Multi-Camera Techniques:Un Unit 23 – Outcome 1

A multi-camera production is exactly what it says on the tin: A production that’s shot with more than one camera. There are advantages and disadvantages to a multi-camera shoot, and different scenarios where it is more useful or less useful than a single camera shoot.

The genre of the production massively effects whether you would shoot using single camera or not. For example, the British sitcom peepshow is shot on single camera. You can see this because the way one character responds to another doesn’t seem natural; often reactions are overly exaggerated or said in a different tone to what you would expect. However due to the fact that characters in peep show often break the ‘fourth wall’ and speak to the audience, this just adds to the effect that it is just a story. You will find that a lot of comedy TV programmes are shot on single camera, because the jokes that are used don’t require a lot of close up emotion to make you laugh. A great example of this is Scrubs, the TV show. Scrubs is shot in a way that makes the single camera shooting style look blatantly obvious, however it doesn’t take away from the impact of the comedy; the set is always lit well and the actors can make the most of their space, because there’s no concern of the camera operators getting in each other’s shots or the actor stepping out of a light pool. Most TV shows will be shot in single camera simply because it costs a lot less if you’re shooting on film. There are certain broadcasts that would definitely be shot in multi-camera, such as live events, and sitcoms that have live audiences, where the reaction from the crowd can be vital. This is so that no piece of action is missed. Depending on the scale of a live show it can have anywhere from 2-100+ cameras in a shoot (Such as when a popular act plays Wembley Arena). If for example, we look at a game of football that’s being recorded – it doesn’t matter if the cameras are in each other’s shots because the focus of this kind of coverage relies upon capturing the action flawlessly.

Technically it is easier to shoot single camera, because when it comes to lighting, editing, sound and on-set equipment everything is made much simpler by only viewing one subject at a time. Lighting a subject is difficult in the first place, trying not to make the light look artificial and also not over/under lighting anything. When trying to light multiple subjects there are limits to the light placement, because you have to keep all equipment (such as stands) and crew out of multiple shots at the same time. If you’re shooting single camera, and recording all of one person’s lines of dialogue at one time then you have more control over the set as a whole. A solid benefit of shooting single camera is the increased quality in audio recording. For example, in the special features of ‘Rust and Bone’, Jacques Audiard, the Director, mentions that because of the noise of the fan on the RED camera, there was never a perfect take for the sound technician. Shooting single camera can reduce the impact of this issue as there are less cameras, which means less noise, and less frame space for the microphone to get in the way of – which equates to getting closer to the subject, and ultimately a better take. Editing multi camera can be easier to do, because once all of the shots are lined up on the timeline you leave yourself options of when to cut to another shot. If you’re using a Canon EOS DSLR, they can be temperamental and stop movie recording automatically often at a crucial point, if this happens and you’re shooting multi-camera then you have a backup shot to cut to if this were to happen. Single Camera however takes less time to edit because there will only be one video track on the timeline, this means you can edit them together in a linear fashion, making the edit more managable.

An important use for multi-camera shooting in films is if there are two big stars that are acting together. If you had Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in a room together, in Se7en for example, you wouldn’t want to waste any of their talent by using stand in actors for over the shoulder shots. This is because good directors value their actors greatly and it would be a shame for a scene to lose quality because it was shot using an inappropriate technique.

In single camera productions you can edit two related clips that were filmed at different times together to make it look as if the clips ran seamlessly into one another. There are countless cuts in actions scenes in movies, for example the plane crash scene in Final Destination 1, we see cut after cut after cut, but our mind tricks us into thinking that it’s one smooth motion. In a multi camera production it’s possible to film scenes like these without stopping the cameras rolling, but it takes a lot more choreography to make the scene run smoothly.

In conclusion most productions are made using single camera because it’s cheaper and you have more control of the environment that you’re in. Not only that but it means there is less crew around which gives a more controlled environment on set, and also you don’t need both actors present to film a scene. Multi-camera shoots are just as important; they are best in live events, or if you don’t want to miss any of an actor’s screen time. The most affordable and suitable choice for most productions would be a single camera production.

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Social Action: Unit 31 – Outcome 4

Unit 31 – Outcome 4

Recently we created the film Subjected to Happiness to raise awareness of mass media’s influence on the mind. The document aims to evaluate my own performance within the group, how effective the film was, and how we functioned as a team.

As the Director of Photography, my job was to ensure that the film looked the best that it could. Perfectionism is something that I’ve been afflicted with to the point where I will put myself off doing something because it won’t look exactly as it should, I had to work on this for my own development and to keep the ball rolling on set. To prepare for the film I drew some concept art of the butler’s costume, the jelly and Specimen #B1032 which gave us an idea of what props we needed to acquire. Thankfully, Jacob drew the storyboards up for the film which worked well, he possessed the vision of how the final film would be pieced together and even though they weren’t drawn in great detail, it came together perfectly. The lighting in our film was subtle enough and was complimented although if I had to approach pre-production again then I would definitely spend more time on a lighting plan to avoid experimenting too much on set, wasting precious time.

Group work is the only thing that matters in film making. If you can’t work together then the film won’t get made, that’s the bottom line. Kasia, Jacob, Simon and I worked very well together over all. The inevitable moments of panic and stress blew over leaving no marks and we managed to keep morale high throughout the production. In post-production we started to slack, putting less effort in than we should have to the sound and special effects. I’ve spoken to Sam and we both agreed that we’d like to revisit the film and re-do the After Effects work and the sound. A few comments were made about the film’s narrative being slightly incoherent, which it was. We fell into a common trap in filmmaking whereby you assume that the audience can make sense of your work just because you can. It’s important to get more perspective on the film from peers before it is properly released, however we were pushed for time so decided to put it out there regardless. It’s possible that the film wasn’t as fit for purpose as we intended it to be, we ended up making a very ‘artsy’ film that perhaps deviated from the brief, though it still carried elements of social action media. It would be important to stick to the brief more directly if this was a commissioned film to ensure that the customer was satisfied, but college is a time to experiment with different mediums; our exploration had its benefits.

Social Action: Unit 31 – Outcome 2

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

Subjected to Happiness is a grossly accurate portrayal of human conditioning. Monitored in a dystopian cell with no access to humanity – synthetic emotion, brainwashing and silence decide the fate of Specimen #B1032. Our film aims to question the way in which people view the media. We’re using an experimental idea in order to attract a more focused audience, as we believe that there aren’t enough social action films that challenge an audience. The film is aimed at younger audiences with an interest in the artistic side of film, it hopes to gain attention from an older audience as well but the importance lies in making young people question not only the media, but their own habits. 

SOCIAL/POLITICAL ISSUES

The social issues that our film will tackle are becoming more topical; the media is becoming more see-through in their efforts to manipulate viewers. I created a survey to establish how people were affected by image manipulation software, as the film will focus on how a young girl’s mind is altered by television. The survey showed that the youngest group – 13-15 year olds – were the most severely affected by the media, the statistics showed that older people weren’t as bothered by image manipulation and showed less insecurity in general. Creating a ‘universe’ in which the film exists was important for us to ensure that the story was convincing. The background story involves world politics and other social issues such as environmental damage and mass government control though we didn’t want to involve too much of this as it would take away from the original point, if we revisit the film we will already have a story.

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ETHICAL CONSIDERATION

Our film will use pornographic imagery to exemplify the damaging repercussions that it has on the mental health of young people.

We decided that we wouldn’t be showing any genitalia because it would cross a certain line. It is possible to create a more impactful piece by experimenting with audio. Due to the fact that we’re uploading the film to YouTube it’s impossible to control who views it. If a child were to stumble upon a film with overly violent or obscene imagery in it – regardless of artistic justification – they could be traumatised for years; an irresponsible step for a film maker to take.

Something that we need to get past is Copyright and fair usage. We originally planned to use clips from BBC News broadcasts, Big Brother and certain other television programs without considering the copyright infringement issues that we would run up against. Kasia looked for fair usage loopholes however it would have been too many holes to jump through for the designated time. It will be more beneficial to create our own faux content.

COMMUNITY/COLLEGE RESOURCES

For our film we will need certain resources. The college has recently invested in a great deal of high quality equipment, so we will be using the Panasonic GH4 with the variety of heavy lenses that we bought. We aren’t shooting this in 4K because the only editing platform that we could use is FCP X and it would take a very powerful computer; Jacob intends to edit from home.

Regarding location, we are looking at downtrodden dark places to shoot with brick walls, so when we visited Carlisle train station we were pleasantly surprised.  It was the perfect location, peeling sandstone walls with a concrete floor and a high ceiling. This is a valuable community resource and an important tie to make at this stage so Kasia is talking to the station manager to organise a filming date.

COMPARIBLE WORK

Our project has a certain uniqueness to it because of it’s symbolic value. Western filmmakers seem to forget that in your film, it’s your universe. Physics doesn’t have to exist in the same way that it does on planet earth. Because of this Americanised view on film, this allows for much more individuality when you begin exploring outside of the box. I would compare some of the shooting style to Channel 4’s 2013 series ‘Utopia’. Jacob and I both watched the series as it firmly touches on world politics, population control and art combined.

DISTRIBUTION AND EXHIBITION

We are only going to show our film on YouTube, until we decide to screen it. Once we have completed the film there are plans to try accessing the vue cinema for a private screening.

Speech Packages: Unit 40 – Outcome 3

Xfm is a brand of three commercial radio stations focused on alternative music, primarily indie rock, and owned by Global Radio.

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^ expenditures of UK radio stations

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Welcome to night vale is a podcast presented as a radio show for the fictional town of Night Vale, reporting on the strange events that occur within it. The series was created in 2012 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, and is published by Commonplace Books. Cecil Gershwin Palmer, the host, main character, and narrator, is voiced by Cecil Baldwin, while secondary characters are sometimes voiced by guest stars, such as Carlos, voiced by Dylan Maron. The podcast typically airs on the first and fifteenth of every month, and consists of “news, announcements and advertisements” from the desert town radio station. Joseph Fink said that he “came up with this idea of a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real, and we would just go from there with that understood.

The Ricky Gervais Show is a comedic speech package consisting of a trio of personalities, Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington. I remember listening to the first seasons when I was younger and being in hysterics, it’s the only speech package that impacted me. This is why we’re going down a comedy route with ours, we live our lives looking at things that amuse us so why try to create something else? My research told me that the show was the most downloaded podcast until it was overtaken by The Adam Carolla Show. This is even more significant because the Gervais and his co-writers are British, proving the richness of British humour which is often entirely satirical, sarcastic or designed in order to observe and mock questionable behavioural traits.

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Above is a (badly taken) photograph of a rough script, that matches our style of working well. We prefer to ad-lib most of it as scripting can choke people up and take the focus away from the acting.

Speech Packages: Unit 40 – Outcome 2

When we were briefed on outcome four for this unit – making our own speech package – an idea sprang to my mind; ‘Bovine on the Grapevine’. The idea is to have an entirely satirical radio show dedicated to the nature of cattle; feed, bedding, breed and every other nook and cranny of animal welfare. The show would capture the hilariously awkward nature of the Cumbrian hill-farmer when put on camera, or in this case – in front of a microphone. Words will not be of much use when trying to analyse the humour behind the idea, as the subtleties behind a satirical piece are so great (and so decisive when commanding the effect of the idea when put into practice) that they can’t be summed up briefly and if they were summed up in life it would sap the humour from the piece in question entirely.

I wanted to make this three years ago when I worked on a farm because it’s almost too plausible of a Cumbrian radio station to go at the idea with serious intention, like the desperately uneventful local ‘lambing live’ shows, they provide so little food for thought and make such a spectacle out of the farmer themselves that you end up seeking humour regardless. The only drawback that I can see is the difficulty of pulling off comedy, it takes a genius to make a wide audience laugh, however this wont be heard by a wide audience, it would be to amuse me, my friends and those that find it funny.

My second idea was a book review show called ‘Rough Binding’, where I talk about recent books that I’ve read, boil them down to the key philosophies, ideas and teachings that I took away from them and put them into a language that will help people overcome issues in their own life, by taking a look at a situation from another person’s angle and normalising problems that people feel are unique to them. I would like to make this a radio show for those that don’t read, more than those that do. Books contain thousands of years worth of the most valuable knowledge and are available so cheaply, yet constant reading is becoming a rarity in young people due to the nature of this age. I want to be able to make all of the things that helped me available to everyone, in five minute radio clips. I thought about the idea of conveying the way each book made me feel through sound effects and music beds, for example, if a book influenced my head-space positively and shone with optimism, or a relaxed nature towards life – an ‘everything will work out as it should’ gist – this would be mimicked by the music, such as soft, mellow jazz. I want the listeners to be able to smell coffee and mahogany and see the colours of the books on the shelves depending on what I’m covering. There are so many routes to go down with this, and I’ve even thought about making a YouTube channel dedicated to it, though I felt as if it would be truer to the medium of a book if everything was felt through spoken word.

My third and most undeveloped idea is entirely influenced by Russell Brand’s ‘The Trews’. I don’t feel that his approach to butchering politics, the upper class and capitalism in general is productive or healthy. Brand’s show takes only evidence of capitalism going wrong, and politics going wrong, ignoring the good that has come of it. There’s an element of hypocrisy in preaching ‘true news’ and encouraging blue-sky thinking whilst only ever telling one side of the story. I share a lot of his views which would come across in my own show, but in order to allow people to think for themselves and minimise the risk of sweeping statements and canned thinking I would offer both sides to the story, the benefit to western ideals – even if I disagree that it is the healthiest way of life. We need a more grounded, less sensationalised/extreme view of the world which would come from this approach. Russell shows up at protests and tries to talk violent demonstrators out of their frenzies after using a blood-red Che Guevara inspired logo to promote an internet non-revolution. Nothing extreme about that.