Short Film – Final Cut and Evaluation

The film is finished. We conducted the final edit, tidied up sloppy shots and graded the whole thing into a nice warm tone. We filmed our pick up shots, added some additional audio and a score and produced “Roadtrip”.

At the beginning of the project, I felt it was important to be uniform and have a brand. Once we had come up with a name I asked one of our group to create a  moving logo to be put in the film. There was a bit of miscommunication in that we didn’t also have a still image but this is not too much of a problem, it only applies to the press release. This went on the beginning of the film creating our image as an institution, far more professional than a student film as we are not students, we are practitioners who happen to be at university!!!

The opening sequence needed to be slow to set the pace of the film. We used a panning shot of a mantle piece which was a slow, smooth transition of movement and also helped give a bit of background to the characters and their life – not much, just a hint. We achieved this with myself holding the camera on the shoulder mount and carefully rocking backwards and sideways at the same time (makes sense when footage is seen). It was a bit wobbly however so we used the SmoothCam function on FCP7 to stabilise the shot. This then led into the opening title, simply Roadtrip (white on a black background – this represented the simplicity and unrushed pace of the main characters lives). The music over the top of this was a simple guitar riff that really suited the slow timbre and mood of the piece. The 50’s theme came from how we imagined the couple to have met in the past; this was the time that they were growing up and therefore meeting each other and falling in love.

The kitchen scene required a lot of grading and colour correction but looks really warm and bright in the final product. There are subtle hints to Geraldine’s forgetfulness in this shot that the quick eyed viewer will pick up on. It is her that leaves the sandwiches and her glasses are on her head despite sending Harold upstairs to get them. The 50’s music can just about be heard in the background and we gave it an effect to make it sound like it was coming from the radio we had deliberately got in shot. This nice transition gave the piece a sense of realism.

We managed to trim parts of the film off that people didn’t think worked all that well (received in our feedback) and fill in some extra pick up shots. We had to film a lot of these extremely close up or at a great distance because we did not have the same actors and had to stand in ourselves. Only after watching the footage very closely and repeatedly will you be able to pick up on these shots. We managed to get our man on the bicycle again for these shots to add continuity.

One of our praised techniques whilst filming was from the utilisation of the jib. People really loved our opening jib shot and we slipped another one later on as the couple pull into the car park. There is a slight continuity edit here as the car park wasn’t as busy when we filmed the pick ups but it’s not too noticeable. On a note of our earlier jib shot, we felt that it was needed but it was too long. I asked to film a cutaway shot and insert it here of Harold’s items being placed in the boot.

The car interior shots were a bit too long and shaky. We managed to stabilise them but required a few more external shots to break up the action. The dialogue rolls over the top and flows rather beautifully. We also got a nice shot over the steering wheel of the cyclist going past which added more to the comedy of them going so slow and being overtaken by a normally even slower form of transport. Him whizzing past added a bit of pace to the visuals which was nice.

In the script, the film was meant to end with Geraldine shouting “Harold, you forgot the sandwiches!!!” however, our actors improvised a bit and left us with a lovely extract of dialogue we could play over the ending credit. It really brough this beautiful story to a finale worthy of it’s own nature.

On reflection, there are some things I would like to change with the whole film. Firstly, I did love doing sound, camera, lighting etc (all the technical roles) but I feel I wanted to direct this film in my own way. I would have done a lot differently and would have loved the opportunity to do this myself. I aided in the pre-production side of things as I was needed as I have a lot of experience and did enjoy it. But my passion for this film would have been to direct it.

There are some sound drops I would like to include in the film (of the car driving with the jib shot and also the items being placed in the boot) however, I am really happy with the finished product. The professionalism of the project is something I highly admired; the fact we went and found old actors (completely different to standard student films) and also paid them is something I think will reflect well on us. We took the time out to act more professional than we had ever done before (something I think the group as a whole picked up working in the Gryla Productions films in Iceland) and if you want to a job well, you have to do it properly. I gained so much more experience handling sound, lighting and filming equipment and brushed up my skills as a camera operator (although most of the shoot this was not my responsibility). I helped form the paperwork and production side into something in line with real world film productions (although there is so much room for a great deal of improvement here). I also helped with the directing in some areas where ours was flacking a bit and tried my hand at it, feel I am competent enough and definitely want to take on this role in the future.

Enjoy Roadtrip! :


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