Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lip Sync Exercise

Lip Sync Exercise

Today we began preparing for our A2 coursework, by undergoing a lip syncing exercise. This will prove hugely beneficial, as the key part to our music video will be the front man, who needs to be able to lip sync to a good standard thus making the video look more realistic. In preparation for this task, we all learnt the lyrics to Clean Bandit's song, 'Rather Be'. We only learnt the chorus so that we could film numerous people quickly, and therefore ensuring that everyone had a go at using the camera. 

The set has been split into three different areas, all with a different vibe and camera set up. The first set was plain, with the greens screen as a backdrop. The camera was fixed head on, and we changed the size of shot after each take. The green screen means that we could project any image we wanted as a backdrop, therefore transporting the artist to any location we wanted. The second set was a dance like area, with neon lights. The camera was on a track, which meant that we were able to get a clean movement shot. The third set was a casual area, with a sofa and a plain wooden background. The camera was placed low down, and looking up the artists so that the entire set could be taken in. 

After being briefed on what we were supposed to do, we split into groups of six and were assigned to a different set. My group worked with the greens screen first, and thus were the first group to use the digital clapperboard that was hooked up to the speakers. The clapperboard, I learnt, is crucial in ensuring that the artist is lip syncing in time to the track, and this makes editing much easier. Our group therefore split into different roles, with one becoming the artist. I was working as the camera man for this part, thus once the artist was in place, I used the skills I had previously learnt during my AS filming, and focused the camera, as well as adjusting the exposure so that the image was pure. The clapperboard then plays a vital part, as a member of our team stands in front of the camera once it has began rolling, and presses play. By doing this, the numbers begin to run on the clapperboard screen and this means that in editing, we will be able to match these numbers with the song so that they are perfectly in sync. The key part to any music video, that uses a performance aspect, is the artist and we were lucky to have an outgoing character as our artist. This meant that he gave it his all and as a result the film looked more realistic and engaging. However, despite knowing the lyrics in the heat of the moment some of the words were lost, and this is why it is key to have a good front man who knows the lyrics extremely well. We learnt that if the person actually sings, it looks more realistic than miming, and that because we are using the real song as the soundtrack, we can edit out any sound the microphone on the camera picks up. This is useful from a camera operators point of view, as it means that I could instruct the artist to do certain things whilst the performance was going on. We played the song three different times, and each time I changed the shot size, going from a wide, to a mid and finally to a close up of the artist. This means that when it comes to editing I have a wide variety to cut to thus making the video more interesting and dynamic. 

We then moved onto the dance like set, where we used the tracking shot. My friend and I were the artists for this shot, and I learnt how hard it is to accurately lip sync and look comfortable while doing it. The whole idea is that you have to be able to sell the song to your audience, and you have to be quite confident to do this in front of your friends. I found this quite hard to do as I am not used to performing and therefore it did not look as good on screen. Also, as the camera was tracking our movements, we had to be aware of how fast we were moving and that we needed to be facing the camera to some extent. We then swapped roles, and I was 'track operator'. Tracking shots are supposed to be clean and slick, and thus as the track operator you have to be aware of how fast you are pulling the camera and in what direction, so that it corresponds with the artists movement. This was a fun job to do, and it was good to use a piece of equipment that I had not previously been exposed too. After we had finished at this set, again recording the scene three times to allow for different shot sizes, we moved onto the final piece of set. Here, 4 members of our group posed as the artists and me and my friend took turns in operating the camera and directing. As there was a large number of artists, the camera work was particularly fun to do, as I had to make sure that all the artists were in view and had enough head room. Moreover, whilst filming in a mid or close up, I had to tilt and pan the camera in order to show all of the action. This takes a steady hand, and you cannot panic and suddenly move the camera to a different person, even if they are the sole focus of the action. I thoroughly enjoyed using the camera, as it means that you have to think of a lot of things at once whilst also ensuring that the image is of a good quality as well. 

Once we had finished filming, we went up to the edit suite and transferred our footage onto the computer. We then were briefed on how to cut together our footage, as it is extremely different to how we edited our thriller for our AS coursework. We first loaded the song onto Final Cut Pro and went through the clips we had shot, and what other groups had produced. This gave us an idea on what we wanted to use, and then we began to sync the clips with the soundtrack. We did this by matching the digital time code from the clapperboard which we had filmed at the beginning of each shot. After this, we simply were able to drag any clip we wanted onto the time line and cut it without it being out of sync. This meant that we could be quite creative in our cutting, as once we had synced the clips, the rest was quite easy. We learnt that if you started with a close up of the artists face, it would immediately highlight to the audience who the star was, thus would benefit publicity. We also had to remember to delete the camera's sound recording, as this would have been filled with talking and would ruin the sound of the song. I really enjoyed the editing process and I found it much quicker and simpler than the editing of our thriller.

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