Our Film Opening

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

My Prelim Evaluation

This is my final preliminary exercise which involved creating a continuity sequence.

1) Who did you work with and how did you manage the task between you? 

For our preliminary exercise I worked in a group with Sián, Ray and Aisha. We all worked together in the planning stage where we produced a storyboard, script and schedule, we then edited in pairs - I edited with Ray. As the main actors, me and Ray were unable to participate much in the directing aspect so Sián and Aisha were the main directors. Asides from this we were a group of equals and all worked together in each aspect with no clear leader. Our group dynamic worked very well and definitely attributed to how smoothly this task went.

My  group (from left to right): Aisha, Ray, Myself, Sián

2) How did you plan your sequence? What processes did you use? What theories did you try and take into account?

All our planning was done in line with the brief given to us beforehand. This meant we had an hour to plan. In order to use this time effectively we immediately set out the rules and theories/principles of continuity that we had to follow. These are listed below:
  • 180 degree rule (this was a demand of the brief)
  • 30 degree rule
  • match on action (this was a demand of the brief)
  • shot/reverse/shot (this was a demand of the brief)
  • some lines of dialogue
  • the inclusion of a master shot

An example of match on action and the 30 degree rule.

An example of a master shot.

An example of the 180 degree rule and shot/reverse/shot.

These rules ensured that we achieved continuity as the brief specified and also avoided jump cuts which would disorientate the audience.

The next step was the processes of planning, this involved us storyboarding all our shots making sure that we followed the rules above and that we included camera movement and a variety and progression of shot types. The next step was creating a shoot schedule where similar shots were grouped together so that we could use our 1 hour of shooting time efficiently. Next we created a script for the scene and finally we talked to the other group and organised which classroom we would use and allocated a time when we could shoot in the corridor.

Our storyboard

Our shoot schedule

Our script

3) What technology did you use to complete the task, and how did you use it?

We were provided with lots of different pieces of equipment and technology to aid us in completing the task, they can be classified into hardware and software as seen below:


  • Camera - The camera model we used was a Canon Legria HFG30. This was a high quality, lightweight camera that we could easily take off of the tripod. This was ideal as the high quality meant we wouldn't have to deal with issues such as struggling to focus the camera and allowed us to save a lot of time under tight time conditions. It being lightweight improved our time efficiency too as we could move and change camera positions and angles very quickly and easily.
  • Headphones, Microphone and Clapperboard - These were all objects which we used to improve the quality of our sequence. The headphones allowed us to monitor the audio quality as it was shot which proved very helpful when shooting the conversation. The microphone; which was a Canon DM-100 Directional Microphone; picked up the conversation very well in good quality which meant we were easily understandable. The clapperboard made our lives easier when it came to editing as it meant we could easily identify which shot number and which take each shot was.
  • Tripod - Our tripod was a Libec TH-650 HD Tripod. This tripod allowed us to mount the camera for each shot which kept the shots steady and improved the quality. Our tripod was height adjustable which meant we could change the shot types and angle easily. The spirit levels meant we could check our shots were balanced.

The equipment we used - in this you can see the camera, tripod, headphones and microphone.


  • Adobe Premiere Pro - This was our PC based editing software. Our media technician uploaded all our video files and then we named all the files and cut down our clips in line with the principles of continuity. The editing was made easier by the dual monitor setup and the fact that Premiere has multi track editing. In terms of audio, we had no need for sound bridges so we simply kept the audio clipped to the video to avoid anything going out of sync. 

This is what the editing software looked like.
I had used all of this hardware and software before in a previous media project and so I was familiar with the equipment which meant I was more efficient with the time.

4) What factors did you take into account when planning, shooting and editing?

There were many factors we had to take into account throughout this preliminary exercise:
  • Time - Having only an hour for each stage proved to be a very tight time constraint. However, through good planning and good teamwork we worked very efficiently and finished with time to spare in each stage.
  • Lighting - We had to ensure we had good lighting for each shot so as we had a good quality sequence. This didn't prove to be an issue as we shot indoors with good high-key lighting.
  • Furniture - We had to find a balance between having a classroom environment and having enough open space for the camera  to move within and capture the full view of the actors. We did this by rearranging the furniture in the classroom to how we wanted it.
  • Noise - There was a lot of background noise as the classroom was next to a field and so to solve this we had to close the windows and speak louder in the conversation scenes. In the future, we would perhaps look for a quieter classroom.
  • Achieving Continuity - The brief stressed that continuity and match on action were very important and that we needed to do both well in order to successfully complete the task. Therefore, we always filmed the complete action, for example even though the viewer only saw a close up of my hand on the door at the beginning, when we shot that scene I walked towards the door, opened it and went completely through. This made the action more realistic and easier to cut down for continuity.

5) How successful was your sequence? Please identify what worked well, and with hindsight, what would you improve/do differently?

Overall our sequence was very successful as we didn't break any of the rules set by the brief and achieved continuity very well. The brief demanded that we shot and edited a continuity sequence which has the narrative of a character opening a door, crossing the room and then exchanging some lines of dialogue with another character. From watching the video it is clear we successfully followed the narrative. Also the brief stressed the importance of continuity with specific reference to the continuity principles of match on action, shot/reverse/shots and the 180 degree rule. We successfully followed all these principles and examples of where we followed the principles of continuity well can be seen in the gifs posted in response to question 2.

Additionally, we recorded the conversation three times from different angles to ensure we had a variety of backup shots and that when we changed angles the conversation still flowed. We followed all the principles of continuity very well and our final piece was of a good standard. This is credit to how well we worked as a team and how efficient we were with our time.

In hindsight, I would cut the following shot earlier as it doesn't seem logical that it would take that long for Ray to react.

Furthermore, my teacher comments made me question how we should also shoot the following shot from a different angle as when I jump up I block Ray. This wasn't ideal as Ray was the subject as he was talking in this shot, therefore it would only make logical sense that the camera is focused on him.

6) What have you learnt from completing this task? Looking ahead, how will this learning be significant when completing the rest of your foundation coursework, do you think?

From my perspective, the most significant thing that I learnt from completing this task was how important the planning stage is. A good planning stage provides the foundation for a good project and that is the one thing that will be mirrored onto every task I do in media studies in the future. We worked well as a team and planned very well in our allocated 1 hour and in doing this we were very efficient in the shooting and editing stages and produced a good sequence asides from some minor errors.

This learning will be significant throughout the rest of my foundation coursework as the same basic principles will be mirrored in the next media project which is to create a 2 minute opening sequence for a new fiction film. The teamwork skills, organisation skills, shooting skills and editing skills will all be required in coursework in the future and this task has given us valuable experiential learning with each of these skills. However, this opening sequence will be on a much larger scale than the preliminary exercise we just did - we will have more editing e.g. we will have to incorporate titles, we will have to put in much more time, use different locations and possibly organise a whole cast. Therefore, this learning will prove significant as it will allow us to tackle a much larger project much easier than if we did not have the experience from this preliminary exercise.

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