The Lenny project, overall, was a good learning process for me. Looking back and thinking reflectively about the 3 stages of the production, I can see instances where I could have done things a little differently both individually and with the group.
The pre-production phase of Lenny seemed to go pretty smoothly considering we are all new to aspects of filmmaking. Each group member went through and marked up the script individually. We then came together and went over any similarities we had, putting those in our shot list first and discussing the rest. During this phase, we also decided on the roles we would be taking on during the production of the scene. I was initially interested in taking on the roll of 1st AD as I feel I am strong in the aspects of that role, but later decided to take on the rolls of camera operator and 2nd AD instead.
I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone because I tend to learn by doing. It is important to me to be as well rounded as possible; so now in projects like this, I try to explore new outlets and see if I like it or if I am any good at it. As the camera operator, before the shoot, I talked over the shots with the director for the scene so that we were on on the same page with how we wanted them to look. It is important for there to be a shared vision between the crew as it will show in your final product.
On the day of our shoot we had planned out about 15 different shots based on the storyboards and discussions we had in pre-production. By predetermining which group was going to be the first to shoot, we were able to quickly jump in and begin shooting our Lenny. The shoot went well and we got all the footage we had discussed, though we could have taken advantage of the extra down time to explore and get extra footage adding to the editing phase.
Now that I am working in the editing phase I am regretting not going back to get more coverage of the shots. By getting more coverage, it would have allowed for a more dynamic final product. We planned enough to successfully tell our story, but it is nice to have a little extra allowing you to take some risks in the post-production phase.
There are things we could have done differently in the first two phases that would make post-production easier, but sometimes it is good to be challenged and push yourself. I noticed a few shots that could not be used due to continuity issues that we didn’t catch on the day of the shoot. We had the character Sharron walking through a doorway and in the background you could see the room that she ends up in later in the scene during the dialogue. Because of this, I deviated slightly from our original storyboard rearranging the shots so that the story still made sense while eliminating the issue.
The most challenging part for me thus far in the editing process has been the audio. The camera audio did not sync properly to the recorded audio requiring us to manually sync them. Our camera audio was not to bad, so I was initially going to just use that and only add the recorded audio when needed but the actors were talking much to fast causing the scene to rush. The wild lines recorded after the shoot however were really good, with both pacing and tone of the actor’s voices.
After finding that the wild lines were good, I manually lined them up with the video and muted the camera audio. This method worked to an extent but limited my ability to cut the clips the way I wanted. Because they read the lines much faster in the video I had to make abrupt cuts between the lines and jump to a different shot to change the pacing to what I wanted. Without doing this, you would have had the actor’s lips still moving but no words.
In the future I plan to keep this in mind for when I work with other actors. It is important to get the dialogue pacing as best as you can in the shot so you don’t have to rely on the wild lines and matching up the audio and visual (which can be difficult). Originally I was skeptical of even doing the wild lines and wasn’t expecting to use them but without them my Lenny would not have worked how I wanted.
Lenny has been a fun project to work on and I have learned a lot throughout each step in the process and will be more aware of what to look for going into future projects. The video above is what I have done so far with the editing of Lenny. I still have a lot of refining I want to do but overall I am happy with the project and being able to overcome issues that I come across in all aspects of the process.
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