Blog post #1: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/william-ellis/?p=494
Blog post #2: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/william-ellis/?p=496
Blog post #3: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/william-ellis/?p=498
Blog post #1: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/william-ellis/?p=494
Blog post #2: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/william-ellis/?p=496
Blog post #3: https://www.mediafactory.org.au/william-ellis/?p=498
It’s been a few days since the largely successful seminar. Since then, I’ve had time to think about my contribution, how the group worked together, the significance of the seminar exercise and how much I have to take away from the experience.
I believe my contribution was very adequate. There could have been more input from me in some areas, but due to the uneasy footing of the group – as demonstrated by the blowup between Max and Jenny – sometimes criticism was avoided in order to negate possible confrontations. That’s fine, as the creative direction was productive, even if it wasn’t something I liked on an aesthetic level. I completed the run sheet and helped decide on the format and sequence of events, along with Georgia and Regina. In the end, the run sheet might not have been overly useful as it was pretty linear and simple, though it helped visualise the whole seminar. My initial role as timekeeper became, somehow, computer operator, who didn’t really keep time. I had to coordinate the screens and make sure the show ran somewhat smoothly. It didn’t, since we got evacuated, but it came back OK.
As mentioned, the group had a few issues here and there. 80% of the group shared a studio last semester and produced two episodes of ‘Rock Bottom’, a live production that seemed to be enjoyable for all. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had at uni, so we’d thought the group would be able to cooperate this time around too. It wasn’t that simple, and that seemed to hinge on an overall lack of motivation. I feel into this trap too, as did most of the group members, who found the assessment boring and irrelevant. The end product wasn’t exciting, compared to ‘Rock Bottom’. The new members of the group integrated well though, and Jess was fantastic at pulling us all together.
Sadly, the idea of the seminar still irks me. Why couldn’t we be making media? The networking side of putting together the guests was great, but Max was fully capable of handling that by himself, and seemed more than happy to do it. We certainly didn’t know anyone better, so why push aside viable ideas in favour of long shots? That left about one job that was directly related to media, and that was marketing. Monika did a fantastic job of that, and regardless, it was probably my weakest point in this course. Ultimately, I conceded to the role of assisting Jess, working on the rundown and carting stuff backwards and forwards before and after the seminar, and none of that will have a great bearing on my future experiences.
I found the Q&A at the actual seminar enthralling. The guests were fantastic, so it was awesome to hear their stories. I could have talked to them for ages, but being at the front of the room and one of the organisers, I didn’t want to take away any of what little time we had for audience participation. I managed to grab some time with them before the show, so I’m happy about that.
Other than what I learnt at the seminar, there isn’t much else to take away. I’ve dealt with large groups putting together complicated projects before, but it’s mostly been related to media. This was significantly easier than that, and the skill set was much smaller. In the end, there really didn’t seem to be much I could – or really wanted to – take away from this. What helped the most was the experiences I’ve gained in collaborative practice. Every time there was an argument or a moment of confusion, I tried to take note, as those instances are the ones that could be avoided, if someone know what to do. I will now call people when I need something done urgently. I’ll make sure that everyone involved has a responsibility, and they are accountable for its completion. On top of that, deadlines are amazing. I love them.
As per any group project, it seems like everything is falling apart at the last minute. David, our host, is trying to bail, we have an extra guest with no content made for him, the run sheet revealed a handful of roles that weren’t being filled, and everyone’s stressed and tired. Honestly, we’ll be fine. Browsing through the Facebook group reveals at least three people who’d be more than happy to step into the role of host should David make a run for it, the only loss would be the introduction video, which we would still probably play, considering how impressive it is.
I’m not at all excited for this, even though it’s gonna go fine. I didn’t expect to be made the computer operator, and I don’t even understand how to control the scenes. What’s even going on them and when? Originally, I was to be the lowly time-keeper, though honestly, what would I be doing then?
The quality of the pre-production work is very impressive. The introduction video is amazing, and the green screen work is flawless. Even if David leaves, we’ll have to show this as our opening, it would be horrible for Georgia and Jenny if we turfed it at this stage, and it’s clear that so much work has gone into it.
The threat of David leaving forced a bit of a rift in the group, as there was blame to throw around. In the end the blame kinda fell on David, as there was evidence that he was informed of the show well before now, and it looks like he’s still on board. It was surprising that there hasn’t been more disagreements, especially after the blow-out between Jenny and Max earlier in the process.
I’ve had issues collaborating with Regina, our schedules just don’t seem to sync up. In the end, she handled the first draft of the run sheet, which I then reformatted into a different layout and added specific timings. Apart from that, most of my contribution has been assisting Jess with her many, many (too many) tasks, and giving input in the Facebook group.
The issues with collaboration have given me a few ideas about how I’d have organised things. Jess’ insistence on calling people was great, and lead to some good results. The Facebook group is good for keeping track of everyone, but a phone call works great for making sure things get done. With a group this size, proper communication is necessary to keep track of everything. I noted a few times when certain tasks would be re-assigned without anyone telling Jess, so she would call the wrong person or assume that someone else would do something. Organising David was a fine example of this, so when he started having all these issues, it was strange that they were discovered by Tiana, who had been given a different responsibility.
The television seminar group continues to roll on towards the 28th of August. As of this stage, my role is to organise the format and runsheet of the event with Regina Lee. Tomorrow, we’re having a group meeting immediately before the lecture in which will begin to properly coordinate the preparation process.
I have a few qualms with the format of this assessment, not the least of which is the relevance of it. There are clear benefits to organising this seminar, such as the chance to network and the continued development of our collaborative practice, however, I wonder if the production of media might be more relevant to media course. This, at its base, is event planning and management, which, while a useful skill, is not overly pertinent. It’s great for those of us who might want to get into corporate management, or maybe production managing, but the media-specific skills we should be developing are being ignored.
It was a stretch to make the experience relevant to what I’d like to learn, so I find myself favouring time management roles or jobs involving coordination. I’m signed up for the time keeper job on the day, as well as putting together the runsheet. My ultimate goal for my career is something along the lines of producer, production manager, production coordinator or assistant director, which are some of the roles that require proficiency in managing time and people. I guess it will be useful to practice those skills, even at their most basic level. That said, these skills would be developed more through creating media, rather than event planning.
The process of networking is at the centre of this, however it seems like I don’t have anything to do with guests for the seminar. That’s fine with me, I can get more networking experience from the PNR report.
Ultimately, there are a range of skills being improved or tested through the seminar experience, at the forefront of which is collaboration. However, it’s a massive shame that the result is not something I would want to make – or be involved in making – outside of this degree. On top of that, it’s disappointing that instead of making media, this is all we get to do in our final semester.
I’m partly colourblind and I’m using that as an excuse for why I’m so bad at colour correction. So, enjoy!
There’re only about three or four different set-ups that made it into the final cut of the film.
I get the process, but I’m not very good at doing it. I don’t know, I just kinda… forget what skin looks like. It’s a frustrating process and I get overwhelmed and I’m gonna go cry (not really?).
Though I’m very happy with how Scene 3 came out, since I was pretty sure I wasn’t gonna be able to get rid of that blue tint. But it went away quite easily. So… that’s a win.
Honestly colour correction is not my biggest weakness, but I don’t really enjoy the process of making everything look right. My favourite effect to use is clearly RGB curves, I just feel like there’s a hell of a lot more control over the colours over the highlight-midtone-shadow spectrum, and it’s also all in one interface and for some reason so much more easy to grasp. The three-way colour corrector is what I learnt on originally, I can still use it, I’ve just grown accustomed to curves instead, even though you can specify what equates to a highlight or a shadow or whatever, so really there’s nearly the same amount of freedom with that. Not so much, actually, since you can have about pretty much as many different points on the curve as you want. And curves is so much better and retaining amounts of colour in other sections of the frame while removing the shades you want to remove in the parts you want to remove them in. No masks needed, which is uber-amazing because I hate masks.
I need to really practice doing it properly, but at the same time the 6D doesn’t really pick up on colour very well. I’ve colour corrected a black magic before and that was so beautiful to play with, there was so much vibrancy stored in data beneath an initially greyed out image and it felt really cool to bring that out.
Now I want a black magic camera. Oh, well. When I have lots of money I’ll get one.
It’s been a really long semester and I better start this off by saying I let everything fall to the side.
I missed at least one Analysis/Reflection, I pretty much wafted through the production of the documentary with little-to-no creative input (not to say that I didn’t like where it went) and I don’t remember a single second from my 1+3 presentation.
However, I did enjoy this subject. Honestly, I didn’t learn much. The information I got about producing documentary I’d heard from the producers that I bother on a daily basis. The equipment had all been gone over either in Film/TV 1, Broadcast Media, Writing Media Texts, though my work with RMITV or on TV commercials and the like. I did enjoy it though, trust me, and I did get valuable experience.
I didn’t expect to have such a fun experience while filming. It was relaxed, cheerful and I ate SO MUCH FOOD. I love food. While I knew all the info about documentary filmmaking on paper it was great to really get into it and see all that theory in action. Nothing went wrong, the editing process has been smooth – barring a few audio issues, but six tracks of nearly identical audio has been very useful – and I’m actually keen to see this on the big screen, while last time I dreaded it.
My desire to have creative input didn’t come to fruition, which is my own fault. I wasn’t really paying attention during the development and conceptualisation stages of production, and by the time I was back into it and eager to get going the idea, the method and the subject were pretty much set in stone. I think the only things I got a say in were on the technical side. ‘It’d be best to use a lavalier microphone’, ‘A 6D is great and will look good but the audio will be dodgy’, that kinda deal. Actually, I suggested filming and using a lot of the reflexive stuff, i.e. the shot of Theano doing the clapper that opens the documentary. I also campaigned for the whole thing to remain in Greek.
The shocker of the semester was really how much I enjoyed making this. Obviously this was an idyllic situation: a comfortable environment, a lot of time, catering provided, enthusiastic and charismatic participants, a beautiful story to capture on film. It was, dare I say it, easy. And there really is something rewarding about being involved in this, as compared to Cursed which I honestly considered dropping my name from. Yeah, it turned out fine, I just did not like making it at all.
Maybe this is all attributed to Ella and Tiana, who really did everything they could to make it work well and look good, while I was the yes-man who stood in the back and nodded and ate spanakopita.
I think it was spanakopita.
I’m not blaming myself for the lack of input so much, I feel like I helped to the best of my ability. I just… I don’t know. I loved making this film, and I’ve decided I definitely want to make more. For some reason, beyond my mental grasp right now, I feel like I didn’t put in as much as I took out.
I’m gonna be perfectly honest here: my edited video is quite awful. This might come down to the lack of separately recorded audio: I was unable to work out how to retrieve my or anyone else’s audio from Google Drive. I played around a bit with the audio that was attached to the video, but opted to simply remove a few tracks and replace them with atmospheric sounds from one of the clips. It’s not particularly adventurous, but I figured it’s due today and I don’t have the time to get it done to the level that I’d prefer. Oh well.
I’m not a great judge of whether the message is clear, or even if there really is one. I used the footage captured by the other members of my documentary group, Tiana and Ella, which seemed to have an environmental motif, with torn-up leaves, throwing stuff into the rubbish bin and littering. It was pretty easy to cut them together with a pro-environment, pro-responsible disposal message, though it’s still pretty abstract.
It was pretty time-consuming to edit the leaf-tearing sequence, which I cut up so that it gets faster and more frenetic. I’m pretty new at editing so hopefully it does evoke some kind of discomfort. I also decided to keep the sound in, mostly because the sound of the leaf crinkling was pretty, but also because the screeching of the tram in the distance seemed to add a layer of unpleasantness, which I liked.
All in all, though, I’m not overly impressed, and that’s entirely my fault. I haven’t really left myself with the time or resources to do this properly, so this is what an hour or so of work will do. Sorry.
I’m not great at creating abstract meaning, it mostly confuses me, but Ella and Tiana’s decision to record what they did seemed to help make a path obvious. I thought putting the rubbish bin at the end made the statement clear, being that ‘throwing stuff away is good, environment needs our help’ etc.
The recordings themselves are great, though I can’t claim any responsibility for that. Had I used my own set of recordings for the audio, I would have most liked to use the sound of the really squeaky door, I love that sound. Of all of them, that was the one that came through clearest to me, alongside the sounds of the traffic signals, which I also enjoy.
My recordings are so, so bad. I mean, it’s hard to do bad recordings with the H4N, it’s a beautiful device that provides audio where all the sounds manage to be distinct and crisp, I love it. Yet, mine are quite awful. In an attempt to push the blame off myself (perhaps in vain), I was in a ‘group’ by myself, and being a horrifically awkward and shy person, I opted not to ask anybody for help and ended up not asking for any help making any sounds.
Most of mine have issues with background noise, there isn’t one that manages to be simply one, solo sound with no (or easily removable) noise. It’s all low signal-to-noise ratio stuff, which is most annoying but entirely my fault.
I am happy with a few, including the recording of the hydraulics, the sound of the door creaking loudly open and the sound of the Walk/Do Not Walk beeps (both the Walk and Do Not Walk sounds). It’s interesting that these are also the loudest of the sounds I captured, providing the obvious explanation for the swing in signal-to-noise. Audio is clearly not my thing, unfortunately.
For me, I love isolated, decontextualised sounds. This probably leads to my preference for the louder of the recordings, which all manage to clearly present themselves as what they are: pedestrian crossings, machinery in action and doors. It’s hard to tear them from their sources, they’re so distinctive, especially the sounds of the pedestrian crossing. For the door, yes, the natural assumption would be a door but there could be other sources of such loud creaking. The hydraulics are different, as they could belong to anything hydraulic, really. I guess I like that sound a lot because of that, as the image evoked isn’t just one of the truck that it was recorded from, but from anything hydraulic. The EWP in the studio. Disabled taxis. Heavy, lifting machinery, things that weigh a couple of tonnes and are designed to lift other things that weigh a couple of tonnes. Strength, technology. Maybe I’m thinking too hard about it?
‘The Idea of North’ is confusing, yet boring. I understand its intention – at least the intention I see from the opening ten minutes – in that is presents tales and experiences of the North in a decidedly second-hand way. This method of relaying information fits the format of radio perfectly, as the lack of a visual heightens the sense that this is, in a sense, storytelling.
The documentary opens with a recollection of a trip to the far north of Canada, before multiple other opinions and experiences of the arctic and sub-arctic start being played over the top, layered in a muddled mess that seemed like a complete waste of three minutes. I picture the frozen north as barren and bare, why are we filling this with so many voices that I can’t string together sentences from what I’m hearing? It bothered me, and it made me uncomfortable, and not in a nice way. It frustrated me. I noticed the rising and lowing volumes of the audio tracks, bringing different voices to the forefront then letting them drop away. This would have been great with another topic, or if the little bits of audio were interesting or related, but ultimately it annoyed me.
Following that, ‘The Idea of North’ became a standard exploration of what the North means to people, different people, in different contexts, which I’d normally love but I just didn’t relate to anything that was being said or how it was edited together.
Some scenes from documentary ‘D’Est’ were screened during the lecture this week, and of all the extracts it was the one that intrigued me the most. The major reason for that is its simplicity – it appeared to be a slowly tracking one shot, showing people in Eastern Europe around the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s historically fascinating, and I’m always someone who loves to see candid snapshots of humanity, especially humanity with a different social or political context. The premise is genius, and it’s amazingly not boring. I’m eager to watch more, as well as explore other simplistic but uncommon premises.