Thursday, 9 November 2017

R+P Post 33: Reflections on my role and contribution during Research and Planning

Overall, I think that as a group we all worked very well together during the research and planning stage, each of us playing to our strengths. Below I have summarised my personal contribution.

Lyric Analysis

As Cry Me A River is one of my favourite songs, I found it easy to break down each lyric and pin-point what emotion worked best for it and how that would translate into our music video. This was useful when it came to filming the test shoot as it gave Laith emotions he could portray for each line and section of the song to get an authentic performance.
Below is a picture of me putting together the lyric analysis.




Timeline

As the timeline and storyboard were being done at roughly the same time, we split our group based on strengths as to who should do what, and I took lead on the timeline. To be as organised as possible and to ensure that everyone's ideas were incorporated, before creating the actual finished timeline, we sat down and decided as a group roughly what shots would be in each section. I then went away and pinned this down into each individual shot with the exact timings and lyrics to match. I also finalised how we were shortening the song as its original length is too long for this project.


Creating our timeline

Rehearsals

Alongside Meera, I helped choreograph the dancing in the video and teach it to the boys.


Filming and directing

As Laith is in nearly every shot, Meera and I took turns filming and directing his lip-sync and dance shots. During the test shoot, as I have quite a steady hand and really enjoy using the camera, I filmed the hand held shots of Laith's lip-sync as well as acting as performance director, helping Laith portray the emotions needed.
On camera, checking performance
Hand held shot





Performing in the video

Throughout the video I am in some dance shots, crossover narrative shots and conceptual shadow shots with Laith and our extra actor, Adam. Some of the shots with both me and Laith in were quite hard to shoot as Meera was having to do everything else by herself but as a group we managed to make it work, with Laith and I stepping out to help set up as much of the shot as we could beforehand. Also, Meera and I both dance with the same set up in the video and as we both come from dance backgrounds this role really suited us and we really enjoyed performing. 
Example performance shot

Editing the test footage

I actually really like editing and enjoyed editing our rough cut and picking out the good parts as well as what we need to improve on for the main shoot. Doing the rough cut helped us learn the best and quickest ways to edit a music video and was a huge learning curve.

Laith and I editing

R+P Post 32: Test shoot and rough edit



Above is the rough edit of our test shoot footage that was shot in the studio. This was a huge learning curve for us and highlighted, both, things that worked well and what we need to change for our main shoot in order to have a successful and professional video.


The main thing the test shoot helped with was pinning down exactly what we wanted for our lighting and making sure that it worked. On the whole we are happy with how our lighting came out and perfecting it for the test actually went a lot quicker than we had first thought.

I am particularly happy with the blue back-lit set up we have for the female dancers, which can be seen below, as it looked very effective during the edit and gave the vibe that we were after.


I also really liked the 'flicker' light that we used for some of the lip-sync as it gave a darker, mysterious feel that fits with the lyrics.

R+P Post 31: My call sheet

We created a call sheet for every day of our shoot to give to all members of the cast and crew do that everyone knew what time they needed to arrive by and when they would be needed on set.

Below is an example of one of our call sheets



The call sheet also includes health and safety information and the locations of each station, costume, make up etc, which are vital if the shoots are to run smoothly.

R+P Post 30: My shootboard

So that our shoot days run smoothly and we get all of the shots that we need, we created a detailed shootboard with drawings of each shot, a column specifiying their framing, any props we need, location and the time we will start filming.

Below are example pages from our Saturday location shoot





For all of our shootboard pages, on location and in the studio, we have grouped shots together logically by set up, location and cast required to ensure that we aren’t wasting time unnecessarily switching back and forth between lighting or having people there when we don’t need them.


We also have left a space next to the shot number to record how many takes we took of each shot and which one we think at the time is the best to use in the actually edit. This will help save time when editing and will make the process of choosing our shots easier.


R+P Post 29: Rehearsals

To prepare for our shoots, we had rehearsals with all of our actors and dancers, so that on the day they weren't blindsided by what we needed them to do and also to ensure that they could believably portray the part we had cast them in.

Below is an example of one week's rehearsal schedule.


As an emotional song it was very important that Laith (AJ) had a believable lip-sync and emotions tied to the lyrics. To get an idea of where Laith was at with this, after we chose our song we did a quick screen test with him which can be seen below.




The screen test helped point out what areas needed more work before the main shoot for example, Laith needed to stay completely in character the whole way through and to really sing for it to look authentic.
To help with this we asked one of our friends Tyra, who is a drama student, to help Laith with his acting and really connect with the lyrics. This was actually really effective and the improvement from the screen test to the test shoot has been huge.

Below is an example from the screen test and test shoot showing the improvement in the lip-sync due to the rehearsals.






Fitting with R&B conventions, our music video has a lot of dancing and so it was important that we had rehearsals to teach our dancers the choreography, ensuring that it looks effective. These rehearsals actually went really well and I am very pleased with how the dancing has improved.

Below is a picture from one of our rehearsals

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

R+P Post 28: My kit list

For our shoots we will have two different kit lists - one for on location and one for the studio.

Location

Our Camera
  • Canon Legria HFG30 Camera
  • Libec TH-650HD Tripod
  • Canon DM-100 Microphone
  • Headphones
  • 64 GB SD card
  • Two batteries
  • Three Point Lighting System 
  • Clapper Board
  • Whiteboard pen and cloth

Our Tripod

Studio

  • Canon 5D MK 11 Camera
  • 650 ARRI Turret Lights
  • ARRI Studio lights
  • Projector
  • Cyclorama
  • Monitor
  • Dolly
  • Shoulder support rig for the hand held shots
  • Lighting and sound desk
Before our test shoot we had a technical training session in the studio and went over all of the health and safety issues in the studio to ensure that we could use the equipment properly and safely, getting the best footage possible.

R+P Post 27: Casting

In casting for our music video it was important for us to pick people that could give an authentic performance and are reliable, as the rehearsals and actual shoots are very time consuming.

Below is a table of our cast, summarising their strengths and why they were chosen.