Week 8: Test Shoot & Silhouette Exercise

This week, we had our first test shoot at the Ormiston Yew and the garden in Gorebridge. Though it was challenging, I feel we all learned a lot from it and we were able to capture footage which conveys our intended tone for the film.

Weather was a major setback to our test shoot – while we were able to keep working for several hours, it eventually became clear that the heavy rain was soaking our talent and becoming a visual distraction. It would have helped to have considered weather cover for this shoot – either an alternative shoot date or an indoor location where we could film an alternative scene. I will make sure there is more flexibility planned into the schedule for our final shoot to allow us to cope better with potential setbacks such as this.

It also became clear that Emma and I hadn’t fully understood each others’ intentions when planning the lighting for the shoot and she was unhappy with the high-contrast, hard lighting. Nonetheless, we were able to find a compromise using softer lighting and a hard backlight source.

Due to the weather, the test shoot felt quite rushed and we weren’t able to follow our storyboard or my plans for blocking in the location. I also found myself distracted by technical work due to the small, two-person camera and lighting crew. This resulted in an improvised shooting style and footage which was poorly exposed and often hard to cut together. Overall, I was quite disappointed with my working practice and hope to take a more planned and considered approach to future tests.

This week also included Arri Alexa camera training with David Byrne. Although I already had some experience with the camera on previous years’ shoots, this was a great opportunity to ask questions and fill gaps in my knowledge, particularly the different accessories and rigging options. This workshop also helped develop my understanding of roles within the camera department and on-set etiquette, particularly around handling lenses.

For Andrew’s camera class, we completed two short films using silhouettes. This was a fun creative challenge which allowed me to experiment with different dramatic lighting techniques which could be applied to Wee Wild Flowers. It also developed my awareness of natural light and how this varies with weather and time of day. I was pleased with how my attempt at this exercise turned out and it helped me regain some confidence after our test shoot.

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