Films Shown at the June Meeting

The Edit Exercise was followed by a selection of members films which had not previously been shown at the club. These included ‘Leap Second’ by Ivan Dally a colourful and lively film about student life at Oxford, ‘Bracklesham the Return’ by Peter Frost, two film makers settle into deckchairs on the beach to chat about past antics. Jim Reed showed three films the first ‘Santa’ and the second ‘Call Centre Scam’ were both very funny and displayed Jim’s excellent editing skills. His third film a documentary on the Women’s Suffragette Movement was also a fine example of Jim’s work.

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Edit Exercise Results

The results of this years ’Edit Exercise’ were also announced at the meeting. A good varied selection of members films were shown over three categories, ‘30 Second Advert’, ‘1 Minute Epic’ and ‘6 Minute Film’. Entries were submitted by Peter Stratford, Colin Lewis, Peter Ives, Vic Stroud, Jim Reed and Ivan Dally. The films were watched and voted for by the audience on the night.
Peter Stratford won the 30 Second Advert with his film ‘Bottled Water’.

The 1 Minute Epic was won by Jim Reed’s ‘The Visitor’ and the 6 Minute Film was won by Colin Lewis’s ‘Park, Pancakes, Party and Play’.

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Sound Levels Talk

At the June club meeting, club member Dave Rayers gave a talk and presentation on how to use audio correctly when film making. The discussion covered many aspects of audio including the importance of getting the sound level correct and distortion free whilst filming so that the projectionists do not have to make corrections. You cannot presume that the sound from your camera is ok, it is best to use a dedicated microphone designed for the type of film you are making. There are no set standards for audio, it depends where you are filming and the many other ambient factors around you. Amateur film makers often cannot afford the luxury of expensive audio kit that the professionals use, but they can with a little care produce very effective sound for their films. Dave explained that when editing sound on your computer, choose a quiet room, use good ‘near field’ speakers level with your ears. Keeping an eye on the red ‘overload’ light on your audio level indicator will help you to keep a constant steady sound level. Sound is one of the most important factors of a film, it needs to be correct and Dave’s Audio presentation was well received by the audience.

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Paul Vernon Hosts the May Club Meeting with Vermijo

Paul Vernon is a member of Solent Movie Makers club which is based in Southampton and Surrey Border Movie Makers welcomed him as host of the monthly meeting in May.

Last year Paul visited the club to show members a trailer of his new Western Period Drama ‘Vermijo’ which was filmed in Arizona and won the Diamond BIAFF (British International Amateur Film Festival) Award. Surrey Border Movie members enjoyed watching the full-length film as part of a special evening. Paul answered many questions from the audience about how he made the film including the location, the actors and actresses some of whom appear regularly in local Wild West Shows, costumes, props and stunts all of which he needed to source to make the film as authentic looking as possible. Paul had also made a ‘behind the scenes’ film which showed the light-hearted side of making ‘Vermijo’. The evening was a great success especially as some of the Surrey Border Movie members decided to join Paul in dressing up in cowboy attire for the event.

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May Club Night

After the break Peter Frost showed the club his very amusing ‘Making of Up, Up and Away’ which is club Secretary Rita Wheelers film entry for the Impact 50 Screenwriting Competition. The actual film of ‘Up, Up and Away’ featuring actor Gary Comerford and Surrey Borders club member Brian O’Connell was also shown at the end of the evening.

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Rehearsing the Impact 50 Scriptwriting Film

In early March film club members braved the adverse weather conditions to film the technical rehearsal for club Secretary Rita Wheeler’s entry for The Impact 50 Scriptwriting film ‘Up Up and Away’. At least a dozen members of the club gathered in a snowy and muddy field in Crondall to film some of the more challenging shots required for the finished film. The actual main filming went ahead at the end of March and is now being edited for submission into the Create 50 – The Impact feature film competition. www.impact50film.com

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Exciting New Spitfire Film Previewed

Surrey Border Movie Makers were honoured to be shown clips from David Fairhead’s new film ‘Spitfire’ which is due to be released in July. David is a very talented film Editor and Produced and Co Directed the film with his friend Anthony Palmer. David is a local Rushmoor resident and the idea of making the Feature Documentary came from a meeting three years ago over a pint in the Barley Mow pub at Tilford.

In the film veteran spitfire pilots speak candidly and emotionally about their personal experiences flying these iconic planes in WW2. The average age of the pilots being interviewed in the documentary is 94, when they flew in the war most of them were just 19 years old. The Battle of Britain Fighter Organisation gave permission for the interviews to take place.
The film uses incredible air to air footage taken by specialist Aerial Photographer John Dibbs using a very expensive 4K camera mounted on a helicopter. Four ground crew cameramen were used for filming on a grass runway at Bicester Airfield. RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, Dunkeswell Airfield in Honiton and Beachy Head in East Sussex were also sourced as ideal filming locations. A team from Rolls Royce were on hand to ensure that all safety issues were adhered to.
Lots of research had to be done to produce this film and it took 18 months to put a trailer together to enable funds to be raised to make the documentary possible, it is not just about a very special aeroplane, it is a personal and touching film about the pilots who flew Spitfires and the ground crew who guided them through combat.

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Surrey Border make film for the Appropriate Adult Volunteer Service

During early Summer of 2017 Surrey Border Movie Makers were approached to make a training film for Woking Police Station. The club agreed to make the film and in July the AAVS Project (Appropriate Adult Volunteer Service) was filmed by club members Philip Morley and John Mills. It wasn’t without it challenges as it was filmed in Woking Police Station’s Custody Suite which had very limited space and security on site was obviously very high. Woking Police Station supplied a list of the shots required, the script and the actors, actual members of the AAVS played their own roles. The film was shown at the February club meeting. It was a very successful project for the club and the film will be shown for training purposes around the country by the police.

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Tips on using a Mobile Phone for Filming

Anyone with a smart phone can use it to make a very successful movie and this was demonstrated by John Mills at Surrey Borders February meeting. There are now many add on gadgets available to enhance movie making with your phone, microphones (with wind covers if needed), zoom lenses and tripods etc. are available, they are good quality and a reasonable price. To keep his phone filming kit compact John suggested using a small ‘man bag’ which will hold all of your phone accessories and is less bulky than some of the conventional camera bags. When movie making with a smart phone the importance of getting the ‘white balance’ correct was discussed, and like standard video camera filming it is important to create a ‘story board’ beforehand as this will save time. John presented a short film made on a mobile phone to show the audience what could be achieved.

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Self Funded Feature Film Premieres in Guildford

After two years of video shoots in four counties, followed by months of editing, Brian O’Connell was able to launch his World War ll period feature film Sarah’s War at Guildford’s Electric Theatre in a grand Premiere screening to a packed house.  In true Hollywood style it was not only a black tie and ‘diamonds’ event but also an Award Ceremony that Hollywood would have been proud of in its presentation.

Brian is a local resident and a member of Surrey Border Movie Makers (SBMM) based in Farnham and has been helped by a dedicated team of members in all aspects of the shoots, aiding the professional actors and crew members to minimise time and cost, although his self funded budget was substantial for a private production.

Further more a ‘Premiere’ team of members on the night also prepared posters, a leaflet giving background to the actors and production, a red carpet interview of cast members conducted by Katie Lewis, who has interviewed on the red carpet in London’s West End for BBC Films, and the grand Awards Ceremony on screen video created by Philip Morley of SBMM that featured each actor and crew member as they came on stage to be given their award by Writer, Producer, Director Brian O’Connell.

Sarah’s War was shown in two halves with an interval, its overall running time being 1 hour 50 minutes, and was rapturously applauded both after the first half and at the end with a standing ovation.  It was gratifying too, that during the Awards, the audience greeted each cast and crew member with enthusiastic applause and cheering, especially the leading actors, Paul Antony-Barber, a renowned film actor playing Sarah’s grandfather, Simon Christian as Klaus Bergman, a German Nazi officer who holds Sarah and her grandfather hostage on board a boat during the war, and the leading lady and title role of Sarah Harris, played by Lily Smith.

Simon and Lily are both graduates of the Guildford School of Acting, as is another cast member, Gillian Taylforth who played Agnes in the film.  These talented young actors accomplished some very tense, tender and aggressive moments in the film, especially when the locations presented challenges in their own right.  And they returned to their roles over the two year period, getting back into character after long breaks which, as Lily commented during her interview, is not so easy but it’s what actors must learn to do.

It is a credit to Brian O’Connell, the cast and crew, both professional and SBMM members, who recreated the WWll atmosphere of the Hamble Estuary in wartime so effectively, helped by Director of Photography, Théo Clark’s camera work  in some very low light and extremely confined spaces.  The aftermath of the war brings Sarah a cruel and relentless personal battle, set in 1940s styled locations, when the palpable struggle of a single mother in censorious post war England finds that her only hope lies with the Nazi that once nearly took her life.

As a notable film maker, Script Writer, Producer and Director, Brian can now look back on this mammoth effort with considerable satisfaction and pride.

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Annual Movie Competition

The annual Club Members Competition had twelve entries for 2017. Amongst this year’s films were Documentaries, Holiday’s, Comedies, a Wedding, a visual Sound Poem and a Musical Fantasy. Two new club members Peter Stratford and Patric Hinde both entered films. Peters film ‘Chinese New Year 2017 in Hong Kong’ was full of interesting facts and good camerawork, it won the ‘Best First Time Winner’ trophy and also Best Use of Sound. Patric Hinde who is an MGBGT enthusiast as well as a keen film maker created a 1min comedy about his beloved car which the audience enjoyed.

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Annual Movie Competition Results

There were ten trophies and the winners were: Best Holiday Film won by Colin Lewis for ‘Highlights of Cape Town’, this film also won Colin the Best Commentary trophy.

Best Photography won by Peter Frost for ‘The Dawning’ filmed at Newlands Corner in Guildford, Peter also won the Best Creative Award and the film was voted The Best Overall, so quite an achievement. Best Documentary won by Alan Butcher for his film ‘Hog’s Back Brewery’, Alan also won Best Camerawork for this film about the creation of the new Revival Hop Garden in Tongham and the hop harvesting and processing filmed on the Hampton Estate in Farnham. Best Editing was awarded to Gillian Gatland for her film ‘The Laxey Wheel’ a huge waterwheel built into the hillside of Laxey on the Isle of Man, Gillian explained the origins of the wheel and its brilliant engineering. The Highly Commended Certificate went to Philip Morley for his film ‘Barry’s Line in the Sky’ about New Zealander Barry Brickell who was a potter, writer and conservationist who built the narrow gauge ‘Driving Creek Railway’ on his 60-acres of land through some very challenging terrain.

The Competition judges all from Solent Movie Makers were ‘Chairman’ Jeremy Holder who has made several winning documentaries, Mike Power a professional photography specialist who has also won many film competitions and Paul Vernon a keen Photographer who now uses his skills to make very successful western films. They all agreed that the Surrey Border Movie Makers entries this year were of a very high standard and the club is grateful for their excellent judging and critique.

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December Meeting Judges

The December club meeting will welcome two of the three judges from Solent Movie Makers, Jeremy Holden (Chairman) and Paul Vernon who will be announcing the winner of the Surrey Border Movie Makers Club Competition. Sadly, the third Judge Mike Power is unable to attend.

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Norah’s Ark Film Premier

Earlier this year Surrey Border Movie Makers Honorary Secretary Rita Wheeler entered the ‘Create 50 – The Impact’ scriptwriting competition and this has resulted in Rita making a short film called ‘Norah’s Ark’. The film based on the traditional ‘Noah’s Ark’ story was filmed at Potters Gate School in Farnham as it had an ideal boat in the play area which could become the ‘Ark’. Local children from Farnham and surrounding area’s took part in the film. Actress Victoria Ledwidge took the leading role as school Teacher Norah, Surrey Border Movie Makers Member Peter Frost played the part of Mr Huber (Noah), Evie Addley took the leading child role as Evie. The Norah’s Ark Premiere took place at the November club meeting and was watched by actors and parents who took part in the film, Siblings and Grandparents were also guests. The popcorn supplied during the film viewing proved popular with the audience and a variety of tasty cakes were consumed in the break.

Prior to the Premiere, Surrey Border Movie Makers member Alan Butcher showed a short film of ‘The Making of Norah’s Ark’ which raised a lot of interest with everyone involved in the film and Kathy Butcher’s 4min film of the ‘Norah’s Ark Singing Rehearsals’ was also shown. The ‘Norah’s Ark’ film will now be submitted into a follow-on competition for entry into a bigger feature film.

After the break a selection of films from the SERIAC (South East Region of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers) 2017 Show Reel were shown and discussed.

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Annual Interclub Competition

The popular annual Inter Club Competition for South East Movie clubs was hosted by Surrey Border Movie Makers in Farnham. Four clubs entered films this year. Reading Film and Video Makers ‘Gift of Love’ was based on a love story during the war, it was partly filmed on the Watercress Line railway and Worthing Beach, costumes were hired which added to the authenticity of this very well made film. Sutton Film Makers ‘Almost Perfect’ was a gripping horror story about Funeral Cosmetology (Corpse Make-up) and an un-witting applicant who arrived for an interview at the Funeral Parlour. The film was praised for it’s dramatic tension, suspense and good use of appropriate music. Unfortunately, Sutton Film Makers could not be present on the competition night. Staines Video Makers entered their film ‘ To Eleanor’, starring Elise Stannard, the film was made at Black Pond in Esher and was a moving film about the tragic loss of a twin sister. South Downs Film Makers ‘Travel Companion’ was a comedy about an advertisement a wife saw for an un-usual holiday in a Russian prison which she wanted to take, her husband was not keen and decided to provide his wife with his own version of a secluded holiday whilst he and his attractive neighbour went away somewhere far more glamourous. This well paced comedy with a good twist raised a lot of laughs with the audience.

The difficult job of judging the high standard films was made by Surrey Border Committee members Dave Rayers and Peter Frost.

After much discussion ‘To Eleanor’ by Staines Video Makers was announced the winner for it’s good acting, camerawork and music. Martine Stannard was presented with the Inter Club Competition Award.

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Documentary Competition Results Announced

At the October meeting the winner of the Documentary Competition held in September was announced. Third place went to Peter Stratford for his film ‘Forgotten Country’, second place was ‘The Tour’ by Peter Frost. The winner was Colin Lewis’s film ‘Samuel Cody and His Flying Machines’.

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New MAC Users Forum

A new Mac user’s forum will officially start from October 2017 at Peter Matthews studio (Hut 3 Cinema). This follows the 2016 training sessions for the Hollywood Camera Work Course which were held at either Mike Sanders studio for PC users or Peter Mathews studio for Mac users. A taster evening was held in September for the new Mac Forum. Five members were present Peter Matthews, Brian O’Connell, John Ivil and Alan and Kathy Butcher. A lively discussion took place concerning editing software, in particular Final Cut Pro a popular choice with Mac users and included information on getting the most from special effects to overcome, correct or improve various shooting problems. Hints and tips were also exchanged between members which is always useful. Everyone came away having learnt something which is one of the main aims of the evening.

If you are a Mac user or are thinking about buying a Mac and are interested in joining the monthly forum please contact Alan Butcher training@surreyborder.org.uk

or Peter Matthews at the next club night.

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