Filming: Day 2 (22nd Aug)

This article continues on from filming day 1.

The second day of the film course was when we would take our storyboards from the 6th August, have some fun in front of a camera, and turn our ideas into professionally edited short films. The morning was scheduled for filming, and with barely time to eat, the plan was to get the film sent back to Uni and stitch the clips together into something we could be proud of. As if that didn’t sound tight enough, the weather was good and conditions were right for us to record two films.

The day started with filming Paddy’s video, which was to star Richard. I won’t give too much of the story away at this highly confidential pre-release stage, but essentially it involved a mixture of scene-setting street shots, driving shots and a few bits inside.

Firstly, Tish and I left the others making a start on the driving shots to go and find some wide shots of heavy traffic. Being based in the Southville area near Bristol city centre at 8:45am on a weekday, we were confident of finding tons of bumper-to-bumper traffic, so of course when we made it to the main roads all we witnessed was the glorious free-flowing efficiency of Bristol’s beautifully-planned road network. Still, a few strategic shots at red lights can turn five cars and a lorry into armageddon on film, even if filming the traffic on a compact did make us look like confused and easily-excited tourists.

Returning back to the house, shots of Rich driving off for the tenth time in half an hour were well under way. Southville, being a typical crowded Victorian terrace estate thoroughly ill-prepared for the age of the motorcar, is a fantastic area for generating the impression of gridlock when the entire crew has only three cars between them – on more than one occasion, members of the public got caught up in our simulated traffic jam, turning it into an actual traffic jam.

Filming in this manner being a new experience for me, there were quite a few things that I learnt that I would never have considered myself. Firstly the importance of white balance – what our eyes perceive to be white changes depending on whether the light in a place is more blue-white or orange-white. For us the transition between places with different white colours (such as going from outside to inside, or even between different rooms) is quite seamless, but cut between these two rooms on film, and the second scene will feel washed out with blue or orange. While I was aware of the concept of white balance before, what I was unaware of was this sensitivity on film. With every change in the lighting conditions, even if it was just a curtain being closed, Sophie would have to recalibrate the white balance, which basically involved holding a white piece of paper in front of the camera as a white ‘benchmark’.

Another issue is one of the boom mic. These things are amazingly sensitive. Monitoring the mike gives the same feeling half-deaf people who don’t know that they’re hard of hearing must surely get when they put on a really good hearing aid for the first time. If someone is muttering in the next room, you can pick out every word they’re saying. If there’s a fly in the room, you know about it. A car rolling down the street roars down the microphone, even through a closed front door. It therefore comes as no surprise why sound control and ‘silence on set’ are of utmost importance.

The second film was a story about everybody’s favourite superhero, Captain Carbon! This was entirely indoors and starred Rich as our eco-friendly saviour and Tom as the hapless protagonist.

Being indoors, a key advantage is having control of the environment. A key disadvantage is having no environment to move in.

Filming concluded mid-afternoon. Even Captain Carbon needs to take a break and contemplate once in a while.

Back at the Systems Centre, a professional editor had been hired for the afternoon to put the films together. Here we are with the editor looking (mostly) deep and insightful…

The two films are to be ‘officially’ released on Thursday 12th September. Until then, you’ll have to wait!

And in the meantime, here is another picture of Rich as Captain Carbon with Sarah’s car. Both are too awesome to not include one more time…

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