Many people mistake the difference between grading and correction. Correction is when one adjusts the footage to how it looked like through your eyes on the day of shooting and grading is where one adjusts the colours to the desired film look and style. It is generally better practice to colour correct all of your shots first to match. I believe that the best grading is the one that you do not notice; it is the one that gives the feel of the film that pulls the audience in. The test graders on ShootingPeople were so bad I knew I needed to this into my own hands and handle this like a pro.

I had a few possible options for grading and these included: Adobe Speedgrade, Magic Bullet Looks/Colorista and RedcineX Pro. Whilst the first two tools are very powerful on their own I found that the only program that comes to giving Red footage justice is RedcineX Pro. This goes back to the idea that red cameras record compressed Bayer data. This so-called compressed raw data allows white balance, gamma, sharpening, RGB, FLUX control, ISO to be adjusted in post-production. The sheer power of this program and format surprised me, so I decided to put it to the test and colour correct the footage first, and then grade it.

WorkflowDiscovering the perfect Red workflow (diagram created by me)

It was surprisingly easy to use (thanks to the advice of the DoP), all that one needed to do to colour correct is adjust the Reds, Greens, and Blues as well as the FLUT Control option. Once all the footage was corrected it could be graded. For grading, other options could be adjusted, for example Kelvin, Tint, Brightness and the Lift/Gamma/Gain setting. The beauty of this program is that the workflow was hassle free. You adjust the look of the image in RedcineX and it is instantly saved to a .RMD file next to the .R3D footage file (non-destructive workflow). Then back on Premiere, one updates the shot to match the just-saved look. Downside is that you have to update each edit to match the new look, however I came across a small utility called ‘Reset RED RMD’ thanks to Fallen Empire Digital, which batch reloads all the RMD files in Premiere saving you a lot of time.

ReloadRMBUpdating Premiere with the updated grading ‘look’ that was created on RedcineX Pro. Can be done individually or a batch reload (using the tool below) for all the shots in a project

http://www.fallenempiredigital.com/blog/2012/07/29/batch-reload-redcine-x-rmd-raw-adjustments-in-adobe-premiere-pro/

Another really cool feature of RedcineX is the various colour sciences you have available to choose, for example you have REDgamma1-3 for gamma space and REDcolor1-3 for the colour space; REDgamma2 and REDcolor2 were used for the first scene to make it as flat as possible and then colours adjusted and for the rest REDgamma3 and REDcolor3 was used for that glossy, deep/rich colour look then adjusted to look beautifully vile. The founder of RED, Jim Jannard, said this about it:

“At 1st blush, you may just see subtle differences in REDcolor3 but it is a complete remapping of the color space and REDgamma3 makes a much better image on your monitor.. REDcolor3 is probably the bigger update but REDgamma3 is a welcome improvement.”

At first Premiere did not read these colour spaces I had to manually update it to support them, which was a tricky task but I was hit by a significant difference when I did. 5D footage was graded using the Magic Bullet Looks, a plugin I used from the first year. I passed on from using its presets and now have the ability to create my own; it’s fairly powerful but does not come close to RedcineX.

Enough with the technicalities. For the look of the film I wanted a something to match the likes of Se7en, Fight Club, Irreversible, Harry Brown, Company of Men (also our main film influences). I wanted a depressing, gritty, disturbing and dark feel to it. An almost dystopian atmosphere. The councillor scene is dark and dull, the outsides have a green cast to them for the stylistic purpose of making it look vile, cold and dangerous, and the club is all red to demonstrate the themes of madness, insanity, sex and those of a red-light district. The toilet is incredibly green again to show sickness and depravity and the rest is just dark and dull. It’s a cruel and hostile environment with no mercy for the weak.

The film is not meant to be pretty to look at. It is meant to be disgusting and horrible yet maintaining a level of art. The world the characters live in is not pretty. It’s harsh and depraved.

1 Stage 1 – the footage as the red scarlet captured it

2 Stage 2 – the colour corrected footage – how our eyes saw it on the day

3Stage 3 – colour graded footage

I honestly enjoyed grading; the software was so powerful it gave me great pleasure and experience working in it. One can really see the difference in colours from the rough cut (no colour adjustments whatsoever) to the final graded cut. It’s phenomenal, really. Makes me think I have potential to be a good colourist after all and that I should never have doubted myself! But it’s a massive learning curve and that’s what I’m here for, to learn.

A draft grade of the film: https://vimeo.com/65898419

password: eonsgrade

Premiere’s powerful title system allowed me to create the rolling credits with ease. It was incredibly user-friendly; I was able to create some fantastic looking credits and titles from the first time of using the tool, meaning I can be even more efficient next time.

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Believing that I was not up the task of colour grading the film, I set out to find an experienced one from ShootingPeople. I agreed with my fellow producer that we would send in the trailer as a test to see if the applicant was up to the task. Now I needed to find out how to sent it to another person for post-production grading.

The whole point of an intermediate codec is to use it to compress the footage with no visual loss with a file size that is easily distributable for other post-processing, in this case, grading. The best codec for this is ProRes4444 but it is not available to export to it on a Windows machine which I found very upsetting. After some heavy research I found the alternatives were DNxHD and Cineform HD, both capable of outputting to 10bit 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 chroma subsampling. Typically gradists require the highest quality so 444/422 was essential. After extensive testing of both of these codecs I found out their negatives;

  • DNxHD
    • You are stuck with its resolution presets of 1080p/720p
    • Cannot output in a custom resolution or anything higher than 1080p
    • When imported back into Premiere one experiences a massive gamma shift
    • Set of codecs have to be installed on Windows/Mac
  • Cineform HD
    • I established that the codec was incompatible with the latest versions of Mac OS so I could not use this codec at all to pass onto Mac users
    • For some odd reason did not output to 444
    • Codec has to be installed

In conclusion it made me furious to find out that Windows users have to go into great lengths to output to a lossless codec when Mac users could simply output to ProRes4444 with a custom resolution – a format that even Windows machines can read and edit by having Quicktime installed. For this reason alone I think Mac editing is superior.

Two people applied to grade the trailer from ShootingPeople so I sent the trailer to them. The results were startling… they were simply bad and almost comparable to the work of first year students. I was let down but happy to know that I did not have to export the film just yet for grading. I would rather keep exports as minimal as possible to keep quality at 100% and do the job myself.

One of the test grades from ShootingPeople: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUGqmHc5Loc

A poor effort and not what we were going for. It does not like filmlike and there is no style to it. I know it is a trailer but we were able to decide best on that draft.

Post-production on End of Nights began on the 20th March 2013 as soon as I received all of the Redcode Raw files from the DoP – total file size was 251GB. My initial thoughts were on the Red workflow on my Windows machine but I was told by the DoP by Adobe Premiere (my editing program of choice) handled the red files natively with no conversion needed, so editing was going to be as easy as working with DSLR footage. Placing the first file onto the timeline was exciting, and after clicking play the footage played smoothly at ¼ the resolution (since REDCODE is a wavelet codec, the files contain several lower resolution versions of the video, which means the 4k file supplies 1080p footage also). The footage looked stunning. As if I was looking into a portal into the past and seeing the events unfold as I did on the day, the quality was simply unparalleled. Whilst there are a number of different 4k resolutions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution) the one I decided to work at (sequence setting too), as well as having most of the footage shot at, was “4K Ultra high definition television” at 3840 × 2160. This allows me to scale the footage down to 1080p effortlessly (mathematically too). Support for 4k projection and playback is still obviously poor domestically (only cinemas can afford these projectors), so 1080p was the best and only choice.

I love editing, it brings all the separate footage that you have to life. I believe that the editor has the biggest power of the telling story through his edits; he can make it fast paced or slow and drag on the shots for as long as he likes.  This process was going to last around 2 months, all the way up to hand in – I was sure to give myself enough time to make the standard as high as possible.

Editing was relatively straight forward using traditional techniques of continuity editing (majority of the film) with instances of montage editing (nightclub dance scene), jump cuts, with L-cuts and J-cuts for dialogue. Me and fellow editor worked very closely on the first rough cut – we edited scene by scene in separate sequences on Premiere to keep everything as organised as possible. After the assemble edit I took over the project personally from the rough cut leading all the way up to the final edit; I was a perfectionist and wanted the edits to flow as authentically, cinematically and professionally as possible – every detail was important. This had to be my best work.

Whilst it may seem to be a controversial choice, but we edited the video first with absolutely no audio guidance. This helps a great deal because you want to see the video flow first with no distraction or the temptation of constraining to the audio. Once we saw the video flow, only then I could start to sync up the audio. This is perhaps an editing preference but you learn so much over the course of 3 years media production you find the more comfortable and professional ways of working. Of course there are little *incredibly annoying* errors in continuity that you have to work around (heads turning differently, hands in different positions, etc). Nevertheless we managed to avoid them every single time whilst keeping up that incredibly high standard of editing; but unfortunately there was just one we could not avoid – and it had to be in the very first scene of the film. Half way through the councillor takes the phone and holds it with 1 hand, and in the next shot she’s holding it with 2 hands. There was nothing we could do about it.  HOWEVER, trials of the rough edit established that out of 30 people no-one noticed this error. I tried to lessen the flaw by cropping the shot a little more, it’s still there, but thankfully less visible.

CarefulflowCareflow editing flow – editing scene by scene, then combing everything in one sequence at the end

I made sure a rough edit was available to show to the crew members and cast on the final day of shooting (scene 9) so that I could get some feedback. I managed to get two very important pieces of feedback.

1) The conversation from around 1:38-2:44 needed to cut to something else, otherwise it just looked like one massive long take, I decided to cut to their backs. At first I did at times when they were not looking but it looked out of place, so I carefully edited it based on continuity, e.g. when they looked at each other, as well as trying to mask the very shaky camerawork (the shake was intentional but I wanted less of it).

2) In the very original cut (earlier than the rough cut) When Ted gets hit by a can and rushes off to the bar it seems as if he gets to the bar unusually fast. I was given advice to cut back to a few seconds of dancing at that stage and then cut to him getting to the bar, I followed this and it did naturally look better.

Once these issues were rectified and my fellow editor was happy with it I was able to export a rough cut out to Vimeo. The first issue however took far longer to sort because I want perfection at the stage so it was only up till the final edit I was finally happy with it.

I was very secretive with this film and refused to show it to anyone other than the team who made it – this is because I can trust these people professionally. NO, they are not just my ‘friends’ they are people who want what’s best for the film. They are a dedicated team who want to see this film succeed. Why would I get strangers or even worse, the students/people of Coventry to give ME feedback? They probably want to see me fail so it is more than likely their advice will be poor or of a low standard. Furthermore I want most people to see the completed film from the first viewing to get hit by the full power of the film’s message. My editing is my strong point so I know what I am doing; when spending so much time with the film you start to see what exactly needs fixing, work and tweaking. You know what you can and cannot do. I want my own style to it and no-one else to interfere.

When editing a film the second most important thing other than continuity is the flow & pace of the film itself. Each edit has to be paced correctly. It is very hard to describe, but you cannot draw out certain shots for too long or short, but with others you can, you have to make a creative decision each time for the exact length of a shot before cutting to the next. The art of film editing. Of course there are various edits and techniques, but overall it is not something that can be fully taught, but something you learn from experience.

I received enough feedback from the assemble edit and first rough edit so it was more than enough to lead me onto locking the final edit. It was now my task to fine tune every single edit as well as crop the footage, make it adhere to the 2:35:1 cinemascope aspect ratio and eventually colour correct and grade it.

https://vimeo.com/64468259 – Rough cut

Password: eonsrough

2:35:1 is the most traditional cinematic aspect ratio (and my favourite) so I was very determined in releasing the film at this format so I had to find out how!

AspectMediainfo (Windows video file information tool) displays 1920×816 = 2:35:1

After a bit of old fashioned research I found a very good tutorial on how to do it here: http://whoismatt.com/cinemascopetutorial/ the only problem was that my footage was 3840 and the math was henceforth slightly different. I calculated that 1920×816 is the resolution that I would need to export to and that 132 pixels would need to be cut from top and bottom of 1080p footage, this meant that 264 (simply doubling that worked) needed to be cut from top and bottom of 3840px footage – I made my own black bars overlay on Photoshop and imported them into premiere for guidance.

AspectratioThe key is to edit at this aspect ratio because you need to reposition every single shot to how you want the audience to see it, with the black bars working as an overlay to aid my repositioning I was easily able to adjust the motion setting on Premiere to make the shot position relative to the aspect ratio. Voila, beautiful 2:35:1 and professional too.

woBars

Without bars – (top right) Motion position adjusted to make the shot look right once black bars applied

wBarsWith bars – for final export bars are disabled (they are only here for guidance) and export crop settings are applied

Throughout the rough cut feedback people were expressing that more close-ups were required and the long shots should have been even close, perhaps to the point of medium shots. I was a little annoyed that we sometimes did not get that range of close-ups so I wondered what I could do to fix that problem. This was remedied with the ‘crop’ effect on Premiere. Some very simple and subtle cropping is very powerful because I am effectively moving the audience closer into the action and pivot points of various scenes. With 4k footage you get the power and ability to crop with minimal quality loss, the image is so damn big in the first place so have the ability to crop everything to 1080p at the very minimum. This occurred in some parts of the film, from the councillor scene bringing the medium shot closer and tidying up some bits of the gang – some is not even noticeable.

woCropWithout any crop

wzCropWith crop effect applied. “Zoom” is ticked to make the image fill the space as the screens above demonstrating aspect ratio

Initially we worked up a rough cut of the dance scene, fast montage style edits whilst trying to tell the story at the same time. Everyone is dancing, everyone is having a great time, yet Ted is still reluctant to dance because he is a coward. This is the one of the most exciting parts of the film and I wanted the edit to stand out, be special. After listening through hundreds of creative commons (a slight better quality in music than completely free music) tracks on Soundcloud.com we eventually decided on a specific track for the dance scene Karel Craft – Three Elements by Bake The Break [NETLABEL]. It was incredibly fast-paced and had a great beat that I could sync the video to the audio. I wanted the viewer to mentally dance to the music or at least head nod to the tune. They need to realise how pathetic Ted is, great song, it’s his opportunity to GET the girl, but he doesn’t. A shame. A variety of close-ups and medium shots were used and edited in very fast succession to the beat in the song to give the impression of an insane club atmosphere. Final result is something that I am incredibly proud of.

Scene 9 was shot on a Canon 5D. I’m not sure but one may start to see some loss in visuals. The 5D footage looks really poor in comparison with everything else; it feels like it has no depth whatsoever, it was however, suitable for this one scene when the Red could not be afforded. To put it bluntly, red footage looks like film footage, 5D footage looks like DSLR/slightly-improved-camcorder footage. You can make 5D footage look more film-like but it will never come close to the Red.

Since 50% of the film is sound I decided to pass the audio editing to a top sound designer, who was also the sound mixer on set (he used a 744T to mix). After I had synced all of the audio tracks to the video and locked the edit I exported the OMF file to him so he could use his professional editing software. He was probably the most ‘genuine’ professional person on set and when I was asking him to be careful with a certain track in the edit he replied, “Don’t worry, I’m a surgeon” that phrase alone echoes his incredibly high level of understanding. He sent me the first draft shortly and I was able to give him feedback for improvement, same for the second draft. He was very easy to get along with and knew his area well. All the way until I was perfectly happy with his sound design.

SoundfeedbackSound feedback passed onto the sound designer

  • Red Scarlet & insurance – 3 days rent fee – £750
  • Lighting team & equipment/expenses – 3 days rent fee – £500
  • Sound recording/mixing & equipment/expenses –  3 days rent fee – £560
  • Make-up artist & expenses — 2 days – £292
  • Hotels – 2 nights for 3 rooms – £150
  • 3 main actors – £50 a day for 3 days – £300
  • Food catering (KFC, Greggs, Costas) – £100
  • Drink tab at the Dog – £200
  • ClubM x120 drink tokens at £1.20 – £144
  • Misc Actors/Extras total – £300
  • Sound design – £100
  • Website fees – £50

Grand total – £3446

Fees avoided: Venue locations fees for ‘Club M’, ‘The Dog’ & ‘SQ Bar’ nightclubs, colour grading done by myself & professional photographer was keen to help for free.

3446 divided between the both of us = £1723 each.

Due to the amount of cast and crew members we had on set (40+ during ClubM and The Dog shoots) health and safety was of paramount importance. After performing a risk assessment form I established 3 main issues;

The biggest issue we had was the plethora of cables lying around from the lighting equipment and Red camera. To minimise any risk I delegated the task of warning everyone about cables to the runner – who would welcome people to the set and inform them about watching their step especially where the lighting equipment and camera was being held. As a pre-caution, myself along with the DoP, lighting tech and 1st AD would do the same.

Secondary issue consisted of alcohol on set. One free alcoholic beverage was provided to each cast member so that it would not only give them incentive to be part of the film but make the nightclub scenes look as legitimate as possible. Originally I had planned to give 3 free drinks of any kind, but dropped this number to 1 in order to minimise any inappropriate behaviour that might occur. If anyone wanted a drink after, they were provided a non-alcoholic one.

Final issue was the lowlight conditions of the club once we were shooting. To minimise any risk of harm and injury me and the 1st AD carefully positioned extras on the dance floor with careful instructions on how to and where to move until they heard ‘cut’. They were also told on what places they should avoid going to minimise any contact with filming equipment.

We worked very closely with the assistant manager of ClubM at the time as well as the events manager at The Dog to help us ensure the highest quality of health & safety. The staff members at both locations were also friendly and made sure to inform any extras and lay personnel that filming is in progress.

At SQ Bar the only issue we had was avoiding any contact with the items stored in the storage room we were shooting in. This was not difficult as it was a carefully planned filming environment with a very small amount of actors (2) and crew (5). During the outdoor filming the only thing we avoided was cables yet again, however it was thanks to the light conditions outside that made this far easier to control and be aware of.

After a long, well-deserved break, it’s almost a wrap. Failure is now non-existent. Just that last stretch before the final reward.

Our budget had run so low that we could not afford a RED nor professional audio recording anymore. So the most I could do now is use the university loan shop, like every other student. So we settled for a 5D and a H4N (with boom) audio recorder for this final scene. This was all planned because we knew that we would not have enough time at The Dog to do Scene 9. You’d think that everything is going to go well but no, that wasn’t the case. The actor who played Bouncer #2 (who turned up every time in the past) did not turn up at all. His reasoning was that he overslept but my reasoning is because I failed to pay him in the past (he did have to leave early when we were shooting at The Dog) he simply could not be bothered another day, which was really a shame because I was prepared to give him a nice bonus thanks to his dedication. But no, someone always has to mess you up – and it’s never accidental and there is always a reason or ideology behind it. Even though this was this particular bouncer’s big part of the film we had to perform a drastic on set re-write. The 1st AD agreed to act as Bouncer #2 and his continued actions from the previous scene, e.g. he’d throw Ted into the room. We carefully captured this shot from an angle that did not reveal the 1st ADs face, so based on the suit he was wearing the audience would assume the bouncer is still the same bouncer. Bouncer #1 then rushes in and steals the stage with his performance from a variety of different angles to take the audience’s mind off the original actor. The whole security camera-style shot also aids in explaining why the Bouncer #2 did not want to show his face. Funnily enough not everything is random, everything is done for a specific purpose to tell the story and fix these kinds of problems that occur on the day. It is all thanks to quick thinking and smart minds – I am very thankful to have met some really cool people who actually care about the production and are not there for just the money. And finally, it was a wrap.

Conclusion

I hope people read these set of blogs and see WHERE I went WRONG and hopefully not repeat my mistakes. Yes, I was dedicated and fought to the last stand but it could have been easier if I organised this slightly better in pre-production. These 4 days of production have given me more experience and knowledge than 3 years of University combined. It is also a lot about money, but more so the careful organising that goes with it. The production was filled with flaws, errors and many issues, but because of so much hard work and pure talent, an amazing film still surfaces. Without failure you can truly never succeed.

The phoenix rises from the ashes, just as a director rises to the challenge of completing his film. We managed to secure one last opportunity. We were to give it everything. Failing this we were not fit to be media producers. This was it.

The hardest and most stressful Good Friday that I have ever lived through turned out to be one of the most successful days of this projects life. Having said that it is apparent that everything that we wanted to reshoot was reshot and everything that was missing was shot. I will focus on the things that didn’t quite go to plan/things that we had to cut from doing and why, so that I can only improve in the future.

PRODUCTION STILLS FOR THE DOG CAN BE FOUND HERE:

It is very hard to describe the level of stress myself the 1st AD faced on this day. Whilst the footage may look beautiful, flow well, and tell a good story in the final edit, it does not show the amount of blood, sweat and tears that the director had to endure. Every other crew or cast member could easily relax, get their free drink, socialise or generally wait around till they were required. I was running about trying to get this whole thing shot so I had time for nothing more. After from the ‘failure’ I have honestly never felt so emotionally and physically drained after a hard day’s work. The day started poorly however, as the manager at The Dog, although agreeing to open up to us earlier than 10am did not open the place till exactly 10am – the same time it opened to the general public. I found this slightly infuriating because she agreed to see us at 9am to discuss the free drink tokens. I made the schedule state that people should get there for 9. The good thing is the majority of people do not turn up on time, but instead 30mins late. So this gave us time to wait outside whilst the club manager was busy opening up the place or whatever she was doing, again I am grateful she let us use it but what she did was not professional. Luckily the club was set dead in town so I could forward people to a Starbucks café that was a couple of seconds away. Some people are just incredibly hard to work with – I should have specifically said open to us at 9am, no later. I really should have made it far clearer to her and insisted how important this was to me (and to her).

Roger Payne gained his executive producer credit because he helped far more than anyone else did. He went to great lengths to organise 10 extras for the club scenes. If he had not done this this day might have possibly been a failure too. The good thing is I stuck in contact with him the day I met him at ClubM. I kept him updated every step of the way and he was able to secure 10 extras which was beyond fantastic. That and the little number of people we got ourselves (which we organised properly this time) added up to form what looked like a full club.

Moving on to the actual shooting on the day; everything that was shot in the ClubM’s main club room could not be used as the insides were beyond completely different in The Dog. Furthermore, the insides were now much smaller and far more manageable for us to work in and for us to fill with extras. There is a little interesting flaw however, he goes up the stairs and then down them into the club – I decided to keep this in because I thought it demonstrated the craziness of club architecture (and an artistic choice) in this town – you have to go up and then go down. Unfortunately not everyone could make it to this cast and crew re-union – the actors playing the Alpha Male and Victim were not present funnily enough, so their scenes had to be removed. Whilst this was a slight shame I somehow see this as a blessing in disguise because that scene would be far easier to do, and probably make more sense. That level of hostility may have been a tad too much and probably would have deterred Ted staying there for long; plus realistically police would have been called to remove the Alpha Male character from the premises. However it still looked good in the trailer. At the time we still thought we could use ClubM footage by working around it with clever editing BUT we decided on reshooting everything from the start, and how right we were in doing so. We had the whole day so there was no harm in re-doing everything from the box-office scenes onwards – I am glad I made this creative decision to.

The absolute fantastic and disastrous thing (at the same time) about this club was an open set. Meaning the general public can come in and buy some drinks and sit and chill. At first we thought this was awesome, hell, the more people the merrier – the club will look fuller! But the smiles on our faces were wiped off when the Coventry legion (group of football hooligans) walked in half way; a (nasty and very loud) bunch of fairly hard-looking and dangerous men. This may sound like nothing on paper, but they managed to frighten the main actor out of doing one of his scenes. I made the decision to shoot another scene not involving him (penultimate scene/kiss) but this may have angered the Cov legion even more – due to a black man kissing a white woman. However we expected them to leave but now the main actor feeling bad, he had come up with an alternative scenario in his head which he pitched to me. I liked it, so we set up the shot. And then the Cov legion left, massive sigh of relief, so we reverted back to the original shot, a little annoying but I’d rather stick true to the script.

At one point in the day I almost suffered from a breakdown, although unrelated to the above event, the sheer size, scale and complexity of this production multiplied stress levels to uncontrollable amounts. There was a brief time (30mins) where I was in a state of what felt to be complete confusion and I had to pass some more work to the 1st AD. Knowing that you cannot let anyone else direct your film (otherwise ClubM Scene 8 would happen again, it would look horrific) I had to get back to my feet as quickly as possible. Understand me, I wasn’t in a comfortable house shooting a relatively straight forward short with food and water around me, but instead in a hostile environment myself, filled with people who wanted to know exactly what they were doing. I found it very difficult because I had never in my life did something so big, but I wanted to be pushed to these kind of limits to experience it first hand before going out to the real world, unprepared. It was in fact one of the actor’s performances (Jasmine’s close-up face when she looks at Ted in offense) that brought me back to life and I was able to once again manage my set and shots. I blame my lack of experience for these issues but you have to start somewhere. I would rather start on something as big as this and live to tell the wonderful tale.

Learning from past mistakes (literally mistakes made 10 days ago) helped to make this day a successful one and not a failure like at the other club. For starters, a photographer was arranged to make some production stills and a runner was arranged to assist the project and lessen the load on me and the 1st AD. Unfortunately the runner was intimidated (like me) by the size of the production so he wasn’t the help I had hoped, instead sitting down half the time, he should have been more pro-active. At least he got the food at lunch time and was honest with the money I gave him for it. Food was a massive issue in the past in terms of failure to provide a proper meal for the crew and cast. Keeping them nourished is very important towards keeping a high standard of work throughout – food should be available on set, whatever the set.  One of the extras also doubled as a professional photographer so he too took some photos of the set and what we were doing alongside a short series of behind the scenes video clips.

Managing the set and the extras was tricky but we managed to split the roles accordingly between myself and the 1st AD. I agreed to direct the main actors and the DoP with the shots that we were going to do and when, and the 1st AD would be in charge of directing the extras as well as assist with production. However due to the stress on our hands we may have told different things to the main actors at some point leading to a mass confusion, this however, was partly due to the Cov legion coming in and intimidating us. It is very hard to avoid things like these on set, but at least we are prepared for things like these in the future. Also the fact that we had another club to rehearse half the shots only 10 days ago, made this day easier in the sense that the actors somewhat knew what was required of them – this applied to the crew members as well, they knew very well the kind of shots that we were going for. This really signifies the importance of test shots – something that I will bear in mind for the future. I was able to keep good track of the scenes and shots that were required for the day; knowing what we were doing and when allowed me to delegate tasks to the 1st AD and other crew.

We decided to cut the dialogue the Gay guy says after leaving the toilet in the edit because we felt that it slowed the place of the film down and take the seriousness off that scene. Also the very last scene (10) had to be shot differently because of the nature of the club exterior/gutter. The crew was quick to help me in this instance and we devised a smarter way of finishing the story. Ted would get thrown out; the Gay guy would swiftly follow and comfort him. Then whilst Grace and Levis walk out they do not notice this little scuffle because of the overpowering stature of the Gay man. The film cuts and abruptly ends.

Overall as a combined team of me and the 1st AD, we had secured all the important shots as well as the multiple takes that we needed, which will make editing a pleasure rather than another stress.Our strengths and weakness were apparent. I was able to direct everyone on set with regard to the exact scenes we were shooting now and next, and thus to prepare for. I had noticed that at times the 1st AD had no idea what scene we were doing or that we had failed and had to quit; I had to calm him down and re-assure him that everything would be Ok and that we were on track to completion. He was fantastic as directing the extras and did well in helping me direct the main cast. We both had in equal role as production assisstants but that was due to our very shy runner. Of course in editing there are continuity issues but these kinds of issues will appear anywhere no matter the scale of production. I felt so happy that after a complete and utter fail which I don’t even care to admit, we learned from our mistakes and experiences and were able to make this day a great success. Everyone seems to refer to this as a ‘learning curve’ and to an extent they are correct. But what most people forget that trying to do things in Coventry, let alone on your own, is far more difficult. With the right help (Roger Payne) this project turned out to be a massive success, and at the end of the day, I had succeeded as a director in getting everything completed.