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Digital Film and Video Techniques

By Richard Davis

Module Title: Digital Film and Video Techniques Module Number: 107 AAD Module Lecturer: Claire Lapworth/Dan Beckett

Cultural: A shared understanding of how to behave. How do we interact with culture? People band together, cultural aspect help survival. Culture gives meaning. Real spaces and places Place and spaces we observe and move about in. Collage, work, shops. The design and meaning of the places and space, the purpose of the place/space and the memories (personal and cultural of the place/space). For example, why does the lecturer stand at the front of the class? Its an accepted cultural practice that makes sense because its practical. Constructed spaces Constructed by humans, which would suggest they have meanings and purposes. Shopping malls, homes, schools, museums, parks, county.

Ideas on culture What is a cultural product? Mobile phones. Fashions. Art. Music. Football. What are cultural practices? Sunday lunch. Marriages. Texting. What are the unwritten rules of culture? Being male/female, eating, greeting, appropriate social behavior

We have been tasked with making a short film, an urban drama, around the five-minute mark. We are to provide evidence of our research and development and show how our research has informed our idea. We are to develop pre production materials and finally produce our short film.

Assessment: Urban Drama Tales from a City

Appropriation of space: free runners, graphitic artists, homeless, are they using the spaces correctly? Our culture dictates how we should use spaces. Buildings Collage is a modernist building, functional.

Initial Research and Ideas I start off by thinking about the brief and collecting ideas and thoughts on and around the subject of Tales from a City.

Expressive people on the street, looking to say what culture they appreciate or want to be part of. What are the culture within each town and city? How can the city be used?

Note to reader, sections of my notes are not ordered In to neat sentences, I work very organically, writing thoughts as they manifest, some might not make clear sense but I wanted to keep them as they naturally appeared so you can see my thought progression as it happened, unedited. I immediately think of Bristol, the history of Bristol and the Bristol music scene: "Unfinished Sympathy" from the Bristol based band Massive Attack has frequently been described as one of the best songs of all time, according to polls produced by MTV2 and NME.

Using different photography techniques, for example; Tilt shift photography, looking at the city in a different way can help us to see the same thing from a different angle. Film from unique places or angles; One the bus, filming from a bus around a city, the people and the places who uses the city every day. Many graffiti artists work in Bristol. One of the most notable is Banksy, who has also designed album covers for bands such as Blur. I viewed many urban shorts on the BBC film network web site, including Waiting for the world to end and playground. I also visited many urban poetry sites for some inspiration, such as www.urbanpoetry.net.

Could I do a Silent movie? Black and white maybe? A city in silence.

A promotional film for an urban company. This is the story of a company in Manchester United Creatives we meet Chris, the director and his team. Its comprised of shots of people working, drawing, keyboards etc. They create art, in urban environments, show shots of installations, computer art, drawings. The idea is to show them in a realistic light, friendly, open light. What are the directors goals? How did the company start? Where do you want it to go? The future? I can show how the companys progression.

The Ghostvillage Project Directed by Tim Daly, a documentary where six graffiti artists transform an abandoned 1970s village on the west coast of Scotland into a giant art installation.

Mental Objects I return to the assessment brief; produce a short film, the scenario Urban Drama, tales from a City. A very broad subject indeed. Immediately my mind is full of cityscapes and urban environments, from grimy car parks to high-rise city lights. The subject was broad and my first challenge came in attempting to keep within the briefs parameters. Even thought we were not pushed in any direction, I found it a great exercise to make me focus my attention on producing work with a specific goal. Attempting to encompass as many aspects as possible of urban cultures in one short film is a heavy weight feat. After many hours spent watching, video and film I started to formulate my own ideas. Do I write a scripted short, with meaning and heart, lovers in the city maybe? One idea was to head to Bristol, a city with a ton of urban culture, from music to street art to break-dancers, but I found I came up against the same problems every time: I needed a reason why? Yes I could film many things set in an urban environment but I needed a reason to. Many videos exist of graffiti artists, skaters and free runners; some look amazing and are beautifully shot, but they only show their specific culture. This made me think, with such a broad subject, we have to narrow our focus to explore each facet of urban culture fully. When we focus on the small things, the bigger picture will take care of its self.

The visual disrupts and challenges any attempt to define culture in pure linguistic terms - Nicholas Mirzoeff

Thoughts Continued When thinking about my short, I had to consider the resources available to me and what was possible to achieve in the time frame. My first idea to film a documentary style short around the United Creatives company would have involved me traveling to Manchester on numerous occasions, which at this time would not be possible. So this led me to think about my immediate surrounding and the resources readily available to me, a big chance in my approach.

My short needed to be a story, set in a city/town, most likely filmed in the day (so lighting would not be an issue), with little dialogue and few actors. So, new ideas were formulating. From my research I learnt a good short needs to tell a story, from beginning to end and remember Show, dont tell. For a 5 minute short the story needs to be focused around one theme, the journey of one character. The visual style plays a big part in a short film, with a limited time, you want to get the best shots on screen. In short: Simple storytelling and visual flair. I found the Lessons leading up to the actual production of the short invaluable. The lessons made me approach shooting in a very different way, I wanted each shot to convey meaning, I wanted to be able to give good reasons for my choice of shots. This excited me as I could see the depth that could be created in film, even in a short.

My Initial Production Plan First I establish the idea. Then I work on my Treatment. I start work on the draft script; this is so I have an idea of the locations I will need to look for. With the idea established I contact actors, two in this case and check their availability, luckily coming from Stratford-uponAvon, there is always an actor or two knocking about. I location scout, taking pictures and notes about each location, any permissions I need to get to film and any shooting issues I might come up against are recorded. Once I have an idea of my locations, I revisit the draft script and make any appropriate changes, making notes of any props ill be need at different locations. I make a final draft of the script and give it to one of my piers to proof read. Next, the shooting script, I scrawl all over my pristine script attempting to outline the shots and angles I want to achieve. This is then written up as a shooting script. The filming days is set and I make sure all equipment is ready (batteries are full charged etc.). Filming The Edit The re edits Burn DVD

Below are my collected ideas, I went through quite a few before finding The One. The First Idea

I started to think about Design in Urban Culture; having worked in design for many years I knew how much it pervaded all aspect of culture. I contacted a company in Manchester called United Creatives, a bespoke design agency, who work all over the world predominantly in urban environments. Having worked with them before I knew them to be ahead of the curve when it came to innovative urban design and thinking. I approached the director, Chris Edmunds, with a view show how through his work, design can enrich and transform our urban environments. My idea was to make a promotional video for his work and company, but with my own spin on the promo video. I would film with an eye on design; the filming technics employed would reflect the artistic nature of the work I would be filming. Not wanting to produce the typical promotional video, with design in mind, I felt the video would need soul, making it personal to stand out from the crowd. The short film should have a voice over, the directors voice, talking about his vision and views on art and design in urban cultures and settings. All the camera work would be very personal and artistic. This will be a new take on the promotional video and maybe one that could change how they are filmed and approached in future.

Now I had my idea, it was time to tackle some research. How does design affect people? United Creatives - www.unitedcreatives.com

Being able to view my subjects work has been invaluable, giving me a great incite into the company and their goals. This has allowed me to formulate ideas about how to film and portray the company and its message.

Horror I have been a massive horror fan for many years, from Re-Animator to The Thing. I have loved the blood and guts horror films, but I have always thought the psychological horror film to be far more potent. This is what lead me to write a short Fear is the mind killer. Psychological horrors are very human; they tend to be very subtle, replacing monsters with underlining threats. The idea of a psychological horror is make the audience feel uncomfortable. This idea is taken from a script I wrote about 4 years ago. I needed a project that would be achievable, minimal actors, sound, and simple locations. My old horror short Fear is the mind killer came to mind (no pun intended). It was written with a view to making it with no budget and simple narrative. Fear is the mind killer. Paranoia in the city. Fear lives in the mind and can attack anytime.

A Comedy. I know comedy is hard to pull off and would be a challenge. Boy meets girl. Shots of getting up, tea, toast, Wes Anderson style. Baseball caps and mustaches. Talk about hanging with a crew, cut away of friends, hats, mustaches and gang poses. Its about people doing strange things to fit in. Kids cultures. Goes to work, walking, thinking, music, goes to the shop. On his way in he bumps in to a young girl he sees every day, he is in love with her, nervous, he stumbles his words, left alone, over head shot, from balcony. Gets to work, fancy a starbucks? sure, what you having? Ill have a flat white skinny iced caffe mocha caramel espresso err yer ill have the same (he thinks I dont even like coffee). Till shots, money, bags being packed, drawing a mustache on starbucks cup, door shutting, him leaving alone. Couple kissing in the street. Stairs. Next day, same start, he has a coffee, he gages. Todays the day Im gonna ask her. She says does not like hats or mustaches, does he loose his identity to gain the favor of a girl? The epic mustache tear off. The Third Idea

The Second Idea

I thought about situations where people feel paranoid: Home alone. Man in the street , when closing the curtains. Tap running when wake up. Behind the door. Camera CCTV. Reflection in the mirror, bathroom. Being followed. Wide shots in the empty street, high up. Kids in street, avoiding certain roads/alleys. Feeling of always being watched. Dont loose my wallet. Man wakes up, goes to kitchen, and turns off tap as its running. Washing face. Man walks down street at night, stops POV location he has to walk through. Washing face, man behind, in shower, as he ducks we see man, he pops up, turns, he has gone. Dont use my car anymore, always some one on the back seat. Too many people. Meeting people in street, cant see faces, dressed the same. Props: black hood and gloves. Sound: Just breathing and heartbeat. Locations: My house, canal, town center.

Research What is paranoia? Taken from www.mind.org.uk Being paranoid means being suspicious without reason, and believing that others are trying to harm you in some way. Everyone can be mistrustful at times, particularly if life hasn't treated him or her well. But people who are prone to paranoia always dread some forthcoming attack or betrayal. They are forever anticipating that something awful will happen, and trying to second-guess what their adversaries might do. They focus on their fears for the future, and take little account of the majority of times when the past has proved them wrong. I took a look at psychological horror films, including: Blair witch project (1999), The Shining (1980), Jacobs Ladder (1990) and Mulholland Drive (2001).

People call it paranoia, but what happens when you know someone is following you. I have stopped going out in the daytime, to many people, to hard to spot him. Everything in the place makes him paranoid.

Horror shorts watched on the Internet: Cold blood (2010). Criticized Richard Gale. Delusions (2008). Trunk by Sam Hendi. Scary Horror Movie "BUMP". The woods 7d horror short.

The character in very paranoid. Checks every thing is in the right place. His madness get worse, the figure starts to appear in his house, until finally he come face to face with the figure, only to find the figure is him self.

The Forth Idea

After much deliberation, I thought it would be more fun to come up with a new idea, start a fresh. I wanted to keep within the horror genre as I thought it would be a challenge. After watching many shorts it clear most horror/thrillers are set at night and rely heavily on sound and music for atmosphere. So I set out to be different, film a horror/thriller in the day with little or no sound, just a voice over. From here I sat down with pen and paper, with most horror relying on scares, I was going for the psychological angle.

Horror: now I feel Im getting somewhere, maybe..

Alone My idea was to create a short using many different locations through out the town I live in. The main character will be shot in many different ways with a voice over relating to the locations visited. The character is alone in the city. She reminisces over her lost love.

Images can portray a great sense of loneliness; I hope to capture this feeling on film. Even thought the character is in a busy city they can still feel alone.

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and -- in spite of True Romance magazines -- we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely -- at least, not all the time -- but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness. Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967.

We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone. Orson Welles

Working title: ALONE Logline: Together, alone. The key character is a young girl, Jo, she in her early twenties. Her boyfriend, Mark, appears, but only briefly. Jo moves through her favorite city (I will be using Stratford-upon-Avon as my city) reminiscing over her lost love. Different locations evoke different memories. She narrates her thoughts throughout and locations reflect her narration.

The Treatment

Act 1: Jo is woken by an alarm, sitting in the corner of her room. She goes about her daily routine, every thing pointing to the fact she is recently separated from a partner and lover. Pictures, mugs etc. She narrates on the subject. I wanted to be alone, Ill always have my city Act 2: She leaves home. In the city she and walks from place to place reminiscing. Signs and symbols are everywhere. I hate going home Act 3: Jo returns home, she sits in his favorite seat. Phone in hand he never answers my calls any more she calls Mark. The sound of the ringtone she is woken up by can be heard coming from the same room, the shot reviles her boyfriend Mark, lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Jo has killed him.

Alone Script Ideas An alarm is going off. In the corner of the dark room, Jo wakes. The double bed in empty. She brusher her teeth, we see two tooth brushes. She makes a cup of tea; his mug is on the side board. Cut to a picture of them together. In town she sits at a bar, in a booth, seated in the center. I have my city and my memories. Alone He doesnt live there any more, but its full of memories like this city. I wanted to be left alone, but now he has gone I miss him. Shots I want to use: Open framing, Dutch angles, non linear cuts, hang on a frame, maybe slow zooms, shallow frame. High shots. Intense grading.

The Final Idea

Finally I have my idea. The urban culture angle had me stumped for time but through my research and exploration of other ideas I now have a solid concept. I found myself thinking of the visual elements, I wanted a great establishing shot, which could convey a lot for meaning. Our work with semiotics helped enormously; with the opening shot I could use symbolism to allow the audience to form connections between the onscreen visuals and the thoughts and feeling behind them. Binary oppositions will come into play with the subject matter and scenario being very well known. My idea based on a classic gangster film scenario, the environments they use and the cultures they operate in. I can show how they use the city in a uniquely way and most people have a very good idea of the archetype British gangster; they have a well-established culture of their own. Culture: Stereotypical British gangster A British underworld culture. Urban environment: People using an urban environment uniquely, not for its intended purpose. Urban environment British culture A tale from the city!

A British Gangster short. Working title The Girl Key characters: Frank A modern robin hood, finds him self in a sticky situation. Jonny T South London gangster, the negotiator, hes holding the gun. The Girl The mystery element of the story. Treatment The Idea

Filmed in black and white, I want a film noir feel and look. There are three characters in one warehouse location. Franks a hostage, Jonny T is the man with the power and the girl is a silent extra and the pivotal character.

Act 1: Semi conscious character, Frank, is being dragged, by his arms, into a warehouse. He wakes tied to a chair in an abandoned warehouse, opposite him sits a man, smoking, with a gun.

Act 2: The characters thoughts are heard as narration, he knows he in trouble. Jonny T and Frank talk. In the narration Frank thinks Not the girl, please dont have the girl. They continue to talk, Frank refuses to meet the demands put to him. Act 3: Jonny T summons the girl; she is slight of build and innocent looking, Frank looks visibly shaken when she walks into the warehouse. She stands in front of Frank, who stares teeth gritted. Jonny T gives him an ultimatum, the location of the money or the girl, drawing his gun, insinuating he is going to shoot her. Frank just get it over with. Jonny T raised his gun, it appears he is going to shoot the girl, then he holsters the gun Kill him he say to the girl, then he leaves. A sinister smile appears on the girl face, she produces a hammer and kills Frank. She is the gangs executer. Through the narrative I have alluded to the girl being the bargaining chip in the story, but she is the main antagonist.

The Idea Realised

I will be using a boom mic, the cameras build in mic and the radio mics. My short film will have quite a bit of dialogue, I have access to radio microphones through a production company I have worked with before and the rest of the audio, narration and wild track, will be recorded in a studio. Most of the shots will be recorder using a tripod set up, with a small amount of handheld. I also have access to lights, but I intend to film in the day and use natural light as much as possible, the location will determine my use of lighting. As for actors, I need three, I have contacted an actress to play the part of The Girl, a friend, Mark, will play the role of Frank and also help operate the camera when needed, having worked with Mark in the past on feature films, I know we work well together. I might be playing the other role of Jonny T as I dont want to have to rely on to may people for the shoot. I might have another assistant to help out where needed. I have contacted a make up artist who is happy to help, as its only a one day shoot. As for props, everything I need is easy to get hold of or make. I will be asking actors to use their own clothing where possible.

I will be location scouting, I have some leads, a new hotel build on Birmingham road in my home town might have some warehouses still standing, there are loads in Birmingham, getting into them will be the issue their, Stoneleigh show ground in Kenilworth has loads of abandoned buildings, Long Marston military base and many other location (including an abandoned swimming pool) will be looked at.

A British Gangster short - Research British gangster films: Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998) Brighton Rock (1947) Get Carter (1971) Villain (1971) The Long Good Friday (1980) The lavender hill mob (1951) The Krays (1990) Face (1997) Reservoir Dogs (1992) (Not British but Roth is from London) Sexy Beast (2000)

My short is based on a classic scene found in gangster films and lots of action films, the interrogation/torture scene. It typically used when the Bad guys catches the good guy. Some examples:

Villain (1971)

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Casino Royale (2006)

Payback (1999)

Sexy Beast (2000)

Lock stock and two smoking barrels (1998)

The Krays (1990)

Get Carter (1971)

Example Locations Great examles of the look of location Im after, if I can come close to finding anything like this ill be very happy.

After much research, watching every gangster film ever made, and whilst compiling my notes for my storyboard, the idea has developed of its own accord. This scenario has appeared in many films and I wanted to capture that classic feel, the characteristic you can't quite put your finger on. Typically the bad guy beats up the hero, who never breaks and eventually escapes to win the day. I wanted to adapt this structure and give the audience something different, adding mystery and surprise. My idea was to create a short that felt like it was part of a bigger narrative, like a scene cut from a feature film. This would add depth to the story, the audience can fill in the blanks as they see fit and this would draw them into the story. Pre-production list 1. Research write up 2. Location shots 3. Treatment 4. Script 5. Production schedule 6. Storyboard The Script and shot notes.

The screen fades to black again with the music.

INT. SOMETIME - WAREHOUSE Establishing shot, two men sit on chairs opposite each other in a warehouse, in between them is another chair with a clock on it, it ticks loudly throughout. The protagonist, Frank, has been beaten and tied to a chair, opposite him sits our antagonist, Jonny T, he is smoking and holds a gun at his side.

EXT. DAY - CARPARK A dragging sound is heard, like the opening of an eye, flashes of the sky are seen on screen, and the camera is POV pointing straight up. The music is playing and we hear the voice of our protagonist, all internal diegetic sound. FRANK I fackin lov this song.

EXT. DAY A Black screen, music slowly starts to play.

The Girl

FRANK (internal diegetic) Waking up tied to a chair, never a good sign. Marlborough red, Jonny T, this is not gonna end well. Shit the girl, please dont have the girl. Frank spits blood on the floor. CUT to Jonnies medium shot JONNY Morning Franky boy. Looks like Its concrete boots time, put you in a box, chuck you in the fuckin river yer.

CUT to Franks Medium shot

JONNY (Jonny raises his hand to rub his beard) Charming as always. You fucked up son, taking things that aint yours, your mother didnt raise you right. (laugh) you enjoying this? FRANK (Laughs) What you think your gonna get out of me Jonny? Whats done is done mate. (internal diegetic) They aint got the girl, calm down Frank, they aint got her.

JONNY You think your some kinda robin hood? Rob from the rich give to the poor and all that shit, thats a fairy tale son. (Leans forward) CUT to wide shot JONNY Look you have some thing we want, we have something you want. Just tell me where the money is Frank and ill be gentle. FRANK Its to late, its gone (internal diegetic) looks down, CUT to mid shot? You aint gonna break me kid (He smiles looks up CUT?)

CUT to med shot

JONNY What about your friend Travis? He must know something?

CUT to extreme close up of Franks face, we see only one eye in shallow focus. BANG. Franks eye widens, the camera slowly pans across his face, his eyes are wide, in the background, out of focus we see a shape, sitting behind him, the camera shifts to deep focus in the background another man is tied to a chair, this is Travis, bound and gagged, he has been shot dead by Jonny. Franks eye looks left CUT to close up of blood spreading on Traviss t-shirt. CUT to wide, we see Travis and frank, the camera pans right to revile the gun being lowered. FRANK (Looks down at the floor. internal diegetic) Travis, no.if they got to Travis, they might JONNY So.times a tickin Frank. (CUT to clock?) FRANK (internal diegetic) Dont break now

Jonny raises the gun from his side, CUT to POV from Frank as gun levels at him. FRANK (internal diegetic) Thank god the girls not here, Good night frank

JONNY (Shoulder shrug) Shame, so thats that then

FRANK (Laughs) Hes long gone

They sit in silence.

JONNY (stands up, CUT to mid shot) I was gonna torture you but, (looks at the clock, it goes off) your times up

(Jonny exits the frame, From behind jonny in walks the girl?) Wide shot, Franks head turns to look at something off screen to the right of Jonny, CUT to shot of girl shuffling out of the darkness towards them, she walks up to the camera next to Jonny and stands in front of frank, She looks down (its a close up of her now), CUT to Frank close up. FRANK (internal diegetic, as she walks in?) No no not the girl Fuck you Jonny, leave the girl outa this! CUT to Jonnys gun in close up, fingers wrap on gun. JONNY haha

Jonny raises the gun CUT to wide, he points it at the girls head, (??CUT to close up of Franks face looking at girl, CUT to her close up, a smile broadens her face??) FRANK Fuck! Ok wait! The girl lifts her finger to Franks lips, CUT to his close up. FRANK Go to hell you bitch She takes finger away movement, Med shot of her smiling taking the gun from Jonny (close up?), by the barrel to use as a kosh, CUT back to mid shot of her, Frank is out of shot, she smiles as she brings the gun down, she is sprayed with blood, screams. Fade out! FIN GIRL Shurrr JONNY You heard the bell, its to late

I will provide food and drink on the day of the shoot. Production schedule Wednesday 9th November Thursday 10th November

Production schedule Cast: Mark Kendrick as Frank Steven Keeley as Jonny T Ellie Robbins as The Girl Richard Davis as Travis Special Effects: Blood, Tubing + pump Gun flash (Camera Flash) Wardrobe: White t-shirt Actors wearing own clothes Props: Gun Clock with alarm Cigarettes + Lighter Special Equipment: Medical tape Spray bottle Camera with flash Duct tape Rope or cable ties Camera, Lights Tripod Tubing + pump

Collect and check Equipment. Contact actors and arrange for hand over of location on Thursday.

10am collect equipment and buy food for day. Meet actors on location at 12. Prepare location for 1pm start.

Shot List After completing the script and finishing my story boards I compiled a shot list. As Im only filming a short (approximately five minutes in length) with only two scenes, its a short list. I have numbered each shot and set up Ill be using. Also see Shot list and script breakdown. SCENE TWO 1. WS INT warehouse. Two characters sit opposite each other. 2. MCU Jonny talks 3. MCU Frank talks 4. MCU Jonny talks 5. WS Jonny leans, raises gun 6. MCU POV from Frank as gun is leveled at him 7. ECU of Frank. BANG. (7+8 are one set up) 8. ECU Travis reveled 9. CU blood spreading 10. WS dolly right 11. MCU Jonny picks up clock (one set up, two shots, 11+11A) 12. CU Frank 13. CU gun grip 14. WS stand off 15. CU finger to Franks lips 16. MS the girl 17. CU takes the gun 18. MCU she smiles Extra shots and Cutaways, which may be filmed. 1. CU clock ticking 2. CU girls feet walking in or down stairs (depends on location) 3. CU Jonny drawing on cigarette 4. CU Frank bleeding and thinking 5. WS dolly out on last frame 6. WS on scene two shot 14 might be a 4 shot. The Girl Shot list SCENE ONE 1. POV EXT empty lot (or similar)

I was originally going to break down the shots in to set ups: Set up one - Scene Two/1/5/10/14 Set up two - Scene Two/2/4 Etc. I decided against this for continuity reasons, my only problem could be with lighting but Ill be using natural light predominantly.

Location scouting This proved to be the hardest part. I contacted Factories, businesses, the RSC and even an armory just outside Stratford. Everywhere I contacted would not allow me to film for insurance reason. It was very frustrating because I had a picture in my mind of how the location should look and I didnt want to have to compromise my vision, but with no budget I would have to make the best of what was available to me. From a visit to Long Marston Airfield I found this great dilapidated building, but it was condemned and we were not allowed inside which was such a shame as the setting and lighting were great.

Also at the airfield was a strange sight, a portable cabin, cut in half, in the middle of a field. It could potentially be used but it was not ideal. One to keep in mind for future use.

It became apparent I would not be able to get access to a warehouse; I decided to look closer to home. I contacted a friend who lived on a farm, they had a large barn, which would at least give me the space I wanted for my short.

I also contacted a friend who lives in Stratford. He has a garage, which we have filmed in before, its large and I would be able to cheat some of the shots to make it appear bigger if needed. The benefit of this location was that it was in Stratford, would be easy to power lights and was kindly available at short notice. The garage Location.

The garage location was used to film the short, it worked out very well, the space was great and I benefited from its location and access to power.

Props for The Girl

As I couldnt get hold of a real gun, a toy replica would have to do. The guns were a lovely bright blue so I painted the orange end of one and took a black and white photo to see how it would look on film. I was happy with the results.

Retro clock: It was actually hard to find a cheap one of these as they are few and far between. Tube and spray bottle: This would allow me to do the blood spray at the end of the story and the tube used with the spray bottle will be used for the blood spreading on the T-shirt shot. I also needed blood for the short. I looked at buying it online but decided to make some as it would be cheaper and a lot of stuff you can buy online will stain clothes. To make the blood I brought Arrowroot and red and blue body paint (because I was filming in black and white the colour of the paint was not critical, as long as it came out dark on camera). I heated water in a pan, added the Arrowroot which thickens the water, then added amounts of paint to colour the liquid. I did some test shots with the spray bottle.

When it came to filming a was presented with a number of problems, firstly one of my actors pulled out 2 hours before filming, this mean I had to rewrite the script on the day, very unfortunate, but I did have a back up plan, not in writing, just in theory. I had employed a friend to help with the filming and he took the place of the missing actor, unfortunately the character he was going to be playing was female, so the script had to be changed accordingly. I did not have time to change the storyboards, and just edited the script on the fly. I was able to get the location from midday and after running around all morning getting the last of the props, batteries and lunch for the team I was ready to set up for filming. The set was prepared and I started filming at half one. The shoot was going fine, but it soon became apparent the light was going to be an issue. At this time of the year the light fades fast, and by four oclock it was dark outside, this would be an issue I would have to tackle in postproduction with help from After Effects. The shoot was 4 hours long, with around 18 setups and two takes per scene. I would have liked to spend far more time on each shot but the fading light and actors time was a pressing factor. Some of the shots filmed were not used in the final edit, because of continuity issues, and I was missing some shots at the end of the script, but this was due to the changes in the script made at the last minute. In the edit I had to make far more cuts in the film than I would have liked, simply to get the shots to match using the footage I had. I worked hard to make sure the continuity and flow of the story was correct and was always conscious of keeping it around 5 minutes long. I grading of the footage was very important, I wanted a high contrast, black and white scene and spent a long time grading each shot accordingly.

The filming

Film Stills

This is the establishing shot; I used the rule of thirds to compose the shot. The camera was positioned quite low to keep the image flat, but with the 20mm lens giving the shot great depth from the floor and ceilings diminishing perspectives.

The medium close ups, I would have liked to give the characters in these shots more looking room, something to keep in mind in future, but with off-center framing so common today a centered subject has its own power.

The first still, I would have liked the shot a little tighter, but I had to move back because of the depth of field, as I wanted the gun to be in focus when it was raised. The second still is perfect.

The cat in the window shot, the cut away. This was a safty shot for any missing edits I would need. The clock ticks through out the scene. I really like the composition and how the chair seat reaches out to the lense.

Left: The close up on mark smoking was nice because I could get a shallow depth of field focusing the action. Right: In the next shot of Steve I used a wide lens to distort his features slightly and show a lot of the background, he looks very alone and lost in the frame. Below: I love this last shot, it exactly what I had in mind, the composition is visually pleasing and you can tell with a glance what the scene is all about

On the Set The three chairs, critical for the composition of the establishing shot, the wooden beams were great, adding more depth to the shot. I was filming on a Canon 5D Mark 2; I also had a small Panasonic SD60 for filming behind the scenes and a boom and radio microphone with a two channel recorder. A great head wound created by Steve Keeley, It was a shame it was in graded in black and white because it was a very effective.

Steve waiting of the gun shot. In this shot Steves character Frank is about to be shot. To save on special affects and time in post production, I shot this from the shooters perspective and used a simple camera flash for the guns muzzle flash. When combined with sound it was effective.

The 20mm was used on the wide shots; it was invaluable because of the confines of the space I had to shoot in. The 20mm was also used on a CU of Frank as this distorted his feature and made him look very alone and lost in the frame which reflected the character feeling at this point in the story. It allowed me to get everything in frame. The 50mm and 85mm were used on the medium and close up shots to focus the attention on the character. The 85mm was used so I could achieve a very shallow depth of field for the ECU shots. Mark Kendrick as Jonny T, He added a bloody bandage to his hand to add back story as the scene was intended to be a part of a bigger picture.

The Canon 5D Mark 2, with optical viewfinder, stereo shotgun microphone and prime lenses. On this shoot I used 3 prime lenses, 20mm, 50mm and an 85mm lens.

John was able to stand in as The Girl which obviously changed the script somewhat, he did a great job and I was pleased I was able to get to story to make some coherent sense after the changes.

I played the part of Travis who is bound, gagged and shot dead in the scene. I had 3 spare T-shirts on set if needed. Originally I intended to have a close up of the blood spreading on Traviss T-shirt but the effect was not very good and on cutting back to the wide I had a continuity error as the T-shirt I was wearing in shot did not have the blood spill down it, so the shot was cut.

Director posing with camera and essential directors hat (a must have on any shoot).

Recording extra audio at my flat. There was a lot of internal diegetic sound in the script and it needed to sound different (a lot cleaner) from the audio recorded on the location.

In conclusion I return to the brief: Make a short film, an urban drama and show how research has informed my idea.

Ideas on culture: Every culture has its own archetypal gangster. Gangsters are an urban cultural product who originally inspired film makers, and in turn those films now heavily inspire gangsters. Its a romantic image, we often sympathize with these on screen criminals, a rebellious side of us, and we admire their ruthlessness and drive to get to the top, living above the law with wealth and power. We often over look the fragility of their situation, living on a knife edge, they live fast and die young, and when they reach the top, they become the number one target. Gangsters were spawned from poverty and a lust for power, initially cultural outcasts, not conforming to societies rules and then becoming a culture unto themselves. From film and media we all have an idea of the unwritten rules of gangster culture, a culture which gives them meaning. How does this relate to my short? I used the establishing shot to say it all, a bloodied man wakes in a warehouse (now a garage) tied to a chair, opposite him sits a man with a gun. From this we can deduce many things, a man is in trouble, one man has something another man wants, a man is going to be questioned and its likely someone will die. From our cultural understanding of gangster life we have lots of information to draw upon when presented with a certain scene and narrative, and knowing this the director can play with an audiences perceptions. Relating this to my short film: the Hero, the character being tortured, nearly always survives, escapes and turns the tables on his torturer, but in my short the Hero is double crossed and the Bad guys win.

Spaces and Places: Gangsters use places and spaces differently: A restaurant to hold a business meeting, a warehouse to torture someone, a pig farm to dispose of a body, all instances of people using building and places not for their intended purposes. Their use of these spaces add depth to a narrative, the innocent looking Italian restaurant could be the scene of a brutal killing. The places and spaces they operate in have dual functions. I wanted to film my short in a warehouse, a building for storage now being used for a murder. A Gangster using a space, not as intended.

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