Planning: After much thought I decided to use the simple narrative of a journey. It has a beginning, a middle and an end which can fit into 5 frames. It will start with an the view of a finger tracing a route on a map, a car being loaded with luggage, the same car being driven past an iconic landmark that everyone will recognise (Stonehenge), arrival at an address and finally a greeting.
1. Look at the map.(close up) This shot needs to introduce the journey. I will do this by showing a finger tracing the route, close up, from above. I will restrict the frame to only what is absolutely necessary to give the information.
2. Load the car. (Mid to long) This frame will show the car and luggage being loaded into the boot using a medium to long shot. I will probably include the driver getting in starting the engine and pulling away.
4. Arrival (sweep into the drive POV) The plan for this shot is to follow the movement of the car off the road, through the gate, onto the drive of the house. This will show the arrival at an address and the end of the journey. It needs to show an end so the car will stop and movement will cease.
5. Greeting (mid to close) The final frame will show the driver emerging from the car to greet her son. There is little movement here other than the hug and greeting and there is no need to show more than just that in this final shot.
Untitled from Richard Down on Vimeo.
Production Notes: This sequence was shot in one day on a journey from Hampshire to Devon on the Jubilee weekend. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get the shot of Stonehenge if it rained but luckily we were able to put the roof of the car down. Shots 1 and 4 needed two takes. As the brief called for a story using images alone, I muted the sound on each clip to avoid distraction..
Frame 1 works well. There is not a lot of action but the shot is close enough for the map to be readable. This was filmed outside on the bonnet of the car when the sky was cloudy. Perhaps a little reflected light may have improved the contrast. The map and the moving finger quite clearly indicate a route is being planned. Timing: 7 seconds
Frame 2: I automatically zoomed in on the rear of the car and panned right as Angie opened the door, got in and started the engine. I could have left it as long shot but I think zooming in confirms to the viewer that the main action is about the car and driver. I did think about showing the car driving off but the brief was quite specific about confining the action to the frame. Timing 16 seconds
Frame 3: I shot this on the move with only vague idea of what I would be able to shoot. As it was, in one pass I got two sequences. The first included here, of the monument as it comes into sight as you drive towards it and a second, where I filmed it from the drivers eye level and zoomed in and panned right as it passed along the passenger window. Unfortunately both of the windows were up and were distracting as they are tinted. This was quite a lengthy shot at 29 seconds. I was pleased to have kept fairly well to the frame just by raising and lowering the camera and all of the action is through the frame top to bottom rather than across it.
Frame 4: This frame contains more movement as I wanted to show the car pulling off the road at a recognisable location that was the end of the journey where the car pulls to a stop. I have managed to keep the camera fairly steady. My attempt to “read” the house name as I passed was not successful but this final part of the journey comes to a clear and definite end at this point. Timing 15 seconds
Frame 5: This final shot could have been made outside of the car but I maintained my point of view within it as I wanted to give the impression that the camera is a close observer of the action but remaining at a discrete distance. I think shooting from within the car at a low angle ties the journey, the car and the reunion together. Timing 15 seconds
This is more of a narrative and I was aware that this could be documentary footage. Indeed, all of the action is what happened on that day anyway, just not necessarily in the order shown. There is a lack of continuity in my shots, note the car roof is up, down and up again.
This was a good dry run for a proper shoot. I could have benefitted from more planning rather than grabbing footage in a documentary style during a routine journey to visit family. I’m hoping that my approaches to the local drama group give me the confidence to ask for help with my projects so I can plan more interesting sequences. My camera techniques are improving but I pan and zoom almost instinctively. This may be good but I have a feeling that my tutor may ask me to think more about each shot before pressing the record button.