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.