Pans & Tilts

I practised some pan and tilt shots using my Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, a 24-105 mm lens and a tripod. I tried some new shots that I felt would be interesting and also some shots specifically from the script that I felt were complex or hard to do without practice. Therefore, I felt that trying them out several times would make it easier for me when I’m actually shooting and also make me more comfortable handling the equipment. I filmed all these shots in my bedroom, which is the room I plan to use as Anamika’s bedroom in the movie, and used white artificial tube lights. I edited together the footage using Final Cut Pro X.

360-degree pan: 

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I placed the camera on a tripod at the centre of the room and used the handle to turn it 360 degrees around the fixed axis of rotation. I kept the pace as constant and steady as possible so that there would be no sudden movements or jerks. This type of shot provides a panoramic view of the entire room and has an interesting, dynamic look. However, I doubt that I will be able to use the 360 degree pan shot in my short film. Nevertheless, it was a fun experiment.

180-degree pan:

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I firmly fixed the camera on a tripod, and moved it in a smooth semi-circle motion across one half of the room. Here again, I tried to keep the pace as constant and steady as possible so that there would be no sudden movements or jerks. Doing these kind of shots has helped me greatly improve the steadiness of my hand, and the preciseness of my focus. I will possibly be able to use this shot in my short film when I need to shift from one end of the room to the other.

Pan + Tilt up:

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This shot was particularly tricky because I need to tilt up while simultaneously panning to the left in order to go from the bed to the top of the closet. It took several takes for me to achieve this motion without shake and to land at the correct mark. This shot will be used towards the beginning of the short film. Right after Anamika wakes up and sits, she hears a sound and looks up to find her alternate identity, Arya, sitting on top of the closet. I will use this shot to follow Anamika’s line of vision. Practising it beforehand has certainly made me more comfortable with it.

Pan + Changing depth of field:

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For this shot, I placed a doll on a table close to the camera and crutches far away from the camera. Then I practiced panning from the crutches to the doll while simultaneously changing the depth of field so that the doll would come into focus as the camera turned to it. This was a bit of a tricky exercise, which took several trial takes to get right. Adjusting the focus to get it to land perfectly on the doll was quite challenging, but I was finally able to do it. This technique will also come in handy when filming my movie.

Tilt Up & Tilt Down:

I placed by camera on a tripod in front of a tall shelf in my room and steadily moved it from the top to the bottom and vice versa. I will use these tilt up and tilt down shots in my short film when one of the identities is on top of the closet and the other is on the bottom. These are fairly straightforward shots that I didn’t have much trouble with, but they will certainly add a sense of dynamic to the movie when used.

Here is the final video:

 

Disappearing Effect

After I did the fade in/fade out exercise, I wanted to develop on this technique further because it is going to play a very important role in the ending of my short film. The three alternate identities will disappear into thin air and leave just the protagonist, Anamika sitting alone.

Before I did the final, I wanted to practice how this would look. Therefore, I used four dolls and tried it out. I shot all the footage using my Canon EOS 5D camera with a 24-105 mm lens, and a tripod to avoid shake. I placed the four dolls on my bed, and shot them for a few seconds. Then, I removed three of them and shot the single doll for a few seconds more and then cut. All of this was done in one take for the sake of continuity.

After filming, I edited the footage using Final Cut Pro X. I cut the footage into two, and placed the part with all four dolls on top of the part with only the main doll. Then I added the cross dissolve filter to the top layer and extended it so that the fading out will be slow. When played back, it looks like the three dolls disappear into thin air and only the central doll is left behind.

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-4-16-25-pmHere is the final video:

I am happy to say that the final product looks just how I imagined it. I now feel very comfortable that I will be able to pull this technique off in my short film.

When actually shooting, I will follow the same method. I will have all four people sitting and saying their line in unison. Then the three alter identities will get up and leave the frame, and the girl playing Anamika will have to sit still, without moving, wait for all of them to leave, and then say her line “I’m fine” alone. All of this will be one long take for the sake of continuity. When editing I will cut the footage and place the part with all four on top of the part with just Anamika. The three getting up and leaving will be cut out. Then, I’ll add the cross-dissolve effect to the end of the video in the top layer so that it will look like the three identities faded away. Then, Anamika will be left alone to say her final line.

Fade-In/Fade-Out Editing

In this task, I worked on the technique of fade in and fade out editing. The “manifesting” or “disappearing” effects achieved respectively create a sense of surrealism as the person seems to either come from or vanish into thin air. This makes for an interesting visual, and suggests a ghostly presence or a hallucination. Since there are three alter-identities in my film who are not real people, I considered whether I could use this technique in my to make them seem surreal. I want to use some form of this technique for the ending of my short film to make the alter identities disappear into thin air.

I shot the footage using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera and a 24-105 mm lens. I filmed the still open door for a few seconds before having the girl walk in and walk past the camera, out of frame. The whole thing was one continuous shot.

Then, when I edited the footage using Final Cut Pro X, I split the video into two parts – the still door and the girl walking in. I overlapped them, placing the footage of the girl walking on top of the footage of the door, and then slowed down the footage of the door so that it would expand to fill the time taken for the girl to walk in. I then added the cross-dissolve transition effect to the video of the girl walking in and elongated it to the span of time that I felt was appropriate. For the fade-in editing, the transition was added at the beginning and for the fade-out editing, the transition was added at the ending. I also added a glow filter to add to the surreal effect.

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Here is the final video:

Continuity Editing

Continuity editing is a style of editing that presents a given sequence in a clear, chronological manner that makes the narrative easy and logical to follow. This type of editing presents events in a continuous fashion, creating a sense of realism by following a set of rules. With continuity editing, the shots flow seamlessly into each other and this  makes the film pleasant to watch.

I did this exercise on continuity editing in order to learn the rules associated with it as I intend to use this method when editing my final short film. I wanted to familiarise myself with the various techniques of shooting and editing such as match on action, 180 degree rule shot/reverse shot, etc. I filmed the footage using a Canon Eos 5D Mark III camera and a 24-105 mm lens. I proceeded to edit using Final Cut Pro X on my Mac.

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Techniques used:

Shot/ reverse shot – This technique is used typically when two or more people having a conversation and the camera cuts from person to person alternatively to showcase the speaker or reaction shots. When shooting, I used this technique to show the conversation between two girls and cut back and forth between them, such that in one frame one character is looking left and in the following frame the other character is looking right.

I filmed a master two-shot showing both characters in the frame together to clearly establish their position in relation to each other. Then, I proceeded to individually shoot the close-ups of each person.

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180 degree rule – This is a fundamental rule of filming that states that the angle between any two consecutive shots shots should not exceed 180 degrees in order to maintain spatial relationships between people and objects in any given sequence of shots. Basically, the camera needs to operate within a field of 180 degrees and not cross the ‘line of vision’. If the rule is broke, the scene will be visually confusing and difficult for the audience to follow.

For example, when filming a conversation you should stick to the rule, with the first character composed frame right and the second frame left. Even when tracking movement, its important to stick to one side of the direction of motion.  I made sure to follow this rule when filming the conversation and also when filming the girl walking.

Match on action –  This is when the editing cuts together different shots of the same action to make it look like one continuous sequence without interruption. The action started in the first shot is seamlessly carried into the second and so on. There is usually a change in the level of close-up or the angle of the shot to justify such a cut.

I used this technique when the girl walked and then sat down with her legs crossed. The walking is a wide shot, which I cut off just before she was going to sit. Then, her sitting is another shot taken from a mid-angle.

I also used this technique to show her going up the stairs. I alternatively show her from behind and from the front, all while keeping the progression of her climb in mind so that it looks seamless when stitched together.

Here is the final video, edited with background music:

Close-Ups & Angles

Today in class, I shot some close-up footage of a classmate’s hands as an exercise in filming and editing. I practiced shooting different kinds of shots from various angles – low angle, high angle, overhead, over-the-shoulder, and ground-level. I also worked on adeptly transitioning the focus from one point to another and getting a smooth rack-shift focus as well. I decided to choose “hands” as my subject because hands can be quite interesting and can be shot in many different ways as they are fluid and elegant. Therefore, I had my classmate do various things with her hands and I shot it using a Canon 5D camera and a 24 – 105 mm lens.

Then, I put together some of the footage to create a short, 45 second video set to some instrumental piano music. I edited the video using Final Cut Pro X. Repeatedly working on such exercises and practicing is certainly paying off, as I feel quicker and more confident with each project.

Here is the video –

Class Exercise 2: PSA

Today in class, we decided to create a short PSA regarding waste management for our school and promote a football tournament that is going to be held to benefit the cause. My partner and I worked with two other students from my grade to come up with a short, convincing advertisement and shoot it. I shot the talking heads of the two students using a still mid-angle frame, and then shot a few videos of some people playing football to add to the football footage we already had shot before. For all the shooting, the camera used was a Canon 5D.

After that, I edited the video using Final Cut Pro X. I wove together the shots of the football match and the talking heads, added some background music and did a little colour correction. This was a helpful exercise in preparation for my final project because actively shooting with my camera is the best way to familiarize myself with the equipment and get more and more comfortable handling it.

What I can learn from the process of making this video is that recording voices outdoors is something that is tricker than I anticipated. The background noises proved to be quite a challenge, and editing it out was, again, not very easy. I am not satisfied with the quality of the audio in this video and this is something I need to work on in the future.

Here is a link to the video –

Class Exercise 1

Today in class, we practiced shooting out of doors and worked on different kinds of shots and angles such as: mid-angle shots, low-angle shots, tracking shots, pan shots, aerial shots and close-ups. Spending a couple of hours shooting, and getting comfortable with the equipment proved to be a highly beneficial exercise and made me more confident about pursuing the making of my own short film.

We shot our junior grades in school practicing football, focusing on the different ways in which we could capture and present the game they were playing. We tried a variety of different kind of shots and really got creative in our thinking. I shot today entirely without a tripod, focusing my attention entirely on the skill of hand-held shooting as I felt this style of shooting would best suit the fluid, natural visual effect I was going for. I worked on improving my stability and achieving a clearly focused, well framed picture.

After shooting, I quickly edited together my footage using Final Cut Pro X to create a small 1 1/12 minute music video to the song “Wavin’ Flag” by K’Naan. This editing exercise was great practice and a useful stepping stone to my final project.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-28-09-pmHere is the video –