Great Reading

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I read this this morning and it went on to gave me a burst of inspiration.

I’ve been struggling a bit lately with the editing of cutting between each interviewee but after reading this I think I’m finding it much easier now.




Easter Break Filming and Interviewee Number 4: Conor O’Brien

Since the day we got off on our Easter Holidays I don’t think there’s been a 2 day gap where I haven’t been filming or helping out different classmates with their projects. It’s been great fun, I swear I’m not complaining!

One of the special things I was invited to film over the break was Villagers two sold out shows in the Olympia a few weeks ago. I’ve been filming and exposed to loads of different Irish musicians lately through working with Irish Filmmaker, Myles O’Reilly (who I’ve mentioned in a few posts). Myles was asked to film a few songs for these gigs and asked if I’d like to give a hand in filming. Naturally I said yes.

Being a pretty big fan of Villagers myself it was kind of a dream come through for me. I helped Myles shoot Conor O’Brien before playing a solo show for the Simon Community’s charity organisation Young Hearts Run Free before but to film a full band show was pretty amazing.

The two nights were magical. The band are having a great time playing the new songs live off the 2nd album ‘Awayland’ and it definitely comes across in the shows so no doubt the finished videos are gonna be great, not to mention the beautiful surroundings of the Olympia venue.

Some screen shots:

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Young Hearts Run Free


All of this somehow leads to me interviewing Conor for my final year project. I’ve met Conor a few times now and over the past couple of weeks I’ve been plucking up the courage to see if he’d be interested in taking part in my Documentary. I thought getting in touch a week or so after the Olympia shows would be suitable enough so after much contemplating I sent him an email seeing if he’d be up for it.

That weekend he got back in touch saying he’d be playing another event for Young Hearts Run Free and that the lady organising the event was looking for somebody to document it so said if I’d come by he’d definitely be up for doing the interview. The event was a pub crawl around Dublin on the eve of Easter Sunday with scottish musician – the very talented Alasdair Roberts. The whole thing was Alasdair would lead the crowd around 4 different pubs and in each new pub would be greeted with a new musician to play along with. Some of the people he was greeted by were Lisa O’Neill, Conor O’Brien and band Come On Live Long.

It was a super fun night, but it carried on so late that there wasn’t really a suitable time to talk to Conor so we arranged to meet later during the week and hey presto!

Little Green Café to the Rescue

I interviewed Conor in this really nice café near Christ Church called the Little Green café, would definitely recommend it for a coffee..lovely place with some great people running it who were very welcoming to me filming after getting in touch at the last minute before the interview.

I approached this interview the same way I’ve done the others for this documentary. The only difference this time being the location of the interview. I filmed the other musicians in their homes/ studios where as this took place in a café setting. I made the most of it and thought it would make for a nice contrast in the overall piece cutting between each musicians ponderings/answers. I asked the people in the café if they could lower down the music in the section we were sitting in which they were very accommodating in doing so. I placed the rode mic very closely to Conor on the table between both of us which I think worked really well. I asked Conor to kinda sit forward a little which he had no problem in doing so to get better sound out of the Mic.

The interview went brilliantly and Conor gave great, honest and insightful answers into his process and I think will fit in very nicely into the finished documentary!

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Editing Workflow

I seen this quote the other week by Philip Seymour Hoffman and it’s pretty magical.

The film is made in the editing room. The shooting of the film is about shopping, almost. It’s like going to get all the ingredients together, and you’ve got to make sure before you leave the store that you got all the ingredients. And then you take those ingredients and you can make a good cake – or not.

I was recommended by my supervisor Ian to first listen to the audio from the interviews separately and take notes or mark whatever parts stick out to me, gathering the gold as they say. Then to next begin looking at the picture and begin to piece stuff together. Ian also reminded me that I should look at editing together this like working on a jigsaw puzzle, each part no matter where it is in the interview can be anywhere in the finished piece. Just because I asked a question first in the interview doesn’t necessarily mean it should be the first answer in the film.

At the moment I’m watching the interviews now in Final Cut X and marking parts I like and giving it a name so I’ll remember what section/question that was.

I have synced up both cameras from each of the 3 interview’s now into multi-cam clips so I can simply cut between both cameras in Final Cut and have added the good zoom audio to the clips so everything is coming together nicely now.

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Ahead and beyond

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I can see some issues ahead with not having enough b-roll to insert between each of the interviews so I’m currently trying to gather together and asking permission to use little bits of existing footage already of my 3 subjects I have spoken to so far.

Anything from studio footage to live performances etc.

Giving a hand

It’s been a busy few days of the easter holidays so far, I was a little ahead on my own project so I offered a helping hand to two of my class mates Stephen and Naomi. I had told Naomi I’d help her when I recommended my friend Niamh for the role in her short film. I had the role of Director of Photography/Camera Op for both Stephen and Naomi’s films. We filmed all of Naomi’s on Monday and Tuesday this week, bearing the crazy weather conditions and yesterday I helped Stephen shoot a portion of his project.

Here’s some pictures from both shoots:



It was pretty fun, but now it’s time to get my head stuck back into my project.

As I don’t have my last two Interviews till the 2nd week in April, my plan over the next week is to begin editing together the 3 Interviews I already have filmed. I will do another post this week about how I’m editing and a little insight into what my workflow is like.

Interviewee Number three: Adrian Crowley

I apologise on the delay of this post, it’s been a busy few weeks leading up to the easter break but it has finally come and I can now fully direct my attention to FYP writings. I’ve been doing a lot of Interviewing in the Background but no time to blog about them until now.

Around two weeks ago on Friday 12th of March I met Songwriter Adrian Crowley who kindly invited me to his home so I could Interview him for my final year Documentary. In my first semester my supervisor for this project was Hugh McCabe who knew Adrian and thought he would make a good subject for the film so asked ahead for me if he’d be interested in taking part, alas he was! I contacted him around the end of January just to double check to see if he was up for being in the documentary and confirming dates for filming. A one week break from touring in the 2nd week of March was scheduled so we decided to do sometime between then.

As you can see Adrian was my third Interview for this project so I felt a little bit more prepared and relaxed for this one. In preparation for our chat and a few days before filming I wrote down a few questions, always referring back to my main core idea of how and what I wanted the documentary to be about. The bigger picture being about ‘The process of songwriting’ but focusing in on some key underlining points such as 1- ‘does the process get easier with age, experience’ and 2- ‘where does a song really come from, is unconsciousness involved’.

So with every question I wrote in my notes I always tried to relate it to my core points so if anything goes off track I had this as a kind of barrier to protect me (in a silly way)

I filmed the Interview in Adrian’s music room/study in his Attic. We filmed it early in the morning which was good for light as the room was well lit by a sun roof.

Here are some screen grabs from the Interview:

N.B – the Colour between shots looks a little off as the first is taken after the sun reached its peak at noon, and the second from an earlier part in the interview.

Adrian was a gent and touched on some really interesting points surrounding his sub-conscious when he’s in writing mode.

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After the Interview I filmed some little bits of B – Roll of him working at his desk and also, filmed a little solo performance of him playing a song off his new album in his own stairwell. I edited this little video around a week ago, and Adrian was more than happy for me to put this up on my own YouTube channel I run outside college called Musicians With Cameras.

I will properly include this in an introductory segment to Adrian.

I was very happy with how the footage turned out from this Interview as my good friend Donnacha (who will have to get a producer credit in the FYP) lent me his Lumix GH1 camera so I could use this as a wide shot and have the two cameras perfectly synced up. A good option on the GH1 is you can set the White Balance using Kelvin which not many cameras surprisingly have. I set the White balance hear around 5600k as it was midday and their was a good bit of sunlight.

A picture to explain better:


Possible Typography segments?

Something my project supervisor Ian suggested to me the other day was using Kinetic Typography for possible segments/parts of my documentary. Initially I was completely turned off by this idea. Not because I hadn’t started the assignment or anything…

It now seems like a pretty fun idea to try and incorporate into the final film and could definitely separate my documentary from others. I think it may work to use this style in an intro section or a part where a subject is making a point they are very passionate about.

The software we are using in our Post Production module is called Motion 5. It’s pretty much does the same as Adobe’s After Effects, the only difference being Motion is made by Apple and is connected to Final Cut. For the assignment we have to use Kinetic Typography to animate alongside either a speech or a song for 1 minute.

Here’s a screen grab to give you a little taste of my project, will post the finished product here when it’s done:

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Love the lighting in this video

Ah, when Coldplay were great..

I was listening to this song this morning as I’m teaching it to my friends sister for her Junior Cert practical.

What a beautiful video, wonder how they achieved the steady brightness of light…


Interviewee Number Two: Matthew Barnson

Being a one man band, cool mics and backing up

I knew filming purely on my own wasn’t going to be easy but it was a decision I made from the very beginning.

In order to get the most honest and truthful  answers from my interviewees I believed it would be best if I just interview them on my own. Now when I mean on my own, I mean not bringing anyone to assist me in filming and setting up sound and cameras etc. It was something which I discussed with my first project supervisor Hugh, he felt the same about the situation too so it was decided.

I film a good bit of stuff outside of college so I’m well used to setting up cameras and using the sound equipment but still some of these things can become the hardest tasks when you bring into the equation time, pressure and general nervousness.

So far I have filmed two subjects for my documentary, Peter Doran – a folk singer/songwriter from Mullingar and Matthew Barnson – a classical composer from Utah currently teaching at Trinity College. Yesterday on friday afternoon I filmed Matthew, who had told me he had a concert to attend that evening so I was a little conscious of time. Prior to the interview, I must of double checked I had all the right equipment 100 times but when I got to the location for Matthew’s interview I realised I had forgotten the xlr cables to connect the zoom h4n to the sennheiser mic my good friend Donnacha from Cock and Bull had lent me for both my interviews this week. PANIC.


Matt, the gent

Conscious of time, I was straight out honest with Matt I had forgotten this vital piece of kit. I thought for a minute I could maybe use the zoom in built sound but knew it wouldn’t of done the same justice as the sennheiser mic. Luckily Matt was an absolute gent and said he didn’t mind if I ran to get another one. Thankfully the Interview was on Parnell St, just around the corner from Maplins, so I sprinted around and bought a cable. Usually I wouldn’t buy cables from here as the prices in Maplins (sorry Maplins) tend to be pricey at best of times but I didn’t care. The staff in Maplins were very helpful though, a semi good plug? maybe.

Some screen grabs from Matt’s Interview:

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Talking about Sibelius

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Matt’s Interview went really well and was so interesting to get an insight into a composers ways of songwriting from the birth of a song to viewing the end product of a musical piece at one of his own concerts and the feeling of hearing it properly for the first time.

Something I am also doing religiously is backing up everything I film for my FYP after loosing all my footage from a short film I shot in 3rd year. I suppose it was a good lesson to learn..! Photographic Evidence:

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Interviewee Number One : Peter Doran

A man, who’s music I first discovered on MySpace as a teenager then later  befriended at an open mic in the International in September then went on to film for the YouTube channel Stephen Allen and I run.

Peter had some great answers for the questions I asked and no doubt will make a great addition to the final documentary.

Here’s some screen grabs from the interview:

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Passing a message

The past few weeks my project supervisor has been beckoning me to see the overall message I’m trying to convey in my fyp documentary.

I originally thought I had that covered going in with the notion being “the process of songwriting” which would of been well and good if there was time to be with people for a longer period of time or even to see them every few weeks. Alas, this isn’t the case, so to compensate this their should be a clear message in the documentary other than the process. By knowing this message, this will help me shape the questions I’ll ask people and have as a reference to refer back to if I ever get stuck in an interview or later in the editing room.

I live in a little town called Lusk and I often have to make long commutes to travel around. The other day when I was going to town on the train I thought I’d use my time wisely rather than listening to music and looking into space so I got out my notepad and began to write.

I set out writing questions that I was interested in asking my interviewees. As I began jotting down, some clear things began to present itself. Something I discovered I was really keen to ask was ‘where a song actually came from?’ A question I wanted to ask was when writing down lyrics do you feel yourself going into auto pilot and began to write lyrics that your sub-concious is kinda in control off. Other questions like how your feelings, emotions and state of mind the day or night of writing come into play with the overall song. When I say ‘writing’ by this I don’t only mean words and lyrics but music too. If you play a particularly chord or musical segment in the morning it most likely will feel a lot different that night.

Something that I began to see a pattern in aswel was the ‘craft of songwriting’, does it become easier the more you do it? Or is their one burst of creativity that you’ll never be able to beat again? (beat doesn’t quite make sense but I hope that’s clear)

I think the craft and art of songwriting is something I can really focus in on and the development it has on someones process. ie does it get easier?

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