Back in October, I took part in a shoot for my course’s ‘Fiction’ unit, in which we were tasked with making a 5 minute short film. Our film, titled ‘Viyna’ (Ukrainian for ‘war’), was shot over two days in 3 locations. Making this film was great fun, and I definitely learned a lot. I could make lots of posts about this shoot (and I might), but one of my biggest takeaways from this was the importance of planning and testing!
Here’s some comparisons between the test shots we completed and the final shots as seen in the video.
By practising the shot-reverse-shot, we were able to work out what was missing from the shot, in the lighting, set dressing and angles, to make it visually interesting.
The first thing we were able to change was the lighting. In the test shoot, the lighting is very flat, almost too soft. The actors have very little distinction from the background. We solved this problem by introducing more lights. There’s a fill light pointed at the ceiling as well as a diffused LED pointing at the actor in focus for each shot. We also used a small light on the male lead intended to give him a sort of ‘ghostly glow’, but it turned out to be very subtle.
I’m quite happy with the end result – there’s a nice moody contrast on the actor’s faces but the light isn’t too harsh and I think we managed to achieve the romantic, soft atmosphere we were going for here.
Another aspect which we found was vital, was the set dressing. It was clear from the start that we’d have to put in a lot of effort here as we essentially had a blank slate of a room to work with. It was great to learn how each prop has a purpose other than just to be pretty; the things stuck to the wall are there to give a sense of depth; the tablecloth, plates of food and cups for drinking were intended to show the end of a meal. Even the fairy lights in the over-the-shoulder shot were put there in order to give a further sense of distinction between the foreground and background.