Friday, August 8, 2008

Jaimes' Tips for Better DIY Filmmaking!

6 Tips for Better DIY Filmmaking!

1. Shorter is better.

You can make your movie as short (or long) as you want- but people who watch the movie are going to remember the content, not the necessarily the length of your movie. It’s more important to convey a strong idea in a concise manner than it is to show every detail of your idea. Edit out parts of your movie that are not important to the plot or idea you are talking about- this will keep your audience interested and engaged!

2. Show, Don’t Tell.

Some things are best left to interpretation—generally, the audience doesn’t want to be told how to think or feel about things. This rule applies to any kind of movie from fiction to documentary. If a character in your story is really excited, don’t just have them say “Wow, I’m really excited”- show them doing something that communicates that visually!

3. Shot Structure

You always have one more actor than you think on your movie set—your camera! Make sure to have a wide variety of shots in your movie- what the camera does throughout the film can help to develop a strong storyline/idea. Be sure to get coverage with wide shots, medium shots and close ups. There’s a lot of theory about shot structure out there. Check out our resources section for more detailed information.

4. Plan, Plan, Plan!

It’s a good idea to get as much pre-production work done as possible before you start shooting. Here’s a list of a few things that will make your filmmaking run more smoothly! In addition to the things listed below, you may need to think about location, auditions and getting crew members. You can find more information about pre-production in our resources section at the end of this handout.

Script- Writing a script, even for the most simple movie, will help you get a better idea of what you r movie will be like.

Storyboard- Once you have a script, you can start planning your shots. It’s good to plan a variety of shots and angles to keep your movie visually interesting.

Shot List- A shot list is used during production to keep track of all of the shots that are outlined in your storyboard.

5. WTF, L?

WTF, L? (or what we call What The Freak, Larry?) is a trick for remembering four basic things while you are shooting your movie.

White Balance- White balance is the way that video cameras read the hue of light. Basically, when you look at something white through the camera, it should look white! It’s a little different on all cameras, so check the user manual for your camera if you are not sure how to change the white balance.

Tripod- Make sure the tripod is balanced and that the camera doesn’t look skewed (unless you are doing it on purpose) when you look through the viewfinder.

Focus- Imagine realizing that the best footage you have ever shot was just a little out of focus! Sometimes it’s hard to tell if things are in focus when all you have is a small screen/viewfinder.

Video- For video cameras, you can zoom in what you are focusing on, set the camera to auto focus, and once the camera focuses, set the camera to manual focus. This should lock the focus.

Film-For film cameras measure the distance from the lens of the camera to where you want to focus with a measuring tape.

Lights- Check the lighting in your camera’s viewfinder one last time before you start to shoot!

6. Editing Tips

Some general rules to consider while editing:

Cut on the action- You don’t have to wait for the action to end before you cut to the next shot- in fact- most editors cut just before the action is over. The human brain automatically fills in the action that is not portrayed, and it makes for a faster paced movie!

The Kuleshov Effect- Two images that don’t seem to have anything to do with each other can be edited together, and the human mind processes them as being together. For example, imagine a person’s face looking down at something, then an image of a cupcake. It may seem like these two images don’t have anything to so with each other, but when they are put together, it would seem like the person is looking at the cupcake!

Color Correction and Audio Adjustment- If you plan on doing color correction and audio adjustments to your movie (highly recommended), do this last! Make sure you have the movie cut the way that you like it before you start these processes, it will save you some work!

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