Dex Klan Dev Entertainment Ltd

Filmmaking & Photography

Blog

FORUMS, UPDATES, PHOTO/VIDEO, TIPS & TRICKS IN FILMMAKING

view:  full / summary

Going On-Set

Posted on 1 September, 2016 at 11:00 Comments comments (0)

There are 100 words and phrases used onset in the film industry that sound bizarre to anyone else. Each department (Camera, Lighting, Props, Costume, Special Effects etc) have their own vocabulary, but it is as an Actor or Extra the words you will hear most often will be…

 

Standby

 

That is said by someone asked a question (normally on a Walkie Talkie (or radios as we call them) while they figure out the answer to a question.

 

Travelling

 

This is said by a Crew Member (normally a Runner or AD) when they are walking to set (or anyone else) They are normally referring to an actor or group of extras heading to set, or costume, or make up, or catering… This question is normally asked by the First Assistant Director who wants to know where everyone is and how long it will take to get there.

 

Shot

 

Everytime the film crew move the camera and film a scene from a different angle, its called a Shot. While there are no rules and every filmcrew is different its normal for a film to shoot 25 – 40 shots a day. Some directors like Michael Bay are famous for shooting incredibly fast and getting 50 – 60 shots a day and other directors like to shoot 10 shots a day. There is no right or wrong, just what works for the director’s style, schedule and budget. Stanley Kubrick was famous for doing 100’s of takes of each shot, sometimes to the dismay and exhaustion of the cast & crew.

 

Take

 

Each filming of a shot is called a “Take.” You may need to repeat this many times before the director is happy.

 

Rehearsals

 

Before a film crew film a shot they often rehearse the action. It may start with just a few lead actors and the director on set and after a few minutes more crew and actors come on set to rehearse. Eventually the Director is happy with Actors and Crew and he will signal to the First Assistant Director to film a take…

 

“Back to Ones”

 

The Assistant Director will call out “Back to Ones” which means everyone goes to their “First Position”

 

First Positions

 

On Set, once you have rehearsed your shot you assemble on set and film what was planned. Everyone stands at correct place (as per the rehearsal) at the start of the shot and you film a take. Quite often the Director will ask to do it again. If so, the First Assistant Director will call our “First Positions” which means the Actors and Extras go back to their positions at the start of the shot. This also means the Camera is moved to its starting position.

 

Call Time

 

The time you need to be On Set. That means the time everyone is on set beginning work. If the Call Time is 8am then its normal to be having breakfast at 7.30am and you might be asked to be come in even earlier for Costume and Make Up. Please check the call sheet for telling you what time you need to be there.

 

Wrap / Wrap Time

 

The time you anticipate finishing for the day.

 

Wrap Party

 

The customary Party held by a film for everyone that works on it to celebrate the finishing of filming. On a feature film a Wrap Party will be a week after the movie finishes filming. However, later on there can also be Premieres and Parties to help launch the film when it is released in cinemas.


David Motaze

10 TIPS TO KNOW WHERE TO START IF YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT A FILM

Posted on 15 May, 2015 at 20:00 Comments comments (0)



Step 1: Film Concept/ Idea

 

This is the foundation on which to start building your script. An idea or principle/belief you can use as the focus of your script, around which to tell a story.

DO carry a pen and paper with you everywhere you go. You can’t predict when that winning idea will pop into your head. If you don’t write it down, you are likely to forget later in the day. Write any ideas down immediately!

DON’T write down just one idea and expect that to be the basis for your entire film. It may well be a great idea, but the greater the variety of ideas you have to choose from, the more flexible you can be with story/characters and plot when writing your script.

 

TOP TIP

If you have trouble thinking of ideas during the day, keep a pen and a piece of paper next to your bed. You can come up with some truly bizarre concepts in your sleep, so not writing down anything you remember from a dream can be a true waste. Write in as much detail as you can recall, and include absolutely everything no matter how silly or inconsequential it may seem. Sometimes these little ideas/concepts can be a valuable resource.

Step 2: Writing Your Script

 

Script: A general term for a written work detailing story, setting, and dialogue.

For information about how to convert your ideas into a working script, visit:

www.scriptfactory.co.uk or;

www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom

 

DO keep writing down any new ideas, just because you’ve started your script doesn’t mean any new ideas you have a worthless. Also do not worry if you still have ‘holes’ in your story when you come to writing your script. The more you write, the more the story develops. Eventually you will find the ‘holes’ will have filled themselves.

DO try and be organised. The initial stages of converting your ideas into the basis for a script can seem a little daunting. This is complicated further when you keep getting new ideas as you are half-way through writing about a first one. Don’t panic. Keep a separate document handy and the moment you get a new idea write it down as quickly and as concisely as you can before turning you attention back to your original. Once that is finished, look back to your new idea and consider developing it further.

DON’T try and develop too many ideas at once. Sometimes it’s better to wait a while before going back to an idea to develop it further. Don’t work yourself too hard; tackle any new ideas with a fresh attitude. Further your ideas because you want too, not because you feel you need too.

TOP TIP

Share your script revisions with people you trust to give you an honest opinion. Be able to take criticism, but also use that to help better your script. Sharing your script in this way can often help you get a fresh perspective and help you get around an obstacle you may have hit.

Step 3: Drawing Storyboards for your film

 

A sequence of rough sketches, created by an illustrator to communicate major changes of action or plot in a scene.

Don’t worry if you can’t draw too well: The point of storyboarding is to communicate your vision of the film to a crew who will be working under your direction. For them to understand what you’re trying to achieve is imperative. This saves a lot of communication problems when you eventually come to film on set, making your life as director a lot easier.

 

TOP TIPS

The drawings need not be large; you can comfortably fit 4-6 on a page of A4 paper. Leave space under each drawing box to write down details of the shot, for example details of location, and a brief description of the action that is occurring.

REMEMBER:

Your storyboards are draw sequentially. They are a rough guide to how the film should look after you complete post-production.

Step 4: Funding for your Film

Once you’ve finished your script and storyboards, you may want to send them off to certain companies to try and get financing for you film, allowing you to hire professional equipment or people.

Presentation is very important. If you can, get an illustrator to draw some of your key storyboards.

For more information about places to send you script with a view to getting funding, visit:

www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/funding or;

www.shootingpeople.org/funding

Step 5: How to find Cast & Crew for your film

 

Cast & crew are obviously vital if you are to make your film successfully. There are a number of resources available to find the people you need.

For Crew, Visit:

www.shootingpeople.org

For Cast, Visit:

www.castingnetwork.co.uk or

www.spotlightcd.com

TOP TIPS:

Finding the right person for your film is tricky. You must devote a lot of time towards finding the right actor for your role. Don’t just hire the first person you meet (unless of course you have auditioned everyone else and they are most suited to the role).

Ask for details of work they have done. Have an auditioning day. Do a few screen tests.

For vital crew members (ie DOP, or Producer), ask them for a breakdown of work they have done. Some will have a show-reel to let you view, but don’t rely on this. Most professionals are freelance, working regularly on different shoots so have very little time or means to make a show-reel.

NOTE:

Some crew members may have their own equipment. Ask them. If they are willing to use it, it will help you.

Step 6: Scouting for Locations

 

Location:

Filming which occurs at a place not constructed specifically for the production is said to be 'on location'. This is usually outdoors, at a well-known location, or a real place which suffices.

TOP TIPS

Don’t just go to one location; travel around to as many as possible. Keep in mind these key aspects:

 

• Filming in any location will require plenty of space for cast & crew, as well as moderately easy accessibility for all the camera/sound & lighting equipment.

• Unless you have a petrol generator, you will want to limit outdoor filming as much as possible. If you are running the camera off batteries you only have a certain amount of power to get the shots you need. This often leads to shots being rushed or not finished properly, which brings down the overall quality of the work.

• When scouting for locations take a digital camera with you, take as many pictures as you can and log the photos for each location. To save time, this can be done simply by writing the place name on a piece of paper and having it in the first shot of that location.

 

Step 7: Preparing a Shooting Script

Shooting Script:

 

The script from which a movie is made. Contains scenes placed in order of filming. Usually contains technical notes and/or drawings. A shooting script is essentially a script that breaks the film into scenes, placed in sequence as they are to be filmed on set/location.

These can include any sketches or photographs of locations, include ideas you may wish to film in as well as scene breakdowns and types of shot.

Step 8: Organising a Schedule

 

Your schedule is to accompany your shooting script.

A schedule gives you control over the day-to-day shooting of the film. You can allocate how much time you feel is needed for each shot, by looking at your storyboards and shooting script simultaneously.

Scheduling will certainly test your patience. You will need to make countless calls and send countless E-mails to make sure all your cast and crew are available on the days you want to shoot. If one person can’t make it, then you will need to re-organise the whole day again.

TOP TIP

It is worthwhile over-estimating for your first shoot until you get to grips with how long different tasks take (ie setting up lighting, moving cameras etc.)

Give yourself more time than you need.

Step 9: Writing and Distributing Call Sheets

 

A call sheet is a listing of which cast members should arrive for make-up, what time actors/crew are due on set, what scenes they are in and what special requirements (if any) are needed. It is essentially a daily breakdown of the shoot. You should also include pick-up times and locations if you have arranged transport.

TOP TIP On the call sheet include the actor’s name as well as the character’s name.

Step 10: Equipment for filming

 

The range of digital video equipment varies greatly.

Depending on your budget, you have different options available to you.

Entry level equipment, such as the DSLR CAMERA is ideal for films on a low budget. The convenience of having your own camera also stops any potential restrictions you may have by renting one.

 

TOP TIPS

When buying a camera it is worthwhile getting additional extras;

Buying an extra battery is incredibly useful for outdoor filming, and having camera equipment such as tripods or monopods available to you help with the filming process.

Lighting:

For indoor filming, you are going to need lighting. Do not underestimate the importance of lighting. It can make all the difference to a shot being the best you’ve filmed, or ending up on the cutting room floor.

Cutting Room Floor:

Term applied to a piece of footage that does not appear in the final cut of the film. Scenes or shots are usually dropped because of time constraints, or an error in the filming process.


 

 

David Motaze.

 

 

 

Audio Tips for DSLR Filmmakers

Posted on Comments comments (0)


Although many filmmakers know just how critical great audio is with regards to the success of a film project, it’s still one of the most overlooked aspects of the filmmaking process. This is unfortunate, as poor sound quality can hinder all of the other elements that we work so tirelessly on. In the end, nothing else matters if the sound quality is poor.

Whether it be distracting background noises that have been picked up (such as wind or cars passing by), or poorly recorded dialogue, these issues greatly affect the overall viewing experience and absolutely must be dealt with in order to achieve any sort of success with a film project.

So for those of you DSLR filmmakers out there that are looking to up your game with regards to audio, here are a few key tips to get you started.

First and foremost, you need to remember that just because the picture quality on your DSLR may be great doesn’t necessarily mean the sound quality is great too. The fact of the matter is, DSLRs are not meant designed to capture professional quality audio – no matter how many manual controls or functions they may have. The internal limitations of your DSLR can never be compensated for by using better external devices (such as a high quality shotgun mic) as the camera’s limitations will always be the bottleneck as far as sound quality goes.

Just because your DSLR has manual control over levels or a headphone jack doesn’t mean that it’s going to record great audio. It simply means that it’s somewhat competent at recording audio in a pinch or can be used to record reference audio. For professional sound quality, always use an external device (whether it be as simple as a Zoom H6, or a more complex mixer/recorder) in order to achieve professional level sound.

Do your field research! This is by far the cheapest method for achieving great sound available to you as a filmmaker. It costs you absolutely nothing to devote a few days during pre-production to go to your various locations and do some audio tests. You might feel that this isn’t necessary, but when you get to set and realize that you are shooting in the middle of a flight path, you’re going to wish you scouted that location properly.

The scout itself can be very simple. Just go to your location at approximately the same time of day that you are going to shoot and start looking for red flags. If you’re shooting on a rooftop, make sure the wind isn’t out of control. If you’re in a field, be aware of the background noise created by crickets, birds, and other wildlife. If possible, bring your sound recordist with you and actually do tests with your equipment to see what noises you’re picking up – if any.

Like I said, doing this costs you nothing but a bit of time upfront and it could potentially save you a ton of time and headaches both on set and in the ProTools suite.

 

For those that aren’t familiar with the term, “room tone” is essentially the ambient sound of a room. Room tone is always recorded on professional sets so that the audio editor has scene-specific background noise to work with if he or she needs to patch over any sound issues in their ProTools session. Location audio professionals will typically record room tone for every single location they are covering in order to pick up the general hum and subtle noises that are present in every room. For example, if you were to record room tone in a ‘silent’ kitchen, you would inevitably pick up the sound of the refrigerator buzzing, maybe a door creaking in the background, a slight hum from the lights on in the room, etc.

Room tone is usually recorded at the end of every scene for 30-60 seconds while the entire cast and crew stands silently, or clears the room. Why is this important to your sound quality as whole? As I touched on above, in post-production, you typically use room tone to help blend together multiple takes of audio so that there is a consistent bed of sound that seamlessly melds together all of the dialogue and ADR tracks.

You can also use room tone to match ambient sounds when you shoot multiple takes of the same scene and there are differences in the background noise. For example, if in one take the air conditioner goes on and in another it turns off, you will want to use room tone (of the air conditioner on) to keep the sound of it present in the entire scene. Here’s a video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snETeThgVms ; from thesubstream that covers the ins and outs of recording room tone.

Final Thoughts

For top-tier production value when making a film, it’s vital that you pay just as close attention to your film’s audio needs as you do its visual needs. If you can be one of the few micro-budget filmmakers that actually prioritizes sound, you will certainly reap the benefits of going the extra mile.

Pristine sound adds a whole other dimension to your film and ups the production value in ways that the camera never will be able to. Understanding your cameras capabilities, doing sound tests in each of your locations, and recording room tone for every scene are three of the simplest things you can do to vastly improve your film’s sound quality.


David Motaze.

 


Rss_feed