A still from the video. A bottle in a bush.
EVALUATION GROUP SISE
Our group SISE project was for me quite disappointing overall.
During the afternoon of our shoot about 30 mins of footage was shot but the results when I looked later I felt were quite amateurish almost home movie genre! Even though we had booked out a tripod it wasn’t used on the shoot as we were running out of light and so there were some very shaky shots and some footage not in focus. Anyway, as editor it was a huge challenge for me to get some useable footage ready to work on. It took me over 3 hours to render the footage and it was soon clear that I was left with only about 10 mins of actual workable material. It felt like a huge responsibility for me to try and salvage what was shot into a presentable piece of work for the group.
During the shoot, I felt that I didn’t want to interfere with the director and cameraman as I felt it wasn’t my place as editor but, at one point during filming I saw a squirrel and suggested it be filmed. We managed to capture a variety of shot types of the squirrel in one take, which I intercut into Anna’s walk, to reflect her agitation and her urgency. Watching the editing in “Planet Earth 2” influenced my edit to experiment with cutting the squirrel footage in a way that I had not previously considered. I tried to synchronise Anna’s footsteps with the movement of the squirrel (call and response, imitating the birdsong in the soundtrack). This decision to include the squirrel came initially to conceal massive continuity errors between takes of Anna’s walk. The squirrel low angle footage was not intended as a POV shot at the time of shooting it was just captured in frame during a reverse angle shot of Anna walking. This reminded me of “Death in the Morning” a BBC documentary about fox hunting from 1963 where there is the POV of the fox while being hunted, a groundbreaking idea at the time.
Although I enjoyed working with all of the team, I realise my team could have worked a lot harder on this task, both individually coming up with ideas and together, as a team, and everyone should have taken more responsibility for their own input I think so we would have had much more time to think about the shots and prepare well before the shoot. Generally from the outcome of the footage it seemed there was no passion and not enough care or technical know-how as none of the team have had much experience with cameras or filming and I think we all understand now what really needs to be done beforehand in preproduction to ensure a smooth and efficient shoot. It is difficult to know if the filming would have been any more productive with people taking different roles. However on the day we did adapt our ideas quickly and effectively within the team when we realised that while setting up the shot that it would be better if actor and cameraman swapped roles as Ellis was taller and could get a better angle and height for a more successful shot if he was cameraman rather than Anna. This worked much better and this footage was much a more effective I think than it could have been. We did rush the shoot though as we had left it far too late for our deadline which resulted in what comes across as a “home movie” one that I’m not particularly proud to have my name attached to.
The whole production felt a bit rushed to be honest and I wasn’t happy during the shoot but I knew I had to get on with the edit as soon as possible to be able to show the others to get their input. We should have started this project earlier and had more effective production meetings but now we know for the future – you can’t just turn up on the day and hope to produce something reasonable with not enough prep. Obviously, professionally, short films are often shot and cut within hours for immediate transmission for news programmes and documentaries and I will try and be more confident in future if I have any ideas myself for improvements during production. Being more confident with handling and using the equipment during the shoot would have helped too. It was interesting to produce a piece that included stills as well as video. I particularly like this effect when seen on screen and it is widespread throughout media, for example in “Man on Wire” by James Marsh and in Orson Wells’ “ Citizen Kane” and more recently seen in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” It adds interest and focuses attention I think on important information that the director wants the audience to pay attention to.
Quite rightly the feedback on our group SISE wasn’t too positive. Everything that was mentioned I had already thought myself, but I just tried to do the best edit I could with the material I had.
“As any fisherman can tell you, it is the quality of the bait that determines the kind of fish you catch.” – Walter Murch.