For my project proposal I spoke to my supervisor Rowena about my idea to put together a short film about the South East Dance Studios. The thinking behind my idea was that South East Dance (SED) are having a big push on the hiring the studios out and are coming up with a business hires plan to do this. So I thought it would be a good idea to produce a video for the SED YouTube channel and hopefully even use on the SED website.
The main idea for the film was to inform and advertise to possible hirers and audiences of the location of our studios in Kent as well as the equipment and facilities and the goings on. As well as potential hirers it would also be good to inform people that may want to support SED by either donating or volunteering all the good work that is done.
As I wanted to use footage of dance and not just the building the secondary purpose of the Film was to entertain people watching. I wanted the film to look professional and stylish and not just be of footage of an empty building which may be more informative but I think it will be a little boring so I did plan to keep this in mind as a primary objective as well as when receiving any feedback from my proposal.
For a project proposal I was very pleased with my idea and the reaction to my idea from my mentor Rowena. Rowena seemed very happy with my plan and although she did give me some feedback all of it was positive and just to steer me in the correct direction in terms of pre production and any possible copyright and permission issues.
I had also planned to use the film to advertise to both SED and future employers what kind of work I can come up with limited budget and equipment and to add a different genre of video type or media to my work and portfolio.
Pre Production files:
For the Pre Production folder I mainly pulled together files for the film, which included documents such as permission forms for the location and the dancers. These permission forms where relatively simple to put together as I had a good idea of how to do this and could communicate effectively with the building manager and the dance choreographer who where more then happy to give permission.
The pre production file also included the invoice for a royalty free music track, which I planned to use as the background music so I could avoid any copyright issues, a risk assessment and a shooting schedule for when I wished to film at the studios. Again I am happy with how these all came together and had no real problems with this part of the process.
Filming the project:
When it came to filming the project I started of a little bit unsure. I initially gave myself two weeks to collect the footage I wanted as I could only film for one day of the week and had to travel to and from Kent to do so. The equipment I used to film was a Sony mini SD camcorder from work, I believe the resolution was 720p. I also used a tripod, which was again from work. This was quite heavy and I found the equipment quite a lot to carry but I think it did result in much higher quality footage as I used the panning function quite a lot.
In the first two weeks of filming I had managed to film the building, some of the rooms and studios, a dance performance and a cinema screening. On reviewing the footage I had I realised I did not have enough footage that I was happy with from the different rooms and goings on. So I did go back for another week but this was not too much of an issue as I had planned to travel to the Studios the following week and managed to fit the filming in around my plans.
Editing the Film:
I had quite a few issues when trying to get my footage on to a computer. The first issue was that my laptop, as most, does not include a Firewire port. I then tried to import it to one of the Macs at college. I tried with both Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro but after 3 weeks neither of these programmes seemed to work as planned for this project.
The method, which eventually worked for me, was to upload the footage to the MacBook at work using iMovie. I then published the footage on iMovie and saved it in a format so I could edit using the editing software I am used to working with. The software I used was Sony’s Movie Studio Platinum. Editing the footage was from there on pretty straight forward. I had an idea of what I wanted to do and the ordering before hand and once I uploaded the music track to the project it was more or less a case of timing it so it all worked together.
I also put titles over various shots from the film. The idea was to use the same font and colour as the Flyers from the Studios Business Hires booklet. Doing this would help the film seem part of the Business Hires and hopefully merge the two projects together. The Titles read WELCOME, COMPOSE, CREATE, MEET and PERFORM. It was pretty easy to add these but the font was a bit of an issue as the font the designer used was very expensive so I had to settle for a similar looking font.
I finally added the end credit roll, which just included the name of the performance pieces as well as my name, the SED logo and the logo’s of our main funders and supporters. This once again was very simple to do with the software I used. The whole editing once I had uploaded the footage was pretty straightforward.
The End Result:
The film begins with a wide shot of the front of the building. The music kicks in straight away which although it begins quite abruptly it mellows into a calming a chilled out musical track. The first title fades in to the word ‘WELCOME’ in large blue and capital letter font. After 5 or 6 seconds the shot zooms in to a close up of the building and the title fades out. After the footage of the front of the building ends it fades into a shot of two people talking in the foyer area. I think this footage works well together but it becomes quite apparent at this point that the footage resolution of 720p is not the greatest and takes away from the quality and the end product.
The next shot and title is a close up of piano keys, which pans along the keys moving slowly out of focus. I quite liked working with shots moving in and out of focus as this gave the film a quite abstract and arty appearance. A title comes up with the word ‘COMPOSE’, which was the next title. I like the fact I used this shot as a piano as I think a piano is kind of symbolic. The music slowly builds up as you see shots from around the Studio, which I think describes ‘COMPOSE’ as more than just musically.
The next few shots are the Cinema footage and footage with the different lighting. For this footage the title ‘CREATE’ comes up. The idea behind this being that at the Studios you can create in a multitude of different ways and that it is a very creative space where creative things do happen. I think the footage in this lighting looks a lot more exciting and entertaining then the footage in the bright light and looking back I think I would like to film more like this. The footage also contains panning shots, which are there for the primary purpose to show off the studio as a space and display clearly the facilities that we offer. I did try to keep these looking fairly art still using effects like blinds blowing in the wind and I am not 100% sure if this work or if it makes the footage look possibly unprofessional.
The next set of footage is from the meeting room which shows first of all an empty table with empty glasses and the word ‘MEET’ but this soon turns to a shot of the staff stood round in a simulated meeting which I filmed where everyone is happy and laughing and all is great. This kind of symbolises that without the space people cannot meet but with the space there they are all together and chatting. This is followed by some fill in shots from the recording studio and then the dressing room as this seemed like a good time to fit in the footage to advertise that part of the business hire.
The film then moves to an empty studio in days, which at night is transformed to the Performance. I really like this particular performance as the lighting works great on film. For the performance piece the word ‘PERFORM’ pops up as the final title for obvious reasons and the footage is around a minute and a half which I initially thought was too long but considering the performance is the most entertaining part of the film it feels to me a lot shorter than this. For the final shot the performer fades in to another shot of the building. As a finale this is hopefully symbolic and makes a point that the space really is there for the dancers and performers but also relies on them being there. The film then moves into the end credits.
Looking back now at my film I am pretty happy with it. The style is what I initially wanted to work towards and I really think I achieved a good quality Video for SED. The one massive drawback for me was the quality of the video in terms of definition, which I would have liked to have been better but this was the best I could achieve with the equipment I had available and the quality should still be good enough to use for YouTube and the website which was the original purpose so it does meet the aim I set myself.