Monthly Archives: September 2010

A New Direction….(already)

So you know that post I did a couple of weeks back, that stated my goals and ideas for how I was going to use this blog? Well forget them! Because I got I far better idea for this blog now.

It’s just one topic that I will blog about, instead of the wide spread I was planning before. (well there may be the odd side posts where I express my thoughts on a film) …Yes of cause the blog is still going to be about film.

So what is the new Shootable Shorts blog going to be about??? (drum roll please)


and don’t worry I don’t mean a video blog of me chatting, ranting and raving (no one wants that!). I mean a video blog of shorts and montages that I have edited.

I will upload a video once a month.


Aerial Shooting

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get a ride in a helicopter. Can’t begin to tell you how excited I was, I’d never been in one before and now I was going for my very own private ride along the coast of Dorset.

It was a bit of a last minute thing. Literary I was having a drink with the pilot’s family when he called and asked if I would like to go for a ride in 10 minutes. It took me less than half a second to say yes please. I then sprinted home to grab my Canon EOS 7D, which luckily was charged and packed for a shoot I was planning for later that day. With camera in hand I was running to the field where the pilot going to land. I got there just in time to watch him coming in.

How can I describe what it was like to fly? Well simply put, it’s the way to travel and from a photography/film point of view, what an opportunity. Having not planned this trip, the aerial shoot was done on a trail and error basis, trying to cut the motion blur out and getting rid of reflections from the window.

I ended putting the shutter on a fast speed and I got some truly beautiful shots.

Now I can’t stop thinking about the hugely cinematic establishing aerial shot that I want to start my next film with. Dream on Aaron, dream on.

p.s. Just want to add a huge thank you to the pilot, it was an experience I will never forget.

Chasing That Dream

I’m going to be a film editor and this blog is going to help me reach that goal (tell you how in a bit).

You might be asking yourself what is Shootable Shorts? It’s my film production name. I created it to produce short films that had more thought and cinematic story in them than the 1001 gimmicky student films that are made daily (although I’m sure I’ve contributed to this number, it’s all part of the learning curve I guess)

What am I going to blog about?

  1. My film projects. Scripts I’m writing, films I’m shooting and things I’m editing
  2. A photo gallery
  3. Film reviews/thoughts
  4. Thoughts on Film news

A few things yes, but all related to film. So how is this going to help me on my career path to becoming a feature film editor? Well by keeping me on track, making me work and think about film on a regular basis.

To the reader of this blog I hope you find my journey entertaining.

On To The New

This is where my old blog posts stop and my new ones start. Yes from here on out its all brand new posts about me and Shootable Shorts.

LFA Certificate 77

(Originally posted 21/12/09)

My month at the London Film Academy is sadly over. And what a month it has been. I can honestly say it has been one the best experiences of my life. What has the LFA given me? An idea of how a professional film set works, the skills to start making short films on my own (well with a crew), professional contacts, a load of new friends and most of all a head for film.

Catch Up Part 3 – Editing

(Originally posted 21/12/09)

35mm Film

On the first day of editing we went ‘old school’ with linear editing.

We had the opportunity to edit film using scissors and tape. Teaching this was Brian Blamey who was Stanley Kubrick’s sound editor on A Clockwork Orange (1971). Editing like this was something I always wanted to try.

The rest of the week was set aside for us to edit our films on the computers. We used Avid which is a good editing program (although I prefer Final Cut Pro). It was very hard to put the shots together as we had mainly only master shots that gave us coverage of the story. This was because of the tight timing on the day of the shoot, I wasn’t able to shoot a lot of the close ups and cutaways because of time. This gave us little to work with in Avid.

With the visuals edited together the look of the film was less than ideal; then we started adding sound and the whole thing changed. With music and some well timed sound effects the film become funny and a lot more enjoyable.

Steenbeck Editing

(Originally posted 21/12/09)

Editor Brian Blamey using a Steenbeck

Catch Up Part 2 – Clapper Loader

(Originally posted 21/12/09)

The following day I took on the roll of what is in my opinion one of the most difficult, important and stressful jobs on a film set…the Clapper Loader. The Clappers jobs are loading/unloading the film, slating the scenes and collecting lens etc for the camera team. The loading/unloading of the film is a job that makes you sweat. I had to load 400ft of unexposed film into the camera magazine, oh yeah and you have to load/unload it all in the dark. If a single ray of light hits the film its ruined…and film costs a lot! Breath easy I got it done with no hiccups. Slating the scenes is a little harder than it seems. Not only do you need to write up the clapper board between takes you also need to write down the lens being used and the aperture, time the scene and calculate the amount of film ft used. The majority of this day was shot outside and it happened to be the coldest wettest day of the week. I was numb with cold but still enjoyed the day. It was good experience to shoot outside as all the other shoots were interiors. I came away from this day thinking Clapper loaders need more than one pair of hands.

Catch up Part 1 – Gaffer

(Originally posted 21/12/09)

The second shoot was indoors which was great, as it was wet and very cold outside. For this film I was Gaffer (chief lighter). My day consisted of waiting around a lot, for your work is done before they start shooting. I along with the DOP and Spark set up the scene working out which areas would need lighting and how we could do it in a natural looking way. After the initial set up was complete my job was then to be on standby in case we needed to change the set around. I also had to be alert for health and safety issues as the lights get extremely hot and there are wires running across the floor in all directions. It was a good day for experimenting with lighting as it is an extremely technical and complex skill. I believe I came away with more of a grasp on the basics.

Shooting Sabotage

(Originally posted 05/12/09)

Well, the first thing that was to go out the window was the schedule. It took us all an hour and twenty minutes to get to the location which was on the other side of London. But we all got there and the crew of 10 all got busy setting up the camera and lighting. I went straight to work with my actors running through the shot order with them so they knew what we doing and when.

Throughout the day problems arose that needed me to think on my feet and somehow get the shot. The main one that comes to mind was a shot where we needed a ‘fisheye’ lens to get the shot but for some reason it had been left at the film school. To solve this we put on the widest lens we had and repositioned the camera a little. This gave us a shot that looked close enough to the one that I wanted.

The main problem we had was time. We had so little time shoot in and so much to shoot. The 1st AD really saved the day here, she kept us going and managed to talk me into cutting out a few shots and tweaking others so that we got two shots in one and thanks to her we finished pretty much on time. I also have to give the actors a nod of gratitude here as they were fantastic in getting the shots mostly in one take.

Although the pressure was on all day to deliver, I was mostly excited rather than stressed and was very happy when I got to hand deliver the film to Soho film lab for developing.

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