a party scene. There us entertainment playing in the background, and everyone is smiling and hugging. The main character is always positioned centre of frame, and different characters enter and leave from the sides of the frame, making the shot more symmetrical. The coverage used in this next shot allows the audience to follow the couple dancing, and it is a way of showing the set/location and the extra characters involved. This scene has gone from still sharp cuts with no movement, to a scene that is full of movement, not one person is standing still. This allows the audience to create new expectations, ones that will hopefully not be destroyed. The coverage of the close ups of characters dancing shows their facial expressions , making us feel more connected to their situation. The entertainment is used as a way to cut up the continuous dancing scene, making what could have been a long shot, into small shots, with fast movements; which is also evident in the hospital scene, where it goes from being slow to fast-paced. As the song being sung says ‘around the world, in circles’, the camera is spinning, so everything and everyone seems to be orbiting around it. The camera then tilts up to the roof, suggesting something is about to happen, and it does. Balloons start falling to the ground adding to the party movement.

After analysing a scene from within this film and then the finale, they are different in the way the mood changes. The first scene left me feeling anxious, surprised, scared and trapped, where the director adds to these emotions by making him jump out of a window. However the final scene is different from this, as the director has created something fun, energetic, but still a bit crazy, through the coverage of the scene. There are motifs that kept reoccurring such as close up’s, sharp cuts, destroying audience expectations,and focusing of the face of the main character. This all shows Anderson’s methodology and personal style of cinema.



Epiphanies (Week 3)

#1: Sitting in the editing suites, putting a scene together that was shot in 6 perspectives. You have to work out the best possible way to edit these shots to make the most effective scene. This can  be difficult, as you don’t know whether to put the shots in chronological order, or edit them more creatively and have then within other shots, which could have a greater impact on the audience. Some of the shots were more difficult to cut, due to talking in the background, the boom pole in the corner of the shot, or someone having their shoulder in the shot also. Looking back at this, we should have noticed these things, and took more time to acknowledge these, so that the sound, camera position and lighting is right before it goes into the editing stage. This goes unnoticed until the shots are played back. I learnt multiple ways to make the shots more effective and fix the problems that we had on the footage. I was with a 3rd year who had the time to sit down with me and teach me what they know about editing, such as brightness and contrast, three colour wheel, shot positioning, and sound. I found this all to be helpful, because in the end, it made my edited scene more effective and appealing. After we had finished, Paul (tutor) came in and brought up the idea of having 2 or 3 shots instead of the six that we had. The idea of making the scene simpler and focusing more on the coverage and all of the technical elements. I can now see what he means when he says this, and next time I would like to try this approach and see how different it is to the overall scene.

#2: My main epiphany for this week would have to learning what J and L cuts are. I didn’t know anything about them, but then Paul explained to us that a J and L cut is a way of editing. A J cut is when the visual is seen before the sound is heard, so the sound from the next shot is overlapping the end of the visuals from the previous shot. An L cut is the opposite. The sound comes first, and then the visuals of the next shot overlap the sound from the previous shot. When I was in the editing suites, I was with a 3rd year student again and they showed me how they used an L cut in there edited scene. To me it looked more effective and appealing. It brings two shots together smoothly without having a sharp cut.

#3: What makes a good director? How do I tell everyone what I want them to do in order to get my perfect scene? Will they agree with me? What if I do it wrong? These were all of the questions I was asking myself when Paul told us what the next class exercise will be. He gave everyone random scripts, and individually within groups of six, we had to direct one shot each. This could be a small or as big as we wanted. This is preparing us in finding what our own methodology is. I have never been in a position of a director, and one of the hardest hurdles is having enough confidence in my ideas. This exercise helps with this, as everyone had to have a go. Some of the members of the group spoke up and gave me some ideas, but I had the final decision. This exercise show me what it takes to be in control of a shot individually. Having the final say on the coverage, camera position, lighting, sound, location, and the talent. Getting out of your comfort zone allows your creativity to shine, and allows you to step up to the plate and really have a go, and see what you are capable of creating.

Epiphanies (Week 2)

In this week’s tutorial we were given another exercise to do. It was similar to exercise 1 in the first week. We broke up into groups of six and had to create two scenes. What everyone had to share was quite entertaining to watch, as everything unfolds in front of us, the group members seeing it the same time the audience does. We all interpreted the text/script differently, and again the word interpret is used again.To me, this is a key element to this course and the way we come to develop our own styles. After showing all of the scenes we produced within the constraints given, Paul decided not to show us the scene from the actual film, instead he said we can look it up in our own time, because what we have created is much better. This surprised me, because I thought how could be possibly create something that is better than the way it is meant to be. I guess having six heads being put together to come up with a scene opens the doors to endless possibilities that condense down to one idea. It also goes to show how constraints impact the coverage of a scene. Paul also showed us one group’s scene without sound, and it was so visually pleasing that he decided one of the shots was the best of the semester so far.

Epiphanies (Week 1)


First class of Scene in Cinema for Semester One, 2015. What was said in the first tutorial was that there will be no comments about what the course will involve, no questions and little to no talking. We were divided into groups, and then handed a piece of paper each. Little did we know that each groups was different. On this piece of paper was a task. On the back was a script. We all had half an hour to practice and act out one scene. We had to share the roles of actor/director/camera operator. We had to go by the script and develop a scene within the space we had and with one camera, giving us constraints. During this exercise no one had any idea what was to come of this, it was all a bit vague. However, after sitting down and watching everyone else  do theirs, we were all so different with our approaches. It was interesting how text/script is perceived and interpreted. After watching the actual scenes from the original films, some were similar, however my groups was completely different. After this I realised that it is how people interpret things, which determine the outcome. Now that I think about it in depth I can see why this was the structure of our first class.



To begin this course I had an idea of what I wanted to get out of it. After doing Cinema Studies in my first year, I figured out that I enjoyed deconstructing films or scenes to see how they work, and to know why they are made the way they are. I thought that choosing this course would be a continuation on from the cinema studies pathway, which is an area that interests me. In our first lecture we were shown specific scenes and then had to talk amongst ourselves about the coverage of the scene. Someone in the class could determine what the storyline of the entire film was about, just from the coverage of this one specific scene. After looking through the scenes, you start to notice all of the elements that put the scene together. As a scene opens out, you start to see the wider implications. The main points that i took away from Lecture One are:

-How directors work, their individual style impacts the film significantly.

-This course is all about individual research and practice.

-CONSTRAINTS: All people have to work from constraints, and this is normally where creativity can come from.

-A coverage of a scene is cinematic. The way it is made has its own meaning. Transcends its content.

The second scene we watched is from the film ‘Margret’. This is what was taken out of the scene’s coverage:

-Two shot perspective of camera (from characters).

-Shots are designed so the viewer sees the action at the same time the character does.

-Reoccurring elements such as,  reflections, Bus and Cowboy hat.

-Things graphically change so much over time.

-It is like every shot is a different shot. Like a short film within the film.

Found Scene – ‘Oh Lucky Man’

This scene from “Oh Lucky Man” by Lindsay Anderson, begins with a view of the inside of a roof. The room is unclear until the camera slowly pans down revealing elements such as the bed-head, the lighting, the curtains, the decor, and the back of a patient lying in the bed, that it is set in a hospital. This is a way to set up a story, to introduce to the viewer where the location is and where this scene will be unfolding. People are talking while this panning is taking place, and the audience doesn’t know who they are until the camera finishes panning over the patient then starts begins at the waist of the following two characters, all the way up to their faces, revealing they are the medical staff. These two are having a conversation about the health of this man and what will need to be done in terms of treatment. As the panning comes to a stop, there is a cut to the patient’s face. At first you think it is to see the patient’s face, and give some closer detail within the scene, but then when the nurse is looking after the patient, the camera remains on the face, creating expectations for the audience that something to do with this is going to happen, because thats where the focus point has been created. Sure enough, when you here the door close to say the nurse has left you see the patient’s eyes open when they have been shut for beginning. This is still a shock, and the camera emphasises that as it zooms in closer to the eyes. Within this scene the camera seems to show close-ups of important details, making the audience read signs, and then destroy our expectations when we see the patient walk out the door that is beside this sign. Within this scene there is a reoccurring motif of doors opening and closing. When a door opens or closes, the scene is taken someone else, into a new room, or a new part to the storyline, or has new characters enter or exit at these times. When the character goes through these doors it is into a new space, meaning the audience is always trying to work out what is going to happen. The only lighting that is used in the hospital rooms are the lights beside the bed, which adds a more dramatic and uncertain mood to the scene. As the action unfolds the director has made the next part to this scene not visible to the audience until we see the main character’s reaction, then the camera cuts to the second patient. This coverage sets up a more dramatic and suspenseful scene, where the audience isn’t seeing the drama unfold at the same time the character does, instead we see the reactions first, allowing us to create expectations of what we might see next. Once we do see the next patient, and hear the loud scream, the scene becomes chaotic. What started out a slow panning shots, changes to doors slamming, sharp cuts and running frantically, which all leads up to the main patient jumping through a glass window, and this is how the scene ends. Having this coverage for the scene, suggests to the audience that is leading up to something, the drama is progressing, the instability of the patient is shown, and as the drama unfolds we are seeing it through his eyes.  The more he sees the more drama there is within the scene.

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