Video Production Emphasis
Beyond the Threshold | Project Goals
Since the beginning of my College Career and even the majority of my High School Career, I have known that I want to own my own business. I centered my project around the idea that I wanted to make up for some of the shortcomings that I have found throughout my College Career to ensure that I had the proper skill set to offer to potential clients in the future. I also wanted to have a piece of work to show potential clients, showing that I know how to create and organize not just long-form content, but also short form.
When I proposed the project, I came in wanting to direct a short film that I had written myself. I wanted to go through the whole project from start to finish. After meeting with my advisor, and discussing my future career goals and how my project can further them; we decided to alter the project slightly. We decided that going through pre-production and production were great ideas, and would show that I had the work ethic and skills that clients would want, but many would be on the look for short-form content. So we tweaked the final deliverable for this project to be a trailer for the short film, instead of the whole film, as this would be what most clients would be looking for.
Before going into the breakdown of the project, please take a moment and watch the trailer for Beyond the Threshold.
Beyond the Threshold | Project Break Down
Pre-production ultimately starts with the creation of a story. This was the easy part. Beyond the Threshold was a story that I have been trying to get off the ground through several classes over the past year or so. It was originally titled “Liminal” and was about a third as long. After the first few pitches in class, I decided that it would be my senior project and I spent the following semesters refining and extending the story.
Come, December 2022, I decided that this story needed to leave the outline form and be written into a script. I finished the script shortly after the beginning of the semester. This script was then pitched to Brother Robins as my Senior Project, where we discussed that with the time constraints that the length of the script, our primary goal should be to go through preproduction, production, and then cut a trailer to show at Senior Showcase. From there, I started digging away at preproduction.
The whole production book is included as a single PDF, different chapters of this PDF will be referenced in the future.
This had to be the lengthiest and most time-consuming process of the whole project, or at least it felt like it was. After breaking down the script into shots that I had in my head, I worked at putting them into sketched form for reference in the future.
Chapters 2 and 3 contain the script broken down, and the storyboard of the entire story.
While storyboarding the story, I also was filling out the required forms and scheduled the required areas on campus to film.
We did have one minor hiccup when it came to planning permissions. A scene in the script called for filming within the I-Center Auditorium. We were unable to gain permission to schedule and film in this location, so we had to cut the scene and rewrite that portion of the script to flow and make sense without it.
Location Agreements and Approvals can be found in Chapter 6.
After getting permission to film on campus and having our spaces scheduled, I began calling for cast and crew. The cast was amazing to work with and was a great help during this project.
Talent Release forms can be found in Chapter 7.
After locations were scheduled and the cast and crew were gathered, it was almost time to start shooting, but there was one last thing to do. Take my broken-down script and storyboard and convert them into a shot list and shooting schedule. The shot list is the contents of the storyboard and script breakdown in list form and story order. After creating the shot list, I converted it into a shooting schedule; broken up into days, locations, and turn arounds. Instead of shooting in story order, we shot in an easier order to minimize the movement of the camera and lighting from shot to shot.
The shot list and shooting schedule can be found in Chapters 4 and 5, respectively.
Now it was time to film.
During production, we had 8 scheduled shooting days, but due to time constraints on certain days, we had to push it to a 9th day. The shoots went well and things went as planned. Our only setback when it comes to filming was the weather. Our last day of filming had to be set back one week because of a freak snowstorm that rolled into town on the day that we had set to film. This was an issue because that day was set to film all our outdoor scenes. Luckily that next week was the perfect weather for our shoot.
The first few days that we shot were inside common areas of campus buildings, the I-Center, the Snow, the Spori, and the MC. The biggest issue that arose from this set up was the inability to properly reserve the space. We were able to get permission to film in the location, but we were unable to be the only people in the space as all the locations were common areas. This led to several takes that would have been perfect if there weren’t people in the background.
Overall, the onset experience was amazing, and I am exceedingly grateful to my cast and crew for the time and effort they put into this project.
Behind the Scenes Gallery
When it came to postproduction, we started by offloading the footage to an external drive, so that it could be edited whenever and wherever needed. We used Davinci Resolve’s cloning tool to ensure that all data was transferred properly and without corruption. This was done after every shoot.
After the video was transferred to the drive, it was brought into Resolve and organized by adding Scene, Shot, and Take information to each clip’s metadata. This allowed us to sort each clip into a folder respective to the scene that they belong to and allowed us to automatically see each of the good takes.
During our postproduction workflow, we created a rough cut of the film/scene that we had filmed in the previous shoot to ensure that all the good takes worked and didn’t need to be reshot to get better acting or angles. Also during this time, I was taking the footage that we have shot and assembling a trailer to present at the senior showcase.
The Data Disaster
On Thursday, March 9th, I was working on creating titles to use in the trailer. Creating one for Distant Skies Media, One for the title of the Film, and one with the release date. As I was wrapping this up, getting ready to export them, the worst happened. My computer locked up and had to be rebooted. After the reboot, the external drive that contained all the footage for this short film was dead to the world. The drive could not be seen by any computer in my possession.
After trying to do things myself, I decided to seek professional help. I took to the drive to Best Buy, the store which I bought it from, and asked if they could get the drive to show up. Unfortunately, they couldn’t, but they believed the issue to be within the USB controller and not the drive itself, so we sent it off for repair through Best Buy’s data recovery program. As I write this, the drive is at their facility, but I have not heard any news about it yet.
The sad lesson that I learned after this disaster is that by using the cloning tool provided within Davinci Resolve, they can more efficiently transfer data than ordinary windows explorer, which makes it incredibly fast and easy to clone data in multiple locations instead of just one. I should have had a backup of my data, and this is an incredibly unusual action for me to take because normally, I do keep important data in more than one location, but for some reason, I didn’t do this during this project.
In conclusion, this project has taught me so much. More than I can write out in this post. It has strengthened my organizational skills and my people skills. It has taught me to always keep a backup of all my major projects.
If you are interested in looking through my portfolio, you can click through the link.
Here you can view past and upcoming projects, as well as find my resume and contact information. I will be open to freelance work in the Rexburg area over the next semester. Reach out and I will get back to you!