Reflect on the Process and Final Productions you have Created

This task requires you to create a Reflective Learning Journal (RLJ) that charts the journey you have undertaken for the duration of the unit. You should comment on the process, discoveries, discussions with lecturer and your peers and other related information that has assisted you in creating your finished artefacts.

However, you must make sure that you reflect on your work (please refer to the lecture on critical reflective practice and utilise documentation guidance such as “Gibbs Reflective Cycle”) and do not just describe the process.

Your RLJ has no word limit and can be presented in a variety of formats (video, audio commentary, written). It is a tool for you to use to document the process and used to assist you in your future practice.

As well as reflecting on the process it is important that you reflect on the finished productions you have created. When reflecting upon your finished productions it is essential that you consider the success of the artefact in terms of technical quality and fitness for purpose in accordance with your original intentions and the assignment brief.

When reflecting on the production process and on your finished productions you should look to reflect upon the following, where appropriate.

Be Able to Reflect on Own Moving Image Production Work

Finished product

  • technical quality;
  • aesthetic quality;
  • realisation of aims;
  • suitability for purpose;
  • own contribution to product;
  • team’s contribution;
  • meeting deadlines;
  • audience feedback

Production skills

  • technical competence;
  • workflow and time management;
  • production management;
  • team working

 

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Gibbs Reflective Cycle

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task3

Tuesday 5th of February 2013:

Today I held auditions for actors and actresses to be in my recreation of a classic scene, for fiction project assessment task 3. I am creating a new version of a scene from Requiem For a Dream. It’s about the main character Sara Goldfarb, explaining to her son why her red dress matters and why it’s important to her. I pitched my idea to the whole class of 26 first thing in the morning. Although we have to keep the dialogue exactly the same and are unable to alter it, I explained that I wanted to put a twist on this scene. I told them I wanted to change the overall emotion from sad and down, to inspirational and moving. I gave them character info and their motivation to audition for these roles.

I was a bit nervous because I really didn’t think a lot of people would show up for my audition, but all in all I had a good turn out of about 15 people, 14 who were female, and 1 male. I decided I would change Sara Goldfarbs son’s character, Harry, into a female named Harriet. This was my first ever cast-directing an audition. I believe I gained a lot of knowledge for how the interview process goes.

Even though I gained a lot out from this experience from this, I believe that there are some things I would have done differently. I wanted to the audition to be more private so the actor and actresses would feel less intimidation from their onlooking peers. I chose a small blacked out room just next to the original room that everyone was in. The room was more private but it came at a price. This room only had 1 single light in it and was really dark. Even when raised the ISO all the way the picture was still dark as well as more grainy. I then had to colour correct the footage on Final Cut Pro to lighten the picture up. I could have quickly solved this problem by grabbing a light from the studio but I didn’t which cost me some extra work. Next time I will be sure to to a recce of the audition room and if I need to book lighting in advance, I will do so.  Another thing I would have done differently is since I had a big group of people audition, I wish I would have told them to say their name on camera so I could put a face to their name. I did have them write their name and contact info on a piece of paper, and I could go back and see what order it is in compared to the footage I captured. This all could have been avoided simply by me recording their details by asking their name which would have been less time consuming and less of a hassle.

Today I took a lot from this experience, probably the most from my mistakes. These mistakes taught me what to do and what not to do for the next time I hold auditions. Tonight I will be reviewing the footage over from earlier and making my decisions on who I would like to cast for my scene.

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Friday 22nd of February 2013:

Today I filmed my recreation of the Requiem for a Dream scene, the red dress matters. I filmed right after my lesson with Tony from 1 o’clock to 4 o’clock. All and all everything went okay. I got both of my first picks from casting, Molly Lowe-Spicer as the main character, Sara Goldfarb, and Anna Lowne to play her son, (or daughter in this case)  Harry Goldfarb. Both actresses showed up on time at 1:30, which was really nice. They even came in on their day off just to film.

I scheduled my kit on Monday the 18th of February, which included a canon 550D camera with a fixed zoom lens, a libec tripod, and a lighting kit (both soft and hard). It was all given to me around 12 o’clock by my instructor Paul, and I started to set up shortly after my lesson.

I did run into a few difficulties though. It took me and my partner, Frankie Burrows, a little more than an hour to put the set together. Who knew that would be the difficult part? So both of my actresses waited patiently while Frankie and I attempted to put the set up. In the meantime I had them fill out release forms and practice their lines. So first off there wasn’t a spanner in sight which meant we couldn’t secure the nuts and bolts. I searched high and low for one in the studio but could not locate one, it took about half an hour to obtain one from tony, which he found in the teachers lounge. Even with the spanner we were having difficulty with some of the nuts which wouldn’t fit right on the  bolts which was really frustrating. Also some of the set pieces didn’t fit together properly which was also frustrating and annoying. But we made dew with what we had.

I shot many takes to have a lot of footage to work with. I also wanted to experiment with a couple of things to enhance the inspirational emotion that I was trying to create. First I wanted to use a 2 metre track and slowly pan forward during Sara Goldfarbs monologue at the end of the scene. I didn’t get a chance to do this because my instructor Tony said that he had it and  to grab it off of him later, but I forgot and by then it was too late because he had left the campus. The second thing I wanted to do was increase the lighting during the same monologue and add to the effect of the moving scene. This was done with help of  Pete Bendoris and Gareth Skinner, who took the time out of their own schedules to assist me which I really appreciated.

Another problem that came about was, when I got home and reviewed the footage, I realized that the opening shot of Harry asking Sara “what the big deal is with the red dress,” was really blurry. My actress moves her head toward the camera while asking this and it gets pretty blurry. The funny thing is I told her to do this because this is what happened in the original scene. I should have played with the focus in then back out again. Oh well you live and you learn. Hopefully I can fix that, or if I have to use it, I hope people will think I did this on purpose.

My last problem that I ran into was, after reviewing the footage I realized that Sara Goldfarbs character is looking left when in the original she is looking right. I should have payed more attention to this while I was planning it, but for some reason this was overlooked. I guess it doesn’t really matter because all I had to keep the same was the dialogue, but this still would have been nice to have.

Looking at all the difficulties I had, and the mistakes that I had made, I’ve come to the conclusion that proper planning is the key avoiding these things. I know there is a flaw in this because some say nothing goes according to plan, but at least you are more prepared, and have a better understanding of what you need to do and what you must not do. Since I was bit rusty putting the set up, I could have practiced a couple of days before to see exactly how the pieces fit together. As for the missing spanner, I could have put one aside the day before when I practiced putting the set up to avoid wasting all the time looking for it. I should have been more persistent on getting the 2 metre track from Tony and less forgetful because who knows maybe the slow panning forward would have really looked nice and made the whole scene better. Also with the one beginning shot being really out of focus, I should have double checked that everything was set up properly, and made the proper adjustments focusing when my actress moved her head in towards the camera.

Overall this was a good learning experience for me. I’ve made some mistakes just as I had in the auditions and I’ve learned the most from them. Good thing I didn’t have to do this all by myself and I had my partner Frankie to help me. Also Pete and Gareth were a big support in lending me with a hand with setting up lights and giving me advice and pointers. Next time I will try my best to be more organized and to plan further ahead so that I potentially will have everything on point.

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Friday 1st of March 2013: Update: After much consideration I realized that it would be the biggest mistake not to re-shoot my blurry footage of Harriet in the recreation of a scene of requiem for a dream. This time I made sure the camera was in focus and I even added in some background material as the blurry shots had nothing in the background and it was really dull and plain. Below are photographs from before and after.

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This was a major success. The only thing I would have done differently was re-shoot Sara’s character again as she was looking the same way as Harriet’s character. This was a little bit confusing and takes away from the realism I thought. Other than this I was happy with the result of this unit and am glad that  that I’ve gained a lot of skills from this Assessment.

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task4

Monday 18th of March 2013:  For the If competition our lecturer Paul helped us out considerably with the idea and concept for our video entry. We hadn’t even had the slightest idea for what we wanted to film, we even didn’t even have partners so we all banned together to work on this assessment task.

Our group went and sat in Cafe Nero to discuss what we needed for our video shoot. Bradley Thomas brought a clown mask, and also borrowed his friends camouflage to use as props. I brought the nice collared shirt that Frankie Burrows wore toward the end of the video, the newspaper and the red marker.

We also talked about how the edit would be constructed together. We wanted to use jump cuts between between the clown, army sergeant, Benny Scrantz, and the normal interviewee. I had also come up with the idea to have Benny Scrantz brushing his teeth in the mirror while his reflection shows his true emotions about him being worried and nervous about his job interview. We decided to film the dream sequence in the studio and the bed scene at Bradley’s home in Asfordby. Originally we wanted to film the bed scene in a classroom but we realized it wouldn’t look realistic enough.

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Tuesday 19th of March 2013: Today we successfully got all the shots that we need. We booked all the kit we needed including a canon 550D, tripod, and three-point lighting kit. It took us about 2 hours to film the dream sequence in the studio, and about an hour to film at Brad’s house. We all took the kit on the bus which costed £1.80 each way to Asfordby and then then returned it without any problems.

I am so glad we decided to bring the lighting kit with us to Brads house even though we had to lug it with us on the bus it was definitely worth it. If we didn’t brought it, our shots would have been to dark  and wouldn’t have looked nice at all. Today went really well and everyone came though to get this video shoot completed. I put all of the footage from the camera on to my macbook, as I am the one that is going to complete the final edit. The deadline for the competition is on March 27th so I have a little over a week to finish the edit with music and sound effects.

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Monday 25th of March 2013: I found all the music and sound effects on http://www.freesound.org. I credited all the artist and owners in the end credits. I also did the marker sound effects at  the beginning including putting the cap back on the marker. I recorded these through quicktime them add them into the timeline accordingly.

After organizing my footage and starting my edited I noticed that I had to do some extra work. I had to colour grade 2 shots (brushing teeth in mirror scene and also the bed scene) in Adobe After Effects, because we used the lighting kit to properly light the scene  and we shot mid day so there was a fair amount of natural light coming through the windows. Those scenes were supposed to be at night time so I did what I could by colour correcting and darkening the shots by playing around with the brightness, hue, saturation, curves, levels, and tint. I’ll admit I’m an amateur at this but I believe the two shots came out alright and work for what I needed them to look like. Maybe in the future if we want a night scene shot, we should shoot at night time. It will save the hassle of colour correcting it and will probably look way more realistic.

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Also I had I to use Adobe After Effects to mask Benny Scrantz (Bradley Thomas) in the scene where his brushing his teeth in the mirror, and also when he his having his vision/nightmare and he is talking to himself. This merged two clips together and created the illusion of 2 Benny Scrantz in a single shot. This all took extra time but I think it makes the scenes work and look  a lot better with these very subtle special effects. This was a very useful thing for our video, it helped out so much and it was super easy to do.

Overall the edit is coming together well, with only a few problems but nothing to major. If I were to criticize anything I would say that I wish we would have a different ending scene to show that Benny Scrantz was on his way to his job interview. It kind of just ends abruptly without any closure. It does show him wake up and get out of bed but I wish we could have shown a bit more. Maybe we could of shot him getting out of bed and simply grabbing a tie and heading out of the door. This is something we could have planned when we sat down in Cafe Nero. I’ve learned from this mistake and in the future I will try not to make this mistake and if I do we can always go out for a re-shoot and get the necessary shot that we need.

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task 2

Thursday 21th of March 2013: Today was the day our class went to Stanage Edge in the Peak district of Derbyshire to get some nice shots for our county portion of the capture the spring project.We set off at 8 am and it was a couple hour drive. We all dressed warm for the occasion as it had been snowing from the previous week and was freezing cold. When we got to Stanage Edge we stretched out legs, took our necessary toilet breaks, and then started the hike to the top of the peak. It took us about a little less than an hour to make the climb but when we got to the top the view was fantastic. We had a quick bite to eat then started our filming. The question on everyones mind was how do capture the spring with imagery when it’s nothing but snow everywhere? Our lecturers Jon and Paul were giving us ideas about rebirth and filming the snow melting and dripping down. This was a start but was a bit difficult to capture.

The most frustrating thing I think everyone could agree was how unbearably cold it was. At on point I was switching lenses on the camera and after I had taken one lens off my hands were so numb I couldn’t get the other one on, so I had to ask Frankie Burrows to hold them while I warmed them up. Over all the experience was worth it and I believe we got some workable shots to use. I would say for next time I would like myself to plan better and have a set idea in my head for what I want to get rather than wing it. My problem is coming up with ideas to use which I believe is the main part because thats where you start from. I think I just over-think this step.I will try to work on this with more and more practice, and hopefully get good at it that it will come naturally to me.

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Friday 22th of March 2013: Update: Looking at some of the footage shot yesterday at Stanage Edge, most of it is over exposed. Not all of it but some. Since the snow is white and the sky is grey, some of our images are really bright. We could have brought down the aperature, or played with the shutter speed if we didn’t have any movement in our shot. We shouldn’t have had any over exposed shots in my point of view and I will hold my hands up and admit that some of my stuff didn’t come out great but I got a good amount of footage to work with. I do understand that it was freezing cold but we mad a 2 hour journey and then another hour hike to get up there so at least we could made proper adjustments (that would have only taken a few seconds) to get a nice shot. This just means I will have to re-shoot some of my country footage for capture the spring.

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Monday 25th of March 2013: I took a train down to London to film my city portion of my capture the spring project. Overall it went good with only a few problems. Saying that though I would have to say that this project has been really difficult probably the most difficult out of all my projects this year. I’m from sunny California and you know when it’s springtime because there will be nothing but blue skies, and people start to wear shorts and sandals. If it would have been much easier to capture the winter in England. Then it wouldn’t have been such a problem. It was snowing for the whole 3 days while I was in London. I ended up staying at my aunties house who lives in Hackney East London. This was great because there is loads of great things to film around this area.

I didn’t really know what to film, and the snow really just made it worse. I figured, hey, if this is how spring time is in England that it is what it is. So I relied on imagery. So since there is no sun, and everyone on the street is bundled up as if a blizzard is about to hit, the only thing I could think of, and that really saved me was flowers. It was a mission to find some but there are a few here and there. Springtime does bring flowers to mind, and even if they are in the snow it does make you thing of re-birth. To prove that i was in the city and not just a field in the country I filmed these flowers with buildings in the background.

One of my favorite shots I got from going to london is a canal boat slowly going down the canal. What’s so spring time about this you ask? Well it just so happens that the name of the boat is patience, which I think is very appropriate for this project. I haven’t lived in England before I came here in July of 2012 but from the 8 months that I have been here I have realized that when it comes to English weather you have to be very patient. Spring just like the canal boat will take a good while before it gets to its destination. But patience is key or should I say a virtue. Good things will come to those that wait.  I wish i would have got some more shots but at the end of my 3 days spent there I had to make my way back up north. Overall I had a great time going down there and the shot I got I am happy with.

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Tuesday April 9th 2013: I finally ordered a camera online and today it came in the post. I got a Canon 550D with a few lenses. This is great because now I can film a few pick up shots whenever I need them. The first thing I shot with my camera was some baby lambs in a field by my house. Baby lambs should remind people of spring time in the country, I don’t know because I am a city boy but this was great because I had originally planned to film some but it was just a bit harder when I had to borrow the kit from college. It is much easier now that I have my own camera, and I know that I will get loads of practice using it. It came with a 75- 300 mm lens which was perfect for filming these baby lambs as I could shoot from some distance away and it looked like I was really close and right up next to them. I am really happy with my new country footage as I had to replace some of it because some of the Stanage Edge footage was over exposed. Luckily unlike Stanage Edge, or London for that matter, it wasn’t snowing and it does indeed look more like springtime. I think with all of this footage that I have enough to complete my edit for the capture the spring project, which I will start shortly, and if I do happen to need more I can get a few daily rushes.Picture 6

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Saturday 13th April 2013: Today I completed the final edit of my capture the spring video. Overall I am pleased with it. Reflecting on the whole process of filming and editing of it, things I would have done differently is maybe i should have brought a normal sized tripod. I only brought a mini tripod which is about a foot in length, the low shots look really nice but some shots weren’t feasible as they were too high up. Some shots I didn’t use a tripod at all which I highly regret as some really good shots I got I had to throw away because they weren’t stable and unprofessional.

During the editing portion of it, the longest thing was deciding on a song. I finally choose the song Sunflower River Blues by John Fahey. I really like the overall tone of the music especially at the beginning. Saying that though, Since I edited to the beat of the music, some of my shots are only a second long which is a little quick for my audience to grab a hold of the concept I’m trying to get across, such as the one second shot of a sign that says over there and over here. It’s supposed to represent the transition from winter to spring, but since it’s only a second people might not even get a chance to read this. There are a number of ways I could have dealt with this by putting that shot somewhere else or simply choosing a new song. However I liked the song and the clip just fit at the point in the video. Next time I will do more research on the song for my video so I will understand problems like this further in advance and I can deal with them accordingly.

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Monday 15th of April 2013: Today we were put into our groups for fiction projects task five. I was grouped with Bradley Thomas, Gareth Skinner, and Samuel Shannon. We had to include a location, a prop, and dialogue from a set list given to us from the brief. We chose the location to be in the Forest, the prop to be a brown paper bag, and the dialogue to be “you gotta better idea?”

Bradley and I thought of a basic idea of two people that have just pulled off an unsuccessful robbery and they are deciding to ditch the car as the number plate was written down.  The decide to lay low in the forest, the brown paper bag can hold the stolen money, and the dialogue “you gotta better idea?” can be used in any situation really. This was a good start but it just need some fine tuning.

We decided the location on where to film and planned a recce to visit sometime in the near future. We also decided we would like actors for this video and Bradley said he would contact the two performing art students he used for his recreation scene earlier this year. We just need to iron out all the details by writing a complete script and doing a few storyboards. Our lecturer Paul said that we will have to verbal pitch either with video or powerpoint to display our ideas, so that is also something we will have to work out. Overall I believe we are off to a good start.

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Friday 19th of April 2013: The script is completed. Brad, Gareth, and I all sat down and discussed some of the dialogue that would be said in this video on Tuesday 15/04/13. Sam really didn’t seem bothered and didn’t have any input towards the script whatsoever. This part was probably the most difficult for me as I am not so good with coming up with dialogue to say. together we got most of the script done, and today I finally got the rest of it done myself. I’ve showed it to everyone in my group and they’ve all agreed that it’s alright.

Bradley has got in contact with both of the actors and they’ve agreed to act in our video which is really nice as I personally didn’t want to act, and I know I would have to as a last resort as no one else would want to. we gave them copies of the script to revise and we’ve agreed to film on Tuesday 3oth of April 2013.

We checked out the location of the forest in Asfordby, the village next to Melton Mowbray. It seems like the perfect location to film our video at. It gave us better insight to our story and how it can be told. We now just got to get our pitch ready for Tuesday to show our lecturer Paul, and we have decided to go with a Powerpoint slide show. All together it seems to be slowly but surely coming along nice and smoothly. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.

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Friday 26th of  April 2013: We had our group pitch on Tuesday and overall it went really well. Everyone contributed to the pitch and Paul seem to really like our idea.

The only constructive criticism our lecturer Paul had was in the way we were gonna construct our story together it something he has seen before. There is nothing new about it and the story is pretty much plain and you can see where it is heading. Paul told us the method that he utilizes the most for story telling is make the audience believe something is going to happen only in the end for something totally else  to happen.

I really liked that idea and with that I changed the script slightly and added in premonitions, foreshadowing, and also showed the audience things that the characters won’t see. This will hopefully make our story telling way more creative and not just a simple A to B to C to D story. It will jump around and show things that might happen and things that really did happen and make the audience think more deeply about what they just saw.

Also we have talked to our actors and told them the script has changed a bit. We will give them the new scripts on monday at lunch time so they can revise for the shoot. One of the actor is also busy on the tuesday so we’ve all agreed to shoot on Friday the 3rd of March instead.

Criteria: 4.1 & 4.2

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