BSA234: Stuck? Not Anymore…

 

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Colouring correcting on my short film Stuck proved to be quite difficult. As always, I started at the first clip, but that was set in the club where we the coloured lights going. These coloured lights were mostly red or pink, so they cast a reddish glow over everything. I didn’t really mind this look too much, and I thought it fitted the environment quite well, so I wasn’t too keen on colour correcting to much. I also didn’t want the footage to be too light or “natural” looking because that’s not what it actually looks like inside a bar or nightclub.
As we were required for assessment to submit a graded and an ungraded version of our short films, I set to colour correcting. I normally quite enjoy this process, but this footage was particularly difficult to work with because of the lighting we’d used during filming. Trying to match skin tone between shots was especially tricky. At one stage I had the skin tone far too pink even though it was matching relatively well between certain shots. Unable to match all of the shots, I started again, but this time made the skin tone far too orange in some shots and too yellow in others. I think part of the reason for my struggle can be put to the fact that I hadn’t had nearly enough sleep in the days leading up to the editing process. In the end I just started over completely with the colour correction and tried to make it much simpler, and I’m quite happy with the result, but I’m also just trying not to look too closely or I’ll probably hate it again.

The scenes filmed in the bathroom were much easier to colour correct and took considerably less time than the club scenes. For those scenes my aim was to make them less green and make my actress’s skin tone more natural and less sickly. I think I did this quite well.

There’s certainly things I could have done better when filming this project, but even so, I think this is the best piece of film work I have produced so far. My goal with this project was to produce something that I was/am proud of, and even though I recognise it is not perfect (far from, in fact), I am still proud of what I have done here.

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BSA234: Storyboarding

I always have high hopes for my storyboarding, but when it comes to it, what talent I hold for drawing seems to go out the window. Maybe it is partially to do with laziness, but what I hope to be nice, simple, clear drawings of people turn into stick figures. At least this time I only had a couple of stick figures in amongst all the other exceptionally drawn people.

For our Film Drama Project, I am going to film my non dialogue script from BSA204 as I thought it might be simpler than working with children. That doesn’t mean it’s exempt of challenges; ideally I’d like to film in a club, but that could be a tricky location to secure. Thankfully, I have a back up of filming in Upstage at SIT which is fitted with coloured lights which could quite easily simulate a club. The biggest challenge with that is set design for the scene at the bar.
The other big challenge I face is filming the scene where the character, Leah, climbs over the door of the toilet stall. I feel that could be a recipe for disaster. I could think up an alternative way for her to get out of the toilet stall, or I could just go ahead with what’s in the script and just hope and pray for the best! If I go ahead with this there will be a step ladder on the other side of the door fro my actress to climb on.

Over the next couple of days I will be searching through the database of potential actors and actresses collected during the Casting Call for people to play my characters.

I had hoped to start filming in the first couple of days of this coming week, but I think that’s pushing it for arranging everything and finding actors and giving them warning so I’m now working towards next weekend.

 

BSA234: Filming Things

I haven’t been feeling very well this week so I’m surprised I’ve been able to get as much done as I have.

Wednesday was a particularly busy day this week for filming. We got up early and headed into school at 7 to reshoot our interviews for our showreels. A day or two before we’d sat down and figured out a guideline for questions so we wouldn’t struggle to think of some or mess around for too long.
Once everything was set up and we were all ready to go the process went very smoothly I felt.
To start with it was just us girls (Nicola, Kate and myself) and I found that was a really good environment for us because it gave us a chance to just figure things out and do what we wanted or thought was best. There are times when it’s great doing things with the boys, but having time for us girls to do some filming together is also great.

My interview features Nicola and Kate talking about the parking situation at the Downtown campus. The b-roll for the interviews will be in two parts; Nicola pulling up to the parking meter, checking the prices and driving away, and Kate pulling into the carpark, sitting the ticket on her dash then locking and leaving her car. I am yet to film the second part with Kate as I ran out of time on the Wednesday and just needed a bit of down time to recover on the weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to film this extra part in the next couple of days.

In other news, our horror genre project is all go for filming on Monday afternoon. We have our location sorted and our shots assigned. I’m looking forward to it!

BSA234: The Next Steps

Friday morning I was feeling relatively confident. I had done some research the night before to refresh my limited knowledge on the topics we’d covered in class and blog homework for cinematography, so I sat down at my computer feeling I’d do quite well in the multi-choice exam the class was about to undertake.
Well…
…one can dream.
I didn’t fail, but I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I got 57 points out of a possible 100 which gave me the grade C. Sure it would have been nice to have a higher grade, but I did pass so I’m happy about that.


In other news for Cinematography, we’ve been told to start planning for our 3rd assessment. I guess that should mean our 2nd assessment is well under way? Yes? Oh. Better start on that then.

It’s now the 14th of May, the Showreel (assessment no. 2) is due on the 2nd of June, and then the Filmed Drama (assessment no. 3) on the 17th of June. That basically gives us two weeks to get our showreels filmed so we have some time for editing.
I have to talk to my class mates, but at this stage I’m planning to do as much filming as possible this next weekend.


I wasn’t too sure what a cinematography showreel should look like so I searched it up on YouTube. The videos below are a couple of examples of the showreels I found.

 

BSA234: Psychology of Camera

What is the psychology of the camera? It is one of my favourite elements of film. It’s the way the use of camera techniques portray emotion. It’s the way a wide lens gives a slight fisheye effect, distorting images, conveying to the viewer the discomfort of the character, a threatening character, or abnormality of the situation. It’s the way a steady cam communicates a sense of confidence, peace, or control, and adversely the way handheld camera work expresses panic, uncertainty, or distress. The choice of framing, composition and movement influence the emotional value the audience gain from what they’re watching.
These two videos explain this well:

 

For a class exercise this week in cinematography, we when outside in small groups to practice the psychology of camera. We had a list of different emotions or situations to portray in photos. The point of this was to experiment with composition, framing and shot type to find the best way to communicate these emotions. Below are some of the photos we took (apologies for any that are out of focus).

Alone
A person feeling powerless and alone
Arguing
Two people arguing, oblivious of their surrounding.
Couple
Two people in love
Estranged
Two people estranged, unaware of each other
Happiness2
A person brimming with joy and happiness
In love
A person in love
Trapped
A person feeling trapped by their surroundings

BSA234: Gamma

First off, Gamma is maths. Maths is not my strong point. I can do basic maths, but anything slightly advanced loses me so don’t expect me to explain gamma very well in my own words.
This is possibly the most simplified explanation of gamma you will ever receive: The term “gamma” or “gamma correction” refers to the brightness of an image.

Gamma correction is, in the simplest cases, defined by the following power-law expression:

V_{\text{out}} = A {V_{\text{in}}}^{\gamma}

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_correction)

I read through some forums discussing gamma and came across a comment from a Michael Nash that explained it rather well and quite simply. This particular discussion was on a site called Cinematography.com so was very helpful as gamma was discussed in relation to cinematography. Below is what Mr. Nash had to say about the topic.

In video cameras you can often adjust the master gamma, which makes the midtones brighter or darker relative to your exposure, and in turn makes the adjacent highlights and shadows appear higher or lower in contrast, depending on which direction you go. For example if you raise the gamma and make the midtones brighter, the highlights get “squeezed” or lowered in contrast while the shadows get stretched to a higher contrast (and some brightness). The opposite gamma adjustment has the opposite effect. […] This all becomes important to us cinematographers because we’re “painting with light,” and the gamma curve of the system we’re using is part of our palette. We want to know if the dark shadow we’re looking at on set is going to come out detailed brown, or completely black. By understanding gamma we can choose to exploit, or compensate for, the characteristics of the system we’re using to get what we want up on the screen.

-http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=30145

 

And here is an image that hopefully makes me look like I understand what I’m talking about:

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BSA234: Fixed Rig Productions

“Fixed rig production combines elements of traditional outside broadcast with the benefits of fully digital tapeless production.”
– http://cstonline.tv/fixed-rig-documentaries-how-they-do-it

When I first heard the term “fixed rig production” I had no idea what it meant, but as I starting reading up on it and show such as One Born Every Minute or 24 Hours In A&E were mentioned, I understood. They’re those kind of shows that look like we, the viewer, are just being shown all the CCTV footage. There will be up to 100 cameras planted around, like security cameras, to catch all the action and this gives the filmmakers an abundance of material to make their shows. The more traditional observational documentary makers on the other hand will only have around three cameras.
I think what makes these fixed rig productions so interesting is that the people being filmed act far more naturally when going about their business. It’s also less intrusive as, even though they know they’re being filmed, there isn’t the presence of a film crew to distract them or make them nervous.
People are naturally nosey and like to see how things work in places such as hospitals or police stations so I think that’s why fixed rig productions that are filmed in these sorts of places are so popular.

References:

https://rts.org.uk/article/how-fixed-rig-has-transformed-factual

https://rts.org.uk/article/fixed-rig-shows-inside-story

http://cstonline.tv/fixed-rig-documentaries-how-they-do-it

BSA234: Polarised Filters 

 

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I was wondering through the rose gardens at Queen’s Park today taking pictures on my phone (most of which can out quite well actually – I’ve added some for proof) and I was looking at some thinking they were quite dull and wouldn’t it be nice if they weren’t. Turns out that exactly what polarising filters can do for your camera according to these useful articles I found (1 and 2). Polarising filters increase the exposure and contrast so the colours in the pictures you take look far more vibrant which is particularly useful for outdoor photography. They also reduce the glare on water or glass (non-metallic surfaces, according to those articles). This glare reduction, when photographing water, makes what is under the surface much clearer in the image so, I assume, would be excellent if you were taking pictures of something such as fish in a pond.

Polarised filters are also used in sunglasses which explains why the world sometimes looks far more vibrant and beautiful when you are wearing your sunnies!

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The images below I took on my phone. I feel they would have benefited from a polarised filter as it would have made the colours pop more and brought a little more life to them, especially the middle one.

BSA234: Getting Some Experience

IMG_0118Thanks to Ash, the second year, third year, and grad dip students have been given the opportunity to film the basketball games at the stadium over the next few weeks for the live feed to the screen during the games.
I’m really looking forward to this opportunity because it means practical experience for potential future employment. It’s quite a high pressure situation, but I think that’s a good learning environment.

For this first game I actually didn’t do anything but watch in the control room. I honestly enjoyed this for the first game because my confidence levels weren’t there to have been doing anything else, so I appreciated being able to observe and see what happens.
Being an observer for this game helped me learn some important things which I have listed below:

  • Deep field of depth – it’s not an artsy situation, people just need to see the game clearly and not be focused on one tiny detail in the frame
  • Appropriate ISO – the aperture needs to be adjusted when the flood lights come on and when switching between the game and crowd (even though that doesn’t happen too often
  • Smooth camera movements – the high speed nature of the game requires a lot of camera movement, especially when zoomed in a little more, and smooth movements are required so the audience can follow the game easily

BSA234: Far From The Madding Crowd

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Far From The Madding Crowd stars Carey Mulligan, Matthew Schoenaerts and Michael Sheen and is based in Thomas Hardy’s Classic.

Most of this film looks very warm, generally reflecting the mood of the characters. However, during the parts of this film where the characters are in conflict with each other, are feeling cold towards each other, or are just generally unhappy, the colour temperature is much cooler and the film looks much darker.

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In the scene featuring the image above, the characters attitudes towards each other are quite unfriendly, hence the cool colours.
In contrast to this coolness, the warm, tungsten coloured image below matches the characters emotions, showing them warming to each other and beginning to fall in love.

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In the image above, there is a mix of colour temperature which is used deliberately to reflect the sentiments of Bathsheba’s character. There is both a coldness and a warmth in this scene eluding to the coldness Bathsheba has held towards men until this moment where Francis Troy has broken through her barriers and caused her heart to warm to him. This mix of colour temperature in this scene makes sense as it is filmed at sunrise (there is still the coolness of the night, but also the warmth of the rising sun), but it also helps to tell the story – the sun is rising on a new part of Bathsheba’s life.