Saturday, 15 March 2014

production work- almost there! Part 1


In a forthcoming article for MediaMagazine, I argue that there are several key elements in production work which ensure better work and a better experience. I won't go into them all here- you have to read the magazine for that! But I do want to point to two key areas which can help you in this and next week's blogposts.

This week- learning from re-making.

When I started working on the BFI Film Academy and visited the National Film and Television School, I was pleased to see evidence of the project that they do early on for lots of their new MA students- re-making a painting as a set. Students visit the National Gallery in London and study the composition and lighting in paintings by artists such as Vermeer or Rembrandt and then back at the school have to collaborate in building a full size set replicating one of the paintings they have studied. Each group of craftspeople from set builders to cinematographers plays their part in making it as accurate a reproduction as possible down to every last detail.

What pleased me was that this justified tasks that I had set media students over many years and had always argued they learnt a lot from! Whether it be music videos or film openings, adverts, posters or scenes from TV drama, I think there is a lot to be said for re-makes as a way of learning to analyse, to build your technical skills and to make you look more closely and see more clearly.

So here are a few examples, ranging from shot-by-shot re-makes of TV and film trailers and film openings and music videos, to print work, such as adverts and film posters. All of these tasks were preliminary to students working on projects of their own in the genres chosen. In general, such work leads to much better independent projects later, as what's been learnt can be transferred to working with your own ideas. So, pace of editing, framing a shot, where to put titles, how to use sound effectively all improve as skills through effectively 'copying' existing work in the first place. It's actually how artists learnt to paint in the past- copying 'masters'.

Here's an example from the NFTS with the original painting: Interior of a Dutch House by Pieter De Hooch:

see the video reconstruction and development here:

This year, the NFTS MA students are re-making this painting:

Jamie's Dream School trailer re-make:


Juno opening re-make:


Hit Me Baby One More Time re-make:


Trailer for Carrie re-make (original in corner):

re-make a print advert: (GCSE)

TV titles sequence re-made: