Friday, August 26, 2011

Rose & Arlene: A Songwriter Takes the Stage

This was not done for school. It was a documentary following a one act play submission into a one act play festival (Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the festival). Now this a a 5 minute version, with the original being about 10 minutes long. I still have to upload the full version but for now you can check out what its all about with this one. The project was a collaborative effort with my friend Andrew Lewis (who found the project). I shot most of the interview footage, as well as rehearsal. Andrew shot the rest and we were given some resources as well. I edited the whole thing together in FCP7.

I like the way this one turned out. Again, it was my first venture into the world of documentary. Given that I think that we were able to capture a lot of information and present it in a way that wasn't too biographical (because that was what the play was for. We were simply supposed to document the making of the play). I think that the footage was real and had a very authentic feel to it.

Improvements here are mostly technical. I think that the sound mixing could do some work. I'm sure that somewhere there was better rehearsal footage that could have been used. Color Correction could use some work too. Hopefully next time I will be able to work with more resources and have more access to everyone involved.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Seeking the Lord

Now this I don't know what to think of. It was a completely open assignment in my summer editing class. I actually had a bit of trouble with all this freedom and found it difficult to come up with something I found interesting. Ultimately I decided to shoot the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Obviously it became something very different.

I do like it though. It was shot on a simple, Canon PowerShot camera. I played with the color setting a little. The only footage from the parade that remained were the signs about Sin and Hell. The rest is just a shot of my eye, altered in FCP7 so it slowly moves outward. The sound is a lo fi sermon I found from the 1950's. I cut up the sermon so that it sounded "remixed".

I really can't criticize this one too much because there is nothing to criticize. It is what it is and it is nothing. There was no underlying meaning to this video. I really just wanted to mess around with FCP7 and learn anchor points, color correction and sound editing (all of which were firsts on this project).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Untitled Feature - Beach Scene

So this is a scene about half way through my feature length script. My assignment was to shoot a scene that encapsulates the overall tone of your script. I chose this scene simply because it provided me with an opportunity to focus on writing, and also try a few things I had never attempted before.

It was the first time I had shot a scene that was entirely dialogue; a conversation. Also, it was my first ever attempt at auditioning and working with actors who I had not known prior to filming.

For the most part I was happy with the result, but strictly in relation to the circumstance. I thought that there was a nice tone to the scene. I think there were some nicely framed shots and it had a decent fluidity. But I still see a lot of room for improvement. Obviously this kind of existential type dialogue carries the risk of sounding pretentious, irritating or simply lame. I think that the writing bordered on all of these but didn't quite tip either way. Also, I think the acting could be stronger (but the directing and writing is partially responsible for this). I think that the individual shots could breathe a little bit more and didn't have to be so tight on the faces. I think the scene could have used some more camera movement too, some of the shots felt too "still". Regardless, this particular project has probably taught me the most moving forward in my work.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sunday Afternoon

For this assignment, I was supposed to film a "long take". Basically, a five minute, un edited sequence. We were allowed one edit in the entire thing but this does not have any. It is a genuine long take.

What makes this work for me is that I actually filmed a 15 minute, continuous take around my building in Manhattan. By speeding the action up and turning the volume up it has a techno music video feel to it. I also like the fact that the action switches from real time, slo mo and fast motion so there is never a stagnant moment. Also, I had my first attempt at sound mixing, by attempting to raise and lower the levels of the music, natural sounds and dialogue.

I suppose I could criticize this video for being a little too repetitive. I think the repetitive (and aggressive) nature of the music plays a big factor in this. Also, a dolly or shoulder mount steady cam would be helpgful. It is just way too shaky for my taste. It could have been framed a little tighter in parts.

Untitled Feature - Opening Scene *Rough Cut*

So this assignment was too just film something. No dialogue, no sound...just images.

I decided I was going to film a skeleton of what the opening scene of my feature length script would be. This was shot on a mini DV in my bedroom. A very simple concept which I am ultimately happy with. I think there is some good atmosphere created here. I thought the lighting was effective and there were some nicely framed shots (turning the bathroom light on, reflection, split screen). I think that the pacing of the edits was generally good.

That being said, I could have shot it in HD. I suppose there is some charm in its graininess but ultimately that is a result of my limited knowledge of the DV camera. By now I am sure that I could shoot this with a much cleaner feel and not lose that effective atmosphere. Also, I can't be a proponent of my own acting. In the future this will surely re cast. The split screens were an experiment in something different. I think the 3 way split of the room was more effective than the splits in the bathroom. All in all I think that the atomosphere is distinctive enough to warrant a positive reaction, however this still is an entirely experimental exercise which ultimately acts as more a learning opportunity than anything close to resembling a final project

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lost Lives / Long Roads

This was my final project for my film class this past year. It is shot on both 16mm & HD and is edited in FCP7. I went on location for this one and shot it inside a motel room, using natural sounds from outside. Also, the 16mm was shot on location on a beach in Connecticut.

I think that this project, again, was atmospheric in its minimalism. It didn't really require too much dialogue or even action. I did all the lighting. I wanted to cast distinct shadows on the bare walls and capture the minimal actions the man is confined too in shadow rather then live action. I think the contrast between the black & white and color makes the different time periods distinct. Also, the 16mm vs HD contrast adds to character. The family portion having a much more nostalgic feel to the colorless present day. The natural sounds work, however the sound mixing could be better (especially on the siren). But first and foremost I have to praise the performance of Cassy McDermott. She was the most cooperative 4 year old I could have asked for. And very comfortable in front of the camera.

I think that any critique of this piece is really in its presentation. Why the shadows? I have no answer, except I wanted to practice casting large shadows. Why no dialogue? Because I was using friends to act. I didn't want them to feel uncomfortable or compromise the content with "bad" acting. Why no camera movement? The confines of the room were too small and I couldn't move the camera around cleanly. Why the woman's face in the mirror? This was a toss up decision that I ended up including. Should my technical abilities be more advanced this would be much more effective. And the critique can go on and on and on in this fashion.