For one day this week, the Netskills training room was transformed into a full scale filming studio as our little in-house video project finally reached the production stage.
Armed with our storyboards, tripods, lighting kit and mics, we took over our onsite training room and transformed it into a film set. Unsuspecting colleagues were again cast as extras and we even went ‘on location’ (albeit in the same building) to film our pieces on camera.
The first coffee was brewed at 8:45am and the last “…aaand cut” was shouted out at 17:00. In between, we barely sat down or were idle for more than 10 seconds. After the day, we were absolutely shattered but had a fully ticked shotlist in our hands.
Before moving onto post-production, here are a few reflections on the process so far.
Improved visual thinking
One of the biggest challenges in getting started was to come up with a story. Even thinking about the whole thing as a story was a challenge for me.
Once the story was finally there, the pens were out again as it was time to draw some storyboards. This time for the real thing. The biggest reward (and/or realisation) came during the final storyboarding session. According to our visiting film consultant, Arto, there was a “huge improvement” in our visual thinking! Gone were the clumsy drawings of boringly similar midrange shots. They’d been replaced by dynamic moving shots, extreme close-ups and masterful framing. Well, not quite. But improvement nevertheless.
We weren’t allowed to bask in the glory for long.
Grabbing the camera on the filming day was at first a paralysing moment which, as a relatively experienced still photographer, I hadn’t fully expected. Suddenly everything was difficult. Framing, levelling the tripod, adjusting the aperture, everything. Halfway through the morning we realised that we’d left the ISO setting on AUTO which meant pretty much all our shots up until that were a little grainy. Had it been a real production, it would’ve meant reshooting everything.
However, towards the end of the day we get more comfortable with the camera, audio and lights and after reviewing the rushes are quite happy with some of the shots and scenes. We even managed to successfully film a dolly shot in one scene. With an office chair as a dolly.
As the day progressed and the energy-levels dropped we got a good lesson in professionalism from Arto.
We’d saved the scenes with most extras in for last as we wanted to leave as much time for setting up as possible to take up as little of our colleagues’ time as possible. In practice however, that meant incomprehensible instructions that we were all tiredly blabbering at the same time. Without Arto our colleagues would’ve ended up doing something like: “move your hand just before you say something like… or maybe something like… or actually, don’t move before starting to speak and then wait for someone else to move before taking a step back…”. This was quickly interrupted by a prompt: “Let’s give CLEAR instructions guys!”
Next step is editing, for which we’ve given ourselves a tight schedule to keep the momentum going. At the end of next week, we should have four different versions of the film to review. Hopefully at least one of them will be good enough to share with you… 🙂