EVALUATION & REFLECTION
I conducted a survey evaluating how different people respond to the film and interpret it.
EVALUATION of the final product of the FMP and how i produced it
By the end of my pitch, I was certain that I wanted to explore the concepts of corruption, and how people’s perceptions of time and place differ according to inconsistencies alluded to in the space-time continuum. Specifically, this was going to be explored in the story of an expose of a national criminal group which was taking control of all national media, film and production agencies and companies. The main character would expose the criminal group following an unofficial investigation she conducted over the space of three years, gathering evidence of the criminal activity. The film would take place in the TV studio of The Anthony Wasco Show, the weekly live friday night TV chat show, where the audience would start by watching the programme. As the interview progresses, the audience would see analepses of the past 24 hours leading up to the broadcast, which inform the current conversation. The film would end at the end of The Anthony Wasco Show, keeping the outcomes of the characters ambiguous. As I continued with some of the pre-production after the pitch, I rewrote the script to scale back the locations, actors and time from 12 minutes to nine minutes. However, the first day of filming was still very challenging, despite the scaling back. I was not able to borrow equipment in the end, meaning that I had to improvise with my own DSLR, which was low on battery. By the time I got the location set up, it became repriotisied, and by the time it was free to use again, my camera had run out of battery. I ended up with two low quality clips with dodgy sound by the end of the day. This was when I realised that I was too up against it by this point to follow through on this script with limited resources, locations and time, so I decided to spend the next two days shooting footage to edit together into a short experimental film which would get my concept across in a more concise way.
The final outcome was then very improvised, but made the most out of the no-budget situation. Although the film was not in line with every element of the pre-production, it was still informed by the research essays which explored Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. I left the story ambiguous, but explored themes of mental confusion in my visuals, by using the TV as a recurring prop to symbolise communications between the present character and the past version of the character. It is also supposed to hint at the uncertainty around what is ‘true’ reality. I emphasised this with the front on shot in which I had two versions of the character in the same space. I achieved this by keeping the shots on a stable tripod, and then aligning them into the exact same dimensions in Premiere Pro, and overlaying them. First I created an inverted mask of the top layer video so that the second half of the other video could be seen underneath. I duplicated these clips and nested one of them. I remasked the top layer video in the duplicated version to include the last few steps of the character before she goes behind the pillar. I then cut and lined up the nested clips until they aligned. I thought that varying where the line was cut would make it less obvious and a more convincing technique. This was my favourite part of the film, because it turned out much better than I had expected, and for me perfectly portrays the atmosphere around being uncertain on where the ‘true’ reality is and whether you’re actually in it. The only drawback I had about this part of the film was that I didn’t use it more throughout the film, at more complex angles to achieve. However, this was the first time I had tried out this technique, so I think it was good to keep it subtle. Possibly, this could get across a stronger point than if I had over emphasised it.
A key part of the film is the way I edited the audio. All of it is re-verbed to give the impression that it is a sound the character can hear in the car park. At first I used Lady Gaga’s Just Dance, with an homage to the music video in the first shot, but then the music is cut off in the second shot and cuts to the first TV in the car park, which is displaying white noise. At this point an automated monotone voice apologises in the background over a wavering beeping sound. At this point the video resumes where it was cut off by the interruption with the final minute of Vienna by Ultravox suddenly in the background instead. I then overlaid this with the distant automated voice reciting a poem of mine (written by me) which I decided coincides perfectly with the themes of the film. This creates a very distorted soundtrack, not all of which can be deciphered without the subtitles I added in (in graphics in line with the style of the film)at this point, so that the poetry can be read with the film, even if it cannot be heard. I was thrilled when I edited the audio in this way because it captures the feelings of a half-remembered dream, of being uncertain about one’s reality and whether you are the ‘real’ version of yourself, or just an alternate version, in a world which is not yet fully formed (a dream or alternate dimension). The distortion of the audio captures the feelings of being in a world the character is inexperienced in - excitement, thrill, and overwhelming fear - and the distortion of the audio with the poetry gets across the feeling of disrupted communication with the ‘real’ world and yourself.
The dimensions of the video were cropped by 20%, so that when the clips were in the middle they were cropped by an equal 10% each side. This was to hint at VHS camcorders and CCTV footage in order to mix the forms of media and communication being referenced in the film, not only on screen but in the editing - especially from varying periods of time. I think that although it made the footage technically smaller, it helped to emphasise specific elements of some of the cinematography throughout most of the film. I then edited the RGB curves through most of the footage by adjusting the left end of the blue curve to the middle of the square second to the top of the grid. I did this first on one of the first shots which follows the boots along next to a red wall, and it helped to distort it and therefore maintain technical clarity, but questions the real colours of the scenes. I decided to maintain this colour grade throughout the footage for continuity, especially as I wanted the same types of connotations to be expressed from the rest of the film. At the end of the film, the TV shows the film title and credits, but then switches to the entire screen, as if the film the audience are watching is the one on the TV which had kept appearing in the character’s conufusing world. This is the only time the dimensions of the video have filled the screen instead of being cropped to a square. This is to further question which version of the character’s world is reality, and to wonder which version of reality she has been seeing in the TV.
I was very satisfied with the final product of my FMP, even if it was not in the form I had originally imagined it. I am especially pleased with it given the last minute stresses and improvisation it went through. I think that it is a good expression of the essays I wrote for the research section of the FMP and the mood boards which captured the feeling I was trying to get across. I think I have succeeded in capturing these emotions and questions, and I am therefore very happy with the final cut of my film.