Further Research 1 – Future Scheduling Revision

It is hard to say at this moment how much my FMP has been affected by any lack of research – personally, I’m with the Kubrick quote:

Perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all.

I have for the past three years in academia been developing a showreel to show potential employers after graduation (as indeed I still am building upon). This FMP has been considered by many of my friends as a means to create something that demonstrated their abilities as well as giving them a foothold in the industry – this meant making something that audiences could understand, relate to, and talk to them about after viewing. My approach (as always) has been a lot more risky.

Peter Has An Angel, without a shadow of a doubt, has an air of self-indulgence about it. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried as hard, or that the quality of the film should be affected in any way. It does, however, mean that I came to study this BA degree with filming something like this at the end of the course always in my mind. Theoretically, the audience for it, though specified as gothic lovers and academic undergraduates, is really open to a lot more than just those two groups. It is also however becomes more restricted as well, as you’re less likely to understand it unless you’re ‘arty’ or experimental yourself.

I am currently looking back at the rough cut of the film – so far it is running overtime by approximately four minutes. It is very important I cut parts of the running time out, as for a film primarily based around two people talking in a forest, people’s attention span will definitely not hold for any prolonged period of time.

I can confirm that I am happy with what I am seeing – the visuals and the audio work well together and every shot has been synchronized correctly. The grading and the cut-away shots seem to be working well, and you can see that I am still playing with the visual medium as I create it – but the quality of the produce is to a much higher degree than any gone before (there is no doubt that this film is more interesting than my previous short film – this is my best short film to date).

But what of the post-production research? During filming, two questions arose:

1) How many pages should you shoot per day?

2) How many cameras are commonly used in conversation sequences?

Although the answers to both above questions are really unique to any one individual, I still wanted to know what the industry standards were. Personally, based on my experiences, I would be happier in the future filming six pages or less each day (for a better time budget), and only using one camera for shot and reverse shot sequences.

I revised the script pages first. Below are two links that do not clarify an answer – they basically state that it is down to artistic preference.

http://www.filmmaking.net/FAQ/answers/faq112.asp

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-art-of-scheduling-a-film.html

But then I came across the link below, which surprised me quite a bit!

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?162228-On-Average-how-many-pages-do-you-shoot-per-day

According to the third link, four pages to the day is most preferable. You don’t waste the day with one shot, and you make sufficient progress, without sacrificing quality by rushing certain scenes. For future reference, I will budget to four pages to the day. On this budget, if I was to film ‘PHAA’ tomorrow, I would now allow for three days instead of one.

Of course, it is down to what the script is about and how you work as a director. With a film based around two people on a log, I thought it could be done in a day. I figured this without the complications of the opening and closing sequence (and ironically, an opening sequence that has more or less been completely cut from the final edit at this point!) On reflection though, I think I did really well to film seven pages of script to a day of filming each – complete with a seven-man crew one day, and a two-man crew the next!

The research into cameras used on a feature film came up pretty quickly – one. The evidence can be found on the link below:

http://directingfilm.net/post/20252578562/how-many-cameras-are-on-a-set-and-what-id-a-good-first

You use one camera unless you need to take a moment in time from several angles simultaneously (e.g. an explosion). This is good news for my future – it basically means I need one video camera and one piece of audio equipment to make a decent film. Then it would just be a crew I’d need to hire, which could probably be obtained from local universities or film ‘networks’ (e.g. the Coventry and Warwickshire Film Network).

From my own experience now, smaller crews are best. Evidently, less equipment is best as well. I took additional equipment if anything went wrong (for example, some equipment from the University can be unreliable. If I’d taken one camera out into the woods and it had jammed, I would have been in serious trouble.) In future projects, I will expect that most equipment will either be my own, or personally owned by someone else (with the exception of rare pieces of kit for single shoots, like a jib crane, to be hired from a local store). I am very good at taking care of my own kit, evident in my tripod. It cost me £30 at the start of university, and since then it has been to Tenerife (twice, including the volcano expeditions) and Iceland. It still works as a solid piece of kit to this day, and I’ve only had to replace the release plate once!

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