As an aspiring Director of Photography I fairly enjoyed the cinematography assignment. I worked as an editor and colourist in a team with four other people - Rudi Leadro, Carla Martins, Lukas Sakavickas and Bartosz Więcko. Our project involved one interior and one exterior scene with a continuous story throughout it. It is a rather simple story about two drunk men who decide to go home after drinking and end up fighting about which one of them is sober enough to drive. Even though I did not get to take up the role of a DOP I had a chance to observe and learn quite a lot through assisting camera.
We started off with filming the exterior scene, in order not to lose daylight outside. In this scene we had a couple of set ups, for all of which we used 85mm lens. The choice of this lens seemed most convenient for both closeups and wide shots. That way our DOP did not have to be either too close or too far away from the object. Another advantage of the lens is the use of bokeh effect. It was particularly helpful in the exterior scenes, where background was not very pleasant and we wanted the audience to pay the attention to the characters. The lens produced the out-of-focus parts of the image in the background and focused on the characters. The biggest difficulty we had to face, when shooting the exterior scene, was a rainy and cloudy weather. Working in such weather was disturbing, as not only did we have to protect the equipment but also it influenced the continuity. The weather changed a couple of time and it is visibly different in the wide shots and closeups.
We filmed the first, interior scene afterwards, for which we used 14mm lens. The space in the pub was very tight, and so a wide angle lens seemed to be a reasonable choice. What is more the lens, with its large aperture setting, lets in a lot of light, what is very helpful when shooting indoors. In the interior scene we needed to mostly focus on setting up the lights. Even though we shoot in daytime, the pub’s interior was already quite dark. First we set up the scene in the surrounding that already had the biggest amount of light coming from the pub itself. However it was not enough when we saw actors’ faces on the camera screen. Apart from that light and camera setting we used Dedo light to light up the scene and fill in the shadows on the one hand side. We put one of the lights facing up the ceiling and it made the scene look way better.
My role in the project was to edit and colour grade it. Editing and colouring was not particularly hard in that case, however, I found it challenging in some parts. What is more, it was the first time I took up the role of an editor and also the second time ever when I colour graded. I believe the hardest part of editing was sound. I struggled to synchronise it, as we did not pay attention to making a camera report and I had to figure it all out by myself. Then I had to match the sound level in both scenes as well. Luckily, I helped out on set, operating the zoom, what helped me remember more of less which records were useful. As we did not record sound for one of the shots, I decided to put some old comedy music in the background to fix it and, at the same time, make it funnier. Whilst colour grading, the hardest part was the weather again. I had to colour the image to make all of the shots match each other and preserve the continuity.
What I enjoyed most about the project was the fact that it was an assignment, that required mostly working with the camera itself in spite of paying that much attention to the script. For that reason we decided to make it funny and it worked really well. The moment we started filming we did not really stick to the script. As soon as the camera started rolling, our actors ended up improvising the dialogue. I am quite happy with the result that we have achieved. We could have played more with the focus and camera angles but apart from that I believe we achieved what we wanted to. It has been a great experience in working with Canon 7D and exploring its various settings.
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