Reflection 4: Personal Critical Evaluation

Looking back over the whole production process for this assignment, there are many things I would change in regards to making the final documentary appear more professional.

Firstly, a huge point to make is that, as a group, we had planned to meet up the day before the intended filming to set up a practice shoot and to share our individual research with each other, combine our ideas and be critical with each other so we knew exactly what we would film on the day of the shoot.

However, on this day the weather changed suddenly and began to snow, changing everything we had organised. Mark was also available for filming on this day so we chose to film a day earlier. To an extent, I suppose it is only fair to say that we rushed, in order to get to the top of the Civic Centre 4 building before it either stopped snowing, or it got too dark to see.

Furthermore, having planned to film at an earlier point in the day, we hadn’t pre-booked lighting, thinking we wouldn’t really need it, as the footage would all be filmed in daylight. When we got up there, we found that soon the light began to fade and this became obvious when viewing the footage during the editing process. We perhaps should have used artificial lighting, however due to health and safety regulations we may not have been able to use them in such weather conditions anyway.

The light began to fade fast while we were up there.

Another critical error in the production was not renting out a buffer for the clip mic. We discovered soon on that the wind was a serious issue in terms of sometimes overpowering what Mark was saying. We managed to overcome this problem by both asking Mark to stand more with his back against the wind and also the use of a boom mic to record the sound simultaneously to the one on Mark’s jacket. In some respects the sound of the wind ironically adds to the story of the treacherous journey Mark has to travel, though we felt it detracted from the professional aspect we wanted to portray.

The boom mic proved very useful in the end.

Additionally, while editing I found it incredibly difficult to find long, emotional pauses to use in order to allow the audience to absorb what is being shown and told to them. Sure enough, Mark has got natural pauses in his speech, as he is used to being in front of a camera, however, some of what he says is then instantly linked with another sentence, making some cuts hard to attain. Thinking back, we could have made it easier for ourselves by asking him to pause for longer or to perhaps not ask new questions directly after he had stopped speaking. Also, there are times when, during his speech, we offer encouraging utterances such as “yeah” and “uhm” which we should not have done, as we want the documentary to be about him, and his story of isolation. The fact that we interact with Mark at parts during the interview doesn’t support this.

Finally, during the shoot we couldn’t see it on the camera screen, but when it came to importing the footage to my computer, we found that a small black object that was part of the wall was in shot slightly. This was easily solved with the use of cropping on Final Cut Pro.

<- The part of the wall in shot.

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