Friday, May 1, 2015

Filming (Notes from “How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck”)

In history our third-quarter project gave us absolute freedom to do whatever we wanted. My friends and I (who have already made a movie together) decided to pull together and create a second masterpiece. In preparation, I skimmed the book  How to Shoot Video that Doesn't Suck and made notes for myself and our other camera lady. 

When the camera is placed in your hands, you are now the filmographer and the director. It is up to you to make sure that the scene you film is as good as it can possibly be. Here are some tips from my film book:

Think in shots
  • Is what you’re filming interesting? How can you make the scene more interesting?
  • What is the point of focus?
  • How can you convey the emotion/dynamic/action/plot of the shot better?

Avoid super long panoramic views
  • Mostly because we want to keep this video under 10 minutes (though it may have to be longer simply because we need to have 10 hours each, and since some of y’all aren’t writing/editing)
  • One or two might be nice to set a scene or whatever, and it wouldn’t kill us to film them, but a 10 second view of the landscape isn’t that interesting.

Keep shots under 10 seconds
  • unless it’s ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, do not shoot the same shot for more than 10/15 seconds.
  • It becomes boring and the action of the scene is broken. I know that for us most of our shots will probably be a little long (that’s ok) but we don’t want to slow it down.

Close ups & zooming
  • Don’t stand 5 feet away from the person and then zoom in with the screen.
    • it makes the footage more unstable
    • it makes the footage loose quality
    • neither of those will get us an A
  • If we are doing a close face shot, actually stand close enough to make the shot without zooming. It may be a little uncomfortable and awkward, but we don't want to zoom too much. If we really need to, I can zoom later in editing.

Keep the light behind you
  • Unless we have a reason to have the light behind the character, it’s usually best to keep everything in the shot well-lit

Turn off ALL digital effects
  • Unless it’s something we can only do on the phone, then please let Amanda deal with it after in the editing process. It makes life simpler.

Stand still while filming

Remember the intent of the scene
  • Is the character happy/sad/angry/at war/waiting for news of the war/listening to the radio... the actor needs to do their part to convey the scene, it’s the filmers part to make sure that nothings lost between face and film
  • Know the story and the scene, it will make this part much easier

Plan a shot list
  • We’ll plan a few specific shots in the writing meeting, but the rest of the shots will be decided on-site.
  • So basically make sure you know what you’re filming

Make the star look great
  • If they obviously have no clue what is going on, stop the video, stop them, and save us a the embarrassment of turning in a bad movie
  • Make sure they actually look good. Sometimes cameras picu up weird lighting or whatever,  so make sure they’re not too washed out/shadowed.


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