Making Lenny was an interesting experience. It’s not the first time I have made a short video but this proved much different from the others I have made.

Pre-production: the pre-production stage was fairly quick due to time constraints. Firstly we location scouted and found an area in building 80. We then did a quick run through of what the script required and then drew a floor plan of the location to mark out the movement.

Production: the production stage was the most different from the other short videos I have made. The biggest reason for this was as a result the changing roles. Each group member changed roles each scene. Usually each group member has an assigned role who focuses on this role. On a bigger production this would cause a lot of problems but as it was only a really small and quick shoot the changing roles did not affect the shoot that much, but this was one thing I have learned, it is important to assign roles so each person can focus solely on that role. This would make the production smoother, quicker, easier and less stressful.

Post-production: the final stage of Lenny was the post-production. Using Adobe Premiere was easy for me as I have a lot of experience with it before. Editing together the Lenny footage was fairly simple. It was under 25 seconds so it only took about 15 minutes to edit. One thing I learned and found interesting during the editing process is that it does not matter if the characters change from person to person when they are edited together it still flows and makes sense.

Nostalgia For the Light – Analyse

This film is very deliberate in its construction. It is very dramatic and through the use of several techniques it influences how the audience should feel. Firstly when the camera does move the shots are dramatic slow and smooth camera movements, this seems to build the drama. The sound effects used in the first few shots are loud and clearly done in post, as was the case with all the sounds in this film. This demonstrates the deliberate construction of the film, everything has been planned prior to the filming.

The transition of the between the telescope room and the moon pictures was interesting. The roof opened showing the white light, which again was done in post-production, and then the light worked as a transition to the photos of the moon. It was an interesting choice of music for the photos of the moon. It was very dramatic music. It was used for dramatic effect quite well. When you really anaylse the scene without the music all it is are photos of the moon but when the music is added it is emotional music. The music is very and dramatic music which makes it feel as if someone has died, when in fact all it is are photos of the moon.

As soon as the man starts talking all the shots are tripod shots of objects around the house. From the first moment the man starts talking it is obvious the house is his, it then clarifies this even more when the man says ‘these objects which could have come from my childhood home…’ It clarifies that these are his possessions that remind him of his childhood home and it is why he possess them in his current home.

Many of the tripod shots the filmmakers use, although not all of them, seem to have some significance to what the man is saying. It is an interesting and quite a nice way of making a film. Rather than just show the man speaking, which can often be boring, they show some nice shots of objects and it works in a way to keep interest in what the man is saying.

As well as the voice over of the man speaking there are also atmospheric sounds such as the room noise and wind blowing and in one part you can here a rooster in the distance. This all helps to make the film interesting. Just hearing these sounds helps, even if the audience does not actively hear them it helps to feel as if the man talking is in the same room as where these shots have taken place and in my opinion making it feel more personal.

Conventions of Sound in Documentary

One point made in Conventions of Sound in Documentary by Jeffrey Ruoff was the analyse made of observational films that used poor audio. The current view is that is the audio is poor then it becomes useless and must be discarded. However it is interesting to me when they explained why sometimes poorly recorded audio can still be used. They explain this by stating that ‘poorly recorded scenes are included because of their central importance to the story’ (Ruoff, p. 28). This is an important lesson as it demonstrates the importance of the story in relation to the audio. Audio is very important but if the scene is important to the story but poor audio it may be the case where you have to put it in the documentary anyway.

Another point made that interested me in the Conventions of Sound in Documentary reading was in relation to music. The music, as was explained in the reading, in observational filmmaking is very similar to the classic Hollywood cinema. They state that music ‘provides continuity, covers up edits, facilitates changes of scenes, provides mood… and comments of the action’ (Ruoff, p. 33). Although I already knew most of this, it still interested me to how much music can be needed in observation or documentary filmmaking. Comparisons between documentary filmmaking and traditional fiction filmmaking can be made with regards to music. Both are attempting to provide continuity, cover up edits and provide mood. This is interesting as documentary filmmaking is supposed to be ‘reality’ however it can be argued that the use of music can dramatise the film. This is an important observation to make as it is important for the audience to know that with the use of techniques such as music and other techniques such as editing, the film can persuade an audience to what the filmmakers want the audience to feel, even though generally the idea is that a documentary would not try to influence the audience.

Ruoff, J, Conventions of Sound in Documentary, Cinema Journal, Volume 32, No. 3, (pp. 24-40). University of Texas Press.

Writing Reflectively

Reading the article about reflective writing was interesting and I picked up a few points that I feel can help in my own reflective writing.

The first was that reflective writing is actually more useful then I first considered. In the article it explains that ‘you will find things out you have not considered’ (Moon, p. 188). This interested me as it made sense. Gathering all your thoughts about the topic and writing them with no specific style or necessarily keeping a high quality of writing can really help sort through the information and this can ‘benefit your academic writing’.

The second point I gathered from the article that I found was an important point was familiar and unfamiliar situations. The article suggests that in new or unfamiliar situations, we ‘are more able to question and challenge it in order to understand it’ (Moon, p. 224). I feel this is an accurate point and one that is important to understand, especially when going into a familiar situation. Going into a familiar situation means we already have a pre-formed idea which makes it more difficult to question or challenge the it to better understand it.

Moon, J, A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: theory and practice, New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2004.

Industrial Media Goals

This semester my aim in Industrial Media is to improve my skills with premiere making easier and quicker to edit. This will be mainly through the use of shortcuts and using a professional layout for editing. I am self taught with Adobe Premiere and while I can easily edit together video there are several shortcuts that could help the time it take to edit down a bit. It will also help with Fiction project as I am the editor for our group.

Ideally I would like to improve on one of my weaknesses, which is audio. Audio, is something I have trouble with and something I need to improve with. Recording the audio is one concern and learning that through the intensive was helpful but I still fell I need more experience with audio in the post-production stage.

Review: Creative Suburbs Digital Story

As part of the digital story for CMWP Patrick Rebakis and Karen Young collaborated with Creative Suburbs to make this digital story. The video is really well done. The animations used throughout the video are really effective and put together with some great time-lapse shots and some really interesting photos of people holding up suggestions for creative suburbs in front of a graffiti wall, which is a successful Creative Suburbs project, is really effective in getting the point across. The animation, time-lapse and the photos are nicely coupled with the voice over from Patrick. The voice over was straight to the point, I knew from the first few seconds what the voice over what the video was about and it was able to hold your attention really well. The music also suits the video and what the video is trying to achieve.

One suggestion would be that during the video, where the other person speaks, we are told who he is and what he has to do with Creative Suburbs or the community. His statements are really good and it would benefit the audience if they know who he is because, from what I can tell, he seems to have experience in community work. One other suggestion is, although this is really minor, is that it would have been good to remove the wideo.com logo, but I understand that you have to pay to remove it so I do not blame you for leaving it, I would as well. Both those suggestions are just really minor because the video was really well done.

This video was really well done and Creative Suburbs should be extremely happy with what Patrick Rebakis and Karen Young have done, especially considering three of there group members dropped out really late in the project. I highly recommended having a look at this video and sharing it.

Digital Story: In Sight

The process of making a digital story was a great introduction into collaborative filmmaking. We decided to make a short film about a blind girls day-to-day life. The idea we were throwing around was make the short film in such a way that the audience did not know the girl was blind until the very end of the piece. This made the film a little tricky, as we could not show the eyes of the blind girl until the very end. This meant a lot of different angles were used to hide her eyes.

We were lucky enough that Bo knew someone who owned a restaurant on St Kilda beach so we were able to film in there which made for some great scenes. When we filmed on the beach the sun was beginning to set so we were able to film some beautiful shots of the sun setting and put it into the piece. The collaboration process went very smoothly, which was really lucky because this was a fairly large and ambitious project for what I was used to doing. My group members Bo Dechphant and Matthew Masyuko were really great group members.  At the beginning of the subject, when we were forming groups Bo and I ended up as a group because we just happened to be sitting near each other which was turned out great and then Matthew came in a little later and he proved to be a great person to have on the team. We each had our job and we were each able to complete it successfully. It was a great learning experience for me Bo and Matthew both knew a lot and I learned a lot about the film making process from both of them.

We did encounter some small problems. One of our biggest issues was that during day two of filming, during the beach and restaurant scenes we did not realize until after the filming was over and the footage had been uploaded there were dust specs on the lens of the camera. This meant that we had to go through all the day two footage and try to remove it in post-production. This was frustrating as it meant we had to spend even more time on editing, which by itself was a relatively lengthy process. The way we went about removing the dust specs was to, in After Effects, create a new solid the same colour as the background and then feather it. This was a great solution to shots where the background colour did not change at all, however for shot where the background colour did change it became really difficult to remove the dust and make it so it did not draw attention to the spec of dust. For the shots we struggled to remove the dust spec on we did a blur effect to try and draw attention away from the problem areas. Overall this issue was a great learning experience to always check your lens before you begin filming. The final problem we encountered was due to just running out of time. We had planned to create a 3d sound scape to try to enhance the project but due to scheduling issues we were unable to do the 3d sound unfortunately but that was not our biggest priority and the 2d sound we have in the final film is still amazing and works really well throughout the digital story.

As far as the distribution process of the digital story we decided the best way to advertise it was to firstly post it on YouTube. YouTube is where most of the views will come from. There are of course other video sharing websites like Vimeo but they do not have anywhere near the same user size as YouTube does. The next part of the distribution process is using social media to get the film out and known. We decided to blog about the film, tweet about it and make a Facebook page for the film.