Entry Thirteen – The Video and Evaluation

The Video

Evaluation

Lighting

The first thing you might notice is that the lighting over the first scenes used tend to go from dark to light and then to dark again as the time of day changes from Day to Early morning.  The quality of the video suffers a decent amount of grain due to how dark it was.  Even after putting up the ISO this was massively a fault for one of the establishing shots.  However it is inside the store where the lighting differences are quite often.  The problem is that each part of the Iceland Store is lighted by different light sources that are designed for different reasons.  The lighting out on the shop floor is extremely bright compared to other lighting used in the store.  This is for more than just lighting the shop, the brighter the store the more it appeals to the public and customer who’ll be able to see anything they are after.  The shop floor is extremely well lit.  The reason the same lighting isn’t used out in the loading bay or in the staff areas is because the strong lighting can be quite irritating and these areas of the store don’t need to be as well lit.

What this meant was that between shots we needed to constantly change all the settings on the camera to try and get the back a bit brighter, but then on the floor we needed to being the brightness back down again.  The Lighting on the floor also has an automated timer meaning that they switch modes after a certain time.  An instance of this is after the store shuts to the public but the staff remain for several hours to perform other tasks.  The lights after the store shuts dim down a few settings as quality of life improvement for workers on the floor stacking out cages of food.  This isn’t good however if you are trying to film and the lights dim down.  It can make life a bit difficult trying to establish a consistency when it came to lighting.  Several of my first shoots had to be redone because I hadn’t established how bright or dark I wanted the video to be and ended up not working well with lighting in other scenes.

Filming exterior locations while out with the two Iceland Drivers was harder to manage for light because the vans go out in the morning where light changes from dark to light and at night when the light changes from light to dark all over a course of half an hour.  Often times several shots taken ten minutes apart would be vastly different.  An issue with filming at seven in the morning in the month of December was that it just looked like night time.

Moving between areas while the camera was capturing footage was made extremely difficult due to these lighting issues.  The worst case of this was when the camera moved between the warehouse and the freezer.  This made this shot redundant and ended up being set on a tripod inside the freezer for the ‘breaking down of delivery’ shots.

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Figure1 – Screenshot of footage that needed redone because of lighting in the Iceland Freezer, Chris Brown, 2016
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Figure2 – Screenshot of footage after change in camera settings in the freezer, Chris Brown, 2016

Camera Work

For getting shots I was always on the move, things can change drastically in a shop and people just don’t have time to redo actions or events that would make up the video, as you have to remember this is a fully functioning supermarket and I am merely an observer at this stage.  For instance if I missed the shutters going up or down, I wouldn’t be able to just ask them to do it again, I’d just have to come back the next day.  This meant I was constantly running point to point throughout the shop getting all the key moments like deliveries, home deliveries, shutters, bails, breaking down of deliveries.  Sometimes I’d be seconds late for capturing get shots and then would have to wait for the following day.  I was always on the move with the camera but the problem with that is that I tend to stop a shot or move the camera before the ending of the shot, or I move the tripod, or I zoom or pan and it ruins the whole shot.  The worst part is you don’t realize it at the time but only in editing that you find out you have a shaky shot.

It wasn’t just me either, the wind would sometimes shake the camera when I was unsuspecting so even when I had realized my mistakes exterior shots looked like I was filming an episode of Arrested Development.  If I had the ability to go back, I would recapture the shots that I believed to be too shaky.

Length

To me the video is self explanatory.  Its a visual story where we show the lives of the people working in a supermarket from dawn to dusk.  However the kicker is that the video is five minutes of pure visual storytelling without the use of text, voice-over, or anything other than the music and the shots.  While after watching my own production over a hundred times by now I can say I am happy with it, I did feel that perhaps it might not be of interest for someone who has no idea about what is even happening on screen.  I can be fine with that though, they are not the target audience.  This sort of video is for use within the company, because it is certainly too long to be an advert.  I based mine alongside examples I had seen back when I was first going through my induction, but they were always super cheesy and superficial, So my aim was to create something that felt real.  Was five minutes too long though without the use of any other form of media?  My answer would be that yes if I went at this again, I’d add voice-over or add text to highlight what people are doing in order to make the length more justifiable.

Reception from Company

The video was posted in the companies closed Facebook group ‘Talking Iceland’ where anyone who worked for the company would be able to see it on their Facebook feed.

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The video got 44 Likes and sixteen comments.  Most of which said that the video was brilliant from past and present employees alike.  One such criticism was put forward by a manager over in England.

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The two mentions in his comments are two events that happen in the video.  In the last scene Kyle McCartney can be seen facing off (Must be called Facing up in England) while standing ontop of a freezer cabinet.  This is generally frowned upon and is something you wouldn’t see in Malcolm Walkers personal documentaries such as ‘Life in the Freezer Cabinet’.  The reason that this was left in, was because I was giving an honest account of what staff have to do day to day.  By standing on the Freezer Cabinet, Kyle can do his job faster and better cause he can reach right into the back and pull loose items forward and into the reach of customers.  The reason this is frowned upon is due to health and safety which is very little to no risk.  From personal experience working in Iceland for seven years, we have had zero accidents with people falling of a freezer lid.  Another thing to note we have never had a staff member fall off anything in those seven years and the only time anyone has fallen it has been an elderly lady who fell over on ice outside the store.

The second mention was on tattoos which are generally speaking are usually supposed to be covered.  However this is usually in the case of offensive tattoos which Supervisor Matthew Gorman does not have.  The problem with upper management and that of front line workers is that there is a seperation from what a front line worker does and what someone who gets hired to sit in a office do.  The shop floor is bright and the room is filled with freezers that continually pump out hot air turning the supermarket somewhat into a sauna sometimes.  A regular shopper wont recognise the heat as they have just come out of the cold (Usually) but for someone who is doing labor and running back and worth, while dealing with many problems at once, it can get hot, and so Matthew rolled his sleeves up.  I once again decided to keep these shots in the video as it gave a more accurate representation of the store.  And as Iceland website states;

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‘Everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves’ Literally and allowed.

Camera Lens

Throughout the first two days of filming I spent most of my time using the 50mm lens for the camera.  This lens is fantastic, it makes everything feel cinematic, crisp, clean, and the quality is excellent.  Using this lens you can manually focus everything so much better than using another lens.  However the one major downside to this lens is that you cannot zoom.  That might not have been such a problem but the main issue is that the lens always feels like it is far too zoomed in, and this ruined a bunch of my planned shots because it always felt like I was unable to get all the elements into the shot.

I switched back to the standard lens and everything was much more manageable from then on.  This did mean a lost a fair amount of quality and even the cinematic feel on some shots however I kept the footage from the 50mm and mixed it with the new footage in the final project.

Time management

Time management is something I tend to not be very good at, although I am starting to improve throughout this learning experience.  I am exceptionally poor when it comes to being on time and where I need to be at certain times.  In filming I would often misjudge where I needed to be to get the shots I needed.  Often times new ideas would pop into my head while filming something and I’d stop what I was going to do and shoot it instead.  As previously mentioned if I miss and event like a delivery coming into the store, I would have to wait until the next day in order to get that shot.  It also didn’t help that most of these deliveries happen between the hours of 7am and 1pm, meaning I would be waiting outside the store for several hours waiting for that one shot.  I left my exterior shots for last as well, such as the shots of Rathcoole estate.  This meant that even though I wanted to wrap up all filming so I could work on editing, it meant using footage on a cloudy rainy day.  So if I am ever working on a promotional video again I will plan for such events happening so I don’t waste even more time.

Shoot more and not less

Most of my footage tends to cut before I need it to, so I left this note to myself that I should’ve kept the camera rolling just a few more seconds from where I really want it to cut so as to give myself more leeway in the editing process.

 

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