Individual Reflection

Research

When trying to further my own idea, my research really wasn’t up to standard. As my subject was homeless, he naturally wasn’t much of a reliable source. I would go out intending to ask him a few questions which would aid towards the making and content, however he would never be there.

Once we formed groups we adpoted Patricia’s idea of Patrick the busker. As she had already met with him once before, we decided it was important that the whole group have the same level of understanding of his character. We had a relaxed meeting with him, which we recorded, so we could over look certain things he said and think about questions that we could ask him in the real interview. Personally, this point of research helped me the most. Without meeting him before filming, I feel I wouldn’t have got a sense of how well he works as a documentary character because of his theories and storied he has about life. Another point of research I found helpful was watching a variety of styles of documentaries to keep my mind open to the creative styles and shots we could use such as ‘Tarnation’, ‘Aileen’ and ‘The Cave of Forgotten Dreams’.

Process/Development

After our first meeting with Patrick I felt disheartened coming away from it. We had a very long meeting with him which personally turned out to be quite tedious for me in the end. This was nothing personal towards him, but more my fault for not allowing myself to go into the meeting with an open mind. As we had already discussed an idea of structure for the piece as a group that we were quite happy with, I found myself disengaging when he went off on tangents about the meaning of life when we asked him questions about busking. This is something that I know is bad on my behalf and should never be done by a media producer towards their subject. I took onboard Ken’s advice of ‘just going with it’ which helped me greatly to find my motivation again and go to the next interview feeling more optimistic and open minded.

By watching the different styles of documentary, it helped my creative process to be more perceptive. I began to understand how much freedom you can have with a documentary, rather than just sit down interviews with the cliché cut aways. With Patricks favourite place being the Cathedral, it seemed to be a perfect link to match our visuals to our audio.

Under the heading Analysis
Write 200 words on the shoot. How did the shoot differ from what was
planned and why. Reflect on lessons learned during this experience. Use up to 4 images
to illustrate this.

Analysis

Through overcoming things that got in the way of our planning and preparation, our shoot and final outcome was so much different than what we planned in our treatment- where we planned to show Patrick in his house. However, it soon became apparent that we couldn’t, so gained access to the Holy Trinity Church quite last minute.

We met an hour and a half before Patrick was due, to make sure that could start filming without him and have an easy and swift shoot. We had enough time to ourselves to be creative with the shots and enough time with Patrick to film as we pleased. As we weren’t prepared with our location, this set us back when I booked the equipment. I couldn’t book out lights or lenses which would have only added to the piece. This is something to bear in mind for next time in terms of planning ahead.

Something I thought positive about the shoot was that we all had our chances with the camera so that each group member could show their ideas meaning that we had quite strong visuals for the location and equipment we had.

Evaluation

I used the shooting schedule and the edit plan to put together a rough cut of the visuals.We had a lot of footage, but when looking over it there wasn’t a lot that was useable. A lot of the shots were hand held or on an unweighted steady cam. This meant that a lot of them were very shaky and not even the warp stabilizer could save them. When I suggested we use the tripod, it didn’t seem much of a problem when looking at the footage on a camera screen rather than a laptop. Some of the shots it was relevant to shoot handheld, especially when following Patrick round the church, however ones which showed our surroundings were not and make the piece inconsistent.

There was a high beeping sound with a lot of noise when editing the sound. We had to ask a course member to help us after hours of struggling trying to dull the sound. When we interviewed Patrick in the basement I didn’t think it was the best idea to use a communal area, but we couldn’t find anywhere else. I noticed that the sound problem would have been a mixture of the buzzing lights and the printer. It was obvious from the beginning that we should have found a better place to interview, but because we didn’t plan properly we made it harder for ourselves in the long run.

I think I am quite pleased with how our work turned out during this module. There is a lot of room for improvements.The fact I didn’t engage properly with our character from the start means I probably put a negative view on our documentary from the beginning. On the other hand, I think that had our character been personal to one of us, the outcome may have been stronger.

One thing that I found myself doing during the editing stage was losing interest. This may have been because I had already spent a while doing the rough cut but again, probably because looking back and comparing to other documentaries made by peers, the story isn’t as strong a story as it could be. I think that we could have got more interesting stories out of our subject, however he seemed to want to tell us the same things over again.

On the other hand, I think that I was guilty of using people that were easily accessible. I think that had I done some research and found somebody extremely interesting, then it would have been a great documentary from the beginning. Obviously, making do with what you’ve got isn’t always the best way.

 

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