Lenny – Alex’s Cut

Lenny was the first time I ever filmed in a very industrial setting, with camera setup, boom mics and crew roles, and the first time I used traditional editing methods when editing. Below are my reflections of the process.

(You can watch Lenny here.)

Pre production: We as a group tried to plan and block out the three shots – OTS 1, OTS2 and Double Shot – without first looking at the location. We wanted to achieve a shot where we see Van walk in while being able to see Lenny at the same time. It was a little difficult to communicate this idea visually to the other team members who weren’t sure what the other half had meant, and drawing
it didn’t clarify it either. It was because of this that we decided to go to the location and physically block out what we wanted. At the location, we realized the geography of the location meant that the shot that we wanted to achieve would be very difficult to achieve while keeping cinematography in mind. In the end, we decided it would be simpler as a first exercise to do a classical OTS shot without anything fancy. We also took images of the location to get a framework of the different shots we might want to achieve. Matt did sketches of how the characters will enter, as well as roughly where we will place the camera to film.

Production: Unfortunately, all the preparation wasn’t enough for us to achieve an efficient shoot. Part of the issue was the set up of equipment. Our group was 2 people more than the other groups, meaning we had more voices trying to determine what we had to do. Furthermore, not a single of our group had actually done any filming before in terms of using a proper camera and boom setup, so
it took nearly half of our allocated filming time to set up everything, including focus and white balance. As a result, we took the advice of the tutors and filmed our two-shot first, so that we have everything on film that we may need should we not be able to do the other two shots. The situation was made more difficult in the constant changing of roles – for some reason, no one decided to take charge, but when we did appoint someone as director or AD, others would suddenly try to take over the role as well. As a result, time was wasted working out who should use the slate, who should say ACTION, etc. The takes themselves were not too badly done – it was a simple scene – and despite the time constraints, we were mostly able to do at least 2 takes of each shot. I feel that overall group cooperation was what pulled us through the lack of previous experience, but a lack of organization meant we wasted a lot of time establishing roles and process.

Post: I feel that post production is the most interesting and fun part for me. To me, choosing and editing shots together is extremely interesting, because I can have control over aspects which I couldn’t during the shoot. So far, what we edited was mostly for technical reasons, ie to clean up and cut bad shots, for continuity, etc. It was extremely rewarding to attempt J and L cuts, where
even though the voice doesn’t match the actor, there was still a sense of continuity. If anything, continuity was even smoother when J and L cuts are employed correctly, and I learned a lot about timing when editing – that is, to watch for when I made a cut, and try to replicate that movement in the next one. This was also the step where I truly appreciated the effor that had gone into Pre
and Production in terms of blocking, rehearsals and camera angles, because some of this wasn’t so well done in the Lenny test videos, and no amount of careful editing can make it look natural.

Filming for Yr 12 Video

Without going into too much detail, today we filmed for the all-in Year 12 video, and it mostly included me getting to yell at everyone to do stuff I want them to do, me yelling at people to wave, me yelling at people that they’re happy, dammit, and me yelling. I had to yell at everyone in the Common Room to stop eating lunch and go film. They hated me for that.

We lined the year level up, 12A to 12 J, going from the door near the Yr 9 lockers and overpass all the way through the school towards the Theatre. We ran out of people, so we told 12A onwards to basically, after we filmed them, to run (out of screen shot) to the theatre to the end of the line. I think watching everyone run to the end of the line was funnier, even though it was also great to see every single one of my friends wave and laugh and be happy.

After that, we decided to gather everyone inside the gym, because it was raining outside. We filmed from the mezzanine upstairs, and got everyone to spell out “EPIC!”. After a bit of tweaking and insults thrown by me, and a lot more yelling, we finally got everyone to wave and do the whole “I’m so happy!” thing. At a point, I tried to get people into the mood by shouting “ARE WE READY FOR THIS?!” and no one responded. Then someone was nice enough to start cheering so thank you, whoever you were.

It was tiring, hilarious, and I’m a little hoarse (neigh), but overall, what a brilliant session. Thanks everyone!