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Friday, 25 November 2011

Filming session 3: Southampton's dying light with ribbon girl

Shoot: Southampton

Date:16th November 2011

Crew: Myself (cameraman, Producer/Director) and George (Assistant)

Cast: Lydia (Ribbon Girl)

Equipment: Steadicam, Tripod. Canon 600D. Battery pack. 16GB SD card.

Wednesday: 2:35
I needed to establish the girl who follows the ribbon within an equally if not greater urban setting to the one the boy starts in to get that replicated journey of traveling from the city into the countryside.
Southampton seemed like a great place to film due to its high tower blocks and gritty council estates and a concrete landscape that can't quite be found in the surrounding city's of Bournemouth, Salisbury and Portsmouth.
George, who needed to get a few shots for his own media project had agreed to give us a lift up on that day and having fitted it in with Lydia's free period in the afternoon I was hoping to catch the best of the late afternoon low light.

Driving up to Southampton I had an idea of the location I wanted to film at but because of its central location near the railway station I had worries about being able to capture Lydia, isolated within the environment without having members of the public constantly coming into the background of shots. George needed a rundown tower block to film at and because that sort of a location also suited me, we ended up sourceing a location for filming within a southampton University halls of residency.

In some ways the location was perfect, a large shabby tower block with no one within the immediate vicinity. However this landscape only covered a small area with a green sports field to one side and a large victorian house on the other. This meant that although i would be able to get a few shots, i was going to struggle to get enough in different places at the location to create a sense of a journey similar to the Boy's.

Although i had storyboarded shot ideas of the girl's journey, I knew that it would be quite hard applying them without knowing the geography of the location until the day of the shoot. I managed to replicate the opening shot of the girl following the ribbon that I had planned. The white of the wall against the red of the ribbon seemed to work well and I used a door handle to attach the end of the ribbon onto. I experimented with the use of focus in the shot with the camera on the steadicam. What seemed to work best was having a short depth of field with the tracking closeup of the red ribbon against the white wall moving past it and framing the girl coming from the otherside in a medium wide shot out of focus.
I was in two minds as to the best white balance setting to use for the shoot, part of me wanted to set it to Auto or cloudy as this gave the images the most true colours but at the same time I wanted the colouring to marry with that of the boy following the ribbon. It felt imperative to portray both of their journeys happening at the same time, going from sunrise to sunset. Therefore I was also drawn to use the same 'tungsten white' white balance setting i'd used for the shoot in Verwood. I tried both when filming the opening shot. However shooting against the white of the wall it became obvious that the colouring was far too cold when using the tungsten white balance setting to the point of being visibly blue.

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