EIGHTEEN – Reflection on the Film

This is my final post regarding my final major project. As mentioned in my last post, I will essentially analyse the film against what I wanted to make.

The first goal of the film was to contain Documented footage of the different landscapes of England during the different seasons. I feel that I have mostly achieved this goal. The majority of the film does contain footage filmed in England. It shows various different types of plants, trees and wildlife during the seasons of Autumn, Winter and Spring. Other footage was filmed during the later parts of Spring on days that would be considered as stereotypically  Summer.  However, some of the footage was not filmed in England and one sequence (A beach sequence) was stock footage. The footage not filmed in the UK was still filmed by myself whilst in Europe. Although I personally feel that it goes against the documenting ethos of filming within the UK,  on reflection I feel to audiences will not know due to the lack of narration. I also feel that, due to the fantasy element and the effects used this will have little to no effect on anyone that should watch this film.

The next goal I wanted to achieve was to include a fantasy element that would create and drive the narrative of the film forward. This was an idea introduced in the second draft of the script, with the introduction of a character that would interact with avatars of the seasons. These avatars were to be masks designed to represent the seasons. The idea was further developed to involve a series of miniature sets that would see the character traverse via chroma keying techniques. Initial edits were created with the sets in a partially built state and animations that showed what the character would do when interacting with the season and set. Perhaps the largest regret I have when it comes to this film is not being able to complete this phase. This was due to unforeseen health conditions that prevented their completion.  I regret not being able to finish them as I feel it cemented the film as being experimental and it made the film more relatable to a wider audience. The final film was representative of the second and third draft with the addition of one or two elements of completed set (seen in the winter sequence).

One of the original ideas was to solely use two lenses that were from the 1970’s that belonged to my father.  The idea was that the documented footage would represent the places that my father introduced me too and that we still go to now on occasion. The lenses were a representation that I am essentially viewing these place through my fathers eyes. As a the film maker, the film still represents this. To the audience, this link is not apparent. Overall I have mixed feelings on this aspect of the film. Personally it makes the film more special to me but by the same token, I feel that some of the shots could have been much more sharp and therefore more visually appealing if I had used a more modern lens such as a 50mm Prime.

Possibly one of my favourite elements of the film was the music. I wanted the songs to be made up of sounds that reflected the elements of the seasons. This was done perfectly in my opinion by the very talented Stuart Ankers. He managed to create four very unique tracks that evoked the feelings I wanted to suggest in the film.  Some parts of the tracks also provided some inspiration for additions to the film. One of which was the linking between the sounds of fireworks for the Autumn track and a synced flashing effect to represent off-screen fireworks. This allowed me to include one of the popular events of bonfire night to the film by linking flashing effects to those sounds. This created a dramatic sequence of footage which I was very happy with.

Finally, in regards to stop motion. I failed to incorporate this in any meaningful way. Again this came down to problems with my health. I did manage to salvage some test stop motion footage and include during the section of spring, but this was a minor part and did little to create visual interest.

In conclusion, I do feel the film had many successful elements. I’m sure many people would see the film as something unremarkable. I understand that, but it was never meant to appeal to a mass audience. It was made on the principle of the act of seeing. Not seeing mass spectacle or exotic imagery, but seeing the simplistic beauty that surrounds every person that lives in England. In many ways it’s a social statement. We live in an age where much of the world has been explored and can be viewed through online outlets. It’s therefore, in my own opinion, easy to  forget about the simple marvels that surround us. I wanted to make a film that shows the places on your doorstep are just as mysterious and magical as the highest peaks and deepest rainforests of distant lands.

My overall feelings are that despite the above mentioned plus points. It will also be the film that was never fully completed. I hope that one day I will get the chance to come back to this film and add the missing parts. I doubt it will be a film that I openly advertise because it serves as a reminder of a very hard, very trying time in my life.

This concludes my blog for this project.

SEVENTEEN – The Vision for the Final Film

In this post I’m going to outline what I wanted to create for my final major film project. As my final post will be an analysis of the film, I feel it’s a good idea to do a post that acts as a check list that essentially helps me see if I’ve achieved the films goals.

First, a little update. Due to the changes the film had a name change. This was because Dad’s Old Glass no longer fitted. The final name was A Journey Through the Seasons of Change. it was changed to this as the new title basically describes what the film is about.

With that mini update done, lets begin.

For my final Major Project, I wanted to:

  • Create an Alternate take on the Documentary Genre

I wanted to show footage that showed British Wildlife and Landscapes during the different seasons. I wanted the images to speak for themselves, without the aid of narration or subtitles. This footage would form the bulk of the film. Basically documenting footage with a what you see is what you get mentally.

  • Include a fantasy element that would drive the Narrative 

I wanted to create a film that had a elements of the fantasy genre in it. These elements would be in the form of masks that acted as avatars of the season. Each mask would invoke a feeling or reaction based on how another character interacts with them. Winter would be the most negative of the seasons, with the character acting hostile towards it. Summer would be the most positive, with the character acting in praise of this season.

  • Use footage captured using specific lens and equipment

All of the films footage would be captured on a 700D using a Helios 44mm Lens and a Optomax 70-210mm lens. I would also use lens filters to in order to emphasise different colours during the shooting phase instead of the post production phase. This was because the original name of the Film, Dads Old Glass. The film intended to use my dads old lens to evoke certain feelings.

  • Use a soundtrack that compromised of Found Sound

The film’s music and only sounds was to be made up of actual sounds that would be used to make soundtracks of each season.

  • Incorporate Miniature Sets that would use green screen techniques to create visual interest

The film would have several miniature sets that acted as cut away sections of the film. These sets would show the character traversing through them, acting as a visual representations of the difficulties of each of the seasons. 

  • Incorporate stop motion techniques to create visual interest

These were the basic elements I wanted to include in my film. The final film would be an avant-garde styled documentary, conforming to ideas presented in Woolens Binary of counter cinema film making.  It would contain inspiration from experimental film making philosophies as presented in articles regarding Stan Brakhages works and the art of seeing.


SIXTEEN – Last Days of Filming

This ones a little late in posting due to what can only be categorised as a trying period due to MRI appointments, Family Bereavements and a couple of technical issues thrown in for good measure.

Regardless of this, Filming (and editing) has finally been completed.

In this blog post, I’m going to talk about some of the final shoots and the costume used in the film.

Firstly, the costume. For the main characters costume I wanted to create a costume typical of a medieval fantasy character. This would aid in creating the dream like fantasy sequences when introducing the avatars of each of the seasons.

As seen from the picture above, it pulls this off quite well (even if I do say so myself). For the most part, the elements that make up this costume are in fact authentic of the medieval period with the exception of the robe, staff and one of the belts. The under-shirt is what would of been worn typically by most classes of the early medieval period. This shirt would be worn under anything from a tunic to armour padding that would have a shirt of mail armour over the top of it.

This is an example of (me and a Viking) the Under Shirt worn in full Norman period armour.

The robe was a simple green hooded robe. I chose green for its denotations that the character is seeking to escape the darkness of winter and find new life of spring and summer. The costume also featured a string of rosemary beads, to create the idea that the seasons and the masks are a spiritual entity. Other trinkets were attached to belts too, such as a set of eating knives typical of more later medieval periods and simple leather pouch which were often used as the ye olde equivalent of a purse.

The staff was created using a salt stone and a think garden stake. The stone was sanded down to fit a hole drilled into the top of the stake and then carved. the sake itself was similarly carved with various shapes and symbols. The stake under went various degrees of painting techniques. Mainly that of paint and then sanding down to make distressed followed by various washes to help add depth and age to areas of detail.

The staff helped me create the mise en scene that denotes the fantasy and magical elements of the film.

The costume helped create a robed wizard like looking character. Which was exactly what I was aiming for.

Finally, the last days of shooting involved capturing the mask and the acting part. This took place in my garage set, with simple black sheets put up as a back drop that would be cut out in post. These sequences would be used to introduce each season and how the character feels about them. Autumn is shown to be closely scrutinised by the character before raising his hood and venturing off to brave winter. The character reacts to Winter winter anger and defiance. Spring is a time of solemn prayer that beckons the coming of Summer and finally Summer is worshipped with kneeling praise.

With the film now almost finished, the next two posts will be the last. The first post will be outline what i wanted to create and the last will be a post that analyses if I had achieved this.

That’s it for now. Until Next Time.