After shooting multiple scenes now, and coming up to my main shoot (where I want to tie all of my investigations together), I have a list of things I need to be aware of when filming so that I don’t make the same mistakes.
- Unnecessary space: I cant use too much blank space as it will distract from the focal point, especially if the location is ‘ugly’. I have been told there are strong lines within a carpark and I should be working with or against them.
- Types of shots: I need to keep track of the shots and why they are being used. I want to have a dynamic selection, and I don’t want to get to the editing stage with shots that don’t work very well.
- Actor movement within a scene: In my other shoots I feel as though I haven’t made enough use of the space with character movement. This time I want to change this. I want the scene to be engaging, to reel the viewer in, and to use the actors properly through the relationship between framing and the location. After doing the found scenes from Antonioni, he shows just how powerful actor movement within the frame can be. He also shows ways to prevent continuity issues which is my next point.
- Continuity: I have had a lot of trouble with continuity in the past scene, and I only realise this in the editing stage. I don’t want this to happen again, because it can be easily fixed in the pre-production and production stages. Have continuity issues means that the scene wont be at its best, meaning it wont be as impactful and successful. I need to work out a way around this, and I think its best to have every shot different and from a different angle or perspective, that way if I cross the line, or the continuity isn’t 100%, then it won’t stand out too much for the audience to see.
- Look for things outside of the box: I need to see what I can do that isn’t as mundane as the pieces from the rest of my shoots. I need to open my eyes and really see what I can do with the camera, actors and the location.
The scene from ‘The Passenger’ directed by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1975, is all about camera angles, camera movement and the movement and positioning of the actors. Antonioni has created a scene that draws in the audience’s attention, not giving everything away all at once. The first shot is of a piece of fruit still connected to a fruit tree, where a hand then comes into the frame from the right side, followed by a woman’s face. By just having the frame focused on the piece of fruit on the tree, suggests to the audience the location of this shoot. As the woman picks the fruit, the camera follows her actions, revealing more fruit trees. This cue tells the audience that this is taking place within an orchid. The found scene from week 10 talked about how Antonioni got the characters to determine the cuts by walking in and out of frame; and this scene does the same thing. The female walks out of frame while the camera is positioned behind her, then the shot cuts to her walking into frame with the camera positioned in front of her. This is done to prevent continuity issues, which will be of use in the post-production stage. Antonioni has her walking behind trees, showing a more realistic approach. The camera then follows the female’s eyes to show to the audience what she is looking at, however this is done slowly. The camera pans from her to the fruit on the tree, and then keeps slowly panning until the camera reaches the man laying in the grass. The slow panning creates suspense, and the audience is lead to suspect that something is going to come of this. The conversation between the two characters starts with a wide shot of them both, and then cuts to the female who is in the right of frame looking to the left; then panning to the male who is in the left of frame looking to the right. This is another example of external composition. By the way the characters are positioned, we know they are talking to one another, even if the audience didn’t see the previous wide shot. The camera then cuts to a medium shot of the two and then pans upwards, the same time the woman stands up. This is an example of how Antonioni makes the actors determine the shot types, angles and pacing, through their movements. Within the final shot we see the back of the man, and the front of the woman. This allows the audience to speculate that she is more important, and the lines she delivers need to be emphasised. This female character is the one who dictates the entire scene, and when she walks away from the man in the final shot, the camera follows her and only her. It is as if we are seeing her story and nobody else’s.
The scene from ‘Red Desert’ directed by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1964, begins with a shot focused on a brown door. This brown door is amongst white walls, with brown stairs leading up to this, suggesting that action will take place here. The door then opens and the audience is introduced to a couple who walk down the stairs and into the room. The camera has a wide depth of field as both of the characters are in focus, however the woman is in the foreground and the audience are drawn to her, whilst the man is in the background. The female is speaking to the male, however she has her back to him, so that the audience can see her face. This is a main reason why the audience are drawn to her instead of the male, and it seems the director wants us to focus on her expressions. The camera switches to the back of the woman, with the male out of shot. The camera movement tilts upwards at the same time the woman’s head does, emphasising what she is looking at, as it is obviously an important part to the scene’s storyline. The next shot crosses the 180 degree line, with an over the shoulder shot of the man looking at the woman. This action doesn’t make the audience question the scene, instead it works well and you hardly notice. This is a way to show all the areas of the room, however it is done so that the audience knows where all of the characters are in relation to one another at all times. Having the camera tilt all the way up to the roof is a way to pass time, and makes it easier in the post-production stages to cut to the next shot. The shots keep changing from being able to see the woman’s face to not see it respectively, which is another way to cheat continuity in the editing stages. The conversation that follows is an example of external composition, where there are single shots and the way the characters are positioned within the frame, and the way their eyes are facing suggests they are speaking to each other. In this scene there is a strong motif of the characters walking in and out of frame, which is a cue for the cut of shots. Every time a character walks out of frame, the shot cuts and shows the same character walking into frame. The paint on the walls is another motif that is used to determine space, that joins the two characters together. This is clear when the female follows the paint on the walls until she reaches the male. In the majority of the shots, the paint is what is in the middle ground of the framing, while having one character in the foreground and one in the background.
This week was spent planning our substantial blog post, and summing up the whole semester. This got me thinking how I am going to reflect upon everything that I have done and learnt. How was I going to summarise my method of working and investigations, because I have come a long way from filming one shot, to an entire scene. I started with an idea, and I now have a research project consisting of various paths stemming from this idea with projects that I have created to demonstrate these.
Plan for Final Blog Post:
1.Start with where I began. How it all started. How I got to the stage of figuring out what I was going to investigate.
2.Talk about what I investigated and the paths that I took – summarise blog posts – main points.
3.How I learnt through practice – how this got me to where I am.
4.What footage I have created – Why I did this and how.
5.What I have learnt coming to the end of this semester.
6.What I have achieved through my investigations.
Looking back at the ‘Carpark Scene New’ shoot, after it has been edited, it is clear that I have missed a lot. It is only when I got to the editing stage where I found out what I did wrong. Starting with the first shot, Paul said to me after I filmed it that if I am going to film feet, I need to be down at feet level, otherwise it looks strange and it doesn’t work. Where the feet end from one shot and start in the next, they are not in the same position, leading to continuity issues, resulting in jumpy edits. When the camera is tracking up in shot 2, it is too slow. The audience will be bored before the face is revealed. In this shot I made sure the solid object of the pillar was used. I had to make the most of my surroundings. While the conversation between the two characters is happening the shots are jumpy, caused from the editing, due to the continuity issues. From this conversation however, I was trying to practice framing through external composition, which is my main investigation for my Method of Working. This worked well and suggested to the audience that there is a second character offscreen. After this conversation the actor turns to walk away and I cut it to another foot shot, tilting the camera up to follow the actor. This shot I am still unsure about, because I don’t think it worked out as well as I had hoped. Again, the tracking movement was too slow, and the audience already saw where the actor was heading in the previous shot, so the ‘suspense’ wasn’t necessary. Having the same movement twice in one scene doesn’t work, as the second time it just becomes annoying. However I only think this now about the scene after seeing the final product. I didn’t notice while filming; as well as I didn’t notice the actor saying the wrong lines.
‘Carpark Scene New’
I started the new carpark scene with the close up of the actor’s shoes, just like what I had done in my previous shoots. I tried to use the objects within the carpark to help with the framing and work with them instead of against them. The actor’s feet walk backwards and forwards and then walk towards the cement pillar. This is when the shot cuts into the next one. The camera is still tilted down towards the ground/shoes and then slowly tilts up to reveal the body and face of the actor. This is showing his body movements and facial expressions as he looks around the carpark, suggesting to the audience that he is looking out for something. Character 2 then says their line while character 1 is still looking around from behind the pillar. He continues to stay behind this pillar until the final shot. It suggests that it is protecting him from the thing they are hiding from. This cuts to a front view of character 1 while he replies. The camera cuts back to a MLS of the actor, showing the audience a little bit more about his surroundings. As the actor delivers his final line he starts walking away from the camera, suggesting to the audience that he is going to look for something/someone. The final shot is of the feet again, however this time they are coming from over the camera and walking up the ramp of the carpark. The camera tilts up, following the actor as he walks out of the shot/scene.
Following on from the first and second stage planning I have arrived at a different scene coverage for the same script. I originally planned it so that it was the same as my last scene just fixing the recommendations made by my tutor. I did this with my iPhone 5 and edited it together to create a sequence, however I wasn’t happy with it. I was bored of it. I knew the shots that I did last time, and I knew what I had to take out, therefore I created a bland scene that is the same as my previous one. From here I re-hired an SLR camera to experiment with different shots in a different location, however in the same car park. This turned out positively in terms of scene coverage and framing, as it helped me think outside of the box. I scouted the car park and found a setting that is more visually appealing, that had solid objects that could help me with framing. The setting was situated underneath a light which worked well for the scene’s atmospheric outcome. The last mini shoot that I had done were shots with no dynamic features that enhanced the overall scene. With this next shoot I tried harder to take into consideration all of the things my tutor had told me, and also go further into my investigations, which is framing through external composition.
Moving on from the storyboard imagery I decided to do a second draft, however film it on my iPhone. This allowed me to focus entirely on the frame and how I would want to film this scene again. I got the same actor, and went to the same location. I did mostly the same shots, just taking some of Paul’s advice and putting them into action. One of his suggestions was to leave out all of the blank and ugly space that distracts from the action taking place. If this was my final piece I wouldn’t do this layout (I only know this after doing it), because the location is unattractive. This shoot was just another basic piece that goes towards my method of working, and I would call it one of my research pieces. This scene starts with a CU of feet walking, next is a close up of the face, then a full body shot of the actor walking, leading to a front CU shot of the actor’s face. This then cuts to a side view of the actor, looking at him from character 2’s perspective; and then finishing the scene with another full body shot, as he is walking. After finishing this draft I wasn’t entirely happy, because all of the things I researched and learnt, I find it hard putting it into practice; and this is one of my greatest struggles when filming. However doing these shoots wrong just means I have more to reflect upon and to learn from; it all adds to the experience.
Week 10 was all about what we wanted to do in terms of further investigations for our projects and methodology of working. In groups we went off and my group investigated more lighting – continuing on from week 9. We hired various lights such as light panels, fresnel lights and dedo lights to experiment with the ways in which they work. A group member wanted to create a specific atmosphere for an interrogation scene, and to see how the lighting would work if she wanted to recreate a door opening. The light of the door that is being opened has to be shown on the character’s face. The frenels were too strong of a light for this specific shot, however Paul showed us how it can be reduced by pointing it towards a wall and using the reflector boards to guide the light onto the actor. We then experimented with the dedo lights, which were more of a success for the atmosphere we were going for. By moving the barn doors we were able to create the motion of the door opening in a dark space and the light from that adjoining room to be seen on the actor’s face. Paul also showed us how you can shadow another character in the scene just by having them walk in front of the light. This created a suspenseful atmosphere, which is exactly what we were hoping for. It is quite intriguing how lighting works, and just be readjusting the barn doors on a light, and the use of a reflector board, you can change the lighting and scene scenario completely.
‘Playtime’ directed by Jacques Tati.
The scene begins with an establishing wide shot of the main male character positioned to the right of frame, in a room with monochrome colours, and symmetrical room decor. Going off the Rule of Thirds, character 1 is positioned within an intersection of the grid. The character then sits on a chair in the bottom right hand corner of the frame. Having everything within the set the same, allows the character to stand out through movement, as he is the only one there. However, placing him to the right of frame creates cues for the audience, suggesting that something else is going to happen in the rest of the frame, because Tati wouldn’t leave the shot uneven. This is a still shot, allowing the character movements to guide the audience’s attention around the frame. Two people then enter from a door, filling the space within the frame, and fulfilling the audience’s expectations. However, one walks back through the door, leaving just two characters in the room. Character 2 then sits on another chair that is situated within the other intersection of the Rule of Thirds, balancing the frame. As the new characters were being introduced the camera tracks into the remaining two characters, suggesting to the audience that they are the main focus, and that is where they should be focusing. As one character moves, the other does respectively, creating a symmetrical shot. When the director wants to focus on one character the camera will have them in the foreground with the other in the background. As one of the characters moves, the other is completely still, this is done so that no attention is taken away from the character positioned in the foreground. This shot still goes on the Rule of Thirds, with each character placed within the main focus points. Having the camera angles change, suggests that we are seeing the action from different characters’ perspective. For the duration of the scene, character 1 has stayed in the same position within the frame, however at the end of this scene, the man comes back through the door summoning character 2, and they then leave the room; leaving character 1 alone, just like the beginning of the scene. From here, character 1 gets up off the chair and walks across the room, which destroys the audience’s expectations, however by the positioning within the frame we knew something had to happen within the blank space.