Lost Witness

After researching the genre, it was time to start making plans. Firstly I needed to use my knowledge of the subject and jot down some ideas and drawings of all the possibilities. I had watched some previous productions of this nature and was able to learn a lot from their strengths and weaknesses. I drew up a storyboard template and sat down at my desk in an attempt to think up a possible project. However, this proved to be a much greater task than I had anticipated, especially as I was working by myself and had nobody as such to ‘bounce ideas off’.

For several days I couldn’t think of anything that I liked; I could imagine individual scenes in my head of wonderful thrilling action, but could not string anything together coherently. During this week of uncertainty I watched a couple of action thriller movies, both of which inspired me. I have a particular interest in the works of directors David Lynch and Martin Scorsese, and took much of my inspiration from their works. Martin Scorsese has made many classic thriller films, the most famous of which being Goodfellas I enjoyed his style and his portrayal of Mafia life.

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David Lynch on the other hand has a large surrealistic influence, in fact after viewing his most recent film; I left the cinema feeling quite disconcerted. So, I decided to create a sort of blend of the two, mixing the conventional smart, authoritarian, collar-and-tie male and homicidal renegade with surreal influence. After toying with storylines on paper I produced one I particularly liked and drew up a very rough storyboard. Having invented the theory of my production, it was time to plan the practical aspects.

I needed to organize locations, equipment and people. I had already made the decision not to have many actors in my production, working singly; it was much harder to find reliable people to use for the simple reason that ‘it wasn’t their coursework’. However I managed to sort out dates, times and places with all the appropriate people and equipment. The only thing I was unable to rely upon was the weather! As far as equipment was concerned, I decided that I was going to film some of my production using a wide-angle lens.

I intended to film the outdoor scenes during the daytime – some of the locations I wanted to use wouldn’t have been the safest places to be at night with a valuable video camera. Also, this meant that I could use natural light instead of having to take a huge lighting setup on location with me. I could compensate for this by adding any lighting effects on at the editing stage. I did however decide to use additional lighting in the indoor scenes.

Fortunately, the microphone on the camera itself was of a good quality and so the recording of diegetic sound including the dialogue was not of great concern, especially as there was to be very little dialogue. I was able to beg and borrow the props I intended to use, one of which included a replica gun – this meant that I had to inform the police in case they got any reports of armed youths! Having planned my production I decided to take action as soon as was possible. I had originally planned to do the filming of my production on two separate days – one day for the indoor scenes and one day for the outdoor scenes.

The locations were approximately 4 miles apart and so it would have been folly to try and do it all in one day. The indoor filming went quite well, apart from the fact that the building I filmed in was quite noisy, and there was dialogue in those scenes. I didn’t want to risk doing voiceovers – I learned from experience that it is much easier said than done. Also, there was a slight problem with the lighting I used, in that it seemed to highlight the actors face in some places and leave it in shadow in others.

This was because he was not lit from all angles adequately. However, I overcame this problem by making a few adjustments. The real problems came when I filmed the outdoor scenes. Firstly I had to transport all the equipment down to an industrial estate, which was not a problem. The actor and assistant cameraman turned up as planned and after the actor had changed into his suit, we began to film. After about thirty minutes or so, the previously blue sky had changed into a murky grey colour and rain appeared imminent.

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