Posts tagged ‘olympus omd’

February 20, 2014

Assignment 1: Framing

by Suzy Walker-Toye

For this assignment we had to produce a short sequence, of no more than five shots, that tells a simple story using images alone. I was on location in Indonesia when this assignment was due with little wiggle room in my schedule so my story was based on what we were doing there as the premise.

The story I wanted to boil down was we’re on a diving trip to shoot underwater. I knew I needed only 5 frames but I wanted to get enough alternate footage in case I didn’t like how it turned out so I storyboarded more than 5 frames with some of them as optional swap ins in my minds eye. This wasn’t far from the truth and I ended up reshooting:

Storyboard Sketch

These sketches represent the following:
1) Nice setting the scene shot of the boat on the water
2) (optional subjective POV shot 1) Getting the diving gear ready
3) Divers getting on the dingy
4) (optional subjective POV shot 2) Going along in the dingy with there other divers putting fins on.
5) (optional subjective POV shot 3) Falling back into the water (splash). This was initially listed as optional but I think its needed to bridge the gap in the story from above the water to below.
6) (optional subjective POV shot 4) Camera being handed down to me by dingy driver. This turned out to be too technically challenging to get a good clip of so this was binned as an idea.
7) Either taking photos of divers taking photos or filming the reef, depending on what the dive brings. As it happened I was able to shoot Jarret taking photos of the mantas which was what I hoped to shoot but I didn’t want to jinx seeing the ‘big birds’ by drawing them upfront just in case we didn’t see them.

The Final Sequence

Here is my final clip. see below in the evaluation section for cutting-room floor clips and the reasons for them but here in the final version is the following 5 scenes:
1) Objective POV: The boat context shot to set the scene
2) Subjective POV: Gearing up (short version)
3) Objective POV: The divers getting into the dingy and it driving away (this suggests traveling to the dive site without using up an extra frame).
4) Subjective POV: Falling back into the water.
5) Objective POV: Diving in the underwater world (Jarret & Mantas).

Filmed using Olympus OMD EM1 (with 12-50 and 8mm FE lenses) and GoPro


To be able to write the evaluation properly I should show my first draft, so I can comment on my thought processes of why I changed it in the final one. So here is my first draft, shot closer to the storybook sketches.

And here is a compilation of some rejected clips I wanted to talk about in the evaluation:

So evaluating each scene in the final clip…

Scene 1) Objective POV: The boat, Indosiren, sailing across the sea.

I wanted this shot to introduce the story and set the scene. We didn’t actually travel with the sails up but the boat is so much more majestic and I think the image of this for the story is much better for them. I could have been a beat or two longer but I was filming from the rib and didn’t want my audience to get seasick in just the first few frames! I framed the boat in the clip as I was framing it in my photographs, to be in a classic place within the frame with a bit of sea for it to sail into.

Scene 2) Subjective POV: Gearing up (short version)

My 1st draft starts the same but scene two is much longer, which I found quickly became tedious when I watched it back. Also, I thought that if you didn’t know about diving then all this messing about with a weird jacket thing didn’t provide any context and the flow of the simple story was then lost. Rejected clips 2 & 3 (see the rejected clips compilation below) are a quest to find a better second clip to provide context to help along the story. The time-lapse of everyone getting ready was just a little too far away to provide the context I sought and the dive briefing was just too dull to use up one of my 5 scenes with. In the end I trimmed back the gear clip to just the mask cleaning which is more obvious what is going on and its not too long until you see full geared up divers to get the reference. I filmed with with my GoPro stuffed into my wetsuit so I was quite pleased with the framing of most of it when I watched it back. It was very bright though and I don’t think the camera liked the exaggerated dynamic range so there is quite a distracting light bleed into the left hand side of the frame.

Scene 3) Objective POV: The divers getting into the dingy and it driving away (this suggests traveling to the dive site without using up an extra frame).

Scene three is different in the final from my draft. Initially shot subjectively, you see the other divers getting ready and getting into the boat, and then I get into the boat too. I found I didn’t need this and it was weird to have so much subjective footage and no way to see who was doing the filming (like the other subjective films we’ve been looking at on the blog the filmer is usually revealed somehow by either a mirror or someone else’s subjective view point). I thought the small amount of gear prep flowed better into the full geared up divers getting into the boat clip. This objective shot is actually also much closer to my story board sketch of scene three and how I pictured it in my mind.

4) Subjective POV: Falling back into the water.

This is actually drawn in the storyboard as scene 5, the optional scene 4 from the sketch didn’t work out (its actually rejected clip 1 so you can see why I rejected it). My GoPro as too low on me to make for good going along footage and I needed my hands free to put my fins on ready of diving. This falling back shot was exactly as I pictured it, and you really get the feeling of going over. Also, the water bubbles serve as a nice boundary shot between the above water and below water worlds.

5) Objective POV: Diving in the underwater world (Jarret & Mantas).
This final scene of the diver and the mantas is what all the prep has been about and makes the conclusion of the story.

I think overall as a final clip its disjointed because its boiled down to only 5 scenes, i would have included a lot more but I was sticking to the assignment brief. I’m glad I thought about (and sketched out) more than just 5 scenes so I had some options. On reflection, Its possible I could have skipped scene 2 and had the divers getting in the boat as the setting the scene shot then perhaps I could have more underwater scenes at the end, this was difficult to preplan what we’d see though since its not a zoo and we may just have ended up filming each other.

I think I need to strengthen my skills in filming subjectively, this is something that takes practice to frame up a shot without a screen on the video camera. Also, I didn’t provide a soundtrack to this clip because I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to add music to the assignment or not.