Today, and most of the week actually I was meant to be on a shoot producing promo videos for two different companies. I had booked out all the equipment for the week in order for me to do this and typically, they both cancelled on me. This left me with a couple of days where I had equipment and nothing to do and a 5D in my company, which I had never got round to using before.
I already own a Canon 600D which I am now pretty comfortable with and wanted to use a 5D to not only feel comfortable with it, but to also work on some composition in a location and scenario where I had never taken pictures before.
I spent the day in Coombe Abbey, somewhere I had never been before. It had a grand house surrounded by lots of land with a lake and lots of birds. I had never photographed anything like this before so I delved in with the camera and took some shots that I am pleased with.
However, some of my images are ruined and that is because I didn’t check the kit properly after booking it out at the Loan Shop. It’s not that noticeable on all, but on some of the images there is a black mark where there must be something on the sensor. This made me quite glad that the companies that cancelled on us did, otherwise their promo videos would have had a black mark on everything, and that wouldn’t have been good for us or them!
Today I have come back from a meeting with a company called Admin Business Solutions who myself and two other media production students hope to make a promotional video for.
Although I still feel hopeful for next week, our meeting probably didn’t go as well as it should have.
We turned up on time and with an open minded attitude. We were unsure of what the company actually did and I personally got more and more confused trying to understand through their website. (Turns out they are a company who organise fleets of cars with their insurance, MOT’s and Tax).
There was two of the managers in the office with us, and it was quite a daunting experience that we had not came prepared for, although neither had they. I think we were both sitting there making idle chit chat because we weren’t sure what to talk about or if we had anything to talk about. I personally hadn’t done any preparation, no research, no possible ideas because I was under the impression that the company were going to come to us with ideas to see if we would be able to do them. That really was not the case as I think they expected all that from us.
Despite this we spoke about possible lengths of the video with them wanting it to be no longer than three minutes, we had already constructed a basic brief. We had a tour of the offices to try and find some inspiration as to what we could film, but there really wasn’t much. All there was to see was desks, computers, filing cabinets and people sitting at the desks.
Coming away, we decided that we would go through with the filming but we would have to put some research in before we go back with possible ideas. With none of us ever doing something like this before we had to make sure we were prepared and that the video we were going to produce would help the company in the way they want it to.
Today I filmed and edited another video for the same two Fine Art students. They are still trying to take on the style of Gilbert and George in their pieces and are still doing performance pieces. This time, they walked in a garden together (naked, again) and sloshed white paint over each other.
This was quite a simple concept for me to execute with the camera, using outside lighting and just having to set the camera up so the video looked visually appealing, there wasn’t much else to it technicality wise. However, I felt that spending time with the artists on this shoot and talking to them about all their ideas and meaning between this particular video was very interesting. It definitely had made me engaging in their works in a different light to the last shoot and will help me to think of my own work ideas more in depth and metaphorically in the future. I had thought that they were posing naked just because they could but they had actually thought about why they should be naked in the shoots and what different impact it makes on their work. For example, the meaning behind this particular video was to do with the losing of your identity and the escapism of becoming a new being.
I think the fact that the second time round didn’t feel anywhere near as much of a task for me as the first time as it did filming for them was good- not just because I didn’t really have to set up much, but I didn’t feel as nervous to hear the reaction of how I had framed the video, how I had editied the sound afterwards to enhance the fact that they were outside and the slightest colour correcting that I had to do.
Again, they were happy with the results which made me happy. Another job where I completely under estimated my abilities and came out with a decent document of their performance piece.
Today I went on a shoot to get a number of HDR images. I took lots of pictures as you can imagine, some haven’t come out so well. Well, most of them didn’t come out how I had expected until I edited them slightly. I felt as though I was cheating when darkening the shadows in Photoshop to give the images more depth and detail. However, not only has this taught me that next time I will need to make sure I take pictures with a darker exposure, but doesn’t everyone edit their pictures?
I made sure I used a tripod and kept the camera as still as possible when taking the pictures. With the pictures I was taking I tried to get the sky in as much as I could. However, when taking the pictures the sky just seemed so flat. I hoped that editing them to HDR would make the clouds stand out more, but that wasn’t necessarily the case.
When on shoot I felt that I couldn’t learn much or even tell what the pictures would be like until it got to the editing stage. It was like a guessing game, trying to imagine what the pictures would come out like before I had even edited them together. I had seen so many amazing examples online whilst I had been on my search for new techniques and I was a little bit gutted when mine didn’t turn out like I had hoped.
Although, I shouldn’t be gutted that they didn’t all come out like I had hoped for. Something that I have always had to remind myself is that learning something new isn’t about getting it perfect straight away; it’s about knowing what you did right and wrong to improve on next time. I will admit that I am one of those people that will learn something, do it the first time and expect it to be perfect. That’s never going to happen and I shouldn’t want for that to happen if I want to learn as much as I can.
I was after a way of improving my photography skills. I just about have grasped the basics and I can comfortably take a picture with a good composition, most of the time anyway. I wanted to try something new and I wasn’t sure what, so I simply types into Google ‘Photography techniques’. I spent ages trawling through all different pages and finding amazing photographs with short tutorials on how to accomplish them. My only problem was that I couldn’t spend hundreds on a new lens when I came across the macro photography (even though I would have loved one), I couldn’t really afford to buy any new equipment because of the poor student that I am. So in some sense that narrowed my search down instantly.
I came across some wonderful ideas from smoke art, high speed photography to architecture. However, I didn’t feel that I could class smoke photography as a days work and there isn’t really that much interesting architecture in Coventry. After scrolling and scrolling through I came across HDR photography which stands for High Dynamic Range.
The method was simple, to choose a static subject and take at least three photos all with different exposures. The first should be really over exposed as to only pick up the darkness and shadows. The ones following should get continually darker until the darkest has nothing over exposed and picks up all the detail of the photograph. It sound very simple, but it took me a long while and reading through a number of different website to understand how this actually works and how it enhances the photograph.
These are then put into Photoshop to merge together into a HDR image.
They say that the subject should be static, but there is many pictures online of fireworks in a HDR image. I ideally will only try static subjects for my shoot that I have planned for tomorrow. As a beginner I think it will be hard for me to imagine what the pictures will be like as you don’t see the real result until you get home and edit them all. If I have a good subject and composition then I don’t see that I will have many problems with them.
The Fine Art Students and myself sat down and edited through the video I filmed of them dressing each other in suits. The editing itself wasn’t very difficult as what they wanted was very simple. However, hearing them trying to explain what they wanted we agreed was quite comical as they struggled to explain how they wanted it to look. In the end we worked out that they wanted the video reversed so it would look as though they were undressing each other with a song Psy song played over the top and sped up to fit in with the music. As I said, it was a simple task but still one that I still found daunting. Because they knew what they wanted but didn’t know how to use any editing software to do it themselves, they were wholly relying on me to get the look that they so desired. No colour correcting was done. I did try and show them how much better it looks when editing the colours and I was surprised as they are both artists when they said they didn’t want to colour correct too much and were happy with it how it was. This experience although may seem like a simple one still helped me to build up my professional mannerism when put in uncomfortable situations and with unconventional subjects. I was given a brief which I had to fulfill to the best of my achievement and I believe I managed to do this well. The artists are both happy with the work and I am happy with them asking me to do this for them and what I have learnt from it.
I was contacted by two fine art students to photography and video a performance for them for their module work but also in the hope they would be able to take the style to better heights. They are trying to take on the style of Gilbert & George, two ‘living sculture’ artists who feature a lot in their own videos and work.
They explained to me what it was they were hoping to achieve from the pictures and I was slightly shocked when they said they wanted some nude, including a video. At first this made me quite hesitant to participate in the making of their videos, not because it disgusted me as nude images are used a lot within art, but because I thought it would be an awkward position to put myself in.
Today I filmed the video and took some pictures. It was my first time having to set up lighting on my own that was acceptable for a photoshoot. We had to do the shoot in one of their bedrooms. I did think about renting one of the photography rooms at uni, but thought with the nature of it, it may have been a bit inappropriate should anyone walk in the room.
I set up the typical three point lighting, which was a bit of a struggle for me for some reason. I think it was because we were in a small room and had to work against a flat white wall. I found myself reflecting light off the ceiling to get the right image that they wanted for their work. This was probably one of the only shoots where I had been completely on my own without another ‘media minded’ person around me to give me a hand or guide me in the right direction when things went wrong (such as struggling with the lights).
Something that I did think I would struggle with was keeping a professional manner when filming them naked. They weren’t doing anything inappropriate whilst naked, but I think that it’s a bit controversial for a girl to be filming and taking pictures of naked men. It would have been so easy for me to burst out laughing every five minutes between pictures or laugh all the day through their video where they got each other dressed into suits, but that would have wasted all of our times, made the shoot longer than it should have been and caused frustration within the room having to keep re shooting things.
Producing work that had to be up to the standard that they had already set for me was quite challenging as someone who has never been confident in their own work/ working on their own. I think from this experience I can take away the fact that I now feel as though I can do things on my own and that I shouldn’t doubt myself as much as I do.