Exercises on Capture and Edit: Three-shot

I enjoyed this particular exercise for the reason that though it was rough, the team was able to pull together, find a location, and think up a sequence of shots on our feet, film it and rock and roll through the editing process.

Title: Blissception
Scenario: Bliss ties her shoelaces, gets up, walks towards the elevator, enters then exits out on a different level.
Goofs: *spoiler alert* Continuity goof because which floor did we start in again?

Types of shots:

  • CLOSE UP – tying of shoelace
  • WIDE SHOT + PAN – Bliss gets up and walks towards the elevator doors
  • LONG SHOT – Bliss presses the elevator button and enters
  • MID SHOT – Bliss enters the elevator, turns around to press the button and the elevator door closes
  • MID TO CLOSE-UP SHOT – Elevator doors open and Bliss walks out straight towards the camera before FADE

Simple, quick and easy. The main character is motivated and goes through each shot with ease. Shooting the scenes in sequence allowed us more time to shoot other shots (i.e. establishing shot of the elevator numbers going up/down) that then in turn, helps in the editing process.

I know that on a professional film set, it is rare to shoot films in sequence (Paradise Road team, I salute you) but that is exactly why it is important to have a SHOT LIST that dictates what will be shot on certain days and the kind of shots these will be too. These are important for the editors, especially, to make their work a lot easier also.

Learning learning.

Choosing your shots wisely gives the final product colour and texture. Unlike in the first exercises we did in class where most were simply mid-shots and wide/long-shots of this or that that was, for no better word, boring, it is useful to think up of a scenario and picture it not as you would see it with your naked eye but see it as one would see it on screen or whilst you’re reading a book or even dreaming. An example of such experimentation (because we know what the outcome will look like) below:

Exercises on Capture and Edit: Abstract Image

Abstract Sound & Vision Exercise

During the Abstract exercises, I conclude that my strength is filming intimate, subject-driven shots and that my weakness…is the very same thing. Whilst editing the footage we captured, I was struck-dumb in three things things, mostly: one, we did not have enough shots to work with, two, it may/may definitely have been a hot day and my brain was a fried, burnt egg, and three, I could not think of a story that will put two and two together to create even a something. I do not have the edited footage right now but I will update once I’ve got them compressed and exported, but I hit a stump staring at our footage we captured. I tried to add some effects like slow-motion and some form of colour distortion to make the video appear bizarre and poetic (yeah, right). That made me feel worse.

I reflect on the fact that natural-occurring sounds in this exercise is the bane of my existence BUT, I could work around this by removing the sounds and adding a music track instead because abstract videos are often not dictated by a narrative and I need to embed that in the back, front and sides of my head. Sound has a profound power that can give meaning to what seems to be inconceivable. 

After having a quick chat with our Jedi Master Paul and further explaining to him what I want to get out of the course, he motions me to focus instead on the other exercise (whose name escapes me) that focuses on shots, framing and composition. However, with abstract image, I am still determined to overcome this particular creative bane of mine and experiment on what sounds and music could do. It would help particularly since I am also learning much about documentary studies and the incredibly contradicting cinema verité and how this form of documentary is motivated by the all-seeing behind-the-scenes eye of the filmmaker.

How does the filmmaker do it? How did D.A. Pennebaker collapse the footages in “Don’t Look Back (1967) because I, personally did not enjoy the abstract ride he put me through mostly because I felt that nothing was going on and nothing was motivated to push the theme forward. If there even was a theme?