A lady, a project name and the final month

The final rush of the last few weeks has been pretty crazy, deadlines and presentations falling out of everyones ears. I haven’t had a great deal of time to continue with further editing but I have however filmed a lady! This was delaying me getting back into the edit as the project was really missing a girls voice. I had intended to Interview Lisa Hannigan a week after the mid-semester review but this ended up falling through as Lisa couldn’t make time as she’s back and forth between Dublin and London between now and may which was a little upsetting at first but I was able to get over it! Here’s an email from Lisa’s lovely manager Una telling me about it:

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Sive to the Rescue

After the news about Lisa I began to panic a little inside about not having a lady penciled in to interview. I wrote a wall post on my own personal facebook page asking if there were ‘any cool lady songwriters I know willing to take part in a documentary on songwriting?’.

Straight away then I received emails from two previous girls I had filmed for my own YouTube Channel – Musicians With Cameras. The first email I was greeted by the amazing Sadhbh O’Sullivan saying how she’d love to help out. I met Sadhbh last year when she got in contact with our channel asking to do a video, and only recently just done another video where she invited us down to her hometown of Naas to film a show she was playing with her band in a church converted Arts Centre.

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I went ahead and Interviewed Sadhbh this bank holiday weekend gone by, I met her in town on Saturday and we strolled to Merrion Square park and I interviewed her.

Here’s a screenshot example from the interview:


Conversing leads to good things

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been really stressing out about still not having a name for my documentary, I had chosen the approach of and hoped the name would just come to me at the right time and place, “I’ll know it when I hear it” etc. The other day I was chatting to my good class mate Ciaran about our projects and general stuff, I mentioned I was still having trouble with a name and he asked ‘had I thought of any or anything’ which suddenly got me thinking about something I remembered hearing looking back over the Interview I did with Conor O’Brien of Villagers.

Conor had mentioned and compared some aspect of the writing stage to making a Patchwork Quilt, which I remembered loving. So during my convo with Ciaran, this suddenly flushed into my mind. I began making connections of this name to various different things other people said including Peter Doran saying how songwriting is all about craft which is a nicely juxtaposed next to Conor’s quote.

I told Ciaran there and then “I think I have a name”.


Short and Sweet.

Cutting back the Introductions


Some feedback from my classmates and friends after watching my current Rough cut was that the introductions drag on a little to long. I definitely see this now.

Current Rough Cut of Introductions.


If I want to make a 15 minute piece, it will definitely have to be shorter than my current one of 3 minutes. And that’s just with 3 people at the moment and I still have 1 or 2 more people to interview, if I continue with how I’m introducing the interviewee’s now the opening part will be around 5 minutes!

So my plan over the next week is to try and edit down the opening of the documentary to around 1-2 minutes and find away of connecting everyone together in a nice cohesive manor.!


Mid-Semester Presentation Review

So just this week gone we were asked to present all the work we had done so far for our final year projects. Tension was high in the camp as everyone tried to finish of any final touches on the work they had done so far.

Ian my supervisor told me to mainly concentrate on my rough cut in the presentation. We were each given a 7 minute window to present so I prepared a quick 2 minute presentation summing up everything I had done since January leaving the remainder of the time for my rough cut hoping the work would speak for itself. In my presentation I focused on the Interviews I had done so far, my workflow in the editing room and my plans for the last month of the semester.

Password is the subject matter. 5 letters. Come on.

As we only had a 3 hour slot for everyones presentations so the feedback from the panel was short if not nothing. The general response for mine was quite good I think.

Someone mentioned they all looked comfortable and were given great answers which can be the hardest thing to get right in interviews, other comments included fixing audio levels and trying to stick with a particular style for my cutaways and interviews (which I’ve already been discussing with my supervisor the past few weeks).

Over the next few weeks I’m going to begin an Internet social media campaign in support of my documentary through facebook and twitter. Before I do that I need to hone in what I want to call the documentary.

The best and funniest name I’ve thought of so far and friends have recommended  include “luke byrne investigates, a luke into songwriting, songwriting 101 with luke byrne”

Here’s my slides from the presentation:

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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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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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Inspiring films – A SKIN, A NIGHT, a film by Vincent Moon.

Tonight I re-watched a documentary I seen a year ago or so that I think influenced me very heavily the time I first watched it – unknown to me at the time. From what I gather, Vincent Moon is a one man band when filming but there’s something about the way he cuts from scene to scene that just makes the whole thing very smooth and an absolute joy to watch. This film documents the band, The National in between recording their third album ‘Boxer’ (which would ultimately lead to their commercial breakthrough) and just coming of touring their last album.

As some of you may know, Vincent Moon is the creator behind the revolutionary and popular web series La Blogothèque and the Take-Away Shows which have also had a big influence on me and many other indie film-makers today.

Whether purposely or not he also uses some hidden metaphors in the documentary that when i first watched wouldn’t of picked up but noticed a second time. For example in between touring and starting to record the album there’s a brief in between scene of a group of kids playing with paper planes, this could be said to be a metaphor for there rise in popularity and success that would come upon them after recording the album.

It documents the process of the album very cleverly and beautifully, “it’s almost like he’s not here”, even as one of the band members say.

It was made back around 5-7 years just before the DSLR revolution, and what I kind of like about this documentary is the look and feel of the overall piece. It’s kinda grainy but in a nice way with some really warm colours and a sort of enhanced contrast which works really well for this film. I really like some of the shots he composed in the film also. It maybe an on the fly documentary, but he sure took the time to think about how we would compose his shots and as Ian Cudmore mentioned the other day in a lecture “Always think about how it will make it’s way into the edit when filming” this is something you can clearly see how the film-maker was thinking when filming this documentary.

I took some grabs of shots I really liked for inspiration:



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