Day 2 of 2017’s Brighton meet up – The 4 hour film Challenge
To follow on from yesterday’s blog post I was to mentor a film making team and we had arranged to meet early so they could get shots of me flying the drone before the workshops started at 8.30 am. Nina a local film maker decided to drive us to the location that is fifteen minutes outside Brighton.
Then we had a third team member of the team arrive and the lovely Sani was waiting for us at the Jury’s Inn. To me this could have a been a difficult point that she would not be fully involved with the film as the angle of the film had been decided. Sani another very established film maker.
First we all attended a colour workshop, from Ollie Kenchington from Korro with Dave Dugdale who had flown in from the States for the two days and it was really insightful and gave away a lot of amazing tips.
Then the eleven mentors were taken to outside to be briefed by Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner and Dan Chung. They wanted us to be hands off as much as possible, not to be shooting anything. No one said I couldn’t fly a drone 😉 anyway that was done! Dan would be floating around to just overseeing generally and helping us out. Philip and Nino would be on the beach with the slow motion training each group given an allotted training slot and hands on shooting time with the Sony Fs5. We had a responsibility to make everything to run to time and also make sure our team got out on the sea front and not miss their slot with Philip or Nino.
The films the teams were to produce, had to included slow motion footage, shots of a Brighton land mark and also one of the street performers in our case a belly dancer! The film had to be about the mentor. All were advised to take a full hour official break from filming. Editing had to be done between 3pm and 5pm and films to be handed in. What ever the state. I was determined my team would provide a finished film. Music had to be cleared for internet use and we had to ask permission to film people or in venues.
I have done a lot of mentoring but usually teenagers and children film making and junior members of TV crew not with people who are accomplished and working professionally as film makers.
I think it’s fair to say in four hours it was hard to get into a team dynamic as most of us are used to working alone or in very defined roles. There was one point when the team we getting a bit stressed because of the deadline. I reminded them the film only needed to be a minute long and that planning was the key to this. How did they see the film? What ? Why? When and How ? Who would the audience be? Those usual questions and to write down the questions that would be my interview.
I felt the main problem would be the issues that many of us self shooters fall into and that is not enough variety in shot sizes for sequences and also overshooting. All of the team had a camera each their own that they had brought plus we had the drone footage that I had shot on the beach.
I decided the best way of mentoring experienced shooters was to question what they were doing? Do you think you need to do this? Would it be best in the edit if we did this? Once the stress disappeared it all started to flow quite well. There was much discussion about the location of the interview that took place after the lunch break. I explained that I would do it on the beach if it was me, yes sound would be an issue but a small amount of back ground sound was always expected by viewers. Gives you options in the edit to see the subject on screen if you like it. We also had an external sound recorder so we could do a sound mix if time allowed.
I really enjoyed standing back and once I had got over myself, a good northern expression for those who are self conscious in anyway. Getting over the fact I was the subject on screen. Whilst sharing my hints and tips. I did this because they were already professional if they had been students I would have needed to be more hands on and more instructional and more of a directors role.
When it came to the edit, the team decided that they wanted me gone for a while so I left them to put the interview down on the timeline with me not present. I suppose they were aware of myself consciousness at being the subject and they had a vision of how it should be cut. The quickest and most experienced editor of the team Kie took the controls and they decided to edit in FCP X. I set a deadline of by 4pm that the interview sync would be down on the time line. Once I got to view rough draft I was very impressed. It was just a matter of adding other shots to the timeline.
They started with something that would hook the viewer and had cut it together quite nicely. There were some shot changes – and had we had more time we would have changed a shot or two to be more illustrative of what the interview sync was saying was shown on screen.
So export was hit at 4.55pm and ready for 4.59pm – when we joined everyone else an extended deadline was set for 5.30pm. Now the team could have tinkered a bit more with the edit but they decided against it. Sit back and time for a quick reflection on what had been achieved and time for the showing to the judges Philip, Nino and Dan.
What is brilliant about Shadows and light, is that the tutors pull no punches they are firm but supportive it wouldn’t be any good if you were told your work was amazing if it wasn’t. How would anyone learn and improve? Sitting in room watching yourself back with everyone watching, excruciating!
My team were first to show their film. I have to say although I was not enjoying seeing and hearing myself on screen. I was very proud of the film that was created. No time for a full sound mix nor colour grade.
As I thought the criticism from Philip, Nino and Dan was when I say I am a drone pilot shots should have been of me flying. That also the shot at the end of me saying I am a drone pilot was not needed as the sound wasn’t great. These are the things I would have changed myself.
There were prizes to be won in the form of external hard drives so the stakes were high, Team 4 scored quite well considering the first film to be shown.
The standard though was truly amazing and most of the films also tackled comedy and were hilarious as they took on the serious subject of being a film maker and poked fun at ourselves and our tutors for their social media presence! No one told me they were playing comedy versions of themselves! Damn, my former stand up comedy career might have been useful. I do think some of these mentors are wasted behind the camera comic timing and pathos explored.
So with out further a do as they say here is team 4’s film.
Production by Kie Cummings, Sani Dastagir and Nina Taylor. Shot on Sony As7ii, canon XF105 and canon 80D, slow mo from a Sony Fs5 and aerial shots from DJI phantom pro 3. Various lenses were used.
I wish could show you the other films but just to say they were truly amazing. Hopefully they will all go online at some point. In the words of the tutors they were blown away by the film making talent this year.
Seeing all the films produced how they told the stories with lots of great filming techniques has really inspired me. To play with the latest kit and to socialise with like minded people. I can’t urge film makers enough to attend an event, there are now several meet ups, showing of work and training in wedding film making. This job can be a lonely one and support and friendship is so important as is the sharing of knowledge.
All photos by Shadow and light Photographer Christian Whitey Pokryka unless stated.
Have a great weekend, I do hope that there is a Shadows and Light 2018.
A massive thank you to all involved in organising and running this event, especially Fraser McGruer and all the tutors for all their sharing of time and knowledge