Shot list / Storyboard?

I don’t think for my production that it is worth making a storyboard or even a shot list. I have written a rough idea of what the video will present and given the specifics of the ending. The majority of the video will just be a matter of improvisation whilst on location and trying to get as many aesthetically looking shots as possible. I am trying to create an experience through film, so i think limiting this experience to a shot list will hinder me, i will rather just go with the flow and create it as its scenery helps me to. 

I may though, make a rough shot list in post production, presenting the photographs i take on location or stills from the video. This will help to show a rough plan of how the video progresses and will be made easy to understand with the photographs to refer to.

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Research on Urban exploration

I have been researching areas within Bristol to film at and found two more urban explorer websites. These are, http://www.ukurbex.com/ and http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/. I have registered to both websites and been in contact with urban explorers within Bristol. Both websites have friendly explorers who have been answering my questions and tipping me with locations which they have been to. I have been told that Barrow Hospital is a great place to start and as i understand from my research it is being demolished, so i will make it my first port of call. A photo below shows a snip it of its magnificent potential:

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Further video thoughts

I was thinking of adding another aspect into the video. This came to me when i was rethinking the bird scene. I want to incorporate subtle hints into the video, perhaps hints that don’t need to be spotted from the first watch but can add to the video if watched a second time round. I want to add bird feathers into some shots, just subtly placed in the background here and there, just to send a subconsciousness thought that the camera is a bird. This will also be great for watching it through again and seeing these clues that the camera was a bird all along.

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Name for piece

Though it is not of much importance right now i have been thinking of a name for my video. Here are some i have thought about; The speculation, To see the unknown/unseen, The unknown, Illusion, Free/Lone bird. These are all just ideas that i want to get down so i don’t forget and not exactly top on my list of important things to do for the project. The name of my piece will be shown at the end, as i do not want it to ruin the surprise of the ending.

Cliff scene ideas

I have been up to Bristol downs to try and find a safe spot to film the cliff drop. However, it seems this will be harder that anticipated, i was perhaps being a bit optimistic in the first place. Most of the cliff of the gorge is not a sheer drop, so if i was to lower a camera it would be very tricky. There is also the problem that if i lower the camera it will swing and hit into the cliff face or even worse it could detach from the mechanism i wish to make. So, if i were to use the fishing rod like contraption i spoke of i would have to dangle it very far from the cliff face in order to not hit into anything. In reality i think this is too risk and so out of the question.

Other ideas i have had include perhaps dropping it off a much lower point of the gorge attached to a parachute. Though, this again could go wrong, any wind might steer the camera off course. Another idea hit me when i noticed the rock climbers. I might be able to strap the camera to one of them, or they might be able to help me attach it to something and then i could get the shot i need. It only needs to be a short clip which will cut to black, like the shutting of eyes, then come back in near the bottom of the cliff. I will look into contacting one of the rock climbing groups. 

Otherwise, if all fails i will go to Plan B and shoot the shot along the ground as if it is looking down off a cliff. Here are some photos i took when i went up to the gorge to contemplate my options:

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In the final photo i have circled the area in which the rock climbers usually are. This is much lower down, therefore, much safer to film in. Yet, it is still high enough to make the scene powerful:

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Magazine article – Urban explorers

I have found a magazine article about urban explorers in The Red Bulletin magazine (2013), made by red bull. The magazine follows a group of urban explorers to find out why and how they go about doing it and presents many spectacular photos to go alongside. The first double page has been scanned and is below:

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This shows an urban explorer on top of The Shard in London, as it was under construction back in April 2012. Obviously i will not be climbing a 72 floor building which is still being built for my video but it shows how the hobby/sport of Urbexing can provide outstanding views. I have scanned the following page of the article as it gives a lot of information on Urbexing or as written in the article, the UrbEx community:

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The article follows a crew of UrbExers and their journey and story of entering many abandoned and derelict areas. On the right is The Walbrook another site located in London, this one is situated underneath the financial district. This site is arguably less dangerous to reach compared to The Shard and again provides an unseen environment, something similar to this would be ideal for my project. It presents an eerie atmosphere about it. Below is another page taken from the magazine, these two areas are not located in the UK, the top is in Croatia and the bottom in Belguim, once again these present areas which are unknown to most. They almost look like sets out of a movie, they are so perfectly eerie and unfamiliar.

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The article also includes photographs from a tower in Liverpool, an underground river in Moscow, Russia and a Nazi Flakturm or flak tower in Vienna, Austria. Another tower in London is photographed at dusk, the Heron Tower, the third-tallest building in London. I have included two other pages below, the left page includes a photo of Down Street  a disused underground station in London, which was closed in 1932. On the left is a metro system power tunnel in Moscow, Russia and on the right a utility tunnel in St Paul, USA. The page on the right is the last page of the article and shows a photograph taken from the power generation relics at Niagara Falls in Canada, which is one of my favorite photographs. This area looks quite accessible and offers an incredible view of the waterfall.

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This article got me much more interested in urban exploring and really shows the powerful images that can come out of exploring unused areas. This information alongside the website, http://www.whateversleft.co.uk/ mentioned in another post, gives me a lot of attractive and positive outcomes of UrbExing. I am looking forward to exploring these types of areas which are available in Bristol, most of which are shown on the website. Though i must not forget to be very careful and gain permission to access these areas.

Ideas produced from lecture

Rod presented a lecture on how different contexts can change the meaning of images, which interested me and got me thinking about my video. It was explained that people interpret images differently due to their own experience in life, such as gender, race, where they grew up etc. We all immediately assume that any image has a numerous set of meanings. Us, as producers, want a preferred understanding and meaning when creating an image or video. We hope that the person viewing the video interprets it in the way that we are trying to express it. Yet, often the preferred meaning may not be as readily accessible as we might hope. This is due to everyone reading and understanding things differently.

This then makes it very complex for image/video producers to negotiate what meanings to put across. There is a discourse, a set of ideas surrounding any field of knowledge but you cannot limit images to just that. This has to be grappled with in order to make a successful project.

Generally speaking this can be divided into two ways; the intention + the viewer who sees it and has a reaction to it, its reception. The image producer + image viewer – the difference between these two is quite complicated and often doesn’t make sense. Often the meaning is not inherent in representations but is surrounded around them, people wonder whether to trust their instinct or trust the image producer. As a producer you can provide something and express it in you own way, if others read it differently that is fine. With my production i want people to be free to experience the piece how they want, some may endure different feelings to others but that is fine. As long as they gain an experience through video i have achieved my goal, some peoples experiences will be totally different to others. Also specific points of view will produce specific meaning, so if i were to screen in a dark room it might produce more anxiety and fear. Perhaps i could screen my piece on a loop so that the experience can carry on and people can join or leave as they please, this might produce different feelings and understandings from the viewers.

Stuart Hall (1973) spoke about how viewers can willfully read images differently and take control, he discussed this in his book, Encoding and Decoding. This can be done in one of 3 ways:

1. Dominant reading – the viewer identifies with familiar conventions, they agree with the images easily and have an accepted understanding of the image.

2. Oppositional reading – this is the exact opposite, the viewers totally disagree with image.

3. Negotiated meaning – this is the most common and complicated way of viewing, where the viewer struggles to find meaning in the image and the perspective of the producer. So in my case they might be confused about what i am steering towards, if i am steering towards anything at all or just allowing them to have an experience through video.

So video can mean more than one thing and it gives us, as the producer, an opportunity to play with meanings and provide the viewer with an experience. This can be subtly or obviously, in my piece i think it is more subtle and i will just hint at what i am trying to express, to allow the viewer to experience and decipher the meaning as they will. 

 

Looking back on my Pilot

It is now clear to see that the pilot was a crucial part for the production, as it has shown me what needs to be done and helped me to expand on my ideas. Not to mention that it was good practice in filming and post-production.

Looking back at the pilot there are several aspects I wish to improve on. One worry I have is that the video will look too similar to a music video, due to it consisting of just a soundtrack and video, with no narrative. So I will have to be careful in shooting certain shots to try not to produce something which is similar to popular music videos. Such as the long tunnel shot and the shot of the cars at night which was sped up, these seem a little to close to footage commonly seen in music videos. Some shots are also quite shaky and bad quality, so i will need to look to improve the video quality and smoothness of certain shots. The scene with the flashing lights and the masked person are also ideas which i am now not so sure about. I must be careful not to merge too many different types of video into one, such as music video, scary masked ‘beings’ and close up shots of surfaces. I will try to narrow down my piece to just incorporate a few aspects otherwise it might come across as cluttered and not really get across the point of embodiment. So, for this reason i think i will scrap the idea of the camera seeing another ‘thing’, as i want to focus on the camera as a ‘thing’, a living entity of which the viewer will embody as they become immersed in the film.

The close up shots on wet surfaces and other close up shots i think are quite powerful. These give an area of video which is different to most and will help to avoid falling into the music video area of filming. So, i will film more close up shots as they give a feeling of being in that location and seeing what the camera sees. I will also keep the idea of the camera becoming scared in mind, such as the sudden movements to express looking around in fear. Also certain shots which show the camera as something different to the world and unknown, like peering into a window of a house or hiding behind a wall. I need to express that it feels scared, perhaps building up a feeling of comfort which merges into fear will help to show this better.

Bird scene

I now own a camera and bird wings, so i can start experimenting with how i will make the bird scene possible. Here is a photo displaying the rough idea of what i have in mind. After the cliff drop the bird wings will become visible either side of the camera, flapping away as the bird fly’s off, displaying that the camera was the birds view all along. I will have to mount the camera to my body in order to hold both wings, or have someone to help me shoot these end shots of the video. I might also look with the camera left and right to get a full view of each wing to help express the fact of the camera as the bird.

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Gopro Specs

I have done some research into finding the best Gopro camera for my project. It has come down to the most recent in the Gopro series, the Hero 3 Black edition. The black edition is above silver and white addition, it has the added bonus of ‘Pro Low-Light Performance’. This added spec made the Black edition stand out to me, as low light performance will come in very handy in my production. Most of my filming, as previously discussed, will take place in run down areas, most of which will be quite dark and dingy, so this spec will be extremely useful in making the video that little bit better quality. Also, some of the shots will be filmed at night or as the sun is setting to give an eerie feel to the video, this will also hopefully come out very nicely with the Gopro.

The Gopro has many different settings available to film in, giving me added flexibility to play around with and use some experimentation to get the right look for the video. It gives you the option to change frames per second and quality. So far, filming in 1080p at 30 fps has worked out best, the shots are very smooth and in great high definition. The available settings are in the picture below:

Gopro settings

Gopro also offers a downloadable software called CineForm, which allows you to export all the footage and tweak areas of the footage, such as the colour, lighting etc. The Gopro has many settings as seen above, the website below explains all of this to help understand how to use it to its full potential. So, i will be referring to this website in order to get the best use out of my camera.

http://abekislevitz.com/understanding-your-new-gopro/