Throughout the entire capstone project, me and my groupmates have been dealing with different challenges and difficulties, and we have set objectives that we wanted to achieve. As the progress of the project have come to an end, it is time to review the objectives that we have completed.
I have been always want to try as many possibilities as I can in cinematography, and this time I have the best opportunity to make it become reality. In each scene I have tried to co-operate with the director to understand the cinematic effect he wants, and then I will need to think of the placement of camera in different shots and angles. After completing all the scenes in the film, I was really satisfied, each of the shots had a nice composition and the movement in between is fluent and meaningful.
To accomplish this objective is not easy, it needs quite a lot of strength and resources to build them up. The very first problem is lacking of technical crew in our team, since I am both the DP (Director of Photography) and camera operator, I have to control the camera and the checking the framing at the same time, but it still need a person to pull the focus (focus puller), some shots require constant focusing for a long time, but there’s not always a person to help so at the end I will need to pull the focus myself, which made me become so tired and unable to focus in the shots. The other problem is the environment limitation of the shooting locations, in some of the scenes the shooting location are very remote and it made transportation became very difficult, it costs us quite some time to move all the equipment and props from one location to another, which consumes us precious time throughout the day. In addition, some locations are very small and compact, the tiny area made our placement of camera become a big challenge, I needed to keep changing the camera position once I have reached the actual location, fortunately it didn’t bother us much since we could quickly make up our mind and re-arrange the shots order. If time was limited and we were unable to finish them in-time, we have cut down some of the shots that are less important and buy us time to complete those which is crucial.
Apart from learning from cinematography, working as a team is a major lesson to me. I can never complete all these tasks with myself, shooting a film requires different people to co-operate, I have learnt to compromise and communicate with others, it is always a good thing to know about other’s opinions and you can learn much from them. Dealing with people is something you can’t hide from in everyday life, and I think from capstone project it is a perfect example to demonstrate the importance of team work and co-operation.
Still, there is much more room to improve, I had made much mistakes in the production process, but after the kind reminder from my team-mates, I now able to understand my weakness and try to strengthen my skills and ability. To shape a better, me, I need a more well-planned pre-production, before I started to shoot, I need a detailed story-board and shooting list, and discuss them with the director to fit his/her requirements.
All of these experiences had provided me a chance to review my own skills and to evaluate the ability of myself, how far am I willing to go in order to become a good cinematographer/ DP. It is a milestone for me in my studying life, before this project, I have never tried to shoot so many days continuously, it had trained myself to become tougher and more durable in challenges. Working in filming industry requires that a lot, and I am very gladded that I have the chance to experience that beforehand.