Environment Film Project
My first thought was plants when I heard the word ‘environmental’. A concept of continuous shots of a plant growing and dying is an idea I was happy with, however with the time I have this wouldn’t be possible. My mind made some sort of an alternative through turning the plant into a drawing. A drawing would be completed each day at a different stage of growth and dying. I also decided that I would mess around with sound, colour temperature and brightness to indicate each day as a different weather. This would be included in each drawing with a cloud, sun, or rain. Perhaps I could demonstrate extreme weathers by drawing a tornado or wind which then kills the plant on the paper. The reason I’m excited by this idea is because it represents what humans are doing to Earth, and I think that representation is the key thing with the environmental theme. The paper gets stuck on the wall with blue tack each day after the drawing is completely finished. If I take a photo of each drawing, I can create a time-lapse of the plant changing. This would be such a cool ending.
Thinking of the ending first actually really helps to develop the story around it. I believe that a solid ending is to do something fast to contrast the general slow pace of the film so far. My plan is to finish with a time-lapse of the plant drawing changing. This will recap and round off the whole purpose of the film. I want impactful and abrupt ending music here to make the viewer really think about what they just saw.
Sound and Music
In my opinion, piano music really fits this concept. It’s elegant but also leaves you in a focused mindset to concentrate on the film. Piano music can sound both happy and sad and these are the exact emotions I want to convey. Seeing a plant growing is a happy moment and watching it die can be sad.
In terms of sound, I plan to use it to demonstrate a variety of weathers. Birds chirping to show it’s sunny, rain to show a rainy day and then wind as well.
To help me create these ideas I used this site 30 Ways to Brainstorm Short Film Ideas You Can Actually Produce (studiobinder.com)
I found it a while back when I was making a different short film and it really helped me. My favourite piece of advice was to think of the ending first. This is important because if you know the ending of your film you can develop the story from that, because you know how it will end.
Figuring Out the Title
I’ve decided that I will use my mind map to form ideas for a title. By picking out key words that relate to the film I can make an eye-catching title.
‘Growth, Life & Death’ sounded nice but it was too vague, it could mean anything. After giving it some more thought I have decided a title isn’t needed.
Continuation of Ideas
I nearly decided to do a voice over but decided last minute that it wasn’t needed. I ran into problems like trying to figure out what to talk about and also whether it would fit the style of the video. Sometimes if you try doing something really serious it can have the opposite affect and make it comical.
In order to indicate that each scene was a new day, I thought of having a different outfit to portray this. To match, what I wear would mirror the weather for the specific day. When it’s sunny, I would wear T-Shirts and for colder weather I wear jumpers. This then would hopefully show the changing weather alongside the use of editing to also demonstrate this. While editing as I’ve already mentioned, I will play with colour temperature and brightness to show weather. But, one of the main things that will make a huge difference is sound. This also happens to be the most important part of film anyway. To show the rain and thunder I will be using sounds to replicate this and for sunny weather, a variety of bird sounds to give that summery vibe.
Changes I Made
When looking over the location for filming I discovered a pin board and realised that I would be able to use this instead of the blue tack idea, so this changed entirely.
- Editing Software
- 4 T-Shirts
- 3 Jumpers
- 10 Drawings
- Plain Paper
- Thunder & Lightning
- Birds Chirping
Film Schedule Day One
Film Schedule Day Two
When I began filming I ran into an issue with the microphone. The sound was too quiet. In order to fix this, I changed the volume on the microphone sound and tested it again. This time it was too loud, and the sound was clipping so I turned it down to the correct level. This didn’t take me long to fix. Figuring out the perfect aperture was difficult because of the light sources in the room. I was relying entirely on natural window light for my scenes and so the lighting varied depending on the positioning of the camera. Anytime the focus was opposite the windows it would become slightly too over exposed. The room was generally quite dark though, so I opted for a brighter look. After watching these clips, I realised that may have been the incorrect choice because I noticed that they were all too bright. This then caused the wall in the background to show up really white as opposed to the colour it actually is.
Filming was so challenging due to the amount of repetition involved. It was hard work since I was filming on my own. This meant that I was having to move the camera and change the angle between every shot. Having to do this was time consuming as I was repeating the same movements in order to capture them from multiple angles.
In terms of technical difficulties there were times that I would turn the microphone off to save power, but I would then forget to turn it back on again to shoot. This made me learn to always check before returning to shoot that everything is switched on. Because I didn’t do this, there are some scenes that don’t have audio. Luckily, because there are many sounds over the top it isn’t too noticeable, so I would say I got away with it.
Once all the footage was recorded, I began editing. The first thing I did was cut the footage down. I did this separately for each scene. It was important to create seamless fluidity so that it didn’t end up looking odd. This meant cutting the clips where the movement matched up, so it looked like one take.
In my view, editing becomes easier if you break it up into steps. I prefer cutting down the clips, changing the colours, adding transitions and then music and sound is the final thing. I tried to stick by this while editing. Once I had cut everything down it was time to edit the colours of the clips. This includes colour temperature, brightness & contrast, and saturation. The main reason I wanted to change all this was to present each scene as a new day with different weathers, but I also wanted to edit the clips anyway to fix the way they looked. Some clips were under exposed, and others were over exposed, so it was important that I did this. In order to create the effect of lightning strikes through the windows, I used a flash technique. I have done this in past videos and it’s really simple but creates a cool effect. I would mainly use a flash as part of a dance video edit but it’s useful to use for lightning in different styled videos. To do this, I cut up the clips into a couple of frames. I added the ‘Neon flash’ effect where I adjusted the radius and the intensity. I also edited the colour to make it slightly blue to match the look of lightning a bit more. This was simple to do but added a realistic look to the lightning idea.
After changing colours of the video, it was time to edit the movement of the clips. I wanted some clips to zoom in, luckily, this is something you can do in postproduction. So, I got hold of the ‘crop & zoom’ effect and edited a few parts in each scene to replicate a slow zoom in. To finish off the visual part of the film I added a dissolve transition in between each scene to make it obvious it was a new scene. I also liked how it blended each scene together.
When focusing on sound, I wanted to use the elements of weather as planned to help with the portrayal of a new day. I managed to find sounds of birds chirping, rain, wind, and thunder & lightning. I needed to figure out the level of volume for the sounds because I didn’t want them to be too loud and cover up the ambience sound. These sounds were only supposed to be background sounds, so I decided to keep the volume level of each one particularly low.
The next step was to add music. I used Audio Hero to find suitable music for my film. In Audio Hero you can select the pace of the music and the genre. This helped me even more when choosing what songs to use. I selected medium pace because I wanted the music to be an even pace. Not too fast because it wouldn’t suit the film, but if the song is too slow it could drag the film on adding to the already slow pace. I searched up piano music and looked for something that created the right mood. As I mentioned before, finding something that had a mixture of happy and sad tones was important because I didn’t want to give the wrong message. In the end, I decided to choose three tracks because of the film’s length (6 minutes). Therefore, there would be music continuously playing without repeating the same song over.
To finish the film off, I added my credits at the end. To keep it simple, I just mentioned ‘produced and edited’ when labelling the credits because I did everything on my own. I used an additive dissolve to fade the text in and a cross dissolve to fade it out which wrapped up the film.
Why I Scripted The Film Like This
As you will notice, this film is filled with repetition. This is evident in the actions displayed and the angles of each shot. This was entirely intentional and was done to show how each scene was the same but there were different things happening within each day that varied. In a way, it amplified everything else that was going on. It shows how much weather we can experience in just 10 days. I liked the way it made the drawings stand out more too. With the consistent shot of the drawing at the end of each scene, it allows you to concentrate more on how the drawing is changing. The main point of the film was change and creating a sense of repetition helped this idea.
Using Mise-en-scene In My Film
The focus of my film was the editing. I felt that because the scenes were so repetitive it would make other features of the film stand out. These include colours, costuming, sound. All of this is a part of mise-en-scene, as I am deciding what things to change in each scene to convey the idea I want to get across. For an example, in the first scene, I chose to wear a T-shirt to show warmer weather. I also created the summary feeling through the sounds of birds. Also, to show the sun was shining I used a warm colour temperature and higher saturation. All of this varies depending what scene it is.
Watch the finished short film here: