Shooting Waiting for a Friend was a big learning curve for me. In particular, I had very little prior experience in lighting a film as most of my first-year projects using much simpler lighting setups. However, I think I was able to take what I had learned in the workshops with Andrew and Leon and apply this effectively on the day.
Another challenge was shooting in S-Log2 on the Sony A7Rii. This process was entirely new to me and I spent a long time reading tutorials and discussing the techniques for exposing this correctly with Leon. I also conducted camera tests (see separate blog post for details). Shooting in Log also required integrating colour grading in DaVinci Resolve into our post-production workflow. Although I have used Resolve before, linking between Media Composer and Resolve using AAF files is still fairly new to me and, although there were no major issues, this still created an added challenge.
Having spent many hours staring at the colour grade, there are a few issues that I am very aware of such as the green and magenta tints to the highlights and midtones. However, these seemed to go unnoticed to everyone who has viewed the film so far. I look forward to learning more about colour grading in 3rd year. On reflection and as I am still a fairly inexperienced colourist, I think I could have achieved more consistent images with more realistic contrast and colour if I had not shot in Log. However, I am glad I made this decision as it has introduced me to some of the techniques required and I will feel much more confident the next time I shoot in Log.
Another major challenge was the scale of the project. At 6.5 minutes, it was a significant step up from the 3-minute films we produced in first year. In addition, I had planned over 60 camera setups, most of which had to be shot on our main shoot day. The main shoot day was very intense, lasting 15 hours but I feel it was worthwhile and the effort we all put in shows in the final film.
The feedback on the film was overall very positive, with some minor inconsistencies in the lighting (particularly the TV flicker and office lighting) being the only real criticisms of the camerawork. The boldness and consistency of the stylised cinematography was appreciated, particularly the isolating tighter shots and the distorted wide-angle point-of-view shots which were complemented by smooth camera operation.
The montage was also well-received as a subversion of the traditional cliché and an effective example of visual storytelling. This was in part due to the time we took to film the montage shots with a variety of camera angles and costumes (however this contributed significantly to the length of our shoot day!).
All heads-of-departments worked well as a team, being focused and dedicated to their individual roles while maintaining good communication. This worked particularly well when planning the cinematography allowing us to combine Megan’s (the director’s) ideas of unbalanced compositions and shallow depth-of-field with my own ideas of using Sigrid’s point-of-view and wider shots to isolate Matthew in the frame.
Overall, I am very pleased with the final film and I look forward to using the new skills and confidence I have gained in future projects.