Digital technology has become such a significant part of film-making in recent years due to its advancements making the process, faster, easier and more accessible. Studying Media Studies at A-Level combined with my own productions within the art form have developed my skills concerning digital technology to give me a better understanding over my creative and practical decisions.
My skills involving camera manipulation have developed significantly in recent years. I had just got my DSLR camera as I began AS Media and so I had little knowledge other than the basics. In order to familiarise myself with this new equipment our group organised to shoot a test film and, upon retrospect, this was a great idea and really worked to advance my skills. The short film allowed me to experiment with lenses and to test out different effects for our final AS film that was to come. The production helped me identify how particular lenses looked and when certain lenses should be used however, I wish I had done more research prior to the shoot so I had more ideas of what to play with when filming the test film. Our group had planned a scene at night for our film opening and so I took the time out to research how to set up my camera for these lighting conditions. This had a huge impact on my work as a film-maker and also a photographer. Through my own experimentation and research through the internet and various books, I quickly learned elements such as ISO, aperture and shutter speed. I use what I learned to this day in both practical ways such as setting the camera so everyone and everything you want visible on film is visible. Not only had I learned what works and what doesn’t, I had learned why I get certain effect if I set the camera a certain way. In this way, my developed skills helped me creatively and did this by allowing me to capture a scene’s light in the way I desired. I had much more control over the look of what I filmed. Although it took time to get to grips with camera manipulation it certainly aided me for my A2 project, Screen Three.
Editing is something I’ve enjoyed doing for years and is a skilled area which I feel I’ve developed in. I usually edited on the Sony Vegas editing program however, A-Level introduced me to Adobe’s Final Cut Express. Learning this program widened my experiences with editing and made me become a more flexible editor. We also made a switch from this program to Final Cut Pro at A2 which is where my skills really developed. I was comfortable with cutting but sound design was often a poor area of my work. By taking my time to learn how to correctly and effectively work on the soundtrack on a film through my teachers, the internet and my own experimentation I feel as though I got a result that is remarkably better than a product I would have made without my studies into editing. For Screen Three I learned how to apply effects to sound and how to manipulate them to how I wanted. For example, in order to suggest the voices are going on in my protagonist’s head, I added a significant echo to their audio which I think really sold the effect. Reading “In The Blink of An Eye” by Walter Murch truly made me see editing in a different way. Murch’s explanation of the “Rule Of Six” and his ideas highlighted the various thought processes that need to occur into a single cut and so I feel as though this developed my skills.Upon reflection, I wished I had applied Murch’s advice during the planning and filming stages of Screen Three however, my editing improved vastly as a result of my research.
When critiquing my own work, I often pick up on sound being a downfall of my films. Thanks to the school arming me with the right equipment at A2 I was capable to improve this area and get good quality sound throughout a production. However, I haven’t said I was able to do so. The guidance of my teachers and tutorials online allowed me to use the recorders effectively and with the use of a boom pole and additional microphone. I had learned how to tackle sound perspective, noise, wind however, during filming on Screen Three we had forgotten about headphones which led to the audio being distorted in places. Despite this disaster, it worked to teach me how to prepare sound recording in the future. When I recorded the sound of a car engine roaring for the last scene of our film, I made sure to bring headphones that would tell me what I’m hearing and play back anything I had recorded so I could check it was clean and correct. Thanks to these experiences I feel fully prepared to get high quality sound for my films; something I didn’t feel when i began Media Studies.