A heavy inspiration that was used for the narrative and style of the video was the film Maleficent, where the character was labeled as an evil Queen but is misunderstood and has become cold due to traumatic circumstances. The style of this character is dark and mysterious which has been used as inspiration for our character. Our character has become dark and isolated due to losing her child which is shown in flashbacks through the narrative.
Youtube tutorials were used to gain more knowledge on editing and filming techniques. I used tutorials for the fire particle effects that I created in After Effects and the rain effect. The rain effect was inspired by a scene in Now You See Me 2. One of the magicians freezes rain which I thought created an effective result and wanted to apply this technique to the video.
Costume research as collected to decide on what was needed and to gain inspiration on the style we wanted for the video. This was important due to the video being focused on the aesthetic of the darker style and the fallen angel interpretation of the character. In the job list, the costume and props were assigned to a member of the group.They then fund image for makeup and clothing to design the character’s appearance. As a group, we created a group chat where we sent the inspiration and ideas to one another and shared each other’s opinions.
Apart of a team or individually, a music video had to be created either using a local band or commercial artist. The video has to present a relation with the lyrics and tempo of the song piece chosen. The footage should demonstrate examples of the rules of good composition and technical skills, such as rule of thirds, symbolism, and a variety of camera angles.
If working in a group, they could not exceed over three members. I was originally working with one other individual but another asked to join the group, making a team of three. As a two we already had an idea planned, therefore I explained why the idea was to the individual asking to join to make sire they were happy with taking this on, which they agreed with.
The chosen song was If I Had A Heart, by Fever Ray. I had heard this song from a programme that I have watched and thought that the lyrics and atmosphere suited the style of the music video we intended to create. The actual programme that I first heard it from has no relevance to the ideas for the music video and I only introduced the song to the group as an idea due to the lyrics. The group did not declare any issues with the song and as a team agreed to use it for the video.
Certain job roles and tasks were divided between us. Google Drive was used to allow all the members of the group to access each other’s work and edit files. A checklist was created to present everyone’s tasks and were ticked off when completed.
General roles were carried out by each member for the preproduction stage. I was in charge of the editing plan, camera angles, storyboard artist, script and set design. Sam undertook the roles of creating plans for camera angles, schedule organiser, and lighting, and finally Fay planned for props, costume, set design and was the location scout.
The intended theme and tempo for the music video were as listed below;
- Slow tempo
- Supernatural theme, inhuman-like protagonist
- Dark, unnerving characteristics
- Character has a ‘cold’ attitude, symbolising lack of emotional attachments living with title and lyrics of song ‘If I Had A Heart’
The locations used were Wepre Woods and my own house. The video begins in my house, which presents an old, vintage style location and transitions to a wooded scene. The monochrome tones and mysterious behavior create an uncomforting atmosphere with no human-like emotions portrayed. However, nearer the end she approaches a waterfall, creating a binary opposition between the fire and water. She has been a mysterious character, alone and unfriendly but with the introduction of water, she becomes more human to the audience. Flashbacks connote that someone she had a relationship with is no longer with her, allowing the audience to have an insight into her past and indicate that something negative has happened which has made her become cold and inhuman. Although she then stops the rain at the end of the narrative, regaining her power and dominance, returning to her previous self.
Above are two rough storyboards that I created in order to produce a better understanding of the mise en scene and camera angles. This was beneficial because it created a more detailed and organised plan of the shoot, however, it could be improved by using arrows to show movement in the scene and by producing more storyboards with detailed descriptions.
When planning the music video, I felt enthusiastic about having freedom over the style and music for the video. It was the first task that I could decide on my own group, which gave me more confidence that the process would be more successful than the other production previously carried out and the longer production time provided would be largely beneficial.
When it became nearer the time to have a decision on the music and a rough plan of the video, it became apparent that the team as a whole found it difficult to choose and agree on particular ideas, especially the song. I knew once the song had been chosen that the planning would not create any conflict but it was taking too much time to agree upon a song. I provided a large variety of the different songs by different artists that consisted of the two genre theme ideas the group had agreed upon on, including Hard Rock/Metal and something that would be eerie and atmospheric with a fantasy feels to the piece. Other group members also provided their song examples, but as it grew closer to the pitch I suggested choosing three songs each and narrowing it down. With no progress made I produced a plan of one song that I presented to the group. An agreement was then made to use the song that I had planned for, which removed the issue of the lack of development for the video. I felt that too much time was spent on the early planning that could have been spent on detailed plans for the editing and camera shots. I became concerned that the group would not be able to come to agreements but after the song was chosen the process became much easier with an improvement to team communication.
Tasks were assigned to each of us to complete different sections of the planning process. I created a document on the drive to list each task to everyone so that no miscommunication occurred and to ensure it was clear what everyone had to complete. I found this helpful as it reduced the amount of stress and negative teamwork between the group. If a list of the job roles was not created it could have resulted in confusion and an unorganized group. I felt much more positive about the group and work when everything was organised and clear with each other. The checklist produced after the general roles were created outlines individual tasks we had to carry out, making the planning more successful and positive.
When the shooting schedule was being created it was difficult to plan the first scene as we could not find a location. To make sure that the production did not fall behind we filmed the last half of the video in a wooded location. This process was done without any large issues and everyone worked well together. I found it much more enjoyable than other production I have worked on because the team provided help for one another and all aided in filming. I took on more of a director role as this helped organise what had to be filmed and I continuously referred back to the script and shot plan to make sure we had got all the important shots. Using the smoke bomb was difficult because the location had strong winds making it difficult to light the bombs and control the direction of the smoke. By working together we were able to capture the smoke successfully without it being too uncontrollable. Using two cameras increased the shot variety and was beneficial if one shot angle did not work correctly.
It became more concerning nearer the deadline as we still did not have a location for the first scene. I felt worried and was also concerned that I would not have much time to edit. To resolve this issue we decided to film at my house. Although it was not as good as the location we could have had, such as abandoned building or older, larger houses it was still suitable for our production. This could have been avoided if more research was directed at locations and more requests to use locations were sent. However, a second plan was still created to ensure that the film could be completed without using a location that would not be appropriate for the theme of the video.
The shooting schedule for the first scene got canceled on two occasions. This made me uncomfortable with the approaching deadline and I worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to edit. It was inconvenient during the second shooting attempt as the group found out that it was canceled an hour before we would travel to the location to film. The only other day the actress could film was the day before the deadline. This produced much worry within the group, but especially myself as I had to edit and render the same day. During the morning until 1 pm I and another member of the group had arranged to shoot for the West Cheshire Dance School which had been organised months in advance, therefore we did not want to cancel. This meant that straight after the shoot we then had to finish filming for the music video, creating a chaotic environment. I found it tiring after the long day of photography and filming to then finish the final edit. Fortunately, I had already done the visual effects in advance which took much of the stress away and made it much easier to finish. I was able to finish editing by 9 pm which was relieving as I did not have to continue working through the night
When creating the visual effects I found it enjoyable to be able to practice a skill that I find interesting and to be able to produce interesting effects. However, I found it difficult at times when issues occurred in After Effects when creating the rain freezing effect. I had to create various versions because my attempt had missed an important step that made the final result different from the tutorial I was learning from, creating ineffective results. Although I found it challenging, I still enjoyed the process and want to learn more effects and techniques using After Effects.
Looking back on the final edit I think I managed to achieve a variety of effects in the short timeframe, but believe that I could better. I could have added more effects, such as using the monochrome effects with only red as the colour. This would have made the smoke stand out and create a striking and interesting result.
A negative that impacted a large majority of the shots was the colour. I had made a mistake by setting the camera white balance to Shade when shooting indoors. During this time the camera was near a fire which was already reflecting an orange tone in the room. This did not seem to be an issue at the time of the shooting, but when looking back at the edits I found that it was a vibrant orange that would not be suitable for the video. This could have been avoided if test shots were conducted and checked by the whole group. The shots could have been uploaded to a laptop to quickly check and experiments before shooting should have been conducted. I had to improvise to save the shots, therefore I change the video to black and white. This resulted in an effective result because the atmosphere was already dark and mysterious, making monochrome a suitable tone. I then created flashbacks that were vibrant colours to connote the happy past, making it stand out from the rest of the narrative.
Another negative that occurred during the production was the lack of footage. I found it difficult to fill the whole song, resulting in keeping shots longer than I would have liked and having less choice to decide on the best shots. This could have been avoided by creating more extensive planning that aimed at producing too many shots, enabling me to only chose the best footage. More detailed scripts, storyboards and time for extra shooting sessions would have presented this issue, which I will remember for future projects.
The location was difficult to find that suited the eerie theme of the video. We contacted a manor house but found that they charged for the use of the property, therefore we continued to search for abandoned or old houses. We were able to get in contact with an individual who hosts haunted tours around asylums. However, he was unable to contact the owner of the asylum in time for the shoot. This resulted in leaving the filming closer to the deadline and deciding that the only location that was still relevant was at my house. With more planning and by contacting more people and with extensive research we could have found another location earlier. For future projects, the location will not be left after other planning and I will not allow searching for locations to be as time-consuming.
A positive was that we did not have any issues with the public when filming in the forest, especially when using the smoke bombs. I was concerned it would either attract people over or create complaints, however, there were no issues raised. To ensure that we did not disrupt people we made sure to move to a more isolated area in the woods. When filming the section on the bridge I was concerned that people would be walking past the shots, but everyone waited until we were done with the shots.
I think a positive from the production was the use of two different cameras. The Osmo and Canon 80D were used to capture different style shots, which made the footage more interesting. The Osmo was successful at panning and tracking shots, however, the app for my phone did not always work when in Wepre which made it difficult to view back the footage. I think that I just need more practice and experience with the Osmo, which I will achieve before starting future projects. We also used both cameras at the same to time produce two different angles without repeating a shot. This saved time and provided more shot variety.
Theory of good composition was used in the video. In various shots, the rule of thirds was used, positioning the character on either the left or right vertical line. The rule of space presented the character on one side with a space on the other, They would then be walking towards the negative space signifying the motion and direction of movement. Also, a slow tempo was shown through the use of long shots and slow motions. This linked with the speed of the song and atmosphere of the video. I think that these elements in the framing have worked well and compliment the overall outcome.
Symbolism has been used through the use of black and white to connote emptiness, dull and eerie atmosphere within the video. However, the flashbacks present vibrant colours which signify that the past was happier times and something has happened. The character in present time is always presented alone with minimum expressions. This creates an empty and cold feel to the character and environment. This then can be linked with the lyrics, “If I Had A Heart,” connoting that she no longer can feel and has become something inhuman and dark.
I think better location planning would have improved the production. The time spent searching and waiting for responses about locations impacted the filming process because it meant there was less time to film and edit. I think the planning process hindered the production due to the time spent on this process. Planning should be thorough but quick, leaving most of the time to shoot and edit. As a group, we did not work fast enough and did not have enough detailed research. This made the filming and editing more rushed and challenging. For future projects the planning should not take up more than two weeks, leaving time for test shots, final filming, editing and anytime for extra shots needed.
Another issue that impacted the video was problems with the footage that went unnoticed, such as overexposure or unpleasant colour tones. The footage could have been checked more thoroughly and everyone from the group should have checked the shots to ensure that there were no issues. I think the shooting process can be overwhelming, creating distractions and taking the full attention away from the footage. With more focus and regular checks, these issues can be avoided.
Overall the music video was more successful than other group film projects. This was because the group did not have disagreements and everyone participated in the work. Compared to other projects more planning was conducted for this video, which made it much easier to shoot and everyone understood what their roles were within the group. I think improvements could still be made, such as more detailed research and plans will ensure there is enough to film so that there are no issues with filling in spaces. The planning process took too long, reducing the amount of time to film and edit. Plans need to be created quickly with enough detail to prevent any issues occurring.
I think a large negative on was the scheduling. The filming was done too near the deadline, which resulted in rushed filming and editing. No preparation was made for cancellations, making it difficult to organise other days to film. With detailed schedules of when the start filming and time for backup shooting days with a week of editing time will create a much better workflow.
From this experience, I have learned how to use an Osmo and the advantage of using multi-camera setups. Planning the shots enabled me to understand the importance of particular shots and use camera movements to produce a more interest result, rather than static shots. I learned a new technique when editing, called Letterboxing. This allowed me to add pans and move the shots to a better composition using the letter box template. I found this very effective and will use it in future projects.
I have also been able to gain a better understanding of After Effects. I did not have much experience with this project but decided to challenge myself, creating fire particle and freezing rain effects. I found this challenging and conducted experiments to understand the application better but was able to create these effects successfully. This has been beneficial and enabled me to learn animating and visual effects to a higher level. Although it is difficult I have found that I enjoy creating visual effects and will continue to learn for future projects.