Expertise Exercise

You Expert-Tease! : An Exercise in Filmmaking ‘Expertise’

The Expertise (three shot) edit

The Shoot

It seems like a lifetime ago that my production group and I shot The Expertise exercise. Close to the beginning of the semester, around two months ago at the time of writing, we’d all been given a crash-course in camera operation and shot construction, then assigned with the task of shooting these three-shot sequences.

I remember being intimidated by the large cameras and the evidently expensive equipment, but very excited to properly learn my way around a camera. I struggled, in these early shoots, with the relationship between aperture, gain and exposure. I’m still working on getting these right, but I’m much more comfortable now.

We shot our exercise indoors with a focus on framing, varying angles, the rule of thirds and head-room as well as actors entering and/or exiting the frame.

There are some nicely framed, usable shots from this exercise. Some takeaways are:

  • Be careful of camera movement (ie. a track, zoom or pan) and focus. We had a number of shots that would track in, for example, and then be out of focus (yet framed very well). It can make a waste out of a very good shot.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. We had limbs popping in and out of our frame from either passersby or other groups shooting their exercises.
  • Learn how to properly utilise the tripod’s fluid head and practice with it. Quite often, a pan would start with a harsh, jolting movement.

The Edit

Using the footage of another production group to edit, I wanted to play with the ordering of clips, filters and effects. The result is a ridiculous and mostly very ugly sequence set to motivational music with a post-production film grain.

In edit #1I wanted to explore the jump-cut feel. In some parts, it might work. In most, it doesn’t. I think because these are so harsh, they need to work rhythmically. In these exercises, they are not well timed. You can notice the awkward discretion poorly timed cuts can create at the very beginning of edit #1, as the accent in the soundtrack is out of sync with the opening footage. It’s awkward. I attempted a Lumetri preset colour grade and learned, very quickly, to steer away from presets (or at least, only use them as a guide).

Edit #2 is very similar, but what I’ve tried to do is extract some of the footsteps from one of the ‘running upstairs’ tracks and use the sample as foley. It almost works, except there is a part where the actor slows her pace and her feet are clearly in frame.

Edit #3 I took the sample and tried to time it with the music. This is getting somewhere, but needs some work (the issue of the feet in frame still exists). I also graded it differently, changing the mood, and added an overexaggerated mess of effects at the end. They are a nice example of what doesn’t work. Enjoy them.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

*Featured Image Credit:
RMIT Masters of Media. 2017.

Footage and Videography: Dylan Hartnett and Rebecca Small
Actors: Harish Adithya and Zemmy Lee
Edited By: Jason Cheetham


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