The week is upon us! All the preparation we’ve been doing over the last few months is all coming together. After some serious meetings last week about the details for the next few days everything is now a little more clear.
Apart from the preparation we have been doing in the sessions I have also been researching my two roles for the week. To prepare myself for being stills photographer I have looked at other “being the scenes” camera work, including stills: http://www.totalfilm.com/features/100-greatest-behind-the-scenes-shots/ and video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/collections/p00mr6nq. I found that a key thing to keep in mind if both the action taking place (in this case the actors being filmed) and all the team working hard to capture that action.
Much of my research for my other role as video camera operator involved researching the cameras themselves. As we would be using the Sony PMW EX3 I looked at reviews and operators manuals online, some of which proved more helpful than others. I also did some “hands-on” research with the technical demonstrators at the university to help me get to grips with the camera.
We spent a lot of the day in planning meetings. To start off with we broke into two separate groups, the production “technical” team and the design “creative” team. As camera person I was in the technical team.
The design group used their time to do any set construction they needed to get on with, as well as trawling through the props cupboard to see if there was anything they wanted to use.
Meanwhile my group, under the instruction of director Leo, went through the technical planning of the band shoot taking place on Wednesday.
We used a floorplan of the studio to set out where the band would be stood during the shoot. We also looked at where we would be positioning our 3 cameras and how to light the band. After some debate we decided that we would get some nice shots by using a jib. A common problem with the standard band set up is that the drummer, who is often the only member of the band sat down, is at the back and therefore is easily obscured by other band members. To solve this potential issue we would be able to get plenty of high shots from the jib as well as the straight shots from the tripods.
Whilst the design team are in charge of the practical side of set making, ultimately it is the director’s decision what the set will look like. For the band shoot we discussed the different options of set. We explored the option of using a white curtain, pulled tight, across the back of the set to create a surface on which to shine coloured lights. Leo eventually settled on using 3 portrait flats with the British and American flags painted on them.
We spent much of the afternoon doing a mock shoot of a scripted piece. This was a good experience as I was able to get to grips with working on the set. The three camera operators, myself, Elliot and Alex H, were given headphones which enabled us to talk directly to one another as well as to the gallery. This meant we could hear the PA when we needed to start rolling and the director telling us what shots to use and which one of us was “live” when.
We did a fair few takes of the short piece, starting with just locked off shots from three different camera angles and then progressing with moving shots. I found that this was a great activity as it gave my the opportunity to master taking orders from the gallery before the time came to film for the show.
We all left the session today with a good idea of plan for Wednesday. As Tuesday is the day for the design team to be able to paint the flats and get all the sets ready for the following few days my next filming day will be Wednesday.