What i have gained from this module.

i think that this project has gone really well. I have learned a lot about the film process, and the importance of pre production. Most of my work in the past has been short videos to soundtracks that are almost completely un planned.

I am now aware more of the importance of audio recording and the importance of planning, and preparing.

My films budget came to £24, which was mainly all on eyelashes, a smoke bomb and transportation.

This is my photo blog where i post things that inspire me and i also have uploaded updates on the film, and images from my sketchbook, and from production.


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DVD cover

I decided not to make a digital dvd cover like everyone else. I decided to do a re- adaptation of the Disney’s VHS cover. I basically cut up a scanned copy of the front cover of my childhood VHS copy of the film.

I did try and make a digital dvd cover but i really hated them all. I really like this version because its quite personal and i think its quite magical.

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Post production evaluation and analysis.

I found the editing the most challenging part of the production, on reflection i would have re shot a few of the scenes, and i would have spent more time and effort on getting the audio right. I am very much used to doing video projects that have soundtracks, so i dont have to sync to lips, so this was a new challenge for me. I don’t think i was quite prepared for how long it would add onto the production time, recording the audio separately from the visuals.

I have always been very focused on the visual and cinematic side of things, and i have been watching a lot of documentaries about the progression of film from silent to having audio. This has made me realise what importance audio has, and it can effectively ruin the whole film by having poor audio.

Unfortunately this appreciation came after the shooting days and i was left with some disjointed audio and a film to save. I had some help from Paul Adkins, who helped me to record some of the sound in the radio studio, and taught me how to make the audio stereo, as it was only recorded on the right channel.

I have managed to get the audio to the best standard i possibly could have without re shooting the entire thing, and after playing it to an audience of 10 people, they only noticed an echo in one of the shots. I think perhaps because i have played it so much i notice all the flaws more.

Other than the sound, the main issue i had with the film was the beginning, because i had to change the script. I feel that the story is less clear, because Alice just falls asleep on the bed, rather than hiding behind the bookcase, which would have opened up the possibility for having a modern couple looking at the house and talking about the girl that went missing during the war. It would have in retrospect made the film alot better, and the only thing i could have done is, again, to have re shot, however i did not have the camera, location or the actress available. It is a possibility in the future though, for my portfolio.


Whilst i was in the process of planning the shots from my rough cut i sat down a panel of 10 friends and family members, ranging from aged 6 to aged 65. I gathered different responses. The younger members of the group said the best parts were the colour and the costumes, and the elder members appreciated the story a little more. The 65 year old appreciated the relation to war, and as they were around more that era, if not the same age as Alice would have been, they could still relate as they knew people first hand that were evacuated, and there were a lot of stories of suicide so they appreciated the angle of accidental suicide.

I thought it was quite rewarding showing people my film and i did get mainly positive feedback, this research would have been bias though, because they were friends and family members and would have felt awkward telling me the bad parts, so i cannot trust this information much, but it did help me shape the editing.

The feedback made me think about making the introduction in black and white, so that when it went into the summer ‘wonderland’ scenes you can really see the contrast. Most of my favourite films do this. Tim Burton uses this change of colour palette to distinguish between good and evil, and the underworlds in his films such as in ‘beetle juice’ and ‘nightmare before christmas,’ and ‘Corpse bride’. Also alot of fantasy films use this technique such as in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ where it shows her dream state by having it in colour.

I tried this technique with my film but it didn’t really work. I think it made the quality worse. Lighting for black and white film is completely different to in colour, so if i were to have thought of doing the intro in black and white before hand i would have light it differently.

In summary, the editing eventually went well, although it was far more time consuming than i had originally thought. Sound is far more important than i would have considered, and the 5D needs to be used with a monitor in order to get the truest quality.

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Super 8

I filmed some of the main visual scenes on a super 8 camera so that i would have another, more playful and creative copy. Its also involved in the film, and i will hopefully recieve the footage developed back before the deadline so that i can have the footage as a dvd extra.

I was going to use the camera last year on the project i was doing about how vintage film and photography will become a fashion accessory, and how it fits in with our ‘retro’ culture at the moment, however the project was cancelled as most of it was experimental in new york city and our trip was cancelled last minute.

The reason i love it so much i think is because of the haunting sort of element you get with it. One of the best uses of super 8 in a favourite film of mine, ‘house 1000 corpses’ Rob Zombie.  The distortion and creepy home video style adds a constant element the whole way through the film. I feel it connects you with each of the characters in the film because it shows them connecting with the camera, whereas in the actual film parts, they don’t look directly into the camera. By seeing these home video style cut aways, you get a feel of their back ground. Here is some of the footage from the film, a montage of a few of the segments.

Here is a perfect example of when one of the main characters interacts with the audience. This is possibly one of the best scenes in any film.

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Post production

I have started to gather the clips from the film to piece the story together as best possible. I think that on reviewing it, i will need to do a lot of tweaking to the story to make it more dramatic. Here is a trailer i comprised as an advert for the film. I quite like the simplicity of this, and i also love the effect of reversing clips, it just looks so surreal and pretty.

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Filming day 2

I am more relaxed about todays filming, as it is primarily indoors and i can use my laptop for getting footage off and using it as a monitor.

I shot the opening sequence first, and it had happened that the room i wanted to use, which had someone check in last moment, This would have been the perfect set for the sleeping tablets scene, and Alice falling asleep, but there was no way of getting the room vacant when the actors were available, and i had access to the camera, so i had to change the script and running order on the spot. I decided to just use the two back up rooms i had planned in the event that i wouldn’t have access to the bookcase room.

These rooms had secret passageways but it just didnt look the same as it would have with the original room so i decided to just have it that she fell asleep on the bed.

I found it much easier to film this indoors because i had my macbook pro with me to be used as a monitor. It made it much easier to direct people and to make sure that the focusing was right. I was also less stressed about the fact that there was only roughly 20 mins of memory on the cameras storage, and i could just keep re shooting without having to worry.

I feel really happy with the shots i took inside the rooms. I then took the actors outside to film the gas mask scene. This was quite difficult because i just used my friends as they were the right build. I wanted originally to use my friend Michelle Di Palma because she had really long natural hair, the same as the other twin, my friend Laura who has hip length hair. They are also the same height and build. They would have looked better because the actor that i had as a stand in for Michelle has red, unnatural hair, which just contrasts with the other twin, but Michelle couldn’t make it on the day unfortunately. They were also messing about a lot and were not professional. One of them was worried that she would catch a disease from breathing in the mask even though i had taken out all the valves so its just fresh air inside. They insisted that they held their breath between takes so i couldn’t shoot for longer than about 15 seconds. This was really distracting and took my concentration away from the script and i completely forgot to film most of the scene from the twins point of view. This became hard to edit in post production.

The next scene i filmed was the mad hatter. I chose a different location for this when we arrived because as i was filming some cut aways with Alice, i found a surreal looking plot of land that fascinated me. I have spent most of my life at coombe abbey park, and hotel, and thought i knew it like the back of my hand, however i literally stumbled upon this magic little creepy man made circle right behind a tree that i have lied under every sunday of last summer on my lunch break. I just had to use it in the film, and it worked perfectly for the mad hatters tea party. It was almost like a satanic ritual area, and i am looking forward to doing some photoshoots there in the future. I did the hair and makeup for Mary Shaw, who plays Madison Hatter.

the filming of this scene went really well apart from the fact that there was no one to record sound for me and the marantz cut out half way through recording. I decided to see what i could do in post production to dub the film. There was no way of getting the camera and actors out there again to re shoot so we just carried on with no sound.

All in all the day went ok, apart from the sound etc. there wasnt really much i could do about things when it came to it and i had pretty much had back up every things which was lucky of me.

The costs of today were:

Catering: £12

transport: £3.20

hair and makeup: £4

Again the wardrobe was just built out of things i have collected from vintage and charity shops over the years that i have been fascinated by, and i have just made the costumes out of things i already own. The gas masks were lent to me by a friend of mine that collects them.

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Filming day 1.

The first day went really well, i had made a good running order and plan for the day and it went according to plan.

The first scene we filmed was the Caterpillar scene, with actor Luke Murphy. This was the longest scene i took to shoot, as there was a few different shots and there was alot of dialogue. The location worked really well for sound and visuals because it was in a secluded part of the woods and although hard to get to, it worked out really well. The only problem that caused a bit of disrupt was that we saw a 3 foot snake on the tree we were filming next too, which caused us all to be a little on edge when it disappeared out of our sight.

The main problems occurred with the Queen scene, both fortunately and unfortunately, it happened to be the first hot summers day of the year, which meant fantastic light etc, however it also meant that there were a lot of people in the park, where we were filming. This caused a lot of stopping and starting and rushing of the scene with the Queen, as people were walking by and children were being loud. It worked out ok in the end though.

I was quite happy with my actors, and i am glad i used people i knew as i dont think i would have been able to convince many unpaid actors to get all the way there and sit in a maxi dress with glitter on their head and eyelashes on in front of the public on a sweltering hot day. Although my cast may not look like the best actors in the world in the final product i think they worked and considering the circumstances they were really good.

If i were to re shoot i would have planned the day to have started much earlier, then i might have missed the public, but my queen was a teacher anyway so couldn’t have got there any earlier. I would have also used a monitor, if i could have taken a table or something to keep it on.

the total cost of todays shoot:

transport: £5.80

3 pairs of eyelashes: £6

The costumes were changed at the last moment, the night before, as i was mooching through the 4 rails of clothes i have collected or made over the last few years.

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