Montage Project 5 – ‘Shapes and Shadows’

The task for week five was to create an artefact based on the word ‘Shapes’. We had to work in a group for this one, and we also had to use various light and shadow effects to develop our understanding of lighting. Generally, with these barriers, everyone stampeded towards the TV studio and it’s perfect-dark interior, equipped with dedo lights. The blue screen in the background provided an ample wall to cast shadows upon, and the room was big enough to play with various ‘shapes’. The problem was… what were the shapes and shadows going to be?

This project was generally a bit of an ‘improvisation’ thing. One course member possesses extreme dexterity, so we decided to use her body to create the shapes and shadows we needed. On the day of the shoot however, several problems arose. First of all, there’d been a delay in the timetables which put us back thirty minutes. Crucially, I’d booked out the equipment, and was jetting off at a certain time for a house viewing. When we finally got the studio to ourselves, we set up promptly with our JVC camera and shut the lights off.

The next problem was the set up – the dedos were pretty much immovable as their cables kept them effectively glued to the walls within the a certain length. This meant that Faye – our flexible cheerleader – had to stand close to the blue screen in order for the shadow to work. This, of course, also meant Faye would have to be in the shot, thus blocking her own shadows with her own body. With the dedos having limited maneuverability, there was little we could do. Some of us (such as myself) made shadows with our hands, and using the zoom we were able to make these shots much more focused on the shadows and crop the hands out. When Faye did her flips, we just took the best shots we could. Attempts were made to alternate the various light sources, but they became so hot that this eventually became impossible.

All at once, I was called to the house viewing, and we packed down in a hurry. I forgot to take the release plate off the camera (which is becoming an annoying habit), meaning I had to make a return journey later in the day. Faye edited all the footage herself. Overall, not a lot else to report. It showed me how awkward lighting can be if you’re just using a three-point lighting set up alone. The project was filmed on a Z1 that was to be taken to Prague for my professional experience trip. However, only hours later, it was revealed that the AE light receptor was broken, and we ended up leaving it in Coventry (see relevant post – too depressing to talk about here). But in terms of the montage, the final artefact is a very surreal addition to the foray – considering what I’ve got planned for my other ‘words of the week’, that really, really is saying something!

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