A Sense of Space: Joes Garage
February 28, 2009 by Dave
I just complete my first short film called A Sense of Space: Joes Garage using the Sony PD170 DV camcorder and Apple Final Cut Pro. I embarked on this adventure with the notion that I would be spending many late evenings reading the user manual for both the camcorder and Final Cut to produce a 3 minute film. To my surprise, the process was not as daunting as I expected but did come with the usual quirks and hiccups. After only 20 minutes of shooting and an evening banging through the user manual, I had a finished product
The idea of Joes Garage came to me while chatting with my friends and family around the dinner table Friday evening. While explaining the guidelines of the project, I decided that I should give an example of what I was talking about. I asked, “what defines this room as the dining room and the garage as the garage?” Everyone stared out me for enlightenment. “So what happens when I move all the tools into the dining room and start fixing things in here? Couldn’t you call this space a garage now that you have both the objects, the tools, and the action, fixing stuff, in one place?” And that is exactly how we define space around us. We outline a space by the objects that are stored in them and the actions that take place in them.
With that in mind, I set out to illustrate how those 2 things communicate spacial organization. Luckily, the garage is used almost daily for one thing or another so I wasn’t short of material to film. I initially walked around the garage while it was empty and took notes of anything that struck my fancy. I used the camcorder during this walk-thru to explore angles and access to positions that intrigued me. I took footage of the more detailed shots during this walk-thru also.
When the garage got busy, I focused on the ways I would connect the different areas of the garage through each frame. I also shot multiple ideas for entrance and exit frames. Shooting the action may have been the easiest part of filming. Set the frame and let the action move within the frame. I used the tripod for 99% of the filming because it allowed me to produce very steady footage. After I was done filming, I realized that I may need extra audio during post-production. I left the lens cap on to record a black frame and then captured different tools and sounds from the garage. This proved to be extremely beneficial when I needed filler or the original audio needed to be dubbed over.
Logging and capturing my footage was a chore but I worked through it. I was recording directly from the camcorder via a firewire cable and setting up the preferences took a few google searches and many pages through the Final Cut Pro manual. Exporting my project was also a chore but was hashed out with more google searches and reading of the manual.
Overall, it was a fun experience and I am happy with the end product. I could tweek it some more, record a few things again and who knows what but they say you’re never happy with your own work, so I’ll quit while ahead!
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The course utilized a blog both to continue the discussion outside the classroom, and to provide training for the students in blogging, video compression, and video sharing.
Students used the blog to post reflections and ideas, to share and comment on the video assignments, and to respond to each other's posts.