Professional Experience #1 – Brighton

For this professional experience opportunity, I will be spending 3 days in Brighton and London working on another student’s final project, Charlotte Smith, who is currently studying Fashion photography at Southampton Solant university. She has asked me to film her promotional video/advert that she is making, in association with Topman, and also show her how to edit using final cut pro.

Opportunity: Brighton Advertisement/Promotional campaign

Dates: Thursday 5th April – Saturday 7th April

Day 1 – Thursday 5th April

The day didn’t start off well, I was expecting to receive my LCD monitor for my DSLR rig back from the repair shop, but it didn’t turn up. That put a dampener on the start of the day as it would be a useful tool on the actual shoot tomorrow. I left for Brighton at 09:00 hoping to get there for about 11:30 to start discussing what shot’s we were looking to get and what order we wanted to shoot in, however, traffic was an absolute nightmare, and I didn’t eventually make it till 13:30. I met up with Victoria and Charlotte in the town centre. We went around the various locations that Charlotte picked out and looked at what angles we wanted to get the footage from and what the general area looked like. The main problem that I could see is that there was a lot of people around and it could be a little dangerous getting the footage that we wanted.

We went down towards Brighton beach to see what the surrounding area was like and unfortunately, It wasn’t up to scratch. The area looked dirty and the background wasn’t the most appealing. We looked around for a suitable area to film the final part of the video, and we ended up driving to Worthing Pier. It was much better. We headed back to the hotel to work on what time’s we were planning on shooting during the day and a small story-board to. Overall, a very satisfying day on the pre-production side of things. It was important to run into any potential problems and mistakes early today to try and rectify them before we go on the shoot tomorrow.

Day 2 – Friday 6th April

So today was our filming day. It was an early start, which I am used to anyway so I didn’t find it that tough. We got to Brighton town centre at 6:00 and I headed straight towards our starting position at the Topman store to set up the equipment. We used a Canon 600D to film. As I was setting up the first scenes, I was asked by an official from Topman whether or not I could film so close to the store, so I had to stop what I was doing until Charlotte came up from the prep area to show them our location release forms which came directly from head office. Once that was cleared up everything ran smoothly up until the first beach scenes in Brighton. The place was an absolute tip. There had been some kind of beach party the night before which resulted in the whole of the beach being inundated with cleaning staff and rubbish. We had to quickly re-think a way of shooting these scenes, so we decided to head to Worthing to see if there was anywhere else around there to film and if not, come back to Brighton later on.

When we got to Worthing, I immediately noticed another ramp on the beach which is what we needed, so we decided to use that instead of going back. The day was running smoothly, and we made a small change to our schedule. We decided to have lunch after we finished filming as we looking to wrap up about 1.15. One thing I should always remember, have more batteries. I thought bringing 4 would be enough, but it turns out, maybe 5/6 are actually needed. In between shot setup, I took the spare batteries to my car to charge up. The models used were very easy to talk to and direct into position which made the shoot a lot easier and perhaps one of the easiest shoot’s I have been on.

Once we finished, we heading back to Charlotte and Victoria’s house in London to capture the footage.

Day 3 – Saturday 7th April

Today was quite an easy but very rewarding day. Basically, I taught Charlotte everything that she needed to know in order to edit the piece together. I began by installing Final Cut Studio and Magic Bullet which are my preferred pieces of software. Once installed, I began by showing how the scratch discs work and how to change some of the settings in the preferences panel so that it would be easier to edit and finally export. Then we went through the basics of the timeline and the buttons around it and what they do. For some reason, when we imported the footage, it was automatically converting it to an SD format rather then keeping it in the HD format originally recorded in, however, after a quick look through the settings and with the help of google that was quickly rectified. I also gave her a list of the several keyboard shortcuts that help me out on a list, we printed it out and left it on the side of the monitor for easy access. I learnt something myself during this session that you can actually set up your own shortcuts to make life even easier when editing which is something I will be taking home with me.

I left Charlotte to it for an hour while I completed some of the paperwork that was needed to finish.

Once I came back, I showed Charlotte some tips on using Magicbullet. This is my new favorite toy which makes the grading process so much easier. You can use the pre-compiled grades or make your own. I told her to use the pre-compiled ones as the final video didn’t need to look as good as a motion picture and they would be more then suitable. I then headed home back to Coventry at around 17:00.

So after 3 days away and not being in a familiar environment, I think I have come out of it a much better professional. I worked with people I never even met and built up a great relationship and rapport. Any problems we encountered I was able to help rectify in a quick and mannerly fashion. I also was able to give some of my skills that I have acquired to others which Is what I would love to do in the future.

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