Friday, 28 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Edit Workshop 4

Today was a catch up day with Ferg in our edit workshop. It was really useful as I needed to finish editing my films are it was good to have Ferg there to answer questions. I needed to make my SOFT trailer more of a trailer as I thought my first try just looked like a shorter version of the film. Instead I mixed up the clips so there were bits from the end at the beginning and I added a few title scenes in with a few words to build up the tension and to let the audiences' imagination go wild with thinking how it will end.

Monday, 24 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Finished Script!

On Friday, I finished my storytelling script. I never thought I'd get to the end. Today I downloaded a trial of Final Draft so I was able to put my script onto the software we need to use. I am proud of my script, but I can imagine that there will be a few things to change and talk about because the story makes sense in my head but out loud and to other people, especially a professional screenwriter, it might not.

Friday, 21 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Edit Workshop 3 - Audio

Today was our third edit workshop with Ferg. We concentrated more on audio today and like the last couple of weeks we had a few clips to edit together. They were from a day at the race track and another completely different called 'Blind Date', with interviews by some drivers and footage of the race and them preparing for it. Todays lesson was more about practising and playing about with buttons to get used to the shortcuts. We used the 'selection' and 'ripple' tools more and learnt about the 'slip' and 'slide' tool.


We learnt more about sound in contextual studies, we have learnt about it practically and used it in our camera workshops but today was about the theory side of it. Sound is very important in films and television. Some directors will focus more on either sound or moving images but a good director will get a good balance of both in their productions. We looked at Blue, directed by Derek Jarman. The clip was a blue screen with a voice over on it.
Also Chris Marker directed La Jetee, which again is a voice over but over still pictures rather than a blank screen. Even 'silent' cinema used live musical accompaniment and sound effects.

Functions of sound:
- Aural narrative (dialogue, voiceover)
- Sonic ambience (mood, atmosphere, sound effects)
- Emotional & intellectual resonance or dissonance (music)

Key elements of film sound:
- Speech (dialogue, narrative)
- Ambient or natural sound
- Sound effects
- Musical score or soundtrack

Use of sound effects:
- To heighten drama - abstract or enhanced effects designed to affect audience perception or emotional state, e.g. audible heartbeats in horror films.
- Simulate reality - ambient background that underscores and reinforces unity of Mise en Scène and editing.

Aesthetic uses of sound:
- Impressionistic - harmonious sound that evokes a mood, atmosphere or tone.
- Expressionistic - discordant sound that evokes abstract or dark psychological states.
- Asynchronous - sound and visuals are mismatched or dramatic effect.

Diegetic - Any Sound that is intrinsic to the film space or implied by action (character space).

Non diegetic - External to the film space (voiceover, soundtrack music)

"Films are 50% visual and 50% sound. Sometimes sound even overplays the visual." - David Lynch

Sound and Emotion
- Music dictates the emotion of the scene

Music as a narrative device
- Music underscores or accentuates visual narrative, emotion or intellectual resonance or dissonance.

Louis mentioned Reservoir Dogs which is a film I haven't seen so I will watch that as soon as I can. Legend, directed by Ridley Scott in 1985 was another he recommended so I will watch that one also.

Modernism Vs Postmodernism
- Modernism - An aesthetic and cultural reaction to classicism, relying on innovations in form, material and techniques to create new modes of rational and progressive expression and representation.
- Broadly ideologically utopian (e.g. Soviet montage)
- Postmodernism - reaction to failure of modernisms objective rationalism. Playfully deconstructs form, fusing disparate elements of high and low culture.
- Broadly ideological disruptive e.g. The Simpsons, Pulp Fiction.

Use of narration
- First person subjective e.g. Blue, Jarman.
- 'Voice of God'. Objective commentary (expository narrative e.g. classic documentary)
- Conventions of male and female voices (dominant Vs empathetic)

Thursday, 20 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Camera Workshop - On Location

Photo from our location shoot
Also on Wednesday we had another camera workshop with Ferg. This one was a bit different though and was outside on location. Our location was the carpark outside the studios. I was in a group with George W, Connor and Danny and our idea was someone who had escaped from a building and was trying to contact the police.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Storyboards & SOFT Trailer

Today with Simon we learnt the importance of storyboards. These can really help us when it comes to pre-production. This is the stage that story boards are most used, they enable the detailed planning of the entire production. They are also used in production, post-production and the editing stages. However, not all productions use storyboards - EastEnders is one. They simply use a script and shot list. We can go outside the storyboards, they are just a basic guide so we know where the story is going. Depending on director, storyboards can be very different.

Monday, 17 October 2016


Steve briefed us on moments to start with. He said to remember the first reaction to our moments. Remember what it did for us when we first wrote it and if we have a moment hold on to it. This outlined really how important it was to create moments in our screenplays for a successful film.

Today was I think our last proper session with Steve until out half hour tutorial with him and our scripts. We learnt about Final Draft, this is a software I had never heard of before. It seemed confusing at first, I would rather have used Word but Final Draft is the software the industry uses so I was pleased we were learning to use it.

We simply had to transfer a scrip on Word into Final Draft by using the 'Elements' button. This allowed us to put each line into a section, e.g. the scene heading, characters, dialogue and the action. After selecting each section it put it in the correct place of us on the page, such as, putting the dialogue and character's names in the middle of the page. The main things we have to remember are:

- Never change the font in Final Draft
- Script notes won't show up when printed
- Check spelling
- Scene numbers are useful, shows how many scenes you've done
- Most important button is the 'Elements' button

I have started my screenplay in Word but after today I will be able to transfer it into Final Draft so it looks like a professional piece.

STORYTELLING: Edit Workshop 2

Friday was our second edit workshop with Ferg. Again we had a few different clips of the same set of dialogue between two people. We focused a lot on getting the audio flowing right throughout the whole clip once put together. I found this alright to do but some parts were difficult in getting the audio exact as they spoke after each other quickly. Some clips were the same but slightly different, e.g. the dialogue was slightly different or some they were talking a bit louder than the others.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

CONTEXTUAL STUDIES: Camerawork and Editing (Lecture)

Today with Louis we had two lectures instead of a lecture and a seminar to catch up with last week. The first lecture was about camerawork and the second about editing. To start the lecture we learnt the basic elements of camerawork; these are the shot and movement. The shot affects emotional and psychological relationship with the character and setting through composition and speed. Movement does the same apart from it affects the relationship through changes in visual space and action. Shots are the visual equivalent of sentence structure.

If shots are words, then Mise en Scène is the meaning and editing is the narrative structure. The basic shots were next and these are a wide shot, medium shot, close up and the extreme close up. These I already knew from a lecture with simon about coverage.

Classical framing and composition were next and with this we learnt more about rule of thirds. I had completely forgotten about this when filming but luckily I think I applied it yesterday in the Crossing The Line project.

'Never, never use a shot without dramatic reasoning' - Alfred Hitchcock

Angle and Speed:
- High angle shot - overhead shot, birds eye view, makes people look smaller

- Low angled shot - emphasises character

- Dutch/tilt angle - off set angle, disorientating, creates psychological tension

- Slow mo/fast motion (Guy Ritchie, Zack Snyder)

Expressionism is another subject we touched upon. Louis related this to National Treasure like how he told me to research about it. I learnt that angled shots are a common feature of expressionism, especially, classic German expressionist films of the 1920s-30s. Expressionism presents the world from a subjective perspective, distorting it for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. National Treasure is classed as modern expressionism.

Why do we move the camera? This was an interesting thing to learn about because you don't really think of why, we just do it.

- To heighten action or emotion

- To convey objective or subjective viewpoints

- Refocus audience attention within the scene

- Explore or change setting/environment

Frenzy - Alfred Hitchcock (1972)

- Use of camera movement

Alienation was the next topic. I didn't know about alienation before today so this was very helpful. In Frenzy, the camera tracks two characters running into a house and upstairs, once they had gone into a room the camera went back down the stairs and outside, such as the reverse of originally tracking them. Hitchcock uses the method of the reverse crane/tracking shot as an example of an alienation effect. Alienation is the extent to which one maintains a critical distance from a cultural production.

Halloween, directed by John Carpenter (1978) was another film we spoke about. It was the first horror film using a steadicam. It used the camera movement to get the audience into action. The movement in Halloween heightened the action with a point of view shot where the audience was the killer which turned out to be a child. Towards the end of that scene Carpenter switches between a steadicam and a crane viewpoint and with this he refocuses the audiences attention within the scene.

Elements of visual style:

- Denotative (directive attention)

- Expressive

- Decorative (flourishes or stylistic patterns that are independent or semi-independent of narrative design)

- Symbolic functions (involving abstract concepts)

We did a few bits about documentaries which was useful to know as our final first year project is on this topic so it was nice to learn a little about it. The use of handheld in documentary:

- Heightens action and emotion (coveys urgency)

- Dynamics of transition

- Places character in conflict. Authenticity

The second lecture was about editing. Editing is the assembly of visual material into sequences, it constructs a narrative and manipulates time, either by condensing it or lengthening it. Louis recommended us to watch Rope and Russian Ark as they are made with long takes and include continuous narratives.

Creating visual meaning:

- Mise en scène and cinematography creates implicit meaning within shots

- Editing creates implicit meaning between shots

We then did a bit about something that is in Film Art, written by Bordwell. I have taken this book out but haven't got round to reading it just yet so it was interesting to have an insight as to what sort of information is in the book. The four key elements of editing:

- Spatial - Relationship between different spaces and the editors manipulation of them e.g. cross cutting

- Temporal - Manipulation of time within the film in relation to order duration e.g. montages, dissolves, wipes, fades

- Rhythmic - manipulation of duration of the shots: accents, beats and the tempo e.g. action and suspense scenes, jump cuts

- Graphics - the relationship between pictorial qualities of shots or scenes e.g. graphic match cut

Why is editing important?

- Creates strong visual narratives from simple script descriptions or unedited rushes.

- The most creative aspect of filmmaking

- A good editor can make bad shots work

- A bad editor can ruin/ignore good shots

- Shooting ratios have an impact on editing (film is 10:1 and documentary is 60-100:1)

Eye line match shot:

- First shot shows character looking offscreen

- Second shot shows us what he is looking at

Shot reverse shot:

- Alternatives between two shots framed from reverse angle

Match an action:

- Action begins in first shot and is completed in the second

- Maintains continuous action across edits


- Set of opinions, values, beliefs and assumptions that one uses to think about

- Ideology is not objective truth but perceived truth; a systems value

Eisenstein on montage:

- Eisenstein argues that montage, especially intellectual montage, is an alternative to continuity editing.

'Montage is conflict' - Eisenstein

The Kuleshov Effect:

- A mental phenomenon by which viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of this sequential shots than from a single shot in isolation

- So each single shot has its own intrinsic meaning

5 principles of soviet montage:

- Metric

- Rhythmic

- Tonal

- Overtonal/Associative

- Intellectual

Modern documentary editing:

- Evidentiary or expositional editing

- Dynamic editing

The last two shows we spoke about were Horizon - How Violent Are You? and 'Excluded'.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Camera Workshop 3 - Crossing The Line Project

Today was our third camera workshop and we got straight into the camera work as we had a talk about what we were going to do on Monday. Today's project was 'Crossing The Line'. In this workshop we got to put the 180 rule to test. We had a script and had two people reading the lines, one person on the boom and one directing/on camera. I had an idea for mine the other day and I made what I had in mind.

Monday, 10 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Beginnings, Middles, Ends and Moments (Lecture)

Tin Men (opening) -
This afternoon we had another session with Steve Coombes about beginnings, middles and ends of stories and in the second part, about moments in films. He also told us that dramatic irony was good to try and include in our stories, as all characters need big 'buts' and they have to make hard or bad choices because of the 'buts'.

STORYTELLING: Storytelling With Pictures & the 180° Rule
This morning we had a session with Simon with more tips for our stories. One of the things we covered was the 180° rule in order to help us when it comes to filming our trailers or first 2 minutes. This is the line that you usually do not cross when filming so the characters are looking in the correct way without confusing the audience. I had heard about this rule before but only when I came to my interview at the Studios when Simon told me about it.

Sunday, 9 October 2016


As we did not have a third contextual studies lesson this week, Louis recommended a few television programmes to watch which we can talk about in the next session. One he recommended was National Treasure on Channel 4. This is about a beloved TV personality who has been accused of rape from years ago and his journey through the accusation, including how it affects his family as well as his reputation. After watching the first episode I can safely say I am hooked, it was really good and I just wanted to watch the next one.

Friday, 7 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Edit Workshop 1

Today was the first of our edit workshops. We did a very similar exercise to Monday's premiere workshop. Again, on premiere we edited some clips to make a story. This time the clips were about coffee farmers and the work they do to provide us with our morning drink. They were also longer and more interesting clips than the 'I Think' ones so I found them more enjoyable to work with. We learnt more about the shortcuts in premiere today and how to actually import clips onto the timeline instead of just doing it and finding ways ourselves.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Camera Workshop 2 - Chair Project

Today was our second camera workshop with Ferg. We got used to the cameras to start with and then Simon presented a powerpoint to us about different shots, long ones and a lot of short shots edited together. After we had to create a short film about a person and a chair using short shots and then later editing them together. I found it difficult to think of the idea but was looking forward to actually shooting them. After storyboarding, I found an idea, Emma was my actress and we started filming. My idea was to have Emma walking towards the chair and dropping her pen on the way.

Monday, 3 October 2016

STORYTELLING - Dialogue & Character (Lecture)

This afternoon was our second session with screenwriter Steve Coombes. This one was about dialogue and characters in scripts. It was really useful to hear what he had to say as he gave us pointers for our own scripts, such as:


- It is the least most important bit of screenwriting
- Don't be too formal
- Don't have both characters speaking the same/talk how their characters would talk
- Don't be too artistic
- How polite are they?

STORYTELLING: Premiere Pro Workshop

This morning we learnt about premiere pro, I was looking forward to this workshop and eager to get into it as I would like to go into editing and this is the software that industries use. We had to download a file containing a few video clips in it and we had to edit them to make a story. After I learnt the basics to premiere by playing around with it, I found this workshop very useful.
Making a story from the clips was a great way to get our heads around the software and I cannot wait to edit my own film clips.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

STORYTELLING: Reworked Pitch and Developed Characters and Story

Reworked pitch:

'A man enters a police station to help with a murder case, unbeknown to the detective the man is the killer.'

MAJOR PROJECT: Project Evaluation

Production My aim for this major project unit was to further develop the aspects of production which I had written about in the p...