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Month: April, 2015

Pickups & Editing Day Three & Four (Whitby Residential Short Film) 29th/30th April 2015

The beautiful bookstore that is ‘Rare & Racy’ granted us the permission to shoot in their lovely & relaxed bookstore on the 29th of April, kind of them to do so.


10am meet up time… turned into 10:30am. Ash was late, traffic was bad, the end.

We start to shoot on the second floor of the store, I took the time to look around the room to work out the beats of the scene with the Zak (Our actor). As well as conceptualising shots that I wanted to get for the scene.

The key for this scene was to match what we shot in Whitby so that it looked like the bookstore he entered in Whitby. And it did, another win.

We shot from 10:45am till 12pm, enough time to get all the shots we needed, I decided to shoot it in set ups, so it would take less time. Tripod & 50mm lens, then the final shots on the 10mm – 18mm Lens. Doing all this whilst recording foley & room tone.


Editing came down to just importing the footage, renaming the footage and adding it to the timeline. Nothing too fancy but the structure of the shots in the scene feels fluid and consistent.

More tweaks of sound and the length of shots, most of it is coming down to minimal tweaks and slight colour and contrast changes to the shots to fit the tone of the film.

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A lot of the colour grading was done in camera (the shots were lit perfectly), the outside scenes had to be graded to become darker in the highlights, the shot above in some of the other takes stood out blood red, other shots that are coloured warm but not red, I changed the colour to add more red into the mid tones to bring out the skin tone & the global colour too.

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Only just a tiny bit.


Editing Day Two (Whitby Residential Short Film) 27th April 2015

Finding the best music to score a film to is ecstatic, but when you find it 1 second into your iTunes library (and in my case a song that fits lyrically too). Tears for Fears – “Change”. Aptly named for the character in the film. I would talk about all the little nuisance lyrics that apply to the film, but I want that to be left for the final cut.

So with the song I started with layering the track over the intro, lowering and raising the sound to blend with the dialogue. Most of the time I was trying the music in segments throughout the film, placing it where I thought it would need to go, to fill in blank space, others it was to fit the lyrics in with the scene so they would coincide with each other.

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Some other little tweaks I made affected the running time. I looked though the film for a few hours cutting shots or trimming them to feel more natural, to what I want them to be. Not for cutting the running time, but to keep included the media that I thought fit the project.

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A lot of the audio is now fixed, nothing as drastic as needing to dub lines but to raise and match volume levels in scenes so that they would flow and not randomly raise and lower in dB.

Editing Day One (Whitby Residential Short Film) 24th April 2015

Organising the footage took a long time. I mean a real long time. We have 18 Scenes, over 90GB of footage & audio. No need for a blog about my organisational skills, I renamed the clips, moved them into a neat and tidy folder.

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Nice and neat.

Then imported them into Final Cut Pro X.

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Some are out of place, some have just clips without audio. Others have synched clips.

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For every scene that had audio that could be synced with in camera sound, I took the time to do that also. I ran into a few problems doing this, some of the audio didn’t sync perfectly together, nothing that can’t be fixed manually.  The current edit is almost at a complete rough cut.

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Whitby Residential 2015 Production Photographs

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Day Three (Whitby Residential Short Film) Thursday 16th April 2015

A bookstore and an author, with 30 minutes to shoot sounds like a nightmare. That’s because it was, we literally shot for 10 minutes. A re-shoot is definitely needed.

Other than the unlucky shooting in the bookstore, we headed off to the beach to record foley sounds (Thanks to Ashley Foulstone for capturing waves, seagulls and the calming sounds off the sea air).

Myself and Josh Ward took the time to improvise on the shots we wanted to get for cutaways inserts (all relative to the scenes), progressing from the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs.



Going from shots of the waves, the town, lighthouse, and boats. Using ND Grads to darken the image the colour of the sky stood out more, the bright blue and cloudy sky filled out immensely.

The team photo(s).

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[Later that day…]

So everything is shot in Whitby, the last portion of the shoot took place in the house we stayed in.

From 3pm we shot till 2am the next morning, it’s a long day.

But it started with a problem, one of our actors was needed by another production group, luckily for us they needed him a 6pm, 3 hours to film all his coverage. I looked through all the scenes we had to film with him in the day time, re-scheduled them and shot all of his coverage first. Luckily for the crew and myself we only had to shoot 1 scene before they had to have him for their shoot.

After the scene is shot we had 2 more scenes to shoot in the daytime. We shot 2 scenes over 2 hours, it took longer than we thought because we had to set out the location with it’s appropriate Mise-en-scene, get the tracks ready and deal with interruptions; stopping production several times.

Getting closer to night myself and Sam Roberts recording Belinda Odawa’s voice over for a scene we shot the day before.

[Watches Star Wars The Force Awakens New Trailer & becomes distracted]

Night time, it’s dark. Perfect for lighting. Negative = the later we shoot the louder our neighbours get. That’s why it took so long to shoot everything.

We are working efficiently and effectively, cutting shots that we don’t need to serve the purpose of getting shots we need to get for the story.

The cast & crew took a break for a few minutes, I wanted to shoot a scene and have it complete before started to shoot again, the scene includes no audio, just visuals. Myself and Zak filmed for 25 minutes to get the scenes coverage. Another scene is completed. Uploading to the hard drive. Every time we finished filming a scene(s), I uploaded the footage to the hard drive so that it is organised at least in their scenes, rather than a lot of footage scattered around one folder at the end of the shoot.

Energy lacking, we all feel the burn of a long day shooting, rest will be our reward. But we push through, no matter how delirious we get.

For all of this half the shot we used 2 cameras to cover the scenes. 1 to have more than one angle. 2 for convenience, getting 2 shots in 1 take gives us more freedom of choice in the edit, which also saves time filming.

The last shot of the day I shot handheld, ideally I wanted to use the tracks but everyone was tired, so I used my shoulder rig and took the shot.

We finished at 2am Friday morning.

Day Two (Whitby Residential Short Film) Wednesday 15th April 2015

No sleep the night before. Okay maybe a few hours, just didn’t feel like much when you wake up and your eyes don’t want to open.

A 4am snack of Chicken Flavoured crisps & a morning shower that makes a 6ft tall human being (Myself) become 5ft, the roof is slanted and cuts the shower room in half.

On to filming.

Again with our designated driver (The one and only David Steele), we arrived at the location… a few 100 footsteps away, we trekked to find a location that would be grand in scale. We found a location that looks nice and decided to investigate, it’s a cemetery. I spotted a bench that overlooked the town and we shot there.


(Photo courtesy of: Liam Cutts. Left: Belinda Odawa. Right: Zak Millscray)

Something that really impressed me was the two actor’s memory capabilities, they knew the script pretty well, and as normal I let them improvise if they thought necessary. Giving them freedom to control the character, to make it feel natural, to live the character. I enjoyed their performance. The different take on the scene from Belinda was great, she added movement, expression and nuance. Acting like the good angel of Zak’s subconscious (The Heaven & Hell inner demons & angels).


(Photo courtesy of: Liam Cutts. Left: Wesley Jones (Myself). Right: Charis Kurpiel)

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Every 15 minutes, a church bell rang. Every. Single. Time. It became common practice to wait for the bell to finish ringing then have 10 – 15 minutes to film. Then the batteries in the Tascam began to drain, really, really fast. Eventually it ran out of juice. Luckily we had finished all the dialogue scenes.

We had to film a scene with Belinda without recording dialogue, let the dubbing begin.

[Food break.]

Filming on the beach.


The nicest weather conditions of the day, next to the church we had wind, and I felt for Belinda who (not through costume decisions that I made) decided on her costume to be more angelic. She suffers for her art.

Most of the time on the beach we improvised around what would look better and what would tell the story of the scene. Other than that we filmed pretty quickly with the time to improvise. We planned on ending at 3:30pm. We actually ended at 2:30pm, shaving an hour off our original schedule.


(Photo Courtesy of Wesley Jones. Left to right. Sam Roberts, Liam Cutts, Josh Ward, Charis Kurpiel, Zak Millscray & Ashley Foulstone)

Day One (Whitby Residential Short Film) Tuesday 14th April 2015

College 10:30am. On the road 11:30am. In Whitby for 2:15pm.

So I’m here with my crew, ready to shoot the moment we land in Whitby, after we become acquainted with the housing and shop for the nourishment from the local Sainsbury’s.

Ext. Boat Yard – Day, we started with a short day of shooting, only shooting a planned total of 5  shots (improvised to over 10). Just filler scenes in the film, recording room (or outdoor) background sound. With Charis Kurpiel on Camera and working with my DP Josh Ward we worked out from the shot list the different shots we could get (not being dedicated to following a storyboard we had more creative freedom).

Liam Cutts filmed behind the scenes footage and also photographed the filming events of the 1 or 2 hours we spent filming; with Ashley Foulstone on Audio & Sam Roberts on Boom. Zak Millscray acting.


Pre-Production (Whitby Residential Short Film)

The first thing was to think of an idea. The time it took to come to the final idea for the film was several days.

The first production meeting we all set out to project our ideas and I took note on the board and we created a spider diagram of ideas, scenarios and characters. A lot of the ideas we thought of, an example would be a IRL Poseidon short, but then we got caught up in the idea that it developed into a bigger idea than we could possible make in the time we have to make the film.

A few days pass and no solid ideas.

Out of nowhere I settled with pragmatism, a realistic film that we could make in the 2 and a half days we have to film. No CG, no complex narrative, an interesting story; yes.

Writing the script I had to include a third character which we didn’t have when conceptualising the film, so that u-turned the story and created a hole in the story, where does the new character fit in?

Charis thought of the two co-stars should be the leads sub-conscious, and the script writing became a whole lot easier.

As soon as the script was done, the production team looked through the script & locations, scheduling the scene’s we would shoot on each day, writing the health & safety forms, planning routes, getting permissions for locations.

I wrote the costume and prop list, sent the costume list to the cast so that they could come up with costume for their character. The props (which weren’t many) became easy to source when other people already had what we needed.

After everything is ready in pre-production, we we’re ready to shoot.

Final Film (OCD and your Brother Short Film)

One day from the finish line (OCD and your Brother Short Film) 12th April 2015

The film is nearly finished! Hurray! I think I must have watched it through a few dozen times, the precision, the dedication. Oh yes, it’s all there.

Usually I go through the edit disliking parts of the film, it’s not actually what I think, it’s an improving thing. I have to dislike it so that I can make it better, it does work. I’m definitely pleased with what I have created, with thanks to my cast & crew also!

A screenshot of the fruits of my labour.

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