#361MC // Final Major Project: ‘Femme’ Day 1 Reflection

‘Femme’ has changed so much from the first initial idea of wanting to showcase in an  exhibition, to an interactive website and finally to a documentary. It’s come a long way with many hiccups and tough decisions but after day one of filming I’m feeling positive with it’s final outcome.

The day started late at 3:30pm with 3 interviews every hour – I spaced them out this way as I wasn’t sure how long each interviewee would need to answer ten questions on body image in social media – turns out each interview only lasted 5-10 minutes which was a blessing for my equipment recording space.

Being someone completely new to filming my own interviews was a gold mine for my anxiety and during the set up, which took an hour, I kept having to remind myself I could handle the situation. When the first interviewee appeared I felt more nervous than they did but after the first couple of questions I soon began to feel comfortable talking to each person about their experiences and opinions and was able to have a conversation that flowed quite nicely.

I used the Dedo lights to create a 3-point set up on the subject as I was working with white walls and needed to create some background interest, using the LED panel as well to bounce light into the subjects eyes off the ceiling created a beautiful ring light giving life to each person which I was super pleased with. My final day of shooting is Monday 24th April with the same set up and two camera perspective – overall the day went smoothly minus the H5 Zoom cutting out and not recording every so often which meant I opted at loaning the H6 Zoom instead for Monday’s shoot. Hopefully the second day will go just as well as the first with another 4 interviews, including myself.

#364MC // Professional Experience // Research & Development // Camera Op

Ever since studying Media I have always loved the visuals, which might be something everyone would say as it’s the thing we see first. What camera angles are being used to display an emotion, event etc. For almost every university project I have been camera assistant or Director of Photography. My inspiration stemmed from Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch – two people who have influenced my work and what I want to portray through film ever since I started studying film.

I will always remember Kubrick’s ‘One Point Perspective’ which I’ve tried to embody in some of my own work. Below is an example of his technique:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/48425421″>Kubrick // One-Point Perspective</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/kogonada”>kogonada</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Whilst researching into the role of a camera assistant I came across a book titled ‘The Camera Assistant’s Manual’ by David E. Elkins (1991) within the first pages I discovered some of the history behind the technology used before camera’s became more complex and required individuals to learn this skill “The process of motion picture photography started when George Eastman introduced the first 35 mm film in 1889, and Thomas Edison, along with his assistant W. K. L. Dickson, designed the Kinetograph and Kinetoscope, also around 1889. Various reports indicate that the patent was applied for in 1891 but that it wasn’t granted until 1897. The Kinetograph was used to photograph motion pictures, and the Kinetoscope was used to view them. These early pieces of equipment were very basic in their design and use. As film cameras became more complex, a need developed for specially trained individuals to work with this new technology and equipment. Two of these individuals became known as the First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC) and the Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC).” Billy Blitzer, one of the first well known cinematographers who worked alongside Director D. W. Griffith was assigned what they would call back then, a Camera Boy, which is today’s Camera Assistant role – to simply carry the equipment and make a note of the shots for the day as there was no Script Supervisor back in 1914.

When you start looking for that first professional job, any experience, even if it is on a student production, increases your chance of getting a job. ” It is true that getting experience on a film set whether that being a student production or a professional production it will increase the chances of landing the job in media which you desire. I found that my opportunity on a real film-set came from working with individuals who had made connections doing the same routine – working on student projects, contacting professionals and then landing experience even if it is volunteer work. There’s something very humbling and more rewarding when working on a set you have volunteered for – I found myself working extra hard to prove my worth of being there whilst on the set of ‘Sustain’.

With this in mind I decided to do a little research on how to go about applying for a role as Camera Assistant:

  • have good colour vision, and good hand-to-eye co-ordination
  • have a working knowledge of how the relevant camera equipment works
  • have good communication skills and show diplomacy and sensitivity when working with artists, production staff and crew
  • be able to take direction and work as part of a team
  • be able to carry out instructions with great accuracy and attention to detail
  • be able to work under pressure and in stressful situations
  • be able to frame and compose shots after you’ve gained some experience
  • have good IT skills
  • possess physical stamina for working long hours and moving heavy equipment
  • understand the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

Intensive industry experience is the best route into this role, having gained a grounding in the basic camera skills and knowledge required. You could begin your career as a Camera Assistant, and then work your way up through the ranks of the camera department over several years.

When searching for job vacancies a lot of free-lance work was cropping up over the place as well as trainee jobs – which is inspiring to see as most people would assume media jobs are sparse. Just by searching ‘camera assistant’ into a job search website like Indeed.co.uk pages and pages of jobs were displayed under that same criteria.

References

“Camera Assistant (Studio And Outside Broadcast)”. Creativeskillset.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.

Elkins, David E. The Camera Assistant’s Manual. New York: Focal Press, 2013. Print.

#364MC // Professional Experience // Research & Development // Editor

For as long as I can remember, ever since I watch MTV Behind the Scenes of how music videos and films are created – I fell in love with the post production editing. I was intrigued with how someone could take raw film and turn it into something that creates a certain emotion and how special effects can alter the appearance of almost anything.

I’ve researched into editing jobs before so going back and refreshing my memory and seeing how it might of changed was exciting. I went straight to the creativeskills website as this is a reliable source for information on any media production career and the requirements needed. For an editor they are as follows:

  • Working closely with the Director to craft the finished film
  • Working in an edit suite for long hours
  • Running a team of assistants and trainees on big productions
  • Have technical aptitude
  • Have wide experience of the post production process
  • Be familiar with a variety of computer editing equipment
  • Understand dramatic storytelling to create rhythm, pace and tension
  • Be creative under pressure
  • Have imagination and an understanding of narrative
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Have highly developed aesthetic visual awareness
  • Be able to lead a team
  • Have patience and attention to detail
  • Have good organisational skills
  • Understand the requirements of relevant health and safety laws and procedures

Traditionally, you could go from being a Runner to a Trainee, Second Assistant, First Assistant and eventually to become an Editor. However, with digital editing, 2nd Assistants are now only employed on very big budget films.

As a Trainee with at least two years’ experience you would have to work as an Assistant in television or on low budget films for a considerable period of time before becoming First Assistant on feature films. Some big budget productions take on Trainees and Second Assistants, and it is important to keep up to date with films in pre-production by reading the trade press.

If you can work with an Editor as an Assistant, you may be allowed to carry out the assembly edit of some sections of the film. If you can become an experienced Assistant, you may also work as an Editor on short films, which will enable you to showcase your talents.

It’s really rather easy to become an editor from the comforts of your own home – technology has granted consumers access to a variety of editing softwares to use for their own devices without having to be hired by a large company. These prosumers are able to create anything from being multiple roles all at once, editing software now comes with every computer and smart phone device whether that be Windows Movie Maker or Final Cut Pro everyone in today’s society is an editor to some extent.

I remember when I used to create home movies and edit them on Windows Movie Maker to then show my mum pretending it was a movie premier. This passion has followed me through the last 6 years of studying media. Editing is a very delicate and time consuming process that I think a lot of people overlook. I have spent countless hours editing together a piece of work that may ultimately end up only being 3 minutes long. But that makes the process all the more beneficial and rewarding to think at the end of it all, you put that together.

An editing job is something I feel anyone can get into with practise and experience, like most things, it also doesn’t require any qualifications as the best way to learn is through shadowing others – much like I did when I shadowed the head editor at BBC Bristol a few summers a go. Editors sometimes get overlooked when being credited as everyone might see their work it’s the Director and actors who get more recognition for the piece. However, being the editor is a vital part to any film or tv show and with the exposure we have as consumers today to access editing software it’s inspiring to see more and more people learning to create amazing media content.

References

Balmuth, Bernard. Introduction To Film Editing. 1st ed. Boston [u.a.]: Focal Press, 1989. Print.

“Editor | Creative Skillset”. Creativeskillset.org. N.p., 2017. Web.

 

 

#364MC // Professional Practice Portfolio // Work Experience // ‘Sustain’ Final

The time has finally come where we wrap up on the set of ‘Sustain’. It has been one hell of a journey and I have learnt and experienced so much more than I ever thought I would. Three months of working 24 hour weekends in all weather conditions and till late hours and I wouldn’t of had it any other way.

‘Sustain’ was my first ever time on a real film set and also as Sound Assistant, before this I had only dabbled with Sound and kept myself to camera op but I’m so glad I challenged myself with Sound as it has quickly become something I am very passionate about and would love to pursue further in my journey as a media creative.

To say that this was easy would be false, to say it was extremely fun and rewarding would be more accurate. It was one of the most difficult things I had ever put myself through but it never felt like ‘work’ – around talented, fun, encouraging and enthusiastic individuals made every day feel like we was just kids making home movies with a lot better equipment.

From this experience I have come to understand that to make a master piece you need a lot of hands and creative vision – each persons opinion and talent was put to good use and learning how each person had a certain role which would overlap into other roles was exciting to see. Often on days we would have people helping Sound who usually work as First AD or even Editor. Everyone was knowledgeable in each area which I feel confident to say I am now too. I have mingled and experienced first had what it’s like to be a DoP, Editor, Director and so on and couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity.

I have included some photos from our shoots and I can’t wait to work with these incredible artists in the future.

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FMP Proposal CW2 // For Submission

Below is my final major project (FMP) proposal for ‘Femme’ An Interactive Website Documentary. Looking into the real stories, experiences and struggles of real women dealing with the constant need to meet societies beauty standards in social media today.

I’m happy with what I managed to fit together, unfortunately there is limited footage of my own as I haven’t been able to film any of the participants as of yet as they’re still to be 100% confirmed. However, I believe the message in this proposal is clear and expresses my passion and enthusiasm for the body positive movement in social media.

Michaela Knight // FMP Proposal // ‘Femme’ an Interactive Website Documentary from Michaela Knight on Vimeo.

I’ve also included the transcript for my proposal below:

Hi, my name is Michaela Knight and this short video is my proposal for my online project “Femme”. In 2016 I experienced a lot of feedback on one of my photos on my personal Instagram account. The photo itself was a topless image, with only my back on show. Some people may see this as provocative, as sensual – my purpose for this photo was I simply liked the way I looked. Once posted I received messages from students and strangers about the photo saying I had “changed” or this wasn’t “like me” – I found this odd because in fact, this was me it couldn’t be more me. After all it was my body.

This brought my attention to the year 2015 when the body positive, “Free the Nipple” and female body empowerment movements really blew up on social media. Social media is more than ever the culprit to criticising female body image, nurturing it or destroying it there is a sense of power within social media that controls how we see others and ourselves. I myself have been a feminist for many years and have followed these movements but never acted on it. A model named Charlie Howard popped up on my newsfeed one day starring in a short video by a company called StyleLikeU and their project “What’s Underneath” and I immediately fell in love with what she was pushing for – her own project “The All Woman Project” and telling her story of criticism and body shaming in the modelling industry – what captured this and made it all the more powerful was the fact she spoke starting fully dressed and ending her interview in her underwear. To me this is power, not vulnerability.

From here on out a spiral of instragram account stalking and following later it hit me – I want to create something that I am passionate about, that will get peoples attention, provoke thought and inspire women of all ages, shapes and skin tones.

My proposal is to create an interactive website that tells the stories of a variety of women, including myself, their struggles with self-acceptance and how they have overcome these. To show that being vulnerable is not being in your underwear, is not showing your body and is not letting yourself be you. The website was stylistically inspired by a another website called “blacknegative.com” a beautifully designed website that flows with ease and elegance – obviously mine would have images of the female form, I’d like to express this in an almost “grudge”, rebellion aesthetic somewhat similar to how the Sex Pistols promoted their image – anarchy in fuelled or like the style of the Guerrilla Girls a feminist activist group.

I’ve contacted many of these movements via email and have had a response from one a company called RAW Beauty Talks. I’m hoping to get as many supporters or volunteers from these movements as possible – even if I receive one, or none I will ask friends, family, strangers to volunteer to be apart of the 10, 3-5 minute clips that will showcase on my website. These will be filmed in a documentary style, having the volunteers dressed comfortably whether that is fully clothed or in their underwear, being themselves – it will be an intimate shoot with close ups to really showcase the emotions of each person.

My aim is to bring recognition to an already rising movement of female empowerment through an interactive, engaging, touching and raw website. The girls of today are the women of tomorrow and if we don’t continue to encourage and empower them, make them see their beauty that is not defined by social media – then there will be no tomorrow.

Thank you for listening.