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Studio 1 – Weekly Reflection 5

Often times when just starting out in any creative field especially film, the budget is a major drawback and brick wall. The memes don’t lie; students have next to no money the vast majority of the time. Noam Kroll covers this in one of his own recent blog posts where he and his crew shot 12 hours of footage in an 8 hour day. This is a skill that must be learned and is only possible with multiple camera angles at once, saving both time and money.

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As a student myself finding a healthy balance between study, work and life is challenging and something that I still find myself struggling with, even after almost a year of doing it. As someone who is invested in one of the most expensive hobbies known to man; cars, I find it especially challenging to get my priorities in line. With that expensive, time-consuming interest, a full-time job and full-time study sleep is often a rarity. I am finding myself, however, realizing subconsciously that I need to pick up my game in my studies. Not in grades but in time and flexibility.

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Let’s get back into film talk. Making a film that has all the necessary attributes of a successful movie is challenging on a tight budget, however not unachievable. Good filmmakers know when not to include a scene that is part of the script. Whether it is unnecessary, doesn’t help drive the story or is just plain boring, a good and successful filmmaker will know when to cut it to save time, money and resources. Often in instances of time constraints, you will find that minor things such as set up are extremely time-consuming and sometimes un-necessary if the shoot is over muiltpul days in one location. Doing simple times such as only packing away things that take minutes to set up and leaving the larger asdpects of your film such asd the set will save time allowing you more time to actually shoot your film to its highest potential, getting that perfect shot.

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Studio 1 – Weekly Reflection 4

Let’s talk gear, specifically film gear. I’m going to op[en this post with the disclaimer that I’m not a “gear head” and certainly don’t believe that gear, whether that be cameras, microphones, lenses, bags, extras etc is the most important thing to a film. Yes, it is necessary but, you make the story, not the gear the gear is simply a mode of transport if you will.

Put it this way; imagine your camera as a car, the car can get you from point A to point B but requires you to drive it, dodge obstacles, turn etc. A camera a d other film gear is the same, they require the person operating them to have enough skill and knowledge to successfully tell a story through the vision being captured through the camera.

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I started out my filmmaking career in photography, I began that not using a DSLR or a proper, dedicated camera but my phone camera. Because of this, I was forced to learn and develop, not rely on my gear. I soon moved to a DSLR however, a cheap base model with a kit 18-55mm lens and anyone who knows anything about photography would agree with me when I say; it’s a good beginner lens but is extremely limiting and not ideal. As I learned and worked at my craft I saved my money and began getting higher quality lenses, not a new body.’ve now moved on to a full frame, pro body but without the base knowledge, I learned through this process my photographs would not be as good as they have become. Personally, I believe that the lens is far more important than the body. If you took a $10,000 Nikon D5 SLR, the most expensive body on the market right now and slapped a $100 kit or low-end lens on it, the capabilities offered to buy the camera would either be unusable or de3stroyed. However, vis-vera a high-quality lens on a base model, the entry-level body would not only in prove the quality of the photos but increase the capabilities of your camera.

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Noam Kroll mentions this in his recent blog about the in-importance of gear to a film. He says that often in his own films he will challenge himself to only use a single lens for the more entire shoot, often you discover new and creative ways to shoot things. Peter McKinnon, a Canadian photographer says the same thing, he will go out to shoot and only take one lens, sometimes you will find that some shots are undoable but it forces you as a creator to think of a different way to shoot it and the outcomes are more often than not unique, different and great.

So yes, gear is a necessary evil to the filmmaking prosses but don’t allow it to cloud your vision, rather limit yourself and be challenged, you will more often than not be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Studio 1 – Weekly Reflection 3

A films’ most important attributes and what is seen to be the ‘make or break’ of a movie are of course; Sound quality, story and picture quality. Picture quality is often only seen an in-focus shot, but it encompasses so many aspects of “picture quality”

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The first obviously being if the shot is in focus or not. There is not a lot worse than when you are watching a film and a shot or even multiple shots are out of focus and blurry. This can really take you as a viewer out of the story and be distracted by how poorly the focus puller did their job. An out of focus, extreme bokeh shot like the one below are often used as transitional shots and point of view shots. But when character dialogue is taking place, especially a Close-up or Extreme Close-up shot, the focus and sharpness of the image are important.

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Next attribute of the term “picture quality” would be composition. Just like a blurry out of focus shot, a poorly composed shot can have the same effect on the audience. It certainly isn’t as obvious to your ‘average Joe’ but will too take the viewer out of the story and cause confusion or distraction. Shot composition is commonly referred to as “the rule of thirds” as shown in the image below. It is a complex rule which would take many words to explain so I will link an in-depth explanation of the rule by Photography Mad. But of course rules are made to be broken, as they say, thus it can be used incorrectly often in times where the character in the film is feeling uncomfortable, outcasted, lost etc. The television series ‘Mr Robot is an example of this where director Sam Esmail has ditched the traditional rule of thirds for what is known as the ‘rule of quaters’. I could discuss this for hours but must move on too the following and final aspect of picture Quality.

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That being what Noam Kroll has discussed recently and that is colour contrast, and what it can add to an image. Lighting is a key component of color contrast and can easily add contrast to an image if done correctly. Images that aren’t shot with colour grading in mind often create challenges and sometimes impossible tasks for the best graders out there. As cameras and technology advance so do colour grading and shooting techniques. With so many high-end cinema cameras such as the RED line up or the Blackmagic now shooting in full RAW, often in times like this, it is possible and easier just to shoot a flat, low contrast image giving the colour grader and director more creative freedom in Post-Production. Obviously however not everyone has $50,000+ lying around and these cameras are not an option. However, even low-end video or cinema camera’s nowadays have extremely high image quality, dynamic range, and a wide colour pallet it is possible to achieve extremely accurate and a great colour contrast.

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Noam Kroll Blog – http://noamkroll.com/why-color-contrast-is-essential-for-the-cinematic-look-how-to-capture-it-on-set/

Studio 1 – Weekly Reflection 2

Film making is a very time consuming task. It takes a special kind of person to successfully create a film that is not only visually appealing but tells a story. When starting out one my balance their life with their passion, that being their day job and general events and commitments that life throws their way.

Noam Kroll is a film maker who shares a weekly podcast with his followers. This week he discussed when is it okay to quit your day job and commit to film making full time. He stated that most importantly a day job should only be given up once you, as a film maker are financially sound by your film making, only then is it possible to persue film making full time.

He also noted that a day job that allows flexibility for your passion outside of work, that being a job that gives you enough time to go out and actually create outside of work. Not everyone has this though so he suggests for you to keep working your job until you have enough credibility and consistent work within the film industry. He also spoke about the pros and cons to freelancing and owning a production company. Being a freelance director, editor, cinimatographer you have more creative freedom as you are asked for your input more often by the production company that you are working for at they point in time. Owning a production company is also very desirable but the chance to create is very limited. Meaning, besides the fact that you are dictated by the client that has hired you to create something for them, you are also focused on the financial aspects of the business.

Another important requirement that is necessary is that prior experience in the industry is a must. Someone who can hire you as a director for example, is looking for films that you have directed. They don’t care if you are a doctor or teacher or enginer, of you don’t have anything to show from your own film making experience then the chances of getting work as a director are extremely unlikely.

Studio 1 – Weekly Refection 1

When thinking about modern film advancements most of the time my head instantly thinks of insanely high-resolution cameras, new editing techniques and new ways to reach and advertise to an audience. In a recent blog post from Vincent Laforte’s, a filmmaker that I feel I personally aline with in terms of style, spoke about shooting on a RED Weapon which films in 8K resolution.

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Laforet touches on the fact that you can capture unreal and unimaginable amounts of detail and how that can be used to effectively help drive the narrative and story. His style which I personally aline with is the ‘visuals’ side of the film industry. That being high quality, cinematic shots all put together to show off a place or event and is commonly sed in tourism advertising as a way to engage an audience and drive tourism revenue.

His main point which he speaks of in great detail is, in fact, the camera itself and how revolutionary it is to the industry and how many opportunities it brings creators. As someone who has been lucky enough to have hands-on industry experience with this $100,000 camera, I can contest to that. But this blog that you’re reading now isn’t to be seen as an advertisement for the camera, rather an insight into what the future looks like in terms of technology.

As someone who wants to enter the visual part of the film industry, that’s both shooting and editing, the camera and editing software is very important. In this style of filmmaking, you don’t have the benefit of actors helping you tell the story, rather only to visual content that is put forward. I will link below a few examples of why it is so important for high-quality footage in this style of the film. It is a well-known fact that an audience ill forgive soft-focus footage but will never forgive bad quality sound, which is true but when all you have to rely on is the footage and a basic back-track and maybe a few SFX here and there the quality of footage and editing is beyond the point of importance and shouldn’t be overlooked.

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Just like anything that was once extremely expensive and unreachable, it will become easily accessible in the very near future opening doors and create new horizons for creators in all aspects of the industry. I personally relate and aline myself with both Vicent Laforet and Ben Brown (both linked below) as I value and see the importance of their style of filmmaking. It can be used for tourism or even something more serious like environmental awareness as seen in the case of Ben Brown’s Arctic Visual Vibes short film.

 

 

FLM110- Spectacle & Technology

The film industry is renowned for experimenting with different techniques, whether that be camera techniques, editing or just basic story telling. But is it ruining our story telling techniques by making us, as film makers lazy? Or is it propelling the story forward and helping creators by offering freedom of expression?

Cinema was born in Paris, France, when the Lumiere Brothers invented the first capable motion capturing camera in 1895. In 1890, however, we saw the earliest known use of a special effect in a film. It is found in the film ‘The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots’ by Alfred Clarke. Other early and more famous examples of special effects are found in films such as ‘The Great Train Robbery’ by Edwin S. Portor, 1903. Who wrote, directed, edited and produced the film. This used a technique known as “Double exposure” where a film role is used but parts are blacked out so the film under the black isn’t exposed to light, later the film was rolled back and the parts that were blacked out were exposed and vis vera. This technique was used to simulate the look of a moving train, it was also used at the control center of the train station.

Science fiction is a genre that heavily relies on the use of special effects. Some film theorists say that special effects incorporated into science fiction films are what defines and differentiate them from many other genres. (McClean, T. 2014. Page 2.) Not only Science Fiction relies on special effects, however, today more and more genres are incorporating them heavily, action, adventure, and horror are just a few examples.

http://people.uncw.edu/pattersone/resources/notes/DSFX_History.pdf

McClean, Shilo T.. Digital Storytelling : The Narrative Power of Visual Effects in Film. Cambridge, US: MIT Press, 2014. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 7 August 2017.

FLM110 – Audiences

When making a film, or any content for that matter. It is extremely important to be audience revolved, this means knowing your audience and what they expect. Knowing your audience is key for good reception of your film, you must also be able to market and interact with your audience in order to make sure that they are at least aware of your film, and if you have aimed it at the correct audience then it will be received well, most of the time.

When researching your target audience, the first and possibly only source of information you require is directly from Google. Google, being the largest search engine, gathers and collects your search, watch and play data and sells it off to companies and people looking to advertise. It monitors the time you are most frequently online, your age group, gender, country of provenance and most importantly; what you’re searching. All this information is then used by companies to advertise to a very particular and specific audience. This idea stemmed from the time period surrounding the great depression. Curtis Publishing’s home appliance partner conducted home survey’s for brand loyalty in the home food industry, looking into homes pantries to see what a consumer regularly buys (Ward. D, 2009, page. 168)

Not that long ago this wasn’t possible. The best that advertisers had were particular television shows broadcasted on commercial TV or radio stations. They never had the ability to reach one specific target audience. Of course, it is still important to maintain a level of audience that may not necessarily be ‘your target’, as then you gain more exposure this way, after all, a lot of people don’t know what they want until they are shown.

Personally, I interact with film in a very “default” way and manner if you will. I am shown a trailer, by this I decide if I go to the cinemas to watch it or just watch it on Netflix, Youtube, Stan etc at home. Whether or not I leave my house to view the film is based on two main things, this being; the movie culture, whether or not there is a sort of “cult following” or a large franchise backing the particular film, meaning there are prequels to the film (X-men, Starwars, Fast and Furious etc). Personally, as a consumer, I am advertised action films a lot, particularly ones involving cars. This goes to show that with the combination of my search history, age and gender that my interests are there, in the open for advertisers to see.

 

Ward, Douglas. A New Brand of Business : Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research. Philadelphia, US: Temple University Press, 2009.

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-history-search-tracking-data-how-to-delete

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2013/05/10/15-ways-google-monitors-you

CIU111- INCLUSIVE DESIGN

Inclusive design is in essence, exactly what it says, it’s inclusive. This means what you design, whatever it may be will reach are larger and broader audience if it’s excepting of all races, religions, creeds and sexual orientation. This also includes physically and mentally impaired persons.

The CABE group says,

Good design will not only create inclusive spaces and places that address the needs of all those who will use them. (Sawyer, A. 2014. Page, 7)

While the CABE group is a property developer group, this statement can be applied outside of the property development context, in a film for example. Creating an “inclusive environment” means that more people will be likely to enjoy and benefit from your content, meaning a broader and more diverse audience. This is because you aren’t narrowing down your field of influence and exposure to one specific demographic.

The film and photography industry has a very powerful hand in this. By not only including but celebrating the various groups mentioned earlier, the film and photography industry has the power to sway people’s opinions on these various groups to give a perhaps, uneducated person on the topic, a broader and more in-depth look into the lives and perspectives of anyone in a different social group than themselves. .

By being inclusive not only in your films and photograph’s, not only are you being possibly informative but you are also relating with a larger audience meaning more traffic and exposure to your content. The good and inclusive design structure of your films makes people feel more invited and comfortable watching your film or viewing your photograph.

 

Reference’s

Sawyer, Ann, and Bright, Keith. The Access Manual: Designing, Auditing and Managing Inclusive Built Environments (3). Hoboken, GB: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

Myerson, Jeremy, Bichard, Jo-Anne, and Bichard, Jo-Anne. New Demographics New Workspace : Office Design for the Changing Workforce. Farnham, GB: Routledge, 2010.

CIU111- COPYRIGHT & CONTRACTS

Copyright. It is an important thing with-in the creative spectrum. It protects the way a creator expresses their ideas, whether that be through an image, design, painting, film, song, the list goes on. But the idea’s themselves aren’t protected, just the way they are shown, made and conveyed.

So how does copyright help as a Uni student? Well In Australia you don’t have to go through expensive processes to have your work protected, it automatically is. As a Uni student studying film, it is extremely helpful that this is the case. Many people, myself included love to create but don’t have the money that would be logically needed in today’s society to achieve protection.

Through my own personal experiences, I have had some of my work stolen by another, so have people around me. As a creator, it isn’t a great feeling to know that someone is getting credited for your work, but with a more optimistic mindset I suppose one could argue that “hey this must mean my work is pretty damn good!”.

But it isn’t all good news. To lodge a copyright court appeal one must pay up to ensure, if the defendant is to successfully defend their argument, all costs will be returned to them, under Australian law.

Copyright is an important part of our online society. Now, more than ever is it easy to have your work taken and stolen by someone else where they can benefit. These laws and regulations are a necessity.

 

References

  1. https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ip-infringement/enforcing-your-ip/going-to-court/court-proceedings 
  2. https://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/Documents/ShortGuidetoCopyright-October2012.pdf
  3. Seiter, B., & Seiter, E. (2012). The Creative Artist’s Legal Guide : Copyright, Trademark and Contracts in Film and Digital Media Production. New Haven, US: Yale University Press.

CIU111- INTERVIEWS

Interviews are a crucial aspect of any profession after all you can’t get a job without sitting one.

While not all interview situations ae the same the interviewer is looking for one main, key aspect. Apart from the obvious skills and experience, you should have they are usually looking for something more, your personality. As someone who has worked in fast food, retail, and now hospitality, my people and customer service skills have grown and developed along the way.

I got my first job working at McDonald’s when I was only 14 and worked there for three and a bit year. I was hired as a regular crew person and I learned more my leadership skills grew, I worked my way through the ranks and became a manager at only 17 years old. I consider myself a social person with a lot of people skills, I believe this shows with actually getting this job because obviously at 14 I didn’t exactly have any work experience. I have moved on and while I am still working in the food and service industry, I am working in more upmarket hospitality now. I was hired to lead a team in a new Grill’d store but quickly it became evident that I was better working around customers than in a kitchen. So I was moved to the more established Springfield store and from there I have become a happier person because I get to interact with complete strangers, and get to know regulars because after all, it all comes down to customer service.

Job interviews aren’t always in the formal context that many of us know. A job interview could be happening at any time interacting with professionals in your industry, in my case the film industry. I treat every interaction I have with anyone in the industry as a job interview as them seeing how I behave in the real world, especially in the creative industry, really shows how I will act in a workplace one I’m not the ‘new guy’ and am comfortable in my workplace.

My advice for job interviews would be, to be yourself, but not just that ‘self’ that comes out when you are out with mates, not just that ‘self’ that you want to be known for in your professional career, whatever that may be, but a healthy middle ground between the two.