Creative Hive - projects
Hello everyone! I'm really excited to announce that my radio show 'Northzen' will be back on air from today. The show made some fantastic achievements last year. My feature Charity Shop Jukebox raised over £100 for local and national charities, and was nominated for 'Best Feature'. And the show was awarded 'Pick of The Week' and went on to win 'Pick of The Year' at the Shock Awards in May, earlier this year.
I'm extremely happy to be back, and with an extended timeslot of 2 hours, the show should be packed with more great content to liven up your Monday nights. Hope you can all join me then! - Matt
quence is below for a uni project I created the opening titles to a game show called Private eye – The Bloody Bake off. It was a TV studio show where I was in charge of the graphics.
Last week (22nd October) I attended a meeting for producing short films for the National Student Survey.
I shall be working with a fellow peer from the Television and Radio course.
The aim is to produce a 90 second public announcement style clip to promote the aspects of the National Student Survey.
We have chosen Personal Development.
The turnaround is quite quick, being just over three weeks. Although, having some heat in the kitchen is always a good thing.
On the 23rd we got straight to business and held a production meeting in which we came up with the whole concept, pitch, prop list and sent out an casting call to professional actors via social networks.
In my first year of university i wanted to do as much as i could, so i helped my Best friend from school Katie with her final year project, it was only fair she helped me with mine. she had me logging continuety on the day, i also helped cary equipemnt and i made sure that all the forms were signed.
i helped her in the editing process by telling her what i felt looked right and she took my advice to heart. Keeping in contact with katie as a good idea because of her ability to create contacts anywhere and everywhere, in the past three years she has worked with all mannor of people. when i started looking for work experience i talked to her first because i knew she had those contacts.
as a favour to a friend i helped her friend on a live shoot. he didnt need camera ops but he did need someone to take photographs and it meant that i could observe a live streaming of an event so i went along and took phtos of the day, and heped set up the cameras.
this was my first exposure to any kind of compay and because of it i have a few friends that i can cntact if i need help
In my first year of university i was on the BSC Proffessional Sound and Video Technology course, as part of the video module we had to make a five minute film to demonstrate our camera skills. i had always loved zombie movies so i worked with my flatmates to write a basic script for the film. it was very last minute as most tings are in your first year of university so all of my new friends puled in to help out. all of the actors in thispiece are my flat mates. the make up was done by more of my friends and the camera crew consisted of myself joanne, danny stacy a music student, and Katie, an old friend from stafford uni.
the shoot itself was hectic. i made the mistake of alowing my friends to drink before the shoot, big mistake. in some cases it helped them look more zombie like. we filed for two days in my student accomodation and got enough footage to put together. i even got a cameo.
i wanted the video to be copywrite free so i used my dads bands music for party scenes with his permission and i had my friend lewis create the genral sound scape.
This was my first try and making a film and while it is messy and sometimes the clip looks out of focus or the sound is off im still proud of it. sometimes i feel like its a blip on my record but it shows just howfar ive come in the past two years.
Our briefs for the second year Fictional Video Prduction Final piece was to reproduce a 5 minute sce from an established film in our own style. we had to pitch our ideas to our tutor who agreed to our scrits. they had to have a narative arc and our charicter had to chnge. I chose two five minute scenes from Cruel Intentions, i chose my favorite topitch and my teacher gave me the green light.
i set off into my paerwork, somthing i had previously hated but after the issues caused in the corraline shoot from the lacking of time management it was a god send to write very specific plans. i adapted the script, created a storyboard and recruited a crew. Aiden Ryan and Tom McCarthy were my Assistant Directors, aiden had an insite into acting that i didnt have and he was able to articulate what i wanted from the actors in a way that they understood. Tom had a way with people and was able to make sure that everyone behaved aproprietly and didnt cause disruption to the shoot. My camera Operators were Abbie Kirwan and Joanne parker, they understood what i wanted to do without me havng to spell it out to them. Tabitha and Charlotte worked on lights, Tabitha was a first year however her ability to light a room was better than some second years. Jake Perry - Gartner and Lauren Johnstone were my Boom operators. Everyone confiremd their availability and things went very smoothly.
I contacted three hotels to see if i could use a hotel room as my main location. Two never replied however the renaisaunce hotel in manchester city centre were very helpful and offered me a very posh room. i went to inspect the room and to do a reccee with jake. we were escorted to a few rooms and the premier suite was exacedly what i was looking for. Maria Joergensen was my contact at the hotel and she made sure that the room was booked for my filming. i expected to have to pay however they didnt charge me.
with a detailed plan of the room and its plug sockets i planned every shot exacedly and wrote up the most detailed shot list i could. i split the crew into two teams so that people could go for lunch while others filmed meaning that everyone would get a break.
Actors were dificult. Anna was more than willing to play my lead role and she was perfect however finding a sebastian was dificult, i advertised the role on star now but didnt find any particularly good choices, i asked Christian from the Birds of a feather shoot however he was busy i asked oter friends i thought would be right and eventualy after meeting ben from the singing in the rain shoot, i had my sebastian. finding my final actor was dificult. i had two lined up and both told me they couldnt help anymore. the day before the shoot i was told that my second actress had droped out i paniced. I ran around the SU bar tlking to anyone and everyone and eventualy found Evangeline who was perfect and was more than happy to help. i had my cast.
on the day of the shoot we all met at media city, i picked up the equipemtn and aiden took the actors to a room to reherse the script quickly. some people were late but we were on the bus by eleven and at the hotel for 12 when we intended to start shooting, we had a quick run trhough the day and abbie pointed out that i had verplannedand that tehre was a far easier and quicker way of shooting all the shots, so we did. and they day ran much smoother. we finished filming with half an hour to spare and this meant we had pleanty of time to clean the room and leave.
out of all the shoots i had ever been on this was the smoothest it had ever gone, i put this down to my overplanning and the ability to take advice off others. i wasnt stressed and all my actors and crew were happy even though it was boiling hot. when i edited the footage i put my own twist on it, i made the footage contrast higher and out of stylistic choice made the footage black and white. this project was graded the highest mark i have ever recieved and i was and still am very proud of it for the quality of the footage and the stress free shoot.
After working with Anna Hickling on Birds of a Feather she asked us to film the universities performance society as they had never had footage of their performances before. we discussed what worked on the previous shoots and decided to work only from the live performances but to film two or three of them to ensure we ad all the footage.
Singing in the rain was the first performance we filmed, this was Abbie, Joanne and myself working together again. we kept the multi camera set up and kept the steady cam as it was a way of getting intimate shots without disturbing the audience. we filmed two nights of the performace and a dress rehersal and managed to produce enough footage that Anna herself edited.
The second project was their stage version of The Graduate, we attended a rehersal in order to understad what parts were going to be important to capture and then we would film one live performance. it was in a smaller area however we used the same multi camera set up.
the previous experience we hadas a crew made these two shoots run far smoother than coraline and birds of a feather we still havent editied the graduate as of yet but have just begun.
Similarly to Coralline this was a client based project however instead of working intensely with the university we worked more with the writer Aiden Ryan. He was the main character and the writer of this short story about five birds living in a cage. he told us about the story and what it symbolised and told us what he was looking for, as we had already worked quite well on coralline the project was much easier to work on. The crew differed only slightly Abbie Kirwan directed while i was the data wrangler, Charlotte Nash was a camera operator and Joanne Parker was brought back too. The runners were involved aswell but as the project was shorter they only really brought us food and drinks instead of getting invlved in the filming but they seemed okay with this.
Because of my commitment to coraline i missed most of the rehersal time with the cast of Birds of a Feather however i was there on the evening of the performance. the others showed me the footage and they had become more experimental and using the steadycam created a 360 shot of the birds dancing. it was very imressive and we were all very excitedfor the evening film shoot. i sat at a desk with computers, hard drives and all manor of memory cards ready. we had three cameras set up one on both side and on in the middle. when it came to show time there was little comunication. the middle camera had decided to not work at that crucial moment, i was responcible for recording it and i paniced and tried to tell the others. in the end we left the middle camera alone and luckily had enough footage from the other two cameras to make the trailer. There were other issues such as the lack of memory cards available and because of this we had to swap memory cards mid performance. one of the actors knocked over a prop however managed to make it look intentional.
when we finished recording we all sat together and we were very woried about what the footage as going to be like and if we could make a trailer from what we had. it took a few days but we sat down with aiden and edited the clips together into the trailer, and luckily for us the footage worked well together we still havent sorted out the full run of this performance but there are plans to get it finished soon.
These two projects ran alongside each other and it was a complicated situation for such a small groupto deal with. when we later looked at the camera we realised we hadnt formatted the card. We all felt very stupid for missing somthing so routine however from then on every camera has been checked before live filming. we discussed what went wrong and communication was anouther isue that we felt needed adressing. when we work together again we should have walkie talkies or radio mics inorder to contact each other should somthing go wrong. I thouroughly enjoyed working with the crew and we all recieved further work from the actors on the shoot such as Aiden Ryan who had us film his PRP and Anna Hickling who would be our contact with the university's performance society.
During reading week in January 2014 the entirety of BA TV and Radio 2nd years were given live briefs with clients to help us work in a more professional environment. We were told about all the briefs and wrote down our preferences and after some re-arranging we were all put into groups and sent off to our clients. Luckily for me I was given the University itself as a client and was asked along with my peers to make 4 three minute trailers of the best performances written and performed by 3rd year performance students which would then be sent around the world to recruit international students.
The Three plays were explained to us and we were able to choose which we wanted to be involved in. I very much wanted to be involved in Coralline as it was one of my favourite books as a child and my cinematic style is similar to that of Neil Gaiman's animated film. However I also was intrigued by a play called 'Birds of a Feather' and decided to help out on both shoots by playing a smaller roll with Birds of a feather. We were to have 2 days of rehearsal time and one evening of filming in front of an audience.
I took on the role of director and my crew consisted of Abbie Kirwan and Lauren Aspin - North. Due to the scale of the project I called in a friend from another course Joanne Parker and recruited three First years to be runners, Tom McCarthy, Lauren Johnstone and Tabitha Constantine. Coralline was an hour and a half play based on the original Neil Gaiman book however there were musical numbers and a lot of scenes made use of UV lighting. This was a concern as none of us had ever filmed UV light before and we were unsure how it would be picked up, so we booked out a variation of cameras. We used Panasonic 151's and a 500 as well as a Cannon 5D. We also made use of a steady cam which was used predominantly with the DSLR as it was lighter and easier to handle.
We had a small meeting with the stage manager and Director about what scenes they felt would be important to capture in order to communicate the story and after a while we compiled a list of scenes and sections that were essential. There were a lot of them and after sitting down and writing a shot list it became apparent that this was a big project. Although the university only wanted 3 minutes of footage the actors approached us and asked if they could get a full run of the play cut for their show reels. We agreed this would be beneficial for all since we would be filming the entire performance live.
Since we were recording the entire performance live it made the shot list shorter as most shots would be captured by the multi camera set up. We wanted to experiment a little and since this was a very peculiar story we looked into techniques that would enhance the strange atmosphere created by the performance. One of these shots was the trombone shot.
I have always had a keen interest in films and as a child I always noticed the significance this shot gave to a scene. I first saw the shot in Peter Jacksons The Fellowship of the Ring and I was amazed by the surrealism it brought to the scene, I came across the shot again in Jaws and I felt that, as it was one of the things that made me want to be a film maker that I should at least try to make use of it. There were two ideas for using the trombone shot. One was to use it on the secret door that leads to the other mother, this would emphasize its mystery, and we tried the shot a few times and did manage to get some useable footage that was in the final cut of the trailer. The other shot was far more challenging as it involved actors. Coralline (Emma Chapman) was throwing a tantrum and to make her screams more effective we wanted to try the trombone shot on her as well. It was far more complicated and took us at least half an hour to get right but we did get at least one decent take that was used and worked with the timing of the play.
Another Tricky shot that we focused on was the tracking shot; we had never used tracks before so the whole thing was a learning experience however it was far easier than the Trombone shot. The actors were very co-operative with us and even the first year runners were given opportunity to film the tracing shots. In comparison this was a walk in the park. We also tried to use pull focus a lot to create dramatic tension and a scene where this was particularly important was when the other mother tells coralline to give her a kiss and apologise. By pulling focus between the two characters it created dramatic tension as you could immediately see the reaction of both characters in the same shot.
Filming during rehearsal time was very stressful as we were under a lot of pressure and had a lot to do before the performance on the evening. I couldn’t quite handle the pressure and I didn’t ask for the help I needed, as a result I needed to go and have a sit down and relax before the stress of filming in front of a live audience. Luckily my crew were very understanding and we all pulled together and got what needed to be done.
We had some peculiar issues with sound. Since the theatre itself used radio mics to enable contact between the lighting room and backstage there was interference when we tried to use the radio mics on the actors. The feedback created made a horrendous sound and after hearing the playback we used boom mics to capture sound. The problem with this was that during the live performance we were unable to follow characters onstage as it would distract the audience so the boom mic had to remain stationary during the live performance. During the editing process this cause all manner of problems as it meant the actors at times were inaudible and audience members coughed over important parts of dialogue. we decided that ADR was necessary to make sure the video was as good as we could make it so we took the actors into a room and recorded the lines that were too quiet with a zoom mic.this itself caused problems as the actors performance wasn’t as good because it was not in the context of the performance.
The editing process was lengthy we had filmed in January but the trailer was not due in until February so we did have time however since there was so much footage to sift through it was always going to be a long process. We had written a very basic editing script and worked from that to produce our first cut of the trailer. We consulted with the university and they gave us some points that they wanted changed to improve the piece for its purpose so we amended the problems and handed in the trailer. It was well accepted and all the actors were impressed by the quality of the footage, unfortunately due to many factors the full run of coralline is still in the editing process but is expected to be completed within the next few months.
This project was the steepest learning curve I have ever had. I had never worked with a client before and I had never had a crew before. I had only just swapped from a science based version of the course so I had less understanding of the equipment and paperwork. I encountered many issues; Time management, teamwork, technical problems however because so many things went wrong, and I had to fix those things immediately it made me think about contingency plans. I now always have a backup for everything, equipment, cast, crew just in case someone can’t be there or there are no cameras available. I also learned a lot about working as a team and have realised that some personalities work well together and others don’t and that can be bad for a shoot especially when you’re on a strict time scale. The most important thing I learned on this shoot was that I need to manage my time precisely. I expected to get far more done in a short amount of time than would ever be physically possible. I also realised that I can’t take on everything at once and that if I’m struggling with my workload I need to ask for help so that I don’t snap. the positive thing that came out of this project was the contact with the actors, because they were so impressed with the footage produced I was asked to help with other projects (such as afterglow) but it also gave me a group of people I could contact if I needed to cast my own work.
Over the past weekend I worked as project lead and camera woman on a project at the Imperial War Musseum Salford. For this project I teamed up with three fellow University of Salford students who were all cameramen and events management company Soup Collective, who were in charge of all of the planning and technical aspects for this film. The film was based on the true solider Pat and starred a range of British actors. BBC Philharmonic Orchester also did the music for this film and it was beautiful. My role on the day was as one of the camera woman and also to be in charge of all of the cameras and where they should stand, as project lead. The film had two reharsal days and 2 recorded days. BBC North West Tonight editor Simon Devote-Shaw is editing the film. I loved working on this film as it was a dream working with both Soup Collective and Simon and was just a fantastic play to be able to not only watch but also record. I also loved all of the responsibility that came with this role i.e. being in charge of one of the camera, having coms (which I learnt about too in this project) and being project lead. It was one of my favourite projects that I have worked on and amazing to work with the BBC Philharmonic! On Friday the show was broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester which was so exciting and the show is going to be made into a BBC DVD, which is amazing to think that my filming will be made into a BBC film.
Last week I worked as a runner, interviewer and camera woman at the Salford Radio Festival. My role at the festival was to interview the radio dj's once they had done their show and record these interviews on camera. On the day I interviewed Radio DJs Joel Ross and Anika Rice, aswell as former JLS singer and The Voice Presenter Marvin Humes and Corrionation Street actor and presenter Les Dennis. Also on the day I edited these clips to go online. I learnt so much from taking part in the radio festival about both working in radio and about interviewing people. It was a fantastic day, that I got a lot out of.