Showing posts with label Production. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Production. Show all posts

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

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 pre-production package. These included crew, props, costume, budget, locations, schedules and marketing. I undertook more research that helped me further develop aspects of production such as how to handle the budget during this stage, editing and marketing techniques. Throughout my research, I learnt the importance of a script read through and how to evaluate the casts' performances. Another benefit of the read through was so I could give out all the necessary forms required for filming, such as artist contracts and bank information. After creating an estimated budget in the pre-production unit, I had to continue managing this throughout production. I carried out some research into way in which I could handle this and learnt about money expenditure logs. These ended up being really helpful in recording outgoings and keeping track of the travel fares. I also used this time period to look further into aspects of production that didn't quite work in the pre-production unit. For example, I look at alternative locations to carry out the dog hit, and from Alex's requirements of a mixed residential and rural area, I found an adequate location in Margate. In addition to this, as a group we worked out how to conduct and film the dog hit. We did this by practicing the different methods we had in mind, whether to run over a big bag and carpet or simply move in a certain way to imply the fact we had just hit something. 

I gained additional crew on board with our project - an on-set dresser and a photographer. Throughout the shooting period, I realised how beneficial it was to have the extra members of crew. They allowed the shooting period to become smoother by taking roles away from Katie, Alex and myself so we could concentrate on our own. I prepped a lot for each shoot day, checking we had all props and the cast knew about their costumes. I also filled out the required risk assessments to a good standard so I knew about the control methods to keeping my cast and crew safe on set.

I believe I worked well as a creative producer on the shoot days. I made sure we had all the shots we needed for each day by crossing them off the refined shot list. Due to this I believe I took my research into the shoot days by becoming "ringleader, seeing to it that all the elements come together as planned" (Martin, 2013). In addition to this, I also found that I could act as a 'second director'. While not getting in the way, I was there simply for support for Alex if he needed it. I also constantly made sure the original vision for the film was realised while shooting. This was possible by having the shot list with the initial plans on it. I listened, looked and reacted, as advised by Blaine Deutsch, on the shoot days to ensure everyone was happy and help out if there were any problems. I had to put this into practice at one point in production on the second shoot day. We were taking scenes 7 & 9 slowly because we had time before shooting the night scene, however, I could notice that the cast members were getting cold and bored from standing around while decisions were being made regarding filming and blocking, so I reacted by pushing the filming along slightly so we could get going. Even if we did a few more takes of the same shot, at least the cast weren't stood around getting cold. I was available on every shoot day to ensure all elements came together as planned. I felt this was important advice to take forward from my research into creative producing. While Alex and Katie were concentrating on blocking and filming, I was making sure everything was captured and we were on time shooting specific scenes each day, which ultimately meant that all elements came together by the final shooting day.

I was prepared with the make-up aspect to the film as this is such an important part to our visuals, particularly the blood. I conducted a trial run with the make-up artist I had got on board in the pre-production unit. The results we gained from the trail run were beneficial for the shoot days as I was able to liaise with Alex and explain what we created. This made the day simpler for all of us as we weren't spending loads of time deciding what make-up to do. Beth was able to get straight on with the make-up and blood when she was required to do so.

I organised and conducted the re-shoot and voice over day in the exact same way that I approached the main shooting period to maintain professionalism throughout the whole project. I also took the creativity through to the re-shoot, by again taking control and making sure everything was captured and we were on schedule. This allowed all the elements to come together as planned prior to the test shoot, i.e. shot lists, blocking. 

Post-production

In the post-production stage I was the rough cut editor. Throughout my research I found that this means I had to resemble the edit to look like the final product. I followed the script and storyboard while assembling the initial footage and audio together. As I was making sure the original vision was being realised in the shoot days, I had to continue with this and make sure the edit was also resembling the initial plans, as a result of this, I constantly checked the script and storyboard. I understood from other research that the structure of the film may need to change. Just because the story worked in a script, doesn't mean it'll work on the screen. Fortunately, I didn't feel the need to change the structure and this maintained throughout the entire project, from plans to final product. I added parts in to the edit that weren't initially thought of, for example, the voice over and GVs but these didn't change the structure of the story, just added to it. 

In addition to my research, I also looked into editing comedy and in particular the editing of The Thick Of It, our inspiration for VET-MAN which helped me edit the rough cut. I made sure to follow their techniques of using camera movements like zooming and panning to my advantage, and I also held on appropriate reaction shots, as long as they added to the comedy aspect of the film. I initially took on Anthony Boys' advice about watching every frame by sitting with Katie when she briefly cut the first two shoot days together. His explanation of how timing is instinctive, I cut the specific shots when I felt it was right and then to get a second opinion, I asked other students with fresh minds to the project when they would cut it. As I learnt, there is not set way or time in which to cut something in comedy, it is purely down to when it feels right to do so. I took on the advice of not being afraid to cut something, if it wasn't working, such as some of the voice over we had planned, then it was cut. The storytelling of the film is the priority when creating a rough cut. The refinement of the film continued into the fine cut when Katie took it over with a fresh mind, allowing the comedy to flow better.

To continue with my creative role of producer, I scheduled fine cut viewings with Alex and Katie to view the progress of the film. As producer, I need to make sure everyone is on task to help "bring the creative vision to life" (Martin, 2013). As a result of this, I need to be involved with the whole production, from beginning to the final product so it was necessary that I had the opportunity to give feedback as well as Alex, as the director. 

What went well

- During my research of the script read through, I discovered that it was known to organise first meetings like this in someones living room. While reading this, I had already decided that without a doubt the meeting would be held at the Studios, due to the more professional environment and ease for everyone to get to. During the main shoot week, I found out that this was the correct choice, as I was talking to one of the cast members about meeting with new people at the beginning of projects and they explained that they are always weary if the first meeting is scheduled in someones house. They found this uncomfortable as they haven't met the new group yet and to meet at someones house first could be dangerous for all they know. Once I had heard about this, I immediately realised that organising the script read through for the Studios was the best possible scenario. If I had arranged it for someones house, it sounds as if we might have lost that cast member as they wouldn't be comfortable for the first meeting to be at someones house. Although, Alex and I met with all the cast members at the auditions, they didn't meet each other until the script read through, so I can understand where the uneasiness would have come from. Thinking back to that shoot day, I am very pleased with myself for following my mind and agreeing that the Studios was the best place to meet. 

- The blood splatter in the re-shoot went really well. We managed to get the splatter in one take and we were really happy with the result. The blood stained hands also looked effective, especially when Tim touches Sheila and Luke's arm and gets a hand print on their clothes. As the blood was a vital part of the story, it had to look right in order to help the story along. In this sense, it was worth putting more money into the budget to allow the re-shoot to happen, as we didn't have the same reaction on the first rough cut than we did on the third when the new footage was in place. 

- The production schedule stayed the same throughout the whole of the shooting period. We either finished on time or earlier, we didn't have to stay later on any of the days unexpectedly. I believe that this shows I created an achievable schedule, and the fact that I created it at the beginning of the project before the shooting period makes me believe that I thought ahead and correctly decided how long we would take to shoot each scene. By keeping to schedule we were able to complete additional tasks with the cast, such as capture the poster photos. 

- In terms of shooting locations, I only had to change one of them from the pre-production package, however, this didn't interfere with any other aspects in production. For example, I didn't have to let down a location and try to contact another. As the location I changed was only a road, I simply just had to contact the residents and let them know what we were planning on doing. I also contacted the Kent Film Office, but as I hadn't done this yet with the initial location, I didn't have to do it twice. As a result of this, changing the location was simple. The other locations didn't change. We had doubts about one location in the pre-production stage (Tess' house), however, we were able to use this in the end with no problems. Although I was constantly updating The Bell Inn throughout pre-production and production, they easily could have contacted me and explained that we couldn't use it anymore. Fortunately, they didn't and we had a successful shoot day on their premises. I was confident that the Owl Academy wouldn't turn us down as Alex is good friends with the owner, however, it was still a possibility for them to say that we couldn't film there, so I was grateful that we were allowed throughout production. The access we had on site was also really beneficial for the shots we wanted and for the promo photos. 

- During the shoot days I realised how much we benefited from having the additional crew. Gina and Harriet were very helpful in terms of doing jobs so we didn't have to. BTS photos and production stills are a requirement for the major project hand in so it was helpful to have someone there taking high quality photos for us. We wouldn't have been able to get as many as she did if we had to take them ourselves. Harriet was also really helpful in terms of making sure the props were in place ready for shooting. If we didn't have her I can imagine that we would have needed to reset more takes than normal because we probably would have had realised that a prop was out of place for the character to use. 

- I believe I successfully helped us keep to the shot list and production schedule on the shoot days. We captured everything we needed by the end of each shoot day. Even on the Margate shoot when we felt rushed, we managed to get all the footage we needed, it just wasn't up to the standard we wanted which was why a re-shoot was required. Keeping everyone on track on the shoot days was originally Simon's suggestion, and as it went well, I believe that I followed and carried out his advice accordingly, creating a number of smooth-running shoot days. 

- I worked on the edit as a whole like I was advised to. This made the edit process easier when it came to viewings. The only time when a part of the edit may have been more developed than the rest was just before the re-shoot. I worked on the scenes that didn't need re-shooting and then worked just on the new footage after the re-shoot, however, I didn't do a lot to the other scenes just a bit of refining until I was able to work with the new footage. Once it was all on the timeline, I was able to carry on refining the edit as a whole.

- When aspects of filming didn't quite go to plan, I was able to think quickly as producer or editor in order to help resolve them. An example being during the night scene when we found out about the sensor light, we all thought quickly about how it could work by using it in the story. This worked really well in the end and we didn't lose any production value over it. 

- In the end, all 8 shoot days were very productive, including the re-shoot and GV pickups, I was there primarily to make sure the shoot days went smoothly under the control of the director. To ensure we had all the shots that were listed in our pre-production package, and to make sure the production schedule was followed. I believe I took on the role of producer well during the production stage and incorporated some of my research of essentially being a second director and just making sure everything was controlled. I suggesting ideas to Alex where I could which were beneficial in some places of the story.  

- I actually enjoyed budgeting for the film. I found a simple way of doing it by reading through the script drafts and noting down items and costumes that would be needed. In terms of travel, I was able to get an estimate of everyone's travel costs just by knowing where they lived. When it came to reimbursing the money back to the cast and crew, I believe I carried this out professionally. I reimbursed the cast and crew the day after we wrapped on the main shoot week, and I reimbursed them again the day after the re-shoot and voice over day, without fail. I explained from the start that I would reimburse on the following day after the wrap and I followed this through on both occasions. In addition to this, the reimbursement process was mentioned in the feedback form, explaining that it was 'simple, transparent, and prompt'. 

- I believe that I created achievable production schedules for what needed to be completed on each shoot day. There wasn't an occasion where we ran late, only on time or earlier than scheduled. Again, the feedback form reflected this as one of the answers explained that we 'always finished on time or sooner, which was especially helpful for planning travel home'. The successful schedule was helped by liaising with Alex to find out what specific scenes he wanted to do on what days. Once I had this information, I was able to find an achievable way of doing what he envisioned for his shoot days. 

- In terms of the feedback form, overall the answers were very positive. The questionnaire was anonymous so we couldn't tell who said what answer but I was grateful for the good feedback. My questions were primarily about the organisation of the project, whether they felt kept in the loop throughout production, food choices and reimbursement method. Generally, they felt that they were kept updated throughout the production. One answer mentioned the voiceover day which were weren't quite prepared for, however, Alex and I made sure the day wasn't a waste and thankfully, the cast member acknowledged this. We were able to conduct other work to do with the film on this day. After reading this answer, I was grateful that they understood the fact that Alex and I tried our best to make the day worth it for them coming in. Another answer detailed that 'communication was professional, polite, and friendly'. This was an important point for me, as the producer, I need to make sure everyone knows what is happening and feels comfortable throughout production, and after reading this comment I believe I did this well. All of the questions aimed at the organisational side and production of the film were answered with a 4 or 5 (5 being the highest) so I was pleased with this. 

- I believe I got the last rough cut to a good standard ready for Katie when she took over. My reasoning for this is that the final film doesn't look too far off from my last rough cut. Katie also only made minimal changes to the visuals which means I took on the role of rough cut editor well throughout the post-production stage to get it to a good standard. I believe that getting it to the stage it was before passing it on was also down to the good relationship with Alex. As editor and director, we worked well throughout the edit. By having good communication skills I believe I was able to get it to it's best before passing it on.

- I believe I referred back to the pre-production package many times throughout this unit. This was beneficial in the fact that I didn't have to research again into aspects of production, I was able to spend that time wisely by further researching and reflecting back on the package, instead of re-doing the research. 

- As I mentioned previously in my comparison of the final product to our initial plans, I believe I took on the creative side to producing well, ensuring we had every shot which was originally planned to make sure our final product matched with our initial plans and ideas. When it came to passing on the edit for the fine cut, I scheduled regular viewings with Katie and Alex to see how the edit was going. I was there predominantly to ensure our initial vision was coming across in the edit, which it did really well. The fact that our final product isn't far off the latest script draft is evidence of this. 

What didn't go so well

- I was really disappointed with the doctors bag. As shown in Shoot Day 1 & 2 blog post, I had ordered and paid for a second hand, leather doctors bag which would have been perfect for the father's work bag. However, it didn't arrive. The night before the first shoot day I was still waiting and tracking the postal service but unfortunately it didn't turn up. As a result of this, we had to improvise and re-design one of Katie's bags. The bag was a leather briefcase bag, but it was slightly smaller which gave off a feminine look to the bag. From the script, the bag seemed as if it was big, bulky and manly, so when we decided to use the smaller bag, I knew it wouldn't give off the same impression the bag on order would have. Nevertheless, Dan explained that the small briefcase bag actually looked quite comedic. The fact that we built up the tension for the bag in the first scene and then it turns out to be a small, more feminine type of bag made the idea of the iconic bag funnier in his opinion.

- The make-up didn't look quite the same in the trial as it did on camera. This wasn't the make-up artists fault, if we had known that the black and red eyes looked slightly unrealistic on the camera then she could have easily changed them as she is experienced in that type of make-up. Unfortunately, I didn't think to review the footage that day, as long as the shots were crossed off I was positive about the day. Nevertheless, the make-up looked better once the colour grade was complete.

- Simon suggested that we should have kept Tim in his blood stained costume and mask rather than getting him changed. Having Tim attend the Owl Academy in blood stained clothes would have added to the comedy aspect more. However, none of us thought of this during the shooting period. Initially, it was my job to source the costumes that Alex wanted for his cast. He wrote in the script that Tim changes into a hoodie, and as a result of that, I told our cast member to bring clothes to change into.

- Although I said budgeting and scheduling went well, I also lacked on these skills slightly as we ended up going over the budget and we didn't follow the post-production schedule well. I struggled to think of every single aspect we were going to have to pay for when I first planned the budget in the pre-production stage, however, I made sure we were on track throughout the whole of production and I made sure these extra costs were affordable for us. I also checked with Katie and Alex to see if they were happy spending the extra money as well. These extra costs allowed us to create the best quality film that we could. We didn't keep to the post-production schedule during the beginning of the edit because I didn't schedule everything which needed to happen in the edit, and therefore we went over the schedule. I found it hard to plan something so far in advance and as I was very busy during the pre-production stage, I wasn't focusing on the post-production as much as I should. I know schedules are inevitably going to change and develop, however, we would have been on schedule more if I had considered time to sync the audio and given more time in-between rough and fine cuts for re-shoots.  

- In terms of actually writing the blog post, I wasn't entirely sure how to approach the shoot day posts. As director and DoP, I understand that Alex and Katie would have a lot more to write about, however, I struggled to write a detailed piece. I am taking on the creative role and organisational role of producing but in terms of being creative, I had to make sure we had all the correct shots from the shot list and make sure we had all costumes and props ready for the shoot day. I was also able to act as a second director as I found throughout my research, but as Alex had it under control and had his own ideas, I didn't need to intervene as much as I thought I might. As a result of this, I used the time in the blog post to explain and evaluate my producer tasks from the pre-production package, such as crew, props, costume, location etc. 

- Marketing was definitely my weakest point within the producer role. I struggled with this in the pre-production unit as well. Although contacting Oscar and Emily helped me think of additional ideas and more creative ways to tackle advertising, especially on social media as this was my main marketing method, I still didn't quite feel satisfied with my final advertising methods. Advertising and marketing my work was a new experience for me in the final year of University and it's not something I did for previous work. I think my lack of experience shows in my marketing attempts as I wasn't confident in them from the start. Contacting different people did help and give me inspiration for ideas I wouldn't have otherwise thought of, however, I am unsure whether my marketing techniques were as expected. 

What would I do differently next time?

- Throughout my research I learnt to conduct the script read through as early as possible in case I felt that one of the cast members wasn't quite right for the film. However, due to everyones busy timetables, I could only schedule the script read through for a few weeks before we were due to start filming. Luckily, as I thought, all our cast members were perfect for their parts, however, if we weren't as lucky, we would only have had a couple of weeks in which to find someone to replace them which would have been difficult and possibly impossible given the short amount of time the new member would need to get on board and learn their lines. As a result of this, if I was to do a project like this again I would try harder to arrange a suitable time in which to conduct the script read through, giving me a sizeable amount of time before the filming period where I could have changed cast if it was needed. 

- I felt that some aspects of my marketing methods went well, such as the cast and crew introductions for social media, however, if i was to promote a film again, I would have introduced the cast first before posting BTS and promo photos. Essentially the followers saw the characters first without being introduced, but this should have happened the other way round. On the other hand, we didn't have any professional looking photos until the shoot days so that had to come first. In this sense I could have got the photos from the shoot days and then introduced the cast, but the only problem with that is that the social media wouldn't then be up-to-date like I would prefer.

What did I learn?

- Make sure I give time for every aspect of production. We struggled to follow the post-production schedule because I hadn't given enough time for the rough cut or any room for re-shoots. These are vital areas of post-production and I have now learnt how long they take to perfect. To do them correctly, they need more time to be scheduled for them.

- Although I ordered the doctors bag well in advance, I have learnt to order items even further in advance to prevent them not turning up. If I had done this even further in advance then I would have had more time finding out where the parcel had got to, and I may have been able to amend it before the shoot day. 

- I have learnt to check the footage myself on the camera. Reflecting back on Tim's make-up, I was surprised as the difference to how it looked on camera to how it looked in person. If it looked terrible on camera I have no doubts that Katie would have said something, I think I still should have looked to see if it could be made better. This wasn't a big issue as it was corrected in the colour grade, however, it may have saved some time in the edit. 

- I have learnt a lot of valuable things about producing. I didn't realise how much responsibility the producer had on shoot days as their job is primarily in the pre-production stage. I also didn't quite comprehend the role of creative producer in our previous unit, but I believe that I have learnt from further research and I took to the creative side of producing well, helping to bring the creative vision to life.



References:
- Martin, G. (2013). Why Producers Are More Important Than Any Good Photographer. Available at: https://fstoppers.com/interview/why-producers-are-more-important-any-good-photographer-1525. Last accessed 3rd Feb 2019.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

MAJOR PROJECT: Submission

The following components complete the submission of VET-MAN, along with the research and development journal:

Production stills x3






BTS photos x2




A1 poster






2-3 minute extract







VET-MAN final film


Monday, 6 May 2019

MAJOR PROJECT: Comparison of Finished Work from Original Research & Plans

Producing

I thought it may be beneficial to reflect back over the project as a whole to see how it has developed from original research and plans to how it has ended up. As I have taken on two roles throughout the project, I have split the comparisons up as two sections. I have already compared some aspects of the project such as the budget and the post-production schedule, these will be found in blog posts Final Budget and Development of Post-Production Schedule.

Props

The props I had first noted down after reading through the first draft of the script decreased to the amount we actually had on during production. Below is the first prop list compared with the final prop list:

























The first prop list contains 33 items while the final prop list only contains 29. This shows that the number of props we needed only went down by 4 items. Although this is a comparison against the first and last prop list, this number fluctuated throughout the project as I added and took off props according to the latest script draft. I constantly changed the number of props throughout pre-production and production to ensure I had the correct number of items we would need for filming. We decreased in the amount of props needed by the shooting period, however, some of these props changed completely throughout the development of the project. For example, when the the shoot weeks came we didn't need the hammer, blanket and door lock for the owl enclosure, but we needed photos of Skevy and photo frames and a USB stick. These changes to the props were all achievable and they helped add to the believability of the story, for example, having the idea of Skevy's photos to signify the older, more successful sister. These simple props gave more background information about the characters to the audience.

In the list above the first set of props are what stayed the same from pre-production through to production. The props after the gap on the first prop list are the ones that were taken out of the script and therefore, off the list. The items after the gap on the final prop list were added into script drafts and were kept in the story. 

Costume

The costume with the characters stayed the same from when we planned that they were going to wear to what they actually wore during production. Alex and I agreed that Luke should be wearing lighter coloured clothing so show his innocence and Tim wearing darker coloured clothing to show a contrast. We decided exactly what they would wear at the script read through as we were able to talk to both Ed and Dan in person to see what sort of clothing they had.

Becky's costume stayed the same throughout pre-production and into production as her clothing was quite obvious for her role in the film. She played Mollie who is the owner of The Kent Owl Academy. Playing this role meant that she had to look like the employees at the academy. I took note of this and explained to her the costume requirements at the script read through. All she needed was black leggings or jeans, boots and something warm for her top half, as we had sourced her a Kent Owl Academy fleece on the shoot day. 

Skevy's costume also stayed the same throughout planning and shooting. As she is a successful estate agent we wanted her in smart clothing. Although the days we were shooting could have been her days off from work in the story, we wanted to establish her character in the scenes she was in. As she was only in the two scenes for a short period of time, this meant we wanted her wearing her smart clothes of the duration of her time in the story. 

Sue was able to wear whatever she wanted, all we asked for was that it was something she would wear as everyday clothes. As a result of this, I didn't speak to Sue again about specific clothing until it came to the re-shoot. For this, I asked her to wear the same clothes she did in the shoot week incase we wanted to use some of the initial footage we captured. The minimal clothes advice went for Al as well. I explained that he could wear anything he wanted with the only requirement of wearing a leather jacket to help establish the biker / intimidating look we wanted from Mark. As result of the costumes staying the same as we planned, apart from the extra costume for Mark, I believe these aspects of the final film matched up with our initial plans quite well. 

Cast

We gained a cast member in between pre-production and production with Al. Sue suggested him to us. Previously, we were going to have Alex's dad stand in for Mark as it is not a speaking role and we just wanted a big built male for Tim to feel intimidated by. However, we were glad to welcome Al so we had a full professional cast. The only requirement I wanted from Al was that he was tall. I found out that he was 6 foot 1in which we believed to be tall enough for Mark. Apart from the additional cast member, all other cast stayed the same throughout pre-production and production. This was beneficial because Alex and I didn't have to look for more cast members throughout production. I believe that keeping the cast members on board was my responsibility and I feel that I did a good job in keeping them up-to-date and interested in the project. I can only imagine the extra work we would have had to put in trying to find new cast members if they didn't stay on board so I am very grateful that they did.

Crew

Similarly to the cast, I gained a couple of additional crew members. I recruited Harriet as on-set dresser and Gina as photographer. This was recommended to me before production so we could concentrate on our own roles rather than concerning ourselves with prop and set dressing and taking promo photos. I am glad I took on the advice in the end because it was helpful during filming to not have to worry about the location set up or taking the photos. There were a couple of days when we didn't have Gina, however, these were minor locations such as Tess's house. I still took a few photos to put into the blog post but I took a significantly less amount than what Gina took on the shoot days when she was present. This explained the importance of a photographer on the shoot days because I just didn't have the time to take photos and then before we knew it, the day was over and the opportunity for photos had disappeared. In addition to this, Harriet also benefited us on location. Having her on hand to sort the props by making sure they were back in place for the next take meant that we didn't have to stop and move the prop if we had forgotten to reset it before. I can imagine that we all would have been too busy to remember where a prop was to start with until the character came to use it and it wasn't there.

Unfortunately, the crew I mentioned in the pre-production package changed throughout the production period. Previously, I stated that we would have Alix and Katthaliya throughout the production period, but in the end we only had them for about 4 days of production rather than 6. Fortunately, I was able to get other students from our University course to stand in as sound operators and runners. We still benefited from this as they knew what they were doing with the equipment due to taking the same course as us. Although we didn't have Alix and Katthaliya for the duration of the shooting period, we always had someone on sound who knew what they were doing which meant we could still concentrate on our job roles. The runner role could be completed by anyone, however, on all of the shoot days apart from one we had someone who was on our television course.

Locations

The locations all stayed the same from the pre-production package apart from one. I was advised at the beginning of the unit to look elsewhere for a location for the dog hit to take place on. The initial location wasn't quite right and there was no reasoning behind my decision which I agree with. As a result of this, I looked at a few more locations which were more suitable and I showed Alex photos of each one to get his opinion. We agreed on the road of St. Mary's Avenue which ended up being a suitable mix between residential and rural which is what Alex wanted. 

In the pre-production unit, I was unsure on the location of Tess' house as we weren't confirmed to be able to use it. However, I thought positively and we were able to use the house. This was beneficial as I didn't have to look for another house to film in.

As I said previously, all location apart from the one stayed the same. We got what we wanted out of them as well, for example, we wanted the house for Sheila as it had a big drive, big enough for the crew and equipment. We liked Tess' house for the neatness and well kept aspect of it which worked well with Tess' neat and tidy character. The features of these two houses were requirements from the beginning and we managed to keep these locations through until production. As all the locations, apart from one, stayed the same and as a result of this, I believe that our final film matched up with our initial plans well.

Budget

There was quite a big change from the initial budget I created to what we spent by the end of production. Although there were big changes, I believe I improved the budget. As a result of this, the changes were very positive a because we needed each change to ensure we could create the best film possible. I didn't include every single outgoing in production that was possible, for example, van insurance for re-shoots. This was purely down to not realising every aspect we would need to cater for until it happened. This led us to have to put more money into the budget to pay for the re-shoots, voice over day and GV pickups. I started by calculating a budget of £1,500 and in the end we spent £1,680. As a result of this, the plans which created the budget didn't quite match up with the end product as we had to spend more to get to this stage.

Research

As the individual producing aspects stayed the same for the majority of the time, I believe my research also stayed the same. From pre-production to production, I only developed and improved my research, rather than changing the idea and having to research again about it. The only time I repeated research may have been to look into editing, I briefly mentioned this in the pre-production unit, and explained how I would be the offline editor while Katie is the online editor, however, this changed when it came to post-production as we referred to ourselves as rough and fine cut editors. I learnt the comparison between offline and online and that it differs to rough and fine cutting. Throughout the course we have known to do rough and fine cuts so it made sense to follow these titles into the major project. 

Production

During production we changed a couple of lines and actions from the script as they simply felt more suitable when the characters were in the moment. Ed was really helpful in giving advice towards the film, he would constantly suggest different lines to say which helped the story flow and some of these lines were more amusing than what was written in the script. We were open to suggestions so some of the lines are different to what was in the script to what is now in the film. Some of the lines Ed changed were:
- "young padawan"
- "the game is a foot"

In the script we hadn't referenced why Tim and Luke got changed. We realised this and added to their lines, so Tim's line was originally - "there's not much else we can do now is there? And I can't go around looking like Patrick fu*king Bateman, can I? Besides, it's your fault, you distracted me" - whereas now he explains - "I can't go around looking like Patrick fu*king Bateman can I? I need to get changed. Besides..." - although we realise now that getting the characters changed wasn't the best idea, our main priority was that the story flowed smoothly and we though that it would be odd to see the characters in different costumes without referencing it. We did the same with Luke by getting him to say - "I'll get my coat" - after Tim hits his arm with his blood stained hand, rather than originally described in the script as a direction where Luke 'looks down at his sleeve which now has a big bloody patch on'. 

In the script, Tim is looking at his photo in scene 6 when Luke runs back to the van after his encounter with Sheila, instead as we had to reference the characters getting changed, we positioned Tim with the scrubs in his hands at the back of the van. When Luke runs by, Tim throws the clothes in the back and speeds off in the van. Also in this scene, the script describes the cat as 'curled up in a bush'. In the main shoot week we had the cat across the road under a garden gate, and in the re-shoot and final take we have the cat sat under a car. We changed the line in the script accordingly because we realised we didn't have a bush close enough to put the cat under. Fortunately, this wasn't a big amendment and it didn't take any production values away from the story. 

Scene 10 changed significantly to the original plan in the script due to the unexpected sensor light turning on and off whenever someone walked past it. As the light was next to the enclosures it was difficult to stop it from turning on. The script initially suggested Luke simply running down to the enclosure, drugging the owl and then returning to Tim before running off. However, we had to change this on the shoot. We had to play the sensor light into the film by Luke becoming startled by it and running faster to the enclosure. Shortly after this he emerged from the enclosure and ran off with Tim. During one of the takes, Ed suggested giving silly hand signals to Luke as there wasn't any dialogue to this scene. This looked really good and added to the comedy in the film at the time. 

The script initially described the dead owl as laying 'in a pile of blood and feathers', and along with this the owl was meant to 'twitch'. From the start this was going to be difficult to create. During the shoot day, instead of seeing the fake owl on the floor our runner sprinkled feathers over the top of the camera. The camera was facing Mollies angry face, which then prompts the idea of her punching Tim. We decided against seeing the fake owl on the floor because it would be revealed to the audience as a fake owl and we want to keep the believability of the film throughout. By shooting the aftermath of the owl punch in this way, it also gave us a reason not to show the owl 'twitch' as this would have been difficult to create as well.

In scene 12, the script paints the picture of Tim taking a second sip of his drink after saying - "look here you old bag" - and before - "you're not Sheila" - whereas on the shoot day, the action of Tim getting up off the seat and swinging round to face Mark worked well as a whole movement, rather than breaking it up with a sip of his drink in the middle. The effective swinging movement worked really well and allowed the take to flow better, which is why we changed to this from the original script.

Editing

I created the rough cut of the film which meant that I had to get it to a standard of what it may look like by the end of the project. Creating the rough cut meant that I was responsible for the visuals and making sure they matched what was already planned in the script and storyboard, or changing it so the story flowed better in a different order to what was already planned. As I didn't work as the editor throughout the entirety of the project, I can compare the edit in two ways, one from the initial plans through the storyboard and script, and the other, comparing the edit from the first rough cut to my third rough cut, to then the final piece.

I believe the edit represents the script quite well as the structure didn't change from the progression from script to screen. The main scenes displayed in the script are the same scenes that are in the edit and they are in the same order as well. Throughout production we developed a few aspects to the story with the additional GVs. We refined the edit and cut out some shots that weren't benefiting the story, however the GVs and voice overs were the only things that weren't included in the script before production. This was something that was considered after watching the edit and seeing how it transitioned from one scene to the next. Although the story structure didn't change much from pre-production to the end of the project, the rough cuts I created vary slightly. I refined a lot from the original script, the final script finished at 19 pages which means the film should have been at about 19 minutes in length. However, as we are creating a comedy, the editing needed to be fast paced and choppy to help get the humour across successfully. Due to this, I cut down the edit quite significantly to 16 minutes and 26 seconds in my final rough cut. The fine cut got the film down to about 15 minutes 33 seconds. Altogether we shaved off nearly 4 minutes from the original production script (latest draft). The first rough cut was purely about getting the footage onto the timeline in the correct order to see if it worked or not. Although we needed a re-shoot and some additional GVs, the general tone of the film worked. We agreed that the structure was there and the story progressed from scene to scene. 

Reflecting back on the script (draft 8), I made minor changes throughout each rough cut to take the story from as described in the script to the final film. We shot scene 1 with Tim picking up the framed photos of his sister, however this changed over the course of the rough cuts so he just looks at the frame rather than picking it up. By cutting it like this, I was able to make the sequence quicker and flow better, we were able to move onto the main focus of this scene - printing out the fake diploma. With the same idea in mind, I also refined scene 2. The script describes Luke shutting the side door on the van before getting into the passenger side, however, I realised I was watching someone close a door and get into a van which wasn't essential for the story. As a result of this, I cut from Tim's disappointment towards the slogan on the van, to both characters sitting in the front of the van ready to drive away. Again, this shaved off a couple of crucial seconds making the edit faster paced. In scene 3, the script describes Sheila only calling for Sooty once, when in the edit I prolonged this slightly to help build the tension of the surgery scene. This scene was the one exception I made to hold the shot rather than feel the need to cut quickly for the comedy aspect. When Tim puts his hand on Sheila's shoulder her facial expression is really impressive and she looks horrified. Due to this expression bringing the comedy to this specific shot, I felt that it would be more comedic to hold the shot rather than cut back and fourth between Tim and Sheila. The cuts weren't evident in the script, however, this shot was significant as it was the only time I didn't obey the quick cutting rule for the comedy.  

In scene 8 when Tim and Luke first meet Mollie, there is a lot of 'to and fourth' between the owl Mollie is feeding and Luke. This sounded effective in the script to bring across Luke's hatred of owls, however, it didn't quite work in the edit because the conversation stopped. Firstly, I tried having the conversation with Tim and Mollie over the top of the reverse shots of the owl and Luke, however, there wasn't enough time to for Tim and Mollies shots as well and they are the people talking so it was necessary to see them. As a result of this, I cut the scene down slightly by minimising the amount of times I cut back to Luke and the owl, instead I focused more on the conversation between Tim and Mollie and cut to see Luke's reaction of the owl once or twice.

The hand signals in the night scene (scene 10) were difficult to see on the edit due to filming it at night with limited artificial lighting. As a result of this, I completed the first edit with the hand signals included, before cutting them out by the final rough cut. They added humour to the story but as they were difficult to see, this took away from the comedy and therefore, didn't add anything productive to the story which meant I had to make the decision to cut them out. This did benefit the film as it shaved off a few seconds. In this case, the hand signals weren't in the script and they weren't in the final edit so it's as if they were never thought of. I felt that it was important to highlight this to show the development process I went through in production and into the edit from the script. In addition to this, the script describes Luke meeting back with Tim and they both run off, I ended up cutting the scene when Luke enters the owl enclosure as it wasn't really adding anything to the story of Luke running back up the path to Tim. 

The final scene was described in the script as watching the van reverse out of the parking space and out of the car park. However, when it came to the edit, this manoeuvre seemed pointless as it didn't add anything to the story. As a result of this, I cut the film at Tim's reaction of Luke's - "what does it taste like?". Cutting on the reaction shot is more amusing for the audience rather than finishing the film on a long winded shot of a van driving around, which is why I made this choice in the rough cut. During the post-production stage, Alex and I held a voice over day. This was to record dialogue to be used at different parts of the film. We wanted some over shots of the van, and Alex came up with the idea of having a short conversation between Tim and Luke to be put over the credits. At this point we were moving away from the idea of music but we needed something for the end credits. As a result of this, we thought that Ed and Dan could improvise a funny conversation for the audience to enjoy whilst reading our credits, and we received this on the voice over day.

The rest of the edit simply needed refining rather than cutting bits out completely. Comparing the edit to the script is beneficial. It's interesting to see how a script works and then the same story and scenes don't work as well in the edit. My changes were minimal compared to what could have been changed. Fortunately, I didn't have to change the structure of the edit and the general tone of the film worked well. 

Reflection
I believe that the final product matches up with the initial plans we made quite well. Reflecting back on to the different aspects of producing, there wasn't a lot of change from initial plans to when it came to production and editing. I believe that means that we planned the film really well. All locations, apart from one, stayed the same. All costumes stayed the same to the initial mood boards I created in the pre-production package. The props may have changed the most over the course of the project because these developed with each script draft. The biggest change may have been the budget, as we overspent by £180. 

In addition to this, I believe having the creative control over each shoot day by being on hand for the director, and checking shots and coverage were as initially envisioned, helped create a final product that matches up with our original ideas. If I didn't take on the creative side to producing and didn't have a list of shots to obtain on each shoot day, our final product may not resemble our original plans as much. As a result of this, I believe I did my job correctly on shoot days as the creative producer to help the film get to where we wanted it from the beginning. 

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

MAJOR PROJECT: Group Viewing on Big Screen, Grade Day & Final Viewing

BIG SCREEN VIEWING

We were scheduled a viewing on the big screen with the rest of our year group. We had the opportunity to watch everyone's films to give feedback on their progress so far. I felt that this would be beneficial for us to make any last changes to the edit ready for our hand-in next week. 

Feedback from Simon & rest of the group:
- Engine sound when moving
During scene 3, Tim and Luke have already picked up the van and they are on their way to the owl academy. To get the shot to look like they're moving we filmed it while the van was stationary, and then Katie added a light changing effect in the fine cut. The effect changed the light across the frame, making it look like the van was moving with the light travelling across their faces. This worked really well, however, we were fed back that the engine sound didn't quite fit. As the van wasn't actually moving we had the stationary engine sound in the background which would be better than hearing silence as the van is meant to be moving, however, this was the same sound before they hit the dog, during and after when Tim had stopped the van. It was pointed out that the engine sound would be a different pitch when the van was moving to when it had stopped after hitting the dog. This means we need to layer over another engine sound on top of the part when the van is moving or just simply raise the volume level to make it louder. Usually, the engine in a vehicle is loudest when pulling away from a stationary position, however, we need to make the difference between the two engine sounds so making the volume louder when the van is moving should work. 

- Audio in scenes 7 & 9
We were already aware of this point as Katie has been working on it throughout the duration of the fine cut. After trying a couple of different methods, we have decided to keep the audio as it is rather than trying to bring each individual clip down in volume as this was distorting the pitch level. However, Katie will edit the audio clip slightly by bringing the volume down as a whole rather than trying to edit bits of the individual clips to avoid making the audio pitchy. It was beneficial hearing the audio on the big screen for the second time as it sounds completely different to what it sound like in headphones. I was pleasantly surprised about the level of the audio on these scenes, from what I remember in the rough cut it sounded louder, which shows that Katie is improving the audio well.

- Sound effects
We are aware of the fact that we still need to add in a few sound effects - when Luke drops the bag on Sheila's doorstep and the gameboy effects during the night scene. I especially noticed that the bag needed a bigger thud when it hit the floor now that we see a shot of the dog. The audience would be able to get a idea of the weight of the dog after seeing the breed of dog we are using, and as a result of this, I don't think the bag hitting the floor reflects this well. The bag seems very light when it hits the floor, and the dog is a cocker spaniel which is a reasonably sized dog. I imagine it would give a bigger thud than what we have on the edit at the moment.

- Music
Simon suggested music would help bring up the quality of the film. As our inspiration, The Thick Of It, doesn't have any music we are reluctant to use any. However, I do agree that the night scene needs a bit of music and I believe that a heist music would be effective at this point in the story.

- Picture is pretty much there
We agreed that the pictures are pretty much there, with a small bit of refinement left to do. Katie added in a wide shot which reveals the van slogan before our main reveal, which looks slightly out of place. She argued that the original shot of Tim sitting in the van and then turning round to look at the van broke the 180 degree rule, however, we hadn't received any criticism about this in all of our previous viewings so I didn't think it was a problem. Simon seemed to agree so I will recommend changing the shot back to how it was originally, allowing us to reveal the slogan in one shot. 

- Unexpected comedy - cat & owl & pub punch
The group were laughing in appropriate places throughout the film which was a clear sign that the comedy was being shown through the edit. Getting people to watch the film who don't know the premise of it is a helpful technique to see how the comedy is actually working. Having the group big screen viewing was a good opportunity to do this as the majority of the people in the room hadn't seen the progress of the film.

Reflection
Overall, the feedback was really good and constructive. The changes we need to make are achievable which is the main thing. I was concerned that we would be advised to make changes that aren't possible in this late stage. We will be working on the edit for the rest of the week with the aim of completing it a few days before the deadline, giving us time to export the final version. 


GRADE DAY

We had a full two days with colourist, Nathan Caws, helping us to improve the our edits. He sat down with each group individually but he was around for us to ask him questions throughout the two days. We explained the premise of the film and watched it through with Nathan first. 

Feedback:
Scene 1 - Overexposed light behind the window. The room has a good dark look to it, however the light coming through the living room window is very bright and stands out too much from the dark shots. Nathan understood that there wasn't anything we could do about the light coming through the curtains on the day, so although it can't be fixed completely we can dull the window down to match the rest of the dark shot. He showed us an example of making a box around the window and only changing the exposure of this. Then he masked it so when the camera moved the dark box stayed over the window rather than moving with the camera. This worked really well and made the bright window less obvious which was ideal. Katie will attempt this as best as she can in the final edit. 

Scene 1 - Colour grade that's already been done doesn't quite match in living room. When the light gets turned on it's quite warm (orange, yellow tones), but some shots are cold (blue tones). The colour needs to be consistent throughout the scene so make the cold shots look warmer. Katie had already applied a bit of colour grade to the edit previously, however today was about showing Nathan and seeing what the thinks of the colour she's already put on there and how we can make it even better. We didn't realise that the warm toned shots weren't consistent throughout the first scene, however, now we know we will amend these to match throughout the first scene. 

Scene 2 - Nathan explained that he couldn't read the whole slogan on the van in time before we cut away from it, this then prevented him from understanding the punch line of the reveal. This should have been changed when I had the rough cut, however, this was the first time we had received this feedback. As we know the slogan we may not have had it on the screen long enough for someone who hasn't seen the van before. This was a simple change of making the shot last slightly longer.

Scene 4 - As we filmed the dog shot in slow motion there are slight movements from the dog's fur and the gravel that are noticeable. Due to the fact that there is movement in the scene, it makes the slow motion shot obvious. We only used slow motion because the dog wouldn't lay still for long enough, it doesn't add anything to the story and wasn't meant to be noticed. As a result of this, Nathan suggested freezing the shot because it's not a noticeably windy day so we wouldn't expect anything to move. We will be able to freeze the take and it would just be seen as a static shot.

Scene 4 - Nathan suggested speeding up the cuts during surgery in the van in an Edgar Wright style. This means we can get through quicker to the punch line of the blood splatter. Rather than spending a couple of seconds watching him put on one glove, and then the other and the rest of the takes, we could see a shot which lasts a second of the first glove, and a second of the next glove, and then cut to the flick of the needle. This makes sense and would speed up the sequence leading up to the blood splatter so we will try this out to see how it looks. 

Scene 5 - When Sheila hugs Luke after finding out about Sooty, the exposure on her hand is very bright. This was caused by the light sky outside the house on the shoot day, it may be difficult to lower the exposure without lowering the exposure of the characters and house as these are fine. We will play around with this to see how we can lower it without changing too much.

Scene 7 - Odd cut at "That's so smart Tim!" - this may be because it's a 2 shot cutting to another 2 shot. Hold previous shot or change shot to different angle completely. 

Scene 11 - There is a shot of the owl flapping it's wings and the the next shot is really similar - looks as if it could be the same shot. Either change shot or zoom in or out to change perspective.

Scene 9 - When Tim dangles the pills at the end of scene 9 it and then nods - looks as if we are waiting for something to happen. Nathan suggested seeing Tim's face on that shot because he nods. We explained that the original shot included a pan to Tim's face however, we changed this to focus on the pills. Nathan said that we are sat on the pills shot for long enough so maybe if we could cut before Tim nods. Then we would have shortened the take, and don't expect something to happen after Tim's nod. Or include Tim's nod completely, so his face is in the shot, rather than half off the screen.

Reflection
Having Nathan come in and watch our films was beneficial. He is extremely knowledgable on editing and colour grading, and he gave feedback that we hadn't heard before in previous viewings. However, this came with some disadvantages. Some of his feedback would really improve the edit, but it would take a while to correct, which we may not be able to complete before the deadline next week. Katie is going to try and complete the feedback that Nathan suggested, however, we are unsure if we can do everything before the deadline. 


FINAL EDIT VIEWING 

We had a final viewing with Simon a few days prior to the deadline for some last minute advice. He only had minimal suggestions which was ideal just a few days before the hand in. Simon's feedback included:

- Bigger on title
The text should be bigger across the screen. The reasoning behind the smaller title was because of the anticlimactic idea. However, we did make the text slightly larger as it was quite small.

- Scene 2 - shave time off reveal of drugs 
Simon suggested shaving a bit of time off the drug reveal by refining the action of Tim opening the glove compartment. 

- Use of a squelch sound when Tim cuts into the dog
When Tim slips and stabs the dog with the scalpel, Simon suggested a sound effect of a squelch. We have a quiet sound from the spray bottle that made the blood splatter however, this is really quiet underneath the dialogue from Sheila and atmos. As a result of this, Alex found a squelching sound that seemed appropriate for the spray bottle. This sound is now more defined and sounds believable. 

- Dialogue "as good as him" needs to go up in volume up

- Dialogue "the game is a foot" sounded a bit quiet

- Music to take us from scene 11 to scene 12. From night scene to pub location
Simon suggested having the music from the night scene and playing it into the pub scene so it sounds like it is the pub who are playing the music. I thought this was a really good idea as it will help transition from the scenes, however, we initially only wanted music when Tim thinks he is being a successful vet, i.e. surgery scene and night scene, so if we were to continue the music into the pub, we wouldn't be following our tone throughout the film.

Mark's punch sound effect on black screen
Simon suggested to put a punch sound in between scene 12 and scene 13 to signify the idea of Mark punching Tim. However, we liked the idea of leaving this to the imagination of the audience, and then seeing Tim with a black eye and bloody nose.

- Alex wasn't sure about the final line from Luke - "what does it taste like?" - I liaised with him over this as I agreed that we didn't always quite have the reaction we wanted from the joke in some of our viewings. However, Simon reassured us that it was a good place to end the film, so we kept this in the final edit.

After this tutorial Katie completed the necessary changes we discussed with Simon. There were some points we took forward and some we didn't. She tried to raise the volume on the highlighted clips to bring the sound up with the rest of the edit. She also imported another squelch sound to add to the scalpel slipping into the dog, and she made the text on the titles slightly bigger. Points we didn't take forward were the punch sound after seeing Mark when the screen goes to black. We decided against this because we wanted to leave this more to the imagination of the audience. We also didn't carry the music over from the night scene into the pub, purely because throughout the edit we have been working on the idea of using fast cuts and music to signify when we are in Tim's mind of him being a successful vet. If we were to carry the music over, then we would lose the idea of our use of music. Before we exported the final product, Katie also took out the line  - "we need scalpels and forceps Luke, not dirty needles and hot knives" - towards the end of the film because the audio was a lot quieter than the rest of the film and it was difficult to correct. As a result of this, I was happy for it to be cut out in order to maintain the quality of the film throughout. 

For the submission for the extract, we will pick a section of the film that best represents VET-MAN and showcases important aspects of the film. 

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...