Refraction is the title Kate and I have ended up giving to our film. It’s very different to anything either of us have ever made before, but I think we are both quite happy with the end result.
I spent about 30 hours straight in the Mac Lab, without a wink of sleep, eating mandarins and working on compositing photos on the blank pieces of paper that our actress, Teneill, was looking at. I was aiming to get a photo on each piece of paper and then cut between the photos and film of the same locations. Unfortunately I ran out of time to do all the photos, but I did manage to successfully composite two of them. I’m really pleased with how well I managed to mask them into the scenes and I think they look quite believable. However I did overlook the fact that the photos are larger in some shots than others, but with the way the film is cut, it’s not hugely noticeable.
Kate filmed a really neat timelapse of the clouds which in parts looks as though it is filmed below the sea. This is emphasised by the blue colour grade Kate put on it.
Kate edited the film to a piece of music which I had found and used earlier in the year. It is quite up beat so I thought it would be quite a good one to use.
Our story has gone through quite a lot of changes from the initial idea of incorporating tiny planets.
I will be honest, I haven’t had a huge hand in the actual story development – most of that has been Kate’s work. As we got into the process I found I preferred to be working more the practical filming and editing side of the project. I think this was because I felt Kate had more of an idea of what should be happening in the story from the start and some of my attempts at ideas really weren’t working. Developing ideas for stories is usually something I really enjoy spending my time on, but for some reason I didn’t do well with that for this project.
Even though our story has been changing constantly, we’ve generally had a pretty solid idea of the content of the film. We were always planning to film various landscapes then manipulate and distort them to give an uncomfortable feeling. With this in mind, we were able to go and film and photograph different locations, providing us with a bunch of material that we would be able to decide whether or not we use later on.
I ended up going on a couple of solo missions out to Riverton with a Canon 7d, a fisheye lens and a macro lens (which I have already posted about).
I found myself stressing over the project and thinking I couldn’t do anything because Kate wasn’t there at that moment so I just opened up Premiere Pro, imported the best clips and began colour correction. I wasn’t very confident with After Effects and didn’t think I would be able to produce much from spending hours trying to figure it out again, so I thought my time would be better spent doing something I was confident with.
With the colour correction on the Fortress Cliffs clips, I tried to make it feel a bit like an Instagram post – like someone had put a filter on a photo and was now imagining it coming to life. I did this by pulling out the blacks, lowering the whites, and bumping up the saturation a little. Considering it was filmed on the Black Magic camera it was quite dull to begin with.
In After Effects, I played with the presets and effects and found one (I can’t remember what it’s called) that pinched together parts of the images and puts them into spheres which I then made move around the frame. Parts of it looked a bit like the tiny planet effect Kate and I wanted to create in the first place.
I also put together a sequence in Premiere Pro where I flipped the footage of the cliffs 180˙ then cut, frame by frame, between the flipped images before settling on the upside down one and fading it into black and white. I also reversed the upside down footage so the waves move the wrong way.
I’m not sure how these will fit into the final film, but I’m interested to see how we can incorporate these sequences.
Kate and I have been doing a lot of filming and photographing for this project over the last few weeks. Now it will just be a matter of putting it all together to create an interesting story.
Below are some of the photos from some of the locations we’ve been to. These are my own photographs.
A few weeks ago Kate and I went to McLean Falls. We were experimenting with long exposure to make the water seem as though it was moving even though you’re looking at a still image.
I also looked for areas that, if photographed close up, could appear a lot larger than they really were. The photo below titled “Riverbank” I felt was the most successful. I can easily imagine a person walking along the riverbank in the picture.
On Sunday I took a couple of cameras with a micro lens and a fisheye lens to Riverton and then to Queen’s Park. I tried to take photos and then film the same thing from the photo, but zoom out to reveal it’s surroundings.
I tried this with a couple of interesting holes in the rocks. The idea was that inside the hole could be a cave that someone is exploring. Unfortunately I used the fisheye lens for some of these so when I zoomed out it created an effect that made the hole look like it was closing up, resembling a particular part of the human anatomy.
I focused a lot on getting shots with the micro lens of surfaces with interesting textures, or really tiny shells. I then switched to the film mode and filmed the same things from a distance that you would more naturally be looking that those things from showing how small they are. I imagine these being used in our film to intrigue the viewer with photos of these interesting textures or pretty shells then follow with the pieces of film. The idea with the following film is to show how insignificant these things in the photos seem in this bigger picture, but yet you were so interested and invested in them a few seconds beforehand.
Yesterday I went back to Riverton to get pick ups, but this time it was raining so that wasn’t ideal. I took some photos and videos from inside the car so the camera or I didn’t get wet. Eventually the rain eased off so I jumped out and ran down to the water to get some different shots.
I think it will be quite nice to have the difference in the weather with these photos and videos because everything else we’ve shot has been during sunny weather. It will be nice to have a little variety.
These photos haven’t yet been edited so they look a little dull. My plan is to do some colour correction on the videos and editing on the photos later tonight.
When I first saw Lord of the Rings I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t know the story. I was just told that it was about hobbits (not that knew what hobbits were).
The films blew me away. Sure, I was just a little kid and a lot of things do blow you mind at a young age, but the Lord of the Rings movies were just amazing. I knew that the movies had been filmed in New Zealand so seeing this fantastical world set in such a familiar environment made the experience even more magical for me.
The places in the world of Middle Earth that stood out to me the most were Rivendell and Lothlórien. They were just so beautiful and I think it gave me a little hope that maybe those places could exist.
Falkor from The Neverending Story (1984) blew my mind as a child. I remember the first time I watched this film and first seeing Falkor, I wasn’t sure if he was good or bad. I remember thinking that he seemed nice, but he was so huge that surely he must be dangerous. I really wanted him to be good because he seemed so soft and cuddly, but I couldn’t help but think Falkor was playing a trick on Atreyu. Thankfully, I was wrong and Falkor was the absolute best.
The reason this character blew my mind was because of how huge he was, but also how realistic he seemed (at the time). I also loved the way he just seemed like an over grown soft toy, in fact he reminded me of my Cuddly Bear, the most favourite of all my soft toys. The Neverending Story was another of the videos my Nana had at her house so I would watch this film over and over again, and every time I would cry at Artax’s death, but I would know that Falkor was going to show up soon so that was okay.
If I think of what blows my mind now, completely different kinds of things come to mind. Mostly, I am now impressed by the cinematography in a film or the excellent story rather than how magical a world seems or how large and cuddle a character is.
Every time I watch an episode of Peaky Blinders (2013) I get really excited over the beautiful cinematography. This show doesn’t have really epic shots like the Lord of the Rings, or just about any other film set in New Zealand, instead Peaky Blinders has a lot of gentle, intimate shots and this really impresses me because that’s exactly what I love seeing in cinema and photography. It also helps that the story and characters are really well written.