Comparing his reporting styles (70s vs present):
1970s report: I watched the first 4:30 minutes of this video titled ‘Cambodia (Year Zero)‘, which starts off with a montage of photos and short video clips of war in Vietnam. Throughout this section, as well as the rest of the report, Pilger sticks to natural sounds played over it, rather than music. I feel like this makes it appear more truthful and raw, focusing on what is happening in each clip; although it does seem more restricted due to the 4:3 aspect ratio as that was the most popular size of TV owned by the public.
His first PTC sounds quite monotone and Pilger is in an uninteresting, less professional location, on a balcony, not seeming very relevant to the subject. However, as he takes up most of the frame and doesn’t depend on the background, it feels more personal and like he’s having a conversation with the audience, making us more engaged in the what he was saying, but again, his tone of voice affected how he uninterested he presented himself.
2016 report: My notes include from class include; Starts the same with montage, but music, clips of evidence (gen. franklin), clip taken from news, CBS, Fox News, CNN. Less of him talking, but when he does talk (over clips), he seems more fluent and engaging in the tone. Included multiple interviews, so it presents more opinions/sides. His style definitely seems to have changed, PTC in relevant places, different tone, more elements/music, BUT the montage/PTC does seem to have a similar structure, just with slightly different aspects.
Our idea is to spoof real world events and news stories by putting them into the context of D&D. For instance, Covid-19 will become the ‘Draco Plague’ and Trump leaving the Whitehouse becomes a King being kicked out of power.
As for the graphics, lower thirds and transition sequences will have a steampunk, wooden edge to them, an example being: (see right side).
We plan to integrate comedy throughout the show, by having one actor as all three presenting characters, which will also reduce the number of actors we will need, excluding interviewees we plan to have over video calls.
(11/02/2021) To have all our thoughts and planning documents in one place that allows more collaboration, we have created a ‘shared’ Google Slides. This contains parts of our previous slideshows that were used to quickly jot down ideas such as costumes, characters and stories, but having everything important and that we are going to use here has helped a lot in the development of the project.
Roles for each crew member are included to ensure we have a clear idea of our responsibilities throughout the production (slide 3); I have chosen to be a camera operator as well as the floor manager in the TV Studio once we begin filming. Further, as we continued planning and dictating what exactly we need for each story and segment of the show, I have also carried out two simple animations and acted briefly along-side Charlie in a recreation of a jousting match during the sports segment:
My Role: (Camera Operator, Floor Manager)
Before the day of production, I have been part of initial ideas, expansion of ideas and arranging timings in which I drafted a bulletin for the ordering and specific durations of each piece of footage that will play through the Tricaster, which has then been developed by Gareth (producer). During this time, we have all worked together in the development of stories and specific requirements for when we film, like props, costumes and set.
On set, I have the responsibility of communicating with the producer, vision mixer via headset, and with the crew members in the studio with me for directions or updates. I will carry out any camera movements or adjustments to the set when shooting, but also help to set up the backdrop and props on the table to make it look less modern and more medieval. As a camera operator, I’ll need to maintain focus on the presenter and keep good framing even when camera 2 (the one I will mainly be working with) is not being broadcasted, and remember to lock any moving parts of the cameras when leaving them unattended. Further, we have decided to split up any editing we need to do to pre-recorded footage, including animations to make for a faster turn-around. I have animated two simple videos: the hobgoblin sandwich story and jousting recreation (and will be acting in the ‘live’ live-action recreation as well as editing that footage afterwards).
Beginning Unit 10, it was exciting to have the chance to do something completely different and learn a whole new skill set regarding to live production, along with structuring a news show. Our decision to produce a satire show, altering real-world events for medieval fantasy, meant that we could change stories to be more interesting (to us) and comedic. The D&D theme allowed us to experiment with setting, props and costumes, which we have not done to this extent before, which lead me to learn a lot of techniques about setting and important details.
Crew member roles were set out quite near to the start of the project so we could prepare for what we might need to do individually. This also helped with organising and gradually giving crew tasks throughout pre-production as the producer (Gareth) created organisation documents like detailed checklists. Particular skills we planned to develop included a basic understanding of how to use the TriCaster, cameras, autocue and communication between the studio and gallery; all of which we each were able to have some practice with. We were all able to get experience with these new skills, except a few of us did not use the autocue. I found it extremely helpful to learn about the settings and how to properly handle the cameras in the studio, for example, focusing, slow zooming, and particularly maintaining a small amount of headroom when framing. Each member had more training with equipment they would be using relating to their role before filming which helped us all to easily depend on each other.
Outcome & Feedback:
Watching the complete news show, I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish along with all the new techniques and skills I have acquired. Quite surprisingly, the backdrop and overall setting of the studio-based segments looked intentional and somewhat professional, however, there is a small portion of the original red sofa visible in the bottom-right corner of the screen during the wide-shots which I only realised when watching the edited version. Although before shooting I would try to adjust the blankets to avoid this, it would have been more sustainable to have used either larger blankets, or zoom this camera (camera 3) in slightly to cut off the exposed corner altogether, which would not have been done during filming as we had only two camera operators, including myself, positioned on the two other cameras (1 and 2) as this one is stationary. Other than this detail, I feel that all in-studio scenes were well executed and changed in-time with the prepared bulletin and autocue, as well as the set fitting with our medieval theme.
The main thing I would do differently myself, is make certain that I have changed the camera settings according to the area we are filming, especially with exposure. This is because the over-exposed footage of the outdoors interview and packages in the show is what I find being the most noticeable issue, whilst still being something that could easily have been avoided. As it was my responsibility to operate the camera at these points, it’s something I did (and still) find a bit difficult, which is probably why it stands out to me so much. To fix this problem, I should have either tightened the aperture or lowered the ISO. As I aim to focus on cinematography, I will be practising with camera settings and ensuring I know what settings are required for certain environments.
We have shown the finished News shows to most of our tutors and were able to have gained some feedback for us to reflect on. Attila (tutor) has pointed out the choppy audio, specifically when transitioning, which I agree with as the lack of smooth melding of two audio tracks is somewhat noticeable and present throughout the production. This was the result of being inexperienced with the Tricaster and overall making of a live show, however this could be dealt with by having quiet background music to link footage as well as fading audio during the transitions (one example where this would be helpful is at 5:31) either live, using the Tricaster, or in post-production. Another aspect that was commented on was pacing. As our project was a satire news show, ‘punchier’, faster paced segments could have helped towards keeping the viewers’ attention, one place major place this could have been applied to is the door transitions (see timestamp 1:10). This specific element was pointed out as being slightly slow by a classmate, and I think the boomerang effect on it is the main thing that makes it feel a bit long in my opinion, even though the video only lasts three seconds. Other than that, I find the transition fitting for the production’s theme, however, maybe we could have used it only when changing story.
I have learned a lot from this project about the conventions of live news shows and I feel more comfortable operating large professional cameras, as I had not had experience with them before. Also, the mistakes I have made during the production has made me more wary of the details when setting up shots which I will be implementing in my FMP and other shoots.