Blog #3 Modality

So for my pitch “Heart of a Lion,” we were asked to write about the modality for the documentary. Now in order to discuss modality for my documentary first, we need to know what it means.

The google definition of modality is as follows

“a particular mode in which something exists or is experienced or expressed.”

But being in my last studio at SAE one thing I have learned about blogs is that google definition just doesn’t cut it.  So I did some research about modality and how it interlinks with documentaries.

Before Studio 2 I only briefly encountered documentaries and never really know much about the different type of modes and styles of documentaries that can be used to express your idea so lets discuss about the different type of documentaries and then I will explain about the styles that I have chosen for my documentary and why I choose those styles.

These are the different type of modes that are commonly used in documentaries






So why are these styles important why is it important to have a modality to your documentary well in simple terms the modality in itself is like a sub-genre to Documentary meaning it gives an essence of the director’s vision to the audience. It drives the story and each director has a specific mode that they choose from which they are recognized.
For my documentary, I have decided to use the filming style used in TailWhip, I noticed that most of the sports documentary have an observational modality but at the same time, it is very cinematic almost like its a film being played.  For example, in the film Tail whip, we are introduced to a young 14 year old BMX rider who is trying to make it big in the sports. The doco link is mentioned below

What makes this documentary as appealing to the eye is the fact that it allows the audience to experience the lifestyle of a BMX rider and to interpret a message through the visuals, Unlike the expository documentaries like where the director has somewhat a say to drive the story which can sometimes be biased or authoritative to shape the audience opinion like in the documentary Frank Capra’s Why We Fight(1944) where the commentator has put forward a strong point and fact that drives the audience opinion.

I would also like to use some element of reflexive modality in my documentary as reflexive documentary are those where the actor does something that is staged or promotional but the audience is unaware of it in our case the subject would be asked to do certain things to make the sport looks more interesting and to give a positive outlook even after all the gore and tough regime showing discipline and this would be achieved by using The Coach to act in a certain way that is more cinematic with probably a bit of underline script in certain points like during the training sessions to give a bit of depth to the story.

Aufderheide, P. (2007). Documentary film: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press.

Types of documentaries | Learning Outcome 2. (2018). YouTube. Retrieved 13 March 2018, from

Pearce, G., & McLaughlin, C. (Eds.). (2006). Truth or Dare : Art & Documentary (1). Bristol, GB: Intellect

Kanmaz. (2018). Expository Retrieved 13 March 2018, from





Blog #2 Standard Opperating Procedure

This is my second blog and its about the movie standard operating procedure. I would be lying if i said that this documentary was not one of the very few films that left me disturbed and intimidated and made me hate war even more but it wasn’t just the gruesome truth that were revealed but the way they were revealed that left me wondering how did they filmed this.

For those of you who do not know the film Standard Operating Procedure I would like to give a brief synopsis of the film and then talk more about the directorial approach used by Errol Morris this film revealed the abuse that the inmates at one of the interrogation facility of Iraq were carried out which looked inhumane and downright wrong. But they would not have been exposed if it wasnt for some pictures that got leaked out that caused and outrage in the media.

Errol Morris showed the side of the story of the soldiers and staff member who carried out these tortures to give their intake on why they did it but the first thing i noticed was that with the little knowledge I have about interviews and documentary is  that these interviews were different from the previous docos I have watched there was a certain depth to the characters. So I did some research and came across the style of direction introduced by Ellon Moris.  Apart from the mood and tone set by Ellon Morris with reenactment that went opposing to the narration of the interviews which made the audience feel like the truth is till somewhat concealed and that was done by using the photographs and video clips with a musical score that looked straight out of a slasher/horror film.  The interviews looked like they were being told straight to the camera  but how did he achieved this style is something of an invention that he came up  that is by using two way mirrors with one monitor right under the camera what this does is produce an intimacy his all idea of revealing the trust is that you cannot get a  person to spill the truth or spill out a confession like in the Thin Blue Line while they are looking at glass but if you have a face that is in front you gave a two way communication that can eventually lead to break down emotional barriers.

The set up is as follows





Ellon Morris explained this technique as a way of exposing the truth Morris explained

“I put my face on the Teleprompter or, strictly speaking, my live video image. For the first time, I could be talking to someone, and they could be talking to me and at the same time looking directly into the lens of the camera. Now, there was no looking off slightly to the side. No more faux first person. This was the true first person…I worried at first. Would it frighten people? Would they run out of the studio screaming? Who could say? I used it for the first time in Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. And it worked like a charm. People loved the Interrotron.”

So with the techniques and his stylistic approach to the documentaries, I conclude that for a person to get the truth out, you need to go above and beyond and persue the truth through means of building rapport through proper research and by asking the questions that are missed out or overlooked. I will end this blog with the video of Ellon Morris on his intake about the Truth


 Errol Morris’s Secret Weapon for Unsettling Interviews: The Interrotron. (2018). Co.Design. Retrieved 28 February 2018, from

-Review: Standard Operating Procedure – Film Comment. (2018). Film Comment. Retrieved 28 February 2018, from

Standard Operating Procedure | Alec Nevala-Lee. (2018). Retrieved 28 February 2018, from


Well, this will be my last blog post for this trimester and although I am excited to finish the trimester a part of me is a bit gloomy knowing that I won’t be having Scott as my client. With a lot of client meetings, feedbacks, learning new things and being told that in a real-life scenario I would have to “go away” this trimester had it all and will always be one of the memorable ones for me.

Without taking too emotional I should start with my blog, As our major project, we were told to either come up with a TVC or a music video. Me being a musician who was absent from the scene for two years found this as the best opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.


The thing that really made this trimester different from the other ones was that we were given the taste of how real-life projects work when you have a client involved before this it was always very simple we came up with the idea we made something and asked our lecturers for feedback and then it was up to us either to implement them or not and feedback meetings weren’t so crucial as at the end of the day we were graded for what we made.

This tri we were told that Scott will be acting as a client and we were to be attending client meetings take regular feedback and suggestion imply it on our product and to reflect those changes and if they were not going to work give a proper rational reason and alternate options.

Along with that, we were also taught the importance of client employee relation and how to manage your work provide updates meet deadlines and be always transparent with your workflow. Before this trimester it was not as crucial to update your workflow and schedules but this trimester taught us how to successfully run your own production house and how to work as a team.



I showed my song to Isira and instantly he liked the whole theme and now it was up to us to convince the other group member and Scott to get the green light for this project. For this we had to come up with a very strong director treatment cause usually in our previous trimester we lacked in our pitches or did it half-heartedly causing our even good ideas being overlooked cause we did not pitch it properly.

We worked on the storyboard as the song was based on the real-life events of my past and was linked directly with the lyrics me and isira came up with the screenplay and narrative we decided to show the deep corners of the artist mind the dark place which involved all the troubles he faced and how he came out of it and reinvented himself as a new and improved person. My music was highly influenced by the artist called NF so we set out for a moody mysterious tone with the dark contrasty look.

The pitch was approved and we went into the pre-production phase.

Pre Production

As soon as we got our pitch approved we set out to look for locations this was particularly hard for me as with a short team we didn’t have any producer or production designer. So all of this was equally distributed among the teammates. I started searching on the internet and on rental websites for an abandoned house turns out there arent many in Brisbane and even if there are it’s very hard to get the permission to film something there due to the hazards and risks involved in an unsupervised building.

But as we did not want to go the easy route to create our own set up in void I motivated myself to take the responsibility and found a few locations that i saw on the internet myself and the team went to the locations we liked and out of the three locations we chose the one that was the most relatable to the video.

This is something I personally felt i did well as I always ran away from the responsibility of talking to owners and getting the location release forms signed  as a post-production student I have always shied away from these responsibilities  but i released that my goal is to have my own label and in that regards I will have to step my game up and take these responsibilities.

Although I did lack in the paperwork which later created a problem as I realised we don’t have the relevant paperwork signed from the actors and if any of them decided they don’t want them being featured in the video it can potentially cause us to take of the video.

This whole task helped me realise that how going forward it is important to get the proper forms and signatures from the artist rather than just getting a non-formal agreement signed as it does not hold any power. Also how to manage my paperwork properly.

The second thing was the production design even this role was something I did not do before but due to having a clear vision in our head and through our Directors treatment we exactly knew what props to order and we ordered them online and got our costumes ready.

I also learned how to do the AV script which going forward in a real-life scenario will help me deal with the music video in a more professional and organised manner.

The thing we all as a team lacked was the paperwork which included everything from call sheets to lighting plan to location release form and talent released form and in a real-life scenario would’ve reflected really bad on us and potentially caused us to lose a client.

On the plus side having a clear idea and getting the AV script ready and being in multiple shoots gave us the experience to exactly know what equipment to hire and how much to spend on the video.


As the day of shoot approached we were to have a client meeting where we had to show all our paperwork and we failed to provide the paperwork to Scott we were told to upload all the paperwork before we are given the thumbs up to shoot our first day of video. When we went and started to upload the relevant files we were told that one of our group member who was managing the lighting plan did not have a clear idea of the whole video. Just 3 days before our actual shoot we were told this which really panicked us.

This was a mistake on all of our ends and as a team, I think we could’ve done better and we realised why Scott emphasised on keeping the schedules updated so everyone was on the loop and we also would’ve had a proof that we were having regular meetings.

This gap in communication led one of our members to leave our group three days before our shoot who was managing the transportation and also the actors. But this really showed us how to work under pressure and how having a plan b and hoping for the best but thinking for the worst to happen can lead to having good alternates.

I discussed with Isira already that if our group member fails to come up with the transportation do we have a back up and he said no so I personally made sure I had talked to some of the car rentals to keep a van free and also had back up actors available the good thing about music video is you can get anyone to act as long as your direction is good which we did.

So on the negative side we failed to manage our paperwork and have a proper communication but on the positive side we managed to no delay our shoot and work very well under pressure and due to having a good work ethic and helping other students from different classes like Alfred  in their projects in the past gave us a good reputation so when we needed their help they came to help us out.


Post Production 

As an editor and colourist, I had to come up with the narrative that we initially pitched, due to a limitation with our shots, especially in the abandoned house due to the family being in a rush to leave and not having sufficient footage I had to work around the edit. The thing that I have learnt over the years is that if you go through your rushes long enough you will find the right clips even when you think you don’t have them.

But in our case, I was fortunate enough that due to Isira’s direction and Alfred’s amazing skills behind the camera we had a lot of footage to play around with except for the family scene and due to their bad acting it was a pain to edit it.

Throughout the post-production phase I kept updating the schedule and avoided the mistake I made in the preproduction phase also I regularly went for the client meeting and with each new draft, I booked a meeting with Scott this really helped me finesse my product.

I actively took all the feedback implied it on the product and if it didn’t worked came up with an alternate option gave a concise idea of how the edit is going to look like and what effects will be used and how the narrative will be played.

The areas I could’ve improved would be the sfx and foley sound as I felt like that was not done as it should’ve and it would’ve made the final product even better. Overall i felt like apart from going late on a few meeting that reflected bad on my image I did everything that a good editor should do with having a very clean and clear workflow and handled the 4k footages exceptionally well and be using davanci resolve to color grade the product showed how I picked up all the things I learned during this trimester and used it to enhance my knowledge and also prepare myself for real-life client-based work.

Were we successful

I believe so, As our client was satisfied with our work and our initial pitch although not completely matching our footage still have got the story across, which was further proved by the feedback we got on social media where we got an amazing response and appreciation from the public regarding our storyline and how the whole plot was conveyed across.

Although we did not completely got the whole thing across as we pitched the idea was to get the plot across to the artist-audience which we were successful in i’d like to mention that due to the hurdles we faced and losing one crew member and the initial actors we still managed to stand our ground and deliver a product that looks good and has a good overall quality and is something that we can show in our portfolio.

I would also like to add that although we got a warm and cold response from the panel due to the reason that there were some lip sync issues due to dealy problem in the machine that really gave a bad impression and having the scribble effect and family scene which was not really liked by the panel as they believed that the idea did not come across and having an obvious issue of having the product in a different language did not really get the story across.

Would I change the product, I guess not as this was initially discussed that the scribble effect will be used to give that psychedelic effect and the editing phase was very transparent and the client and director were up to date with all the drafts i believe we did manage to meet the client expectations and with experimental films its always a risk that your idea might not get across.

With that being said I would also bring forward the fact that in less then 24hrs the video got 5k views online with a very positive response from the viewer which was the main goal and with great numbers which are only increasing with time I believe we managed to achieve the goal we set out to be.

Also attaching some of the screenshots of the progress of the video




What could’ve been done better and what is commendable.

Overall the first thing that is very obvious is keeping our schedules up to date and keeping our workflow transparent so that when we work with a big crew no one is left behind and every one knows exactly whats going on. Also to work better on our time management and if having better communication with team members even if things are not going well. At the same time I will like to mention that we fixed the issues we had with our member learnt from our mistake which helped us had a better understanding with our new member

I will also like to mention that although we lost a member I still believe we worked really well as a team with our new member and worked well under pressure and not only that we did not compromise on the quality of our work we wanted our projects to be the ones that our teacher would show the next studio 3 trimester and tell them how we managed to come around the problems we faced and still managed to meet the client expectation.

To see our final project please click on the link below


Blog – Product Shot



Probably the most exciting and challenging part for me this trimester was the product shot. As unlike the other filming was ive done i was fairly new to the concept of the product shot. Which required us to do a lot of research.

First and formost was to decide which product are we going to film. Scott at the begining of this task already told us the problems that are faced with transparent bottles due to all the hotspots and reflections that are created but we still decided to challenge ourselves and go for the idea to film the grey goose vodka bottle.

Our aim was to target a sophisticated younger audience and give our ad a cool classy touch which was seen throughout Grey Goose Ads and in recent time grey goose has been seen coming up with new innovative bottle design to target a younger market.



One thing that we noticed was that Grey Goose had a theme, especially for its still images to have a blue backdrop with a radial white vignette and to give the bottle that white chilled look that pop out from the background. Did we achieve that target? Let’s find out.

Pre Production Phase

First of all the main thing that that we noticed was that most of the ads had a shiny base that reflects the bottle so myself and Isira went out to Bunnings, and other workshops to find either a black shiny tile or any material that can reflect the bottle. We found partial success as we did find a shiny paper but the problem was the size was not to big and we were forced to use another base which wasn’t as reflective as we had planned, This being said going forward we would probably give our self some more time and exact places to search for to get a proper base for our product.

Then came the backdrop we decided to put our light behind a diffused white backdrop which will give it the soft vignette look that we were going for the problem was that we couldn’t find a big enough white drop on the first day and the white cloth that we bought had wrinkles note to self never bring a cloth to set without ironing it if you are planning to use it as a backdrop. We were fortunate enough that Scott arranged us a backdrop that worked like a charm but in a real-life scenario we would’ve faced a lot of difficulty because of not preparing ourselves when it comes to our set preparation.

We also decided to get the martini and the olives to replicate the image shown at the start of this blog.

Test Shoot

We were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to try out our own lighting before Nicks workshop class. On the day of the test shoot we came on the set and realise that the bottle we were supposed to shoot is still not here yet and we had to do the test shoot on a Bacardi bottle the problem with this was that when it came to the actual bottle shoot we had to alter the lighting as both the bottle have a different texture and technically it was hard to light the Bacardi bottle because it was of transparent nature while the grey goose has a bit of a frosted look which is comparatively easier.

Lighting Set Up

We decided to put our primary light on the backdrop and light it from behind rather than the front what this did was evenly distributed the light and gave a radial spread throughout. We used an arri 750 light as our primary sorce and to light the bottle we used to kinos and dido lights to fill an remove any hotspots this was the result we achieved.


but because we didnt had our actual bottle for the shoot that day we couldnt really get any other shot except for the hero shot but we record our lighting set up which came in handy later on.

Nick’s Workshop

The next day we came prepared with the martini glass and the actual bottle. When we started the workshop and showed the reference picture to Nick. He suggested us to go for the standard lighting by using our primary light from the front rather then from the back.

Since it was a way to learn and see different options and not an actual ad we got the opportunity to try out another option and it also helped us realise that the research that we did on the lighting ourselves worked out better in this case as it was closer to the reference image as Nick’s lighting looked very appealing but had more of spread out dreamy look rather then a radial lighting look we were going for. We also put a light behind the bottle to make it glow more and to remove any extra shadows. Problems we faced was that the bottle had a transparent logo in the middle and frosted look top and bottom which caused the top of the bottle to be lit beautifully but the bottom part was a little underexposed which was later fixed in the post.



Lenses we used for this product shot varied from Macro Lens and wide lenses mostly 85mm this was because it help us got the tight clean sharp image. But apart from this, we need to make sure we don’t cause any lens distortion if we put the camera to close to the bottle it might make it bulge out which can be fixed in post but its always better to film it right the first time.

So we put the camera 4 to 5 feet away from the product and we filmed it in Ultra High Definition to make sure any distortion is avoided.

Once the shoot was done and I went through the rushes I realised that our footage was not to creative and apart from the hero shot none of the shot looked really appealing and looked very one directional and dull. This was because we did not came with a proper shot list and did not stick to the plan which in a real life scenario would have potentially made us lost a client. But since this was our learning medium we decided to to reshoot the whole thing. Another thing that we realised was the lighting we initially used looked close to the reference image so we decided to go back to the drawing board came up with a new shot list and went back for another day of the shoot.

Second Day of Shoot 

This time we were prepared and believe it or not it took us only 3 hours to get all the shots we needed for our product shot and apart from the hero shot all the shots in our ad was used from the second day of shot.

We decided to replicate the lighting for a shoot day put our key light behind our backdrop and used two fill lights.

We also made sure we used our props as Scott suggested us to shoot a martini olive dropping shot and we also got more creative with our camera angles which made it easier for me to edit the product shot at the end.

Post Production

This is where my role came in to play after going through all the rushes and transcoding it. I realised that due to two different setups of lighting I will have lighting inconsistency so rather than freaking out I decided to give a whole day learning to match two differentl lighting set up and matching them in davinci resolve before starting my edit.

Once the edit was locked and approved we decided to go for the score that was initially used by the Grey Goose ad itself rather than the one we were planning to use as it gave a bit of a mystery to the whole product.

Once the edit and grade was finalised I went back in to the hero shot as Scott suggested to use the smoke and brighten the bottle up as initially it had a yellowish tone so I had to mask out the bottle in resolve and add some glow and added some more smoke that complimented with the logo that we were using of the grey goose that had a smoke/mist and by blending in some more smoke/mist footage with the logo footage it gave it an extra chilled out feel.


By the end of it we came up with a very solid edit that the panel liked and the only thing that according to the panel would’ve caused us problem was the fact that during our edit we used a mirror image of the bottle and although it looked very appealing it ruined the logo text and for an actual client that is something you dont temper with so as an editor I learnt never to muck up the text regardless of how good it looks.


Green Screen & Composting

The masterclass regarding green-screen and composting helped me greatly with my post work as I already had some knowledge of composting and green-screen but over the time forgot the fundamental rules of green screen marking and also the reasons behind the traditional way of marking and composting because before this class I only knew what the standard distance and colour of markers are but never really knew the reason why they are there.


First of all for any green screen object to be tracked during the post work it needs to be perfectly marked and for that following factors are to be kept in mind. First is what color of the markers should be used. Steve told us that why it is always better to use black and white markers as the softwares that we use to track markers find it easier to find these colours due to the contrast but sometimes even this can get tricky as if we are using the black colour it might be hard to extract it when their are hair involved in a shot. Like in our exercise Steve put a marker right behind our actors hair which in a real world scenario you would try to avoid as it can be tedious and time consuming to extract the marker behind the hair due to the same colour but keeping that in mind color markers can also be a problem if the circumstances are not correct for example using a blue marker will require two keys which can be a problem for the wardrobe and props and also some cameras dont work well with such colour transitions and leave behind a visible difference in the keying of the shots.

Another key factor that I learnt was how many markers should be used for example in a moving shot Steve advised to have at least 3 markers making a triangle reason behind this is that even if we move if one of the markers move out of the filming frame another is added and having a triangle shape or a rectangular one allows the camera tracker to track points horizontally and vertically.

Also while putting the markers make sure you have a good knowledge about the positioning cause in our case we were given the challenge to remove the markers from behind the gnome’s head which in an ideal situation should-be been avoided because if you are putting a marker behind an object you will need to rotoscope it and mask it out step by step.

With markers being set the other key factors are the lighting, the camera that is being used and also the distance between the green screen and the object being filmed.


First we come to the lighting of the green screen for that we need to make sure that we use to lights to light the green screen at equal distances and get them centered so they can light the green screen evenly because if the light is not being emitted evenly on the green screen it will leave behind shadows which will appear in your backdrop making it difficult to key.

It’s always a good idea to have some distance from the actor and the green screen preferably around 2 meters as this allows you to leave more space for you to set up the light and evenly disturbute it  as this will help you avoid any shadow being cast by the actors and also assisting in easier access to setting the green screen lights.

Most importantly once you have eliminated all the shadows and evenly lit the green screen you need to make sure your primary light is in the same direction as the plate that you are going to apply, in our case our primary light for the plate was the sun in a diagnoal direction coming from the window. So we had to replicate it in a way that it matches our plate if we fail to do that you will have lights coming from a direction which might not look natural taking away the realistic feel you are going for.


CAMERA SETTING & Distance of Camera from Green Screen

The other important thing that needs to be considered while filming something on a green screen is the camera. The camera that is being used should either film on 4k or ultra HD reason for this is that any camera that is having a codec that is compressing the footage will cause your green screen footage to have pixellated results which will be shown in the form of small boxes i.e pixels that will make your shot look unappealing to the eye another factor is that filming in 4k allows the post-production process easy as they have more room to play with effects resizing and also framing repositioning after we track the camera.

We need to make sure that the markers are in focus and are easy to track for that we adjust our depth of field and usually use an f-stop of 2.3 with a low gain setting as we don’t want to overexpose our footage or clip anything. We are also required to note down the lens we use for filming as it should be the same when you create a camera in After Effects otherwise your plate would not match your footage.

Secondly, we are also required to measure the distance of the camera and the end of the set and to the end of the green screen, and also the measurement of the camera lens from the ground. So when we get to the Post-production and are setting up the plate we have a reference point which matches your measurement.


After you have filmed the shot we take our footage into the software to key out the green screen and mask out the markers and use our desired backdrop, but for that, we need to have a proper understanding on which software can be used usually its one of the following

– Nuke
– Fuse
– Sony Vegas
– After Effects

In our case, we used After Effects, now before we get into the procedure on how to apply the backdrop and removing the green screen I’d like to address the problems that I faced while filming and working on the post with this particular scene. First of all was the distance between the green screen and our set up was not sufficient which caused us some trouble while lighting the set up as it is always safe to have some distance which can help when it comes to the Z axis of the tracking and giving depth to your shot, but more importantly giving you enough room to light your shot.

The other challenging task set by Steve to have a marker right behind the gnomes head now it isn’t a big problem in this case as the shot was fairly simple but having a complicated shot could’ve made this task fairly difficult and time-consuming as it takes time to extract a frame by masking out each frame. So going forward we were told to always make sure of where we position our markers.

On the minor difficulties was while filming the shot we had issues with the dolly which made the shot a bit shaky which going forward is something I would keep in mind as during post work it caused some issues when we applied the backdrop as it made it hard to track the shot and make the background more believable due to an unstable shot

Now when it comes to having your greenscreen removed we use a keying tool which is built in. In all the software that is mentioned above what that does is it extract the color that you choose from the shot and make it transparent. In our case its the color green, We usually extract color blue and green because these two colors are not found in our pigment and can be extracted completely.

Once you apply the keying plug in you have to play around with the whites and blacks on the shot with black showing the parts that are being shown in the color and white as the ones that have been extracted we need to mask out the tracking points while masking them out adjust the feather and the expansion of the mask in a way that it looks as natural as possible after the masking is done for the markers you need to remove any chatter or spill of the greenscreen to give your footage that clean natural look.

For that what i usually do is duplicate the keyed layer  and use key cleaner and further using an advanced spill suppressor to get rid of any additional noise by now your footage should have most of the spill and noise removed the next step would be to track the camera what that does is that it track down all the motion analyse it and extract all the 3d movement in the form of keypoints. This 3d data helps you to put a 3d object or a background layer in 3d space over your 2d footage.

In our case we are applying a background to our green plate so by using the data collected by our camera tracker we can create a 3d Camera that allows us to track and parent our background layer to the exact position in 3d space by copying the position values and applying it on our background layer what this does is it creates a movement that is being generated by our tracking camera and apply the metadata on the background to make it move seemlessly with our camera.

Once the plate has been set on to the trackers we need to adjust the size to a place where it pleases the eyes and looks natural once we are happy with the position we can use different effects and fake lights and lens flares to make the added background look more natural in our case we used an adjustment layer and diffused it to give that dreamy look but we can also use optical flares and give that sunshining look and we can also change the blur level of the background for it to blend in with the footage finally once we are happy with the look and have applied a grade to our footage we can add a grain on to our footage and change the blending mood to give our footage that film look.


Experimental Film- Brain Dead Blog #1

Its been a long time since I have updated my blogs since I was busy with other modules but now that I am in studio 3. I am happy to get back to writing blogs and reflect on my progression this trimester. Today I will be talking about the experience I gained from the experimental film.

Experimental Films VS  Traditional Filmmaking

For me, personally Experimental films are a form of expanded cinema as it not only breaks the traditional barriers of filmmaking but also leaves us to derive our own interpretation. It makes the audience engage in the film and look beyond what is visually scene this is a good way to enters the director vision and see how closely can you understand the meaning behind the film that is being shown.

Most of the films that are experimental are independent and breaks the convention of the normal standardised films and rather then having to much dialogues it rely more on the visual aspects of the films which can be a challenge for filmmakers who are more focused on the script then to drive the story just by visuals.

An experimental film can either be abstract with the story driven from arts music colors or it can even be surreal and break the 4th wall which is widely used in  the music videos and having a keen interest in making music videos I really wanted to explore experimental film.

The Concept 
The idea that I came up with for this experimental film was to show how mass media is brainwashing the consumer it was influenced by one of the music video by Vinnie Paz called the end of days. Link below.

As seen in the video the starting bit how it shows stock footages and voice over that drives the story with having trippy visuals and as you can see how media is brainwashing us this is the type of feel we wanted to give that conspiracy theory vibes with the help of the TV effects and random stock footages that leads to an organised story that gives you the idea of brainwashing. Which we used in our experimental film.

Now the challenging part was that this idea has been out there alot of time but we wanted it to look visually appealing by using color to show the climate control and also breaking the forth wall and giving the TV a life of its own another influence for this film was VIDEODROME  as you can see in the poster how the human is being faded away and in to the static TV.


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None the less apart from having a very basic concept we went for a contrasty look and did some research on how to light it in a neo noir manner and reflect the climate control through the use of Lighting.

Now the risky part of experimental films is how it is received by the viewer and do you get your ideas across, In our case the idea was pretty simple and easy to understand so we wanted to use some technical use of the lights and visuals like how there was a POV shot of the TV looking at him and having a time lapse and also the color changing mid-scene from blue to red showing cold to hot weather.

But we were not quite successful in doing this as our guest lecturer Heidi did not get that idea across this was the valuable lesson for us which later on was even more clear with our major project when some of the ideas could not be clear to the panel and that is the risk involved with experimental film whether the audience interpret the message or not.





Unlike our class other group who had an artistic piece which involved colours dissolving and gave freedom to the viewer to come up with there own narrative we wanted to get our idea across and had a very solid concept behind it. Cause with Experimental films usually it allows the audience to come up with their own conclusion and then tally it with the director’s vision to see if the ideology matched or not.

In this regard, we were successful to get our idea across of having a desensitisation of the human brain due to high consumption of media.




Apart from having a fresh thought-provoking idea we need to realise the audience that we are targetting for because most of the time your experimental film would be only targetting a certain audience and not the mainstream and if you are in to traditional filmmaking it can be hard to attract a huge audience and not everyone would appretiate or understand the concept so in order to have an experimental film being understood in my opinion you as a director need to have a good background and hold of the concept you came up with which can be challenging as this was the first feedback from the lecturers that we had to learn the hard way was that the idea was too obvious and going forward we will always keep this in consideration although one good thing came out for having an idea that have been tried and filmed before is that we had a clear vision and we came up with a quality product and with having a good strong visual concept it was easy for us to put that idea to be technically laid out on the screen.


How can I use Experimental Films in the future


I think for me this whole assignment made me look at experimental films differently because not only its just visual art blasted at you that goes on top of your head they actually are very deep and meaningful before this experimental film and without any prior research I used to always avoid these films as they just went over the top for me.

This whole assignment made me respect the filmmakers who make such films as its not easy because first of all you are working with an audience who will critically analyse your work and unlike traditional films they will come up with there analysis and interpretation so not only do you have to work countless hours coming up with an artist piece you have to be ready for some really harsh reviews if you are unable to get your message across.

People might appreciate it or hate it and if you are not clear of your own story or have not done a proper check on it and fail to explain it then chances are you wont be successful in your experimental film.

This whole idea of getting on top of your story and when having little to no dialogues makes everything to be reliable on the sound design and the visuals this is what really helped me on how to break the conventions use negative spacing while filming the shoot and using inconsistent lighting and not the conventional editing style broadened my cinematography skills as  I was given the freedom to film it and edit it without following the normal conventions.

Which further helped me when I was making my music video in which I used all these filming techniques from having to show surrealism through our cinematography and abstract forms from using different color schemes and driving a story with nothing but visuals.

This is something  I noticed in most of the experimental film that how random these shots look like and if you don’t follow them you might not get the idea across but most of the times it is leading to a conclusion. Which is something that can help you in your traditional filmmaking by using these techniques to enhance your subtextual context.

It also helped me to derive a meaning from every visual not just with our own experimental film but other music videos that often seem to be random but if you look into the directors treatment you realise they do have a meaning behind it and that’s what makes it unique otherwise if it really was random and on your face it would be just bad filming in my opinion.




As a post-grad student, I found it easy to drive the story more by the edit and spend less time on the visual effects or colour grading. It was easier for me to follow the conventions of having a basic consistent colour grade throughout the film and the edit should be consistent and organised. But this was not the case with the Experimental film as this helped me open up my horizon as an editor with having random cuts, even having loose shots to register and using stock footages with glitch effects to give that surreal trippy feeling this is something I would not have done usually and it got me out of my comfort zone.

For example while filming brain dead we decided to show the two worlds that our protagonist had to witness. The real world and the surreal one. The illusion and the reality. Which was achieved by using two schemes of light the blue ambient room with the TV on showed that it was the real world on which the whole video starts and then using the red light to show his state of mind and to show how mass media control is working over  his mind as seen on the last shot where you could see his head turn into a TV and the red shade implying that he has completely been hypnotised with the effect of TV and his life has become an illusion on its own and this whole lighting idea was influenced by the music video STARBOY as in that music clip the video starts off from a wide shot of weeknd being killed by the new more determined and reckless alter ego.



Overall we were quite satisfied with the final product but going forward I think we can do a lot more improvement when it comes to our time management although we did everything that we have learnt from the previous trimesters which meant coming a day earliet to set up the lighting that we had to use and to make sure how the props are going to be handelled. Having a script ready and not using unwanted equipment or gears but going forward what I would definitely recommend is to make sure that if we are using heavy props and gear we need an extra pair of hands to vacate the location without being late and to make sure that everyone in the team is fit and able to help pack up so that at the end we dont face any issues and more importantly will always come with ideas that are achievable with minimum props as we are having a small group this trimester so would look forward to have ideas that are easy to make and yet effective.

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