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My uncut journey through film

Keep rolling!

For the past week or so, my camera has been rolling non stop, shooting here, there and everywhere. No complaints coming from me obviously, I have been loving all of this. I feel like each minute spent out filming, it’s one step closer to my film goals. I’ve also been having a lot more fun with filming recently, as I’ve been borrowing a 24-105 f4 Canon L series lens from a friend, which, I might add, is an absolutely incredible lens!

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Doesn’t she look absolutely incredible? Anyway, it’s been a really good week filming with it, and I’ve definitely noticed better images from it.

So why is it suddenly gotten so busy with filming? Well, this week was the start of the 6 week challange, which Somer Valley FM host each year, where they encourage people to set themselves a goal to complete over the course of 6 weeks. It’s a pretty cool thing to do, and you can go check it out over at http://6weekchallenge.co.uk/challenges/.

Anyway, my challenge is to create Somer Valley FM a documentary, which captures the heart of Somer Valley, but also what it gives back into the community. Shooting started this week, and it’s been absolutely non stop, between that and my other job, it’s incredibly hectic, but I’m very much enjoying myself.

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I’ve been filming interviews, B-rolls, I even went to film a football match, which by the way was incredibly cold! But I’ve gotten some great shots, and I’m heading over there on Friday to wrap up on the interviews side. Also, I’ll be filming the Midsomer Norton carnival, so if any of you reading this are local, keep an eye out for me and my camera!

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The ball is rolling

We (and by we, I mean DNA Arts) has had some pretty hectic few weeks. Working in overdrive, our first workshops will be happening starting next week. This is stretched over 3 locations which are Radstock, Twerton and Snowhill. As the in-house filmmaker, I am having to try my utmost to get to each area to film each and every workshop, which will be compiled into a big documentary and showreel next year. It’s going to be tiring work, but I can tell I am going to love doing this. Next Saturday marks our first kind-of workshop, which is actually a public stunt to try and pull people into a workshop which will be happening the week after. This involves a company known as The Desperate Men, which are a brilliant bunch mashed into a theatre company, and a “fake film crew” which they have used on the streets before to resounding success.

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Above is the flyer for our Twerton Workshop dates and other information (made by yours truly). I really am looking forward to attending these workshops and filming them, and I hope that we get a great turnout for them. DNA Arts has also been going around to local mother and child groups to convince them to come along and bring their children with them, and also to get some input on what they think that we should hold as a workshop, you can see an image below of us at one of the groups.

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There they are, working hard as usual. To anyone reading this, it would be a massive help if you could go and check us out on facebook, and if you live in any of those areas mentioned, some general suppot would be highly appreciated. To see us on Facebook, please go to https://www.facebook.com/DNAarts2

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Check that kit out!

When it comes to film, obviously the better equipment you have, the better your productions values will be. Lately, I’ve been getting some awesome equipment from my workplace, and will continue to keep getting equipment, as long as I can make them feel that it will be useful. I would say that everything I have gotten so far has been incredibly useful, and will continue to be in the next coming months. Anyway, I thought I would show you a couple things that arrived the other day, and I’ve been having loads of fun with them so far.

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Obviously, the camera was mine in the first place, but the two things next to it are very new, and I’ve been getting some great use out of them since they arrived the other day. So, for those who don’t recognise the two, I will give a brief description of what they are and what they do. To start off, the item on the far right is called and Intervalometer. This works as a “shutter release” in a different kind of way. You can use it as a standard shutter release, but you can also set it up to do different kinds of things. It is mainly used to create photographic timelapses, and it works by setting it up to take a certain amount of photos, with a certain amount of interval between each photo. I personally like to set it up to take infinite photos, with a 1 second interval between each photo, which creates a smoother timelapse, and then judge how long it should go on for in my head. This setting is best used for things like clouds moving, cars on the street, and things that move a lot faster. However, if you would like to capture something that moves slower, say a flower opening, or fruit rotting, then you would set it up with a longer gap between each photo, with sometimes up to a day interval! Anyway, I’ve been having a lot of fun with that, but it wouldn’t be complete with the little item right next to it.

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The item that’s next to it is referred to as a Flow Mow, and it’s function is to slowly rotate the camera for a set degree over a certain amount of time. You can rotate it fully to 360 degrees, and it will turn that amount for 2 hours. It’s amazing for having camera motion within your timelapse, as it can capture a lot more than just what is right in front of the camera. It is fully spring loaded, meaning it does not require batteries to run, and pretty cheap at about £25. I used it to get a 270 degree turn on top of a hill over the weekend, and it worked very well.

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Finally, this isn’t from work, but I was pretty happy with the way I had set up my editing station. I have my playback being shown from my television and my timeline on my mac, which helps with fine tuning the picture, especially during colour correction. Not an amazingly advanced thing, but hey ho, first time I’ve done it, and I’m really enjoying it.

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Work, work and more work

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had slipped away from film over the course of the summer, and that I was slowly getting back into it. Now, it seems my workload seems to be blowing up in the film side of things. I have been asked to plan and create a feature documentary about Radstock, with quite a high budget compared to my previous work in film. Also I have been asked to create a slightly shorter documentary about Somer Valley FM, which doesn’t really have a budget, but can be created through a mix of my equipment and theirs, and will be mainly filmed on location. One more thing that I have found myself doing is I will be editing the films of a fellow Videographer that I happened to meet on a “Wine and Cake” evening that we held in Radstock to gain the support of the local figureheads and businesses (but that’s a whole other blog post).

So what does all of this mean for me? Well, it means that I can now gain some more experience in the industry, as well as have some cracking videos to add to my portfolio. This is a major opportunity that I have been presented with, and I absolutely cannot wait to start production on the Somer Valley documentary, and also I greatly look forward to editing these films, as editing is definitely my strong point. I plan to keep this blog updated more regularly, but between working at DNA Arts, and now all of this coming up, I may struggle at times to keep posting, but you will be hearing from me often.

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Back in the game

Over the summer holidays, I found myself slipping away from film, and instead I was just sitting around doing nothing, waiting to start my Events job. Now, 1 month into it, I’ve already got some exciting projects lined up for me already. This past week, I have shot and edited a short documentary which is being entered into Locality film competition. It was a fairly easy and straightforward week, shooting 3 separate interviews and then some B-rolls. I met some great people, interviewing the Station Manager of Somer Valley FM, the head of Community Programme Development for Radstock in Victoria Hall, and also the Executive Director for my company.

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Now, all that’s left to do is enter this short into the competition, and see how well I do. Now, I haven’t just made this thing to keep my skills from going rusty, there is a legitimate reason. A few weeks ago, my company had asked me to create a feature length documentary about Radstock and how DNA Arts would be impacting it over the course of the next year. Winning this competition would help towards funding this film. This, to me, is a massive thing I have been asked to take on, as yes I have worked on a feature film set, but never have I been asked to, basically take on a producer role. I feel incredibly privileged, and I’m going to work my butt off to make it the best it can be.

Another project that I have been asked to do is for Somer Valley FM, and I have been given until October 24th to deliver a proposal outlining what I’ll be doing, how long it will take etc. Anyway, the general idea is to create a doc about Somer Valley, about where they started, where they have come in the past 5 years, and where they are going in the future. Once again, I feel so privileged to get this offer, and I will work as hard as I can to make sure it is a great film.

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Finding the right time

Making films is incredible, it’s definitely my true passion in life. However, as with everything in life, there are complications along the way. The one I’ve been having for the past few months is trying to set a date to reshoot a short comedy film that I wrote about a year ago. Unfortunately, the guy I was getting to do my sound and lighting has just left for University in Southampton to study SFX (Good luck Russ, hope you have an awesome year) and that’s thrown everything out. So, unfortunately, I’ve had to put a hold on the shoot until at least christmas, unless I can find someone before then who has experience in sound and lighting who lives near Bath.

I have no problem with Russell going to Uni at all, and I wish him all the best, but I just feel really unorganised lately, so I have a question to ask all of you, how do you stay organised with everything going on around you? Comment below with how you do, and also check out the old version of Stupid Question.

Stupid Question

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Today was a good day

As far as good days go, I would say that this one has definitely been the best one of the week for me. No, I didn’t sit around in my PJ’s all day watching Breaking Bad, although that would’ve made it into my top 10. Today, I broke my record for how long it takes me to run 1KM, which is kind of a big deal for me, and had a great success with DNA Arts at the Twerton Open Day.

So, to get the first one out of the way, yes, I absolutely smashed my record of running 1KM. Quick note, I don’t just run 1KM, today I did about 2.06KM, but I timed how long it took me to do it. So, my record before was about 6 minutes per KM, which is ok, but could be a lot better. Today, it took me 4 minutes per KM, which I consider pretty good, because I’m actually quite unfit. This has made me extremely proud of myself, and has definitely given me a burst of determination. Hopefully, I can continue at this rate, and be ready for Total Warrior next year.

Also today, I had to go into work (and no, I didn’t get paid overtime) but it’s fine, because I had an awesome time setting up the stall with DNA Arts, and showing ourselves off to the community and handing out free cakes to anyone who wanted one.

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As you can see above, this is the stall we had set up, and we had an amazing time. Like I said before, we were giving out cakes and flyers to everyone who walked past. This was to explain to the community who we are and what we do. We wanted to push our name out even more today, and that’s exactly what we did.

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We also had this “wishing tree” set up, and this was put here for people to write on to see what they would like from an event. Loads of people seemed to enjoy this, and delighted to write their ideas down. Most of what went on there was written by children, so we got to converse with them, and they came up with some really cool ideas. One child wanted us “To burn down his school”, so we convinced him that, instead of doing that, we could make a film of his school burning down, and then the children go rogue and take over the town. He really seemed to like that, so looks like we have a winner with that.

Overall, today has been a really good day, despite having to “work” on a Saturday (kidding obviously, I hardly worked). I certainly am looking forward to my next week at work though, this is going to be one solely focusing on paper work, what fun hey?.

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This week in a Nutshell

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This week, for me, has been an incredible one. As you know, I’ve started my new job as a Productions Co-ordinator with a company in Bath, and I’ve already learnt a lot about the events industry, and my knowledge continues to grow. The people I work with are incredible, and I always get a feeling of wonder when I look out over Bath, knowing that this is the place that I will be helping to make a change to, and hopefully impact the lives of the people who live there.

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When it comes to the people that I am now working with, honestly I think that they’re an amazing bunch, who all have their own talents to contribute to the group, and I just know that the next year, working with them, is going to be absolutely incredible. We have all already had a great first week, and there is plenty more ahead of us. 

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We have already achieved quite a bit over the past 5 days. We have researched each of our individual areas, planned a diary for the next year, created a meet the team video, shot a short skit to promote what we’re doing, and we’ve planned an event that will be happening end of september/ start of october. Overall, I think we have done quite a bit. 

Meet the Team video!

Side note, I won’t be doing one of these every week, I just had a lot to talk about from this week, after this post, I’ll break it up into smaller posts over the course of each week.

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Editing Skills

Being an Editor on big budget movies is a big dream for me, but one problem I faced over the summer was that I had let my editing skills go a bit rusty, and so I decided to create this short film out of footage we had shot a few months ago for a little college project that we were assigned. 

The original idea was to have a short video that contained no more than 5 shots, and it was to tell a story from those 5 shots. This was to show us that, in film, less is more. So naturally we figured “hey let’s get our friend and have him walk through the park looking all mystical”. This was clearly a success, as we got a decent grade for it. I stored the footage away, thinking I might have some use for it at a later date. Turns out, I did, and I used all the footage we had to compile it into a (slightly) longer film, which you can watch through the link.

While doing this, I decided to brush up on things that I hadn’t done in a while, seen as how the last piece of editing I had actually done was on the feature film that I and my class had shot together. So anyway, I decided I would work on cutting clips finer and my colour grading techniques. To edit, I use FCPX, which in my opinion is a great editing software, and I learnt a lot more colour grading techniques that I will definitely be applying to more of my film work. Just a side note actually, if anyone is interested in hearing more about what techniques I used, I can do a separate blog post, maybe even a video, to explain what I do and how it’s all done. It would be good to impart some knowledge onto those who’re willing to hear it.

Hope you enjoy the video.

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