Week 5: Inspiration, Technical Training and Location Scouting

While our seminar classes have so far focused mainly on story development, I have found some inspiring camerawork examples within the films we were shown. In As I Am, natural spaces are contrasted with a constructed suburban community. Canted angles and deep framing are used to give trees a sense of hostility, surrounding a silhouetted figure. I also took inspiration from Night Swim which uses hard lighting to both narratively situate the film in the night-time and create tension through the partial hiding of characters’ faces. The lighting was also particularly effective in accentuating the textures of surfaces, particularly water. I hope to bring these camera techniques into my development of Wee Wild Flowers, particularly focusing on the interactions between people and nature and the different options offered by night-time lighting.

As I Am
Night Swim

I have also continued my own visual research, watching films such as The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Witch which very different styles of camera movement and lighting to create a sense of unease. The Witch is particularly relevant as a folk-horror story with a focus on ritual and the supernatural. This is heavily reflected in the period production design, colour palette and lighting to simulate daylight and firelight. I have also continued watching films and TV shows cited by Emma, including I May Destroy You and Flowers.

The Witch

In more practical terms, we have begun scouting potential locations for both our test shoot and main production. We are in talks with several owners of large garden locations and are assessing their suitability in terms of aesthetics, space and facilities, particularly with regard to COVID restrictions. Emma and I visited a location in Midlothian this week and while it not ideal in terms of size, it will be good to keep in mind as a backup. We will hopefully arrange a visit to Ormiston in a week or so – this is a large garden which backs onto an impressive Yew tree which we are thinking of incorporating.

Garden in Gorebridge
Ormiston Yew

In terms of my technical development, I received training in two of Screen Academy’s dollies last week, though I would need to use them further in a test shoot before I feel fully comfortable taking them on a shoot. I am also excited for the Alexa training which will take place this coming week.

Next week, I plan to start making lighting tests, incorporating tests of Kodak motion picture film stocks which I have bought in 35mm stills cassettes. I will continue exploring a range of visual styles through seminars and my own research.

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