Week 6: Party Scene test and revisiting moodboards

On 24th February, I went for another walk with Emma. She shared some new ideas, particularly that she’s now thinking we should shoot the film mainly handheld. This is quite a major shift in style from my previous intentions which focused more on slow tracking shots and controlled movements. I am a little concerned that this is being driven by practicality (not having to transport and lay dolly tracks) rather than how we actually want the film to look. I am also quite inexperienced with shooting handheld – this would be a good learning opportunity but would also push me quite out of my comfort zone. This would also limit our camera choices – although it is certainly possible to shoot handheld on the Alexa, I’m worried that its weight might be restrictive to what we can achieve. On the other hand, I would worry that using the smaller Blackmagic Ursa might compromise on image quality. I plan to do some tests to compare this soon. I shared these concerns with Emma and we agreed to keep discussing the idea and use camera tests to inform our decision making. I also did some some research into willow structures for an upcoming camera project. I feel like willow designs could play a major role in creating a pagan horror aesthetic and would like to build this into my camera tutorial exercises. We haven’t had much input from Kaitlyn regarding production design yet as she is quite focused on House of Culture.

On the 25th, I shot my visual exercise. I’m fairly pleased with the overall look (apart from the magenta tint set by whoever last used the camera!!) but the transition needs a lot of work. My intention was to make it look as though the flat door led into a forest but this was not at all convincing! I was restricted by the fact that I was working on my own, had limited lighting resources, and had to avoid inconveniencing the neighbours (so couldn’t fill the whole close with branches and leaves!). As part of the camera exercise, I also read an article from American Cinematographer – see this post for my thoughts. I also chose to shoot the exercise on the Blackmagic Ursa, allowing me to get a feel for using it handheld and compare its image quality to the Alexa.

On the 27th we had another whole-group meeting on Zoom. This felt a lot more productive than previous meetings and we managed to update our Trello with a list of practical and assigned tasks. These included contacting potential locations and building a social media presence ahead of our crowdfunding campaign. This would need consistent graphic design which links to look of film – this in turn requires that we quickly find more clarity on what the look and visual style of the film will be! We also continued discussing the script development…

On the 28th, Emma sent over a new script draft. This draft introduce the idea of a black liquid vs the red blood, representing strong femininity in the face of male violence/fear. I feel like this is a strong visual motif which which could serve as a good base for the film but it could have more clarity and be expanded on… Emma also sent a new moodboard – this differs quite a lot from the visual style we had agreed for the pitch last semester but is closer to the graphic design ideas Emma brought to the pitch and I feel like it may reflect how she imagines the film better than our current references. However, I do have some concerns that the images are all very low contrast (and therefore moving away from a horror aesthetic) and I feel like, to some extent, they’re more focused on content than a consistent look. I will work to develop these into something more consistent over the next week, factoring in our discussions. I’m a bit wary of pushing my own ideas too much (which I feel like I might have done last semester, leading to disagreements). As such, my aim is to try and work out what Emma wants and create a moodboard which reflects how she sees the film in her head.

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