Tranquility: Production Journal
My film, Tranquility, was originally just going to be scenes of country life that would highlight the difference between where I was born and where I live now. In class I was told it would be better to film scenes in the city, to show a comparison between the city and the country and make it more evident that the country is quieter than Washington. I followed this advice, and I believe it looked better because of it. I did not want to give it a soundtrack, because part of the country is the solitude.
I planned to go to my horse farm to film, Jacobsburg State Park and the Indian Tower in my hometown. In Washington I planned to go to Metro Center, Ward Circle and at the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial. For home I was going to drive everywhere, and here I was going to walk and take the Metro. I chose these locations because the ones at my home are very quintessential examples of tranquility, and the ones in the city are very populated, and perfect examples of city hustle and bustle.
Logistically I ran into a lot of snags. When I went up to my farm I talked to our manager and she said that the fields were swamped, so I was not allowed out there. This made it nearly impossible to get multiple camera angles for my shots of the horses. Also, I couldn’t get too close to the horses, because my safety would be put at risk if the horses charged. I wanted some extreme close-ups, but the risk of getting hurt, combined with the inability to move in the field, stopped me from being able to get close enough to the horses to get the shot I wanted. When I was shooting at the park my camera died, but that was more my fault for not checking my battery. The Indian Tower shoot went essentially as I planned, however the crosswind made me have to throw out a whole set of shots, due to the loud vibration it caused. Shooting at home only really had the one major issue, however shooting in DC was much more difficult.
My schedule for December was extremely busy, and I could not get out into the city easily to film. I had two papers and two presentations, as well as a movie for another class, which I had to work on all month. I finished up everything at the beginning of the week of the 4th. Because of my class schedule I planned on going out Wednesday to film, however it rained and the likelihood of finding crowds on a day like that would have been very difficult. My solution for this problem was to quickly get a Creative Commons video to supplement what I might not be able to get. I then went out Christmas shopping Saturday, and I took my camera along to get some footage at Metro Center, and Pentagon City. Because the city was relatively empty due to the cold, I could not get crazy amounts of traffic, but the noise I got worked. My best volume was at Pentagon City, I went to the top floor and the volume was deafening, making the shots very good. A security guard told me I was not allowed to film anymore so I had to cut my shots short.
Editing was not too much of an issue. I did not have all the shots I wanted, mostly because of the conflicts I had with scheduling here in Washington. However, I worked with what I had to make my film as well as I could. The Creative Commons video needed to be used, and sadly the quality of it was not as well as I wanted it to be. If I did not use the bus video there would be some gaps in the movie that my other shots couldn’t fill. If I didn’t use those shots I would’ve been working with a significantly less compelling video. I added the last sequence with all the shots slowly getting faster because I thought it would be very fitting to have it sort of cause all the noises to get jumbled up and have all these images flash by, a symbol of sorts of the overloading nature of living in a city. This sequence was not an original part of my plan, but I felt like it was a creative solution to the stagnant nature that some of my shots carried. I ended the sequence with the extreme quiet and emptiness of a shot from the Indian Tower, to contrast the busyness of the city with the lack of business that country life can have.
I learned from doing this project that planning means have more than just an A and a B plan, have a C, D, and E plan to make sure that you will be able to get shots that you need, even if they aren’t what you originally desired. My biggest disappointment was that I didn’t schedule properly, and as a result ended up with a subpar sequence of buses driving around the city instead of the many different shots I planned on taking. I feel like I creatively solved the problems that were created by this though, by finding a video on Creative Commons that could fill the void that the lack of film created. I think that adding that final sequence made my film much better as well, it stopped it from being stagnant and made it suddenly a rush of movement and noise. All in all, I feel like I did as well as I could with the situation provided. My film may not have been exactly what I wanted, but it is something that I am proud to have made, because I had to think on my feet and solve issues that arose.