Learning Log

A summary of the work and progress I have made throughout the year.

August 2017

My first attempt at a wildlife documentary.

I was lucky enough to capture some footage of dragonflies in beautiful scenery while visiting family in Portugal.

While is was sunny and very hot, there was a strong wind. As I had set out to film the plants on the quinta, I decided to film at 96fps to make the wind less of an issue.

While I am very happy with the result, due to the brightness of the sun, I could not see what I was filming as clearly as I would have liked. This prompted me to buy a fewfinder for my camera when I returned home.

September 2017

Manchester Thunderstorm,
10th September 2017

I managed to successfully film a thunderstorm. It came out of the blue but luckily, I had my camera ready.

After a sunny late afternoon, Manchester was suddenly struck by a thunderstorm. After the first flash of lightning, I quickly set up the camera and filmed the storm from my livingroom, in slow motion.

Shot at 96fps. One section slowed down to 10% of that to show the detailed progression of the lightning fork.

The Lovely Moon -
Driving Through The Desert

I put together a music video for a track from the new album from my project The Lovely Moon.

I had shot footage in the foothills above Boise, Idaho in July and in Portugal in August. Both showed some quite stunning scenery and I wanted to be able to show this off.

Some of the Boise footage was shot with a handheld camera from a car on a very bumpy dirt road so I had to utilise Premiere Pro's Warp Stabiliser. It gave a floaty feel to the footage and seems to emphasise thevastness of the space I was filming in.

I am not entirely happy with this video but I learned that I need to get better and steadier footage. The more I do this, the better I will become.

Blocker - Butterfly Cluster

I had captured some timelapse video while in Boise over the summer. I wanted to use this in something but it was very jerky (see above). I needed music that was equally 'jerky'. I found it in a track from my project Blocker.

I wanted to really use the beat of the track to guide the edit of the video. Michel Gondry's wonderful video for 'Star Guitar' by Chemical Brothers was never far away.

As well using what I had filmed in Boise, I added some timelapse cloud footage filmed from my home in Manchester,

I mirrored some of the footage. The idea was to portray beats and sound waves for the rhythmic sections and glide through the more ambient sections. The result was disorientating but reasonably successful.

We received the assignment briefs for Contextual Studies and Professional Practice.

The likely reality of life after university is me working as a reporter of a freelance filmmaker, so I decided to take advantage of these assignments to build my skills in both.

October 2017

Driving through Virgin River Gorge,
Arizona, October 2017

Very early on the college year, I traveled back to the USA to help my wife move from southern California to Boise, Idaho. This involved a two day drive through Nevada, Arizona and Utah.

My camera was packed along with a car load of belongings, so I used my phone to photograph the scenery along the way.

In Arizona, the freeway seemed to disappear into a huge wall of rock. As we got closer, I decided to film. We drove through a stunning and vast gorge. I filmed handheld. I wish I had filmed all the way but I decided to take photos too.

The film was jerky in places so I used Warp Stabiliser in Premiere Pro to steady it. It once again emphasised the vastness of the space we were traveling through.

Five pieces of film, five seconds long, capturing the atmosphere of Fall in Boise, Idaho.

One of the first videos I made at college was 5x5: Autumn (see it HERE). It was a good filming exercise and showed how important atmosphere is to a film.

On my latest trip to Boise, the fall colours were spectacular: deep rich colours in the leaves with a backdrop of beautiful, clear blue sky. I thought I should revisit the original idea.

A visit to Ann Morrison Park in Boise, Idaho, part of the green belt that runs through the city along the Boise River.

The temperature in Boise can change rapidly. In the park at time of filming, it was 28°F (-2°C) but it would rise into the 60s in the afternoon. Perhaps this contributes to the beauty of the place and the vibrant autumn colours.

Boise - Small Town / Big City

A report filmed for Contextual Studies to show how filming technology has advanced. All the equipment I used was small enough for one person to carry in one small bag!

Boise is a unique city set in the high desert of Idaho. It is a beautiful and friendly city full of art, culture and good food.

I went there to find out what draws people to this city.

During October, I began my research for both assignments.

For Contextual Studies, I looked at how mobile phones and social media played a role in the Arab Spring and Occupy Movements. I also researched why RTE's journalists began using mobile phones rather than a traditional film crew and all the equipment that goes with it.

I need clients for my Professional Practice assignment, so I posted on Facebook and straight away got responses. I also joined the HE Collaboration group on Facebook. I connected with three make up students who needed films to include in their showreels.

We had more training with the Sony FS7 camera in the studio. In groups we set up lighting and filmed each other using party poppers and filming them in S-Log2 at 180fps.

Capturing the colours of atmosphere of autumn in Manchester.

I went to Marie Louise Gardens in Manchester on a cold autumn morning to check if it was a suitable location for a make up shoot.

It's a hidden gem of a park. I'd not been there for 15 years or so but it hasn't lost any of it's charm.

November 2017

Film of a make up shoot for make up artist Charlote Hemming, featuring models Teegan Taylor and Janet Tabaka.

Charlote needed some film and photographs to be included in her showreel.

Over two days, with the assistance of Dave Speers, I filmed and photographed her work, along with the work of fellow make up students Sarah Latchford and Hannah Dawson. We filmed the make up artists working in the make up studio then took photographs in the photography studio and on location in Marie Louise Gardens.

It was agreed that myself, the make up artists and the models could each use the resulting photographs and video as part of their respective portfolios.

Jen Eachus, Make Up Artist

Jen Eachus, a make up artist studying at Fielden, posted a gif in the HE Collaboration. It showed a short part of a dramatic fashion video. There was fluid motion and high contrast. Jen wanted something like this for her showreel.

I contacted her to say we could definitely do this. We exchanged ideas and filmed in the photography studio with models Hannah Doyle and Orlagh Rose. In the studio, I was assisted by Dave Speers and Nozibele Manyana.

We used various flowing, transluscent, reflective materials, lots of lights and a wind machine. It was a great and rewarding experience.

I assisted Dave Speers with Joel Foster to set up and film some green screen footage for Dave's assignment. This is the second (possibly third) time we have filmed green screen. Getting the lighting right is critical: the green screen needs to be brightly and evenly lit. It took a long time to set up the lighting but we all learned a lot about lighting on the day. In comparison, the filming took a very short amount of time.

I travelled to Camp & Furnace in Liverpool to film footage for the promotional film I am making for The Playhouse Project.

They held a family rave with DJs, music, lights and bubble machines to the delight of an audience of all ages.

This was an exhausting day but I feel it was as close to being a freelance producer as I could be.

December 2017

I once again travelled to Liverpool to assist Nozibele with a film for her assignment.

I filmed and recorded sound from a church service then interviews talking about Christianity.

It was a good lesson in being prepared for anything: I had to film in an unknown space and be prepared to cpatured interviews and plenty of B-roll.

I post almost everything I do on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere online. I feel like this is the only way I can get feedback from each project and improve my skills.

Jason Cooke of ALL FM had seen some of my work and asked if I would do an film about the 'essence of ALL FM'. We will discuss this more in the new year once ALL FM has comfortably moved into its new home in Levenshulme.

A follow up to a short film I shot in Boise, Idaho in the fall of 2017.

Unlike, say, California, Idaho definitely has seasons. I wanted to show the extremes of winter here.

I wanted to show the proper winter (cold and snow) and the local squirrels took part once again. We'lll see them again in the spring of 2018.

I contacted Mathieu Lamontagne, the Quebec-based musician behind Arbee in regard to producing a music promo for his new album. He had already seen some of my previous work and was happy for me to go ahead.

I experimented with filming in Boise. I wanted to show reflections and unusual ways of viewing objects and movement. However, the next day, the snow came down and covered everything. That and the extreme cold meant I could not film my original idea. I filmed in the snow but was not happy with the result. I decided to film at night showing movement on land, in the air and underwater, in my head, at least, a similar idea to what I originally wanted to film. I will film this one evening when we have time.

January 2018

Music promo for 'Wintercomp' by Arbee from the album 'Polysémie' available from arbee.bandcamp.com/album/polys-mie

I've been a fan of the wonderful music of Mathieu Lamontagne, the man behind Arbee, for some years now. He is prolific and forever pushing the boundaries. His music is experimental, ambient abstract but always sounding fresh. So I am a happy man to get the chance to create a music promo for one of his tracks.

The video was filmed in Boise, Idaho and Manchester, UK during January 2018.

Contextual Studies and Professional Practice assignments have been completed and handed in.

February 2018

Public Liability Insurance
Proof of Public Liability Insurance 2017-18
(click to view larger version)

Through my membership of BECTU, I have obtained Public Liability Insurance cover from now until the end of April. It will need to be renewed after that.

I have booked to take BECTU's Creative Industries Safety Passport in May (earlier dates were fully booked or not convenient). This will mean I can be employed in the industry.

To set up Moon & Bacon as a viable production company, I need to register it as a business. However, as a council tenant, I need permission to register the business at my address. I have started this process. Once I am granted permission, I will register the business.

moonandbacon.co.uk is currently set up as portfolio site for the work I have produced in and out of college.

Moon and Bacon

I have started to upgrade the website so it is more compatible with running a business. I need to modernise the style, show only highlights of my work and need to include a contact form and a summation of what I do. This process will continue over the coming months. I will also make sure Moon & Bacon has a more cohesive online presence on the website, Vimeo and social media.

I have been in contact with Mathieu Lamontagne. We have discussed my ideas for the next music promo I will produce for him. He likes the idea and will send a demo version of the track to be used soon. I will be doing some test shots for the promo to be included in my presentation.

I have had discussions and a face to face meeting with Dex Morris of Second City Coffee. We have set the filming schedule for his advert as well as discussed what the look and feel of the advert will be.

I have explored Google Slides and started putting my presentation together.

With a couple of clear nights, I have started to explore night sky timelapses and way to compensate for the dreadful light pollution in central Manchester.

For this film, I shot a 1 second exposure every 2 seconds in raw format, exposing to the right. I then edited the 1036 captured images in Lightroom and put the film together in Premiere Pro.

I will continue to explore and improve my technique so that I am prepared when I get a chance to shoot in very dark skies over the Easter break.

Through my efforts to get permission to register a business in my home, on Friday 23 February 2018, I attended a one day course entitled Marketing on a Shoestring run by my hosing association landlords One Manchester.

The course was very useful. I was amazed just how much of this stuff I already knew. All the skills and knowledge I use to promote clients in promotional films can be used to promote my own business!

Music promo test shoot

One of the films I'm making for my final project is a music promo for Mathieu Lamontagne.

The first promo I made for Mathieu was quite abstract, which fit his music well. For this film, I want to do something different - really connect with the people on the screen. With that in mind, I filmed a short piece in Manchester on Sunday 25th February 2018 to be used in my presentation.

I stopped several people and asked them questions designed to get an emotional response. I fill them close and in slow motion to really emphasize the effect.

The music used in this clip is another of Mathieu's tracks, Arbee - Amuse-Gueules (Darren McClure)

March 2018

I have made progress with all of my films - scripts, shot lists, budgets, etc.

I have been practising the type of shots I need for the Mathieu Lamontagne music promo - both slow motion close ups and time lapse.

Crew and equipment is sorted out for the Second City Coffee shoot. I will be joined by Peter Waiting, who will be transporting the FS7 camera kit, and first year student Andrea Martinez who will help on the shoot but also get shots for her own project.

Night Sky Timelapse 7th March 2018

I have further refined my night sky timelapse filming techniques, although the chances to experiment with this are few and far between in Manchester, and following some advice from Peter Waiting, I have refined my workflow for this.

The film is a 50x timelapse. I shot 804 1 second exposures, at one frame every 2 seconds. I used the GH4 with a 25mm lens (50mm equivalent), ISO 3200, f1.7. I edited the images in Lightroom then rendered the video in Premiere Pro and After Effects. I will create a video showing this workflow soon.

Music: The Lovely Moon - The Stars Are Coming Out, available from bingsatellites.bandcamp.com

Researched three act stories for each film I will be making, including adverts.

BECTU Creative Industries Safety Passport
BECTU Creative Industries Safety Passport
course confirmation

I will now be attending the BECTU Creative Industries Safety Passport training at MediaCityUK on 14th May (rather than London on 23rd May).

As a council tenant, I need permission to register a business at my address. James Breen, my local housing officer, has given me permission as long as I abide by my tenancy agreement (nothing I do will breach that agreement).

I am researching tax and bookkeeping necessary for being a sole trader.

After several emails, I met with Ed Connole at ALL FM. The scope of the film they want has changed slightly. They now require a short film (30 to 45 seconds long) as part of a crowdfunding campaign. I have suggested we make 3 similar films so that one can be shared, then the second shared a week later and the third a week after that, to keep momentum in the crowdfunding campaign. I will be filming at ALL FM on Friday 16th March and an external training programme on Saturday 24th March (that is yet to be confirmed). The crowdfunding campaign will take place in April. The films for this will have to be complete by then.

I will be filming the Second City Coffee advert in Warrington on Wednesday 21st March with the assistance of Peter Waiting, who will transport the college’s filming equipment to the location, and first year student Andrea Martinez. I will practice filming at Fielden canteen with the FS7, filming in S-log2, and the GH4 in Cine D and V-log on Monday 19th March. This is to see which settings are more compatible on the GH4. I will experiment with luts in Premiere Pro to ensure I get good results filming this way.

I have been practising various timelapse filming techniques. I will include these in the Mathieu Lamontagne music promo. There will be two days of filming for this - one for the slow motion faces and public sections of the film and the other for timelapses in similar locations. I will film the faces section on a day with no rain and the timelapse sections when there are defined clouds (not just blue or grey sky).

I have scripts and shots lists for all shoots.

I will be away from 17th March. I plan to have all filming done by then. I will continue editing while I am away and refine my finished films upon my return in April.

Filming at Second City Coffee
at Quayside, Warrington

Filming for the Second City Coffee commercial went well in Warrington. Having a script and shot list meant I was organised and I got all the shots I needed in a relatively short space of time.

Test filming at home for the
Second City Coffee commercial

Part of the commercial is what I am calling 'The journey of the coffee', from bean to customer. One part of this that I couldn't film in the cafe was the coffee beans at the start of this journey. I did a test shoot of coffee beans cascading in slow motion at home. I was happy with the results but I know that I could get better results in the studio at college using better lights and the FS7 camera. It also makes sense to use the same camera throughout.

With the assistance of Sigsbert Rutajunara, I filmed the majority of the shots needed for the Arbee music promo. With interviewed people in Manchester city centre and caught their reactions in slow motion.

Filming in Manchester city centre
for the second Arbee music promo

I am away for 3 weeks. As I have filmed the vast majority of the shots needed for my assignments, I am editing while I am away.

April 2018

Timelapse drive through Idaho:
Kirkham Hot Springs to Eagle, April 2018

Continuing to take advantage of every possible filming situation, I have filmed timelapses of two journey through the winding highways of Idaho improving my technique by using the skills I have learned so far. I filmed at 1fps with a shutter speed of 1/2 second to get motion blur to smooth out the film as much as possible. I had to adjust the iris along the way for differing light levels. The camera was positioned on the tripod in front of me in the passenger seat in a secure position for both safety and quality if capture film.

One thing I realised after filming was that if I had used a polarising filter, I could have minimised the reflections caught on the inside of the car windscreen.

Filming coffee beans in the studio

I completed the Second City Coffee commercial shoot by filming cascading coffee beans in the studio. I caught the set up and filming in a timelapse film (on the left).

Kowalski Room - Breathe
Filming the Kowalski Room music promo
Filming the Kowalski Room music promo

I created a music video for ambient musicians Kowalski Room.

After filming at cascading coffee beans at home in slow motion, I was intrigued to see what else I could film in slow motion. I got a bag of confetti and set up a white bed sheet in my livingroom with all my lights. The shots were quite effects, especially shots filmed at 90°. Layered two of these shots gave the effects of confetti spinning in a circle. Even with the lights I had, however, there were times when it just wasn't adequate shooting at such a short shutter speed.

May 2018

I completed my final pieces of research, filming and editing.

The complted films for Negotiated Specialist Project can be seen below.

Second City Coffee commercial

Filmed over two days with a two and three person crew in Warrington and at the Fielden campus, using the Sony FS7 camera.

The experience with this camera and the knowledge I have gained will be invaluable.

While I am happy with the results, I have learned from this experience: I would have got better versions of many of the shots in the commercial.

The Essence of ALL FM: Diversity

Filmed over two days at ALL FM in Levenshulme with me as a one person crew.

The Essence of ALL FM: Community & Wellbeing

The films will be used as part of a fundraising campaign for the station.

arbee - m'agace music promo

Music promo for Quebec-based music Mathieu Lamontagne.

I tried to captured the disconnect of people around us even though, in a city, we are surrounded by people every day.

The concept of the film was an ambitious one. I am happy with the film but I think it could have explored the concept further and more clearly. It is something I will explore in further films.

Behind the scenes of
arbee - m'agace music promo

A look at how these slow motion expressions were actually captured.