Project 2: Week 1 skills practiced (pre-production).

Today, we started to look at and practice the skills we would need for our second final project. Since our final project would involve creating a 2 minute visual filmed piece based on a topic or subject matter of our choice (which also applies to the 2 minute radio piece and the 500 word article).

But today, our main focus was the skills we would require to carry out the filming process successfully. In order to do this, we were given the professional filming cameras and tripods to film with and we were given the same location for each group to film in. This was by a busy road just outside the college entrance. This kind of location definitely tested our problem-solving skills due to the business of the road, background noises and the weather conditions (which was frequent rain and strong winds). Our challenge was to capture a 10 second shot of one of our group members and ask them one general interview question to put into practice how interviews were carried out during TV News reports. I was interviewing/ capturing the shot of Natasha.

However, we did manage to gain the shots we needed today by the use of our problem-solving skills and skills to achieve this. These included setting up the camera and tripod so that we all got the angle of the shot we desired by using our memory of how we set up the equipment before. One task we faced was trying to remember how we attached the camera to the tripod and the different settings/features on the camera but with some experimental fiddling round and help from each other in our group, we were underway very soon. We also carried out the same problem-solving process when it came to dismantling the camera from the tripod when we finished everything.

Another skill we used was producing the correct angle for our shots. This was important for us because we wanted to achieve the ‘rule of thirds’ shot since we was filming each other as if it were a news interview. This meant we had to ensure that we all looked to the side and never gazed in the direction of the camera. We also used the lens on the camera to zoom in and out where we needed to and  the tripod allowed us to keep the camera steady whilst we were filming- and as a result, making it look more professional. However, we definitely faced some issues during this, such as: The vehicles on the road were causing a huge amount of background, along with the wind and rainy weather. We knew that the location of our shots deliberately interfered with the overall quality of our video shots and audio before we even started. But we overcame these by moving to a part of the pavement where the noise wouldn’t get to us or a part of the road where it was likely to have fewer cars. The weather also got in the way but just like with the road distraction, we tried to find a spot next to the road which reduced the weather noises as much as possible.

This kind of skill is definitely used within the industry for areas such as TV news reporting, filming and broadcast journalism. For example, all the camera skills and operations we used would obviously be used during the production of a TV news story to capture all the required shots and even evidence for a story. The skills we used to set up and capture the shots would also be used to capture the more complex shots that we see on the TV news screen. These skills also tie in with broadcast journalism too because the purpose of our shots was to practice interviewing each other in a way which would be seen visually on the News. Interviewing is definitely a big part of any journalism, so this skill was useful for me personally to gain more knowledge of how to carry it out practically rather than just knowing how and why it happens. The same goes with all the camera skill as well because it will definitely give me more confidence and experience with my project.

Below is an example of the shot I carried out, which I have also used to reflect on the skills, problems and problem-solving skills I’ve used this week:

project 2 skills shots

In comparison with a shot that would have been created within industry, I have some very mixed feelings about mine. Firstly, considering the weather conditions, the disturbance caused by the noise of the traffic and the fact that none of my group had used the film cameras for a while, I feel that it was not a bad attempt at all; I managed to achieve the visual interview with the interviewee’s eyes off-camera the whole way through the shot and the quality of the shot was very clear. The quality of the audio surprised me as well (in a good way) because I was expecting to hear hardly anything at all but I was able to hear pretty much everything that was being said- once again, taking into account the high levels of background noises and weather beyond our control.

However, I feel that there were a number of elements which we could have spent a bit more time on. Such elements included: The way Natasha was standing looked a little too casual because she was fidgeting quite a bit throughout and, even though she never looked directly at the camera, she tended to lose focus a bit and look to another way at times rather than in one way the whole time. She also looked a little shy with the way she was standing. However, in terms of my efforts shooting her, the top of her head was out of the shot and it also cut off way below her chest, which made it look a bit careless in a way. But I feel that the overall quality of the shot including the way I’ve managed and operated the camera settings made up for the minor errors that we encountered and as a result, my shot was not a bad attempt at all, also taking into account that I’ve never attempted this type of shot before.

Project 2: Week 1 skills practiced (pre-production).

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