As I have recently finished my second year of university, I have been reflecting on the projects that I have taken on and how they have helped me on my journey to becoming a filmmaker. At the end of the first year, we chose the areas that we wanted to specialise in and which modules we would prefer to take. If you read my previous post then you would know that I changed from Film and Television, so this meant that I was only allowed to choose from Film Production Projects, Multicamera and Scriptwriting. Scriptwriting isn’t exactly a talent of mine so I decided to specialise in Multicamera and Film Production Projects. When September arrived, I was both nervous and excited to start my new course.
For those who don’t know, Multicamera is a method of filmmaking where several cameras are used to simultaneously record or broadcast a scene. This is most commonly used for panel shows such as Would I Lie to You and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
In the first semester, we were tasked with creating a consumer-based programme. We had 12 weeks to come up with an idea, create a script, VTs, graphics, find actors, and build a set. After weeks of meetings, seminars and workshops we came up with Zombie Watch – a consumer show based in the middle of a zombie apocalypse where the hosts get to the bottom of fraudulent supplies “needed” to survive. My roles in this were vision mixer and head of props. As vision mixer, I had to cut between cameras during the live show, switch to VTs and fade in graphics. The VTs were filmed and edited weeks before the live show by the VT team. Another member of the team created graphics for things like contact details, the title sequence and 10-second stings.
Although I have been a vision mixer before, I had never worked on a show to this extent so I found it quite challenging. We had four full rehearsals before the live show and this allowed me to sit with the director and go through the sequence of transitions. Thankfully, I managed to not make any mistakes during the live show and it was the best that we had ever performed it.
Also, as head of props, I had to make a list of all of the props we needed for the set and find out how and where we could attain them. As our show was set in a zombie apocalypse, we mostly needed things like cans of food, sleeping bags, torches, etc. A lot of people had these things so we did not have to spend much money buying props for the show which meant we could spend more money on things like wallpaper and paint for the set.
Although the show is not perfect, I felt that we did a good job. If anyone is interested in seeing it, I can post a link to it on YouTube.
After Christmas, we were given the task of creating a 30-minute programme of our choice. We all wrote a proposal which some of you may have seen as it was recently posted it on here. We decided to go with a show called The Arenburg Effect which is almost a cross between The Truman Show and The Island. My role in this was camera operator and VT editor.
Once the first draft of the script had been written, we had weekly camera meetings to create a camera script allowing us to all work cohesively. We had a few issues with the scripts and some people were still using old copies, however, we had one final meeting to sort everything out and finalise the camera script. At the same time, as part of the VT team, we had to find locations, actors and equipment, as well as doing all of the paperwork, such as shot logs, shooting schedule etc.
As I also did film production, I usually ended up setting up all of the equipment and then shooting. After we finished a shoot, I would take the SD card home ready for the edit. I edited them all using Adobe Premiere Pro. I feel as though the premise of the show was a bit too ambitious and challenging, meaning that perhaps we didn’t do as well as we could have done. However, university is all about trying new things and pushing yourself in new areas so in that respect we did very well.
I was initially nervous about starting Film Production Projects as we had to get into our own groups and I didn’t know anyone else on the module. For the first semester, we were given the task of creating a 10-minute documentary of our choice. After weeks of brainstorming, we decided to create a documentary about the Lincoln Sausage Festival 2015 due to the fact that the festival itself is easy to get to and it is an event that brings the local community together. My role in this was the main editor and second camera operator.
On the day of the festival, I went around filming lots of b-roll to use to create the atmosphere of the event and to fill any gaps in the documentary. One of the best things about creating a documentary about an event that takes place on a certain date is that it allowed us to have plenty of time to edit and to also go back anis
d get interviews from those who arranged the whole festival. Overall the documentary turned out well and I have continued to use it in my showreel. If anyone interested in seeing this, then there is a link to it on my LinkedIn page.
After Christmas, we were given the task of creating a 15-minute fictional short film. One member of my group, Jon, came up with the idea of a film about a man who could not laugh. The film features training montages where friends try to get the man to laugh, but they are unsuccessful until one of them makes a terrible joke right at the end and he is finally able to laugh.
My role in this was sound operator. This is something that I have never done before so I was a little nervous. For the most part, I recorded sound using a H4n Zoom microphone as well as getting wildtrack with the camera microphone. We recorded with the camera microphone as it made it easier to sync up in the final edit.
After each shoot, I edited the sound using Adobe Audition and then sent it to the editor to use in the film. The film didn’t go quite as we had planned due to lack of actors and time, however, we challenged ourselves by making a comedy and can say that we tried our best.
Our final project was to create a short experimental film. This was my favourite project as we really got to be creative and experiment with different techniques and software. As there were four of us in the group, we decided to come up with a different technique each and then direct and edit 45 seconds to then put it all together. Originally we wanted to go to a different city each and use these techniques to show our perspective of each city. However, due to a lack of time we decided to go to one city and show our different perspectives of Nottingham.
My main technique was to create a series of time-lapses but then use another technique on each time-lapse. For example, I turned one time-lapse into a kaleidoscope. During the edit, I used Premiere Pro and After Effects. I am actually really proud of our experimental film. It turned out better than I expected and all of our different techniques worked really well together. There is a link to this on my LinkedIn and Twitter so feel free to check it out.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed my second-year projects and they all helped me gain new skills whilst improving on skills that I already had. I have learned a lot and I will be able to work even harder in my final year of study to hopefully achieve an even better outcome.