264MC – Cinematographer Reflection

Throughout this process of filming our short film The Birthday Card I have learnt a lot about myself and how I work with other people I leant that there are area’s I need to grow in my filming knowledge but I think this will happen over time with me spending more time researching and watching more films. This project was a first for me for many different reasons the biggest one being working in a group of 10+ people.

I wanted to research my role more so I had a better understanding in what I was doing/going to do. When looking into this I came across a video on No Film School- called What Does It Mean To Be Cinematographer I found this video very helpful and inspiring. It explained that we could all have the tools to make the film but unless we have a vision of what were creating it wont come across that way. I think this is something I practiced when in production, when I had a certain vision or an idea on I would describe my idea and what I envisioned and then came up with alternative if we saw it differently.

In our first meeting together as a group we read through all the scripts that had been provided to us and as a group we had to select which one we liked the most. The majority of us all liked The Birthday Card by Alexandra Thomas. We all liked this because of how it was written and the storyline. We discussed on what kind of genre the short film was and we came to the agreement it was a drama with a hint of a dark comedy running through it.

We then tried to plan out our time and when we would like to film and possibly filming locations. We also in this meeting tried to come up with a budget and other ways we can come up with some money to put in towards our film. Looking back on the idea of putting money towards the film I would definitely look into started a funding page such as kickstarter.

We carried on meeting as a group and discussed the look we wanted for our film – and the feel we wanted to create. At first we all had different visions/looks on how we wanted the colour wise. One person used Made In Chelsea as a colour inspiration for the beginning scene, whereas I had another vision for what I saw. We carried on discussing this and we later agreed what we liked and took inspiration from films like Gone Girl and Her. Two different films in colour but I thought that it was something that shows the relationship of the two characters well and the destruction of their relationship throughout the short film and it was similar to the mood board that I had created

Also during the pre production we wanted to do was try to get into contact with the writer so we could discuss their vision for what she wanted. So I found her email address and got into contact with her and also discuss any changes we might want to make.

After emailing with Alexandra for the couple days myself, Farai and Danieyl met with Alexandra in the hub. When we met her we discussed her vision and what her inspirations were when she wrote the script. She told us one of her inspirations was Gone Girl specifically the end scene with Amy- she said this was inspiration for Lucy the main character in The Birthday Card. We also talked with her about changes we wanted to make such as filming locations. In the script the scenes are set in London but we already discussed as a group that this would be a difficult place to film in because of costing but we came to an a agreement with Alex that Leamington Spa was a similar place to film. We also talked with Alex about her casting preferences and what she saw for the characters and this really helped us because our next stage of pre production was casting and finding a location. Casting was a difficult process because at first we weren’t getting replies to our casting calls but eventually we had an influx of replies and casting videos. On March 2nd we had a first character cast and the following week we had Anna and Nick respectively cast too.


Our filming started on the March 9th and finished the 10th. During these two days was where my role came into play the most. A cinematographer’s job role is work with the camera and lighting people and we are in charge of making the film with the two departments (camera and lighting) we chose what colours are used and how we want the film to look and feel like. I have to admit like I have said before when we first started I found myself quite daunted by the prospect of being a cinematographer to a large group, I did know what to expect. The first day started of well and I think I learnt a lot more about the job role and how communication is key especially when working in big groups. You don’t want to get over powered with a lot of information and filming a lot of scenes in one day. The second day is probably where I found the most difficulty. I kind of felt I was doing my role to the best and didn’t really know what was going on in the shoot, but after a talk I found it helpful and we were all back on the same page on how we wanted everything to go and look.

On looking at the final short film I think as a group we’ve done really with what we have produced. I’m really happy with the actors we got to play the roles of Anna, Nick and Lucy and I’m also grateful with the script that we chose. Looking back I think I have learnt a lot more about cinematography and I definitely will be exploring as a possible career to look into. For our short film I would love to enter it into film festivals and see how far it could go and what kind of reception we would get from a wider audience.


  1. Elementsofcinema.com. (2017). What Does a Cinematographer Do?. [online] Available at: http://www.elementsofcinema.com/cinematography/cinematography-basics/ [Accessed 27 Mar. 2017].
  2. Foster, A. (2017). Short Film:Production Diary – WEEK ONE. [online] WordPress. Available at: https://abigailfosteryr2.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/short-filmproduction-diary-week-one/ [Accessed 27 Mar. 2017].
  3. Hardy, R. (2017). What Does It Mean to Be a Cinematographer? This Beautiful Video Explains It All. [online] No Film School. Available at: http://nofilmschool.com/2014/07/what-does-it-mean-to-be-cinematographer-video [Accessed 27 Mar. 2017].












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