Film Session #1 – Cinematographer’s Journal

CC Image Cinematographer! by Vivek Mukherjee at Flickr





Intention (SMART Goal)

For this production project, I want to learn about the techniques, ways of filming, and how to be persuasive when producing an advertisement. I hope to make a 15-40 second ad. on the story of cereal. I will know I successfully met my goal if I capture interesting shots and if I learned more about creating an advertisement-style film. I believe my goal is achievable if I put the time in and work hard to stay focused. I am setting this goal because I want to learn more about cinematography and what style of film it works in. As of now, the deadline is not set in stone. I believe I can finish this project in 1 – 1.5 months.


Leader(s) in the Field / Exemplary Work(s)

Primary Source: Pizza B Roll – Daniel Schiffer

  • Flows perfectly
  • Edited to the soundtrack
  • Ends with the music
  • 30 Seconds

Secondary Source: Make a Cereal Commercial at Home! – Daniel Schiffer

  • 1:27 – Doesn’t have to be super complicated
  • 1:49 – Plan out your shoot. What shots do you want?
  • 2:374:42 – Walks through his thought process/Production phase
  • 5:40 – Not every shot is going to work

Training Source(s)

  • Lighting is key!
  • Play with fill and key light.
  • Smoke in the background to create depth and a feeling of wonder
  • Close-ups to show different features
  • Mess with the color of lighting.
  • [3:29] Shoot from F-4 to F-8
  • [3:46] Shoot in slow motion – 60 FPS – are able to turn down to 40% of that speed.
  • [4:08] Shutter speed is double the framerate. Ex: 60 FPS…1/120 SS.
  • [6:24] Combined with soft light, add hard light to show more details.
  • [7:42] Mess with the color of the lighting. Make it tie into the brand.

Project Timeline

  2. Pick role.
  3. Research leaders.
    1. Take notes.
  4. Watch the video essay on the cinematographers.
    1. Take notes.
  5. Watch a video on how to be better on a role.
    1. Take notes.
  6. Research Screenwriter tasks.
  7. Create a timeline for the project.
  8. Write a smart goal.
  9. Collaborate with the team, discuss film ideas.
  10. Write logline.
  11. Write the screenplay.
    1. The beginning, middle, end.
    2. Write for rhythm.
    3. Think about tone while writing.
    4. Use “but” and “therefore” to build tension (F is for Fake).
  12. Modify screenplay for more tension.
  15. Lead the team with what we are doing for the day (SCRUM).
  16. Talk with the team and see what needs to be done.
    1. Ask if they need help with anything.
  17. Help actors with lines.
  18. Modify the screenplay more if needed.
  21. Talk with the team daily.
  22. Compose titles and credits.
  23. Work on presentation.
  24. Work on the blog post.
  25. Finish presentation and blog post.
  26. Present to class.
  27. Present to the Advisory Committee.
  28. Reflect on what could be done better.


The (FILM, SOUND, or GAME Creation)


21st Century Skills

Ways of Thinking (Creativity, Innovation, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving)

Ways of Thinking: To make this film, I had to research, think of ideas, and constantly problem solve. I started with inspiration and explored different shot movements. I made this film interesting by using unique camera movements. I had trouble with my camera and premier pro which delayed the workflow.

Ways of Working (Communication & Collaboration)

Ways of Working: Throughout this project, Chet and I had to talk to each other in order to get tasks done. In pre-production, we thought out ideas and ways we could work on this project. In production, we started with the music and got shots that could flow into each other. In post-production, Chet worked on foley, while I edited.

Tools for Working (Info & Media Literacy)

Tools for Working: For this film, I used different videos for research and for inspiration. During pre-production, I researched how to shoot product advertisements and how to make a speed ramp.

Ways of Living in the World (Life & Career)

Ways of Living in the World: During this session, we had to complete this all at our own homes. I also played soccer with my friends for the CHS soccer season. I continued to watch videos and TV shows to keep me occupied.

Reactions to the Final Version

  • Avian: “It felt just like a real commercial, I wanted to eat the cereal. I really liked the camera movements, they were simple, effective, and kept me interested.”
  • Stuart: “That was great! I liked the camera movements, they felt very smooth, and I really liked the transitions, and the tracking shot was done very well.”
  • Brian Favorite: “Colors and camera movements merged together seemed to make me care. It definitely felt like the audience was following the morning routine.” (Paraphrased)

Self-Evaluation of Final Version

  • Camera Movements
    • Speed Ramp
    • Arc
    • Tilt
    • Tracking

In our final version of the film, it had multiple principles from the SUCCESs model. The film was a very simple concept while telling a story about the cereal routine. The film was also unexpected because it had unique camera movements. However, the film lacked tension, I believe the camera angles and movements made the viewer care emotionally.

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

I learned that it takes a lot of planning and preparation to make a commercial. It may look very simple, but this project took a few months. The problems we solved were the mixed feelings about different shots. My sister insisted that I kept them in and I think, the story would be missing key parts without those shots.

Grammar and Spelling