Knowledge is best learned through experience. The most effective way to understand film making is through hands-on work with a camera. Communications courses are excellent resources because they provide students with a foundation on which to build their ladder to success. Sometimes a student also needs help stepping onto the first rung and they are uncertain about what type of film to create. There are several styles of film, but newcomers shouldn’t dedicate themselves to a full-length feature just yet. Below is a list of more reasonable starting points for the aspiring filmmaker.
If someone has a unique skill or approach to an ordinary task, they may be willing to share it on film, potentially helping others. “How-to” videos are great for the novice filmmaker but they are also a professional outlet. The writing required is incredibly conversational, but be advised that “how-to” videos need to be paced appropriately so that people watching can follow along. Many shows on the Food Network are extended “how-to” videos. By watching them, filmmakers can learn various tricks. For example, the camera person follows the cook to the refrigerator and gets close-up shots of the food being prepared.
Digital Video Project Ideas (PDF)
5 Simple Steps to Create Instructional Videos that Sell
It’s All About Approach
A documentary is a film that features interviews with real-life people who express their opinions on a subject for which they have some credibility. They often aim to make some sort of statement for or against a social or political issue. Some famous documentaries include Supersize Me (2004), Exit through the Gift Shop (2010), and the works of Michael Moore. A documentary can be very difficult to put together. However, it does not require a lot of equipment; just a tripod, video editing software, microphones and, of course, a camera. In documentary films, a script is rarely used. However, to encourage interviewees to participate and investors to fund, filmmakers often write a treatment or proposal. A proposal is from the inside looking out, and it outlines the aspects that the average moviegoer doesn’t think about. For example, how long the piece is expected to be, who the intended audience is, what the filmmaker wants the audience to take from it, what resources are already being utilized, credibility of the production team. The film making needs to sound like an adventure that the participants and investors will want to accompany. A treatment is from the outside looking in. It is an expectation for how the film will look. Instead of stating who is working the camera, explain specifically why the camera work will be beneficial to the quality or presentation of the film.
How to Film a Documentary
How to write a Documentary Treatment (PDF)
A biographical film is like a documentary in that it tells a true story. However, instead of interviews, it features actors recreating a scenario or scene from the past. A biographical film, or biopic, does not necessarily tell the story of someone’s life from beginning to end. More often than not, it focuses on an important occurrence or fantastical happening. For example, 2010’s 127 Hours only accounts for the time that the main character, Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) went hiking, got his arm stuck under a boulder and had to cut it off after a five-day struggle. Other famous biopics include Schindler’s List (1993), Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993), Ed Wood (1994), and Ray (2004).
Download Biography Films
Film and Video Biographies
Green Screen Scene
Green screens are a cheap way of letting the characters on film go anywhere…sort of. The art of chroma videography involves having actors do their work in front of a solid color screen. In the editing phase, the color is switched out with a background scene. Green screens are what weathermen on the news use to display the map behind them. Comedy shows such as The Daily Show and Tosh.0 also use them frequently, seemingly to place individuals elsewhere.
Green screen tips and tricks (PDF)
While many films break a two-hour length, music videos are rarely longer than five minutes. However, their production is not easy. Shooting the same scene from different angles is crucial because if the view isn’t always shifting then the final product is boring. If filming an entire band, expect to record a lot of wide shots. When shooting a music video, it is unnecessary to use microphones or other sound devices. There is one audio item that is recommended, however, and that is a PA system. The PA is used to project the original music so that the artist can lip sync over it. Music videos are made on a variety of budgets, and there are well-known examples at every point on the spectrum. A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz” was filmed in black and white with a shaky camera while Michael and Janet Jackson’s 1995 collaboration “Scream” cost over $7,000,000!
Equipment Needed for a Music Video Shoot
What a Music Video Cinematographer Does
How to Shoot a Music Video
A newscast is a fairly self-explanatory title. News shows and channels have perfected a method of conveying news by sending journalists to the scene of activity, including weather and sports coverage, and linking them all to a central individual or duo sitting at a desk with the basic information. The goal is to convey information that people will care about to keep them watching. Meanwhile, it also needs to flow in a way that makes sense. To film a newscast, a plethora of equipment is needed including cameras, sound equipment both for the studio and the correspondents out “on the field” and a green screen for the meteorologist.
Commercials average around thirty seconds in length but can take five hours to record all the footage that will be used. While the commitment is arguably lower, there are several factors unrelated to other on-screen mediums that have to be considered. For example, a commercial has to outline the best features of a product or service in a very short time. Additionally, they also have to be memorable and leave the viewer with certain bits of information stuck in their mind. Some marketing teams develop jingles and slogans to work toward this necessity.
Filming a Commercials
A Primer on Analyzing Television Commercials (PDF)