Project Evaluation

For this short project unit, we had to create 2 images and a short 2 minute video for our ‘client’. Our client took the form of a normal, every day person an them transforming into the next big music star. Our two images had to show a before-after transformation of them changing through their musical career, and the video had to tell their aspirations and transformation. We picked our clients attributes at random from 3 envelopes that included musical genre, physical appearance and day job, and we weren’t allowed to change these, which was a scary thought.

The attributes I picked out were…

  • female solo artist
  • looks like a barbie doll
  • a dog groomer
  • into ragga music

When I first saw the attributes I had chosen, I didn’t quite know what to think to be honest. I was very sceptical as to how they would work and if they would even work well together at all. These attributes seemed that they would form something very out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t sure if the final result would be something I would be happy with. The part that made me worry most, aside from the attributes was the filming part for the 2 minute video. I am not great or confident at videoing/filming and was concerned at how the outcome would turn out.

Although I had doubts and worries towards my attributes and how my project was forming, I cracked on with making a few moodboards to put my initial ideas into a visual form and when I was putting visuals and ideas together, I could sort of see something interesting forming for this project. After speaking to Matthew, Geraint, Mary-Anna and Michele in the first few lessons, I became much more confident with my project and had a much more solid idea that I was excited to photograph and film. The brief ended up being a fun one to produce and made me realise that this is what a job would be like in the industry. It made me appreciate the brief/project a lot more and realised it will be beneficial towards my time keeping and filming skills.

During this project, there were a lot of pros and cons towards certain things such as timing, filming and planning. At the start I felt there were more negatives than positives but towards the end my attitude and outlook changed towards it.

The first major negative I faced, and the main negative that stuck throughout the whole of this project was the timing. The unit was so short it almost seemed impossible to get it all done in the short time frame, on top of our final mako project we had going on at the same time. When we were set the brief, we were told we had 5 weeks to complete this unit, which didn’t seem a lot of time to do it as it was, however, it wasn’t actually 5 weeks that we had, it was 24 days. We were set the brief on Tuesday 16th April and the hand in of all the completed work was on Friday 10th May, that isn’t even 4 whole weeks (a month) to do the project, so I was annoyed that the term ‘you have 5 weeks’ was being repeatedly thrown at us for the whole entirety of the unit, because it was a lie. It was 24 days, not 5 weeks, if it was 5 weeks, the hand in would have been the week after our FMP is due. So that frustrated me and also worried me, I have never turned out a project within such a short time frame before, on top of another large project, so I was definitely stressed!

Due to having such a short time frame to complete everything in, meant my stress levels went through the roof. I don’t usually like to let myself get stressed out over things that are out of my control, but this made me so stressed, I was making myself ill. Due to having our FMP on top of completing this, and also working part time in retail and doing photography jobs on the side, it was all too much. Yes the short time frame made me work a lot faster, made me determined to get it all finished and everything, but I felt it was all a bit rushed. I unfortunately didn’t have time to do a test shoot before any of my filming, which I would liked to have done, as I knew that was going to be the weakest point of my project, but due to having no time and only one available day I could film and shoot with the model, I had to shoot the real thing on that day or my chance to complete the work was gone.

The main challenge I faced in this project was getting everything shot and filmed all in the same day as that was the only available day I had to hire out a studio, equipment and get a model who was free the whole day, who also let me use their home to film in. It was a challenge trying to get people to help me, I was on the look out for a videographer, a stylist, makeup artist and an assistant to help me complete this project, and the only one I could find to help me was a makeup artist for my ‘after’ shots which I completed in the studio. Everyone who I had asked and contacted was either busy, working, or completing their own project for their own deadline so had no spare time. I was gutted as this then meant I had to challenge myself with the filming, styling AND doing it all by myself.

Although there were negatives and challenges along the way, there were also a number of positives that came with the project too. The main positive being that I managed to shoot, film, styling, edit and complete everything all by myself in time for hand in. That made me feel very proud of myself as I really didn’t think it would be possible at the start of the unit, and I felt I had achieved a lot when the hand in day came. Another positive that came from this project was that I improved on my time management skills. I was able to plan and focus on doing things at certain times and on certain days to ensure I had everything ready for the deadline, on top of another project too. This unit also taught me new skills in filming and Premier Pro, two things I am not very familiar or confident with, but after this project feel like I could do again at a better level.

Another large positive is the fact that I managed to create a before shot, after shot and 2 minute video that met the briefs criteria well. I feel that I managed to tell my clients personal story through the use of photography and film, and I feel that it is something you would see on Saturday night talent show TV, such as the X Factor. My video had all of the elements involved like the ones on TV and it really told my clients story of her aspirations and transformation. I was pleased with how my ‘before’ shot turned out as I haven’t photographed a model with dogs before, and this was quite difficult, however I feel I have still managed to produce a good, strong image that shows her attributes. The ‘after’ image is what I am most proud of as studio photography is my strongest skill out of all of the ones involved in this project, and I feel I managed to create some good, strong images that really show my client has transformed into the next big music star of her chosen genre of music.

If I was to or could redo this project again I would say that more time, and actually having 5 weeks would have been a lot more beneficial towards my project, as it would’ve meant I could have planed more test shoots around my work schedule and doing my FMP work. I feel I planned my time and produced good work in the time that I had and there wasn’t much more I could do considering some circumstances. I also would have tried to source a videographer and/or filming assistant a lot sooner as that was the one element I was most worried about.

Putting all negatives and positives aside, I feel I have produced good work that meets the briefs criteria and shows that I have understood the task we were set. I am proud of myself for producing work that was out of my comfort zone and on a short time scale. I feel this project has helped ready me for the kind of challenges I will face in the industry in the future.

2x A3 Prints…

These are my two final images printed out ready for physical hand in. I got them printed on a thick, semi gloss card. I was very pleased with how big they looked at an A3 scale and am happy with the quality of my prints I will be handing in.

Finished Presentation

This is my finished presentation that I will present to finish off this unit brief. I am going to showcase this presentation to Geraint, Matthew and a small group of class mates on Tuesday 14th May.

I managed to cover majority of the points that Geraint mentioned we have to include in our presentation and I also wanted to expand on each point by mentioning my personal experiences and feelings within the project and process.

I wanted to make my presentation quite fun to look at, but still make sure I included all necessary points and I feel I accomplished this well as each slide was interesting to look at.

Presentation- Planning

To finish off the ‘Working With a Client’ unit we have to create a presentation and present our work to a small group of classmates and tutors to show them our clients debut. Geraint sent us a list of things we need to include in our presentation to cover everything from our first initial ideas, planning, shooting and our final results.

These are the points we need to cover and present-

  • presentation of no longer than 10 minutes and no shorter than 8 minutes
  • show a developmental journey from your initial starting point with your ‘artist’ through to your ideas and concepts and describe how these have developed over the time of the unit.
  • you can mention if/how the guest speakers in the unit have helped develop and refine your concept and refer to any input from matt as the client
  • talk us through initial ideas and tests through to your final images and video. how did the process of working through these ideas change to your final outcome?
  • show your two prints and your final video to finish your presentation

I am going to start putting this together and making bullet points to make sure I cover each int correctly and get all the information I need in there.

My Final Finished Video…

This is my final finished 2 minute long video interview. I am pleased with how it turned out as it is something that is out of my comfort zone. Filming and editing isn’t my strong point so I was pleased with myself that I managed to create a watchable and understandable piece of footage.

I feel like this is definitely the type of video you would see at the start of someone being introduced on a TV talent show such as Britain’s Got Talent or X Factor. It tells my clients story and shows her attributes and personality clearly through the use of styling, props and the voice over. After having watched some example videos of interviews and sob stories, and watching Saturday night talent show TV at home I was familiar with the style of footage I needed to create and how to get the emotion and story across.

My Chosen Before & After Shots…

I have chosen these two images as my final choice Before Fame and After Fame shots. I decided on these two as at a first glance they are quite the opposite from one another, showing that characters transformation through fame, style and their genre of music.

Before Transition-

I chose this particular shot out of all of the other ones I had in mind for my final before image as it stood out to me for a number of reasons.

  • Paige’s face looks good in terms of lighting and angle, showing the pink makeup and posing like a girly girl with the put on ‘pout’
  • The dog cooperated with Paige in the image and I managed to capture him while he was still
  • The subtle pink hints of the outfit coming through shows barbie doll, and the matching pink with the dog
  • The subtle hint of teddy bear adds a playful, childish side to her character
  • Shows that she loves dogs by how close they are posing together
  • Alfie looks like a well groomed dog, showing she’s into dog grooming

After Transition-

I was in two minds whether to chose this image as my final one or not as during my shooting and editing process I wasn’t too keen on the images I took of Paige in the black wig, I initially preferred her with her blonde hair. I was going to choose one of the blonde hair images with the smoke pertruding from her mouth, as to me it showed more of a Rastafarian culture and look in terms of the colours and the shisha pen smoke. I then had another look through the images of the black hair and this one stood out to me as I think I have managed to produce a well composed image that really shows a transition.

  • Shows a big change of style and character
  • Involves styling I researched from Rihanna and her album covers
  • Touches on elements of all Rastafarian colour elements (yellow, red, green and black with gold jewellery and hair bandana)
  • Change in personality, going from sweet, innocent, girly dog groomer, to Ragga star with attitude
  • Strong pose, dominating the picture frame
  • Jewellery in the mouth adds attitude
  • Shows my client is more than what you initially see

I am really happy with my two final chosen images and feel they will look really good printed A3 too.

After Shot- Best Edits

These are the images I have chosen as the best of the best. These haven’t been edited in Photoshop yet but these are the images I will be importing into Photoshop to work on the skin and adding emphasis to the smoke in some of them.

I do still prefer the images with the blonde hair to the black and hair and I really like the effect that the smoke gives to the picture, it adds a subtle effect that I don’t think many other people would have thought of using.

After Shot- Contact Sheet 3

After experimenting with my characters look in the hair style, going from a black wig to natural blonde, I wanted to try one last experiment with one of the accessories I had bought for this shoot but not used. It was a pair of bright green circular hoop earrings. They had quite a funky 80’s feel to them and wasn’t sure if they would work with the look I chose at first, but wanted to try them anyway. I also wanted to experiment with them as the colour green in the bandana wasn’t very obvious or very green, so I thought adding a more obviously green element would help tie in all of the ragga culture colours.

I selected my best images and outlined them in orange. I picked these based on the lighting, colours, smoke and posing. I feel that the green hoops really added something attention grabbing to my images, they had good contrast with the red backdrop and lit up Paige’s face.

Now I have selected all of my best images from all three looks I shot, I am going to finalise all of the edits and then select the very best of the best to be considered for my final after shot.

After Shot- Contact Sheet 2

After I photographed Paige in the black wig, I decided to get my hair and makeup artist to change the hair back to her natural blonde hair as I wanted to give myself a number of options to pick from when it came to choosing my after shot.

I really liked photographing the blonde hair as soon as I set my camera on Paige to photograph her. She has naturally pretty hair as it is and I think that helped as the colour and style suited her way more than the black wig I made her wear did. It wasn’t the colour of the wig that put me off, it was the style, it was a bit too all over the place and made my image look clumsy. Which is why I almost instantly preferred her natural blonde hair.

After going through and selecting my best pictures from this contact sheet I feel they are stronger as Paige’s personality comes alive a bit more. She seems more confident, I asked her to keep it playful yet give attitude and I feel like she delivered well. During the shoot we had a break so Paige could go and smoke, and she had a small shisha pen with her in her pocket.

While doing the shoot I thought about maybe trying a few photos with her blowing some smoke in the image using the shisha pen. It wouldn’t create enough smoke to set off the fire alarms or cause any concern to anyone so I knew it wouldn’t cause harm or be a problem. I thought of using the smoke to act as if she was smoking weed. As the Rastafarian culture is associated with smoking weed and being chilled out, I thought this would help add an extra element to get across the ragga element of my character.

I will use the same editing process of Capture One and Photoshop to edit these images.

After Shot- Contact Sheet 1

These are some of the images I took at the start of my ‘after picture’ shoot. I started off by getting my model in the outfit I had chosen to show the ragga colours, and the black wig that I was going to get her to wear with her black dog in the picture too. Seeing as the dog wasn’t happening any more I decided to still experiment with the black wig as I thought it would really show a transformation and a transition in character through their genre of music. I started photographing Paige in the black wig and also use it as a test shoot. I thought I’d start with the black wig and also test the lighting with the colours of the outfit and everything tied together. At the start I liked the black wig, but the more images I took, the more I realised it hadn’t grown on me as much as I thought, however I continued to photograph it anyway to give me some more options of images to go through at the end, incase I didn’t like any others I wanted to take.

I chose my favourite ones and outlined them in blue. I chose my favourite ones depending on how they were lit, the shadows, how the wig sat and how the character was portrayed. I am going to pick some of my very very best ones to put into Capture One for a draft edit and then import them into Photoshop to work on the skin, lifting the lighting and amping up the colours.

Interview Video- What Music I Added & Why…

To add emphasis on the emotional side of my video, I decided to involve music as part of my interview video. When watching Britain’s Got Talent or X Factor myself, I always tend to start to really feel the emotions of the video when I hear the sad tone music start. I was debating whether to include it at first as I know probably majority of the class would but it really added emotion and affect so I decided to add it in.

For a while I had been trying to think of what kind of emotional music to include, and at first I was just going to add in some generally sad piano style music, which didn’t seem to work with my video. I tried it once within the sequence and instantly changed it as it didn’t work well. I then tried to have a long hard think about what songs make me emotional. There are very few songs that make me emotional when I hear them, but once stood out to me in particular.

That song is ‘A Thousand Year’ by Christina Perri. It is an emotional song from one of my favourite films, and whenever I hear it, it makes me feel emotional and like my attention really turns to its meaning.

I went on to Youtube to try and find a karaoke piano version of the song, as I didn’t want the singing to overlap with my voice over. I then converted the video to an MP3 file, placed it accordingly within my video sequence and turned the volume down so it didn’t drown out my character telling their story.

When I played it back, it worked really well with the video I had made. I was pleased with how it looked and sounded. When the song started playing it made me more captivated to hear my clients story, as the emotion of the song caught my attention.

As an extra play on my characters ‘barbie doll’ attribute and with me making my character very girly, pink, bubbly and common, I thought it would add a subtle sense of humour by adding another bit of backing music over the top of my video up until the sad music starts.

The character that I created and that Paige portrayed in my video is very much like someone from the reality TV show, The Only Way Is Essex. I decided that to add to her character profile, I would add the theme tune from the TOWIE TV show. It adds a sense of style, character and a little something extra to the video than just having her talking. I cut the song down to start playing from the chorus as thats how the TOWIE theme tune starts, and people should instantly make a connection and be able to get a sense of character.

Interview Video- Putting My Video Together

To put my clips together and edit my 2 minute video I used Adobe Premier Pro, I have used this software before so was vaguely familiar with it and knew the basics.

To start of my video editing process I imported all of my clips into Premier Pro, so it made it easier for me to know where they are when I need them as they sit by the side of the editing block.I went through and rewatched them all so I knew which ones I definitely wanted to use.

With my clips, I had the same issue as my images, they didn’t look as dark on my camera screen and when we were filming compared to how they do on my laptop. Again, I knew that this wouldn’t be a major issue as I could adjust the lighting and colours in Premier Pro.

Picking and ordering the clips-

I went through all of my clips numerous times to distinguish which ones I wanted to have involved. Once I had chosen I started to place them into the editing time line, and rearranging them until they went in the right order. I didn’t want to include all bit of every clip, so I trimmed some down and them placed them next to one another on the timeline to create a smooth video effect once it is played.

Overlaying clips-

To add another clip into the video, so you could use more than one and not just have one long clip playing, I overplayed some clips onto the timeline to add extra elements to my story. All I simply did was dragged and dropped the clip I wanted to use, on top of the length of video I had already created, and then just shortened it down to how much of the overlaid clip I needed.

Voiceover and sound-

To get the idea of a voice over effect on my video, I simply had to keep the original video clips I had placed together with the talking on below all of the extra video clips I placed on top. Keeping the clips with Paige talking at the bottom of the ‘layer’ allowed the sound to be played constantly over the top throughout. Anything else than laid over the top couldn’t be heard loudly over the top over the story telling voice over. I went into the audio section and muted all of the other small clips that I didn’t want to make any noise, meaning Paige’s voice was 10x clearer.

Adding music-

To create the affect of a sob story video interview, I decided to lay some music over the top of my video and voiceover when it needed to come in. Adding some sad music over the top of Paige telling the sad part of her story really adds emotional affect to the viewer and captivates their attention more. To add the music in, I converted the Youtube video to an MP3 file, saved this to my iTunes and then imported it into Premier Pro, where it then sat with my imported clips. To add it into my video I dragged it underneath the initial video sequence I had started making. Adding the music underneath the video sequence meant that it sat underneath the voice over too. This worked well as when the music and voice over played at the same time, the music wasn’t as loud as the voice as it was underneath it. The song I had chosen was a little loud, and I still decided to turn it down a little bit more in the audio setting by dragging the adjuster down.

Effects and Transitions-

As my clips were a bit dark when I put them onto my laptop, I needed to adjust the setting so they were a bit brighter. I was able to do this in Premier Pro and apply the same effect to each clip individually. This didn’t take long as I slightly adjusted the exposure, saturation, vibrance and sharpness. I was able to create a lighter and clearer looking video.

Between each clip I decided I was going to add a transition to ensure that my video ran smoothly between clips and it didn’t seem jumpy. I went through the effects and tried all of the ones available to see which would look best. In the end I decided that the cross dissolve worked best and worked well with my video sequence and video style.

My Edited Video Sequence-

Once I had spent a few days editing and refining my finished video, this is what the final finished sequence looked like in the form of a Premier Pro file…

It was difficult to keep it within the two minutes, 120 seconds, exactly, I ran over by 5 seconds. I have hear mixed reviews on how this will be as some people have said that Matthew has said we have to strictly keep it to 120 seconds and cannot go over or under, and some other people have been saying that we have a few seconds lenience each way. I tried my best to keep it 120 seconds but I needed the extra few to create a video I was happy with.

I am now going to convert and export this finished video as a HDR 1080p mp4 file. This will allow the tutors to watch it in good quality when we hand it in. I am also going to upload it to my university Youtube channel to make it easier and quicker when handing it in online.

Interview Video- Contact Sheet Clips

Shooting the video was a lot easier than I thought, before doing it I had worries that it would be really difficult and the clips would look awful, however, I have proved myself wrong and managed to produce some clips that I can put together to make a 2 minute video.

To film my clips I sat Paige down on one of the chairs in her living room that had the most natural light provided on it, placed my camera on a stable surface, and clicked record. I started off my running through the script with Paige quickly. I decided to record this to see if Paige was going to say anything in character that I could later on use. Once Paige was familiar with her characters story and what she needed to say we were good to go. I recorded a few clips of Paige chatting away to me about her, her life story and the competition. I didn’t say anything as I just wanted to have a clip of her chatting and her voice by itself. We then watched the clip over, listened to it, I told Paige what to adjust when she spoke, and we tried it again. We did this twice more until she got the story down well and really sold it to me.

After this, I decided to film different style of video clip, where I am interviewing Paige and asking her the questions and you hear me ask her. We tried this twice as I messed up and laughed in the first take. I didn’t like this style clip with me talking in it as much as I strongly despise the sound of my own voice on recording, but there was still a possibility of me using it for some of the answer Paige gave to my questions.

Once I was happy with the main interview and story clips being filmed, we moved onto filming a few short ‘fillers’. These were some very short little clips that I was going to use to insert on top of the main video to help elaborate the clients story.

I filmed some of Paige checking herself out in the mirror, checking her outfit in the mirror, grooming her dog and giving her dog a cuddle. These clips worked well within the first couple of takes, and I knew they would look good being inserted over the top of the main video interview.

I am now going to start editing my video by using Premier Pro. I have experience with using PP in the past so feel confident enough I will be able to put it together and make a watchable 2 minute video interview.

Before Shot- Edits

When going through my images I chose these as the best ones as they turned out the best in terms of image composition, lighting and colour. To edit these images all I did was amp up the colours in Capture One, play with the brightness, contrast and highlights. Once I had done a first draft edit of them in Capture, I went over the colours again with a paint brush in Photoshop to make the eye makeup, lips and outfit really really pink. Having the pink stand out more than anything made sure the barbie doll attribute came across really clear.

I played around with cropping some of them to make them stronger images. Some of the images of the dogs being clippers and brushed had too much going on in the background, making the pictures look weaker overall, I found that editing and cropping them in made them stronger as it made your attention really focus on the fact she’s a pink loving, barbie doll type girl who loves dogs and loves to look after them. I have a few favourites that I prefer, and am going to see how they compare to my after shots when I go through and edit them. I want to try and pick the images that are the most contrasting opposites.

Before Shot- Contact Sheets

These are the images I took for my before shot, I have put them into a contact sheet format so I can easily look through them and select my favourite ones. The before shots are the part we did last, after the studio shoot and the video filming.

I went through and selected my favourite ones by the image crop, lighting, colours and how Paige interacted with the dog.

I will be honest, these are not the greatest images I have taken, but I am happy with how they have turned out for the project and convey my characters story/attritubes. When first doing a couple of test shots before the shoot started, the window lighting was making things seem really dark, so I moved things around to get the best sense of light in the room. Once that was sorted, it was difficult to get the dog to sit still and cooperate, Paige’s mum had to come in and help us with the dog, and she managed to get it to be calm and look at her.

I feel that Paige played the character well, she was good at taking direction and comfortable with the look and what I needed her to do. After we had got enough images of Paige with her small dog, I decided I would try involving her other dogs and some of the dog grooming accessories. This proved to be difficult as the two larger dogs were harder to control, they managed to sit for a little while, but not very long, hence the lack of images with the two dogs. I then decided to try images again with the small dog by himself with some of the dog grooming accessories in the image, and then got her black dog back in by himself with a brush.

If I was to do this shoot again I would’ve used more lighting, when taking the images, the lighting seemed fine when looking back through them on my camera, and then when I imported them to Capture One, they were a lot darker than I realised. This wasn’t the end of the world as I knew I could sort it out in post production, but it was slightly annoying.

Dog In The Studio- Update

After having planned to bring Paige’s dog into the studio to use as part of my project, I emailed health and safety and included all the relevant information on the risk assessment. After waiting a few days for a reply I finally got one, and it wasn’t good news.

Due to the policy of the university, I was only going to be allowed to bring a dog into the studio if it was a Guide Dog used for assistance or a Pet Therapy dog assigned by therapists. Due to Paige’s dog being none of these, and nothing other than just a loving, well behaved pet, I tried to fight my corner with it but it was a losing battle and I wasn’t allowed to involve the dog in my shot in the studio.

I didn’t want to have to change my whole idea and find a relevant location to now shoot at with the dog, as time really was running out and I had everything set to go. After a lot of deliberation on whether to change it all or keep things the same but just not involve the dog in my after shot, I decided on the latter decision.

As I liked the idea I had planned and limited time to finish things in, I kept everything the same as it was going to be but just wasn’t going to include the dog in my studio session for my after shot.

Bringing A Dog Into The Studio…

Since it has been brought up a couple of times and I really wanted to try and push myself to experiment with it, I wanted to bring a dog into the studio to photograph my model with the dog for my ‘after’ shot. I wanted it to add an element of subtle comedy and also something I haven’t really worked with or photographed before. I had a plan to bring one of Paige’s dogs into the studio, it was going to be a black beagle/cocker spaniel cross breed she has, called Charlie. I had ideas of keeping my after shot as I had planned with the lighting and styling etc but adding in the black dog with Paige and potentially getting her to wear a black wig so they look the same.

I wanted to use the dog in a sense to show that my character doesn’t just love dogs because she grooms them but because she is obsessed with them. I thought that getting Paige to wear a black wig to replicate her dogs long black ears would look interesting and unusual.

I created a few mood boards for visual references and lighting references…

Organising My Shoot Day

Now I had solid ideas in mind and everything was coming together, it was time I started putting dates and times together and to get my studio booked to be able to shoot my pictures.

I started off by emailing Geraint to see if the studio was free for me to use, however while waiting for his reply I saw on the studio calendar that it was really full up. I took to emailing Room Bookings to see if there were any other studio rooms free for me to use, and luckily there was, but on a very restricted time frame. I managed to get room 208 from 8am until 12:30pm. This wasn’t a very long time slot but it was one of the only ones available for me to be able to get my work shot on time. I was confident I would still be able to get my shoot done within the short time.

To make things more convenient of myself, I decided to ask Paige (my model) if she was free to film for the rest of the day after the studio slot had finished at 12:30pm. After waiting a few days response so she could sort out other work commitments, she said it was fine to go to hers and do the filming after our morning in the studio.

The plan for my day of shooting and filming looked like…

  • Morning- 8am-12:30pm photograph my after shot in the studio
  • Afternoon- 1pm-3pm- film my video interview and extra clips at Paige’s house
  • Late afternoon- 3pm- 4:30pm- photograph my before shot at Paige’s house

The next thing I had to try and sort out was filling out the risk assessment for my equipment booking and getting health and safety to agree with me bringing a dog into the studio.

Speaking With Matthew- Book Examples

After we had spoken to Mary-Anna and Michele, it was Matthews turn to come and speak to our group to see where we were all at and guide us if we had any problems. When joining our group, Matthew brought a selection of books with him. Matthew went through these books, expelling who they were by, why they were created, what the images show and what the story is about, he the passed them round for us to have a look at.

I found it very interesting looking at some of the books. It was enticing to see how many different stories people can tell through the power of photography and how each photographer has their own individual story telling and photo taking style.

After having just spoken about using a dog in the studio with Michele, I ran the idea past Matthew and he was all for it. Matthew seemed excited by it and said it would add something different to my image that no one else was doing in the class.

When passing the books round, Matthew brought one from when he worked at i-D. The book was a book full of documentary and portrait images that tell stories that didn’t make it to the printing process of when an issue of i-D was made. It was a book made to still celebrate and show case the photographers work, even though they didn’t make the cut of the magazine, the book was showing that the images were still good enough and has a story behind them.

I found some images of people and their dogs on a few of the pages, and I took images for reference. I will use the images as reference on how to light my image and how to compose the shot. It will give me an idea on how to get my model and her dog to pose, how I need to go about shooting it and how I can really get the story of their relationship across.

Lesson with Mary-Anna & Michele…

I found the lesson we had with Matthew, Mary-Anna and Michele very interesting and helpful.

We started off by sitting in 3 groups, in circles in the class room, and the 3 lecturers/guests were going to take it in turns to go round each group and chat to everyone individually. This gave us a chance to explain our ideas to each lecturer individually, get their advice and help, and ask them questions.

My group started off with talking to Mary-Anna. We were going round the group and hearing what everyones ideas were and what random attributes they had to work with. I thought my attributes were a hard miss-match to make work together but from what other people had, I started thinking my project won’t be so bad.

It got round to me and Mary-Anna asked for my name and asked me to speak about my project. I started off by explaining my characters attributes, I then briefly explained my ideas for my ‘before’ shot, my concepts and visuals for my 2 minute video and then how I wanted my ‘after’ shot to look. I helped Mary-Anna to be able to visualise what I was talking about by showing her the mood boards I had created and she really liked my ideas. She liked the way I was going to paint my character/client through the use of the fashion, the dog grooming and the colours of the ragga culture. I asked her for some tips on what sort of colour ways she thought would work best and she said either a deep red or yellow will really captivate the attention of the audience, and then dress the model in things that really contrast with the background colour to make your model stand out. She said that either yellow or green would contrast well against red and as long as I had elements of all the colours in there, she thought it would work either way. Mary-Anna also mentioned that she thought it was clever that I wasn’t going quite literal with my music genre, but intact how I was picking it apart through the use of colour and using that to show my client is into Ragga. I felt good after speaking to Mary-Anna as it made me feel I was going in the right direction.

Next up, our group got the chance to speak to Michele, the photographer. Michele started off by introducing himself and telling us a little bit about his past work and career, he then went round our group and got us to introduce ourselves and say what style of photography we are interested in and want to make a career from. When it got round to talking to Michele about my project and my ideas, I showed him my mood boards and sketches so he could really try and visualise what I was saying to him and give him a better understanding. He as well really liked where my idea was heading and thought it would work well. He suggested a couple of things to me to perhaps take it that one step further and push my image through a more funny sense. Michele suggested maybe I do bring a dog into the studio, and get my model and dog to interact with one another, creating a really striking image, still tell her story that she loves dog and wants to involve them in everything she does. Michele then suggested maybe I use an older woman for my model, he said it would add diversity to my work and something that people wouldn’t necessarily expect from my storyline and attributes put together.

I spoke to him about the suggestions he had made and mentioned I also had a thought in the past about using a dog in my studio shot as I think it would make it a more striking and interesting image to look at. I asked him how he would light it with a dog involved and Michele said something bright like a ring light, he said that a ring light would highlight the dogs fur in all the right places, making it look well presented. I mentioned to him that I wasn’t so keen on using an older woman as I already had my model of choice sourced and I didn’t have much time left to get things together and start shooting, he understood my struggle and said I didn’t have to, it was just an idea.

I found this lesson very useful as I got the chance to speak to 2 industry professionals and ask them for some expert advice on improving my work. I like what they both had to say and am going to look further into the suggestions they have made.

Guest Lecturers- Mary- Anna Kearney & Michele Turriani…

One of our lessons for this unit involves two guests joining us and Matthew. We had the privilege of meeting Mary-Anna Kearney and Michele Turriani. Both have worked with well known people and brands from all over the world, and their industry and fashion knowledge is impressive.

Before we had the lesson with Mary-Anna and Michele I decided to do a little bit of background research on them both so I could familiarise myself with their work, what their visions and styles are like and be able to be familiar when they bought their own work up in conversation.

Mary-Anna Kearney-

Mary-Anna is an industry expert fashion stylist. She has worked with brands and publications such Vogue UK, Tatler, Grazia, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Louis Vuitton. She’s worked with some of the industries finest to say the least. I had a quick look at her website, and from looking at the styling work she has created you can tell that she isn’t afraid to play, be bold and confident. There was images on there of some very interesting looks that really complete the whole image she was a part of helping to create.

In the lesson we have with Mary-Anna, I hope to be able to ask her some questions about how I should style the colours in my photoshoot and what kind of look she would personally style for this type of shoot. Hopefully she will be able to give me some good tips and ideas that will make my image look good.

Michele Turriani-

Michele is a London based, Italian photographer and director. He has been in the business for over 20 years and has worked with some big name brands such as Levi’s, Honda, Pirelli, Champion, Heineken, Nike and Diesel. I browsed Michele’s website to see what his work was like and to find out a list bit more about him as a photographer, and I was very intrigued by his style of work. Some of the images I came across I haven’t really seen done int hat sort of style before, which tells me he knows his own unique style of work. I like how in his portrait and fashion images he experiments with lighting and image crop. In the lesson I hope to also ask Michele a few questions and get some advice/tips on how to improve my photographic work. I hope to ask him about what he thinks of how I want to light my image, and I also want to ask for his advice on how I should crop my portrait.

After Shot- Planning- Colour Way Sketches

To help me decide how I want to incorporate the ragga music colours into my after shot, I drew up some rough sketches and did the colours a different way each time. In every image I included all of the relevant colours in at least one aspect of the image… either the background, clothing, lips or accessories. I am going to discuss these colour ways in the upcoming lessons and see if I can get some help on choosing how to portray ragga music best through the ragga colours.

After Shot Planning- Equipment & Props…

The equipment and props for my after shot won’t be much extra apart from the equipment I will need to set up my studio. As I have used my particular lighting set up before, I know exactly what equipment and things I will need to make sure I can get the best image I can.

  • Canon camera
  • 24-70mm lens
  • 50mm lens
  • 2x SD cards
  • Spare camera battery
  • Battery charger
  • Macbook laptop
  • Macbook charger
  • Elinchrom 1200RX flash head
  • Octalight soft box
  • Backdrop stands
  • Backdrops
  • Backdrop clamps
  • Masking tape
  • Poly boards
  • Poly board stands
  • Hot shoe adaptor
  • Sync lead
  • QP cards
  • Outfit
  • Hair Accessories
  • Jewellery
  • Shoes
  • Inspiration moodboards

After Shot Planning- Styling & Lighting…

Styling-

After creating my mood boards for my after shot, I have the idea of styling the outfit myself, and making sure it involves the reggae colours yellow, red, green and black. I think that making the colours bold and bright will make the music genre obvious, and I’m not entirely sure how else I could get it across so boldly. Looking into artists such as Rihanna, Shaggy and Sean Kingston, I noticed they always over accessorise and wear a lot of gold jewellery, head scarves and sunglasses.

I mainly took into looking at Rihanna. Specifically her album covers and music videos. As Rihanna is the most famous modern ragga star that people know today, I feel like taking a lot of inspiration from her would keep it really fresh and modern. I really liked her look that she wore in the music video for her song Wild Thoughts. She gave me a kind of Caribbean, fortune teller look and it really made me want to replicate it for my after shot. Not replicate it exactly, as I don’t want my character looking like a fortune teller, but I liked how she kept the look original and it involved the reggae colours. I also really liked how she had one of the reggae colours very prominently in the background of her image, meaning she could wear more than one garment of the same colour without it being too much. I would like to use a coloured background in my after shot image to contrast with the outfit I will put together and tie all of the reggae colours in together.

Taking these elements into my own hands, I started looking for elements of an outfit online, that I could easily source and would have on time. I really liked some of the items that I found, and feel they would make a strong image, keeping it true to my clients genre of music, Ragga.

Lighting-

I am going to shoot my after shot in the studio, as I feel that the studio gives a very professional and clean look, and will emphasise the fact they’ve been through the transformation from before to now. With the lighting for my ‘after shot’, I am going to use a familiar lighting set up to what I have used before. My current FMP project has all been studio based work, and I really enjoy the lighting set up I am now familiar with using. I have a refined style of portrait photography now since doing my FMP project and I think it would be good for me to apply it to my after shot for this project too. As I am planning for my after shot to be bold and colourful, replicating the style of portrait photography I have now been practising for a while will carry my style through.

Using this lighting that I am now familiar with creates a really strong, bold light on one half of the models face and leaves defining shadows on the other. It lifts the model out of the backdrop of the image and gives it some depth. Here are some examples of my work I have shot with this lighting set up…

This is roughly the kind of style I will want my after shot to look like…

After Shot- How Will They Change?

Now I had my before shot and my 2 minute video planned out and ready to shoot, it was time for me to start refining my ideas for my after shot. For the after shot, we have to take a picture of our character once they have transformed through the journey of fame through doing the talent show. We have to transform them and show that they have changed into the wannabe music star they have always wanted to be. For my personal projects attributes for my character, who I have named Abi, she starts of as a dog grooming, dog loving, barbie doll from Essex, and she is going to transform into the next big selling Ragga solo artist. It still scares me a little bit that the after transformation won’t work, as it is very much the opposite from her before look.

Going back to some previous research I did at the start of this project into Ragga music, Ragga artists, album covers and colours, it gave me a vision of how I can transform my client into their transformed persona. Some of the dominant attributes in the Ragga album covers are strong lighting, close cropped portrait, red lips, natural skin makeup, reggae colours red, yellow, green and black. I also have the idea of getting a dog involved in the after shot, maybe having my character and the dog looking the same? It may make it quite comical, and add an interesting element to my image that I know no one else will have thought of, and as I mentioned before, I would be pushing myself as I had never used a dog in the studio before. Going back through my Ragga music research this is a rough moodboard I conjured up…

My mood boards involve the colours, makeup, styling, accessories and lighting I found while researching Ragga music, artists and album covers. I am going to refine my research and ideas and start looking into photographers and lighting to see how I can get inspiration and ideas for my final ‘after’ shot.

Video Planning- Storyboard

To also help me when it comes to filming my 2 minute video, I decided to sketch up a rough storyboard so I had an idea of what I wanted each scene to be like and what order I wanted it all to go in.

I am going to try two types of video interviews when it comes to filming. I am going to try one way of me asking Paige the questions and having me speaking in the video, or I am going to try with just having Paige talking away while I am guiding her with questions from behind the camera. I hate the sound of my own voice on recording so I think I know which way of filming I am going to prefer the look and sound of, but I am going to try both anyway.

As I am adding an emotional story into my video, I thought it would add good affect to have sad music playing over the top of my filming when she starts talking about the sad part of her story. I feel this will add affect and benefit the audience in knowing there is emotion behind it.

In between the video interview of Paige (Abi) telling her story, I want to cut in some extra little clips that will help give the story of who she is. For example, letting her barbie doll attribute be made obvious by her checking herself out in the mirror, checking her hair and makeup looks good, and showing she is a dog groomer by showing her grooming her dog with clippers or scissors, and adding emphasis on the fact she loves dogs by having her interact with the dog by hugging and kissing it.

Although it doesn’t sound much, I have a feeling that adding a few little extra clips in like those will emphasis my story of Abi, before she becomes famous.

Video Planning- Refining My Script

After writing some draft questions and a character story, I decided to try and write it all up better into a proper type of script. I added some vague directions into the script so we both knew what to do and I knew what kind of shot I would be filming as me and Paige were conversing.

I feel I am off to a good start with it, it still needs some work and more fine tuning, and it will most likely change a bit by the time it comes to filming, however I have given myself a good, strong starting point.

Video Planning- Questions & Answers

As part of the video part of the brief we need to ask our client questions, and get them to answer them so we can find out more about who they are as a person and who they want to be as an artist. This makes up the element of creating a ‘sob story’. After watching shows such as the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, and also re watching some auditions online, I have a rough idea of some of the questions I am going to ask and what kind of answer I want to get in return. Matthew also emailed us some draft questions we can ask to get our project going in the right direction…

Matthew’s example questions-

1. What’s your name and how old are you?
2. Where are you from?
3. What do you do for a living?
4. Why do you want to win this talent competion?
5. What appels to you about your choosen musical style?
6. How do you think it will change your life?
7. What would you buy with the prize money?

I knew a lot of people in my class were following these questions so I didn’t want to follow them exactly as I didn’t want my video to be the same as everyone else’s, I am going to use Matt’s example questions as a base to start coming up with my own questions. The judges on the TV talent shows don’t always ask the guests the same questions, they start off the same with their name, age and location, then after that they vary a bit to find out what they do and why they are doing the show.

Some draft questions I have come up with are…

  1. What is your name?
  2. How old are you?
  3. Where are you from?
  4. What do you do for a living?
  5. How did you get into that line of work?
  6. Do you own any dogs? How many?
  7. What are their names?
  8. Do you want to own more dogs and expand your business?
  9. Is that why you want to win the prize money?
  10. How did you get into Ragga music and when?
  11. What appealed to you about Ragga music inparticular?
  12. Who is your inspiration for your music career?
  13. How do you think this competition can change your life?

With these as some draft questions, I feel Paige’s answers to them will tell the story I have written about her. I want her to come across as very Essex, girly, bubbly, dog loving and emotional. I feel I have targeted each of these elements I want to get across in at least a couple of the questions. Now I am going to refine the questions I am going to ask and the answers I want Paige to give and write a script for me and Paige to have a copy of on the day we are shooting.

My Client/Characters Story

A few weeks ago when we explained our initial ideas and attributes to Matthew, he went on to write each of us a short monologue describing our character and explaining who they are. They were only a few short sentences and we could adapt/change it however we like. This is the scenario Matt wrote for me…

“It’s true people do look like their pets and my wanna-be star just loves dogs. They walk together, talk together they primp and preen together all in a Ragga muffin style”

I liked what he had written for me but I wanted to slightly adapt it and give it more of a story. Giving it more of a story will help me video element as I will be able to get my character to reiterate it in the narrative. I also needed to add an element of emotion/a sob story into it to keep the audience interested and enticed into their story/journey.

My clients re-written story is…

20 year old Abi is a young, girly, dog loving wanna be superstar from Essex. As her day job she is a dog groomer, not only does she like making herself look good, but her four legged friends too! When looking at Abi and seeing the way she is, you wouldn’t believe what genre of music is her favourite, and what style she wants to make a huge career in?… Yep, its Ragga music. Ragga music is a form of Reggae music mixed with dance/hip hop music too. Abi got into Ragga music through her mum, Carlene. Abi was adopted by Carlene, who originated from Jamaica, when she was very young. They would always listen to it in the car, while cooking and cleaning, it made them feel happy and they really connected over the genre of music. Unfortunately a few years ago Carlene passed away, leaving Abi and her other adopted children behind. Abi now wants to strive forward with the competition, going for the winning title, to be able to pursue her career in Ragga music, she hope to make her mum proud.

I thought of that rough storyline/treatment for my character so I knew what kind of things to ask her and get her to say in the video. She clearly explains who she is and what she likes, and visually you’ll be able to see that too, and then the sob story part comes in when she starts speaking about her love of Ragga music coming from her mum who passed away.

I think a story like this will work well as seeing how she will look you would never expect her to be into Ragga music or adopted by a Jamaican woman, and adding the emotional part into it adds to the idea of the brief.

Video Planning- Lighting, Props, Equipment…

Lighting-

A lot of the video interviews I looked into were on the main stage of either the X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent, which lighting I can’t replicate. So I am going to light my interview video in a similar style to the Vogue 73 questions video. After having watched 73 questions for a while now, I am familiar with their style of filming and lighting and a lot of the light comes from the natural light within their homes. At most I can image they use a large soft box light behind the camera to enhance the natural light in the home.

I am going to be filming my interview video in Paige’s home on the same day we do our ‘before’ shot, so I know what space and natural lighting I have to work with. As I am going to be keeping the styling the same with the dog and the colour pink being dominant in the image, I want the lighting to be bright to enhance the look of the plastic outfit and the texture of her dogs fur.

I am mainly going to rely on natural light coming into the living room through the windows but will have a portable flash kit on me if I need to use it to lift the room scene a bit.

Props and Equipment-

For the props and equipment for my video, I am not going to need anything different from what I used for my before shot, apart from a camera tripod, to keep it steady while filming. All I will need it Paige (dressed as her character), her dog, a chair/sofa to sit, tripod, spare SD card and camera battery. I know I will already have all of these with me on the day as I am using them in the ‘before’ shot beforehand.

Mixed Lighting-

With the possibility of me having to use an extra source of light in the form of a portable flash, due to the natural light not being enough from the windows, I decided to look at some examples of mixed lighting to see how it could possibly make it look. Mixed lighting is where another source of light is used in addition to there already being one present. For example, me filming in a house will have natural light coming through the windows, and me also potentially using a portable flash kit, makes it a mixed lighting set up.