Research on silenced pistols. And spy weapons.

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is make an action film in the style of a James Bond movie. I knew that it would be too much of a challenge to make a full on agent film for my FMP but I wanted to include some references. Jack’s character in my FMP ‘The mutant’ has a silenced pistol like James Bond does. As the mutant ‘never misses a shot’ I emulated the ruthless efficiency that James Bond has, showing Jack’s character with the same level of threat and brutality making the film more sinister and really emphasising the danger that’s to come.

Last Thursday I watched the Bond film ‘Goldeneye’. It’s one of my favorites for its unique action and story. I absolutely love Pierce Brosnan playing the character as he fits the role so perfectly. It was the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films that got me interested in the franchise.

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A problem with a silenced pistol prop was neither myself or anyone I knew had one. So I looked online for cheap plastic, brightly colored airsoft ones that I could just spray paint black to make it look realistic. I’ve sprayed the cheaper bright plastic BB guns black before and it seems to work really well so I was confident that if I bought a silenced pistol that’s the right size then it would work fine. This is the one a found online.

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After seeing the price I was actually considering buying that but I didn’t in the end. I actually made a silenced pistol completely from scratch!

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Well, I basically found a light gun controller for my old PlayStation. Didn’t really think anything of it at first. But then put a metal pipe I found next to it that I very luckily found in the garage, (I don’t know it’s original purpose) but asked my parents whether I could use it for making a prop and they said ‘yes’! Now with the all clear, I then made this.


It’s almost like they were meant to go together! I was both shocked and delighted as they fit really well! The only problem was the barrel looks too long which is a shame. But I didn’t let that bother me and superglued them together.

After letting the glue set, I sprayed it up with its first coat.


I unscrewed the handle so I could remove the wood part so I could add that back on when it’s finished. So far I’m happy with my result. I bought a new full can of Black Halfords spray paint to remove the possibility of it running out on me during the painting of what was becoming the silenced pistol.

I wanted to make the prop myself as I’ve seen video tutorials on youtube before on how people have transformed things like ‘Nerf Blasters’ into polished looking props. A video I saw recently which had inspired me to make my own was the video below!

After the paint on my prop had dried. I screwed the wooden handle back on and judged whether I was happy with how it was.


Although I was over the moon with the way it turned out I still wanted to make it as polished as possible, so I added in some finishing touches with the paint.


This is the finished product. Can honestly say that I’m thrilled with the result. It was an incredibly exciting task with the most rewarding outcome. All I can say is I’m proud of myself and I’m grateful for the YouTube tutorials that have inspired my idea. I’ve never managed to do anything like this before my FMP either so it truly was a great new experience.

Next year I hope to do the same or similar.

Problems when editing: Sniper Scope

One of the ending shots of my film is a point of view shot down the scope of a sniper rifle. I knew if I stood further back with the camera but zoomed it in, it would be more realistic when editing the scope in post production.

Before any effects, the picture looked like this.

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I then had to go on google images to search for a sniper scope point of view png. Luckily I found one. I thought for ages that I would have to buy one as every time I saw a detailed awesome looking scope, it costs money, and money is certainly something I don’t have! Although this would have potentially looked better in the end. I’m happy with the image I found as I knew it was easy to work with.

This is what the picture looked like with the image overlayed on top.

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The problem with this was it looked terrible as if I increased the size of the image to fill the screen, the quality seemed to massively decrease and that was honestly the last thing I wanted. I wouldn’t be able to be happy with the overall result if the sniper scope looked that terrible and distracted the viewer in a negative way from the film I’ve produced. I’m always so anxious about what people think that I make sure the editing is done to the highest standard possible. I work extremely hard on literally all the planning, filming and post production work that I honestly need people to be respectful and appreciate the effort I’ve put in. I can’t say how much I absolutely hate it when I put so much hard work into a film and people just laugh at the mistakes in it. I’ve learned from this however that in the end, it’s actually quite productive as I know what to avoid doing wrong in the future. An example of this is about giving my actors lines that could end up cringey if they don’t act it, or say it how it’s been scripted. People watching will then think of that instead of the impressive parts when they’re later reminded of my film. Although this truly lowered my confidence, I kept improving and so with my FMP. Made the lines shorter and less of them. So far the feedback I’ve got has been very positive so I’m thankful for the criticism early on for the other films I’ve produced.

I tried filling out the black spaces left in the frame with black blocks. This helped a bit and started to inspire me to carry on editing as I’m very impressed by the outcome that came from the practice edit. It was definitely worth testing this as I’ve never edited a ‘point of view’ sniper scope before. It was certainly a thrilling challenge to edit and animate such a and unique image that I’ve created myself. as you can see bellow.

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When that was complete it looked good and you couldn’t see any of the frame apart from what in the sights. This wasn’t good enough though has I wanted a more realistic looking scope with actual sway. Now I could animate the layers one at a time, which takes up a lot of time and effort to get something that won’t necessarily work. Thankfully this editing exercise gave me the confidence to watch tutorials on how to make this in Photoshop as a separate image. So that’s what I did.

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I put together the same simple design as before but then exported that as one image. This meant I could edit and animate it how I want it. Now it took a bit of time figuring out how to make it as in my opinion, I’m hopeless at Photoshop and very rarely use it for that very reason.

Another problem arose however when I put the edited image back into the editing program HitFilm 4 Express. It fitted perfectly but the scope was white!

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The disappointment was so real at this point as I thought I’d finally got it to work! I then had to figure out if there were any blending tools that could make it blend perfectly. Unfortunately, every blending option I tried first didn’t work and I couldn’t find a tool that removes the white background.

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They all seemed to do the opposite! The black was always the colour that got removed until I discovered the blending option ‘Multiply’ which you can see I’ve highlighted in the image above! This worked perfectly and I was then able to size the image accordingly. This is the end result. From what I researched; Multiply is a basic blend mode for darkening and lightening images respectively, which is what I’ve done here with the image bellow.

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I animated the movement ever so slightly as you can see the keyframes in the image above. I did this to make it more realistic to the film it’s inspired by which is American Sniper directed by Clint Eastwood. is an American actor, filmmaker, musician, and political figure.

I’ve done some research into Clint Eastwood and found out that he has achieved success in the Western TV series Rawhide. I found out he rose to international fame with his role as the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy of spaghetti Westerns during the 1960s and as antihero cop Harry Callahan in the five Dirty Harry films throughout the 1970s and 1980s. These roles, among others, have made Eastwood an enduring cultural icon. In addition to directing many of his own star vehicles, (which I then learned is a film written or produced for a specific star), Eastwood has also directed films in which he did not appear, such as the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the war film Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), for which he received Academy Award nominations, and the drama Changeling (2008). The war drama biopic American Sniper (2014) (which my FMP Engage is inspired by) set box office records for the largest January release ever and was also the largest opening ever for an Eastwood film.

In conclusion, I am very happy with the outcome as its the best way I could have ended my FMP in my opinion and I’m very happy with the progress and how I’ve learned new ways to add effects in post production while experimenting with different programs like Adobe Photoshop, Hitfilm 4 Express, and Adobe Premier.

 

Choreography Evidence and Research

The fight choreography for Engage my FMP is very much inspired by the fight scenes in such films as ‘The Raid’, ‘Terminator 2’ or ‘The Bourne identity’. I choreographed the main fight scene for my FMP on Friday 28th of April 2017 with the help of Jack (the other main actor that will feature in the fight).

As much as I’d like to make a fight scene to this standard, I simply don’t have the location or the trained actors. I have however done choreographed a couple fight moves to homage this.

This was just a quick test to see if the camera angle would work. We filmed this outside in my garden where there was more space, fortunately there was just enough space but not enough to make the whole fight look as good as it could be. On location however there will be more space to film that.

It’s inspired by the fight in terminator 2 as it’s an uneven fight. Jack’s character is a fast healing mutant that tires a lot slower than humans, and my character is combat trained but has no advantage over Jack’s character. It’s the same advantage the T-1000 has over the T-800 in Terminator 2 as the T-1000 heals and doesn’t tire or get damaged by things the T-800 would.

This is the fourth and final edit of the practice choreography. This is purely made as a test to see what works and with very little effects added. This has been made to show the different camera angles and how I can improve them. I feel it’s extremely important to practice this before filming just to make sure it works smoothly on the day as filming a fight scene is the most time consuming of all.

In the fourth edit I basically tested out what the effects would roughly look like without adding music, muting the clips or adding the necessary sounds to make it sound smoother like punching sounds etc. I did however add the widescreen bars used for cinematic effect and colour grading.

On the day I will definitely make use of the fake blood that I’ve bought that will be applied by Ceri in between the cuts.

I’ve also been doing research on how to make the punches look more realistic by looking at other video’s FilmRiot have done in the past. They have also shown After Effects tutorials which I can definitely make use of because there’s always room for improvements and it might make the fight scene flow a lot smoother while giving a more violent feel to it.

I personally want it to be more of a realistic with added suspense leading up to it almost like the films of Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock as they seem to often focus on stories surrounding the darker sides of life.

I’ve noticed that Stanley Kubrick chose to work in a variety of different genres, though all of his works have a distinctly morose undertone, I love his film ‘The Shinning’ as it portrays a real sense of inescapable doom. I especially enjoy the high tension, suspense and drama that features in the film and so I want to portray that in my Final Major Project ‘Engage’.

I particularly love this scene and want to show reference to this as you don’t know whats going to happen or what the characters are going to do.

Proposal for my FMP

UAL Awarding Body – Level 3 Diploma

Unit 8 – Project Proposal

Name James Reader
Pathway Short action-based film
Project Title Final Major Project – Engage
Section 1: Rationale (Approx 100 words)
So far I have learned many new skills on how to focus and shoot better quality footage on DSLR cameras. I am now more experienced with working in groups with people that I haven’t met before and I can now confidently manage people. I am best and most passionate about making action films and I’m confident with working for clients with different views on what they think is a ‘good film’. I’m experienced in operating sound equipment and recording sound in general. I can use editing programs like Adobe; Premier, Photoshop and after effects, displaying my ability to edit out green screens using chroma key.

 

Section 2: Project Concept (approx 200 words)
My aim for FMP is to produce a short 6-minute action film. I want to showcase cinematography, and script writing skills and then plan the film accordingly. I will act in my film and direct people to help me record these scenes, otherwise, I will take control of the filming process and make sure I sound record everything. Additionally, I’m going to edit everything myself either at home or at college to show I can manage the project independently.

I intend to make a short action film which is around 6 minutes long. My FMP will reference famous action films like Jason Bourne and The Raid for the action.

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Plus Batman v Superman for the visual style and lack of saturation in the image. 

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I’ll plan the filming in a detailed manner. Before production begins I’ll research into Quentin Tarantino and his directing style. Especially in Reservoir Dogs. I need to learn more about editing an action sequence so I will look into YouTube tutorials and existing examples of scenes I like. My film will look dark and desaturated like The Raid giving a negative and hostile feeling to it.  

 

Section 3: Evaluation (approx 50 words)
I will show my idea to people and see what they think and if they like it. This is important as getting honest feedback is always productive. I will listen and keep going back and checking my progress to see whether I am still happy with the current result. I will make the most of the group crits and complete a final evaluation hat reflects upon my targets and whether I achieved them.
Proposed Research Sources and Bibliography (Harvard Format)
Citethisforme.com – Harvard referencing.
En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Tim Miller (director). [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Miller_(director) [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].
En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Tim Miller (director). [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Miller_(director) [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].
Vimeo. (2017). Who’s Who on a Movie Crew?. [online] Available at: https://vimeo.com/blog/post/whos-who-on-a-movie-crew [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].
YouTube. (2017). How to Direct like Quentin Tarantino – Visual Style Breakdown. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGbwLLVIy8U [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].
YouTube. (2017). How To Make A Long Take | Film Theory. [online] Available at: https://youtu.be/pJ2szv_ZXkU [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].
McGregor, L., McGregor, L. and McGregor, L. (2017). The Sequence Shot – Indie Tips. [online] Indie Tips. Available at: http://www.indietips.com/cinematography-sequence-shot/ [Accessed 25 Apr. 2017].
Brown, B. (2016). Cinematography. 1st ed. [Place of publication not identified]: Focal, pp.64 – 69.
The Perfect Machine. (2017). Empire, (335), pp.92 to 95.En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Reservoir Dogs. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reservoir_Dogs [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_v_Superman:_Dawn_of_Justice [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

En.wikipedia.org. (2017). The Raid (2011 film). [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Raid_(2011_film) [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].

Conventions of filming

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These are some important conventions of filming inside my short action film idea.

On the day of filming, I needed to keep in mind that the location isn’t secluded and so every so often throughout the day members of the public would walk near where we were filming. This meant I had to keep the realistic looking gun props hidden so they didn’t notice or get alarmed. I take this extremely seriously especially as people might not think were just kids making a film for college.

I’m glad that I bought loads of food prior to the day of filming that all my crew could appreciate. I had to think about some of my main actors as they were vegetarian or had an allergy to nuts so the food I bought had to meet their dietary requirements. This reflects upon having ‘supplies stocked up’.

One thing I think I did right was the colour grading I used for the location we filmed at. Luckily on the day, it was quite cloudy but full of green so I found removing the yellows and some greens really gave it a negative and hostile feel to it.

I’ve worked with the actors that I used in my FMP before. We all know each other from school and so have a really close friendship, apart from my cousin Conor that agreed to play the role of two extras in the film. He hadn’t met any of the actors before and I hadn’t worked with him before either. Thankfully though he listened to me when I was directing which made me less stressed and enabled me to focus more on what we had to film next.

 

Researching acting and soundtrack

As my short action film currently titled ‘Engage’ will have actors in it, I’ve been looking up tutorials on acting. I felt this was also important as I will be one of the 3 main actors myself.

Producing my FMP and making it a success is very important to me as I am passionate about making this the best piece of work I have produced in college. Too help with acting tips I’ve been watching YouTube videos by a channel called ‘FilmRiot’ which I enjoy and watch a lot of. This is their video I watched about tips for acting.

Possible soundtrack for ‘Engage’

I am aware that if I use copyrighted music, there’s a chance that it would get taken down off YouTube, and if I’m not able to use the music I like then I’ll use royalty free music which I’ve done in the past. Especially with my own film ‘The final Mission’ that I’ve made outside of college. Plus of course I did the same when creating ‘Arrested’, the short film I made for the 9 year old clients in the ‘FUTURE’ project. An example of the music I used in ‘The Final Mission’ is below.

Below is the scene where I used that music. I’ve literally listened to hours worth of different music during the production of ‘The Final Mission’ and re edited scenes again and again until I’m happy with them, the film is still currently incomplete but this is the most recent edit of this scene.

I had to do a lot of research whether it was actually royalty free, whether it suited the film, whether I thought the clients would approve, and whether there were any better options. I did this by looking up tutorials and trying it or for myself.

This is a song I feel would suit the theme of my film perfectly. This is because my aims are to make an action film including characters you can get attached to that come across a sinister chain of events leading them all to fail the task they we’re attempting to achieve but with a deep back story about the characters

I’ve also found this song I’m sure I can make use of maybe In the opening credits. I’ve got the three main actors in mind including myself with other extras in mind too. These are all friends of mine that have acted in my films before.

Actors

I’ve got the three main actors in mind including myself with other extras in mind too. These are all friends of mine that have acted in my films before.


The actor on the left is my friend Jack that has agreed to be playing one of the three main characters in my FMP.