Monday, December 5, 2011

Short Film Critique: Bridge

            The film that we made was called Bridge. The film falls under the genre of drama, and running. What we wanted to do was show that the main character Julian loses his desire to run because of his ACL injury. Then he meets a girl Sasha, who is overcome with a terminal illness. Her perseverance through her terminal illness inspires him to run again. We desired the audience to be young adults and adults. We thought it could be inspirational.

            My area of responsibility on the film was the cinematographer. This is the third time I have played the role of cinematographer in a short film. This is the second time I have used a cannon 7D. My goal as cinematographer is to get the best shots that reflect the story the best. Therefore me and the director thought out at least half of the shots together. We compromised and clashed on what we would think would best fit the end result of the film.

            We choose to use the cannon 7D because of its ability to record 1920x1080 footage and its ability to interchange lenses that give different depths of field. The 7D is a very complex piece of equipment and even I question my ability to use its abilities to the fullest. Many problems and challenges involving the 7D have come up in the past. We have constantly had problems with audio, and the 7D’s lack of a good audio recording system. On my last project I experienced challenges with the sound, due to my own personal error, and static that would come across in every piece of audio. I decided to use the 7D this time despite our problems with audio, because we received a H4n zoom. I initially thought that I would just have to attach the H4n to the cannon 7D and not have to synchronize the audio in post-production, but I was sadly wrong. It was an error that I take responsibility for, because the audio ended up having static. This would have been prevented if I had recorded the audio on the H4n and synchronized the audio alter on, but I was too lazy.

            There were also challenges with the steady cam rig that we had. This was the first time I had used the steady cam rig on an actual shoot. I spent around 3 hours practicing the perfect technique to get the steady cam right. I still feel that there is room for improvement, for the shots are not as steady I as I would have liked them to be. I am still trouble shooting what I should do next time I shoot my final short film. I was also scared that the bridge police would not let the steady cam rig on the bridge, because it looks like a bullet proof vest. Luckily the bridge patrol did not say anything about our rig.

            Since I was responsible for the gear, and knew how much gear we needed to shoot with, I did not think that the bridge police would let us film on the Golden Gate. We were not kicked off the bridge, due to the compactness of the 7D and its ability to look like a normal camera. The bridge police initially thought we were just taking pictures until we took out the boom mike. Because we were filming on the bridge, we ran into heavy foot traffic, because it was a rare clear day on the Golden Gate Bridge. This may have caused some continuity errors in the final version of the film, but I could not stop the foot traffic.

            A problem that arose with our group was finding a hospital to shoot our scene when Sasha tells Julian that she no longer has the desire to live. We tried two different hospitals within our area, but they rejected us because of privacy issues of clients. We ended up getting an offer to work at a teen health center in Daily City, but were unable to use the location because the director was only able to give us an hour to shoot. We finally were left with our last resort, and filmed at our friend Kalena’s house. We were lucky that she was able to allow us to film in her room last minute, and that her parents had no problem using her room as the set. Using a house caused us to lose our desired production design of the hospital, but ultimately turned out successful. During the shoot, the versatility of the 7D came benefitted the shoot. There was one shot that I wanted to do, but the room was too small. So I had to put the 7D against the wall and use a mirror to check my focus. I was able to get the shot perfectly, but if we had used a real film camera the shot would not have worked. We tried to add production design in the flowers that we bought, but were unable to fully incorporate them into the final product.

            As a whole group we ran into a major problem in the beginning of our production. We were initially supposed to use real actors that we found off of craigslist, but our actors fell through due to the last minute urgency of our project. At the last minute John gathered four girls together for a screen test. Max was unable to attend the screen test because he had a football game. The two strong actors were either Payton or Sharmane. The next day we showed match the footage and as a group we ended up choosing Sharmane. The topic of who the male actor came into dispute the next day. Max choose an actor that he knew, and we met him in Golden Gate Park. At the park there was a brief argument between Max and John over who the male actor would be. There was an argument over whether or not time would be a factor in the production schedule. In the end Max decided to use John as the actor over the male actor he found. This was because the male actor that Max intended to use was about 6 years older than our female actor, which would make the film a little awkward. In the end max decided to use John as the male actor.

            We had a lot of people help us with production, and we were lucky that they were able to help us. Issa helped us take behind the scene shots, and Luke helped us with audio and helped put his input into how the scene should look. Next time we need a person that can specify on audio, so that I do not have to constantly worry about audio and focus more on the cinematography. We will probably use Luke in our next and final film project as our audio technician.

            After six weeks of production we eventually finished our short film. I was proud of our work and admired the finished product. Although I felt the film was good in many ways there was still much more room for improvement. I think that we were somewhat successful in portraying what we wanted to portray in the story line. I think that there could have been better character and situational development between the characters. There could have been more dialogue. It was difficult for some people to initially grasp the concept of the film, and this is what we were trying to do. Max said he wanted it to be “poetic”, and I agreed and enjoyed the idea that in the end the audience decides for themselves what happens to Sasha. Does Sasha still have her terminal illness, or is she being cured and that is what allows her to run in the final scene.

            I personally felt that there was too much running. We could have developed the characters further through dialogue, instead of showing the character development though running. Running can be dragging and cause for a loss of interest of the audience toward the characters. I personally felt that we exhausted many different types of running shots. In the end our film was successful in its ability to portray our intensions.

1 comment:

  1. Kevin, this is a good recount of the group drama that went into the film but not of your contribution to the project as a cinematographer. In reviewing the genre characteristics and your narrative, you should articulate what style you wanted to capture in the framing, movement, blocking and lens choice with examples that support your work. Also, your overall analysis is superficial. Breakdown each area using the film language you have learned in class. You also have no supporting evidence from your film.