Weslar

The greatest film blog of 'morrowland

Month: November, 2014

Rally Car Driving (Documentary Filming) 22nd November 2014

As a helpful human being, and actually this was a pretty cool opportunity anyway.

It’s 4:47am, yes 4:47am in the morning, a very early start but I think that it’s common thing in film making (in any form) that an early start is normal. But I digress, I woke up pretty well. Downstairs breakfast was served, gulped down and off we went. The journey took roughly an hour to get to Blyton park in Gainsborough, not a long journey, just a dark and damp one.

We arrived at Blyton park at around 7am, and the races didn’t start till around 9:30am. In the time during our arrival and the beginning of the races, we planned where each of the camera operators would be around the track. I placed myself on the long stretch which gave me enough camera vision to get the most out of the track.

For hours I tried to get a variety of shots, looking at the cars and tracking them as they go past. Leaving the camera locked on the tripod to shoot a lot of cut aways for my friends doc’ (the one who we’re filming this for). The difficulty of being in the freezing cold did test my limits but, for me the dedication to shoot great footage was enough to keep me going.

For at least 4 hours… maybe 5 or 6. I was at one position of the track, making sure that I had equal amount of coverage of the different shots I was trying to get. The friend in question who I was helping film her documentary was sat in the passenger seat of the car (number 17) wanted us to get shots of her car and any other shots we wanted to get. So every stage that she raced I’d manage to get her coverage and do the same for the other races.

Some photographs from the days events.

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Charlotte and her driver Mark Booth came 24th out of 60+ drivers, not bad ‘eh.

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Sheffield Sharks Vs Worcester Wolves (Sheffield Sharks Basketball) 21st November 2014

Nail biting stuff, this basketball game. Throughout the game the one thing that was constant was the level of adrenaline that must have been running through the player’s (from both sides) body. The intense focus, the plays. They were all on their game.

This week I took on the back camera, covering the whole of the court, and switch to the left floor camera for the last 2 periods of the game. The first half was standard stuff, track the players from one side to the next and keep the player with the ball in a certain part of the frame. The difference this week was the addition of a fourth camera focusing on the scoreboard. This would be displayed in the top left hand corner of the frame in the edit, so I, like the rest of the camera crew had to keep that in mind.

The second half I was on the left floor camera, now it was my job to zoom and focus in split seconds of each other so the image would look sharp and be framed at the same time. Using new cameras causes new problems/discoveries, some how throughout the latter half of the game the white balanced changed so that the floor looked increasingly more orange. I couldn’t change it in a live game so I stuck to filming mid-shots and close ups, to avoid any obscure colours in frame.

Oh and we did play basketball before the game started, perks of the job I guess.

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The Sharks lost by 2 points. 76 – 78. That Close!

Sheffield Film & Comic-Con and the ALS Aware video – 31st August 2014

Better late than never.

Yes this blog is late, I completely ignored the fact that I shot some footage their, and I didn’t talk about it?! Argh! Anyway the perfect accumulation of demand for the con to come to Sheffield and for the fan favourites to follow the scent of another cool venue to embrace the fans.

So how was the first Sheffield Film & Comic-con? It was awesome! A wonder of imagination and creativity, but steep prices for booths that demand you empty your bank account for any Star Wars memorabilia. But that’s not what I was there for, I wanted to experience the con, which did involve me buying a lot of memorabilia, but it’s only on once a year so you know, I wanted to buy cool stuff.

I wanted to create a video that emulated the fun spirit of Comin-con so I walked around the floor and managed to get a lot of footage of stands, the fun details such as the A-Team Van and Kit from Knight Rider and people around the con. Nothing special just guerrilla film making at its best. No rig, no lights, no sound. Just the camera and me.

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An encounter with a little girl handing me a bookmark leaflet for a new book series lead me to a stand, a stand that offered 3 books of interest to me. A series called Thieves Guild, I had a chat with the author and she was really interested in new readers. People to engage in her story and she has a well thought out plan. Especially since she has 3 books and a soon to be comic adaptation. ( http://www.cghatton.com )

The footage I recorded accumulated into a 1:43 short video which you can watch here http://www.youtube.com/wesleyjfilms named Sheffield Film & Comic-Con 2014

My first meeting with someone I admired was Jeremy Bulloch, you know Boba Fett from Star Wars. For a first time meeting him, he was engaging and was interested in a conversation. We talked about him and suddenly started talking about family and general chit chat, that just doesn’t happen. Jeremy was humble and wanted to listen and communicate with fans and not just sign something and have it be a throw away experience. Then it becomes about numbers, more than it does about fan service.

So I have him sign a photograph.

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Here is the photograph I had with him.

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So I walk away with my thoughts trying to catch up to what just happened, that was a mistake, I left my signed photograph behind! (Not that I knew that) I walked away and visited a man by the name of Dirk Benedict. Face in A-Team. I didn’t get a picture with him but he (like the other people I met) had a story to tell. Dirk talked about his basement in which he regularly re-enacts scenes from the A-Team with a blow up doll, and his desire to rescue her and to be the hero again. Shouting “BA!” and pretending he’s re-living the episode.

He was adamant that he’s an avid cigar smoker, and how amazed he is that he’s still alive. He was nice to talk to and to have that funny moment. Especially since he had been doing it all day. I appreciated that, and so did my dad.

Walking back through the arena Jeremy Bulloch shouts my name “Wesley, Wesley. You forgot your photo!” not only he remembered who I was (sounds like a fanboy moment) but he cared as much to wait and look out for me passing by, surely he did and we started talking again. The day couldn’t get better.

It was about time to leave because I was shooting an alternative video to the “Ice Bucket” Challenge, where it isn’t about the challenge, but more about the cause that the money is going to. Before I was about to leave I walk past a huddled crowd around someone, I couldn’t see who it was. So I walk past trying to look for the sign saying who’s gaining all of the attention.

It was David Prowse…

The chance to meet David Prowse M.B.E… Darth Vadar… Oh man childhood memories flood, I’m ecstatic to meet him to think that he played a part in one of films most iconic series of films. And he’s just there, sat right in front of me.

First experience meeting him and he treats you like a friend rather than just another person. We were taking about how much it means to me that he is here, we chat some more and I ask him if he was okay with taking a picture with me, and sure enough I was ready to lean over the booth to look at the camera, framed like a Wes Anderson shot. Vadar asked me to move around and portray that we know each other in the photograph, to be more involved and not just a quick snap of us two.

There’s a funny story… but I’ll come back to that.

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Cool dude that David Prowse.

So it was time to go. I came across a friend of mine that I knew was going to the con but that I couldn’t find the whole time I was there. So I leave with all the stuff that I bought and the autographs that I was glad to get, and drove home.

We look through the autographs and my mom notices an autobiography that is right in frame of the picture I had with David prows (pictured above). Throughout the hours following I felt incredibly stupid because I didn’t get David Prowse’s signature on the photograph with my mom’s name on it (she loves Darth Vadar) and that I could have got it on the book… I panicked and tried to figure out how to rectify my stupidity. The friend I was talking about, I’ll mention his name because he’s a life saver. Will Tang. I decided to call him (hoping that he’d still be there) and ask him if he could pick up David Prowse’s autobiography and get him to sign it for my mom (Which would be a pretty cool birthday present for her). Surely enough he texts me as he’s just got the signature and I couldn’t be more happy at this moment.

Me and my dad make up some BS excuse to drive down to Comic-con and pick it up. The man, the myth, the Will, had done it. And I couldn’t be more thankful! The day was a amazing and I’m already looking forward to next year!

 

ALS Aware

As I said before I was participating in promoting donating to the numerous ALS charities and wanted to do a parody of a Breaking Bad promotional poster.

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The filming didn’t take long, it was a pretty basic shoot that I took on single handedly, and my dad was a good sport for sitting in a chair, in the garden, with a little Yorkshire Terrier attacking him.

Mad Man with a pram (Documentary filming) 5th November 2014

John Burkhill the man behind the pram, the courageous devoted man that is an example of the perfect human nature. In contact he’s already friendly and a nice person, with a genuine love for the people he’s raising the money for.

Today is the day I offered my help to a friend of mine who on her own would engage the challenge independently. I didn’t want her to have to carry 2 cameras, tripod, lighting kit, audio equipment. It wouldn’t be right, trust me I know from experience. Entering John’s humble abode we were greeted to a record of his achievements celebrated throughout his home, and what an achievement they are.

So we started to set up the gear, default camera that captured the wide footage and me under and out of the frame. Charis on the creative camera to the right of the frame. She wanted to film the interview with the intention to use cutaways/inserts, than use the footage as the main video.

We filmed 30 minutes of the interview, and travelled to McDonalds for le lunch break.

[INSERT DINNER TIME…]

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Dark dark times, the night fell quick. The second segment of shooting became a struggle at times, it was dark, we were tired. It happens. But we took the time to film cut aways relevant to the interview or whatever Charis wanted to include in her documentary.

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(not much of a picture but you can see the fireworks)

Sheffield Sharks Vs Newcastle Eagles (Sheffield Sharks Basketball) 7th November 2014

A change of scenery this week I took mid cam responsibilities, so this will be a short blog about the progress. I am usually on the cameras on the ground floor but this week had the opportunity to work on the middle camera above all the chaos.

The job was really to track roughly half of the court at all times and make sure to frame up the court, and players perfectly.

That was it, consistency was the key object of being on this camera.

The setup was faster than it has ever been, the same applied for the pack down. As soon as the age ended we packed away our cameras and equipment and I offered assistance to anyone that needed the help.

Rec and Play Studios (Factual – 3 Minute Documentary) 1st November 2014 [Blog 6/10]

Sweet! Actually recording in a recording studio, and from the look of the place it is incredibly professional. So first of all I want to thank Chris the owner of Rec and Play. You can check out the website for more information on recording and rehearsing there http://www.recandplay.co.uk .

The room as it stands looks a lot like this… Well it looks like this because this is the room. (Sorry for bad lighting, I took this on my iPhone).

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So there’s a lot of space to work in. Which is great, with the added bonus of the drum kit and amps around the room added to the look of the shots. At first before arriving I thought it would be clear of everything. In some ways that’s what I wanted, but then it would just look empty and wouldn’t look as appealing to me without all the cool props (which aren’t props, they’re the real deal).

We were a few minutes early. Which is surprising because we were lost and couldn’t find the place at first. The band before have 12 members which is incredible. I was told that they had 4 members from the band come in sessions throughout the day to record different parts. An interesting setup for a band. Their stuff sounded pretty good from what I heard, their name was out there with how original it was. “Matsiko and the Spice Merchants.”

After they left it took 20 minutes to set up everything and get ready to roll. I actually predicted that 20 minutes seems like a reasonable amount of time (and a realistic time to setup everything) and I was right.

So the room was filled with equipment which is mine and that of the recording studio. I had notions that I could use the whole of the room but it turned out to be the middle and right side of the room (if your facing Anthony).

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It turned out like a pretty good setup, you can probably see the drum kit taking up that space, it looked good to tell the truth. A few shots took advantage of focus pulling from the symbol to Anthony. But like anything as a film maker I’ve had to improvise, so that’s what I did. It’s an incredibly important skill because being set on something can hold up production. For example if I wanted it like how I imagined it, could make the time you take to get it as perfect or as close to your desired idea as possible, would make the actual filming time decrease exponentially. And I want as much footage as possible.

So there wasn’t a problem, it was just another obstacle that I worked around. But I had help, my mom actually came along to help setup gear and to get shots that she wanted to get. It was good to let her have some creative freedom. It’s part of the fun.

My plan was to record several run throughs of the song “I Think” (and ‘I think’ he is now sick of playing it… sorry, haha). But that’s the nature of getting as much coverage as possible, it’s repetition. To take from this is that practice makes perfect, that’s my excuse.

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The first few were all tripod based, so I’d move the tripods around the room getting different angles of coverage. The main camera in the centre had to be there all of the time because of the little LED light I had mounted to the camera, the lights in the room where pretty dim, and I didn’t have a lighting kit with me (improvising once again). Also there was a lamp on the left of Anthony. So it was moving around the centre camera and moving that camera back and forth, and not higher or lower, left or right.

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You can see the Zoom h4n (Audio recording equipment) at the bottom. With all the tripods surrounding it.

The next step for me was to keep the centre camera where it is (becoming a light stand more than a camera, but I kept rolling with it, using different lenses and moving the tripod head around for different shots).

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For the most part I used my shoulder rig and recorded as much footage that I wanted and paid close attention to the time we had left.

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The final setup of the shoot was the slider shot through the glass in the editing studio of Rec and Play.

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This one.

Anyway the tricky part of this was how dark it looked before all the eureka moments happened in my head. I was using a 18mm – 55mm (Default kit lens) and the F/ 3.5 wasn’t enough it was still too dark. So I thought on the opposite side of the glass (where a conveniently placed amp was there for me to attach the light to) so that lit up the room a lot more. So I decided to change to my 50mm Prime lens, which does the trick! F/ 1.8 and boom! Lit up like a christmas tree. I managed to get one full take using the slider and ended exactly at 9pm! The pack down took long, but I finished shooting just in time!

P.S. I used a GoPro for one shot. Just one! But I had to do it! I was obliged to do it, sticking it on the head of his guitar and Anthony playing it was the standard of all GoPro footage.