4200 Formative 3: Strengths and Weaknesses

During this degree I am consciously trying to take myself out of my comfort zone, and use this experience as an opportunity to develop myself in weaker areas. This will (hopefully) result in me being a more ’rounded’ film-maker at the end of the process.

I have already touched on my strengths in a previous post: 4200 Formative 2: Reflections on ‘Discovery Film’ and My Previous Experience, I think of myself as a writer and have no qualms about describing myself as such. My professional background in Health IT Project Management has given me experience in the importance of delivering projects on time and on budget. Whenever I am given any group assignment my thoughts immediately turn to project plans: What needs to be done? When does it need to be done? Who is responsible for doing it? Leadership and organisation are natural to me at this stage of my career, and while, of course, I can still learn in these areas, I feel that my focus needs to be on the artistic and technical aspects of film making. It is also important that I don’t jump in and start organising every group project; Other people need to be given the chance to do that work. Just as I would hope that those more experienced in working with cameras or lighting would stand aside and let me take the reigns, giving me the chance to learn.

My key areas for development, as I see them:

  1. Camera Work: I own a DSLR, the Canon 80D. I have little to no experience with cameras, and this was purchased only a few weeks ago, after much research and invaluable advice from a tutor. Learn About Film was an excellent resource for what gear to buy. I am enjoying the camera lectures at SAE, as well as using online resources on camera work. This week I have been spending time studying the interrelation between Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. I still have absolutely no practical idea how they work together, but hopefully the penny will drop. Each day I spend time practicing with the camera, getting the feel of it and using sites to help me improve. Grant Johnston’s site was a great starter, and introduced me to the basic settings of the 80D. I can also see how the basic principles of Camera work apply to all cameras, and I am enjoying working with the cameras at SAE, and relating that back to my camera.
  2. Lighting: No idea whatsoever. Grateful for the 3 point lighting lectures and the online resources. I have a basic 3 light redhead kit, and, while I can make the lights get very hot, I seem unable to get them to produce any kind of desired lighting effect.
  3. Cinematography: I want to be able to get the pictures in my mind onto film. I am enjoying the Fundamentals of Film module, and seeing how each shot of a (good) film is painstakingly crafted.
  4. Editing: I have a background in electronic music and would like to use this in my film work. I understand the importance and relationship between film and music (and sound) and would like to learn how to apply this to practical film making. I am also looking forward to using the editing process to ‘build’ films. I saw how our editing team used it to such good effect on our ‘Discovery Film’ project earlier in the term, and I am practicing regularly with Premiere Pro to try to improve my skills.

So: Camera, Lighting, Cinematography and Editing? That would be everything then? But that’s why I am here.

I know and understand that I will not learn everything in a month, even though I would like to. I am trying to build slowly, and learn each day. The lectures and time spent with SAE staff and fellow students is invaluable. There is such a depth of knowledge and talent at SAE that it is impossible not to learn, if engaged. I feel the emphasis on the practical side of film making is what sets SAE apart from other learning institutions. Having a lecture on British New Wave, and then being sent into the street with a camera and a group of fellow students to recreate that style really is special, if challenging.





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