Reflections: RMIT Sound and Image

At the beginning of the semester, I was asked to outline my goals and desires for the postgrad course Sound and Image. In sum:

  • Editing: How to edit effectively. How to use editing as a tool to convey meaning, how different editing techniques can communicate different ideas/semiotics/themes etc.
    How to do this with some pace.
  • Camera operation: How to construct a shot to look visually appealing. How to have a visually appealing shot convey meaning. An understanding, on-the-fly, of what different visuals represent.
  • Audio: Capturing ‘crisper’ audio with less ‘spill’.
  • Lighting: I don’t know much about lighting at all. I would love to understand how to ‘manipulate’ or, rather, work with, natural lighting to complement a shot, as well as using artificial lighting effectively.

To conclude, what I am hoping to get out of this semester is the ability to use technical skills to develop a deeper connection to the artistic craft of filmmaking, rather than simply possessing the skills themselves.

I was feeling fairly intimidated by the professional level that I was chasing in each of these areas. I’m still chasing that level, but am much less intimidated.

The course practically explored all of these areas and exceeded my expectations of both what was possible and what could be asked of one semester. So, to give a specific summary of each area:

  • Editing: I wanted to learn how to edit effectively. My skills have certainly developed in this area. Learning how to properly organise a project and utilise sequences, as well as the tools at hand, has been a massive step for my editing and efficiency. U I also wanted to learn about using editing to convey meaning.This was not touched on so much in the course, however, I think my skills have improved nonetheless due to practice.
  • Camera operation: I wanted to learn about shot construction and the conveyance of meaning. I have certainly learned a lot about effectively incorporating the rule of thirds, as well as line-of-sight directions, and (not) ‘crossing-the-line’. This is an area I’m keen to continue to work on, but feel much more confident in my abilities now.
  • Audio: I feel much more comfortable about monitoring and balancing audio during recording. I also have a much stronger understanding of the kind of gear available and what each is useful for.
  • Lighting: We touched briefly on lighting, which was very helpful. I’m still keen to experiment more, but this will come with practice. I’ve used reflectors for natural lighting on set, trial-and-errored my understanding of mixing light temperatures (and the problems posed by this) and I’ve learned about 3-point-lighting. This is a huge improvement on my skills at the beginning of semester. Now, I’m just keen to get out there and experiment!

To conclude, I now possess much stronger skills and a deeper understanding of them. With these tools in hand, and when they develop even further, I am able to focus more on the artistic utilisation of them. This sets me on a direct path towards my goal!

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