Today was our first shoot day of our final year film!
Crazy to think that we’ve already got up to this point.
Now onto the day itself: the night before I finished up the last touches on the call sheet and sent it out to the cast and crew and let them know to be on location by the time it was determined.
As soon as I arrived at 9am, Alex was already there so we just walked to the location where we were going to film in Hampstead High Street. When we got there I immediately went inside the corner store and talked with Mr. Sups Nanji, who is the owner of the shop, and explained to him once more what we were going to do in relation to how the filming would take place.
His wife had already been briefed by me, the week before, and Mr. Nanji was quite ready to help and didn’t impose anything against it. After he signed the location release form, he actually started to help me and Alex move some of the items that were present outside of the store, inside so it wouldn’t interfere with any of the filming process.
As that was done, the rest of the crew started to arrive and as soon as everyone was finishing setting up, me and Erin (the runner) went to get David (the actor) from the nearby Starbucks where he had been waiting for the past hour and a half (he arrived nearly two hours before his call time!) with his cup of tea, and accompanied him to the filming location.
The filming went over smoothly apart from a couple of sound glitches since the adaptor for the headphones that connected to the R-44 sound equipment were missing which forced us to record sound blind for the rest of the day.
Today was the day me and Alex went to both location, house and park, to scout the areas we we would potentially film in.
Firstly, we went to a park in Hampstead where I had already shot my music video, earlier in the year, so I knew how the area was visually appealing and with little to no people walking about even in the afternoon. All in all, this was a very good location to film in, if we get the permission to do so!
And afterwards, we went to Hampstead High Street to scout for a ‘corner shop’ type store that we could for our film and we, thankfully, discovered one fairly close to the tube station (an approximately 5 minute walk) so I went inside to speak to the owner and was met by a lovely lady, who was the owner’s wife, and she proved to be very approachable and actually excited with the prospect of having us film near the premises. Which me and Alex were happy with!
Here are some of the photos taken during the recce:
Later on, me, Alex and Ardeshir (our DoP) went to view the house location I already acquired. This is going to be the second recce for me and Alex because we had already been to the house location before but since Ardeshir wanted to also view the house prior to beginning the shoot, I decided to organize a quick visit.
This recce took about 40 minutes as we went into each of the house divisions we were going to film in, so specifically the living room, bedroom, kitchen and hallway.
Alex took photos of his own and Ardeshir also took some photos so they could individually in their Director and DoP roles, be prepared for the busy weeks of preparation ahead.
These are some of the photos Alex took during the recce of the house.
So this week we finally presented our ad assignment! I was quite excited because I was actually quite proud of what me and my team mate produced. First of all, I was paired up with Agne and she assumed the role of the producer and I assumed the role of the Director, for the first time. When we decided which roles each of us would play, I was nervous yet excited because I knew that I wanted to try out being the director because I felt it was something that I need to do and that it would give me the opportunity to have my creative ideas be more ‘in the open’, so to speak. So when we settled on the roles, we then delved into the topic of which product we would want to make an ad about, and after a a somewhat brief discussion, we decided on doing it about the Marks & Spencers brand, primarily the food department. And the fact that Agne actually works in the company made it even more easy to decide on this as our focus for the film.
After this I then came down to actually writing down the script and storyboard and Agne was in the search of locations and actors. Our first idea was to make the 30 second ad about a family who when eating by themselves, they felt free to do so with no inhibitions or embarrassment, but when eating together as a family unit they felt repressed about showing who they ‘really were’. But after much discussion in class with Helen, we decided that we needed to change our idea to one much more simpler and easy to portray, so that is where the idea of the ‘food porn’, if you will, came to be.
I thought that best way to make an effective ad would be to follow the simpler and more obvious route of inspiring myself on the ads that M&S has done for years and draw from that my inspiration to do our short film.
Now onto the actual filming process: we started shooting in my kitchen on a Thursday and the shoot lasted around 4 hours, give or take, and it was quite smooth and easy. Easy because the communication lines between me and my Producer were always open to new suggestions and ideas, so that we could experiment with different things.
The materials we used for the shoot were:
- Lighting equipment
- Canon 600D
- White plate
- Black card boards
- Toppings (Olive oil, grated cheese and sugar)
And after our shooting, we knew we needed to do a voice-over so Agne was able to find Jess, that was eager to help out, to be our voice in the film. And after I booked the recording studio with Peter Thomas (who I owe a special thanks to for helping us out so much!) we delved into shooting the voice-over which consisted of take after take after take of the different lines from the script being said over and over again until we got the best out of all of them. And one thing that I actually wasn’t thinking would happen was the fact that I actually had to rewrite a few lines because when we actually heard them being spoken, they didn’t quite make sense to the images and what we wanted to portray so it was very helpful to have gone through those changes and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. So a big thanks to Jess for being the awesome voice and Peter Thomas for lending us his insight (and time) into the magical world of sound. We couldn’t have done it without you guys.
Recording studio time.
And here is the script for the ad.
In this class me and my Producer pitched our idea of the ad assignment with the help of our mood board that we had done a few days earlier.
The production of the mood board was a really fun one as well as she were able to discuss all that we wanted to put into it beforehand. And it ended up a cool looking mood board for a couple of first timers.
Now onto the client pitching, me and Agne had written down all the wanted to cover in the pitch but I think that we might have over-prepared a bit because we were a bit fast explaining all that we wanted to do and achieve and that contributed a bit to the confusion of some of the people from the course, and our teacher said that we were possibly over complicating our idea and that we should simplify.
So after this quite helpful feedback we made quite a few changes to our idea and are now finishing the final details prior to starting filming.
Today we were briefed on the 30 second ad assignment that we are due to do in a very short period. So we spent most of today’s class looking at multiple successful (and some not so much) advertisements so we would have an idea of what we need to accomplish.
One of the one’s we saw is one of John Lewis’s Christmas campaign that had a tremendous success last year all over the UK:
We saw that some of the most important messages that this ad transmits to the audience is:
Which are messages that can reach anyone of any age.
So near the end of class, we were paired up in pairs of two that would again follow in the roles of Producer and Director. I was paired up with Agne, which I never worked with before, and afterwards we sat down and started discussing on what we wanted to do, but not before we decided on which roles each of us would play.
We sat out with the idea of representing the Marks & Spencers brand, specifically within the food department and we are now deep in the pre-production process and will most likely after we receive feedback on it when we present it to our teacher and course mates.
But I can say that we are excited to get this show on the road!
Today is the day that our film, along with others, was finally viewed and reviewed by our teachers. We were the final group who’s film was viewed and we could not wait. So much work went into doing it that we, at least I, was very excited/anxious to see what would be our feedback on it. So after the viewing out teachers pretty much agreed that the basis of our story was a bit confusing and lacked the accurate representation of the emotional connection between the three main characters, which is true. It was very hard for us to be able to portray, on an emotional level, all the emotional undertones that we wanted to give to the characters in just five minutes. Also, kinda need to be careful using Shakespeare in the future, probably not the best move. They also mentioned that our director and editor’s choice of songs for the film wasn’t quite the best. But now for the good things is that they actually liked the way it was mostly shot and framed while obviously still having a few not so good moments, but it still made me quite proud of myself.
For a first timer, I was proud to have a somewhat decent piece of work to present to my course. And it only made me more excited to continue to train my way around the camera and see what future projects I might have in store as a potential director of photography.
Because I am the DOP, DP, camera woman or whatever you want to call me, I am the one in charge of operating the camera. Original, I know. But the difference here is that I have had no previous experience in working with DSLR’s. So from there, I went through quite a bit of DLSR tutorials: for begginers, DSLR filmmaking, the basis of photography, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. And also I studied on the basic functions of the Canon 600D, since it was the camera we eventually decided to shoot with. Since I didn’t have experience to rely on, I brushed up on my studies and tested the camera out before we began shooting so that on the day of the shoot, I would have complete confidence and knowledge that I had taken the best footage I could take with a week’s worth of online tutorials and camera testing.
In January 2014, I plan on attending DSLR tutorials at university as well as ask for a camera loan so that I can further practice the use of the camera. That and I plan on saving up money so that I can, in the next couple of months, buy my own profissional camera.