Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Evaluation - Preliminary Assignment Full Analysis

A while back I posted a few brief notes regarding the preliminary, however that was too... short. More information/critical analysis coming now!

We've actually used a fair few different angles throughout the film:
0:00 Close up - not too keen on this shot; it does the job, but I feel the movement is fairly unnecessary (it seemed like a good idea to have the camera sort-of follow Oliver's movement - in retrospect, probably not the best idea ever as it only lasts 2 seconds and so it looks more like a camera wobble.)
0:02 Medium low-angle shot - shows movement from the previous shot accurately, though it looks a bit off-balance. This was before I found the useful wireframe tool; now I know about this, errors like this should be easier to avoid.
0:04 Close up - particularly effective for showing character's expression. Fairly stable too considering the camera wasn't rested on anything.
0:05 Close up - most accurate artist's render ever. Little bit shaky, but not to a point where it's distracting. The close-up was used to highlight the object in the shot (the drawings) for comedic effect.
0:07 High-angle shot - Used to 'reveal' Stephen's character who'd been obscured in all previous shots. The high angle shot looks above him whilst showing him as being in power by the way the shot is framed with him obviously being much higher (physically) than Luke (who he is being shown as being in charge of).
0:08 to 0:25 Over the shoulder shots (shot/reverse shot) - these alternating shots show the progression and pace of the conversation. I have to say that my camera work was particularly sloppy during the parts when I was filming from Luke's end of the table. This needs a bit of work for the final. In case you haven't noticed for the sake of consistency between shots from each end of the table, we actually filmed this entire exchange in full from each end and took alternating cuts from each shot.
0:25 Wide shot - If I'm being honest this shot seems a little unnatural after the previous shot/reverse shot - not necessarily that it's a bad shot, but because the previous shot had been from Oliver's end of the table, and all this shot does is jump forward a little. I should clarify, however, that the jar between the sound isn't actually an error, this shot is meant to show a skip in time (for the sake of showing that the loop conversation has been going on for ages).
0:45 Medium shot - Although this features mostly Luke talking (gibberish) we decided it would be better if we showed Oliver's reaction to said gibberish. This is another one of those shots where my camera work was particularly questionable...
0:54 Low angle - once again, to show Stephen's character as being in power in the scene. This is achieved by having the camera look up to him and have him shown as the only person in the shot (which stands out after the shot/reverse shot scenes showing the others in constant succession). To be honest, this shot could have benefited from a little colour correction.
0:57 Medium shot - fairly steady camera work if I must say so. Just shows Oliver in the shot to show him losing his patience.
1:00 High angle/medium - A moving shot; starts out looking down on Luke to show him revealing the gun, then has a fast moving jolt towards where Stephen is standing as he gets attacked for the sake of emphasising the action. I like how this shot works actually.
1:03 Close up - A continuation of the previous shot of Stephen falling - I am so glad that we missed what could have been a glaringly obvious continuity goof had Stephen's hand moved between shots...
1:04 Medium shot - Camera follows where the gun is on the screen, which draws the audience's attention towards it. Possibly should have had the camera move a little faster, however.
1:10 Medium shot - A kind of mirror of the previous shot, just showing Luke picking the gun back up, though with the camera staying stationary.
1:14 Wide shot - This was particularly interesting to film... the camera is held stationary whilst Luke and Oliver chase each other around the room. Yes. The idea was to keep the camera stationary during the action scene for the sake of highlighting just how chaotic it actually was. Towards the end of this shot we had a particularly funny moment where Oliver bumped into Stephen's 'corpse'... thankfully we were past where we needed to cut when this happened...
1:19 Wide shot - A move in position showing the continuation of the chase. The camera moves upwards slightly towards the end of the shot to keep the characters in the frame.
1:27 Close up - Yes, there is a slight continuity error here - Oliver was only just starting to stand up at the end of the previous shot, yet in this he is all the way up. I think we cut the previous shot a little early in editing. Aside from that, the tense lighting - whilst completely coincidental - works really well in the shot.
1:30 Close up - Another close up to show the contrasting facial expressions (Luke's vengeance compared to Oliver's fear in the previous shot).
1:31 Medium shot - Slight jump part way into this shot caused somewhere during the final rendering. Ugh. Works pretty well as the final shot, and the artificial visual freeze frame over the gun sound effect was for dramatic effect.
1:35 Grey screen - my camera work here is simply fantastic! The previous freeze frame disappears and is replaced by this to show that the action from the past scene is over, and by having a blank screen it leaves a cliffhanger open as to who died and who survived. Crazy internet speculation in 3...

The sound quality during the dialogue is particularly terrible and our camera should feel terrible. From this we have realised that in the final piece relying on the camera's microphone for dialogue simply isn't an option and that instead we need to dub in the voices.

In regards to mise-en-scene we thought it would work much better if we exaggerate the fact we are working with No Budget. The entire film was shot in a tiny room near the common room, with only a few lockers playing as support for the 'official' location. Rather than use the lack of available filming spaces as a burden to the film, we decided it'd be a better idea to play on it for comedic effect - this went on to inspire the other decidedly no budget features of the mise-en-scene, including using hand shapes as opposed to gun props, and  the incredibly detailed artistic masterpieces which are the case photos on the whiteboard.

Whilst this works well in this film, our final piece will not be as blatantly over the top, so more care will be taken in ensuring we use believable props - such as how we have looked into how we can create realistic looking wine by using apple juice and lemonade.

Throughout this there are very few traces of complex editing techniques on the basis that the film is meant to show a run through of consecutive events, as opposed to showing multiple simultaneous plot paths.

The main problem we faced involved the cuts - I don't believe that the Macs we have been using have sufficient RAM to efficiently support advanced video editing software like Final Cut Pro, which means that when we have been watching minor edits through the Canvas window it has been lagging. This led to us cutting some of the shots a little short thinking that the lag was just the system taking a while to show us the next shot, when in actual fact it was lagging over the top of the shot that was meant to be playing. This is something we need to be incredibly careful with in the final piece, as there isn't any way to check the state of this without having to continuously export the file.

Errr... yeah. About that... our lighting here is particularly inconsistent (this is what happens when you film in a small room using only natural light!). This was an oversight on our part, so we need to be aware of it in the final film. I have been reading FCP colour correction tutorials online for when we get to the shots in the final which will inevitably need enhancing.

Action Match
This could have potentially worked really well in the action scene so we considered using it; however after reviewing the possible shots we could use in the small location it was clear that it just wasn't going to look right. What I realise now that I meant by "this isn't going to look right" is that the only potential spaces we could have used for an action match setup would have required breaking the 180 degree rule (going by the way in which the characters were running around in a circle, on opposite sides - which would have damaged the bearings viewers would have previously developed). Saying that, I wasn't aware of the concept of the 180 degree rule so it was just based around gut instinct that those particular shots wouldn't look right, rather than because I was aware that it'd break a recognised guideline...

180 Degree Rule
I think we've avoided breaking this for the most part. During the initial shot/reverse shot sequence the camera is kept on one side of the characters, and the only time when it starts to move around the table is as the 'panic' moments are beginning to kick in - however this is done at a gradual pace, meaning that the viewer does not lose their bearings or their sense of location in the clip.

I mentioned the one most noticeable error earlier, however there is one near miss worth mentioning: just before the action scene, we see Luke picking up his gun, only for it to disappear in the next shot.  I believe this technically isn't an error on the basis that the sudden jump from slow moving, tense shots to the fast-paced action shot represents a slight time jump - with the fact that they initially threaten each other with guns only to go and chase each other around the room being for comedic effect.

Other Stuff
In regards to Stephen's character it's hit me that it kind of fills Bakhtin's Carnivalesque theory in that he is shown to have power over Luke in the first few shots in which he appears (by being staged standing up and staring forward) which gives the viewer the impression that he's a strong, dominant character; yet a minute or so later we see him get knocked down easily, with a completely inappropriate girlish scream for humorous effect, subverting the previous assumptions viewers had made.

Going back to the point I mentioned in the Mise-en-scene section regarding over exaggerating the no budget, there were a couple of other things which support this idea - the most prominent ones are the fact that the dubbed sound effects are blatantly freely available stock effects, and the "sound effect" whenOliver hits the buzzer - which was, in fact, our friend Samir making a "bzzz" noise.

Come to think of it, we could have actually played on the idea of the over-the-top fantasy/comedy a little more by having a character break the fourth wall in their dialogue - I had this idea that it'd be funny if after Luke pulled the gun out to have had Stephen address the camera and say "I think we can see where this is going..." or something just before being attacked. But eh, that's probably me.


1 comment:

  1. Sound, editing and mise-en-scene sections would benefit from greater focus. Think of the detail you need in representation essays - I'm after specific examples, a comment on their effect / how and why you've used it / specific technical terminology.