Reflection on Production Day 4-6 (361mc)

The second part of the week was mostly taken up by our second project for our host organisation ‘Culture Vultures’, this will be further highlighted in a future post. Nonetheless, we still continued to get up early in the mornings and attempt at capturing the right shots on the roof as the weather would dictate. It did get quite frustrating at times as the weather really did change every 24 hours, we had blue skies, overcast, super cloudy then harsh lightning/thunder storms. The use of gradient filters helped at certain points but once again they can only do so much, they do not possess the power to fix blown out skies. Luckily, working through DaVinchi Resolve, I was able to fix some of the skies so that the overall look throughout the sequence was retained. It was often the case where we either had a horrible sky, just right or too blue. As the weather would change each day, not all the shots had a similar amount of natural lighting, obscured through the amount of cloud.

Here are some more screengrabs of both the raw and graded footage. You can see that in one, I had to actually tone down the blue sky in order for it to work with the other shots:

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Here I manually set the mask for the sky by plotting points around the buildings, the centre mosque and the cliffside. It does look dirtier but it fits well with the other shots and brings out the depth of the colour in the surrounding dwellings. Below is a screenshot directly from DaVinchi where you can see the mask outline and the first change to the offset:

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The grade is not 100% final yet, this is just an example of the development taking place out here and the ideas we are having to combat this rapid change in weather and lighting. If you have a look below you can see a Raw still showing just how difficult the cloud was.

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The final day gave us the opportunity to gather some shots around Sefrou, capturing everyday life where possible. It was difficult to just head out and start shooting as in certain parts you needed a media pass and when you don’t really speak a world of the local dialect, if something were to happen we’d be in trouble. Thankfully I was able to walk round with Jess, an English creative who runs the organisations and has lived in Sefrou for 8 years. Jess has become a real part of this community so it was quite something to see her interact and engage with the Moroccan people. I would always want to ask artisans and make people aware of what I was filming but this can be hard to clearly communicate at times. Jess ensured this wasn’t an issue.

I now finish this post before my final evening in this beautiful place, very sad to be returning home to the ‘real’ world. I feel very blessed to have been able to bring this project into fruition and work with Mustapha and Culture Vultures. Now the real hard work begins, I will need to type up the translations and start the assembly edit. Luckily, I have already started the overall grade and putting things down on the timeline. I am feeling good about this project and excited to move forward in post.

To conclude, here is a short video showing some behind the scene moments of the week. Recorded on an old phone, it represents the natural journey we took as two lads heading out alone to really challenge ourselves and make this thing happen. Also works as a stark contrast to the quality of the film. Enjoy:

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