Password – gelato
At the beginning of this module I was looking forward to finally getting to do my final media project as after all of these years, I can take what I’ve learnt and I can do something that is totally my own idea. Coming into the module, I already got my idea from the 360MC module and I was able to research more into it. I was quite far ahead compared to most students but as the months progress, I fell behind due to footage being lost, reshoots being cancelled, difficulty of finding new actors and trying to find a sound designer. I was also involve heavily involved in other projects, so it was very difficult to find time for my FMP as I was working so hard on the other projects.
I don’t think that my FMP is a complete fail as I was able to gain a lot from it. I know I’ve made mistakes and I will learn from them. I should be happy that I was able to get a film from it, nut to b honest, I am a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to finish it in time. I feel like I have disappointed a lot of people, but all I can do is try my best. I have definitely improved my cinematography in this project and certainly with my directing as I’ve never directed a short film before. I use to think that I liked editing but after this project I have definitely lost all interest in editing as it is very time consuming and a lot of things can go wrong during the process. I know that people think that I should have worked in a group but I wanted to do this project on my own because I wanted to challenge myself in becoming a better filmmaker. The other reason was I knew I couldn’t afford to have other people involved during the production as I was already paying for 7 people to go to Italy.
The intended audience for Gelato is children and families, which it certainly caters for that specific audience group. With no violence, death or any bad language involved, Gelato teaches that kindness and forgiveness so it certainly does send out a good message to children. I think that this film certainly works very well as a children’s story so I am aiming it to send to children’s film festivals as I believe that there aren’t many children’s short films out there. Even though the film doesn’t have much dialogue, it doesn’t need to be full with dialogues and action in order to for it to be amazing. The music certainly helps the scenes and gives out emotion. At the beginning of making this film, I wanted to create a cinematic children’s short film and I feel that I have achieved it.
As I’ve mentioned in my critical reflective report post, I’ve had a lot of bad luck in this film. So I’ve learnt to deal with and eventually come to realise that shit happens and you’ve just got to move on. I won’t give up with this film as I have worked so hard on it and so have the people who have been involved in making Gelato. I took a risk by filming this project abroad and I know that it came with a lot of hassle and bad luck, but I think that one day the risk will be worth it. I’ve certainly got a good cinematography showreel out of this film.
I think that my film is very beautiful and it certainly makes Italy look breathtaking. My child actor and actress both look lovely in the film and I really think that they suited the characters. At least from doing this project, I now have experience in working with children and the process you have to go through in order to have a child in your film. I know that I’ve spent a lot of money in this film but I see it as an investment for my future. I know that the film isn’t even finished yet but I already have a potential buyer from an American ice cream company who is willing to buy the film once it’s finished for $500. I am in the process of negotiating with them, so fingers cross.
At the beginning of this module I was worried that I might struggle in it like last year’s 201MC Professional Experience module. I knew that for the projects that I wanted to get involve in the next few months were going to be for showreel purpose and to build up my CV for when I leave university. I also know what role I wanted to have in the upcoming projects. Since I didn’t have much of a cinematography showreel, I saw this module as an opportunity to gain a very good showreel at the end of my time at Coventry University.
BBC Olympic Videos Big Screen Project
Starting with the BBC Olympic Videos Big Screen Project, the role of Director of Photography wasn’t on the list of roles, however I asked the producer (Gergana Todorova) if I could fill this role, as there will be a lot of videos to do. All the videos have to keep the same look and this would be my job to do that. I was very keen on becoming the DoP for this project and I was able to do 9 videos altogether. Working with different teams allowed me to see what other in the course are capable of and I was able to lead the camera operators into getting better shots. My job was to frame the interviews properly and to make sure that the lighting wasn’t too bright or too dark. I found it difficult at times because the camera operators would film without my approval of the shot, so I wasn’t able to see what they were doing. I wanted the videos to look a little more stylish and professional to last year’s videos, but it was difficult to make them look the way that I wanted to as the director, the camera operators, editors and the producers should know what it should look like too but most of them didn’t even read the storyboard guidelines that was created by Coventry Council/BBC. I tried to make the videos more visual interesting by having ‘cinematic’ movements such as the use of a Glidetrack, and you can see this from a couple of the videos. Not all of the film shoots turned out to be great because it depended on the location we was in as sometimes we wouldn’t have control of the lighting so it was too dark and the fluorescent lighting wasn’t very flattering on the subjects’ faces. I would have like to gone to all of the video shoots but due to other projects and financial reasons, I wasn’t able to make every shoot. From doing this project, I have been able to become a more confident DoP and I’ve been able to work well in numerous big teams.
WW1 Documentary Project
This project was to create a cinematic documentary for the restoration of a World War One Hut that was transported in Southam. It was a a very interesting story and I really wanted to follow it through, however the restoration of the hut wasn’t going to happen until September 2012. This project hasn’t really gone anywhere, although we were able to film some good footage from it. I think that it would be an interesting project to pursue for next year’s students who are interested in documentary.
BMW & MINI Project
This project has been the most exciting project that I’ve been on all year. I feel that I have really brought out my cinematography skills in all of the videos. I think that having BMW & Mini on my CV will certainly look very good on my CV and I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to be the cinematographer for this project. I’ve worked so hard on this project and dedicated a lot of my time on it, so hopefully the final videos will look amazing. I’ve learnt to create more movement in these videos, although I think that my lighting could be better. I also got to be the Director and the Cinematographer for the BMW countryside filming at Burton Dassett Country Park with all of the cars. This was probably the best day of production I’ve had during the last 3 years.
Another exciting part of this project was when I went to MIRA to film the synchronized MINI driving. I never thought that I would be able to work with cars, yet alone film MINI synchronized driving. We was able to film what would take months of work in a few hours and I’m really proud of what we achieved during that shoot, considering the stunt drivers only had a few hours to practice and I’ve never been able to film cars before. It tested me as a cinematographer because I had to create movement but also make sure that what we were doing was safe at all times.
During this project, I’ve also got to work in much bigger teams and got to know people’s strengths and weaknesses. Doing corporate work is good money for someone who is starting out in the industry and I think that I should find more corporate work to do in the future as a side project of becoming a cinematographer. After all, I need to find a way of how to live and money for my upcoming projects. BMW & MINI has certainly been the biggest part of my portfolio as at the end of project, I will have done 4 BMW videos and 1 MINI short film.
What’s next for me
The next step for me is going to be getting as much experience as I can in order to become a professional cinematographer. In order to do this, I will keep on researching for upcoming film shoots on the Internet and become a camera assistant or even become a runner. When I went to the National & Film Television School open day, the advice that Brian Tufano gave me was if I don’t get in this year, then the best thing I could do was work in a rental house as I will get to know all of the equipment and the cameras. I will also have access to the equipment for free so I would be able to play around with the different cameras that they have. I would really like to learn more about the Arri Alexa as I know that a lot of recent Hollywood films have shot on this (Drive, Melancholia, Hugo, In Time, The Avengers, Chronicle, The Dictator, Abraham Lincoln Vamprire Hunter). I would also like to learn more about the 35mm cameras such as the Arriflex D-2, Alexa Plus, Alexa M and the Panaflex Millennium XL.
Since I will be applying for the National Film & Television School next year, I will be looking to build my cinematography portfolio and I have already been asked by Blue Ridge Film Group and Gywnplaine Films to be their cinematographer in their upcoming films. I also have a feature film idea and two short films that I could possibly do. I know that I’m nowhere near the status of a professional cinematographer and I still have much to learn. I will have to keep with the latest technology as it keeps on changing and becoming a professional cinematographer requires a lot of technical training which never ends. Lighting is also another thing that I will have to work on and really getting to know how each type of lighting functions and the purpose of that light.
“You have to light. You have to compose and you have to create movement. Those are the three elements of cinematography.” Owen Roizman, ASC
Hopefully in the next few months, I will be able to develop my skills and taken from I’ve learnt from my time at Coventry University and apply it to the real world. Becoming a cinematographer, I need to establish my style and in order to do this I need more experience. I also will need to build more of an online presence, such as doing a better website, subscribing to media blogs and I will also need to design some business cards. I definately would like to carry on with my studies and study MA Cinematography, but in the mean time it’s all about getting experience and building up my network of contacts and it is all about who you know in the industry that can get you far.
So here is the original film score that Benjamin Goldman created for Gelato. I’m really happy with the final results and he has worked very hard to make it the way it is. I think that it adds that professionalism to the film and it does make it sound very Disney. I’m really happy that I went with Benjamin in the end and although I’m still getting a lot of replies from the ad, I think he’s done a very good at composing the music in such a short time. He’s also got a few musicians involved and actually recorded the music so it sounds more authentic rather than sample music. Since he lives all the way in Canada, we have been able to communicate using email and vimeo messaging, so communication hasn’t been a huge problem. I think collaborating with someone who lives abroad is certainly very cool and interesting and I’m glad that I’ve been able to work with Benjamin. Although the film isn’t finished and I have still yet to reshoot, Ben will carry on composing until the film is finished and is sent off to festivals. So, he said he’s still gotta tweak a few bits here and then but this should be fine the way it is now.
Check out Benjamin Goldman’s Soundcloud Page – http://soundcloud.com/benjamingoldmanmusic/tracks?page=1
So this is my cinematography showreel after months of hard work, I’ve finally been able to make a showreel to show off my my cinematography skills.
Today me and Jim designed the routine for the MINI synchronised swimming. I took us nearly five hours to plan five routines and do the stop motion for it. Since we both couldn’t drive or know anything about car stunt routines, it was quite difficult for us to think of routines that would be safe and do-able. However,the DP from MINI said that we should just try and design the routine to how we wanted it and during the upcoming storyboard meeting, we will discuss the safety of the routine and whether it is possible for the stunt drivers to achieve it. When we were doing the routines, me and Jim thought that the stunt drivers would need a lot of time and practice to get all these routines spot on. We aren’t going to be able to do the routines in just one day without any kind of practice. The key for success in these routines would be the simplicity of it all.
We tried to gain inspiration from this video that I saw on YouTube. It’s from the Disneyland Paris Stunt Show Spectacular. The stunt driving was very impressive and we decided that some of the routines that we saw looked ‘fairly easy’ to us normal non drivers. We were originally asked to do a storyboard but we felt that it would be easier to video toy cars and do a stopmotion video.
So here are the routines:
Today we filmed the lovely Yvette Baker from the Team GB synchronised swimming squad. It was the same interview set up from the Dan Greaves Interview so setting up time was very quick. We managed to set all the equipment up in less than 10 minutes, so we had about 45 minutes spare. The interview questions were fairly the same as Dan Greaves’ interview questions just with slight alterations.
The subject framing was also very similar and I was still operating the Glidetrack, however I’ve placed a blackboard on a quarter of the Glidetrack so that when it is gliding it looks like it is revealing the subject / fading to black from the subject. I thought that this way more effective rather than a series of continuous glides, over and over again. This was just an experimentation, so we’ll see if it works during the edit.
I think that the interview went well, although there were a few mishaps during filming like a crew member’s mobile phone went off during the interview, so we had to stop it and redo it again. I thought that this looked unprofessional to the athlete and to BMW. Mobile phones should always be turned off during production as it can cause a lot of time wasting and it doesn’t look very good to your clients that you’ve had to stop halfway through something.
After the interview, me, Jim (the director), Yvette and Nicola (marketing head for BMW) all went to Coombe Abbey to film the shot of Yvette stepping out of the MINI to replicate the MIRA synchronised driving scene. This actually worked quite wel as the background did look similar as the background for MIRA. The reason why there was only two of us from the crew is because we was only able to take Jim and myself, so Jim thought that since I’m the Cinematographer, it would be best for me to film it rather than someone else. Luckily we was able to find a quite space to film in the Coombe Abbey car park.