Production Skills Evaluation 2

Since the last blog post about skills I have learnt more important production skills.

One critical skill I learnt is to use the little viewer of the camera. These things only work with out of filming mode, but allow the user to see the image much better, specifically, if the objects are in focus or not. I only learnt this after the second shoot, I really wish we’ve learnt this sooner, as it helps to determine whether the clip will be in focus and not blurred. More clips after the second shoot are in focus overall compared to the clips from the first two shoots. As our video is judged on its quality, having more in focus clips does help to get the better marks.

A clip from the first shoot

A clip from the third shoot, less blurred compared to the other one

Although its a minor thing, I have been praised for my directing skills by my tutor. Instead of describing the actions the actors are supposed to do, I just do the action which I want them to copy. This certainly has saved some time, as there are less shots of actors doing the wrong action than before.

The local Adobe Pro Premiere expert, Lenny, came into our lessons and gave us a few tips in order to improve the special effects side of our music videos. For us specifically, he taught us about the existence of adjustment layers.

They are layers, when placed upon a series of clips, will apply special effects and colour corrections on all of the clips below it, meaning that we don’t have to apply the same effects to each individual clip again and again. This is reserves precious time for something else. It also allows to easily compare the difference in clips with different colour corrections as well, as we can easily move the adjustment layer elsewhere to see the difference.

Along with it, he introduced to us the colour correction and effects options available in adjustment layers. These include colour wheels, basic corrections, curves and vignette, which all apply different effects.

Messing around with these can help to change the colour of a clip to a great extent, giving us a the power to manipulate the themes and feelings in which a clip can gives us. For example, compare the difference between these two.

The one below obviously the edited one, but it communicates different things to the audience than the one above. Its much more dreamlike, suggesting its a flashback (which it its suppose to be), and of concerning nature, suggesting an internal struggle or a hint of what might come in the future, these are the connotations that are being emitted here. The dark colours and lower contrast give the feelings of darkness, further implying some dark things are to happen, something that the main star. The vignette around the edges gives it a sense of claustrophobia, a sense of helpless and imprisonment, which are the major themes in this video. This suggests the main star is helpless and forced to do these things, he is not all too different from the prisoners. This gives the justifications on his sympathy towards to the prisoners and later on his actions.

The effective use of colour can help to communicate themes, and as there’s quite bit in our narrative, colour manipulation is important for our project.

At this stage in the process one thing that is biting us now is the colour correction. We filmed in different periods of weather, resulting in different lighting for our clips, leading to inconsistent lightning and thus inconsistent themes communicated. To deal with this, we have to colour correction a lot of individual clips and its a pain. What we should have done, is to shoot at consistent weather periods to avoid this. For us students its inconvenient, due to our studies and other current responsibilities. However, if I was do something like this again in the future (maybe possibly the digipack?), I’ll need to remember this.

Another thing we’re learnt from Lenny is that the ability to put on masks on a clip.

Masks can be put on top of clip and effect an area with different effects. For example, when the vignette was not appearing at all on our videos, Lenny suggested an alternative way to put vignette by using masks. First, create a black video…

Create new mask in effects control than draw on the clip…

Invert it and change the opacity to make it less bold.

And there’s a weak vignette. I can’t exactly remember how Lenny managed to prefect it, but at least we know the basics. Thankfully the vignettes appear when rendered, so we don’t have to rely on masks. Masks can darken specific parts of the video, or change the colour inside/outside the mask. Using masks can allow abstract shots like this-

Although I don’t think we’re going to this any time soon, its a nice skill to know, who knows, we might use when making the digipak (for example, we export an image to do something similar above).

Looking at other group’s videos, most of them have praiseworthy special effects, which our music video lacks. There’s slow motion, eyes changing colour suddenly, blur effects just to name a few, which we don’t have. Although it does not matter that much to our video, as much of the meaning comes from the narrative, for me its not good, as my skills did not progress as much as everyone else. If we were tasked to create an abstract music video, I feel that that I would struggle. By focusing on a traditional styled music video, not on modern where special effects have a huge role, I feel I sacrificed the chance to develop my special effects. This could to problems in the future, if I were to do media production, I might not have enough skills, thus my job secrutiy is threatened.

I feel I should have spent time learning special effects independently, even if the newly learnt skills wouldn’t contribute, as this could benefit me in the future.


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