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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Filming Session 5: Finishing Principal Photography in the freezing cold. Friday 16th December

Shoot: Poulner Lakes

Date: 16th December 2011

Crew: Myself (Filmmaker)

Cast: Lydia Cresswell and Tom Verrept (Ribbon boy and girl)

Equipment: Canon 600D. Battery Pack. 32GB SD Card

Friday 2:35pm

After the lighting difficulties with the previous attempt to film the final sequence of the boy and girl narrative with the two characters coming together my focus going into this shoot was to capture that dramatic climax when the two strands of the ribbon finally connect. I didn't want a repeat of Moors Valley with natural sunlight disappearing rapidly after 4pm. Having managed to drag Lydia from her sick bed and out into the freezing cold I was aware more than ever of my responsibility as a director to work efficiently and quickly. I decided for this shoot i would use minimal equipment as taking the steadicam would slow me down and due to the increase in editing tempo and energy present as the video reaches its end it felt appropriate to turn to handheld in order to provide that kinetic quality. With handheld filmmaking not only a trait of dodgy homemade videos but an accepted technique in professional productions it felt appropriate to brave leaving the tripod at home and use one of the conventions of Alternative/Indie Rock music videos.

As Tom didn't finish school until 3:20 I used the extra time to re-shoot the tracking shot of Lydia looking at the images of the boy running and then going into the card with the aim to create a seamless transition between the two moments. Although this shot is something of a gimmick I really wanted to have something in my video that was technically impressive and innovative. Taking inspiration from the clever yet playful ideas Indie bands such as Metronomy have used in their videos. However for it to work the close up tracking shot needs to be as smooth as possible otherwise the photos on the ribbon will just blur. Thinking on my feet a little, I set up the strand of ribbon against my white garage doors and then constructed the track and dolly alongside.
 When comparing two shots from both sessions it becomes clear it was worth the re-shoot..

Filming at Poulner Lakes went relatively smoothly. However with the idea to show both characters emerging from the woods and into a clearing it meant I had to be economical with how i shot the limited wooded area we had. Ultimately having begun editing I knew that in reality this section of video could last no longer than about 20 seconds and so I didn't go over board on shots showing them traveling through the forest. Happy accidents often occur during filming and as a filmmaker i've become more and more comfortable going into a shoot not relying on a completed storyboard, for me it can be more effective working instinctually. This way there's no excuse to switch off and not be looking for trying different things out. The two distinct things that came out of this shoot was to have both Tom and Lydia spot each other on the point of brushing through the last branches, I liked how their body language within this action mirrored one another. I also liked capturing the meeting of them stepping into the same frame from a low angle wide shot. The sun had just gone behind the trees and the shadows casting them in silhouettes worked perfectly.

The lighting on Lydia at the end was also fantastic, almost pure Jane Austin as I finally came close to replicating that golden lighting in Warpaint's video.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Initial Shot Locations

Shot Location 1 Christchurch BH23 1BU Approximately 20 minutes from Ringwood


  • Characteristic architecture gives great personality to mise en scene and its grandour is the right juxtaposition against the bleak abandoned surroundings of early dawn. This adds a surrealism that is marries with the tone i hope to create for the video, to fit the music video into the conventions of its genre it needs an element of lyricism.
  • Can be presented to a certain extent as an urban environment yet is quiet enough to be deserted early in the day, making filming an easier task to manage.
  • Natural Lighting should be good as it is opposite an estuary, open space and light reflecting of water should allow for good filming conditions.
  • Easy Access by Car- car parking spaces less than 50metres away and shouldn't take longer than 20 minutes to get there by car.

  • Is not directly situated within an inner city environment and therefore doesn't fit with my theme of people returning back to nature from built up surroundings.
  • Isn't easily accessable by public transport and considering I am unable to drive this presents a problem.

Location 2 Texaco Petrol Station-Outskirts of Ringwood Location for Opening shots)


  • Close to where we live so easy to get to.
  • Isolated positioning allows it to really stand out and make it easy to achieve derelict look.
  • Dual carriage way frames station in the ugliness of man's imprint on earth.
  • Trees present as in pavilion location, leads to a link between scenes and link with song title of "bitter branches".
  • Petrol station has shop and is 24hr which means early morning filming is always possible.
  • Might not be believable as on the outskirts of a city environment.
  • Potentially difficult to get permission to film in food court of Texaco.
  • Dual Carriageway is a safety hazard when trying to film long shots.
Location 3 Poulner Bridge
For filming later band shots or the girl and boy following ribbon. I like the expansive nature of the location and with the dual carriage way running underneath it sets it firmly in an urban setting.



  • Location wise its perfect in that its very close to both the school and my house meaning traveling to location would be extremely easy.
  • Good opportunities for wide shots with height giving a wide, expansive background to shots.
  • pavement on both sides gives opportunities for long tracking shots.
  • Situated over the dual carriageway and near housing means urban setting is easily established.

  • It is a busy road which would make filming wide/tracking shots without interruption from passing cars a difficult task.
  • Narrow pavement is potentially problematic when trying to fit the whole band in a row on it.
  • Extravagant shots like the steadicam sweep from a mid shot of band into the ribbon could be challenging in such cramped conditions and with danger of traffic.

Location 4 Poulner foot Bridge

This would be crossed by either the boy or the girl following the ribbon. 

This footbridge goes over the same dual carriageway as the previous bridge and I like idea of placing both the journeys of the band and the boy/girl following ribbon within the same setting. I think this would invoke a stronger sense of not only connection between the two but also perhaps a feeling of the band remembering.

Bridge in upper centre of photo


  • Again this location is close to both my home and the school.
  • There is a clear duality between this and the other Poulner bridge
  • From a filmmaking perspective, I know the location well having filmed there for my AS film opening.
  • Curve of bridge is quite prominent and striking and could make an effective wide shot.

  • Possibly not quite an urban enough setting. The housing estate on both sides suggests more small town than metropolitan city.

Location 5 Tree top trail, Moors Valley.

I want to use this location for the final meeting between the two main characters having finally escaped into nature.


  • The wooden structure is really striking and somewhat ethereal and I believe this will really help to emphasise the dream like quality and surrealism about this whole narrative. 
  • Gives plenty of opportunity for low angle shots and striking extreme wide shots.
  • I like that it gives a clear path for each character to come from creating a clear meeting point with them coming from opposite sides.
  • Forest setting is perfect to capture the escape into nature.


  • As its right in the middle of Moors Valley country park it isn't accessible by car and therefore hard to get to (I estimate about a 40 minute cycle from Ringwood School).
  • The walkway is very narrow and only wide enough for one person and this could be a problem in getting certain shots like side on medium shots.
  • The trail itself is very open meaning keeping the ribbon trail visible in frame might be difficult for some wide shots.

Location 6- Allum Chime

A potential shot location for the final stage of the bands journey when they reach the sea.


  • There is a clear path that leads right down to the beach meaning continuity can be kept, in terms of location, right from the pathway to reaching the waters edge.
  • Easy to get to by car and parking isn't a problem as there is a small car park only 100 yards from path.

  • Path isn't wooded and too public to fully suggest an escape into nature similar to the other characters.
  • A long drive away, might be difficult to create a shooting schedule that isn't going to seem like too much of a commitment to potential actors.

Location 7- Just off Maxwell road-Esplanade, Poole BH13 7, UK Drive time approximately 26mins.

  • A clear tree covered path that leads down to the beach, looks promising for a mid afternoon shoot  near the golden hour with light spilling between the leaves on the trees.
  • Path is tarmac covered meaning long sweeping shots using tripod on wheels or even track and dolly would be easier to achieve due to smooth surface.
  • Like Allum Chime it isn't nearby and therefore is potentially a time consuming shoot.

Location 8-Cooper dean roundabout, Bournemouth

I want to film both characters, particularly the girl, within a definite city/urban environment in the first half of the video. Both characters start their journeys early in the morning and although I wasn't looking for a zombie apocalypse desolation the striking imagery presented by the stillness and emptiness of an urban landscape and its vast, industrial architecture in films such Danny Boyle's opening to 28 days later. Living in a small town in the new forest makes finding such locations something of a challenge. However after scouting out areas of nearby Bournemouth I found somewhere that might be sufficient in  helping to achieve the mise en scene i'm after.


  • With the dual carriageway running over it and another large road running underneath, it allows that lonely early morning atmosphere to be established easily with empty roads giving clear connotations of desolation. This could be particularly effective as I like the idea of my characters starting before the rush of human activity crowds the new day. It enhances the dream like state that following this ribbon induces.
  • The bridge is great lump of solid concrete and it is this cold surrounding that I really want to play up and act as a contrast to the forest settings.
  • The bridge also works well for my planned establishing shot of the girl where the camera tracks the ribbon across a wall (in this case it would be the side of the bridge) and then reveals the alleyway (pedestrian underpass) where the girl is framed in medium wide shot.
  • Is a very busy roundabout during the day and so would have to commit to filming at an early hour.
  • Open space means plotting the path of the ribbon and keeping it in frame while wanting shoot some extreme wide shots would be a fiddly business.
  • Bournemouth just isn't quite as urban as somewhere like Southampton where they have the massive tower blocks.

Location 9 Castlepoint, Bournemouth
Another man made surrounding nearby that could be combined into one filming session is this large shopping centre.


  • Is a very modern and expansive site of match human activity where the desertion is therefore more amplified. It is another cold, emotionless setting.
  • Architecturally it is pretty prominent and would look good on film in wide shots particularly.
  • As a shopping centre, it's a private property and therefore any attempts to film outside of the opening hours would be seen as trespassing and seeing as I only want to film there when nobody is around this is a problem.
  • Is it too indirect a route for the ribbon to follow? Going through Castlepoint is a slightly bizarre idea..


Finding good shot locations is never easy but still a vital part of pre-production planning. The challenge will be in finding enough varieties of locations to film at that will create a sense of journey that is taking a whole day. While also trying to hold onto some continuity within this so that it doesn't seem like the characters are jumping all over the place and the sense of trail is lost amongst the audiences confusion at having to follow multiple journeys that are cross cutting each other.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Filming Session 4: The light dies on my dreams of a tree top trail ending

Filming Location: Moors Valley Country Park

Date: 30th November 2011

Crew: Myself (Filmmaker)

Cast: Tom Verrept and Lydia Cresswell (Ribbon Boy and Girl)

Equipment: Canon 600D with standard lens. Battery pack. 32GB SD card. Steadicam and Tripod

Wednesday 2:40pm

Having organised and planned this filming session a long time in advance (see email sent to Lydia right) me and Lydia set off on bikes heading towards Moors valley and the tree top trial but stopping along the way to film shots depicting her character's journey with the ribbon going out of the city and into the forest.

The difficulty we found was that although i achieved some good shots leading up to their encounter on the tree top trail, once we arrived at the location the light was dwindling fast. I decided to shoot the encounter anyways, using the steadicam for a variety of tracking shots. However although I felt I captured enough footage to cover this meeting, the  picture was so dark and grainy that even if I were to adjust the contrast and brightness on adobe premier pro the picture would be noisy and look horrible. I therefore decided that I would need to re shoot there meeting at a later date.


Friday, 16 March 2012


In the secondary edit phase I decided I wanted to add in titles into my music video as I liked the idea of presenting it as a short film which seemed in keeping with the very arty sensibility that many alternative folk bands maintain.

30 Seconds To Mars

This band are notorious for making their videos into proper narrative films with massive budgets. Although they lean more on the mainstream side of alternative rock it was useful just to know that showing credits at the beginning of a music video isn't totally unheard of.

I liked the simplicity of the font with just the blue colour giving an indication of individual style.


This video exceeded my expectation of what can be achieved within this format of film. Its political slant and the use of music to build the tension of the scene and act as a catalyst to the narrative as opposed to the main focus felt revolutionary. The title coming up in large bold red font over the film was intrusive in a way that at the same time didn't take you out of the video.

Nine Inch Nails - Closer

The titles appear as if on an old style movie card. I really liked this deliberately stylised approach and it got me thinking about the possibilities of what I could achieve with my own credits.

 Coldplay - Paradise

Again not the most indie band out there but its inclusion of its record label in the titles to the video-much less of a 'music film' than the others- was something to be adopted to achieve better authenticity.