THIRTEEN – Masks Completed

So today I finally finished the masks off! I also built the first set too.

As shown in previous entries I had already completed the Face of Autumn and the Face of Winter. I had to put the Faces of Summer and Spring on hold while I finished rebuilding my workshop. Here’s what the finished products looked like.

The Face of Summer

 

 

The Face of Spring

 

 

 

 

As for the set.

Originally, the film was going to be all done in the field and very little of it scripted or manipulated. The weather however isn’t playing ball. So to add a little variety to the film I’ve come up with a little plan to make the revealing of the Face of Spring a little more interesting.

I’ve decided to do the parts of the film where the Face of Spring sprouts from the ground as if its growing using stop motion animation. This will help to create the playful tone I’m after for this season as stop motion can be made to have a fun, jerky aspect to it.

The set for this is simple. I’ve taken a run of the mill cardboard box, filled it will a few potted plants and compost (to hide the pots) and left room in the centre for the Spring mask to go. I’ll then bury the mask, taking pictures as I go and when I edit it together I’ll put the pictures in reverse order. This will make the mask look like it’s coming up from the ground.

This is what the set looks like behind the scenes.

How it will look through the camera (The pots will be covered up fully).

Building this set and deciding to add in a stop motion element has definitely given me food for thought on how to do some other parts of the film. Before I commit though I would like to  run them by some other people to see what they think. With that I’ll wrap this post up here.

Until Next Time.

TWELVE – Summer Shots!

This a quick little update about some footage I managed to bag last week.

When I started this project, I had a concern that the Summer Scenes may be a challenge to capture due to the film needing to be made by May. Due to the recent weather, I managed to get some nice Summery clouds on blue sky. This footage will work brilliantly for the scenes that require sped up footage of rolling clouds. As spring is rolling by, if the weather holds I should be able to get some nice footage all in all.

 

ELEVEN – Update

It’s coming up to a month since my last post and as much as I dislike leaving large gaps between posts, the fact is I’ve got very little to write about.

At the moment I’m in that tedious place in filming where its a chain of paper work. Shots lists are being made, risk assessments are being typed up, people are being emailed re this and that. All time-consuming and all necessary, if not a little bit dull.

Next week I’m hoping to show some more progress. With any luck I’ll be out this week with the camera, getting the last dregs of winter and starting the spring shoot.

With that, until next time…

TEN – Post Shoot Whitby

In today’s entry I’m going to quickly talk about the shoot in Whitby. So with out further ado, lets get started.

I think the first thing that comes to mind about the shoot is how cold it was! It was the type of icy windy cold blasts that leave your face and hands both numb and stiff instantly. It was also foggy, the sea was choppy and the clouds were low and utterly miserable. Perfect then, for capturing some scenes of winter.

Taken by Jack Watling

Taken by Jack WatlingMy first port of call was to go down to the harbour. There, we (I was assisted by my Girlfriend Katie for the day) set up the camera and captured some footage of the cliffs, sea and a few rock pools near the harbours edge. My objective for the harbour/sea shots was to capture movement as well as footage that fitted the theme of winter. The tide was out which was good as I could see rock pools that are usually hidden by several feet of water, it was a pity in some ways though as it meant I was not able to get footage of waves crashing against the harbour wall which would of been nice. I also got some nice shots of the cliffs further down the coast, which due to the fog and low cloud, looked very effective and gave me some ideas of how I could implement this footage into the film.

Taken by Katie

 

 

These two pictures were taken by Katie, the left one is of one of the rock pools that can only be seen when the tide is out. The right one is of me, the cloud behind shows just how grey and grim the weather was.

 

 

While shooting, I noticed on the other side of the harbour were two rock formations out to sea. Being now virtually frozen, we decided to get dinner (the obligatory fish and chips) which gave us a excuse to sit down and warm up before heading to the other side of the harbour.

Fish and Chips devoured, we headed to the other side of the Harbor to get the last few shots before heading onto the moors. By this point the weather was a little warmer which meant less numb hands and dripping noses. On this side of the harbour the sea was a little bit more choppy too, this would give me some good opposing images to the slightly calmer sea footage on the other side of the harbour. The way the sea, rock formations and cliffs worked with each other was also brilliant for the type of shot composition I was after. After about an hour filming, we headed back through Whitby to get to go to the moors.

Taken by jack WatlingUnfortunately, by the time we got to the moors heavy fog had set in and severe weather warnings were mentioned on the local radio station. Not wanting to get caught in a bad situation I decided to forgo shooting on the moors. Besides, as I could only see about 4 feet in front of me it felt it would be a pretty redundant task anyway.

Overall the shoot went well. Due to high wind speeds I have a little bit of shaky footage to sort out in post and the audio is no good but I got some good solid shots. I may reschedule a shoot to go up on the moors but hopefully I can find somewhere a little closer to home to save on travel expenses and time etc.

That’s it for this post.

Until Next Time.

NINE – In Search of Winter

Lets start this post off by commenting on the weather. Although its been rather cold (and that’s putting it mildly), as far as how things have looked from a lens point of view it doesn’t really look like winter. The Sun has been shining, the sky has been blue and the grass is green and lush. This is all great in many ways, but as I’m meant to be gathering dramatic winter footage it’s not idea for my film project.

So, to remedy this I’ll be taking a trip to the North Yorkshire Moors! The North Yorkshire Moors has always looked dramatic anytime of the year. The plan is to go to Whitby and spend the night meaning I’m in a prime position to hopefully get some rough sea shots and some barren and bleak moorland shots the next. This way, even if it’s not typical winter I’ll have some footage that I can grade and play with to make it look like winter.

Heres to some dramatic winter time footage and a dusting (but not too much that I can’t drive) of snow.

Until Next Time.

EIGHT – The Face of Winter

In this post I’m going to show how I’m making the masks for my film. Each of the masks represent a season as I believe I have explained in a previous post. So, this is how I made the Face of Winter.

Step 1: Mask & Base Coat

The first part of making a mask is to find a suitable starting point. Many hobby shops sell a variety of different types of mask made from a variety of different materials. For this project and the other masks I chose to use a readily available plain white plastic mask.

These masks are ideal as they are made to be painted and have items attached to them.

The next part was to choose a suitable base coat. As the masks are designed to be painted, I did not need to spend time preparing the mask for paint (this would involve sanding down the item then applying a primer which takes several hours/days to dry). For winter, I decided the base would be silver. I had the idea that winter would predominately grey to start with but I also wanted the Face of Winter to be represented an Ice Queen in look so the silver checked both boxes (as silver is classed an expensive metal essentially shiny grey).

With the base coat done and dry, it was time for the next phase.

Step 2: More Paint

Although the silver was nice and looked good enough for what I needed, I wasn’t 100% happy with it. It seemed a little dull and boring compared to the previous mask, Autumn. I decided to add a little more paint. Firstly, I masked out an area that would remain silver for now.

The idea was to spray the section between the masking tape blue.

With the section now blue, I also added a “dusting” of black while the paint was still wet (While its wet the colours bleed into each other). This gave the blue a black mottled look.

Next was to decide where to put my decorations.

Step 3: Decorating

To decorate the mask, I had bought some Christmas Decorations. I had learnt from making Autumn that although its nice to use real things such as leaves it does have a limit to how long you can use it before it literally dies and falls apart. The decorations were a set of battery-powered icicle lights, four plastic icicle baubles and a star like bauble that would make the centre piece.

The long Icicle baubles would be used as horns to make the mask look a little more sinister, the lights would form a crown and the star, as already mentioned, would be the crown jewel.

I pierced four holes for the icicles in the mask using a screw and a thin file. I didn’t want exact symmetry (because nature has no straight lines or symmetry) so I did it roughly by eye.

Having decided I no longer like how contrasting the silver was to the blue, I decided to give the whole mask a dusting of black and blue. I then moved onto making the crown. For this part I secured the jewelled decoration in the centre of the forehead, then turned the mask over and pieced holes for the lights (in doing so I accidental knocked the jewel off, but re-stuck in after).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My final job for this phase was to test the lighting and make some inserts to cover the eye holes so the wires could not be seen.

I was really happy with the paint job on this one as it looked glittery and remind me of how snow reflects light.

Step 3: Detail Painting

The final step was to add detail to the mask. I wanted it to be more relatable than just a expressionless blank face. To remedy this I used some black acrylic paint and began painting of a mouth. I then added some eyelashes. Finally I painted the tip of the nose black and added some whiskers too. I wanted to make the mask look both feminine and fox/cat-like. With this done. I left it to dry.

 

With the face of winter now finished, all I need is winter to turn up so I can get some shooting done.

 

SEVEN – Evolving the Vision

A few days ago, I talked about some of the updates on the site and went in-depth about what I aim to create for my final major project. If you want to, you can read that post here. I finished with stating I had an idea on how to compromise between what I want to do and what others are suggesting.

Today’s topic is going to cover that.

While doing some research into different transitions I came across something called known as a “Hyper Zoom”.

Courtesy of YouTube

If I utilise a technique like this, I think it could make for some interesting and stylish footage.

I (If I decided to be in the film) could start in one location such as a wood, the camera would start above me then zoom to a close up of my eye, then into my eye to reveal a montage of footage to do with the seasonal change. This would give the impression that the audience is going into my mind and can see what I am thinking.

This would also open the opportunity of a disjointed and stylized montage sequence as generally, most dreams and distant memories reveal themself in a disjointed manner.

This then made me think of what could be done with the sound. By chance, while binge watching some recorded shows I came across a music video created by the SyFy Channel which was made in conjunction with Star Treks 50th Anniversary.

Video from ScyFy Chanel’s YouTube.

The song is primarily made up of sound effects and dialogue  from the various different series’ (Original Series, Next Generation, Voyager etc.)  of Star Trek.

Not that I’m suggesting replacing all the nature sounds with lasers and explosions, but it maybe possible to create a soundtrack that uses similar sound effect techniques applied to various animal sounds and ambient noises like trees rustling in the wind. As I’m not a sound expert, I’ve consulted a person that is. We haven’t come up with anything solid yet, but I get the impression he understands what I’m wanting to do and I believe he thinks it can be done.

The video also gave me some ideas on what I could potentially do with projections and lighting. At the moment though, I’m trying to keep it as cost-effective as possible. Adding elements like that may cost a fair amount of money (a good projector seems to start at around £50) but bring nothing to the table.

With that in mind, I have nothing else to report at this moment.

Until next time.