Removal (main project)

Preliminary Exercise

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learned in the progression from it to the full product?

Prelim was basic:

  • We learnt the roles (director, sound man, camera operator etc.) 
  • Learnt basic continuity (180º rule, match-on-action etc.) 
  • Basic storyboard (16 shots, maximum two characters, simple character types, basic dialogue, simple event taking place etc.) 
  • Simple camera techniques (pan, framing etc.) 
  • Simple editing skills (chopping up shots, shot reverse shot, match on action, capturing, simple title at beginning etc.) 
  • We also learned to use the equipment we used for our big project (camera, mic, PC edit suite, tripod etc.) 

Basically just a simplified version of our big project, on a smaller scale. Here is our preliminary exercise in all its glory...

In both projects I have done, the finished product was achieved through 3 stages:

  • Pre-production (planning)
  • Production (shooting)
  • Post-production (editing)Planning

At the planning stage we had to sort out exactly what the content of our film would be and how to go about achieving it. This stage involved:

  • Organising group meetings
  • Doing paperwork, eg. scripts, storyboards, shot lists, schedules, mood-boards etc.
  • Hiring out equipment (filling out forms)
  • Choosing a location
  • Choosing actors
  • Obtaining props and costumeProduction

This stage involved successfully obtaining all the footage we needed to be able to edit our film. This stage involved:
  • Assigning group roles, eg. director, cameraman, sound engineer, clapperboard operator etc.
  • Filming our sequence from many different angles
  • Moving equipment setup around
  • Achieving perfect continuity
  • Obeying the continuity rules, eg. 180º & 30º rules.
As we were working in a team environment, we had to learn to communicate with each other in order to work efficiently. This was a very important lesson that helped me greatly when it came to the big project. Learning to work as part of a team was vital. We had to take it in turns to shoot, edit and do paperwork. I learnt to be a constructive member of the team and to help motivate the rest of the team at times to achieve a successful result.


This was the stage where we put everything together and apply the finishing touches (titles, effects) to our sequence. It sometimes involves damage control, as continuity mistakes made during shooting can be reasonably patched up at the editing stage, although this is not ideal. During editing we had to:
  • Capture all the footage off the cameras
  • Learn to use a PC-based edit suite, including source and output monitors
  • Learn to use Adobe Premiere Pro software
  • Learn to use fades 
  • Learn to use titles
  • Cut the footage together so the sequence flows and obeys continuity rules, eg. match on action when the door is opened.
  • Make sure the narrative of the sequence makes sense
  • Make the sequence the right length
What I learnt

  • We learnt from that all the basics, plus possibilities of going wrong. eg. we learnt to always scout out locations before shoots and always plan for the unexpected. We also learnt many things from other groups’ mistakes too, eg. one group ended up with no footage because of a problem with the record button. Always make sure equipment is functioning. Plan for several shoots (a test shoot, main shoot and backup shoot).
  • We learnt that making a detailed shot schedule saves incredible amounts of time, as it gets rid of needless moving of the entire setup when not necessary, thus saving time.
  • We learnt the importance of attention to detail when attempting to construct seamless continuity, and I am pleased with the way we handled that this time.
  • I learned the importance of communication between group members, both of ideas and of proper conduct during planning, shooting and editing.
  • Most importantly, my prelim task introduced me to the process of realising an idea for a film, and gave me the tools to do that. 
  • Before the prelim task I would have had no idea how to make the vision of what the project would be like a reality. I had no previous experience, and the prelim task just introduced me to the whole world of filmmaking. A tutorial for the main project.