Our first rough cut it finally here, and I am quite proud in what we have managed to accomplish with the time and resources we had. It’s obviously not perfect, but with the help of Cindy’s comments we should be able to find a good film in there somewhere. At this stage it’s a cohesive piece, but that’s all there is. We aren’t particularly happy with the structure yet, and the colour grade and audio have not been touched at all, but the film is starting to look like a film. It’s hard to judge our film right now because of all that, but it’s about that time within post-production that you get a feel for the tone of the film and what to expect from it in the end. I know that we still have a lot of work to do until we get the final edit, mostly with the fine-tuning of our pacing and structure, but the majority of my group have been mostly in agreement of the content of the interviews that we wanted to keep in our film. With Rohan’s help of course we were given the confidence to actually delete footage, because again that always a problem most people face when editing anything. We grow attached to shots, and in the end feel a loss when something we thought was amazing on shoot day doesn’t end up in the final product. But we needed someone to give us that hard talking to, to tell us no and to force us to make decisions. We lack that as a group, and it has been a challenge to find that balance of friendliness and work-mate. No one in our group is a definite leader, although I did try to be one, it was just difficult for our personalities to have that final say.
By the way, did anyone else have any exporting and uploading issues. I totally forgot that Vimeo didn’t take anything too large of a file, so this has been another reminder to read the video requirements for all websites, and to export at least a compressed copy of all your films.
These are our adapted notes that we received from Cindy, a lovely editor that was our class expert. She gave us a multitude of things to fix, majority of them minor aesthetic changes (like changing some cuts to fades) and other complete overhauls of structure (like removing some shots entirely and reworking the narrative throughline). This email came to us at a time where we definitely needed it. All 6 of us were slowly loosing our minds, chipping away at this film, which we had intended to be at least 5-6 minutes long, but now has become closer to 3-4. Shaving off so much of some shots has become such a daunting task in our group because no one wants to let go of the work we put into them. However, after reading Cindy’s comments we understood that not all the shots we had could be kept in the long run. The constant trade off between interview footage and montage was too disjointed, and out little musical interludes make the entire film feel like a music video and not the short documentary film it was supposed to be. We didn’t realise this as we made the film, but having that second opinion of someone who has only seen this once let us see things much more clearer. With her feedback we went right back into a new groove of work, and actually figured out a better system of working on a project compared to the way we were editing in the first place. We realised too late that we should not have all been working together on the same thing. No one needs 6 people to be in an editing room at the same time. So we split up into 3 teams of 2, and made a separate copy of the rough cut that we would then collate together into the final super cut. A team had to focus on colour grade, another on sourcing graphics and titles cards, and I was left in charge of audio and sound design. It was a lot of hard work in the end to pull all three pieces together, but we made it work. Individually they all looked like 3 messy films, but when you got to see the new colour grade complimented with the soft music in the background, you could finally feel the doco come together.
I was left in charge of audio work because I was the most familiar with it, but like always, that didn’t mean I was going to be the best at it. In all honesty I enjoy doing sound design, it’s just that by this last week the pressure of the course had finally crept up to me. I felt like it was a lot of stress anchoring me down to that edit suite, and although no one in the group was pressuring me to do the super amazing job that was expected of me, I knew that I had to do a better job than what I had previously done. However, some of that stress was alleviated with some sage words of advice from Rohan, and anytime that Rohan can just sit down one-to-one with you is a treasured moment. I love learning new practical knowledge and he has so much that I would gladly just have that be the class for the whole semester. He showed me a few techniques on how to cover up audio and blend in soundscapes that I was never shown, and he taught me in such a short amount of time that I was grateful that he knew his stuff. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to have another class with Rohan, because he has had proper real life film-making experience. He gets the pressure and has been on my side of the film-making process. Without his guidance and without any of the feedback and support from my group we may not have been able to pull through the funk we were in. Cindy’s comments may have been the kick in the butt we needed, but Rohan helped guide us down that yellow brick road.
I have made mistakes before in assignments and class. There were days when I would forget an important item, or miscalculate an answer, but in this type of classwork to make a mistake is to jeopardize an entire project. To create a film you need all the elements to work together. You need the audio and visuals to sync up, you need the lighting to be consistent, and you need the content to be cohesive. You need all of these individual parts to be taken as seriously as the next and you need to be on your A game the entire time. This semester I made the mistake of misjudging how to handle our talent and in the end our content has suffered from it. On our last shoot with Terri we were given an hour or so of quietness to record as much b-roll as possible. We needed something exciting, and we needed something genuinely fun. In my mind I had thought if I were able to have fun with her that the b-roll would be able to shoot itself. My mentality was that if I could just leave the camera rolling and play around with her that something would happen that could push this film forward. But looking back on our rushes I know that this was not the way we should have went. It goes without saying that being professional on set is the best way to approach most situations, and I broke that. I was sloppy and mistook my intention way too far. In then end our audio was the thing that suffered the most in this last rush of footage. Mosts shots would have me or my group-mates talking with or over Terri, and others were completely unusable because of our laughter. I’m not saying my group have done anything wrong. I was the senior student on set and the majority of them were looking to me for guidance, but the problem with that was that I didn’t have a proper structure down or guideline for myself on how to approach this type of recording. I didn’t know what type of b-roll I needed, only that I wanted as much of it as I could get, and again that’s where I suffer when professionals flourish. They know what type of image looks good, they know how to couple a similar shot to one they already had. I just had a camera and some vague ideas, and tried to force the image to come naturally rather than asking for a specific image. This part of the journey has been the most enlightening of them all. I know we’ve had some bumps in this figurative road, but this made me realise that I am a student for a reason. I am here to learn and to grow and understand that there is still much to know before I can call it perfect. At the time I was in that rush of trying to get everything together in my head and make things just magically happen, but now I know better and now I know that sometimes you do need to be that person that just goes in and gets hit done the way they want it to be done.
One of the decisions that I felt that all group had to go through was how there were going to establish the setting for the film. Yes we all were making films in and around the Queen Victoria Market, but that didn’t mean we all were going to be able to set up the scene exactly the same way 5 times over. I knew of some groups who were planning on beautiful sunrise time-lapses and others were possibly just going to pull in directly into the store they were featuring, never going away from the main story. Our group went with the classic idea of starting out big and closing in on what we wanted to feature in our story. So starting on with a beautiful wide shot of the Melbourne CBD, followed by more shots of distinct traits of the QVM. We got the flags, the signage, the people, and then we wanted to come to a stop at the store entrance, slowly bringing the audience into the shop were the story and magic lies. It’s definitely not a revolutionary technique of establishing anything, but it was the most effective way for us to get the audience to get a feel for the tone and pace for the rest of the film. This coupled with the looping of some music that we were able to source ended up creating this anticipation for what was going to be the final backdrop to this film we were making. Our story was so small that we had to find a way to add a bit of extra magic into these first few shots, and choosing to keep a consistent locked off shot, each one establishing a presence moving closer and closer to a destination was just the right way for us to tease a little mystery.
Plus it also helps when your group-mates happen to have some great views from their apartments. I could never imagine waking up to a view like this, and it made me fall in love with Melbourne even more. Even if it’s all concrete and business sometimes, the fact that you can see the personality of Melbourne in some of these shots is incredible.
In theme with the course being a documentary based class surrounding the ideas of place and space, I watched the 2016 documentary The Minimalists: A Documentary About the Important Things. I was actually just scrolling through Netflix and this caught my fancy, and found the film related to our course very briefly. It was about the way modern Minimalists live, and how they choose to live their life with the bare minimum that they need to sustain a fulfilling lifestyle. For some it would mean keeping the bare necessities, for others it was about trying to live within the smallest space you humanely need. These were mainly in the form of tiny houses, or really innovative apartments that would utilize a space for more than one purpose. So a kitchen bench would be able to extend into a work desk, of your bed could transform into a socializing space in the push of a button. This ‘new’ was of tech living was so incredibly crafted and it made me realise how much superfluous space I have in my home that I don’t even use. There are cupboards that I haven’t opened in months, a chair that is left in the corner of the living room used only as decoration, and an entire bookshelf that hasn’t been cleaned or given any new additions for years. My relationship to these items and spaces in my house are given no though every single day and I realise that it is genuinely a waste of space in a way. I had never thought about why I should have these things in these certain areas, but I have not even considered that having these items in the first place was something that we had to put meaning towards. It’s not something that most would actively search out, but after the documentary I kinda grasp this idea of being aware of my space, the amount of space I take up, and what I choose to put in these places. I’m not going to completely convert into a hardcore Minimalist that owns only 30 items that could fit in a duffel bag, but I think I am going to adopt some of the ideas about not wasting space on things that don’t make me happy, or provide anything to my current way of life. Like I said, that bookshelf hasn’t been properly read in a few years, and I think it’s due to my choice to study more audio/visual mediums for my future. This probably means that I’ll just donate a few books later on to free up some new space now to fill up with recording equipment, or a new library of films and CD’s instead. Either way it means I am finally acknowledging that space and realising the full potential of the space.
Remember how grand and impressively average our Day 1 shoot was with Terri, well we’ve encountered more and more frustrations this Day 2 shoot. We had planned our equipment to help counter the problems we faced on Day 1, but our choice to record via an external mic to get cleaner audio within the store ended up a bust. Our wireless lapel ended up not working at all on the shoot day, and since it was a Sunday we couldn’t just drop by the techs to swap for a new mic. So we had to free hand record directly into our Zoom hand recorder, which worked, but was too sensitive and picks up way too much extra noise for our liking. The acoustics of the store don’t provide much of a buffer against the audio bounce and Terri wasn’t the type to talker that could direct her speech very well into one direction. However, we didn’t let this deter us from getting more b-roll footage, and trying to get as much as we could from the limited time we had on the day of the shoot. At this point we have gone through so many technical difficulties that I think we will all come out as seasoned troubleshooters eventually.
But hey if anyone knows what went wrong with our wireless lapel, give us a message and explain to me how to fix it, because it was very frustrating to not have what we planned play out. I guess we gotta just go things the basic way from now on. Having too much new tech probably left us open to problems that should have been avoidable. Next time I think we’ll just go back to our basic set-up and if any problems arise we should be able to fix them.
We’ve gone through a lot of changes this past few weeks, and oh boy are they changes. As a group we never anticipated anything to be easy, but the challenges we’ve faced from casting to structuring a basic story has been an experience that I suprisingly have not had until now. Now we have to submit something that has to be changed, or in this case updated. Our original logline and summary for our short documentary have now officially been updated and I’m ok with the changes we’ve introduced to help reflect the product we actually ended up creating.
Inside Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria hides a small store dedicated to Lollie Lovers. Through the eyes of Terri, we see the joy and sweetness lollies bring to people’s lives.
Lollie Lovers is one of the confectionery shops at the Queen Victoria Market. A generous woman with beautiful short purple hair and bright colored eye shadow, Terri, works there. Confessions of a Confectioner tells a story of Terri’s experience working at the shop and how it brings her back to her childhood memories. She has a joyful and bright personality, which influences her positive actions towards others and her own motto in life. As a result, her optimism is what drives customers to think of her as simply a ‘Female Willy Wonka’.
When we booted up the computer during class and opened up our first premiere project the first thing that popped up in my head was that our interview was wrong. Well, not like completely disgraceful, but definitely not right. When reviewed on a screen bigger than the X200’s monitor, the interview footage is all recorded in soft focus. In our rush to use as much of our time to record as much as possible, it seems we were also sloppy with our camera work and didn’t keep a good eye on our camera focus. We all regret this mistake, and have organized to do another interview session with Terri this Friday to rectify our mishap. I guess our eagerness and focus on getting her to feel comfortable left us misjudging our ability to remember everything we had to check before pressing that record button.
We’ve also noticed that since we were situated next to a window for some natural lighting, that as the interview progresses the exposure and lighting on Terri changes drastically from start to finish. It’s subtle when watching the shot unfold normally, but when we started cutting things up and rearranging it was a big red flag for us. Again it was another camera objective we overlooked and in hindsight should have been a priority for us. We couldn’t balance the the technical needs and personal needs quite well that day, and in the end our footage has suffered. This isn’t to say that all our footage was terrible, our b-roll and locked off shots all look amazing, and with a decent colour grade will make our documentary look bright and colourful like we intended, but our interview footage for now is not to the quality of the rest of our rushes, which is unfortunate but manageable.
Going forward we are definitely going to shoot more b-roll of Terri in her work environment to cover the interview footage and play more with those aspects of the documentary than the simple sit-down set-up we had with her in our soft looking shots. So wish us luck for the next few days as we try to fix our mistakes
Don’t worry, our footage wasn’t almost as terrible as this photo I took during our first editing session.
I’ll be honest, our first shoot day felt rushed. I was confident going into the interview, and the following recording of b-roll was fine, but everytime we are there I feel the need to do everything as fast as possible and then get out of the way. It’s a hard feeling to shake for me, maybe because we have such a short time frame with the course to complete everything or it could be the constant interruptions by customer interaction, but we were in and out quite fast that Friday morning.
Everything went according to plan in the beginning , we met up with Terri as she opened the store when it wouldn’t be busy, but the time-frame we had with her interview wasn’t as long as we had hoped. We knew to expect maybe a half an hour opening, but the interview with Terri wasn’t as substantial as we had hoped, at least it wasn’t enough content to fill a 6-8 minute documentary surrounding solely her and her relationship with the store she worked at. We also couldn’t get her to answer in full sentences naturally, she seemed to find it hard to answer a question in that staged kind of manner. It was my first time meeting her and I realised soon that she was the type of person that replied very quickly and rapidly, never properly completing her sentences smoothly and cleanly, but at this point it is a part of her personality and to edit it out would be very difficult. At this stage I personally haven’t gone through our rushes, so all I can report from the location shoot is that we did what we had planned to do and asked all the planned questions to the best of our ability. Hopefully next week when I get to see the rushes with the whole gang we can make a more solid start to completing this film.
In the meantime enjoy this photo I took of us diligently recording our first wide shot of the day. I had a blast showing some of the best ways to set up a shot and teaching them a few tips on how to handle the equipment. We all had turns playing around with angles and placement of the camera, I personally love playing with focus pulls and smooth pans.
We presented our Pitch & Proposals today in class for our PB3 and it was interesting to see how different all our ideas were. The many people that we have decided to focus on have been a vast cast of diverse and interesting areas to explore. For our group we have finally come with a working title “Confessions of a Confectioner” which focuses on the life of Terri and her work at Lolly Lovers Candy Shop. We want to highlight the joy and happiness she has in her life and that she spreads to others when they visit the store. Most importantly we want to just get to know her sweet soul and personality, and to spread positivity with our documentary.
Some of the main concerns we have going on is our limited time to interview her. At the moment we only have Friday’s to film her working at the store, and a half an hour window to interview her before she opens the store in the morning. So this means we have to streamline our interview session and hope that we get everything we need in the first sit-down session. To compensate for this I had an idea of doing some rolling interview with her mic’d up with a wireless lapel and us recording throughout her work day. At this stage it’s only a floating idea, but a back-up in case we need any more back-up footage.
Overall our pitch was a group success, and I am excited to see what we can create in the end. Next step actually filming the damn thing.