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Old May 4 2011, 08:50 PM   #131
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I don't want to stop the topic of releases and contracts and insurance, as they're all important, but let's talk about some practical matters regarding how to shoot.
ON-SET TIPS 1: How to minimize eyeline problems

One thing I've noted repeatedly in fan productions is a tendency to break "The Line" so that characters who should be looking at each other do not appear to be doing so from the camera's perspective.

I suspect there are two main reasons this happens:
  1. The filmmakers don't think in terms of The Line (aka the 180° Rule)
  2. The realities of many fan productions means parts of the same scene are shot days or weeks apart, and it's easy to forget how the shots were set up in order to match them
We had a bit of scenario 2 on Starship Polaris, when, in order to get back on schedule, I pushed to get all of the dialog for the background players shot in one day, even though the main characters they'd be talking to hadn't been shot yet.

Naturally, doing so can be recipe for disaster re eyelines and matched looks, since we didn't know where the main characters would be in the shots that would be cut in.

The solution: each time an actor delivered a line or lines they would switch from one eyeline to another.

First to camera left...

Next to camera right...

Which meant we have every line in both screen directions, so we could match up with wherever the character being addressed ended up. Once you're rolling, it adds very little time to the schedule.

It's a simple trick, but it will save a lot of problems in editing.
* * *
“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”
― Winston S. Churchill

Last edited by Maurice Navidad; May 5 2011 at 02:43 AM.
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