After a semester of hard work I finally have the finished project of my short film Emergency Landing! Although I know there are flaws, I simply needed to be finished with the project and exporting it and uploading is a whole task of its own. Overall I am very happy with the project because I know I put lots of hard work and time into it, and for the circumstances I think it turned out better than I had expected. I am excited to now share this project with friends, family and peers.
April has shown me that editing is a tedious, tedious process.
Overall, I didn't run into a ridiculous amount of roadblocks and definitely learned more than I have during any other step of the long process of creating a short film. The first issue I ran into was missing footage. After importing footage into final cut pro I deleted it off of my memory card to make more space, which would have been fine, if I had backed it up on my external hard drive. Sadly, this was a step I neglected to take. One entire day of filming had been lost in my computer and this called for a re-shoot day. Luckily a re-shoot was possible due to my awesome main actors, but they were a little rusty on the characters by this point after such a long break since filming was completed.
Secondly, as I was editing I realized that the restrictions of shot variation caused by the use of a green screen was less than ideal. The short film was lacking in movement and blocking. My teacher Mr. Goble helped me create movement by showing me the handheld filter that made the plane look in motion as well as key-framing which helped me create the illusion of panning camerawork.
Thirdly, the use of up to four layers at a time create an issue moving from shot to shot. If they are just a tenth of a millisecond off from each other there is a split second where the movie looks a little... odd. This is something that in the final nit-picky editing stage I am still struggling with.
Something that I was very happy with over this month was the ability to use sounds, CG, and filters to take a few kids in front of a green screen and transform them into pilots attempting to save a plane from destruction. My favorite part of the movie is the ending. I love the way the shots fade into each other, the sound selection for effects and music, and the dramatic mood it carries out the film with.
Overall I loved the process of editing and can't wait to unveil my film next month!
Over the course of this past month I have worked with my small cast toward the daunting task of shooting footage. Overall, it went fairly smoothly, having only a few issues technically like the green screen coming untaped from the wall, cameras acting shady, and lights mysteriously turning off in the middle of shooting.
One of the more difficult aspects of filming was the fact that I, admittedly, am no director. When trying to film a movie as rapidly as possible to make deadlines as well as giving my actors time to make their own, we don't exactly have hours to pine over finding the perfect facial expression for every line. We worked well on this, but I do believe that the acting in the film could be improved with more time for direction, and of course re-shoots are not off the table.
A problem that, while only occurring a few times, acted as a major setback was actors-- or more the fact that I was not using professional actors. Everyone makes mistakes, and it is inevitable that issues come up when multiple people need to communicate. Between not showing up because they were unaware of it being a shoot day (reading the schedule wrong), and forgetting costumes and costume pieces, we would have had three additional class periods to work on shooting, which would have been helpful for dramatic or difficult scenes.
All in all, the experience of filming my movie really thought me how hard it is to do everything you want in an environment where "time is money", or in my case, where time is grades.
Bellow is a short sneak-peak of my movie, this is just a rough edit!
Before spring break each student in my class for film and broadcast journalism was instructed to create a short video project. For my project, since I do not have footage to make a full trailer, I was given the idea of making a teaser. The first thing I had to do to tackle this task was to shoot some intense close up shots of actors that will be in my film and some small actions. I shot extreme close ups of the actors eyes and had the main character work with the control boards that I will be using in the film to act as plane control panels. After collecting my shots, I put together the green screen image of the plane that I will be using.
Coming up with the text to use in the trailer was the biggest challenge. I wanted to have three panels of text that told the general story with intensity shots in between. The three lines I used came from the tagline I created during my movie development:
Caught in a detrimental power dynamic with his less knowledgeable, lazy superior, an intelligent canadian co-pilot attempts an emergency landing of a commercial air jet in order to avoid a disastrous end to this Christmas Eve flight.
Taking key words from this line I was able to create short statements that represented the flow and theme of my short film. A lot of playing with fonts, crops, transitions, layers, and filters brought me to the finished project of my trailer!
I hate to say it, but I am VERY glad that February has come to an end. This month has been all about bringing every aspect of my film together in preparation for the beginning of filming. As I found, this was not as easy as it once seamed.
The beginning of the month started off strong. To keep myself organized I created shooting schedules, shot lists, audition forms, and material lists that would lay out the things i needed to do and get. After this process was completed, I held auditions from a poll of my peers in my broadcast class. I ended up choosing Steele Stewart and Reis Rosenbloom as my main characters and Olivia Davis as my supporting character. For help behind the scenes, Rein Conversi, Josh Horowitz, and Adam Rush have expressed interest in helping with technical aspects. After choosing a cast and crew and getting organized, I needed to gather supplies and create a set, which brings me to...
My luck began to turn on a trip to home depot. My card was full with a stack of extra large boxes that were intended to create the backdrop of my set. Peering over the edge I made my way to the paint department, where I spend almost a half hour to wait for a couple of ladies to decide which brown to paint their ceiling, which in my opinion, was none of them. Finally I was helped by the lady behind the counter and made my way out of the costly home goods store with my purchases. Painting the set was a whole other beast itself. It took terribly long to dry and small bumps rose from the unclean surface of the PAC floor. After two days of painting, my boxes looked ready to assemble, or so I thought. And then came...
I thought I had seen it all until I attempted to assemble this mess. The tape was not holding down the flaps, the boxes were heavy and uneasy to deal with, and after an hour of folding and stacking it just didn't look good at all. I decided that no matter what, this idea was a dud. After thinking it over I decided on an entirely green screen production, this would solve the problem of not having a set. Thinking on your feet is one of the most important things I've learned from this experience. Hopefully this will help me in the future; March is all about filming, and I KNOW that there will be issues to come.
For the month of January I made a lot of progress on the creation of my short student film. For the first few weeks I worked mostly on story development and creating characters. I took my original concept: a plane crashing due to communication issues that result from social hierarchy, and created story-changing plot points and a shocking resolution. After my story was sketched out, I began to create a beat sheet that outlines the events that would occur throughout the movie, a treatment that serves as a full outline, a synopsis that focuses on main ideas and themes, and a catchy log-line that sells the film and keeps people wanting more. With my development stage complete, I created a timeline to keep myself on track throughout the production process, and began writing my script. This was the most daunting task on my list for January. It is one thing to have a character mapped out on paper, and another to try and bring that character to life. After hours of writing, many edits, and advice from my teacher and pears, I have finally landed at a final draft of my script. Being ahead of my schedule, I have already began storyboarding and have drawn out 40 shots so far. If all goes well in February, I will be fully prepared to shoot by the beginning of March.
When I first heard about the innovation project, I wanted to create something that included coming up with and executing a design. In pursuit of a professional to work with, I had some issues. My first chosen professional of interest was not ecstatic about the idea of working with a student. My mom had been talking about her friend and how she was in a high position at a charity, the World Pediatric Project. I asked the friend, Cindy Frank, if she had anything artistic that she wanted done for her company, and she told me I could work on a design for an invitation to their auction. This sounded like the perfect task for me. I used the information she sent me to create a colorful, themed design for the invitation and she loved it. In fact, she liked it so much that she would like me to work on the invitation to their next event as well!
The final assignment for broadcast 1 required a shot interview with two sound bites, edited in wide-medium-tight format in final cut pro. Before filming the interview, I created a storybook and came up with questions to ask a student in the STEM class at school. With a partner, I captured b-roll and an interview of an engineering student over the course of two classes. Once completing this footage, I edited it in final cut pro, starting with sound bites, then adding b-roll and natural sound. After editing, I exported the interview and uploaded it online. The skills I gained from this project include storyboarding, using a tripod, microphone, and video camera, and editing in final cut pro. My skills of capturing footage and framing a camera were improved in the process as well.
Creating the headline newscast introduced me to a new set of skills by working in the broadcast studio. To begin the project, I learned how to work all of the functions in the studio from running the tech board to moving my head and projecting while being the talent. The research for the newscast consisted of my partner and I finding the 5 w's and h (who, what, when, where, why, and how) for six different stories. After this, we created briefs for each story and put them all together in a news package. Once the package was complete, we were able to practice projecting. Practicing was important for us to practice being emotive presenters and helping our pronunciation. To finish the project, we read off of the prompter and presented like a live broadcast. After completing this project I feel comfortable working with the broadcast studio and preparing and presenting a news package.
Through creating a mobile news package I learned that you can tell an amazing story just by asking someone a question. You don't need a big camera and full news team to create something that will affect people, with modern technology we have this at the tip of our fingers. My greatest success in creating this project was that I really enjoyed the process. I had fun with the experts during the interview and learned a lot about the profession of optometry and how having this profession can affect people. I also enjoyed finishing editing and seeing my final project. My greatest challenge in creating this project was making sure to think about all of the technical aspects as I filmed. Focusing on lighting, framing, stability, and asking questions all at the same time can get a little overwhelming. Filming in an area with little noise can also be difficult in an office where many machines are running at all time. Overall, I was inspired by this project to learn more about the things that happen in my community. By educating myself I will have the ability to share this knowledge with others in a creative and interesting way. I am glad I participated in the project because it has made me a better journalist and increased my interest in my own community.
When editing an interview it is important to cover up cuts from sound bites with B-Roll. This helps to keep a good flow and looks less choppy and more professional. Using pictures can be effective, but to cut away to a picture you must first convert it into video in a separate project, and then export it. If the sound does not go along with the video you want to show, or you want to add natural sound, you can detach the sound from the video and move it where you want. Also, you can edit transitioning from two shots so that video ends before audio does to help the flow.
The interviewing section of the course focused on sound bites. An effective sound bite is not too long but reveals a lot of information and adds emotion to the story. It is important to sit close to the person you are interviewing to be able to hear them well during the interview, especially when not using an external microphone. Good questions to ask during an interview begin with "tell me about". This encourages the subject to expand and is open ended.
In the sound section we learned about capturing natural sound. I now know that natural sound can enhance a video, while noise can distract from the topic of the video. Good natural sound must be captured intentionally and you often need to get be very close to capture good sound. We then practiced recording nat sound and learned how many sounds you can miss in every day life. A creaky door or someone typing can add a whole new effect to your news package.
In the shooting portion of the course we learned how to shoot B-Roll as well as frame a shot for an interview. The shooting tips section emphasizes that when recording video, students make sure to use the rule of thirds. This is when a grid similar to and tick tack toe board is visualized on the camera and the subject is placed at one of the four intersections. This is where a viewer's eye is naturally drawn. The section also emphasizes taking good B Roll. To get good B-Roll we used wide, medium, and tight shots to develop the focus of our subject and make the video interesting. We learned that it is very important to get B-Roll to develop our stories and make the news package interesting. W-A-L-L-D-O stands for wide, angles, low, linking, depth, opposite. By using W-A-L-L-D-O we were able to practice getting more interesting shots and adding variety to our videos.
Through this section, I have learned that storytelling in Journalism must, like any story, have a beginning, middle, and end. The best way to show, not tell your story is by including action clips, pictures, and all three types of sound. A combination of action and reaction shots are also needed for a cohesive video. Making sure the emotion of your story fits with the topic and is appealing to the viewer is a common theme throughout the articles in the course. Also, writing, shooting, editing, and publishing can be as complicated as the journalist wants, or even completely done on a mobile device.