This post was meant to be written a few days ago, just goes to show how much of an effort I’ve been putting in to finalise André Vidal’s fashion film. The tedious process is never ending I guess. So far, we, the proud students of The Scene In Cinema, we’ve come a long way. Over the past 12 weeks or so, we’ve developed a special understanding of what it feels like to be out there in the world, seeking to capture one’s imagination. This course has definitely opened up potentials for me. I’ve realised that my skills in the film industry is not only limited and dedicated to only being a cinematographer or to DP a shoot, no, my editing capabilities have arose in times of desperation!
A few projects that I’ve ventured into this semester to spark my learning process started of with an experimental edit. I then later joined forces with my lovely colleague Ella Thompson to film a 1-script 3-scene experimental short film. And then finally, DP’ed a brilliant short fashion film titled Deliverance by André Vidal. All shoots were interesting, challenging and most important, completely different.
This experimental edit was just what I needed. When picking up the camera from the tech office on a Friday morning, I felt as if I wasn’t comfortable using the Sony EX3 to its full potential. I had no intention to edit the footage whatsoever. When I woke up the next day, my hands were itching to have a play around with camera and to sort things out. The one thing that gets me up every morning is a hearty cup of coffee using my ever-so-practical espresso machine. So I figured I’d film myself making a latte, because WHY NOT! Without missing a heartbeat, I convinced myself to pack up and head into the city to make a day of shooting. With 3 fully charged camera batteries on board in my trusty backpack, I headed into the city and started capturing some stock footage of peds left and right. I had fiddled around with the white balance and on-camera filter presets to try and capture stunning images, and it worked! After spending a solid 2 hours in the city filming, the sun had no longer been a friend and the clouds took over.
At the moment, I thought to myself why wouldn’t I create a day/night in the Melbourne CBD sort of theme and to edit it later on? The gloomy weather had made things interesting and little challenging which is perfect for practice. Jumped in my car and travelled around the busy city to capture some night shots. P.S. I do not advise driving and handling an EX3! Moreover, the following day, I decided to edit the footage and send it through to Robin to see what he thought of it. And I was really glad by the feedback I’ve received from Robin and others who watched my vimeo channel. And that only made me want to do more, hence why I carried on!
When Ella mentioned what she wanted to achieve and what she expected the outcome to be, I was staggered and excited to be part of it. The deconstruction and the shot list was well done and made my job as a DP a whole lot easier. Ella’s Wes Anderson – Lubezki – Aronofsky inspired coverage project was very interesting and was a real eye opener.
Making me realise the large room available for creativity in cinematography. Another major learning outcome that came out of this shoot is that, what was a very restricted knowledge about lighting settings, my ability to light up a very tight yet impactful set the right way. Lighting up the set played a very important role for Ella’s exercise as each scene has a different feel of emotions. Before going in to the shoot, I made sure I spent enough time reading up valuable articles regarding different light settings. Once we started filming, I made sure I had enough time to move the lights around for the upcoming scene. At the end of what seemed to be a 10 hour shoot, Ella and I were quite pleased with what we had on our plate! Ella’s shoot has mentally prepared and inspired me to shoot more, which is exactly what I needed leading up to André’s film.
There’s always a first to everything. And this was my first time DP’ing a fashion film. At first I was a little phased by the fact that it was a fashion film, thinking it will lack content or visually not as aspiring. But boy was I wrong! Looking at the script I realised it was nothing as I would’ve expected. A well prepared shot list, a well written script and well scouted locations; are only a few things that really excited me to be part of this project. Special thanks to Ella and another colleague of mine, David Lo Monaco, for recommending me to work on Deliverance. As it happens to be, André is David’s cousin. Lucky? Perhaps! Anyways, I was in charge of all technicalities and little bit of set designing. My main task was being DOP, which I didn’t mind at all.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I’ve really been into editing a lot recently. This film is meant contain dark, yet creative and cringe worthy scenes; which makes it very challenging to edit. When I first agreed to be part of this project, nothing was mentioned to me about editing. As I take it, David and André were meant to be the editors. But due to some travelling commitments on David’s side, I volunteered to step and take the job as an editor too. One of my strongest weaknesses in film “was” editing. Reason I emphasized on the past is because recently I’ve been putting in extra effort to produce top notch edits. In light of doing a little bit of research, I found this incredibly fascinating music video by Röyksopp & Robyn. I’ve been using this music video as a reference for the editing of Deliverance.
One of the most challenging shots I had to construct and camera plot was this shot. Placing the Canon 5D Mark II on a jib arm to capture Isaac shooting out of the water with a dark green fabric at the bottom of the pool. The goal of this shot is to manipulate the pool water into ocean water, mimicking Isaac coming out of the ocean.
Nevertheless, this was a great experience. And it doesn’t stop there. Our film will be screened at the storey hall that sits 800 people comfortably on the 23rd of June. Other than that, Deliverance, amongst other short fashion films, will be watched first before entering the ASVOFF (A shaded View On Fashion Film), the world’s leading fashion film festival held this year at the Centre du Pompidou in Paris. Curated by Fashion giant, Diane Pernet, last years film set saw four students accepted into ASVOFF presenting their works on a world stage. Screening fashion is one of the only annual presentations of fashion film in Melbourne, as fashion film is an relatively new and emerging genre. Makes me glad I participated and I’m glad to be part of this event. With a couple of weeks to finalise the edit, we’ve been refining and consulting animators to advise with our rough cut edits. Here are a few snaps from on and off the set of Deliverance.