Welcome back! How'd you get on with yesterday's pre-production? Hopefully, negotiations with your cast went well, you've sourced the very best costumes (that a couple of hours can make), and your sets are ready. This is usually the part where we would go into intricate detail about production roles, budgets, and many many other things involved with filming anything. However, there's no time for that when you're paying your cast and crew with biscuits.
Hopefully, your storyboards proved useful, and you have a rough idea of your film, but before you can record a single frame, there's something important to do first, rehearse. Ordinarily, weeks of rehearsals are required for a major motion picture, not just for the performers to know their lines, but for the directors and their crew to work out where the camera is going to be at any given time. As we're doing things here much quicker, a short run-through before you film each scene will be sufficient.
Next up, you need to put your crew together. One person can do all of these roles, but we've split it up so everyone in the household can get involved.
Runner - A runner is someone who does all of the odd jobs that need doing on set; setting up lamps, rearranging furniture, getting the cast and crew drinks. You can have as many Runners on a film shoot as you want or need.
Producer - The Producers role is to guide the production, keep and eye on time, and mark off on the storyboard when a shot or scene is complete. It is the Producers responsibility to make sure that everything is shot, and the cast and crew are safe during production.
Camera Operator - The Camera Operator will hold the camera and be responsible for all of the actual filming. They will talk to the Director before each scene about the shots they want to get, and refer to the Storyboard for guidance.
Director - The Directors main role is to work with the Actors, and let them know what they should be doing. The Director will discuss camera angles and shots with the Camera Operator. When filming there is a short script the Director and Camera Operator can use to communicate:
Director: Quiet on set. (Everyone gets in to their places)
Director: Rolling? (Instruction to Camera Operator to press record)
Camera Operator: (After pressing record) Rolling.
Director: Action (the actors perform the scene)
Director: (at the end of the scene) Action
Here are some top tips for getting the most out of your production.
Your actors need to tell your story, and this can be done through dialogue, narration and actions. You don't need to say what your character feeling, you need to act the way they feel.
Don't look directly at the camera. We call this breaking the fourth wall, as once you look at the camera, the character becomes aware of the audience watching.
If anybody is struggling to remember lines or cues, write them down in big on a piece of card or paper to hold up off-camera.
The best way to help a camera shy actor is to make them laugh.
Lighting & Sound tips There is no shortage of inexpensive (and overly expensive) accessories you can get for your phone, but as you can't just pop to the shops, you need to get creative.
Use lamps, torches and natural light sources to light your scenes.
Don't shoot in to direct light, this will create a silhouette, and you won't be able to see your actor.
When shooting things that are meant to be at night, keep the lights on and turn your camera brightness settings down.
Turn off all other audio sources such as the TV, and ask other family members to be quiet.
Camera tips You may be lucky enough to have a video camera at your home, but if not, your phone or tablet camera will work perfectly well. You can also utilise a web cam, but you may be limited on where it can go.
Hold your phone horizontally to get the correct shape video for your film.
Try not to use the camera zoom. Instead, get closer to the subject you want to film.
Try to keep the camera as still as possible, to avoid the shakiness of hand held footage.
Film your scenes in order to help make reviewing and editing easier.
Only to keep footage you're definitely going to use in the finished film. If something funny or unexpected happens, you can save it for the outtakes reel or possibly for You've Been Framed (that's still a thing right?).
So there we have it, the basics of what you need to make production a fun, safe, and creative place for everybody involved. Now, the hard work begins by editing all of your wonderful footage together. Join us next time as we go over Post-Production aka Editing.