Film Making


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My youth church is going to be making a short film (30min) in the next couple of weeks. I am going to be filming and my friend is going to be editing. I was wondering if anyone has any specific advice. I want everything to be done with excellence. I want this to be something I wouldn't mind having my name attached to. Here is part of the situation however, I don't have a final script yet and filming starts Monday (Memorial Day). I suppose I can work around that but it doesn't help to get a story board. Also furthermore what is the purpose of a story board? Basically I'm asking for a run down of the steps to make a good film. I'll probably talk to our media center at church too. Hopefully Patrick can give me a few pointers.

My plans so far are:
To not film a scene unless there are at least two cameras. I know I can use the church's XL1, and I can probaly borrow a pretty nice Sony. I figure the Sony will do well on a tripod with a static shot then use the XL1 to move around with since its stabilizer is really really good. The question I get from that is what is a good guiderule for not moving too much with the camera. I don't want to make people sick but I don't want 100% static shots.
What is the best way to get light without being obtrusive? Some of our shots will be in restraunts and what not and I don't want light to be horrible, are there good steps I can take.

If anyone has any know-how it would be VERY much appreciated.

soundman, one piece of advice watch how they do it on tv. That the first idea. For the storyboard, you use that so you know in a visual sense what you want your shot to look like, some people can get away without one, but to others you'll be need it or during filimg or even editing you'll have to many scenes and get lost in within the project maybe no filiming a needed scene or the editor not knowing what order the scenes are suppose to be.

With camera angles don't be afraid to stop the scene and shoot from another angle or have your other camera shoot the action from another point of view. Try to record not with eye level (ie above the head, shooting on an angle, shooting from below the person) but keep it slow pace. Since your editing this the easiest way to make your video dynamic is to simply switch from one camera shooting one way, and another camera that might have a close-up or another angle.

Also since your using two cameras for a scene you need some way to sync them up, one way is to use a clap board which are those boards that you see in a movie when it a movie about a movie you see a guy stand there holding a board saying scene whatever and taking the other end and clapping it together. Makes it easier edit the two cameras together.
Broadcast video and film are two different things. What you see on TV is broadcast video. There's a distinct style difference.

You want to be on a tripod the entire time. Don't think the image stabilizer in your XL1 is going to do anything for you moving around. All it does is help with tremors in your hand when you're holding a camera freehand. The XL1 has a shoulder pad. Use it. Don't use the flip out LCD if the camera has one. If you have to be off a tripod, you want that camera on your shoulder, the eyepiece right up on your eye and both hands on the camera. That's how you're going to hold it steady. Something you learn with experience is that if you hold the camera too tight, it will end up shaking all over even if you don't think it is. You want a firm grip, not iron hands. Different stances work for different people, I split my legs parallel the camera, Right foot back, left foot forward. Some people stand legs together, and actually hold the camera with their right hand and put their left hand under their right elbow. Find what works for you. Take out the camera you're going to shoot on with a tape and find some stuff to shoot. Watch the tape. Do it again.

I don't know what you mean by a nice Sony camera, but, if it's something like a VX2000 or VX2100, that's a good camera and more than a wide shot camera. It doesn't have the same optics or feature set as your XL1, but, you're not going to notice.

As far as lighting goes, you ought to get a couple of lights that go in the hot shoe of the cameras. You can pick these up at a video/photo store (like Ritz, Wolf, etc).

One of the rules in editing/shooting that you should keep in mind here is generally known as the 180 degree rule. What this means is that you draw an imaginary line for the action in a scene. You shoot/edit from one side. Think of it this way. If you have somebody running, and you have two cameras with opposing angles, adn you switch between them, the person goes from running to the right to running tot he left. Your subject needs to e going in the same direction for the whole scene.

There are various ways to shoot a scene/person. It really depends on the scene. People moving, dancing, etc, you want a head to toe shot usually with some headroom and some room below the feet. If you've got someone talking to the camera, e.g. giving a speech, the way I was taught to setup the shot is this: If you're shooting a girl, you want to split the bust across the bottom of your shot. With a guy, you put that bottom line under or towards the bottom of the breast pocket. In general, the concept of headroom is very important unless you're going for a dramatic shot, e.g. a close-up to extreme close-up. By this, I mean you want about 10% of the frame to be above the person's head. With a close-up of the face, you sometimes will frame the shot such that the top is across the middle of the forehead. A "medium shot" as it’s called is also fairly standard, just go from head to the waist.

As far as storyboards go, you draw out in a little box each scene in your film. Then when you're writing your script and in post, you refer to this to sequence the film properly.

30 minutes is fairly lengthy given you've never done this before. You're going to end up with quite a lot of take. You should plan on shooting each scene two to three times to get it right both with your talent and from the camera aspect.
Actually I'm fairly skilled with the Canon being that I use it for an hour and a half every week during services. Its stablizer isn't a tripod but it is really good. I can use about 12-14x zoom, covering just someone's shoulders up with a little head room, on it and keep it steady enough to be a passible shot. I do realize that that is no substitute for a tripod however. My plan is I'm going to try to keep it stable as much as possible and get an occasional shot that isn't static, be it movement or zoom. I expect that movement will be used far more because zooming is very rare in broadcast type of things.

By nice Sony I meant something nice on the consumer level that is about $1000 or so. I'll use about any camera I can get that looks on par with the Canon's image quality. I just don't want there to be a visible difference between the cameras quality.

What is the best way to get passible audio out of a camera? I know that is like asking what is the best way to make 2 political parties agree on something (likely not to happen) but is there anything I can do that would help? I know lapels or shotguns are not options. Is there anything I can really do to help that?
"I know lapels or shotguns are not options. Is there anything I can really do to help that?"

In that case, no.
We're thinking of different things as far as stabilizers go. I assumed you were in reference to the little image stablizer thing they advertise with ccd cameras. You're talking about some sort of support system. I can't imagine why you're not shooting your church service from a tripod...

Not sure what you mean by zooming is rare, it depends on what the clip is.

Audio-wise, you'd be surprised how good the onboard mic's on these prosumers cameras actually are. The XL1 does have XLR inputs, keep in mind. Lapel mics are the ideal here though.
Some Prosumer mics can be lame, too. The standard mic on the Panasonic DVC7 is just as "good" as the mickey-mouse camera's, for example.
I do use a tripod during the service, I do, but I go off the tripod during worship. It gives a better, more free look I think. I don't like being confined to a tripod very much. I just like being able to move the camera about and get cool shots. Sometimes I even go upside down. That is very rare though and I am typically doing a fast push at the same time and I have the camera capturing somewhere between 8 and 15 frames a second so it is stupid sounding but cool looking.

As far as the microphones go I think we are pretty much screwed. I'll make sure the actors speak up. I think I'll wear some headphones while recording and then I can hear what will be on tape and hopefully it will be something passible.
See if you can rent a shotgun microphone for a few days.

My question is, why are you using multiple cameras?
Many TV productions use 2 cameras during normal filming, but any type of movie (indie, cinema or tv) rarely ever use more than one camera. The only time they would is when there is a big action sequence that they can't repeat. The bottom line is, two cameras means that you have to spend so much more time making sure everything is perfect for each.

Just my 2 cents

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