The main goal I set to myself for this academic year was to get a lot of practice and gain some useful experience with the camera. I can truly admit that the learning process throughout was fairly satisfying to me, as an aspiring Director of Photography. In my showreel I attempted to present all my work as a Director of Photography, a Camera Operator and a Colourist in various productions. All the shots included in it are the ones I am mostly proud of in terms of either camera positioning and movement, or colour grading. When structuring my showreel I wanted to create a beginning, a middle and an end by synchronising the image with the music in the background. At the beginning I chose to put the shots of empty spaces and detail shots, before I reveal the characters. As the paste of the song changes I matched the character’s emotional states. At the end I put all the shots of people walking away from the camera or leaving the frame, to imply closure.
First of all, in my showreel I included some shots from the music video “Rules”, on which me and my group worked in the first term of this academic year. In this production my role was both Director of Photography and Camera Operator, as well as Colourist in the further stage of post production. Even though, it was only my first experience as a Director of Photography, I consider its outcome to be one of the most satisfying. For this film I used Canon 7D and a shoulder rig for most of the shots in order to imply anxiety of the main character through cinematography.
Further films presented in my showreel are the MDA2900 short film productions we have done in the second term of this academic year, in which I switched from using Canon 7D and begun my experience with Blackmagic Cinema Camera. In the first of those films me and my core group, Saeed Babaei and Ana Colaco, adapted Jana Selecka’s script - The Last Friend. I have committed myself the most to this particular production and I am disappointed to admit that I consider it one of the least gratifying outcomes. Most of the shots in the film are rather simple, however the time we set ourselves for filming was not enough considering the amount of shots, what influenced my work as a Camera Operator on the day of shooting.
Ironically, the second production I participated in was Catarina Ribeiro’s and Katrina Ytteborg’s production, who also adapted the script “The Last Friend”. In this production I got to operate the camera, as well as colour grade the film afterwards. It was a very interesting experience to me, as there were also a few similarities in director’s choices but the approach to both films was completely different. In terms of technical issued, what I struggled with the most was the use of a dolly and a slider, as I found it really difficult to keep the camera still, which is why some of the shots turned out quite shaky.
Another production, in which I also took up a role of a Director of Photography, a Camera Operator and a Colourist, is “One Foot in the Sea” adapted from the script “Fuel for the Soul” by Glendha Tafny and produced by Ruta Nejuokink. What I found mostly challenging during the shooting days is working with using different types of movement at the same time, as I had to tilt and pan the camera, whilst using a dolly. Another obstacle was setting up the lights, as I must admit, when it comes to making lightning decisions I find myself clueless most of the time. Luckily, working with my gaffer, Daniel Tample, has helped me a lot in achieving quite an interesting outcome. However, it has caused quite a few problems on the day of shooting as well as in post production, when colour grading the underexposed shots. Moreover, there were a few shots in a tight bathroom space, which were both hard and dangerous to film. Due to health and safety we kept the smallest crew possible, and reduced the equipment to a camera, a boom mic and one small dido light. The shot with the blood appearing in the shot was possibly the hardest as we only allowed ourselves for one take, due to the amount of the fake blood we had, as well as the schedule. What is more, while standing on the ladder I was not able to completely see the camera screen what caused a rather weak focus in the shot. At last, the most difficult task I was given was filming the long shot in the park, following the characters. I tried many different ways to film it, using a glide cam as well as a shoulder rig.
Last but not least I got a chance to replace the camera operator for one day on Rika Kulsavat’s and Ardeshir Abdolrahimi’s production of “U”. Even though my role was rather small, as I only filmed a few shots in the film, I believe it was one of the most enjoyable productions. Due to a very well organised set, with a small but strong crew, I found this experience extremely useful in my personal development. When it comes to working with the camera it required a lot of takes to achieve a perfect outcome, as most of the shots demanded the use of a dolly, as well as filters and flags to cover the sun reflections. However, together with the Director of Photography, Filippo Locatelli, we accomplished something we can be proud of, what is presented in the last shots in my showreel.
In conclusion I have to say that I am not fully complacent with the final result of my work, however I am aware that the learning process does not always bring a full satisfaction in the outcome itself, but in what we take away from the mistakes made throughout the production. All of these experiences, being a Director of Photography, a Camera Operator and a Colourist, allowed me to become a better filmmaker, especially in my fields of expertise. Not only have I broadened my knowledge and skills but also I have gained confidence in doing what I mostly enjoy in filmmaking. As far as I am concerned, this academic year has been a very productive one and everything I have experienced, I will surely find useful in my further education as well as in my future professional carrier.
WELCOME TO MY PERSONAL