I’ll start with Iceland, and the production of the short film ‘Snowblind’. This was an exciting project which enabled me to develop my skills as an assistant director. This project made me truly understand that I am on the right course in terms of a career. I loved every bit of shooting in the harsh climate in Iceland – it was different, it was challenging and there were problems which I had to solve. It was stressful at times but I loved solving the problems we came across, whether that be freezing cold storms affecting the equipment, wild huskies pissing all over our set, or attempting to communicate with the crew over long hours in the dark where I was unable to see 2 metres in front of myself. It was an incredible experience which allowed me to communicate with the head of each department: lighting, cinematography, sound and with the director and cast themselves.
This project caught my eye as it was really different – I enjoy travelling outside of the norm, and Iceland sure is outside the norm. Coventry is a boring city, so any excuse to get out of it, and I’m on it. I have plenty of experience within team-orientated work – for example when working in studio based environments – documentary and film production and photography projects. I feel that I have good interpersonal and communicational skills when working with new people and I have the ability to collaborate efficiently and confidently with others. I feel my directing and co-ordination skills have greatly improved as a result of this project and I feel confident that I could do it again, but even better.
I got to know the actors really well during the production which I enjoyed; we had a laugh and I managed to keep them entertained even though it took the crew a long time to get organised – this was because it was most of their first times shooting a short film, and to make things more complicated they were doing it in a foreign country. Additionally, I found that by being punctual, reliable and highly motivated, I helped motivate others on set. Taking all the problems we came across, and how well we solved them as a team into consideration, each and every person involved did a fantastic job.
BMW Mini/Synter/Olympics Work
Recently I have been working as a camera operator and cinematographer for BMW and Mini in relation to filming some promotional videos for the Olympics. I feel like this experience has vastly improved my skills as a cinematographer, as I have produced some beautiful scenes for the promotional videos. I must say the glide tracks and cranes vastly helped produce these, as I find movement adds a whole new layer to visual beauty.
I have pushed myself to the limit in terms of achieving new and breath-taking shots. On the Mini shoot, myself and Jim were leaning out of the window of a speeding car travelling at around 75 MPH around a race track, ensuring we didn’t drop the Canon 5Ds. These shots were incredible to be a part of and we can’t wait to see the finished result.
As well as filming BMW and Mini I have also ben interviewing Olympic athletes. These athletes will be shown alongside the car – the car being a personification and being connected with the specific athlete. For example the other day we were filming a shoot involving the BMW 1M (of which there are only 490 worldwide); this vehicle was then connected with British athlete and pole vault world record holder Steve Lewis. We interviewed Steve Lewis the other day regarding his thoughts on the Olympics and his personal achievements.
BBC Big Screen Olympics Videos
I am the producer for one of the crews helping film various sports for the BBC in regards to the Olympics this year. So far we have filmed handball, shooting and artistic gymnastics. For these shoots I doubled up as presenter, which, thinking back I probably shouldn’t have done, as I needed to remain as producer behind the camera. This is perhaps due to the fact that through0out this process I discovered that I did not want to be a producer, and I quite enjoy being in front of the camera. My work as a producer on this project has improved my organisational skills as well as my team building and leadership qualities.
The Culturae Mundi projects have enabled me to express my desire to travel and also have improved my knowledge of various cultures here within Britain. I think it is amazing that in such a small country, our range of culture is so diverse. It’s remarkable. It may not be relevant to me as a media producer, but I feel proud to be part of a country that is so open in it’s view towards accepting the cultural differences of others.
In June I will be helping film the final performance for the MotionHouse ‘The Voyage’ Production, whereby a large ship is built from shipping containers and ‘sailed’ through the streets of Birmingham. All details can be found on their website: http://www.motionhouse.co.uk/
With all the projects mentioned above I have improved my abilities with equipment and software. I am much more confident with the use of all DSLR cameras, rigs, cranes, glides etc. to create beautiful and visually stimulating images/videos and edit these visuals to a high standard on Photoshop CS5 and Final Cut7/X/Adobe After Effects. With sound design I am improving my skills on Soundtrack Pro, Garageband and am now confident in using the Zoom H4N and H1, after using in in several interviews over the course of the year.
Weaknesses To Improve
To be a successful media producer I think it is important to first recognise my flaws. My time-management skills are mediocre, I often leave things until the last-minute which sometimes the quality of my work. My skills within lighting and sound is also quite limited. I have no real interest in venturing into sound design or lighting – I can recognise good sound/lighting but not the best at setting this up. Another area I am weak in is editing (this may be clear with my work). Editing makes me ache, cringe and all in all stress out… I can’t be doing with it in my life. At the start of my University degree I couldn’t turn Final Cut on, now I know it like the back of my hand – though still hate editing. Having said this I do want to improve it, as, at the end of the day I feel so proud once I have completed an edit – perhaps more so that I have successfully survived the process than the actual outcome. Overall, the series of things that need improving have given me the motivation required to further develop my skills in the areas I enjoy and to turn the issues that need working on into a creative learning process, that I can only improve on.