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Screen Production 3! 02/04/2014

For this shoot I contributed to the project by making the call sheet for the day - usually this helps organise the day by letting everyone involved know all of the important details, essential for the shoot e.g. the names of all of the members of the crew and interviewees and their contact details (for in case of emergency or any other issues). It is also includes details of the locations, equipment used and transport, and so on.

I was the one to book out the equipment this time; I booked out the Sony V30 camera which comes with the tripod, boom microphone, and headphones; I also booked out some LED lights for the interviews - to bring more clarity and brightness to the image. I had to ensure that I picked the equipment up in the requested time, and bring it back before the deadline I submitted. I had originally booked the equipment out for 12pm on the Wednesdasy, to return for Thursday at 11am - just in case we did not get back in time on the friday to return the equipment to the room before 5 pm, however, we managed to get everything filmed and were back about fourish.

Unfortunately, today Sami was unable to come to filming today as she will ill.

Today we were shooting interviews with Jamie and Sadie, two of Rushka’s friends/coursemates who have experienced the paranormal. For this, I set up most of the lighting as I was the one who remembered most clearly how to set it up from our tutorial, and again, I was in charge of sound. I helped set up and back away other equipment. Unfortunately, on the lighting stands, I was not quite strong enough to make them tight enough, so Jamie, our interviewee had to help us a little bit. We filmed the interviews in an empty lecture room at the university - as Sadie and Jamie could no longer meet us at either mine or Rushka’s house, as planned on the call sheet, due to lack of time. The room was good to use though as there was lots of space, and plain, white wall which let the light bounce off them. If I was to improve, I would have set up before Sadie and Jamie came and met us, as unfortunately they had to wait five minutes while we sorted everything, although we did use this time to also clarify what we wanted them to do.

When then went into town to film the introduction and conclusion. I was in charge of checking that the sound was alright, by wearing the headphones and holding the boom microphone close enough to Rushka, the presenter, while still being out of shot. I had to ensure we re-shot if there were any intereferences such as cars going past loudly or pedestrians talking loudly as they passed near the camera, to stop it distrupting and affecting us hearing what Rushka was saying. I also helped to encourage Rushka as she was a bit nervous, and worried about messing up, and helped cite some of her lines to her. That way there we were able to get the filming done quickly, so the we did not disrupt the public so much. To improve, I would have filmed in front of the Everyman Theatre when it was a bit quieter, as there were a lot of cars going past that disrupted the filming, or maybe I would have helped Dani more with persuading the Everyman Theatre to actually let us film inside, perhaps near where the actual paranormal experience we mention, actually happens.

Additionally, we filmed some cutaway shots. Dani and Rushka were the camera operators for this, my contribution included suggesting locations and objects to shoot such as a charity shop near where I live which had lots of creepy ornaments to shoot such as clowns and china dolls. I had wrote down ideas of shots we could shoot such as a wide shot of Cheltenham High Street and then a close up of people’s feet/legs walking past (like what you see on the news or other documentaries), as Cheltenham is one of the key towns within Gloucestershire, the county in which we are focusing our paranormal documentary on. I also suggested shooting at Pittville Park, however we did not have enough time to get to that location, plus we thought that we already had enough cutaway shots for our piece, and that shots of the park would be the least relevant to the topic.

We all helped carry the various pieces of equipment to each of the locations.

As the footage gets put on my USB sticks, I had to make sure I brought them all to put the footage we filmed on at the end of the day at Park Campus, and I am responsible for backing up the footage onto my laptop at home, and for not losing any of the footage that we need to use ready in time for editing after Easter. If I ever need to filming again in a similar situation, I would ensure I would have my own SD card to put the footage on, and a harddrive that was actually compatable with the Macs and the footage (as both mine and Dani’s big harddrive’s are not).

This shoot should be the last, as I feel that we have more than enough footage with all the interviews, cutaways and introduction and conclusion. Of course, it may be necessary once we start editing, that we may have to shoot one or two extra things, or perhaps have to even re-shoot something - but as they say, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Overall, considering we were a member down, the shoot went well - as we got everything filmed in more than enough time, and filmed some really good cutaway shots.

Screen Production 3! 24/03/2014

GROUP MEETING WITH JEREMY:

The group meeting with Jeremy went well today as we clarified any questions we had such as what exactly it is that we put in the production file, e.g. call sheets, release forms, risk assessments and so on. We also informed him on how our project is going which he liked as he felt it fit well with the brief of an 8-10 minute piece that you would find on prime-time television, suitable for a family audience. 

He did advise us to use a rifle microphone for the interview as it would be mobile, however, we did not have enough time for him to find us one in time, but I will definitely make sure we book one out next time we have a mobile interview/tour.

GHOST WALK/TOUR IN PRESTBURY:

From Park Campus where we had the meeting, Dani and I booked a taxi to take us to Prestbury as we would have not got to there in time for the meeting with the tour leader/interviewee, Anne,  had we walked or got the bus. 

I was in charge of sound again on this shoot. For this I have to connect the microphone and the headphones to the camera, and make sure I can here the person on screen properly; I have to move closer to the person if the sound is not loud enough, while making sure the microphone is not in shot.

For some reason I could hear a beeping noise through the headphone, whenever she pressed record on the camera; I tried re-putting the wires into the camera, and changing one of the sockets, however it still made the noise, so I am hoping that during in editing we will not here this noise, and that it was just a fault with the headphones. If we do have the beeping we may have to reshoot with the woman if we have time, or dub over the recording.

We returned to Park Campus to upload the footage onto a memory stick, however, just like the last few times we has some issues: my two original memory sticks were full, and so was the new one that Dani and I bought from last time, with footage from our other shoots. Luckily I realised I had another memory stick in my bag that we were able to put the footage on. It is still a mystery as to why the footage will not transfer over to Dani or my’s harddrive - perhaps this has something to do with the Macs at the University. Plus, at home, on my own laptop, for some reason the footage filmed today was unable to play - but hopefully it will still work at Park on the Macs when we come to editing.

Unfortunately, due to us filming outside, there were lots of disturbances such as cars going past and lawn mowers, so in future I would try and get us to do more scenes inside where it is quieter, or as Jeremy suggested, use a Rifle microphone, to get a crisper, clearer sound of a focus - our interviewee’s discussion.

We did intend on filming the ghost walk at night, as it is more atmospheric, however due to the University not having the right equipment to film at night, we felt the quality would have been lost using the equipment we could have, so we filmed during the day. 

We got lots of footage filmed, so should take up a good chunk of the documentary time, along with cutaways shots. Plus the things that Anne spoke about was rather interesting. 

Screen Production 3! Day Two of Filming! 06/03/2014

In terms of my contribution for the day, I was the one who decided where the four of us should initially meet; I chose the town centre as it was a central location for all to get to. Also, it meant that it was fairly near the bus stop we could get to Prestbury (the village we shot in), or good place for a taxi to pick us up, where it would not cost us too much. As a group we decided to get a taxi as it would save more time, than getting the bus, as we wanted to make use of the light and filming time. 

When in Prestbury I helped hold and look after some of the equipment - this involves making sure we have it all with us, at all times (basically making sure we do not lose any of it), and also assuring that none of it gets damaged while I am looking after it. 

When we shot the interview in The Plough Inn, with Cathy, the Landlady, I was in charge of sound - something I had not properly been in charge of before, so fingers crossed I did okay; I could hear the interviewee well, so it must have been fine. However, there was a slight echo, but that may be part of how it works when listening to the sound through the headphone. I did accidentally, at one point, tap the tripod with my foot when moving to a better position; this made a noise on the microphone, but hopefully that can be cut out during editing, without affecting the interview too much. Also, we only used the microphone which was on the camera, as we are still getting used to the new cameras, and together could not figure out how the other microphones worked. Plus the Boom microphone did not have any batteries - I am unsure whether we were supposed to be provided with them, or whether we were supposed to bring our own batteries. We were supposed to book out portable LED lights, but Dani didn’t as she could not carry all the equipment by herself - perhaps if she let us know when she was going to pick it all up, one of the rest of us could have gone with her to collect it, including the LED lights. Saying that, the lighting for the interview, I think was good, as there was a spotlight, and other lighting which made the scene look really good and warm - which is how you want a pub to feel, and because we shot her next to the fireplace which is featured in one of the ghost stories she told us about.

Sami shots various pieces around Prestbury that Dani and I had previously scouted. Rushka took the main role as presenter and interviewee, which included deciding what questions to ask the Landlady of The Plough Inn. Dani did various things such as initially booking and collecting the equipment for the day, she booked the appointment with the Landlady at the pub, and also helped carry equipment. Even though Sami was the camera operator, we all added ideas of what exactly she could shoot. 

The day after the filming, Dani went to the library with the equipment, plus my USB sticks to upload the footage onto and to return the equipment. However, she ran into some technical difficulties as there was not enough room on my USB sticks for all the footage - the last time we did shooting the footage wouldn’t save on Dani’s harddrive, so this time when I met up with her in the library, I brought mine, but that didn’t work either, so instead, together, we had to buy another USB stick (with more memory than my two combined). Unfortunately, I had to scoot off to work, and she had to find the technician to sort out the rest of the issues, and to hand in the equipment. 

In reflection, I would improve by making sure we had enough people available, so we could book out all of the equipment needed, I would have a refresher session on how to use the camera and sound, I would also make sure we had more time to shoot as there were other destinations in the area we could have shot at, but did not have the time, plus there was the threat of rain. I would have also maybe told Dani to lengthen the time she booked the equipment out for - just in case we wanted to do extra filming, and so it would give us more time to cope with technical issues, like the ones we had. I would also make sure to bring my own batteries with me for the Boom microphone, and to perhaps invest in my own SD card instead of relying on the University’s - meaning we do not have to panic of making sure we get all the footage off in time to give back to the Uni. 

Screen Production 3! Day One of Filming! 27/02/2014

The group organised to meet at campus where we collected the filming equipment. We decided that we wanted to shoot some cut-away shots for in between the interviews. Rushka offered her house to shoot these scenes, as it was near to campus, and had a creepy alleyway at the back that we shot some scenes in. Dani brought some of the props, including a china dolls and a “Scream” mask (the rest of the props were supplied by Rushka, such as her fake blood, and by me by offering my coat up for Rushka to use as part of her costume).Sami was the one filming our shots, Rushka acted in them and Dani and I were on hand to deal with props, and along with Rushka, advice on any decisions such as shot ideas.

My roles for the day included, helping carry the equipment to the various shooting locations, making the call sheets (that I had to make later due to the plans changing slightly on the day), helping out with props such as putting the fake blood writing on the mirror and covering Dani’s had in fake blood in preparation for one of the shots. I also helped out with the lighting via my phone torch (as we had not booked out the relevant lighting equipment that day).

By doing the above, I helped made the shoot run smoothly, so that it made it easier for Sami to shoot and direct, so she could focus on the shot, without having to sort out other things too. We seemed to work well as a team in terms of being able to share our different ideas of what/how to shoot. We filmed more shots than originally anticipated as we seemed to crack on with the task at hand and didn’t stray off too much.

To improve, I would have insisted on the filming be more planned so that we could have got more appropriate props such as a black sheet or cloak for Rushka to wear; I should have also suggested more scenes to shoot, as it is better to have too many shots to choose from in the edit, rather than not enough. Also, I should have voiced my opinion more about the fact that I think some of the shots we filmed may make our documentary too cheesy, or as if it is a fictional horror film, instead of a non-fiction factual piece of filming. I would have additionally insured that we had booked out some small portable LED lights to help with the lighting of the interior shots, as we had to use our phone torches as a substitute. 

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