FLM171 - Weekly Blogs

Updated: May 6, 2020


Week 1-4

 

Week 1

Camera Crew Roles

The pre-class activity for week 1 consisted of information regarding the various roles in the production of a film, whether that be pre-production, production or post-production. The most relevant role to me, of course, is the Cinematographer, who is responsible for assisting the director in translating their idea to film in regards to the overall colour, lighting and framing of each shot. They work with each department that controls these different technical components to shape the overall look of the film.


As my main discipline is Audio, I am aware of how many people are a part of the Sound Department and the different steps that are involved in recording sound for film. However, I am working more within the post-production facet of film making and Cinematography most definitely revolves around the pre and postproduction areas. Whether that's working with the location department and producers in the pre-production phase to organise how and where things will be filmed, or during production, working with the camera, set, and lighting departments to bring each shot and storyboard to life.


I think it's interesting to understand that there are many different roles that assist in the creation of even the most basic aspects of a film. The Cinematographer would really have their work cut out for them if they didn't have all these different people to rely on. I think knowing more about the responsibility of the people in these roles would come down to experiencing it myself, whether that's in uni, in the industry or by watching behind the scenes videos.


 

Week 2

Framing and Composition

This week we were asked to look at the different types of framing that are used in cinematography to compose a particular shot and help that shot convey a message or narrative.


The composition of a shot or picture is made up of the balance, shot size, angle, the rule of thirds, headroom and looking room. The balance of a shot determines the focal points of the image by placing the subject either in the centre or off to the left or right. Shot sizes are made up of extreme wide angles, wide angles, medium-long shots, medium shots, medium close-ups, close-ups and extreme close-ups, all of which place the subject at different distances to the viewer. The angle of the shot determines whether the viewer is seeing the subject from above, below, or skewed with a dutch angle, where the camera is tilted dramatically to the left or right. The rule of thirds places the most important parts of the shot within an imaginary grid over the picture; this allows us to bring certain elements to attention fo the viewer, or illustrate the intention of a conversation between two people using looking room. Looking room is used to either leave room for a character to look out of frame, or to take this room away.


I have taken some photos which illustrate a few of these methods;


Formal/Informal Balance and Headroom

In the photo above the subject is directly in the middle of the shot and so it is deemed a formal or centre balance. This kind of framing is used to suggest things like power or a formal setting but can also be used to envelop the viewer in a large landscape if a wider shot is used. You'll notice that the subject has a small amount of space between the top of the frame and the top of the subject, this is referred to as headroom. In this particular shot, the focus is the entire subject, so we don't want to cut any of the bottle or the stem or leaves out of the frame. Leaving headroom allows the subject to be the focus of the frame without removing any of it from the image.

With the subject in the same place, I moved my camera position slightly to the right, creating what is called an informal or off centre balance. This kind of shot is commonly considered more interesting to the viewer, as it creates a more open environment for the subject, and also engages the viewer to move their focal point to find the subject. Even with the same shot size and angle the intention of the frame has moved from being a straight forward and formal representation of the subject to a less formal and more interesting view.


Looking Room and Shot Angles


The image above is an example of short-siding, or taking away space in the direction the character is looking. This is an uncommon and therefore slightly unsettling way of framing a conversation or character, and it is used to suggest unease or discomfort within the scene.

This image is an example of good looking/leading room, as it leaves a more comfortable space for the character to look towards. This kind of shot would suggest a closeness between two characters in a conversation, and is a more common kind of shot, especially for over the shoulder conversation shots, as it includes the person being spoken to by the character in the frame.


I have unintentionally taken somewhat low angle shots with these two pictures, which in the context of a scene might suggest that this character is showing power and authority over the scene or other characters that might be in conversation with him. Notice that the characters gaze points to above the frame, which could also suggest that they are feeling belittled or helpless in this particular scene.


Having learned the different kinds of framing and composition used in cinematography, I feel as though I can better appreciate the films I already enjoy, and maybe even ones I don't. The composition is hugely important to the emotional weighting of a shot and can change the way a viewer feels about a scene; the exact same scene could be shot with different balance, shot size, angle or leading room to represent an entirely different point of view to the audience.


 

Week 3 Aspect, Perspective and Lenses


Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio refers to the ratio between the height and width of boarders around the image displayed in film. The most common of which is 1.33:1 (Standard Definition), 1.78:1 (High Definition), 1.85:1 (Common US Theatrical Release Film) and 2.35:1 (Theatrical Cinemascope). These ratios are adhered to by filmmakers to inform either the cinema showing the film, or the viewer at home what aspect ratio they should view the film in. Varying aspect ratios can also be used for creative effect in films; for example an aspect ratio like 1.37:1 could be used to fit an earlier time period, or the filmmaker could choose a different aspect ratio to "squish" the frame and make the viewer feel claustrophobic, or use a wider ratio create a more open view for the audience to appreciate a wider view of a sprawling landscape or create a wider space around the subject of the frame.


Lenses

There are 3 basic types of lens, Wide Angle, Normal and Telephoto. The size of a lens is described in mm, measuring the distance from the cameras focal sensor to the point of convergence. These different lens sizes also offer a varying depth of field, with telephoto lenses being quite "zoomed" in with a rather flat perspective, while wide-angle lenses are much better for shooting shorter distances and present a wider and potentially distorted image. Each lens also has a minimum focus distance, which is measured from the sensor of the camera to the subject, and determines the minimum distance at which the lens will be able to properly focus.


I answered a couple of questions incorrectly in the questionnaire after this pre-class activity;


If someone said to you that "a wide-angle is anything above 100mm" are they? a) Correct b) An idiot


I am officially an idiot because I thought this was correct, but I understand now that I had the measurements around the wrong way; lens sizes above 100mm are considered telephoto, and even above 70mm for normal telephoto. Wide-angle lenses have a much shorter distance between the cameras focal sensor and point of convergence.


Which of these options best describe the image below (Hint: You can tick more than one box)


  • An Establishing Shot

  • Taken with a Telephoto Lens

  • Taken with a Wide Angle Lens

  • A High Angle

  • A Low Angle

  • Eye Level

  • Dutch Angle

I had correctly answered that the image was an establishing shot and was also taken with a wide-angle lens, however, I had also answered that this was a low angle shot rather than an eye level. I had made this assumption because of the distortion effect a wide-angle lens has; the building looks as though we are looking up at it when the camera is in fact pointing straight ahead.


What is the "Minimum Focus Distance" of this lens?


  1. 55mm

  2. 1:4

  3. 1.1m

  4. To infiniti and beyond!


The answer I went with on this question was "55mm" but it's clear that this is the actual size of the lens, not the minimum focus distance. The minimum focus distance is 1.1m meaning that proper focus will be achieved when the camera sensor is at least 1.1m away from the subject.


I feel like I am more confident in choosing a lens for the correct application, whereas before any of this I would have popped on whatever lens was available and probably struggled to get the kind of image I would want. I want to try out some different lens sizes and see what practical applications they have for me particularly.


 

Week 4

Base Camera Concepts (Exposure, Depth of Field, Frame Rate)


Frame Rate

Frame rate is the term used to refer to the amount of frames or still images captured per second on film. Most film makers adhere to 24fps (frames per second), PAL or the Australian standard for television is 25fps where as the American TV standard is 29.93fps. These standards were met when footage was captured onto film rather than into digital; the human brain can perceive as little as 16fps as a moving image, however a smoother effect can be achieved with a higher frame rate and therefore uses more frames of film. 24fps was settled on as a relatively cost effective and suitable frame rate. Higher frame rates can often be perceived as "unnatural" because we are used to slower fps (e.i. 48fps, the frame rate that The Hobbit was shot at). These higher frame rates are usually reserved for slow motion shots as the video can be played back at a slower fps to present a slower moving image, while still maintaining a smooth effect.


Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the length of time that a cameras shutter is open for to allow light into the sensor. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second, referring to how long the shutter is open for. A slower shutter speed (e.g. 1/25 of a second) can produce "motion blur" on moving subjects as the sensor is capturing all of the subjects movement and then translates it into a single image. A fast shutter (e.g 1/2000) speed will capture less of the subjects movement in a single image and therefore will not produce any motion blur. This can also affect the amount of exposure in a shot, due to the amount of light being allowed into the sensor.


Aperture

When using a slower shutter speed, and therefore allowing more light into the sensor, over exposure can occur. One way of managing exposure is to change the aperture; for example, if you have a longer shutter speed in order to achieve some motion blur in your image you will also intern increase the exposure, which can be rectified by decreasing the aperture of your lens. The lens iris works a lot the iris in the human eye, allowing less light in when it's small and more light when it is larger. Aperture size is measured in f-stops (f#). The change in aperture needed to correct exposure is difficult measure without the use of the in-camera meter which measures exposure on a sliding scale. Changing the aperture can also effect depth of field.


Depth of Field This determines the range of distance of what is in focus in an image. A tighter or smaller aperture creates a much deeper focus in the image, meaning regardless of the distance of an object it is still in focus. A larger aperture creates a shallower depth of field, and therefore creates a smaller range of focus in the image. This can be used creatively to single out a subject in a shot by making the background out of focus (wide aperture), or make the subject appear to be part of the background (smaller aperture). This allows a cinematography to direct the focus of the audience. The focal length of a lens can also affect the depth of field; a longer lens creates. a slightly shallower depth of field than a short one.


ISO

DSLRs also offer the option of being able to change how sensitive the sensor is to light, which can also be used to change the exposure of a shot. This is useful if you don't want to change your aperture or shutter settings but also need to adjust the exposure. A higher ISO will produce a brighter picture but may also create noise as the sensor begins to take in too much information, this is known as grain. ND filters can also be used to lower the exposure, allowing for a higher shutter speed and lower f-stop to be achieved without over exposing the shot.



There are a number of things that go into creating a particular image, and the time it takes to adjust these settings on the fly must present quite a challenge. If you're trying to capture something as it happens, you might miss the perfect moment adjusting these settings to match the conditions of light, movement of subject and depth of field. This is where proper planning and pre-production comes into play; for example, if you're shooting a sporting event, it's more than likely that you'll want to capture some great action shots with very little motion blur, meaning that you'll need a very quick shutter speed and a wide aperture or lower f-stop. A larger aperture will also effect the depth of field so focusing on subjects will need special attention. I'm sure this sort of stuff can be done affectively on the fly by people that have plenty of experience with photography or cinematography, and I think more time spent with a camera and appropriate pre-production planning will improve my skill in this area.


 

Week 5

White Balance, 180 and 30 Degree Rules


White Balance

Understanding white balance is an important part of maintaining a clear representation of the scene you are filming. Camera lenses don't translate light information the same way our brains do, and so they need a bit of help adjusting to different kinds of lighting. Light can be either "warm" or "cool" depending on the can of light source being used; some bulbs emit an almost orange or yellow kind of light, while others appear to be whiter and "cooler". This can also occur at different times of the day; sunsets and sunrises are more likely to be a warmer kind light as opposed to midday, which on a clear day can be quite a bright and cool colour. Changing the white balance of a camera will intern adjust the colour temperature of every colour in the picture.


White balance doesn't seem to be such a complicated tool to use, but I want to experiment with it in different lighting situations. I think testing different white balance settings is the best way to find out what is best for a particular scenario. I would presume that white balance settings, although labelled the same, may vary from camera to camera so I think it would be best to either research or try this on different cameras.


Screen Direction and the 180 Degree Rule

Continuity is the name of the game in film making, and that doesn't exclude the cinematography. In order to ensure the audience understands the action occurring on screen, a few guidelines are followed, one of which is Screen Direction using the 180-degree rule. Say your character walks into frame from the left side of the screen and then walks off to the right; if your next shot is from the other side of the set, the character will now be walking into frame from the right side, which can will give the perception that they're coming from the other direction. This is breaking the 180-degree rule as the camera has crossed the "line of action", which is essentially an imaginary line for the most important elements in a scene to follow, or at least for the camera to follow while shooting a scene.


This applies also to shooting things like conversations for example; if the establishing shot shows Character A on the left and Character B on the right, then any following shots (e.g. close-ups or medium close-ups) should show each character in the same screen direction.


After learning this I discovered that I "crossed the line of action" and broke the 180-degree rule in my first assessment piece.

In this scene, the two most important elements are of course the character and the items on the table. In this scene, the most important item is the keys, which our character leaves behind and then goes back to retrieve. In the first shot, the keys are shown to be on the left in the frame, and this continues on in the second shot with our character walking away. However, the third shot shows our character on the left and the keys on the right. If you can imagine the line of action follows the direction the character is moving, this third shot crosses that line by swapping which side each element is on. If I had taken the third and fourth shot over the opposite shoulder of my character, I would have remained within 180-degrees of the line of action and it would've been much easier to follow for the viewer.


Another interesting rule of angles is the 30-degree rule. Let's say for example that you're filming a couple of characters interacting with each other and you're shooting from a particular angle with a mid-shot and the next shot has the characters change their positions slightly. If you were to use the exact same angle and shot size, it would seem as though the characters are suddenly in their new positions. However, if you were to change the angle of the shot by at least 30-degrees, it will reinforce with the audience that this is a new scene and will seem less "jumpy".


I haven't had a chance to try out these techniques, but I think they're fairly simple things to keep in mind when shooting. They're easy enough to remember and keep in the back of your mind while organising your shot list and can really change the outcome of a shoot.


 

Week 6

White Balance and Shooting a Standoff


This week we touched a bit more on white balance and recorded our spaghetti-western-style standoff. We did a couple of practice runs with the white balance settings and discovered how the white balance changed when it was set to the auto function; we tested this by zooming in on a surface that was a dark blue colour, setting the white balance to change according to what was now in frame and then zooming out to be able to see how it had affected the overall image. When the auto feature detects a lot of cool or blueish colours, it compensates by adjusting the white balance to make everything look warmer, and if it was to be focused on a warm colour (red, yellow, orange, etc.) it will do the opposite by making things look cooler. It's more common to set your white balance manually simply to allow for more control by the user. There are also some basic guidelines to follow when setting the balance manually, in fact, there are two numbers to remember depending on what kind of light you are dealing with.


Filming the spaghetti-western-style standoff was pretty fun; I think the overall product will work to the effect we were aiming for, but I think some of the shots could have maybe been framed a little better. We had to deviate from our storyboard a little bit because we weren't able to shoot exactly where we wanted to. Instead of having people sitting slightly across the room from each other in a cafeteria, we had two people sit across from each other at the same table, and one of our characters entered the scene through a door rather than just simply sitting down at a table opposite. The door was in frame for the establishing shot and we panned across as our actor moved into the scene; this didn't really leave us with any technical difficulties but instead, it just had us thinking up a slightly different approach on the spot, and shooting something off the top of our heads. A bit more planning in the space we ended up using may have lead to a product we were happier with. I think the biggest takeaways in terms of success were definitely the increasingly closer shots during the standoff. We went from a mid-close shot to a close-up and then to an extreme close up swapping between each character. I found it worked really well and I am glad we were able to pull off the shots we had planned beyond the establishing shot.


 

Week 8

Lighting


Lighting is another subtle way of getting your point across to a viewer in terms of what they you want them to feel about a particular scene or character. It can show them as mysterious if their features are partially in shadows, god-like or angelic if they are lit from behind with a bright light as well as a soft light on their face, and so on and so forth. The 4 most important aspects of lighting are intensity, quality, angle and colour.


Intensity is essentially how bright the light source is and how much it illuminates a character or scene. For example, multiple light sources with different intensities can be used to light a character from different angles, creating negative space (or shadows), giving them more defined features while still lighting the rest of the face.


Quality is the "hardness" or "softness" of a light. Hard light creates more negative space and shadows, while soft light can sometimes illuminate wider areas and even soften the features of a character's face. This can be controlled by moving the light closer or further away from the object it's illuminating, and therefore spreading the light out further or making it more direct, or you can implement a diffusion material which essentially spreads the light source out.


The angle of light is the direction which a subject is being lit. If lit from directly below or above, a character's face can seem skewed and unnatural, if a character is lit from directly in front it will completely illuminate all of their features which makes them easier to see, and on the opposite end, if a character is lit from behind, their facial features will completely disappear. This can be used, as I mentioned earlier, to the inform viewer of the subjects intentions, traits or status.


Colour can be described as either warm (red, orange, yellow) or cool (blue, white). Warm lighting can feel comforting and natural, while cool lighting can make things feel uncomfortable, empty or unnatural. An entire scene doesn't have to be all one colour of lighting either, for example; if the space around a character is lit with cool light and the character themselves are bathed in warmth, we could assume that maybe that character is a source of safety in a very uncertain place, or perhaps if they are holding a warm light source, like a candle, we might presume that this light source is their only safety in an otherwise frightening environment.


Multiple light sources are often used to accompany all of these techniques into a scene and can be used as fill lights to light up small portions of a scene or characters face, or as large, all-encompassing lights filling an entire scene with a particular kind of light.



 

Week 9

Audio and Location Sound


My main discipline is audio and I am right at the very end of the final trimester of my course, so I am fairly confident with my knowledge surrounding audio, both post-production and location sound. While I haven't really done any location recording with a film crew before, I have had plenty of experience in cutting effects, dialogue clean up, mixing and mastering. In class, we were split up into groups and tasked with recording dialogue for a script from a popular movie, and creating foley effects to accompany it. This included ambient sound, music, and cut effects to match actions in the scene.


Ambient Sound is any audio that fills out the background of a scene's soundscape. If you can picture somebody making a cup of tea in their apartment; maybe they live in the city and there are sounds of busy traffic outside, or maybe they live further out of town and we can hear trees and birds, or maybe there aren't any windows open and we can't hear anything but the sound of the room they're in. Even if there isn't any immediate sound to hear, the quiet sound of the room without anything happen ("room tone") is often still considered ambient sound.


Foley Sound in the example I gave above would be the sound of the person actually making the tea. The sound of the kettle boiling, the spoon swirling in the mug, even the sound of the mug being picked up. Foley is recorded after the original onset recording (in post-production) and is often used to either replace all the sound in the scene or to embellish it and make the sounds more prominent to the audience. I have been involved in a couple of productions where all on-set sound has been removed from the original recording and everything has been recorded in post; which means all the foley, all the ambient noise and even all the dialogue.


ADR stands for automatic dialogue replacement and is created by having the actors redeliver their lines along to a video of their performance. It's often used if there was something wrong with the onset sound, or if it was impossible to record the actor during filming.


 

Week 10

Camera Movement


Camera movement is yet another way of telling a story with cinematography. It can be used to follow characters on screen through a set, reveal new information or deliver some kind of emotion or sensation to the viewer. For example, in the film Gravity, extreme camera movement is used to make the audience feel uneasy as the characters uncontrollably swirl around in space. This kind of camera movement is fairly obvious to note but still very subtle when the viewer is watching, as the camera is generally locked onto the characters face and gives us a stable point of reference. Most camera movement should be subtle, or at least within context. In The Blair Witch Project, the audience is told they're watching found footage from a handheld camera, and therefore any kind of shakey camera movement is to be expected. Otherwise, if we are simply watching a film from the usual "voyeur" kind of perspective, then we should feel like we're experiencing the scene through our own eyes, and a handheld camera movement would seem unnatural and very distracting.


A camera can move in a number of ways, with the use of a tripod as well as other equipment. On a tripod, a camera can tilt (rotating vertically) or pan (rotating horizontally). A majority of other movements are often referred to by the kind of equipment used to achieve the movement. Jibbing or booming is a term used for camera movement that stays horizontal but moves up and down and depends on whether or not you're using a boom (which goes directly up and down) or a jib (which can rotate outwards as well as moving up and down). Craning can also be used in this context but is mostly to do with higher shots that require a piece of equipment called a crane. A slider, dolly or wire rig can achieve a movement directly left, right, up or down. Wire rigs can also be used for any of the aforementioned camera movements, but will obviously on the follow whichever direction the wire rig has been constructed in. Steady cams and gyro stabilisers are used to achieve free movement from the camera operator while maintaining a horizontal balance.


Using a dolly or slider to move closer to a subject can deliver a more natural look than simply zooming in with the lens. Sometimes you might want to maintain the zoom setting you've chosen as it fits with the other in-camera effects you've created, and using a dolly can assist with this. Zoom and dollying can be used together to produce some pretty weird effects, most notably used in the film Jaws in the well-known scene where the world feels like it's shrinking around the main character as he witnesses the first shark attack on the beach.


Above all, camera movement should be used in such a way that makes it hard to notice, unless of course, the purpose of the camera movement is to be obvious to the audience, which is fairly rare depending on the context of the film.


 

Week 11

Lighting II


As discussed a few weeks ago, lighting can be used in different ways to communicate with the audience. It can be used to make a scene seem more menacing and mysterious with low lighting in the scene and particular spot lights in unusual positions or angles on a character, or just make the lighting of a scene seem natural for the location with correct lighting temperatures and colour balance. There are a number of different kinds of lights that can be used to achieve different colour temperatures; e.i. tungsten, HMI, Fluorescent, LED, etc. But the main objective is always to either produce cool, or warm lighting. To achieve a natural look, both the lighting and colour balance should be set to the same appropriate kelvins (3200K cool light, 5600K warm natural daylight). If you're working with cool light, then the camera needs to offset the colour balance with a cool (3200K) setting, and visa versa for warm light. You can also "change" the colour temperature of the light you're using by applying colour correction gels which clip onto the front of the light and affect the light passing through it. These come in various strengths depending on how much you need to change the temperature of the light.


During class, we attempted a 3 point lighting setup. This can be used to light a subject to the desired effect of the cinematographer and uses 3 sources or directions of light to do so; one from behind (back light) and two from the front or sides (key light and fill light). The back light separates the subject from the background by illuminating them from the back and creating a sort of slight glow or border around them. This often leaves the front of the subject very dark, and so key light is used to light the front of a subject and highlight their features by illuminating them from an angle that's either from the sides, the top or the bottom of the subject. While also highlighting features on the subjects face, this will also leave shadows on the opposite side that the light is directed from. The fill light is used to fill in this "negative" space and illuminate the rest of the subjects face. It's fairly common for the fill light to be duller or on a slightly different angle to the key light, in order to keep the effect of the key light.


I attempted this set up with one of my housemates as the subject, and found that I didn't have much in way of light sources to work with. What I did have was the light coming in from the window behind him, a lamp, and some small phone lights. I had planned to use the sunlight from the window as backlight, the lamp as a key light and the phone lights as fill lights. Having the window as a backlight presented the issue of making my subject too dark in the front, as the camera was overexposed from the light behind, even with the key light on his face. I moved him slightly to the side of the window so that the light wouldn't shine directly into the camera and found that the lamp gave a nice warm glow on the side of his face. The phone lights were nowhere near bright enough to light up the rest of his features, and I think this had to do with how non-directional the light was. If it was a bit easier to point in a smaller radius it may have done the job, but even so, the light on the front of my phone is an LED light and therefore has a cooler colour temperature to the lamp. This made the subject look very unnaturally lit and so I decided to use my kitchen lights to light from above. I just adjusted the lamp to better capture his face while letting the rest of the light in the room fill in his features and I think the result was fairly decent with what I had. Upon looking at the photos again on a computer screen instead of the smaller screen on my DSLR, I noticed that the colour temperature between all these different lights was very distracting and obviously unnatural. In the future, I would need to make sure my light sources are giving off the same colour temperature so that I can set the white balance of the camera correctly to compensate.

 

Week 12 Lighting III


This week we were asked to look further into lighting including the use of motivated lighting; which is the use of lighting within a scene that has purpose in the context of the world, and allows the viewers to see where the light source is. This includes anything from a desk lamp to a fireplace. We were also given the task of recreating a lighting plan for an existing scene or picture, the picture my group was given is below:

Below is the plan that we designed for this scenario:

We believed a majority of the light source in this image is the natural light through the window behind the two characters. We can see that the light on the woman's back is very sharp and bright, as well as spots on the male's front. This shows us that it's most likely unfiltered light hitting these parts of the characters, while possibly a "cookie" is used to displace some of the light and create the patchy sections on the male's arm and hair. A cookie is a piece of card or wood that is cut into particular shapes to create interesting patterns with shadows; often this is seen as light passing through blinds in noir films. A light as bright as the one coming through the window in this scene would heavily shadow the front of the woman's body and so there are more than likely some fill lights in play here. We decided that because the man's front is also not being heavily shadowed from the woman's boy, that there must be a larger and heavily defused fill light covering the rest of their features. A majority of this could also be reflection from the desk below them as we can see their hands are light more brightly from below than above. A key light could also be used to illuminate the rest of their features from slightly above, behind the man, but I think it is more likely that the natural like is being used as a key light and it's possibly being reflected back as a fill light.

 

Week 13

Reflecting on my Trimester


I came into this class a few weeks late due to some scheduling issues, but once I got started I found myself enjoying every bit of the class. I had always had an interest in film making, and this class has made me realise a lot of that interest is tied into cinematography specifically. My first project was to create a short storyboard that would focus on camera angles, framing and various camera operation skills such as adjusting the focus, lens choices and exposure. I was lucky enough to borrow a friend of mine's DSLR camera and so I was able to experiment with it quite a bit at home, allowing me to become acquainted with the basic function of a camera before beginning the project. I didn't find exposure too much of challenge, but I was introduced to the idea of the 180-degree rule and "crossing the line". I found it difficult to picture this imaginary line in my scene and even misused it in my final short film project.


My first draft had a few issues, including misuse of the 180-degree rule, framing and continuity. Some of the feedback that I received was that it was difficult to follow the timeline of the film, and I found that adding a visual cue to the security camera footage (watermarks saying "Live" or "Playback" to distinguish what my main character was viewing on the security camera. I think I managed to successfully fix the issues regarding the 180-degree rule, (bar a few instances) by keeping my camera on one side of the house/room during the shoot. Being given the task to work on a short film without a team of people that can share ideas is challenging but rewarding as well. I found that I had to dig into all the roles and tasks that come along with making a short film, and regardless of the final product, I'm glad I was able to learn in this way. There were a number of limitations I came across when it came to recording on my phone instead of a proper camera; I wasn't able to perform any panning shots or have the camera in set position in order to make changes during the scene and still have the camera in the same position I left it. I relied heavily on the storyboard for this, as I took actual photos with the correct framing and angles for the shots I wanted. For scenes where the camera doesn't change at all but the scene does, I made sure we filmed them back to back so that I could stay in the same position as the last shot.


I believe I learnt a lot during this trimester, and even though I will not be continuing on with film production as my main discipline, I am glad that I have taken part in this course as it will give me a greater insight into film production as I move into audio post-production. If I was to continue this study, I would like to improve my work with lighting as it seems to be one of, if not the, most important factor of cinematography and I believe it would be necessary to improve this skill if I was to actually work on a production of my own.


I would be more than happy with a Credit - Distinction overall for this course as I feel like I have applied myself to the learning I have been given, even though there are a number of improvements to be made in my cinematography practice.