Thomas Oldroyd Cinematographer

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Reflection on the Project

June 5, 2014

Looking back over this project, I believe overall it has been the best organised, and smoothest flowing project that I have undertaken that involved getting outside actors.

The project didn’t get off to the best of starts though, with constant script problems, and several entire rewrites, and it wasn’t until christmas that we got the beginnings of a script that we were truly happy with. At that point it was a mad rush to get the script finished so we could start auditions.

Getting to hold auditions was something that was new for us, as in all previous projects we haven’t been able to secure enough actors to be able to audition them, and most of the time even not had enough actors to fill the script, so having roughly 20 people show interest in our film filled us with confidence about our script. When auditions day came though, the turnout was rather poor, although of the actors that did turn up, several did show a lot of potential, and were later cast in our film. We decided to re-list our film onto the websites, and managed to get a few more people interested, but unfortunately we were in the same boat with not being able to hold a proper audition as we only just had enough actors to fill the roles.

We also took a huge gamble with casting a young actress who didn’t have any prior film experience, although this risk payed off, as she was extremely professional and was a good actress.

Once filming began the whole process seemed to flow a lot smoother, with only a few minor problems that were easily overcome. One thing that I would have preferred when shooting, would of been a constant crew with the same roles each day, but due to other people having prior commitments of some people, it meant that the role of sound recordist changed frequently, as when possible we wanted to use someone with a high level of sound recording abilities.

When it came to the editing process, initially there was several major problems. Being the cinematographer on another groups work prior to my project, I filmed both there’s, and our project on a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which on the first day began to drop frames on ProRes. For this I decided to change the recording format to DNXHD. When doing this I took a quick test shot, imported it onto my mac, and then into Premier pro, where it worked fine.

It was only after the entire filming of both projects has wrapped, that we discovered that the university computers didn’t have the correct Avid codex to be able to edit DNXHD files in premier. After attempting several different solutions, it was decided that the best thing to do would be to convert the DNXHD files to H264, a format which the computers could handle. The only problem with this was that each of the two projects were roughly 300-400GB in size, and meant that it may take several days to complete the process.

Another problem we encountered after this, was that for the majority of the days, the camera hadn’t recorded any sound. While this isn’t a major problem, as we still had the sound from the field recorder, it was an inconvenience, as it made syncing up the audio rather time-consuming.

One thing that I wanted to do in the editing process, was to get a rough cut completed as quickly as possible, so that way I could send the rough cut to the person who was scoring our film, therefor giving him the opportunity to begin working on the score.

After getting pretty close to the final edit of the film, I decided to start looking at colour correcting, and grading my film. As this is something that I am currently not too familiar with doing, I decided to have a look at using the Redgiant grading software, as there are quite a few tutorials online as to how to get the most out of this software.

Once the grading was finished, the sound was tweaked, and the music was added, the film really came together, and became something that I was quite proud of.

When we were put in groups at the start of the year, I was confident that me and Armani would work well together. We worked together the previous year, and as the producer Armani handled the pressure and stress of countless reshoots, and actors dropping out extremely well. This fact filled me with confidence that pretty much no matter what happened, she would be able to keep her cool, and produce a very professional film.

As well as producer, this year she took on the role of director too, which again I believe she did a very professional job with, and with the help of several other people in our group, I believe we made a very good production team.


DVD Authoring and DVD Cover

To try and make the film look as professional as possible, I decided to look techniques used to author DVD’s in Adobe Encore. Although I have used Encore in the past, I wanted to try to try to incorporate more advanced features into the authoring process.

One thing that I found out, that will make the DVD look more professional, is the ability to add an additional clip after a button is clicked on the DVD. What this means is that after a button is clicked on, I can add a clip of the screen fading out before either the film, or second menu comes up.

The second feature I added, was a second menu onto the film. This means that on the fist screen I could have a button to play the film, as well as a button for additional features, which when clicked on, brings up a new menu that has a button for the commentary track, as well as a button for a slideshow of production photos. I believe that all these features added together to create a more immersive experience.

Links to the DVD case and DVD sticker can be found here DVD Case DVD

In addition to the DVD authoring, I spent quite a while on creating the DVD cover, and disc. I decided to use the same image as the poster, as I believe that the image is very powerful, and also explains the story well, without giving away too much information. I believe that this, along with my authored DVD, will make my finished film look, and feel extremely professional


Music and Finished Film

May 28, 2014

With the films edit now wrapped, and the film not exported, I have decided to upload the film onto Youtube so that we can let our actors have a look at the film, before we send it out to them next week.

I have attached the video below


About Me

Looking back over this project, I believe overall it has been the best organised, and smoothest flowing project that I have undertaken that involved getting outside actors.

The project didn’t get off to the best of starts though, with constant script problems, and several entire rewrites, and it wasn’t until christmas that we got the beginnings of a script that we were truly happy with. At that point it was a mad rush to get the script finished so we could start auditions.

Getting to hold auditions was something that was new for us, as in all previous projects we haven’t been able to secure enough actors to be able to audition them, and most of the time even not had enough actors to fill the script, so having roughly 20 people show interest in our film filled us with confidence about our script. When auditions day came though, the turnout was rather poor, although of the actors that did turn up, several did show a lot of potential, and were later cast in our film. We decided to re-list our film onto the websites, and managed to get a few more people interested, but unfortunately we were in the same boat with not being able to hold a proper audition as we only just had enough actors to fill the roles.

We also took a huge gamble with casting a young actress who didn’t have any prior film experience, although this risk payed off, as she was extremely professional and was a good actress.

Once filming began the whole process seemed to flow a lot smoother, with only a few minor problems that were easily overcome. One thing that I would have preferred when shooting, would of been a constant crew with the same roles each day, but due to other people having prior commitments of some people, it meant that the role of sound recordist changed frequently, as when possible we wanted to use someone with a high level of sound recording abilities.

When it came to the editing process, initially there was several major problems. Being the cinematographer on another groups work prior to my project, I filmed both there’s, and our project on a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which on the first day began to drop frames on ProRes. For this I decided to change the recording format to DNXHD. When doing this I took a quick test shot, imported it onto my mac, and then into Premier pro, where it worked fine.

It was only after the entire filming of both projects has wrapped, that we discovered that the university computers didn’t have the correct Avid codex to be able to edit DNXHD files in premier. After attempting several different solutions, it was decided that the best thing to do would be to convert the DNXHD files to H264, a format which the computers could handle. The only problem with this was that each of the two projects were roughly 300-400GB in size, and meant that it may take several days to complete the process.

Another problem we encountered after this, was that for the majority of the days, the camera hadn’t recorded any sound. While this isn’t a major problem, as we still had the sound from the field recorder, it was an inconvenience, as it made syncing up the audio rather time-consuming.

One thing that I wanted to do in the editing process, was to get a rough cut completed as quickly as possible, so that way I could send the rough cut to the person who was scoring our film, therefor giving him the opportunity to begin working on the score.

After getting pretty close to the final edit of the film, I decided to start looking at colour correcting, and grading my film. As this is something that I am currently not too familiar with doing, I decided to have a look at using the Redgiant grading software, as there are quite a few tutorials online as to how to get the most out of this software.

Once the grading was finished, the sound was tweaked, and the music was added, the film really came together, and became something that I was quite proud of.

When we were put in groups at the start of the year, I was confident that me and Armani would work well together. We worked together the previous year, and as the producer Armani handled the pressure and stress of countless reshoots, and actors dropping out extremely well. This fact filled me with confidence that pretty much no matter what happened, she would be able to keep her cool, and produce a very professional film.

As well as producer, this year she took on the role of director too, which again I believe she did a very professional job with, and with the help of several other people in our group, I believe we made a very good production team.