It was really cool to be able to get my first DSLR camera this summer, and one that could record film in HD too! The only problem was that when it comes to film making I’m a complete novice. Knowing that I work better when I have a very specific purpose in mind I decided to develop my filming skills by recording the zining workshops I was helping Loosely Bound deliver at Beacons Festival.
About the film
The aim of the film would be to: 1) record our weekend for our own sentimental reasons, 2) use it to evidence success to Beacons, and 3) to use for evidence in future applications to festivals or funding bodies.
With that in mind I decided before making the film that it needed to be quite short, upbeat, show a mix of people and illustrate creativity and enjoyment. And this little video was the result….
My main problem was that my memory card wasn’t fast enough to capture the footage. After around 10 seconds it would cause the camera to automatically stop filming because it couldn’t cope with processing anymore. This was actually a blessing as it turned out I just needed really short and snappy bits of footage anyway and most of the 10-second clips cut cropped down to 3 seconds tops. I feel that I learnt that lesson quite painlessly!
I was really lucky that I went home in the evening where I was able to review my footage and start to piece together my film. As an inexperienced film maker I really needed to do this as it gave me the opportunity to identify things I was lacking in the narrative and the luxury of returning the next day to get them.
I used Adobe Premiere Pro CC to make the film, but beforehand I reviewed all the footage and in my Finder window made folders with different types of shots and identified the best shots. I then just uploaded the best of what I thought would tell the story to Premiere.
This is the first cut of the film, which included footage from Friday and Saturday.
I felt the film really lacked an outcome. There was lots of people making but there was not connection between the makers or the camera and there was no sense of pride in what they were making nor any finished items. I decided that on Sunday I would focus on getting people to show me their work and get a conclusion that better shows the Collective.
I wasn’t too sure how to end it at all but throughout Sunday I talked with everyone about it and showed them my first edits and we came up with a way for us to make the Paper + Print + Peaks symbol and use my poster and the collaborative bunting as a back ground. I don’t think it’s super clear what we’re doing, but I think it’s obvious that we run the workshop and we ourselves were having fun.
I looked for copyright and loyalty free music. I was looking through YouTube for some folky summer relaxed music to match the mellow family-friendly craft space and the hipster-ness of Beacons and came across the music that I eventually used. I found it very early on in the process and then cut the film to the music. The music makes me happy and I think reflects summer and the variety of ages.
Goods and bads
- I like the way that I incorporated bits that gave context, for example some shoots of the field we’re in, the full programme, the festival name.
- The second edit with loads of finished zines, the bunting and people looking in the camera made the film much more engaging.
- Making the most of the sunny day when we had it to take loads of outdoor shots because the Sunday was so wet even the tent leaked from the roof and the ground was so wet it was seeping up through the floor.
- Editing it quickly whilst I remembered the shots that were available to me and it could be published and promoted while there was still momentum for the event.
- Being able to shoot the same things over three days and review and plan each night.
- Being in a setting where there was lots of photography and filming going on everywhere – people were immune to it and very open to taking part.
- I’m still thinking photography and have to get used to thinking film and how people and objects can be cropped.
- Need to learn more about including planned action so I can better direct. This follows on from the above point where I should have gotten people to stand in different places in the tent, hold their zine what would have been awkwardly in the flesh but looked really good on film, and have been more confidient in telling them what to do. This is all just practice!
What the experts say
I have been working with a professional film maker over the summer – Jimi – and asked him what he thought of my very first solo film. He was really positive about it and reassured me I hadn’t cut each clip too short. He thought he told the story well and was edited well. The only thing he said that he would have done differently from me was to have a more whimsical transition between shots to better match the tone, although he did say the straight cut between each was fine.
Just for comparison
Matt from the Collective made a fab film from Beacons last year, and again was the chief film maker this year. He used my footage, lots of photographs that all of us took, and some of his own footage from his compact camera and smartphone.
I found it really really useful that someone else completely independently made a film and I am able to compare our different choices and how that effected it.
My main thoughts are
- I never thought to use the Beacons logo – it adds more creditability to the film
- The hyperlapse around the arts space adds interest and is a good way to position the workshop and introduce it
- I don’t like various cuts between shots, eg windmill. It’s a bit cheesy. But there are some transitions that go to a flash of a white page and through into film again which look nice, especially when the music changes tempo with it. There area also some smooth ones like Jimi suggested I use that they work quite well too
- The music is much edger and reflects Beacons as a whole much more. The lyrics of the song also reflect on the acitivity ‘I smile because I want to’
- Some really interesting shots which are like slowed down hyperlapse – perhaps two or three images of the same thing with slight movement changes but the shots are spread over 3 seconds. It was really nicely cut to the music too (1:09)
- Some different angles that I hadn’t thought off, for example over the should as they show their zine
- Mine is a better length for promotional purposes, but Matt’s is a better recording of our weekend
- Some of the examples of bunting are just photos that whatever package he used to make the film panned down or zoomed in or out of – this was a nice effect and worked better than my hand panning
- I really liked the end scene, which is my opener, being shown in reverse with the pen being taken of the page rather than drawn on.