The word “hallo” can be very powerful as it is used to express many different feelings and emotions. As well as opening a conversation, the way that it is said will set a tone and atmosphere for the following scene or group of shots. In a normal scenario, it would be extremely important to make sure that the audience knows exactly what is being implied as this will set a good mood for the conversation. This also applies to the Hallo Project. For this project, the criteria is to plan and produce a video showing how the word “hallo” can be powerful and to emphasise the feeling or emotion within a scene. To do this, the only speech that can be used is “hallo”, which will allow us to focus on the techniques we have learnt.
Within media there are many platforms for sharing and delivering content. In the modern day, the most widely used platform is video as it is the easiest and most effective way to deliver a message or entertainment. I think this is because it is the most flexible source of communicating as it uses visuals and audio, which is a more engaging way to tell a story. As well as this, it is the main focus of my studies therefore I will use video for my project. Though there are other sources of communication that could be used for this project, I feel that video would be most suitable as I have the most knowledge of how it can be used effectively and to a high quality. Furthermore, video is the most interesting to watch and make as it has more elements that can help add to the story, such as the use of editing techniques, framing and composition used.
Print and Radio are also forms of communication that could be used to convey a feeling or emotion with the word “hello”, however I don’t think they are as effective. For example, radio only has audio to help tell a story which can make it difficult for the audience to relate/like a character. In a normal production scenario, this could be used as an advantage if used properly, however it would be extremely difficult to get a high quality piece of work if I were to use it as a method of communication for the hello project. Similarly, print only has one still image to work with, therefore would also be difficult to convey feelings and emotions through the use of only one word. If I were to use print I think that a comic could possibly work as the format is suitable for a story though in my opinion is still not as effective as what video would be for the nature of this project.
Another part of the project that I have thought about is how I am going to communicate my idea. After thinking of a story, I have realised that editing, lighting and sound will all be a huge factor into how my character is perceived and how the emotion is shown within the scene. With regards to editing I feel that I can show a change in atmosphere by using both fast and slow pace editing. This means that I will need keep this in mind when creating my storyboard as I will have a better idea of how long the video is going to be and how long I will need to record each shot for. Lighting and sound will also have an effect on how the emotion is shown within the scene. I will use these elements to show how the atmosphere changes throughout the scene.
My video will show a representation as to how technology and communication is under appreciated in the present day. The aim is to show how people take technology for granted whilst still relying on it. I plan on using a mixture of quick and slow editing to show the change in emotion throughout the scene. This means that I will need to research editing techniques as well as the practical side of my project, including things such as uses of lighting and where I can position equipment whilst on set. I will also need to research music as this will have an important role in how the sequence is put together.
Firstly I plan on researching editing techniques as I feel this will give me a better idea as to how I should plan my video. To do this I am going to be using some of my findings from a previous post in which I found a video that explained many different techniques for cuts and transitions. This would be very beneficial for the Hello Project as it is fairly short, therefore each cut needs to be accurately planned out before shooting.
(RocketJump Film School, 2016)
After watching this video, I have decided that I would like to use a range of different techniques such as match on action, jump cuts and l and j cuts. These will allow me to keep the sequence flowing and keep the audiences attention.
Match on action is used to help keep a sequence flow with less visible cuts. It is done by cutting from one shot to another whilst the main subject is in action. For the technique to work well, the movement must be clear so the viewers can see that the movement is a continuation from one shot to the other. This will help the audience distinguish the action in each shot as one movement. The main concept behind this technique is that the action should start the in the first shot and should end in the second shot, though there are many examples of this technique that have more than two shots per action. This method is mainly used to give the audience more than one view of the action, although it can be used to emphasise and create tension.
The jump cut used to show an amount of time passing between shots. Therefore it is often used for montages to fill in any gaps between speech etc. As well as this, the jump cut can be used to engage the audience into the scene. For example, jump cuts are usually very unpredictable and sometimes aren’t even noticed the first time seen so it can be a very effective method to grab the audiences attention. This means that it is often used to emphasise a certain point.
These cuts rely on audio for them to work properly. Effectively, both the L and J cuts use audio to guide the audience between each shot, making the transition seem smoother. The L cut is when the audio from the first shot is carried over to the second shot, mainly used to improve the flow of a sequence with background and ambient noise etc. However a J cut is implemented by having the audio of the second shot start before the video footage does. This can be a great method of changing the situation within the scene.
Due to the nature of the project, lighting and sound is very important as they would help show a sense of atmosphere and location. With this in mind, I plan to use natural light as I feel that this will make the scene more believable which is the ideal effect that I would like to create. As well as this using natural light will allow me to give a sense of environment which is another important part of how the story develops. During my video I plan on recording Foley sound whilst on set shooting as this will give the most realistic outcome. Foley sound will also help develop the story as it will make it more believable which is important for the story.
For my location, I plan to use my house as it is easily accessible which is a huge benefit whilst shooting. As well as this, it is well lit and has good sound isolation which is another benefit. As I am using natural light, I am going to research which day would be best to record the footage as the weather will have an affect on how the final product will be. After researching the weather forecast I feel that it would be suitable to film on the Sunday as the temperature is the highest that day which means it would be good conditions for production. As the temperature is high, there will be no problems with camera batteries loosing life quickly. Another part of my research was that I have checked when the light is at its best point both outside and inside the house to ensure a good lighting setup. Ideally it would be good to film on a brighter day without cloud as it would make it easier to light the shot although I am restricted due to circumstances that I cannot control, such as actor availability and equipment limitations.
In the production, there is only one main prop that would be needed which is a working phone. This would be used to show the conversation that the character is trying to ignore. To get a good result I plan on changing the phones settings to show ‘unknown number’ when called as this will show that the character does not know who is calling, giving more information to the audience, helping with character and story development. To make the shooting process easier, I am going to use my own phone as I know that it will be working on the day, having both a full battery and signal which would be needed for the production.
As well as all the other elements of the production, music is another part that I am going to research. When searching ‘student film music legality’ I found a website that specified the exact route that must be taken when using copyrighted music for a student production. According to http://schoolvideonews.com/Copyright/Copyright-Permissions-and-LipDubs, using copyrighted music in the production is ok if I clearly show that it is a student project. However it also states that the video must not be shown or distributed anywhere other than the school/environment it was created in as it could be taken out of context/used without the owners consent. As there aren’t any limitations as to what music I can use, I am going to be use a sound track from the film ‘Interstellar’. I feel that a fairly slow, suspenseful backing track is needed, therefore ‘Interstellar’ would be a good choice.
Now that I have a better idea of how my video is going to progress I am going to create a storyboard. This will clarify exactly what is in each shot and how the sequence should be put together. When doing this I will be thinking about the framing and composition of each shot and how effective it will be in the sequence. Making a storyboard is crucial for any type of production as it allows the team to see a rough insight as to how the final version might turn out.
Production started on the Sunday of the 27th of November. I chose to film on this day as the weather forecast was particularly good compared to the other days that I could have filmed on. As well as this, my actor was free on this day so I felt it would be a good opportunity to film. Another reason why I wanted to film so early on in the production time we had was that I would be able to re-film parts that I possibly would not be happy with later on in the week if needed. Although not required, it was a precaution that I was willing to take had anything gone wrong. Despite being partly cloudy I still felt it was a good day to film as this was the only problem that I had with the set.
On the day of filming I asked my friend who would be acting to arrive at my house (the set) an hour before I planned to start filming, just so I could give an idea of what the story was about and how I imagined the actor would be included. After researching what time would be the best time of day to start, we started filming at 1pm in the afternoon as this was when the front of the house was lit best, which was needed for the first few shots in the video. As we were filming outside, we quickly realised that it was difficult to film when people were walking up and down the road, however after a while it became less busy. As the filming progressed I soon realised that I did not think about the life of the camera battery and so it ran out before we were finished recording. Therefore I had to charge the battery for an hour, by which point the light had changed as I was using natural light.
For the rest of the week I chose to work by editing a rough draft with the footage I had recorded. This was extremely beneficial as it gave me an insight as to what the quality of the footage was like and how I could time each shot in a sequence. As well as this, I figured it would significantly help me in class when editing the final version as not only would I know what the final sequence would be like but it would also be of a higher quality as there would have been more thought behind each cut and transition to ensure they work to a good quality.
Critical Perspective Report
Whilst planning my project, I have ensured that I focus on several different critical perspectives of media as it would allow me to work on the story and how the characters persona develops. Although I considered several different perspectives I particularly focused on mise-en-scene, and narrative.
Mise-en-scene was one of my main focuses for this project as I figured it would be one of the best ways I could develop the characteristics of the character without them speaking. This meant that I would need to carefully think about what is and isn’t in the shot. Therefore each and ever shot was thought through before shooting as I knew that it would have an impact on the final version of the video. As well as this, I knew the video would be fairly short so it was important to make sure that the audience did not become confused or mislead.
Narrative was also an important part of the project for me. Since it is such a short video, I felt it was necessary to think through the plot to help improve any parts that may not be believable or realistic. To keep it interesting I tried to implement an open narrative as I felt that it would engage the audience as there could be more than one ending to the story.
The Hallo Project was produced on an extremely small budget, therefore I had to plan in a way that the lack of money would go unnoticed. To do this I made sure that my story and the equipment needed were realistic and attainable. I felt this was a good idea as it would allow me to finish with a higher quality result as it won’t be trying to replicate something that is more difficult to produce. Another limitation that effected the final result of the video is lack of time. If we had more time to produce the video, I would have been able to re shoot some of the footage that I wasn’t happy with. As well as this I would have been able to come up with a more in depth story, and a longer video. This would have given me more opportunity to show what I have learnt so far.
Introduce the project in your own words
For my project the main focus was to show how communication affects us and how we under appreciate the technology in today’s world. I will do this by showing the change in emotion as someone uses their phone. This is a modern day problem; therefore the audience will be able to relate. The idea is to create a message that we shouldn’t disrespect technology, especially in the face of negative media. Although there is research to suggest that new technology is ‘bad’ , there is much more evidence to show that it has more beneficial impacts on the world than it does negative. Therefore I don’t think the work of many people should be opposed in a negative light.
List five strengths and five weaknesses in your final project
- Firstly I was very happy with the way that I cut between each shot. I think that the extra effort that I spent on timing was effective and that it was a good idea to do so. I also think that the use of L and J cuts helped me edit the sequence in a way that it would flow well and to a good quality. Using the smash cuts towards the beginning of the video was also a good idea as it gave a sense of urgency and kept the audience interested in something that could have been a very boring transition from one shot to the other.
- I think that the music that I used in the video worked very well. The reason I chose it was because it was of a slow speed and gave the atmosphere that I wanted for the video. Another reason why I think it worked well is because it didn’t take the audiences attention away from what was happening in each shot which was my main intention. As well as this it substitutes as ambient sound and fills in what would have been a very silent video.
- Foley sound was another part of the video that I was particularly happy with. Although there wasn’t that many different sounds included, I think the audio that was put in worked very well as it gave a realistic feel to the video. This was very important as I think it helps the entire sequence seem more believable which is what my intention was.
- Both the framing and composition that I used in the video worked very well. This is because I payed attention to what was in the shot and what wasn’t. Also I used the skills and techniques that I have learnt from the course so far in each and every shot, which helped significantly. As well as this, I used a range of different camera angles and compositions which made the overall edit more interesting to watch.
- Finally I think that the acting in the video was of a very high quality. It helped that my friend has done acting at both GCSE and A level, therefore he is used to being in that kind of role. Also I think that I directed him to a good standard as he was confident with what he had to do in each shot. It helped that I asked him to arrive earlier so that I could give a description of what was needed and how I wanted the end result to turn out.
- Out of the weaknesses that I could pick out, I would say that the lighting was certainly one of the biggest faults with the video. Due to the camera battery running out, I had to charge it for an hour as I didn’t have a spare, therefore the natural lighting setup had completely changed. Even though I changed the suffering shots in post production and made them significantly better, there is still a clear continuation problem as there is a grain and slightly different lighting setup in the last few shots.
- Another fault on my behalf was that I did not change the white balance to suit the type of light I was recording in. Although I am still very happy with the footage I have, I think that if I had changed the white balance settings I think the footage would have been better, particularly the shots recorded outside.
- One of the main things that I would have liked to improve was the story that I had thought of. I think that if I had more time to create a better narrative the overall video would be generally more interesting and engaging to watch.
- Again another one of the problems that occurred during filming was that I did not think about the brightness of the phone screen in comparison to the rest of the shot. Therefore, the phone screen is much brighter than the rest of the shot so it is very difficult to see what is on the screen. However now I realise that I should have lowered the brightness so it would have been able to be seen in the shot.
- Finally I think that another one of the problems that the video had was that there was a lack of footage or shots. Though it would have been difficult to show more of inside the house, I think that some establishment shots would work well , introducing the character and location.
What were the key areas of development in this project?
On the day of filming I think that one of the key areas for development was that I gave a comprehensive brief to my actor before shooting to ensure that he knew exactly what was needed and how I wanted the final video to look. I am confident that the video would have suffered significantly if I had not done this as he would have become confused fairly quickly as to what was needed and how to act. As well as this it allowed me to focus on what was happening in the shot rather than having to direct whilst the camera was rolling. Therefore the main area of development was communication and directing skills.
What changed, what developments did you make, did you manage to complete everything you set out to?
Overall I am happy with the final outcome of the video, despite the few problems that occurred whilst filming. Not only did I complete all of the objectives that I had set for myself, but I also feel that I did it to a good quality. During the production time I practised with the camera equipment I was given before filming which significantly helped both me and the final video. I think the preparation was very important as it gave me time to improve on my practical skills which was extremely beneficial during production.
What could you adapt about the work produced to improve and develop it?
I think that one of the main areas for improvement in my video is the lighting. Although I have already applied effects to brighten the shot I still think that it is a weak point in the video. If I had the time and opportunity I would have re filmed the last few shots in the video so that the lighting would have been the same as the first part of the video. I think this would improve the video greatly as it would put more emphasis on the story rather than the poor lighting setup.
Is the final work appropriate for the needs of your target audience?
Overall I think that the video I produced was suitable for the target audience. It had a young character, therefore related to by the millennial/teenage demographic as well as a story based around technology which is a common interest for most young people. The only thing that would make it more appealing to a young demographic is if it had a more interesting story. I think this would be a much better method of keeping a young audience engaged.
Does it sufficiently cover unit 1,2,3 and 4’s criteria?
I believe that the work that I have provided covers all of the units as I have explained each part of the brief in great detail.
Did it go better or worse than expected?
I think that my final video finished how I expected it to be. I am happy with what I have done although I predicted that there would be faults and weaknesses as it was the first project that we had been given of this kind. If I had prepared better and more effectively I would have been more pleased with the end result.
What do you think you could improve next time?
Next time I will be spending more time in pre production. I feel that if I worked more on the preparation for this project I would have finished with a better result. This is because I would have been able to reduce the possibility of having any problems during the production stage. As well as this it would have allowed me to come up with a stronger narrative which would have made the overall video more interesting to watch and engage with.
RocketJump Film School (2016) Cuts & transitions 101. Available at: https://youtu.be/OAH0MoAv2CI (Accessed: 8 December 2016).
Kanashkevich, M. (2012) Are you practicing these 5 natural lighting tips? Available at: http://digital-photography-school.com/are-you-practicing-these-5-natural-lighting-tips/(Accessed: 8 December 2016).
Copyright Permissions and LipDubs (2007) Other copyright-related articles. Available at: http://schoolvideonews.com/Copyright/Copyright-Permissions-and-LipDubs (Accessed: 8 December 2016).