Short Form Video
Students Short Form Video Project.
Our 2 minute edit:-
Personal 2 Minute Edit
I chose Black & White for my edit mainly for personal preferences – I like the look, but this also solves some of the problems encountered with varying lighting conditions. For example the first days filming was on a bright sunny day and the second days filming was sunny with clouds. We could have graded the film in post production but the plugins for Adobes Premiere were not available at the time.
Short Form Video – How did we get to this point?
Firstly it involved considerably more work than initially anticipated, particularly in the pre-production stages, that is planning and organisational stages of the production that are vital to any film project and should be completed before any filming begins.
Homeless Persons Cycle – Worldly Goods
The first task as was to generate an overall concept for the group video, unfortunately our individual ideas were discarded for a variety of reasons and so the group eventually came up with a group concept with the idea of videoing a day in the life of a Homeless Person.
Tony Chance our visiting Lecturer for this unit introduced us to the concept of using a mood wall, which helped us to not only come up with this idea but also initiated the thought processes that the film would work well as a dream sequence. For example we could show the Homeless Person remembering his best day while sleeping on a park bench. In the Homeless Person Best Day we would attempt to show in the video a lucky day for a Homeless Person.
Conceptually a Homeless Person idea of what is a good day for them should differ from what other people would consider to be good day. So we made sure that these good things were appropriate to the character, for example we looked at and discarded the idea of the Homeless Person winning the Lottery as this seemed unlikely and too obvious.
A list of Good things:-
- Finding a packet of cigarettes
- A better coat
- Sharing a drink with his Homeless Person friends (Dropped from the final video – cast reasons)
- Finding and enjoying a cup of coffee while reading a newspaper
- A quiet moment feeding the birds
- Finding a pair of glasses and enjoying a joke watching TV in a shop window
- Enjoying a sit on the beach watching the Sun go down (Dropped as the final sequence had to fit in with a cycles wheel)
Preparation and job assignments
Unfortunately for this short form video I seemed destined from day one to be cast in the role of the Homeless Person, while initially I was hoping to be the Producer.
Michael was always going to be and was the Director and was also cast as the man on the bench drinking coffee, Alexsandra wanted to be the Assistant Director/Producer, Lee was Camera, Editor and appeared as the man on telephone, with finally Euan also on Camera and who also appeared in the film as the bucket carrier. For student filmmakers and micro or zero budget filmmakers everyone doubled or even trebled up on job roles and/or appearing in the film as main character or in lesser roles in the film.
As the short form video production commenced it seemed as if everyone (no surprise for student filmmakers) wanted to be the Director including myself and so during videoing everyone had an idea of how each scene should be set and shot. Although at times this could be very confusing it was also very creative with many of our best ideas coming from these creative discussions.
Preparation for this short form video was the key for the success of this project, for example we needed to make me look like a Homeless Person and so I sourced costume which was made even more appropriate thanks to Lee efforts with Brown Sauce, Flour and Tea/Coffee stains. Michael organised a make-up artist to do my Homeless Person make-up (Thanks to Mark). Alexsandra produced the broken glasses for the shop scene. We sourced the loan of a cycle from a fellow student thanks to Georgie and this was dressed with a variety of old cans, bottles bags of old clothes all tied onto the bike with string.
We were fortunate in that our shot lists would mainly be be in the same order as our Storyboards which negated the need to film out of sequence.
With the filming locations already identified (See previous Blog entries) we set dates for filming and arranged for the booking of the equipment we needed for the 2 days of Filming.
Filming – Day One
My first task of the day was to have the Homeless Person make-up applied.
Homeless Person on a Bench
We then loaded the cars with all the filming equipment, costume and props and then set off to our arranged meeting point in Bournemouth’s town centre car park. Euan would meet us there as he was riding the cycle we would be using in the filming as there was no room in the cars for it and all the equipment.
I got changed into costume and then the group set off to the first location which provided our first problem of the day as it was unavailable to us. (See previous blog entries for details).
If I had to summarise Day Ones filming it would have to be a day of difficulties. We did achieve everything we had planned but obstacles had to be overcome, scenes needed modification to suit conditions and of course we couldn’t control every aspect particularly those involving members of the public and so we had to work around these as best we could. We also discovered that the camera had a fault and that we would have to switch from filming on Tape to using the digital backs. But on a very positive note when I got home that evening and captured the footage onto my PC I saw that we had some really excellent footage and we as a team had a much better understanding on how we as a Group worked together and what our individual strengths were.
Apart from one incident where I chased the Director up the road (He got away from me) as a Team we worked well together.
Disney’s Lady & the Tramp
With a pre-arranged meeting point day two should have got off to an early start but we were delayed slightly by some team members arriving late and the need for another make-up session. But we soon got filming under-way and it seemed to go more smoothly than the previous days shooting mainly because we had a better understanding of how we all worked together and the alternative locations were already in place.
In summarising Day Two I’d say it went much more smoothly, everyone had a role they were comfortable with and the filming went much more to plan. At the end of the day we returned to University and dropped of the equipment with the feeling of a job well done.
I’ve completed a number of edits now (See previous Blogs), several that included the Green Screen footage which we decided to drop from the final video. A four screen montage with different start points so that all the main scenes in the film could be shown in their entirety but still stay within the 2 minute constraint. But in the end the edit that works best for me is the version above, particularly in conjunction with the music I’ve chosen.
We shot some extra footage for cutaways ie. The bird and daffodil sequences, utilising these in the edit to assist in moving from the end of one scene to the next. My idea and the most important additional footage for me was the final sequence of the £20 note caught in the spokes of the wheel as this solved the problem of ending the film on a shot of the bikes wheel. All our other ideas for this ending involved the bike falling over, the Homeless Person dying and his hand dropping in front of the wheel etc. none of which appealed or indeed made sense.
The editing process was completed using Premier Pro CS5. I used no effects or dissolves just straight cuts although I did scale a clip or 2 to fill the frame and vary the shot as after the shoot I realised most of our sequences were similar mid shots, although as planned and storyboarded but in retrospect we could have filmed more close ups.
Homeless Person with his Dog
I’ve downloaded a number of effects plug-ins which I intended to use in particular to (Red Giant – Mojo) colourise the video and make it more film like but I have not used these as of yet as they add a red cross across the final video as they are trial versions. I understand these effects are available to us in the editing suite and so I will look again at this in future projects.
Extracted from out Teams Facebook Group where the Team swapped ideas notes, and organised Filming locations etc.
Please see lists below, without these item we CANNOT film. Therefore, please put your name next to items you have sourced & intend to supply. If there is anything I have missed please add it to the relevant list ASAP!
- Bicycle – IAN ( Georgie’s bike)
- “Old” Homeless Person Clothes – IAN
- Cardboard Boxes (flat)
- Bags of junk (cans,paper etc) Euan (at Uni)
- Packet of cigarettes – LEE
- Lighter – LEE
- Bucket – LEE
- Sponge – LEE
- Scarf (to dry himself) + Towel – IAN
- “New” Coat – IAN
- Packet of Crisps -Euan
- Newspaper – LEE
- Paper Cup (for coffee) – IAN
- Watch/Mobile Phone (for time) – LEE
- Broken Glasses – IAN
- “Lady and the Tramp” DVD – LEE
Accessories / Sundries list
- Camera – IAN
- Tripod – IAN
- DV Tapes – LEE & IAN
- Make-up – MIKE
- Make-up artist – MIKE
- Change for Parking Meter – WE ALL NEED TO CONTRIBUTE THIS!!! (This didn’t happen me and Lee paid for parking)
- Mouth Wash – IAN
- Towel – IAN
- Wet Wipes – IAN
- Flip Camera (for “making-of”) – IAN
Original Cast Job Allocation List and Script
- Michael Moore – Director & Co Editor
- Alexsandra Leontjeva – 1st Assistant Director
- Lee Tucker – Camera & Editor
- Euan McQuisten – Camera & Cast?
- Ian Hunt – Cast, Producer & Lighting
Script so far (not finalised – add your ideas) [no zombies Euan]
Opening shot of the Bus Stop in close up to tie in with Group 1’s final shot.
Zoom out and track to show the Bench as the :-
Homeless Person (Coughing) pushing bike enters scene from the left and parks bike alongside the Bench.
Homeless Person sits down and immediately falls asleep. Head resting on right hand.
Dream sequence begins with a passer bye giving the Homeless Person a cup of coffee.
The Homeless Person pushing his bike finds some money which he uses to buy something to eat/drink from a street vendor.
He carries on and finds a or is given a better coat.
The birds start to sing
The Homeless Person finds a good spot on the beach sits down and warms himself in the sun and falls asleep.
As the Homeless Person eyes close his arm drops.
Cut from dream sequence back to reality
The Homeless Person arm drops exactly in the same way as it did in the beach sequence.
A passer bye drops a coin into the Homeless Person lap
Tracking shot of the passer bye ending on the bikes wheel – zoom in to a close up of the bikes wheel.
Main Shot List (1)
- Bus Stop (close up)
- Homeless Person wheels bike past bus stop (wide shot)
- Man standing at top of the stairs throws cigarette packet (wide shot)
- Cigarette packet drops in front of Homeless Person and wakes him up (mid shot)
- Homeless Person opens cigarette packet (close up)
- Homeless Person removes a cigarette and lights it – change angle (close up)
- Homeless Person stands and takes puff on the cigarette (mid shot)
- Man carries bucket to the front of the car (wide shot)
- Homeless Person takes sponge from bucket and begins to wash (mid shot)
- Homeless Person wheels bike towards rubbish bins (wide shot)
- Homeless Person opens bin (mid shot)
- From inside bin Tramp opens bin (close up)
- Homeless Person removes bag from bin (wide shot)
- Homeless Person picks up crisp packet (close up)
- Homeless Person changes coat (mid shot)
- Man reading paper on bench (wide shot)
- Wrist watch (close up)
- Paper and coffee cup on bench (close up)
- Homeless Person approaches bench and sits down (wide shot)
- Homeless Person drinks coffee (wide shot)
- Homeless Person picks up paper (close up)
- Homeless Person wheels bike towards aviary and sits down (wide shot)
- Homeless Person feeding birds – change angle (mid shot)
- Homeless Person wheels bike to shop window (wide shot)
- Homeless Person picks up spectacles (close up)
- Homeless Person puts on glasses (mid shot)
- Homeless Person viewed through window (mid shot)
- TV picture showing Lady & the Tramp (close up)
- Homeless Person walks away from shop window (mid shot)
Extras and new ending – shot list (2)
- Rear view as Homeless Person walks towards Bus Stop (mid shot)
- Crisp packet drops to ground and picked up (close up)
- Flowers blowing in the wind (close up)
- £20 note stuck in bikes wheel spokes (close up)
- Homeless Person pulls £20 note from the wheels spokes (close up)
Cutaways additional shots etc. – shot list (3)
- Birds in the aviary (mid and close ups)
- Pavilion and fountain areas (mid and close ups)
- Bournemouth Lower Gardens – Plants and waterways (mids and close ups)
My own storyboards were as you can see basic but thanks to Lee and his Storyboards which we used to work from during the shoot. Of course these storyboards also changed as the filming progressed and ideas for new scenes developed, but we did as a group stay true to these as much as possible.
My Attempt at the Storyboards
I really was not expecting everything to go smoothly on a Team Project I have far too much experience working on Projects to know that things can and will go wrong. A good team is one which can overcome these problems and put the time and effort into completing the project, also most importantly doing a good job, I can honestly say that we had such a team working on this project.
Each member of the group pitched their ideas to the other members of the group and to the Short Form Video Unit visiting Lecturer, Tony Chance. Although we all had good ideas as a group we were unable to pick one from the five pitched to take forward as the Short Form Video project. Therefore the final project was not from one persons idea but developed from a number of production meetings and of course became a compromise of all our ideas, which by definition rarely satisfies anyone but once decided upon the Team worked together to bring this project to fruition. Of course the original projects concept changed as the filming progressed and even when we thought we had completed we still decided to film more footage and in fact completely changed the final scene, which I personally thinks works really well.
I do also personally think that the 2 minute limit does not sit well with this film, which I feel needs a more relaxed pace, but on the whole I am very happy with the final result. One caveat though, I think the final film would be much improved by removing the majority of the sound effects with the one exception of the bird song, but again this is a personal opinion.
We had a lot of fun making this film and I think this comes down in some respects to the amount of pre production planning and the filming schedule we had in place. We had allotted sufficient time to film, which also allowed for problems to be identified and re-solved. This also gave us time for re-shoots, for exploring alternative edits and ideas.
Word count 2717
5 Minute Edit