Week 5 - Filming & editing
Monday 1st February
We had a meeting with Oliver where we updated him about the work done in the last days. After the puppeteers showed their settings and the movements they've been practicing during the weekend, he gave us really good feedback for each of them. For example, he suggested that instead of trying to get rid of the shadows caused by the projector in the ocean, to use them as an interesting way to present the whale by showing its silhouette at the beginning.
The rest of the day we worked in small groups and Rhian and Susannah joined us in the afternoon. I first had a meeting with the design team in order to talk about the remaining pieces of set we need to make and to split the work. Manuela started doing the background of the universe and the circles devise, and I worked on little pieces for the ocean's set such as more fish, a background for the sky to project a sunset and a puppet for the water being spilled by the whale. At the end of the day, I met Rebecca to give them to her.
I also had a meeting with Laura in which we explored different ways for the puppet to interact with the set and made a few changes. For example, following my instructions Laura improved the movement of the toucan's head by reconstructing it. To support the story, we added a bee hive to the set as well as bigger fruit with seeds for a closer camera shot when the Toucan is eating.
Each puppeteer uploaded to the drop box a testing video for the editing team to evaluate the quality and we also established a format of labeling the videos.
Tuesday 2nd February
Manuela and I created the circles devise. Since Manuela had already started doing the structure, I prepare the materials to decorate each section: painted some blue and green textured paper, made clouds and corals, and later in the day I gave them to her so she can put all together.
With Victoria's help, Manuela recorded the different camera shots with the circles device as well as the credits, while I was suggesting them how to light the set or manipulate the device with four hands. I tried to help as much as I could from what I could perceive on the video call and footage they sent me.
Wednesday 3rd February
Today was our last production meeting before the show week! So we focused mainly in next week's schedule and logistics. We have some schools confirmed for next week but for the one after that, we are still waiting for confirmation. I think planning and rehearsing the workshop is going to be the priority once we finish editing the show, but at the moment is difficult to focus on something else apart from that.
Manuela, Victoria and I checked the videos that the puppeteers have uploaded and started putting them together. Since Manuela and Victoria are working in the same space we decided to use Victoria's computer to edit the show and to share their screen with me. It is hard and exhausting to work this way but it's definitely better than doing it in multiple devices. They also re-filmed the credits and scenes of the circles device because the light was not right and now it looks amazing!
Thursday 4th February
We had a session with Oliver to keep planning the workshop and have a more solid structure and timing of each activity. We discussed every detail, from the beginning with a message in the waiting room until the hand-in of the session at the end to the teacher to finish the workshop. Laura, Rebecca and Paris are going to focus in finishing the script while the rest of the team are editing the video.
In the afternoon, I kept editing the video with Victoria and Manuela by sharing the screen. We asked the puppeteers to re-film a couple of scenes and now have all the footage together! We need to work on making the transitions smoother from one world to the other as well as fixing the last details.
Friday 5th February
In our meeting with Alison today, we showed the video of the show that we've been editing in order to get some feedback and it was also the first time for the puppeteers watching the full version. Interestingly, some actions were interpreted differently from what we planned, for example, the scene of the toucan meeting the bee was interpret as if their were not friends. So we will share the video with friends and family that don't know much about the show and ask for specific feedback. Then, we will need to have a conversation to decide the changes we want to make. However, we agreed that we have enough footage to modify the story if we decide to do so and that it's not necessary for the puppeteers to film more material.
As a team, we were concerned about the storyline not being clear enough about the "impact" that each animal has in their environment, so we decided to approach the first workshop activity from another perspective that will lead us to that topic. We will start by addressing the connection between the different environments which is more obvious in the video: it starts in the sky, goes to the land, then to the sea and finally we go back to the sky.
One of the things that I've learnt from this project so far is the need of everyone knowing exactly the goal and purpose of the show, specially working from home. Also, this project has a different dynamic since we decided from the start that we were going to direct and create the story between the six of us.
Sunday 7th February
Today we had a team meeting in order to share and discuss the feedback we received from friends and family about the show. Analyzing the time and resources we have at this point in the process, we decided to film a new scene to make clearer the transition from the ocelot's environment to the ocean: an overhead view following a river that brings us to the sea. We also decided to make a scene of the whale eating plankton by editing some of the footage we already have. In general, the feedback we received from our friends and family was positive. They really liked the visuals and music, but most importantly, the connections between the animals and the different environments were clear enough.
Victoria, Manuela and I finished editing the video. By sharing the screen again, we watched it a couple of times while taking notes of errors. We worked on making smoother the transitions, we added some sound design when the whale comes to the surface and fixed the colours of some of the frames.
Reflecting on the process, I think that some of the issues we are facing at this moment related to the storytelling and the message we want to deliver to the kids, come from the lack of clarity and the challenge of focusing in one idea as a team in the first weeks of the project. I feel that we never really established a clear purpose and now we are still figuring out what that is.