My name is Ysabel Hudson Searle (candidate number 0331) and this is my Media Studies coursework blog, featuring my ongoing work. I am in Group 2, along with Harry Kettenis (0390), Matthew Romo (1660) and Joshua Stevens (0796). This is the link to our live facebook page: Group 2's Facebook Page.
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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Preliminary Exercise

1. Who did you work with and how did you manage the task between you?
 Our brief was a continuity task, where we had to film and edit a character opening a door, crossing a room, sitting down in a chair opposite another character, then exchanges some dialog. The task should demonstrate continuity, and so should show match on action, shot/reverse/shot and the 180-degree rule. We were only given 1 hour for each section: planning, shooting and editing. I worked with Crystal and Josh. In our group, there were only three of us in total, and this created issues as two of us needed to be acting, leaving only one of us to manage the filming, and keeping track of the shots and taking up many other roles in some cases of (for example checking the sound,) which can be challenging. In addition, because of this, we did not have anyone with the clapperboard, and this created some difficulties later on in the editing process.

2. How did you plan your sequence? What process did you use? What theories did you try to take into account?
Our main form of planning within our one hour was through group discussion, where we molded our ideas to reflect genre and mainly, continuity, therefore we discussed opportunities for shot/reverse/shot, match on action and the 180 degree rule.We discussed all of the features of our film, including dialog, and wrote these things down. We did start on our storyboard, floor plan and script, however we ran out of time and so Josh finished at home these things and our shot list and shoot-board. We ran out of time mainly because our original ideas were much too, and unnecessarily so, extravagant, and we had to tone them down without loosing our original idea too much, which took some time. We did not block or do a walk-through, which made key issues for us when it came to the shooting.

3. What technology did you use to complete the task, and how did you use it?
For the shooting of our prelim, we used hardware such as a Sony Mini DV Camera with a tripod, headphones and a microphone. When it came to editing our sequence, we used software such as Abode Premiere Pro, which was non-linear.

4.+ 5. What factors did you have to take into account when planning, shooting and editing? How successful was your sequence? Please identify what worked well, and with hindsight, what you would improve/do differently?
I think in terms of our brief, our film was quite successful, however in our own eyes, it is a lot less successful, and this is mainly due to the unexpected issues we came across. Firstly, due to our ideas in our planning session being too adventurous, we wasted a lot of time and this caused many problems. First of all, we weren't completely ready for our shoot, with Josh having to finish off our planning at home, and this lead to wasting lots of time on our shooting day. In addition, we did not do a walk-through or block anything out, and this led to a lot of interruptions, changing of shots, and it also wasted a lot of valuable time and made our editing even harder. For example, if we had blocked it out, we would have realised that there is black paper covering the window of the door we were using, and after filming all our previous shots with this black paper, when we came to the shot where we see through the window, we realised that it wouldn’t work, and had to decide as a group whether to retake all the previous shots, or to adapt our film and storyboard to overcome this issue. Also, we would have seen that it is impossible to film the specific mid-shot of Josh opening the door and having it close as he goes in, without having the camera person in it at some point, and because of this, in our editing we had to cut the shot very quickly, before the camera person, Crystal, was seen. Another key example would be that we hadn’t realised just how small one of the rooms we were working in was, and when it came to some shots, we weren’t able to get them how we wanted them, and had to adapt them to our surroundings, and this all wasted time. Communication is also a key factor for us as a class to work on, as there was very little, if nothing, and this caused difficulties, as there were in a sense ‘double-bookings’ of spaces which led to us not being able to perfect our shots, which made things more difficult when it came to editing. We also interrupted groups, as well as being interrupted by them; in fact in one shot you can see someone from another group coming inside, as well as another person, me, but they were in fact coming in to tell us they urgently needed the space now, we had no time to take another shot, and so had to use that one. In terms of editing, I’ve already stated many factors that came into account and hindered us, but there are also a few more. For instance, the fact we did not use a clapperboard consumed a lot of our time editing, as we had to go through and watch each clip, which led to us not being able to finish on time. We also realised when watching the clips that there is a clock in some of our shots, and this is bad since the audience are able to see the time difference, and that takes away from continuity. I do think however that we had some very good examples of continuity, as we included match on action, shot/reverse/shot and the 80 degree rule. I think, and this is less relevant to our brief, but I think our genre was clearly established, as we did put quite a bit of focus on the genre and making sure it is successful in that, and for our comedy, that would be being funny. I do think in this instance, time and communication were our main hindrances, which lead to a ripple effect, and in future we should really focus on not wasting time and getting everything done on time, so that there are no knock-on effects to our projects. I also think if we had more communication within our class, then a lot of errors and issues wouldn’t have occurred, and we all could’ve got our shots perfected.

6. What have you learnt from completing this task? Looking ahead, how will this learning be significant when completing the rest of your foundation coursework, do you think?
For me personally, this is my first time doing media, and so this is a huge learning point for me, as I had never done anything like this before. Now I have, I realise just how important every minute of time is, and how, as I’ve explained above, every aspect seems to have a knock-on effect, so it is really important to make sure every detail is finished, to make sure that other factors don’t get effected by this, which again leads to more effected factors etc. It also has taught me, especially through the clock being in the shot example, how prominent every single detail is that’s in shot, and so next time I will be very focused on looking out for things in the shot, and making sure everything is in place. I realised how important it was to block everything out, and have a prelim in the sense that there are certain angles, for example the glass window on the door, where things are in shot, like the camera person, which are difficult to avoid.  I also realise just how important the clapperboard is, to which frankly I was not so aware, and when reflecting, if this had been a bigger (longer) project, then the absence of the clapperboard would have caused terrible problems. It was also my first time editing any film, let alone using Abode Premiere Pro, and this was all very new to me and I got the hang of it eventually, which is good because now I know how to use it for our future projects. Finally, I learnt the importance of communication within the class, to avoid disturbances while shooting, and in future we should definitely organise things better amongst ourselves.

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