Lenny – reflection on

Pre-Production

I tried to restrict myself to the functions of my role as the DP during the preproduction. Each person brought their own varying degrees of preparation into class for discussion and consideration but the process was often stalled when team members didn’t attend. I know that I have a natural behaviour to lead and take charge, and I really tried to resist this beyond shot choices in light of directorial decisions. However, even with this interrupted preparation, we didn’t organise a time to meet outside of class to resolve anything that hadn’t been decided. I felt like we lacked the unifying organisation of a producer or production manager, but I’m not sure if this is necessarily the responsibility of those positions.

A lot of our focus was on shot construction and how we would cover the scene, it drove most of our discussion about the scene. I approached it from a location perspective, taking photos of the potential angles and using these photos to make a storyboard:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Smm97mU7uU-PxioQj8q99rW4r9YWuMkA

I found this really helpful for figuring how to best capture the location. I had an idea of how the actors could look in the space but I was never going to be able to be 100% certain if the lighting would work or how to best capture the two of them together.

We had other storyboards in the group that were the opposite, sketches of heads and bodies and the relationship between the actors but without the relationship to the location. We really needed to combine them both and spend a bit more time playing with other options. Next time, as a crew, I would like to capture the scene almost in the same way that we did for the shot construction exercise, trying to capture a scene in a single take but each time trying to do it differently to the person who had done it before. This way we would have a range of different angles that we could choose from and refine. Maybe we would have stumbled upon that great over the shoulder that Zexi captured in her Shot Construction / the Next Stage take.

Production

I was definitely worried that we wouldn’t have enough time to capture all the shots that we wanted to get and again without a production manager I was worried that we would have issues with costumes, blood and cleaning. I needed this plan to help keep me on track and know how much time I could spend thinking about a particular shot and how much time we had if we wanted to try to squeeze something in.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1mwwQeORI1LXR6N-WZYGYAoTeFGHp-uPt

I didn’t refer to this much on the night but it is was definitely helpful to quickly look at and see how we were progressing in terms of time. I had also ordered the schedule in terms of the importance of the shots, as I saw it, so at least I knew that we were covering the necessary moments.

Again, I felt like I held back urges to lead the crew, trying to focus on what I needed to do. Partly because I hoped that others would take control and to allow space for others to feel like they could step in and make suggestions. I don’t know if I would do this if it wasn’t an exercise situation. I have seen a gamut of leadership dynamics on various sets, some with the DP is driving the day, others where everyone looks to the 1st AD and some where the director is really holding everyone together. I would like to be one of those people who helps everyone do their job better, who feels like that they are an integral part of the making of something. I think this comes from encouraging input and supporting independence. However, working on a tight schedule like this assignment creates pressure and I definitely felt like we just needed to go to get it done in time and it did take us a little over three-hours to shoot.

Post-Production

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Getting into the editing room is definitely where I started to question the effectiveness of our preproduction. I could envisage the first two scenes, how the characters meet and how they part. But, how to put together the conversation was the difficult part. Each take has lines following one another really quickly so it was hard to know which moments to allow for reactions and where to find moments of characters finding their thoughts. I still don’t think I have effectively found the rhythm of the conversation.

By focusing on the shot construction and not the story I also found it difficult to make a choice about which music to use. I had two different tracks one version that is much lighter like everything was an unfortunate series of events and one that was much more sinister that felt like a plan had gone horribly wrong. After talking with the director in the edit suite we decided to work with the more sinister soundtrack for this version of the scene.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=14SVFDdj6m9V7gR4U3con3wOwXo8yKvZs

This rough version still needs refinement of the audio files and the inclusion of atmos. Most of my time has been spent finding the rhythm of the scene. After playing with a few versions I liked the idea of having Sharon’s scene first. I intend to find a sound effect of a distant gunshot for her to react to when she stops and turns around, allowing us to capture the moment that Lenny is shot.

I also played briefly with using a wider aspect ratio. I think this works really well for some of the shots, particularly during Lenny’s entrance, but it creates issues with headroom once we introduce the box at the end of the scene.

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The Shot Construction / Next Stage Exercise

https://drive.google.com/open?id=13_WT0Ut3BMPvYyNMskeBAGvdJt1uhoKB

I have only looked at the first take from this clip which I was DP/camera operator.

Shot Planning

To start with a similar shot to our static Lenny in the lift meant that we would need to leave the lift at some point and the camera would either have to follow Lenny or shoot from a really high angle because of the reflections. This made me think that would be putting the audience in the perspective of someone who is walking with Lenny supporting her and trying to take care of her but completely incapable of doing so. By characterising the camera this way I could justify moving around into the MCU as she falls into the wall and also the pace with which with we would leave Lenny when tracking back. I was glad that we got the change of pace when Sharon enters and wanted to play with the faster speed of movement getting back to Lenny however, I wasn’t expecting for the whole scene to play out. Without a set plan for the scene, I tried to find a similar OTS we had used in the static Lenny and decided to keep the camera on her because the scene had been entirely about her so far.

Camera Set Up

While setting up the camera I knew that I wouldn’t be able to adjust the focus and that any changes in the framing would come from moving the camera closer or further away. I choose a focal length that I thought would allow me to get the wide angle which would make Lenny appear completely alone and isolated in the corridor, but could also get a reasonable close up without being right on top of her. I knew that having a wider focal length was going to give me more flexibility to keep Lenny in focus with all the movement.

Reflecting on the Shoot

If I were to do this again I would definitely spend more time rehearsing the major camera movements with the actor: finding a way to make the first fall against the wall bigger to help justify the movement from OTS to MCU, finding the timing of the fall (the quality of it, when it would happen and how quickly), getting Lenny to look briefly in the direction that Sharon is expected to come from to help justify the start of the track back, and determining the first and final frames of the long track away with reference to Lenny. I thought too much about Sharon hitting the MCU while still having Lenny in the wide but didn’t consider the how I was going to get there. Needed to get the end frame of the track back with reference to Lenny, got it considering where Sharon would enter but without knowing where Lenny was supposed to be in the frame for the movement caused a lot of awkward adjusting while moving. I’m not sure how to gauge the pace of this track back, it feels too slow, too much like an ending, and considering the Sight & Hearing reading I would probably try compliment the camera movement with a soundtrack of really audible, sharp and pained breathing from Lenny that is particularly fast. This tempo contrast might help to sustain the tension throughout the duration of the movement.

Reflecting on the Footage

I think that some of this is usable, particularly because the quality of the handheld movement is reflective of Lenny’s state at this moment. She isn’t stable, we get a chance to see her point of view when she leaves the lift and is trying to get to the place to meet Sharon, we get the chance to see her inner state in the close up and we get to see the loneliness in the wide once she has fallen to the ground. It needs more rehearsal and I would also probably continue to play with the camera settings. I don’t think that we set a white balance so when we are in the lift the tones are cool and then it warms up before slowly adjusting, the movement helps to mask this and I was lucky that the temperature change happened in the moments before changing the frame. But given that I have these to states, I would probably white balance for the hallway and let the lift interior be more blue.

What Would I Do Differently

The shot that I was able to incorporate was one of the gunshot wound. I couldn’t find the right moment to justify moving to this which is one of the key circumstances of the scene. If I had started with it in the elevator then we probably wouldn’t need to actually be in the elevator because we wouldn’t have the reflections. I could have gone to it instead of going to the MCU of Lenny when she falls against the wall, maybe using her hand to wipe sweat or hair from her face to motivate moving the camera back to her expression. There might have been a moment where she puts her hand up to catch herself against a wall and we could follow the hand that could have been really bloody with her body falling back into frame moving us back to her, and it should be clear from her performance that the blood is hers but it could still be ambiguous, might need her to try to check the wound once she is sitting on the ground to really understand the seriousness of the injury.

I would also like to try a version where the camera continues to track back as the scene plays out rather than following Sharon into the conversation. Sharon would eventually leave storming past the camera (maybe tearing up or fighting the urge to turn back around and help her companion) leaving Lenny, extremely isolated, to deal with the box, collapse and die with no hope of anyone coming to help.

Readings #1 – Sight and Hearing

“What is for the eye must not duplicate what is for the ear.’

I think this happens a lot in film, tv and theatre. It is definitely an idea that I heard while studying as an actor, can’t remember exactly where but I think it was in reference to postmodernism and the work of directors like Anne Bogart, Robert Wilson or Romeo Castellucci. Essentially, by duplicating vision and sound, the work is reduced to a radio play or silent film, the one channel provides no more information than the other. When I was bored in plays I could close my eyes knowing that the vocal expression was an accurate representation of the physical expression and that I wasn’t missing anything. However, in shooting the Lenny’s, creating this difference is really difficult. The advantage (or trap) of film and tv is that you have cuts and various shots sizes to effectively say – look at this, now look here – giving the illusion that there is new information or, if you don’t see what has been cut to, there is an important visual cue that could be missed.

“If the eye is entirely won, give nothing or almost nothing to the ear.* One cannot be at the same time all eye and all ear.’

My initial reaction to this particular statement was: Is this true? Are there exceptions? And I thought I had found one in the “Star Gate” sequence during Kubrick’s, 2001: A Space Odyssey. My memory this of this 10-minute experience was that it was both all eye and all ear. The massive visuals it offers, full of colour, extreme close ups and vast wides, and representations of the unknown; paired with an epic soundscape that is operatic, orchestral and distorted. However, in watching the scene again, this sequence is a master class in proving the above statement. It is expertly crafted to give precise, distinguishable details to the eye or the ear while the other could become incomprehensible. The interchange between these two senses keeps the experience immersive and engaging. Tempo is a big component of it, while the image is still and slowly moving, there is significantly more intelligible detail in the music and when the image becomes faster, intercut with Warhol-esque close ups, the changes in the soundtrack become much more gradual and atmospheric. What I remember as all eye and all ear was simply the intensity that is created by these two mediums, which makes perfect sense for the scene.

References

2001: A Space Odyssey 1968, DVD, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Beverly Hills, CA, USA, directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Bresson, R 1986, Notes on the Cinematographer, Quartet, London, UK.

Readings #2 – Actor and the Director

I found this to be quite a confused point of view on the relationship between the director and the actor. Mackendrick (2004) seems torn between the crucial need for an actor’s organic and imaginative behaviour and the director’s need to control this force for their own storytelling needs.

I think he articulates his struggle perfectly with his response to ‘How does a director get an actor to do what he wants? […] You don’t. What you do is try to get the actor to want what you need.’ I agree with the first part of his response, I think any director trying to get an actor to “do” something, particularly if it is on set right before a take, will find that his efforts are in vain and will most likely see a wooden performance. This struggle is perfectly described in the ‘sweeping the floor’ story. It’s a simple solution to help an actor with a line that is to be delivered ‘in a throwaway fashion’, but it isn’t going to work for a lead role. I’m sure that Brando didn’t need the props he used in the scene described from On the Waterfront. I believe that he is an actor that understands the behaviour of his character, is responding to what is happening moment-to-moment (whatever that particular moment may be for that take) and is aware of his surroundings that he is able to translate the character’s behaviour into the objects in his environment. Using tricks isn’t going to make an actor’s work any better, I think it will more likely make it looked contrived.

I like the suggestions Mackendrick offers for the directors work such as ‘go through the whole story again, remembering ‘who does what with which to whom and why?’ […] When all the sequential connections in the story were known to me inside and out was I ready to proceed’ and ‘a quiet and uninterrupted period of walking through the places where the scenes will be shot. During this time you become each character in turn’. I think this is necessary, if potentially idealistic, preparation to do before rehearsing with actors. Without it you are dependent on their work and suggestions. However, I don’t understand the game that comes after all this work, ‘plan everything but make it appear to the actor that it is invented on the spot. […] Your job is to gradually jockey the actor into thinking up what you’ve already thought up.’ I think that this rigidity of decision would cause as many problems as it would solve. These ideas resonate with the American view on Stanislavski’s training that is mostly psychological and completely ignores the later psychophysical ideas as embodied by his student Michael Chekhov.

Half of the trouble that inexperienced actors have is that they try to “act” and this reading makes me think that “directing” is the trouble that many directors have. Actors are generating behaviour constantly that directors need to be able to notice and point to. Directors shouldn’t protect actors from ‘irritation’ and ‘disruption’, they should protect actors from those who try to deny them that experience. 

References

Mackendrick, A 2004, On film-making: an introduction to the craft of the director, Faber and Faber, London, UK.

TK2 Taxi Driver Deconstruction

Editing

To look at the editing, particularly of the interaction between Travis and Betsy, I downloaded a copy of the script and tried to note at what points the cuts were made.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1c37EV36bO8TlXmM8K3ZVL6DZdUGClG8t

While doing this I noticed that cutting during a character’s lines was used quite sparingly, and the moment following a cut at the end of a line is usually a breath as the other character decides what to say next.

The highest density of cuts occurs during Travis’ speech when he explains why he wants to have coffee with Betsy. I recognise this speech as what the scene is all about philosophically, a moment that the audience really needs to pay attention to, and it contains five cuts, with three shots all of which are moving. This stands out in an exchange that has a total of 28 cuts, before start of this speech there has only been 12 cuts in a minute and a half, then we see four different shots in the space of ten seconds, after this we have the remain 11 cuts over about a minute so the scene definitely gains more pace even though the dialogue is much more sparse. I think this helps us to follow Betsy as she makes up her mind about Travis, we get to watch her watch him and get coaxed by him and these quick cuts are reflecting the speed of her thought.

One shot that I can’t figure out is the high angle shot of the desk as Travis sweeps his arm over it. Firstly, it has some flow from the preceding shot but doesn’t seem to flow into the shot that follows. It is a very literal shot but what does it add? Would we have seen Betsy be more affected by Travis if we were able to watch her eyes examine her environment? But considering her reaction at the end of the speech maybe she isn’t all that affected, maybe she is just impressed and the vulnerability and openness of Travis at this moment is much more mesmerising. Really, I wonder if this shot could have been almost anything: a wide shot of the office, someone else answering a call, Travis watching her leave alone on another day, a busy New York street. Wouldn’t any of these abstract shots have displayed the feeling Travis was trying to convey? It would have completely broken the world of this scene, but Travis is doing that anyway by getting very honest in a scene that has been quite playful. It is a very poetic shot and maybe that is the best poetry that Travis can muster.

Colour

The colour is noticeably cold when Travis crosses the street and it is still cold when he enters and walks towards Betsy. I think it because it has been white-balanced for daylight and this action is happening in the shadows. Once he arrives at the desk his skin tones appear natural and he definitely is contrasted against the cool background. Makes his character feel warm and bright in a dull environment. I’m assuming the posters on the wall behind him are mostly white and they seem quite blue to me. Against the cold, black and white faces of Palantine, Travis looks full of life.

But these colours continue to switch between the colder background in close ups of Betsy and the warmer background in the wides. This is most noticeable at the 0:32/0:33 cut in this clip. Based on the discussion we have had in class I suspect that this is more to do with the film stock than any camera settings but I haven’t worked with film in this way so I’m really not sure.

Blocking

This is a small moment but I noticed that when Tom reenters the scene, he doesn’t circle around to the back of the room and make his way down the centre of the frame, he instead steps over something and squeezes between a desk and a pillar to get into the frame. This definitely plays up the comic nature of his behaviour. If he had come down the centre of the frame he would have really imposed on the scene like Orsen Wells in Citizen Kane (Van Sijll 2005).

Citizen Kane Orsen Wells

 

References

Van Sijll, Jennifer 2005, Cinematic Storytelling: the 100 most powerful film conventions every filmmaker must know, Michael Wiese Productions, California, USA.

You Find a Scene – Dark S1E1 (Netflix)

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1gXUbUCBrmVwyJiSVs7FmkXzpwiNArCXN

I choose this scene because I really enjoyed the suspense and tension that Dark was able to evoke and the way that it weaved the stories of around thirty characters together. I choose to deconstruct this early scene because the story hasn’t developed enough to be an important contributor to creating dramatic tension or build many connections between the story arcs.

Camera Movement

I believe that this is one of the major devices used to create an unsettling suspense throughout the series – the camera is almost never still. The camera follows characters as they walk, run and ride, or subtly tracks in or away from wide shots and close ups that would typically be static. The audience has to take in details of a location or the emotions being portrayed while also feeling like they are being pulled or pushed by the frame. This floating camera movement causes the environment at the edge of frame to constantly move around a consistently framed subject, this makes me feel like I am on is never on stable ground, quite literally, I am not able to have a static moment to just sit and observe, feel settled thus safe, because big percentages of the image are always changing.

The other camera movement that I wanted to note is at the 1:00 mark of the clip. We are following  Ulrich running in a wide shot from behind, cut to a close up of his face and his eyes momentarily look to his right. This eye movement is highlighted by the first higher note of the violin that we have heard during this sequence of running and this note carries us through the cut to the next shot that shows us what Ulrich looked at. As Ulrich runs ahead, the camera maintains its momentum but sweeps to the right towards a wooden sign pointing towards the Winden Caves in the opposite direction. For me, this was a great moment to see how subtle an action can be to make an audience want to know what was looked being looked. A clear but momentary deviation from the forward focus of Ulrich’s gaze, in an image that had a lot of movement, was enough to propel us to the introduction of the caves.

As the camera sweeps closers to the sign the violin note slides to something discordant before being swallowed by a deep drum roll. We cut to the cave entrance and, without the runner to justify the speed, we fall quickly towards it like it is sucking the camera and as we get closer something screams at us from inside.

Framing

Almost every shot places the subject at the centre of the frame – the only exception is the turning point of the conversation when Jonas stops walking, but even then, the camera operator moves to bring the two actors into balance. Many people have recognised the use of centre framing by Kubrick to create tension, Renée (2017) describes the effect as ‘eerie’ and Oseman (2017) says that he creates ‘worlds of perfect order… so perfect that they would have to come crashing down sooner or later’. Oseman’s reason doesn’t quite work for building tension in Dark, the world is anything but perfect, but (knowing the story) I can see a reason for ‘duplicity […] the two characters appear to replace each other on screen every time you cut’. Neither of these really satisfy me as justification for the sensation that they cause, perhaps a character in the centre of the frame directing most of their energy in the direction of the camera is confronting for the audience because it feels like they are coming for you. Or, the space that is around them feels like something could come from anywhere.

This frame is also from a low angle, which accentuates the height of the trees and really gives you the sense they are looming over the characters.

Soundscape

During the conversation, even though we can only see woods, the soundscape is really busy with faint grumbles of traffic or a plane and construction. If we hadn’t seen the depth of the woods that lined the roads in previous shots it might noticeably oppose the environment. This is opposition is really interesting though: we are definitely not in a Disney forest where the birds are singing, there may be a few caws but nothing bright, the rest of the town is close so it isn’t exactly a private space but we are far away enough away from them that they cannot be seen or offer any safety. These elements support the tone of the conversation that is not an easy, casual walk in the park.

References

Oseman, Neil 2017, ‘9 Uses for Central Framing’, Neil Oseman, 18 June, viewed 3 May 2018, <http://neiloseman.com/9-uses-for-central-framing/&gt;.

Renée, V 2017, ‘ 3 Different Ways You Can Use Central Framing in Your Films’, No Film School, 2 January, viewed 3 May 2018, <https://nofilmschool.com/2017/01/3-different-ways-use-central-framing-films&gt;.

Assignment 1: Analysis / Reflection Blog Links

#1 – Reflect and Write
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/reflect-and-write/

#2 – Goals and Desires
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/goals-and-desires/

#3 – Crew Roles
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/crew-roles/

#4 – Keyboard Shortcuts
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/keyboard-shortcuts/

#5 – A Scene
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/a-scene/

A Scene

The scene opens with a CU of Travis in his taxi, it cuts to a reverse angle WS where the camera tracks along the sidewalk looking over the hood of the car and, as it passes the taxi, zooms in to follow Travis into the office building. I believe that this zoom keeps the audience at a distance from Travis, we are watching what he does closely, but he is ultimately alone, and loneliness is an idea that will repeat in this scene. I believe that if the camera dollied in behind Travis the audience would feel like we were walking in with him as if we, metaphorically, had his back.

Once inside, the camera tracks in front of Travis in a MS as he walks through the busy office, indicated by phones ringing and people talking loudly. The camera movement reverses to Travis’ POV walking quickly and shakily towards Betsy and Tom in a two-shot that passes by Tom into a MCU of Betsy.

Travis steps up to Betsy’s desk in a low angle MS and we see a CU of Betsy when Travis singles her out and dismisses Tom. Here the ambient sounds of the office start to fade. Throughout the rest of the dialogue we hear some phones ringing and muffled chatter but we almost hear more of the cars and traffic from the street outside.

Cut to a MS two-shot of Travis and Betsy to watch Tom cautiously walk away, and once he is gone the camera starts to track in closer on the two shot. It reverses to an OTS MS of Travis that also tracks in as he tells Betsy she is “the most beautiful woman I have ever seen”. This cuts to a CU of Betsy that tracks around her, it feels like we are admiring her as if she were on a turning pedestal, and this movement stops at Travis’ POV in a dirty OTS. Betsy doesn’t take the bait and questions him on his original motives for being there as Betsy’s POV continues to track in on Travis almost into a CU as she puts him on the spot. The reserve dirty OTS CU on Betsy is steady and Travis shuffles in the foreground. When we are in Travis’ CU he has found his ground, the camera is steady and the two characters exchange professional small talk for a moment.

We then cut back to a MS where Travis and Betsy, who seemed so closely engaged a moment ago are at the opposite edges of the screen with a big distance between them. The intimacy of the CUs drops, the depth of field is deep keeping the background office space between the characters in focus which Tom steps into and he stands between Travis and Betsy in the frame. Whenever he appears in the scene it is almost always in the space between them. His point of difference is supported by the costume design, Travis in red and Betsy in red and white, the carpet and Palentine’s campaign ads in black and white with red, and there, in the middle of the frame is Tom, in a powder blue suit and pink shirt, standing out like a sore thumb with only his red tie to indicate that he belongs in the room. His pastel colour palette works better with the stacks of yellow legal pads than it does with Betsy or Travis. In this shot, there is harsh daylight streaming into the background of the office, noticed particularly on the floor, all the key characters are in the shadows in front of this bright spot. I think that this gives the shot dynamic range that would otherwise be quite flat, but the highlight also does draw your eye upwards in the frame calling attention to Tom’s action.

The camera returns to the Travis and Betsy CUs as Travis asks her out. When she asks, “Why?”, the camera starts to track back away from Travis and Betsy. As the frame gets wider Travis talks about how he has seen Betsy, alone, and the audience gets to see her and Travis in relation to the growing space around them. We look down at the desk as Travis sweeps his arm over it referencing her work, and we get the chance to look at both Betsy and Travis OTS with more air around them and distance between them. This wider shot also makes Travis appear less intimidating, we aren’t in his face.

The OTS from Travis’ POV during this exchange is from a high angle and it is the first time that we have looked at Betsy from the same plane as her low angle POV of Travis. Both of these OTS shots are wide enough that we can see Tom hover past the desk again to hide behind a pillar in the background. When Betsy giggles, the first time she has really relaxed her professional and observing demeanour, Tom slowly peaks his head out from behind the pillar. When she finally offers Travis a chance, Tom’s head retreats.

As they shake hands the office sounds start to ring louder for a moment before the saxophone music begins playing and we watch Betsy watch Travis leave. This music transitions us into pacing with Travis outside the office, on the street, waiting for Betsy.

Keyboard Shortcuts

These are the shortcuts that are new to me and will be really useful for my editing in Premiere.

Clear In & Out – Option + X

It’s a simple one but, when I am editing, I usually forget when I have selected In & Out points in the timeline panel and often have that moment of hitting play and being taken to the In point when I had hoped I would get the start of the sequence. With no button to Clear In & Out I needed to search through the menu to find what I need, this shortcut will be a quick and easy solution.

Decrease/Increase Audio Tracks Height – Option+- (or) Option+=

Changing the height of the audio tracks is always a clumsy manoeuvre with the mouse, especially when working on a laptop screen and trackpad. It is easy to change the height of a different audio track than the one intended and the tracks can often end up being different heights, which is just frustrating to look at. This is an easy option to change the heights of all the audio tracks and get a better view of what I am working with. (To change the height of the video tracks Option is replaced by Command).

Nudge Clip Selection Left/Right Five Frames – Shift+Cmd+Left/Right
Nudge Clip Selection Left/Right One Frame – Cmd+Left/Right

These shortcuts will be really useful when doing a detailed edit and finding the precise time to cut from one shot to the next. I have found that this process is usually a matter of trial and error and, to be as exact as possible, I would normally move the playhead using the arrow keys and drag the clip to the playhead. I should now be able to use this shortcut to move the clips around and have the playhead free to move to where I need it for quick playback.

Crew Roles

The most exciting part of this reading for me was examining how a crew is structured. In my previous experience, I have been exposed to sets as an actor, an art department assistant and, on my own short films, as a director. These roles have significant distance between one another. When I was acting or assisting in the art department I felt my place on the periphery of the production team, understanding that everyone has their job to do including me but not really sure what those jobs are and how such a huge team is coordinated. When I made my short films we had a tiny crew and, while I could articulate details to the DP or actors, I didn’t have a big picture vision that I could share to help even a small crew feel like they were all contributing to a specific direction.

While reading Rabiger’s (2003) Developing a Crew chapter I started to realise the importance of a director’s pre-production to start to make decisions even before approaching crew members. These decisions obviously can and will change as other creative input is shared during the pre-production by the producers, writers, DP, art director, editor and composer but there is importance and value in unifying these departments by being able to set a direction and say, this is where I want us to go, this is what I want us to make.

Looking back at my previous experience as a director, I think I wanted to create an open collaborative environment for everyone to feel like they could contribute creatively. However, as an actor and as a crew assistant, it is really difficult to work without decisive direction and it is easy to lose confidence in the project without it. Even listening to DPs discuss their role in Nord’s (2018) podcast they identified one of the key skills that a director should have is the ability to make a decision.

Reference

Nord, Liz 2018, No Film School: DP Roundtable: How to be the Cinematographer Your Director Needs, podcast, 5 February, viewed 28 March 2018, <https://nofilmschool.com/2018/02/dp-roundtable-how-be-cinematographer-your-director-needs>.

Rabiger, M. 2003, Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics, 3rd edn, Focal Press, Boston, USA.