Trailer for Patchwork Quillt Documentary

As a run up to the release of the documentary a trailer was made for promotional purposes for the project. I didn’t want to give to much away in the trailer so a few snippets from each interview were inter-spliced acting as a nice teaser for the film.

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:

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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”.

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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Use of Footage

So at the moment I’m contacting a few sources to see if I can use some of their existing footage of people I have already interviewed for my documentary.

I’m slowly gathering bits and pieces together for everyone I have spoken to already. Everything from Tour photos, studio photos, live performances and video.

As this is a student project I think this gives me a bit of leniency. However I still don’t want to be stealing anybody’s work or anything. My mam always says treat people how you want to be treated so I’m taking this approach with asking people for usage of their stuff because I know I’d be a little angry if someone used any of my work without asking.

It doesn’t hurt to ask after all.

This calls for a smiths song.

 

I touched base today with RTE’s Other Voices asking if I could use some of their footage they have of Adrian Crowley and Conor O’Brien. They replied which is always a good sign, gonna get a proper response this week so will let you know everything in time loving blog-y readers.

I really like the performances of these songs.

 

 

 

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

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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.

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:

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Documentary :: User – Testing

Something I forgot to do initially in my design phase was user testing. So yesterday I set up a survey on the free online survey supplier Survey Monkey.

So far it’s been a great help to see some outside opinions on certain aspects of my project I’ve been dwelling on. It’s also great because it’s an anonymous survey, so you really know people are telling the truth and being brutally honest which is good to hear at the best of times.

Here’s the list of questions I asked.* (click image to see bigger)

Click here to take survey

Survey questions

Does the user play music?

Another important aspect to see was if the people taking the survey were musicians or non-musicians. My target audience isn’t only musicians but people who have a passion and love for music too even if they don’t play themselves. So I thought it would be an important part of the survey to see this.

Here’s the results so far:

Musician or not

Attention Span

One of my main worries was peoples attention span today when watching videos online especially with regards to my final year project as I’m making a documentary so it will most likely be longer than your average video you watch online. I phrased the question in a scenario way, saying:

What’s your normal attention span when watching a Documentary online?

The feedback so far has been better than expected, there is till hope for modern society! I was really worried that the majority of people would say 3-5 minutes but so far (what I was hoping for) people are saying they will watch a documentary between 15-20 minutes. This is a weight of the shoulders cause I really thought people’s attention spans today was much lower, especially when watching stuff online. My set target for the finished documentary is somewhere between the 15 to 20 minute mark so if people are telling the majority of people will watch the whole film.

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Will people watch if they don’t know the people?

Another interesting point I had been dwelling on was would people watch the documentary if they didn’t know any people involved?

So far the results have been quite positive with the majority of people saying they’d watch it whether they knew the people involved or not. I asked this out if curiosity more than anything. So far I have two well known songwriters set to interview but that may not be the case for the others I interview but so far the results give a good outlook on what people think.

InterviewsHow many Interviews is enough?

Through my research of watching documentaries on various different topics I sometimes found they would spend little or to much time on one person so this was a test to see what people think is the right balance.

I asked the question in a scenario case relating it back to the set target time of my finished project, saying:

For example in a 15 min documentary would you prefer only a few people were interviewed (4-5) or a wide range of people (5-10)

The results to this are also what I hoped for aswel. After watching some documentaries where they interviewed to much people I found it hard to take on board every one’s opinions preferring a doc with only a few people interviewed jumping between their different views.

Here’s the results:

How many people

Suggestions

The last question on the survey was if anyone had any suggestions on what people would like to see covered in a Documentary on the process of songwriting. I included this at the end to see other peoples views and ideas on what they would put in a film on this topic. I’ve been really surprised at the brilliant feedback and suggestions people have given me.

I’m going to bullet point some of the best suggestions that people said later this week.

Suggestions

 

Creating a Timeline Structure

A few weeks ago we received a very inspirational talk of Mark Doherty writer and actor of the Irish feature film ‘A film with me in it’ starring Dylan Moran among others.  If you haven’t seen it, would definitely recommend giving it a watch.

Throughout his talk, Mark laid on the class many words of wisdoms he’s picked up over the past few years writing stories, scripts and screenplays for various different productions. A good technique and habit he mentioned of getting into when writing a script or treatment is creating a physical timeline of your story and putting it into your workplace. By creating this physical thing/entity your making it a real story so to speak, its also a way I think anyway of subconsciously sinking your idea into your head.

I may not be creating a short-film or story but I still need to make some sort of Narrative out of everything I film for the overall documentary. So by doing this, I’m hoping with this and many other cork-boards (just this little one for now) to piece together all my different plans and ideas so I can see it physically and begin to tie all different stuff together and really see if things fit with each other. A good tip Mark said aswel, is to just use as many add on’s as possible – Post it’s, string, whatever! In this messy narrative stage its good to experiment and just see what sort of stuff you come out with.

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I’m still in the testing stages of the documentary, over the past two weekends I’ve been taking 3-4 hours to catch up with two local songwriters experimenting with filming styles, interviewing techniques and trying to think of ideas visually how songwriters go through the process of writing.

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This weekend I spoke to Oisín Leahy Furlong, a local young songwriter who’s currently in his 2nd year of studying music and songwriting at BIMM Dublin college, a branch of DIT. Oisín has been writing since he first picked up a guitar, from an early age Oisin was exposed to great songwriters like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Elliott Smith and many more from his parents vast music collection. Both his parents are Art teachers and this creativity side has definitely sinked into his music. He made for a very good interviewee with some very interesting views and answers on the art of songwriting . I’m hoping to maybe include him in the real documentary, at the moment I’m hoping to maybe speak to two international acts and two local acts making for a nice contrast.

I’ll put up a tester of his video as soon as I get it done,

Until then.

Testing Formats, Segment Ideas, Final Cut X and Getting Feedback.

This weekend I started testing some format ideas I’ve been thinking about for my documentary. It’s a little frustrating making a documentary in comparison to making a short-film as at least with a short you can script out different ideas and things that come to your head. So I thought as a good way of giving people a better understanding of what I’ve been doing was to just go out and start getting stuck in to some filming.

I interviewed my friend Stevin King this week. He’s in his mid twenties and has been writing songs since a very early age and writes around 10 songs on average every week. I thought this kind of songwriter would be a very interesting character to interview as a ‘Test run’ to see what kind of stuff I ended up with. I’ll probably be the only one going out when filming so I also wanted to start practicing my interviewing skills as this is something I’ve never really done before too.

Last week I put up different format ideas I was thinking for the documentary.

1) Putting them inside a box

2) Loosey Goosey

3) and Mr.Formal

For my experiment this week I went with Loosey Goosey as this was the one I felt more comfortable with for first testing.

FINAL CUT X is actually great

This was also a test for me trying out Final Cut X. I was always planning on editing my documentary in Final Cut Pro 7 but after some really good convincing by Ian Cudmore I said to myself I’d give it a go, and you know what “I really kinda like it”. I use a Panasonic GH1 DLSR camera for filming and this offers some trouble for getting clips into FCP 7 as it’s not a native editing format. This usually involves encoding the files to the native Apple Pro Res (LT) format which is not only a longer process but also an increase in file size too but in FCP X they have resolved all these issues and it now recognises AVCHD which is the panasonic format. Not only am I speeding up my workflow but I’m also decreasing my file sizes too. This is very awesome, so these are the reasons I bit the bullet and started testing.

 

I put the video up ‘Unlisted’ on YouTube so only people with a link can view it. I sent it to a view people to get some feedback and was really happy with some of the thoughts and constructive criticism I received. This is something I really want to do so I won’t get tunnel vision in what I’m doing and also by doing this I can get peoples thoughts on what kind of things they’d like to see covered in a documentary on this particular topic.

Graham Smithers:

That’s class, just like a nice little chat.

Doesn’t look forced, could watch shit like that all day like, really interesting.

 

Donancha Coffey

Its a solid piece, could be excellent with a few tweaks. (ill be overly critical here, take what you want from it but in the end its only one dudes opinion)

A) Its one of my pet peeves to have musicians interviewed holding their instrument, we know what they do, having it there is at best a prop, and at worst a barrier between you and them.

B)B) Im sure youll have realised in editing this you gotta stay as silent as possible during films, in conversation we always say “yeah” and “Um” to show were listening, when that shows up in Docs its super distracting.

C) Its a little still, the most interesting part is where he is rummaging around his notebooks and theres a clatter of tapes. Maybe if you interview him again interview on the move (if its at all possible) If you watch a Louie Theroux documentary he never really sits down with them they’re always doing their job, making a sandwich whatever, the distraction gets them out of their head lets down their guard a bit.

D) Its hard to tell what the full shape of the thing will be, but if you’re just focusing on this guy you have to remember then the audience will only like the documentary if they like him. If they don’t like him, and people can pick loads of arbitrary reasons not to like someone, they wont like the doc.

So those are my thoughts, take em as you will, I’m focusing on the negatives, but I think its a solid piece and with a few tweaks it could be great.

Sara Rothwell

I love the shot where he’s walking towards the shed/house and the audio is him flicking through his notebooks. The clatter sounds like his footsteps which is great. Did you record his footsteps as well? It’s little things like that which I love.

Stephen Allen

You definitely need more than one camera next time, better sound of him playing too and also consider a nicer more like famous place like whelans for filming

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