21.3.15

MULTI CAMERA RECORDING MUSIC PERFORMANCE BY EMPERORS OF ROME


AS MUCH AS I HAVE DEDICATED MYSELF TO POST PRODUCTION, AND AM AT THIS POINT CERTAIN THIS IS THE PATH MY CAREER WILL TAKE, I STILL HAVE A PASSION FOR OTHER DEPARTMENTS, AND FIND JUST AS, IF NOT, MORE INTERESTING. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ONE TO SHY AWAY FROM LOCATION CAMERA OP, OR ANYTHING TO DO WITH SOUND, I JUST DON’T FEEL CONFIDENT ENOUGH NOT TO MUCK ‘EM UP. AND I’M ALSO PRETTY CERTAIN MY CAREER WILL NOT END WITH ME WORKING ON LIVE STUDIO PRODUCTIONS, THAT’S NOT TO SAY I WOULD EVER PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAN THE JIB, OR A PED. THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT THE ADDED PRESSURE OF WORKING TO A LIVE FORMAT THAT THRILLS ONE TO AN EXTENT, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS SOMETHING AS CREATIVE AS A MUSIC PERFORMANCE. SO WHEN I HEARD ‘EMPERORS OF ROME’ WOULD BE USING MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITIES TELEVISION STUDIO TO RECORD TO LIVE SONG PERFORMANCES, I WAS FIRST IN LINE TO VOLUNTEER.

I INSTANTLY [UT MY NAME FORWARD FOR JIB SWINGER, BECAUSE FRANKLY, THAT’S THE MOST FUN, ESPECIALLY WITH LIVE MUSIC. THE CREATIVE OPPORTUNITIES ARE ALMOST ENDLESS. HOWEVER, AS I’M SURE MANY HAVE BECOME AWARE IN THEIR TIME KNOWING ME, PUNCTUALITY, IS THE MOTHER OF ALL MY FLAWS, AND IF YOU DIDN’T GUESS IT FROM THAT, YES, I WAS AN HOUR LATE. THAT HOUR WOULD SEE ME GO FROM JIB OPERATOR, RIGHT DOWN TO CABLE BASHER, A ROLE TO MENIAL FOR A THIRD YEAR TECHNICAL ARTS STUDENT. BUT I GUESS I ONLY HAD MYSELF TO BLAME. I COULD HAVE EASILY JUST LEFT AS THE ROLE WAS NOT EXACTLY VITAL FOR THE PRODUCTION, IT JUST HELPED OUT A LITTLE. BUT I FELT IT WAS MY DUTY TO AT LEAST STAND BY MY OFFER OF BEING THERE FOR THE SHOOT, AND ASSIST IN ANY WAY THEY FELT NECESSARY. IT WAS POSSIBLY THE LONGEST 7 HOURS I HAVE EVER SPENT ON A SET, HOLDING CABLES, WATCHING EVERYONE ELSE GET CREATIVE, IT SUCKED BASICALLY.

FORTUNATELY FOR ME THOUGH, I’M LIKEABLE, PARTLY DUE TO MY AWESOME PERSONALITY, BUT ALSO BECAUSE OF THE NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE I CAN MAKE IN WHATEVER ROLE I HAPPEN TO BE IN, OF COURSE HOLDING CABLES ISN’T ROCKET SCIENCE, BUT… Y’KNOW. SO I GET ALONG RATHER SWIMMINGLY WITH PETE, BARRY, AND URIM, THE ONES RUNNING THE SHOW. FORTUNATELY FOR ME THAT MEANT THAT AFTER THE PROPER TAKES, WHEN EVERYONE WAS HAPPY, THEY DECIDED TO MIX THE CREW UP FOR A FEW MORE TAKES TOWARDS THE END OF THE DAY. SO I ACTUALLY MANAGED TO GET MY HANDS ON A PED IN THE END, IF ONLY FOR ONE FULL TAKE AND A HANDFUL OF UNSUCCESSFUL ONES. ALTHOUGH I WA ALWAYS PAYING ATTENTION DURING THE DAY, I DIDN’T FULLY ABSORB THE EXACT SHOTS THAT THE OP I WAS BASHING FOR GIVE THE DIRECTOR (BARRY). AS I WASN’T THE ONLY ONE, THIS LEAD A FEW COMMUNICATION ERRORS BETWEEN THE DIRECTOR, AND US, THE FRESH CAM OPS (MYSLEF, ROB, MEGAN) WHO HADN’T DONE ANY RUN THROUGHS.

I HAVE WORKED IN THE STUDIO MANY MANY TIMES, SO I ALREADY KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF REHEARSALS AND RUN THROUGHS, ESPECIALLY FOR ‘AS LIVE’, BUT THIS PARTICULAR EXPERIENCE REMINDED JUST HOW IMPORTANT IT REALLY IS, ESPECIALLY FOR SMOOTHING OUT THE RELATIONSHIP AND COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE GALLERY (DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER) AND THE STUDIO FLOOR (CAMERA OPS AND PRODUCTION MANAGERS) IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THE SMOOTHEST AND MOST AESTHETICALLY PLEASING PRODUCTION. BUT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT, IT TAUGHT ME TO GET MY ARSE IN GEAR AND ADDRESS MY RIDICULOUS TIME KEEPING PROBLEMS.

LUCKILY FOR ME THIS WAS A PRODUCTION MANNED BY TECHNICIANS AND STUDENTS, AND NOT RELATED TO MY COURSE, WHICH MEANT MY RAPPORT WITH CERTAIN PEOPLE KEPT ME INVOLVED, AND EVENTUALLY LEAD TO ME GETTING A CHANCE TO DO SOMETHING WORTH WHILE ON THE DAY.  BUT IF THIS HAD BEEN A REAL WORLD PRODUCTION WITH MAJOR CLIENTS, PRODUCTION COMPANIES, AND PEOPLE PAYING ME, I WOULD HAVE PROBABLY BEEN TOLD TO HIT THE ROAD, WITH NO HOPE OF WORKING WITH ANY PARTIES INVOLVED EVER AGAIN.

YOU CAN’T JUST BE CREATIVE AND GREAT WITHIN YOUR FIELD, YOU HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE, RELIABLE, AND BLOODY PRESENT BOTH WHEN YOU SAY YOU WILL BE, AND WHEN IS EXPECTED OF YOU. 

4.3.15

WORK EXPERIENCE - DATA WRANGLING AND CAMERA ASSISTING FOR DANNY HOLLINGSWORTH OF AVID


HAVING HAD MY NAME PUT FORWARD BY ONE OF THE TECHNICIANS FROM UNIVERSITY, I WAS PRESENTED WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASSIST A FORMER TUTOR OF MINE. DANNY HOLLINGSWORTH WAS IN THE PROCESS OF PREPARING A PRESENTATION FOR AVIDS BVE STAND, FOR WHOM HE NOW WORKS. THROUGH THIS HE WOULD BE SHOWCASING AVIDS NEW ULTRA HD/4K WORKFLOW. IN ORDER TO DO THIS HE NEEDED TO SHOOT SOME TEST FOOTAGE, USING SONYS NEW PXW-FS7 CAMERA. A PIECE OF KIT I WAS HOPING TO DO ONE DAY GET MY HANDS ON.

SONY PXW-FS7

SONY PXW-FS7

INITIALLY THE DAYS SHOOT STARTED AWFULLY SLOW. AS THE CAMERA WAS A ONE DAY HIRE, RECEIVED ONLY THE EVENING PRIOR, HE HAD NOT HAD ADEQUATE TIME TO FULLY GET HIS HEAD AROUND THE LAYOUT, AND WORKINGS OF THE RELATIVELY NEW SUPER 35MM ULTRA HD/4K CAMERA. AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, CAMERAS THESE DAYS, AND OF THIS STANDARD ARE NOT SIMPLY POINT AND SHOOT. AFTER SPENDING MAYBE THE FIRST HOUR OR SO FIGURING THIS OUT, WE FINALLY GOT TO HEAD OUT AND SHOOT THE NEW YEARS FESTIVITIES IN CHINATOWN. HOWEVER, SHORTLY INTO SHOOTING A NEW PROBLEM AROSE, THE HIRE COMPANY HAD ONLY PROVIDED ONE BATTERY, WHICH LASTED A FEW HOURS AT MOST, AND SUPPLIED ONLY ONE SONY XQD CARD OF 36GB. NOW WHEN YOU ARE SHOOTING ULTRA HIGH DEFINITION, THAT AMOUNT OF STORAGE SPACE LASTS APPROXIMATELY 7 MINUTES. THIS SUDDENLY MADE MY BEING PRESENT OBVIOUS, NOT ONLY WAS I THERE TO LUG AROUND EQUIPMENT CASES AND MIND THE TRIPOD DURING HAND HELD SHOTS, BUT I RELENTLESSLY HAD TO WRANGLE THE DATA FROM MEDIA TO STORAGE. STOOD IN CHINATOWN DURING THESE FESTIVITIES HOLDING A MACBOOK, DUPLICATING DATA SEEMED STRANGE AT BEST.

DATA WRANGLING IN CHINATOWN
THIS OPPORTUNITY FOR ME WAS A GREAT PLEASURE, TO WORK WITH A FORMER TUTOR WHO HAD MOVED ON INTO AN INDUSTRY OF INTEREST TO ME, AND TO PUT A COMPANY LIKE AVID ON MY CV, ALMOST A DREAM FOR SOMEONE WITH A MASSIVE INTEREST IN POST-PRODUCTION. BUT IT WAS ALSO AN INSIGHT INTO HOW MY CAREER MAY START OUT, BEING STOOD AROUND IN THE COLD, DOING JOBS ANY WELL SECURED LOCKER COULD DO, CARRYING STUFF BACK AND FORTH, AND AS A DATA WRANGLER, SITTING THERE AWAITING NEW RUSHES, KNOWING THAT IF YOU DON’T PERFORM THIS TASK RIGHT, YOU COULD EASILY LOSE AN ENTIRE SHOOTS WORTH OF WORK. AS A WHOLE, THIS OPPORTUNITY RE-IGNITED MY PASSION FOR WHAT I WANT TO DO, ALTHOUGH I WANT TO BE A DIGITAL IMAGING TECHNICIAN, WHICH HAS SLIGHTLY MORE GLAMOUR. AND TO SOME THIS WOULD HAVE SEEMED BORING, ALMOST POINTLESS IN FACT, I LOVED IT. A REAL INSIGHT IN TO WHAT MAY LAY AHEAD OF ME CAREER WISE.

14.5.14

Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre Promotional Video

Unto the Breach - Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre
Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre is a London based, traditional Palestinian, and voluntary dance group. Myself and Yasmin work with the Performance Director, and were asked if we could produce a short, internet based promotional video. This was a great opportunity to do something a little different, and with a clients needs in mind. Above is the final product, that will shortly be posted around the groups website, Facebook page, and used elsewhere for promotional purposes.


Youtube Link:


Myself and Yasmin were lucky enough to film in Portcullis House, where the group performed at a Pro-Palestine Labor Party event. We filmed using three Canon 7D cameras. The second shoot was at The Imperial College Union, where the Universities Palestinian community gathered to celebrate their traditions, and discuss their countries ongoing problems with Israel. This was shot on two 7D’s, along with Bryan shooting on a Canon 5D Mark II, and Rob using a H4N Zoom for sound. Post-Production was undertaken by Yasmin, using Avid Media Composer 7.

This was a fun shoot, and I actually learned something during it. I came away with a lot more experience in shooting with DSLR Cameras, a greater knowledge of Palestines national issues, and something about their culture and traditions. And on top of that, I am particularly happy with the final product.



6.5.14

Second Year Review


This second year for me has been one of great advancement. As someone who wants to work in post-production, I have enjoyed developing new skills with Avid Media Composer, getting an insight into Pro Tools, and DaVinci Resolve, and have finally got my first piece of work experience coming up with Envy in Soho.

I have also enjoyed working on a number of outside (3rd year projects, MDX Now) productions, further advancing my experience in Vision Control. While I would like to experience Vision Mixing again, as well as Jib/Ped, I think it’s good to gain as much experience as possible in a role that you enjoy doing. While Vision Control isn’t the most exciting role available, I do enjoy it, and certainly wouldn’t say I’m not capable of it. I will continue to volunteer for this role for some productions, as I wish to understand the vision control interface fully, learning how to manually white balance, and manipulate colours to where needed.

Though I have only crewed a few 2nd year Studio productions this year, they have most definitely been interesting. Dare to Flair was a great lesson in how time restraint and rehearsals are key to keeping a production together. Not our best production by far, but a valuable one in terms of understanding how different show formats demand far greater time and resources.

My only concern with regards to this second year, and making into the third, would be the written essays. While I made every effort to stay on top of it, I found myself questioning my choice of films, and research topic. While I am relatively happy with the deconstruction, which I changed to Saving Private Ryan and Flags of our Fathers, I feel my research essay was lacking in a specific direction. Unable to get the primary resource I was hoping for, I decided to change my proposal at the last hurdle due to the fact I had found a willing industry professional working as a sound mixer. While this area of post interests me greatly, not enough thought had been put into the direction in which the research essay would take. All one can do is hope that I am worried purely as a result of essay related stress. My dissertation will receive nowhere near the same treatment, work will begin from the moment the brief hits the table.

My only other regret would be, not developing and producing some independent productions, something I hope to achieve next year. With four months of summer ahead, I plan on gaining as much work experience as possible, and developing a few short film ideas to produce as of the first semester of next year.

4.5.14

Dynamic Camera Exercise - The long Take

COMPOS MENTIS!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8EJEyBe0gc&feature=youtu.be

Although the idea for this short film seemed brilliant at the time, the lack of time spent developing it left it lacking a lot. Although I am happy with the camera work, and most other areas, it lacks narrative. Unfortunately due to my mind being pre-occupied with essays, and documentary edits, this project saw itself sitting at the back of the priority list.

The dynamic long take, I feel, was successful. However given the flow of it, using a DSLR could have been a bad call. The movement and shake is highly noticeable. Having a heavier, sturdier camera may have resulted in a better outcome. Also, using the DSLR’s is becoming an issue within the editing process, due to the university set-up, all footage has to be transcoded to be stored on the ISIS, which is affecting the end quality. While the XDCam can be a hassle to carry around, the fact that the codec works natively with Avid, meaning it only has to be consolidated, means any loss of quality is unnoticeable.

I would like to incorporate long takes into future projects, it was a challenge, and involved thinking about every aspect. While every single room within the take was lit using red heads, dedo lights, pamper snaps, we had to consider the choreography of the camera, and character movement to avoid them being noticed. This was a fun task, which involved a lot more planning than I am usually used to on a shoot.

2.5.14

Dancewalking Documentary - Editor


For this documentary I voluntarily took on the role of Editor, in order to unburden a fellow classmate of their growing workload. This for me was a particularly fun, interesting, stressful, and very educational edit. Unfortunately upon completion of the final edit, I neglected to export a copy until the Director had got the thumbs up from their course leader, in the form of constructive feedback. Needless to say, when I returned to the edit bins, they had become corrupt, including the previous back save I had created externally. Thus causing me to lose the 20 editing hours I had spent on it already.

Luckily all the other bins that had the footage and sound in them were unaffected. Because I had spent so long editing, the basic structure of the edit was still relatively fresh in my mind. So I began again. This time creating multiple back up edit bins, and backing up the save regularly to an external device (hard drive), I reconstructed the interview sequences from scratch, until the director and producer arrived.


One very good thing to come out of this edit, and having to do it twice, was that I was able to become quite efficient at using the techniques, and keyboard shortcuts that Catalin had taught us in previous sessions. While the final edit was slightly different to the original, the director was luckily happier with the second edit. While I will never know how my edits became corrupt, I will take from this a valuable lesson with which I should have already been fully aware, and also the ability to edit a lot quicker on a software I have little experience with.

1.5.14

Audio Editing Workflow

Audio Edit Workflow
Once an edit has reached the ‘picture lock’ stage, work on the sound post-production can commence. The reason behind this process, especially in big budget formats like films, is that a film may go through multiple picture edits before it reaches the desired outcome. To edit and mix the sound during an edit, would involve going back and forth with the re-edits, which would cost valuable money and time.


Dialogue editors, and ADR (automated dialogue replacement) is the process of taking any dialogue recorded on set and making sure it is usable. As the background sound on set can change dramatically, audio needs to be cleaned up to the best of the sound editors ability. If this is not at all possible, ADR will be used to rectify this. This is the process of re-recording the dialogue, in a sound studio, with the actor whose dialogue needs replacing. Dialogue editors would then have to sync these re-recorded lines to the image on screen.
Pro Tools HD
Effects editing will also take place separately from dialogue, using sounds from libraries, or creating sounds from scratch to best support the intended impact on screen. Aside from these two roles, there will also be an ambience edit, in which the background sounds of a film will be edited together and mixed to flow with the film. A music editor with the supervision/assistance of the composer and/or director will edit the music to the images.

Once all of these edits have been completed, they will then be pre-mixed, which is the process of matching and mixing the sounds together. Once the pre-mixes are complete, a dubbing/re-recording mixer will then mix all the premixes together. This is the process that is sometimes seen as confusing compared to sound editing. While a sound editor picks and places the sounds on the timeline of an edit, it is the dubbing mixers job to mix all of these sounds together for the dramatic intent of the final edit. Using a Mixing Console/DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) they will mix and level the sounds in real time. For instance, if a character is stood next to an airport, and the sound of a plane is part of the sound edit, the mixer will decide how to mix that into the soundtrack, how loud it needs to be, whether or not the sound should represent the plane getting closer or further away.
Avid S6 Mixing Console
Most big budget sound edits are edited on the hourglass workflow, whereby multiple individual stems for effects, dialogue, music etc. will eventually be pre-mixed together. However it is quite common for a large budget to always retain these three stems individually, for the purpose of international distribution, or different sound formats such as Dolby 7.1, Dolby ATMOS. For the purpose of international distribution, an M&E (music and effects) edit will be released upon which foreign dubbing can be easily undertaken.