The Future’s Past Short Film

The Set Up and Location

The setup of the story takes place in the All Saints’ Church on Castlemain Avenue, Southbourne.

First Scene
The Arriving in the first scene is a shot at the main entrance of the church. Jack arrives in a car and stops after passing through the church gates. It’s a long apparently static shot, which shows how Jack turns off the engine of his car, comes out and walks slowly towards the entrance of the church. There is a soundtrack file that plays background music to produce a mysterious tone for the narrative that is intended to play throughout the first two scenes. The total time of this scene is 00:29:15.

There are two cuts, one cut at the beginning on 00:31:11, and another at the end of this take 1:01:16.

Adding subtle jump cuts to play the clip at faster speed can be a useful editing technique to show the mood and set a creative pace for the narrative. According to András Bálint Kovács, “the effect of jump cuts suggests to the viewer that actions are not represented in the film, they are rather created by authorial will, and their pace depends not on how they occur in reality, but what emotional effect the auteur wishes to exercise on the viewer” (Kovács, 2007, p. 132).

Problem: To shorten this scene using jump cuts can make the scene to look jagged, and the effect is not pleasing. The director and cinematographer should decide about this from the beguining of the shooting, if they want or not to use jump cuts in the post-production. If the camera slightly moves to follow the actor, the transition will normally result in an abrupt jump cut rather than a smooth and seamless jump cut effect.

Solution: These jump cuts will obviously shorten the scene. Apparently, for this scene there aren’t any stable shots and it was decided not to use this technique. It is clear that the jumping effect destabilises the scene. Because this is the first scene, a notable solution can be to add a few film title sequences, including the actor’s name, production company name and the short film title to show the fast pace needed.

Second Scene

Next shot is taken from inside the church and it shows how Jack opens the inside church doors, and walks slowly towards the camera. The camera angle changes to what looks like a woman praying in a priest’s white robe with her hands leaning on a oak designed table. This apparently dark space, comes to life by using lighting candles, and additional artificial lighting sets to help create the desired effect between the shadow and highlights that evokes a sense of sacredness and intimacy.

As the young man is slowly walking inside and with his fingers touching the pedestrian, the camera moves smoothly back. This can be done by sitting on an adjustable rolling chair with the camera in your hands, and someone else from behind has to pull back the rolling chair continuously.

The camera angle changes to what looks like a woman praying in a priest’s white robe with her hands leaning on a oak designed table. In the next part of the scene long takes are used that effectively represent the required information and have a fairly balanced sequence composition.

“As a sequence is being cut, the cutter should know where a particular setup most effectively presents the information needed for a particular part of the scene. In other words, he will stay with a shot as long as that shot is the one which best delivers the required information and cut to another shot only when the new cut will better serve the purposes of the scene, whether because the size is more effective, the composition is more suitable, or the interpretation is superior” (Dmytryk, 2013, p. 25).

In the second part of this scene (from 00:01:38), the argument rises as the tension grows in intensity, so the cutting on movement is done more frequently to create a dynamic environment which keeps the suspense through variation in camera angles. It presents the audience with the context for dramatic information within the shot “in which the existence of danger, conflict, and anticipation could all be created through the editing” (Dancyger, 2002, p. 117).

Third Scene

In the third action scene the pace of narrative is fast, it gradually grows and changes. Because things are changing fast, and the editing method is faster, using different medium shots from left to right almost in the circle to show variation of shots in order to emphesise intensification in the action sequence. This technique is particularly useful “as we move toward the conclusion of the scene, the point at which one character achieves his or her goal and the other character fails” (Dancyger, 2002, p. 264).

The use of close-ups and point-of-view shots is intended to help the spectator to get emotionally involved and encourages emotional involvement and identification with the characters. The camera angle changes more often than before throughout this sequence, and the editing in this sense follows the characters and the relationships between one another, switching between the pattern set earlier and a series of shorter medium shots, and close-ups, moving in a semi-circular motion around the characters. Making a camera variation in the sequence that will help to achieve action intensification.

The clip AA003301 in the third scene is the most balanced shot and it can be used throughout this sequence as a pattern set in combination with shorter shots in the middle ground and extreme close-ups in the foreground. This clip somehow dictates the pacing and rhythm of this last sequence. In this clip it shows the Disheveled Man from the back side pointing the gun at Jack.

The clip AA003301 was later moved in the timeline and AA004001 took its place and it shows the Disheveled Man from the front side. This was provided as a solution because of the camera’s close-focus capability to show the Disheveled Man from the main character’s left shoulder.

The point-of-view shot used in this scene relates to a camera that looks up on the actors to portray an image where the main protagonist Jack appears as a dominant presence in the conflict. It shows the action from the victims perspective and it gives the audience that type of identification with the characters in a scene that’s very conflicting and at this point the drama level is extremely high.

Acting and Directing

The actors had performed a number of takes for each scene, and the cinematographers had the opportunity to take shots from different angles, however, many were out of focus or simply not composed appropriately. As a result, the decision was taken not to use those shots in the film.

Nearly all scenes were taken multiple times. The director David j Henson wanted to get into the rhythm and the script continuity and this way was able to make a number of takes for each scene. The dramatic plot is constructed around the argument of permanent destruction of the world that Jack seems concerned about and wants to prove it to the priest. The plot comes out as a surprise in this short film and the spectators don’t even notice that is there, for example, the part where the initial appearance of the Dishevelled Man with a gun at the lower portion of his body, and holding it closed …

The video and audio were used separately to record high-quality audio and video when shooting as Arnheim suggested image and sound were ‘separate and complete structural forms’ (Perkins, 1972. p.37).

In the Post-production

The characters in the film are presented in the foreground in all four scenes. In the second scene it’s used a medium shot to show how the characters interact in the foreground. The environment, mostly darken colours, is always present in the background, however, constant and indifferent to these characters.

The detail of the man walking with the gun is inserted in that moment when Jack laughs about what the priest said to him, that Jack should have faith in God. There is a close-up shot of the Disheveled Man with the gun which shows the middle portion of the body and it can be used to give the spectator a clue that the plot is clearly expected to come. Because the intruder is still unknown using this clip only for 2 seconds makes the preparation for the plot exciting and can inject suspense in the scene.

The Future’s Past Second Version

The second version of The Future’s Past has different title sequences and they’re are placed at the beginning of the first scene. While for the first film is used drawing titles in a cartoon style for the second film there are After Effects titles. This short film stops on a freeze frame.

While the first version shows after AA004001 Sub 05 (Disheveled man front) the video clip AA003901.Sub.00 (Disheveled man and Jack profile) and AA003301 (Disheveled man back) than AA028101.Sub.01 (close-up shot Jacks face) than to AA003301 (Disheveled man back), the second version has a different arrangement.

The second version shows after AA004001 Sub 05 (Disheveled man front) and AA003901.Sub.00 (Disheveled man and Jack profile) than jumps to AA028101.Sub.01 (close-up shot Jacks face) and only than to AA003301 (Disheveled man back).

Deleted close up clip AA028401.Sub.03.are you insane and added another clip AA004001 (Are you insane) to show the Disheveled Man from the front side as he can be seen much better in action. Now after AA003901 Sub 1 will pay clip AA004001 (Dishevelled Man: Are you insane…).

While the first version shows after the AA003901.Sub.01 (Disheveled man and Jack profile), a AA028401.Sub.03.are you insane (Disheveled man close up) and than back to AA003301 (Disheveled man back) and AA003901.Sub.02.taking the gun (Profile shot) and AA028401.Sub.09 (Disheveled man close-up),

the second version after the AA003901.Sub.01 (Disheveled man and Jack profile) follows AA004001.are you insane (Disheveled man front) and than back to AA003301 (Disheveled man back) and AA003901.Sub.02.taking the gun (Profile shot) and AA028401.Sub.09. (Disheveled man close-up).