Blog#13 How Studio 1 made me love Blogs

Well here we are on to the last week of our Studio 1, As you must be aware that on the start of this venture I mentioned how I hate to write blog reason being that I am the type of person who can express my ideas through pictures rather than words.

But this trimester have been an eye opener for me in various aspects of the industry it changed how I look at production, D.o.P, Direction and overall making me a better filmmaker but the biggest change I found in myself was that I dont hate writing blogs anymore. Yes it came as a shock to me as well when I started to look forward to write blogs.

Reason, why it happened, is simple when I saw very established filmmakers and VFX artist reflecting on their work and helping other by their experience and promoting there work through the medium of blogs helped me realize it’s not just about the practical work sometimes you need to keep a journal in the form of blogs which help your followers learn and to help them see the backstory behind your product.

Another thing I really liked about this assignment was the encouragement our teacher gave us as I could not understand the assignment at first and started writing film reviews which I loved personally to write and I might start regular blogging on film reviews as I got a very good feedback from people about my critical analysis but when I found out that I was doing the assignment wrong I got really upset thinking that all that work would count to nothing because I could not understand the assignment but Heidi supported my work and told us its all about the effort and making the students to come and express more through blogging this motivation and encouragement really helped me and made me want to do more which I tried to do through my recent blogs.

 

At the end I would just like to say that I would keep on continuing to write the blogs and better my skills at writing and come up with regular reviews and posts about the new things I learnt.

Blog# 12 Practical VFX in Christopher Nolan’s films

Today I will reflect the blog written about VFX in Nolan’s films by   in this article they had VFX Artist Mark Weingartner who have worked on films like The Dark Knight and Dunkirk for Christopher Nolan.

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He explain how VFX is not only about flares and explosions and unreal effects but the true beauty of VFX can be shown through subtle and hard to identify effects.

“There’s an interesting issue of philosophy in VFX, which is constantly evolving. In the case of the pictures Mr. Nolan is making, he really doesn’t want flash visual effects, the VFX aren’t supposed to draw your attention to how cool they are. It’s all in service of the story and wherever we can do something practically we will.”  Mark Weingartner

Since working as an experienced VFX artist in one of the most sophisticated Post films like inception, Matrix, Batman The Dark Knight Mark has clearly got the right way of dealing with the VFX as the new age VFX artist try to make there work look prominent and visible for the viewers, Mark believes that if you do your work correctly it would be very hard to tell which shots are treated with VFX and which are not its like you cant tell if they were there.

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As you can see in this film of Jackie Chan the whole shot is treated so well in Post its almost impossible to tell that the background is infact greenscreen,  The integration of images should be subtle that you cant tell if there was an effect involved this is possible when Post artist work along side the production department and merge the Practical VFX with CGI for this he tells us how its good to be on the set and gather up images and get as much resources and assets you can gather on the day of the shoot to make your VFX as subtle and smooth as possible.

“In the case of pictures Mr.Nolan’s making, He  really doesn’t want flash  visual effects, the visual effects aren’t supposed to draw your attention how cool  they are its all in the service of the story.” Mark Weingartner

So Mark Weingartner in his interview tell and infact teaches the new age of VFX artist how its not important to show off your skills as a VFX if the story is not being driven but infact using the least amount of VFX that you can to achieve your result and making it feel original and believable.

Below is the full interview.

 

Blog #11 Using Audio Swells for transitions

Hello there almost near the end of the trimester but that doesnt mean the blogging will stop today I am going to reflect a very interesting blog I cam across with on RocketStock its about Audio Swell, now you must be thinking what is Audio Swell may be you already know about it or may be you dont. Either way this blog will help you know more about it and how effectively you can use it as a transition from one scene to another.

For us to understand how to use Audio swells we need to know what they are, The audio swells are basically an sfx that gradually amp up to cut to a scene most commonly we can use swell through music, foley or sound effects.

We have seen transitions used on audio which are basically dip to black, cross dissolves etc similar to that we got audio transition now in this blog they talked about how with simple techniques we can make a transition be much more dramatic and seamless.
First step to have any sfx is to have the right sound now if you  are not sure which sound to get or you dont have a great foley to work with the best way is to get it online and there are plenty of sites for it but I usually go for Premiumbeat as they are cheap and have a clean crips sound

 

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Now once you have your sound selected kindly look in to the tutorial by Zach Ramelan on how to use the swell and swoosh sound. Link below

 

Now that you are aware of what swell sounds are and how to effectively use them in your edits let me give you a brief detail about why it is important to use them.

Firstly it engages the audience to anticipate subconscious of  a change in scene, secondly we can use it as a way to remove any pop sounds or any abrupt dialogues or change in environmental sound as it acts as a bridge. Most importantly it sets up a mood for the viewer and if done correctly can make your scene transitions more appealing.

One thing you learn in editing is rather than using dissolves and dip to blacks you are suppose to use the techniques like shot cuts, and audio transitions because that can make your film have a more diegetic  effect.

Hope this blog helps in regards to the audio transitions the original link to the blog is mentioned below.

https://www.rocketstock.com/blog/using-audio-swells-premiere-pro/

Blog #10 How to set color temprature

When it comes to color temperature it seems easy and sounds like its something that can be determines without any trouble but most of the time we ignore its importance which can cause serious damage to a well shot footage.

In this blog my blogger reflected ways to easily set color temperature first and foremost thing is DONT USE THE AUTO WHITE BALANCE UNLESS YOU’RE A NOOB, I have heard this way to many times by our teachers that its been engraved in the back of my head.

So how can we set a good color temperature first would be to memorise the Color Temperature Chart if you find it hard then just keep a copy with you before each shoot so that you do not go in to the color range that might ruin everything.
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For a good set of color you should know the range you want to shoot your film and what tone you are going for.

Secondly use a light meter, Most of the camera come with a built in meter but if you want to go for a professional video and minimising any sort of error when it comes to light the Fstop the shadows or the highlights a light meter is your best friend.

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With a simple push of a button it can determine how your scene is lit how much the F.Stop value should be for a shallow depth of field if you are using green screen is your light even and to determine that your shadows arent under exposed and high lights arent being over exposed.

There are different type of models, some are even compatible with your mobile phones and the best way to use them are either by having them near your eye or your nose as those are the area that reflects the light the most and make sure the white ball is towards the camera on the light meter.

But what if you ended up shooting the footage with the wrong white balance that makes your footage look like it was either shot in the sahara desert due to its orange tinge or cooler than the Mount Everest tones. Well then there is always post to fix it although Its not preferable as when it comes to color its always the best option to get it shot perfectly in production phase but it still can be fixed in post.

For this you need to identify if you  have white balance issues this can be done easily if you have a reference in your footage like a white material once you hover your mouse on it in premiere the RGB all should have the same value in percentage if they vary on the white reference material then your white balance is not right.

So if you’re footage is not properly balanced you need to look in to the waveform and identify which one of the color in the RGB is not evenly distributed by looking at color wheel and the margins.

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Once you identify it you go to color correction in effects and tweak with the color wheel by picking the whitest object in the scene and color pick it which will shift the color of the footage to a more neutral look.

Once thats done tweak the wheel color by offsetting the wheel color till you get something you like. You can also change the luminescence setting in this effect panel to make sure the footage is visible.

But if you’re still unsatisfied you can always go for 3 way color corrector which give you more control over the highlights and the shadows.  A very useful tutorial I found on the blog article is the one shared below which goes in depth on fixing your white balance in post.

I am also going to use this for our short film and in my coming blogs will show how I fixed up some of the shots that were not balanced properly when it came to lighting.

Hope this helps.

Blog#09 News about Editing that you might have missed Part 2

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Alright so the wait is over, I had to do some research and go in depth with the 5th feature in the editing world that is becoming more and more dominant in the film industry. From “fixing it in the post” to actually “making it in the post” compositing has played a vital role.

But it has its downside too the more we are getting involved with CGI and VFX the old school filmmakers and lovers have some what mixed filling about the new era of post work films. The reason for this is that not all but many of the vfx is just to obvious which makes it a bad experience for the viewer. So today I will be reflecting on my bloggers post in depth regarding the art of invisible composoting for that I would like you to watch this video first and see  how many of composited shot can be identified.

 

 

Well if you are a lover of post work you would have loved how Roy Peker and other beautifully used the skills of composoting rotoscoping matting to bring you something so subtle. Well the reason why we get so much negative feed back about VFX is because it is so manifested. As Freddie Wong said “The reason why we think CGI is bad is because we only see bad CGI.” by that he meant that we have been using CGI for decades now and with time we are getting better but excessive use of anything can be bad as the use of vfx become too obvious can cause disbelief which can cause the viewer to be distracted from the story.

 

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Most often a bad cgi experience can ruin the whole story and effort because as a viewer you are bound to expect good things from a big budget production and if you slack off you might risk all the previous good work go to shit creek as people remember more about the bad work then the good work. Like you might and might not remember the countless time the walking dead show use great work of compositing and cgi but one thing you will never forget is the badly made cgi deer or the extremely basic cardboard cut out back drop in the junkyard scene behind Rick or the time when Marvel used  the awful looking claws on wolverine origin. Yes we noticed that and we wont forget it.

Well with that being said as a Post student I ask this to a lot of people myeslf that does vfx really ruins the movies well I get a mixed response but then I got examples of films like Avatar, Matrix, Lord of the rings the great gatsby and many more where most of the people are left awestruck and even ask me where do you thing they would’ve filmed this and when I say its CGI they find it hard to believe until I show them the breakdown of the films.

One great example of good CGI that I came across was the one used in the video essay made by  RocketJump Film School. Where they used the example of films like Mad Max Fury Road to strengthen their argument about good CGI but as many must have said that the Director made use of practical props they seem to ignore the fact that a lot of work still happened in CGI which made it such a great film as they merged both post work and production design and practical shooting elements to give us such a great  visual experience. So although its said to be a film based on practical shooting rather then CGI but if you look at the breakdowns behind the scenes and the interviews you will see alot of work and time was put in making these shots in post and making it look believable with that being said please have a look at the video essay which will be a feast for the eye and an eye opener if you are skeptical towards CGI.

 

Research and Reference
https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/the-art-of-composing-in-vfx/

https://www.rocketstock.com/blog/video-editing-news-may-missed/

Role of a 1st AD

As the days pass by we are getting closer and closer to our short film project and this time I am suppose to play the role of a 1st AD now if you know me you’d know that me and pre production never really bonded well until I became a student at SAE.

Well as I progress through each trimester I am learning new things about production and they have been very fruitful to me as I used that experience in one of my sound project where I helped in directing and screen play but for my short film these skills would be put to test.

As this trimester has nothing but amazingly educational for me and have progressful for me it came to me a surprise when I was told by Heidi that I will be doing first AD in our short film. At first I would be honestly I felt like the floor slipped beneath my feet as this is a very big role and I have never thought about seeing myself as an AD. But in time I realised that up till now I have been challenged by Heidi to bring out the best in me as a film student and I am sure she must’ve considered a lot to see how I will perform in something outside my comfort zone and for this reason I wont shy away from my role.

With that being said let me briefly tell you the tasks of a first AD I have done some research by looking in to articles and videos of youtube which will be mentioned in the end of this article and then I will discuss on the duties I will perform in my Short Film Project.

Well a first AD roles act as a team leader through out the film from the preproduction phase till the end of the shoot the most important tasks for any first AD is

  • Scheduling
  • Follow the Schedule
  • Health and Safety

Scheduling Phase

After the script have been written and finalised the Assistant Director goes through the script and come up with a script break down and make the shot list a shot list contains of the scheduling of the shots that needs to be recorded on shooting day and their order of filming  and how much time each shot will take.

During this phase the Assistant director work closely with the Director and come up with filming schedule & storyboard for this he needs to be aware of the availability of the cast and crew the budget, Location hiring and timings, Weather forecast any other external factors that might effect the shooting.

With the factors mentioned above in mind the First AD keeps on updating the call sheet which is distributed to every cast and crew members which includes there contact details the shooting logistics & The location details

 

Filming Phase 

The second and most important job for an AD is once the schedule has been made it need to be followed and making sure everything is being done in a timely manner and the shot list is being followed. There job not only requires them to work with the cast and crew but also keep things organised on the set.

For this they need to make the director aware of the shots being filmed how much time we have left and weather or not they should extend the timing for those shots and update in their schedule.

They also needs to be a bridge between the crew and the director and making sure that the production goals are met at the end of the day for this very reason a First AD must be punctual, have an eye for details, be a motivator and a leader must be flexible and adaptable and to work under pressure.

Health & Safety

Probably one of the most dominant duties of a first AD is that everyone is safe. A first AD must foresee any sort of  harm or hazard that might occur on the set and remove it and minimize it by briefing the crew and the cast.

He must also be aware of emergency routes near by hospitals and police station and should update them in the call sheets.

Blog#08 News about Editing that you might have missed Part 1

Today I am reflecting my blog that I read about on RocketStock Blog section written by one of the bloggers Jordand Aldredge.  As film students we must be aware by now that in our field nothing stays forever when it comes to technology, techniques, software updates and as the time proceed we come up with easier, faster and better ways to get your work done in the post department. In this blog they discussed about 5 new features for the editors and post students alike.

I will be discussing 4 of the features in this blog hence part 1 and another blog I will write specifically for Digital Compositing which is the 5th feature as I really want to get in to depth of it and want the viewer to really be deeply engaged.

1. Apple drops software prices for students.

Yes this is a great step by Apple as a windows user I always felt that Apple is a bit to expensive for me and even if I get the system for myself I would still not be spending thousands of dollar on the software.

Well it looks like its about to change as in U.S apple has decided to give a huge discount by providing student with softwares as Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4, and MainStage 3 for $199 which originally cost about $630 all you need to do is provide proof of being a U.S student now this is definitely a good move from Apple.

2. Start using Metadata in Premiere. 
If you are an editor one thing that is most essential for a good edit is to have a good workflow and that can not be achieved if the rushes are not easy to work with. With confusing labels and unclear naming conventions.

For this reason we have MetaData if you dont know what that is let me briefly explain you what it is and how it helps us in editing. Metadata is a data on its own that gives information of other data. As an editor if you are working on with a lot of footage or with other editors its very important to have filters and quick searches.

In Premiere we have a whole panel for metadata all you need to do is open it and start labeling your data according to you liking so in a later date if you need to quickly find a footage its only a click away. This not only is compatible with Premiere but it allows you to export your information in XMP format which further allows you to check the metadata in other softwares.

It also helps you tell which footages were recoreded by which cameraman which lenses were use the shot composition all of it can be labelled while going through your rushes for further understanding how this work I am linking the tutorial link below.

3.  An editor in your pocket  “Collect” it right now.

About a few years back we could’ve never thought about making good quality videos on our phone but with the smartphones it has changed each day with new and better camera features make the video so good that it is hard to tell if its taken from your phone or a professional camera.

Up till now we were having the basic editing gadgets in our phone which are good but some what limited but this new app which I downloaded after reading this blog have got me baffled with its amazing features that makes it a great on the go editing app at the reach of your hand.

This app not only allows you to Trim your videos, Time remapping adding color grade to your footage but also it can work on 4k resolution depending on your camera quality more importantly it also allows you a very cool feature of 360 videos on the go and working with multiple clip and adding sounds to it.

Up till now the beta version have got a good response and the developers are planning to launch it on iOS soon here is there promo video.

4. Compose music inside of Premiere

Well this feature introduced by FilmStro that allows user to add an extra panel in premiere that allows the user to edit and compose music score in your edit. all you need to do is download the panel free from their website at Fimstro once you do that it adds on the extensions in your premiere.

They allow the users to play around with some free themes in their library it also includes different mood pallets vocals and music on to your edit well you must be thinking we already have so many websites that have music resources what makes this so good is the preview option and adding keyframes as you scroll through your edit to increase or decrease the gain and selective instrumentals that can be added on or take  out.

Before this if you had to add a music score you had to first buy and download the tune add it on to your project and put it in the audio layer than change the audio levels according to your liking but it was time consuming and you couldnt have changed individual instruments on your music score for that you had to go back to the audio software to compose it but with Filmstro audio panel you can easily change and compose your music score preview the track as you edit on the go.

For a better understanding how this plug in work the guys at FilmRiot came up with a brief and easy tutorial added below

 

Well these were the new and trendy news on the editing world I have yet to mention one more feature that will be discussed in the part 2 of the blog regarding the world of Compositing and CGI as it wouldnt be fair if I dont reflect my intake on that feature in an elaborate manner.