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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old December 28 2011, 10:04 PM   #151
The Trekster
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I haven't finished reading the thread yet, and so far you guys are giving out good beginner advice. I just wanted to add a couple tips if that's cool

Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
Every film project I've worked on in the past 366 days (Polaris, a short film and four music vidoes) have all been shot on Canon Digital SLRs of one stripe or another.
For the price you can't beat 'em. And Canon does have the market cornered. But, while technically not DSLRs, the GH1 and GH2 have been producing amazing results, and have a lot more filmmaker friendly options when hacked. I usually rent but if I were going to buy a rig for under or around 2 grand, it would probably include the GH1/2.


Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
Good points, MikeH92467. More on the subject of...

SOUND
Number of Mics
One mic often isn't enough. Sometimes you need two mics to get all the sound in a shot, particularly if you have a scene where actors are far apart in the frame and there's overlapping dialogue.
Don't forget the type of mic. As a general rule of thumb, you're going to want a cardioid condensor mic for indoors and a shotgun mic for outdoors. A shotgun indoors is one of the things that will give you that horrible distorted roomy noise due to the narrow pickup pattern.

The Slate Clap
A lot of people don't realize how important this is. That clap sound helps you sync or resync audio to picture if you don't have a slate that generates timecode. It's particularly important if you're shooting separate sound, as you don't want to be manually trying to sync sound to picture in post...trust me.
One of the nice things about digital vs. film is that the camera is still recording audio which you can then use as a scratch track to align the wave forms when you're editing. This means that you can get away without using a professional clapper board and just have someone clap their hands on screen.


Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post


Also note the black sound blankets hanging from the ceiling to help deaden echoes.
For better results, pleat the sound blankets when you hang them. It means a lot more blankets but it absorbs significantly more sound.

Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
It's fine to give flavor, but to describe a shot in excessive detail is pointless as anyone who's ever been on set can tell you.
Yep. Leave camera directions and other production notes for the shooting script.


BolianAuthor wrote: View Post
One thing I would like to ask of the fanfilm producers who have done this before, is how do I go about setting up a website that can be capable of accepting PayPal donations towards our production and the like? I know how to start a regular free webforum, but both Alex and myself would really like to get a donation feature set up for "Battlestar Urantia", and I just don't know how to set that up myself. Anyone have any guidance on this issue?
Check out http://www.kickstarter.com
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Old December 28 2011, 11:00 PM   #152
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

VulcanLoveSlave wrote: View Post
I haven't finished reading the thread yet, and so far you guys are giving out good beginner advice. I just wanted to add a couple tips if that's cool
Always. This is a forum, not a lecture, after all.

VulcanLoveSlave wrote:
Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
...Canon Digital SLRs...
For the price you can't beat 'em. And Canon does have the market cornered. But, while technically not DSLRs, the GH1 and GH2 have been producing amazing results, and have a lot more filmmaker friendly options when hacked. I usually rent but if I were going to buy a rig for under or around 2 grand, it would probably include the GH1/2.
I assume you mean the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 & GH2.

VulcanLoveSlave wrote:
Don't forget the type of mic. As a general rule of thumb, you're going to want a cardioid condensor mic for indoors and a shotgun mic for outdoors. A shotgun indoors is one of the things that will give you that horrible distorted roomy noise due to the narrow pickup pattern.
Yep.

VulcanLoveSlave wrote:
One of the nice things about digital vs. film is that the camera is still recording audio which you can then use as a scratch track to align the wave forms when you're editing. This means that you can get away without using a professional clapper board and just have someone clap their hands on screen.
Sure, but if lining up with the camera sound doesn't work for some reason, then you've got nothing to sync with if you don't have a visual clap. (To further complicate matters, I've noticed that the sound of the slate clap almost never actually occurs on the same frame as the image of the slate closing. Why this is I don't know, but when step through the footage I find the sound happens a few frames before.)

The slate is also important because it also holds the reel/card #, the shot # and the take, and if the files get renamed or there's some other problem, you can always look at the slate.

VulcanLoveSlave wrote:
For better results, pleat the sound blankets when you hang them. It means a lot more blankets but it absorbs significantly more sound.
Yep again.

VulcanLoveSlave wrote:
Yep. Leave camera directions and other production notes for the shooting script.
I'm a tad confused by this comment because we were discussing not having excessive detail in the script, period. You DON'T want to put excess detail into a shooting script.

VulcanLoveSlave wrote:
BolianAuthor wrote: View Post
One thing I would like to ask of the fanfilm producers who have done this before, is how do I go about setting up a website that can be capable of accepting PayPal donations towards our production and the like?...
Check out http://www.kickstarter.com
Also GoFundMe, which doesn't require you to reach your goal in order to get any the monies pledged.
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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; December 29 2011 at 10:46 AM.
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Old December 29 2011, 02:18 AM   #153
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

DSLR's are the future. The last episode of House this past season was shot on one and if you see it the results are STUNNING.

You just need someone who knows how to shoot with them since you need to pull focus.

Just make sure you have a DP with experience using them.

Alec
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Old December 29 2011, 03:39 AM   #154
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

^^^You never want to use an autofocus mode on a camera anyway!
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Old December 29 2011, 07:55 AM   #155
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
^^^You never want to use an autofocus mode on a camera anyway!
Absolutely correct! Autofocus will always (well, maybe not "always" but far too often) focus on the wrong spot. It happens with both still and video cameras. Last year I had my camera at a little league baseball game and my camera was on "auto". On way too many shots, the camera focused on the back of someone's head who was standing between me and the action or some other object that got between me and the action. Also "rack focus" where you change the focal point from, say, Lt. Uhura at the back of the bridge to Captain Kirk in the center seat, simply isn't possible with auto.
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Old December 29 2011, 04:22 PM   #156
The Trekster
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
I assume you mean the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 & GH2.
Yessir.
(To further complicate matters, I've noticed that the sound of the slate clap almost never actually occurs on the same frame as the image of the slate closing. Why this is I don't know, but when step through the footage I find the sound happens a few frames before.)
That's interesting. Only explanation I can think of is that the sound actually begins when (ahem) first contact is made, vs when the slate finished closing?
The slate is also important because it also holds the reel/card #, the shot # and the take, and if the files get renamed or there's some other problem, you can always look at the slate.
Very true. I don't have a tablet myself, but I've heard really great things about the slate app for the iPad. It does timecodes and should have that pesky problem you mentioned above.
On another note, and maybe you've mentioned it, but it's best also to read all that info that's on the slate out loud, for the same reasons you mentioned, if file names get mixed up etc.

I'm a tad confused by this comment because we were discussing not having excessive detail in the script, period. You DON'T want to put excess detail into a shooting script.
Sure not excess detail, but my shooting scripts include notes and, when important, camera angles and definitely always a shot list. Like this:

Also GoFundMe, which doesn't require you to reach your goal in order to get any the monies pledged.
Hadn't heard of that one, thanks Although I do go back and forth on the whole "all or nothing" vs "keep what you raise" debate.
Just a heads up, too, there's some legislation in the US congress right now that is going to have a big impact on crowdfunding, one significant statute is that donors who pledge 10,000 or more must be considered investors and you must file paperwork accordingly. That would probably not effect fan films with small budgets, but what will is the rule that you're going to need to raise at least 60% in order to keep any funds. (If the bill gets signed into law, that is )


On another note, I'd like to give a shout-out/plug to a filmmaker friend who's production company puts out a lot of great free resources for indie filmmakers. http://sonnyboo.com/downloads/filmmaker.htm
He's got a lot of the documents you'll need like location and talent releases, breakdown sheets, etc; video clips of things you'll need if you need to make something broadcast ready (like SMPTE bars and tones); and also a film tips show called Framelines (which you can also catch on public tv if you're in Ohio and a couple other midwestern states.)

Ok, I think I've rambled enough. Thanks for putting up with me
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Old December 31 2011, 02:19 PM   #157
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

VulcanLoveSlave wrote: View Post
Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
Good points, MikeH92467. More on the subject of...

SOUND
Number of Mics
One mic often isn't enough. Sometimes you need two mics to get all the sound in a shot, particularly if you have a scene where actors are far apart in the frame and there's overlapping dialogue.
Don't forget the type of mic. As a general rule of thumb, you're going to want a cardioid condensor mic for indoors and a shotgun mic for outdoors. A shotgun indoors is one of the things that will give you that horrible distorted roomy noise due to the narrow pickup pattern.
I recently purchased an Azden SGM-1X shotgun mic. Which cardioid condenser mic(s) might you recommend for the budget-conscious, aspiring filmmaker?
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Old December 31 2011, 03:12 PM   #158
The Trekster
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

FalTorPan wrote: View Post
VulcanLoveSlave wrote: View Post
Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
Good points, MikeH92467. More on the subject of...

SOUND
Number of Mics
One mic often isn't enough. Sometimes you need two mics to get all the sound in a shot, particularly if you have a scene where actors are far apart in the frame and there's overlapping dialogue.
Don't forget the type of mic. As a general rule of thumb, you're going to want a cardioid condensor mic for indoors and a shotgun mic for outdoors. A shotgun indoors is one of the things that will give you that horrible distorted roomy noise due to the narrow pickup pattern.
I recently purchased an Azden SGM-1X shotgun mic. Which cardioid condenser mic(s) might you recommend for the budget-conscious, aspiring filmmaker?
I'm no audio-gal so I'm going to quote a pro from another forum.

The only budget hyper-cardioid I would recommend is the Oktava MK-012a, which is about $250. Make sure that if you decide to buy one that it is authentic; there are a lot of Chinese knock-offs out there that are definitely inferior.
If you're willing to spend more to get some real pro gear, I can get some recommendations.

But remember, a mic is only as good as the person swinging the boom and mixing. So practice practice practice. (Or hire someone, that's what I do :P)

edit: Here's a link to his blog. Every indie filmmaker should read it! http://www.myspace.com/alcoveaudio/blog
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Old December 31 2011, 03:21 PM   #159
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Thanks to you and anyone who has audio recommendations. In my opinion the weakest technical aspect of my recent project was audio.
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Old January 17 2012, 01:37 AM   #160
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Here's a nice and very brief primer on video blogging that has some useful pointers that could be useful for no-budget filmmakers.

Beginners Guide on How to Video Blog on a Budget
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Old January 19 2012, 02:06 AM   #161
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Thanks again, Maurice. This weekend a few friends are coming over to help me experiment with the shotgun mic / shock mount / boom pole, plus Zoom H4n, plus camera and tripod. I don't own any decent lights yet, but just getting video into the camera and capturing "second sound" on the Zoom will be a good enough start to learning how to make this work whenever a real production kicks off.
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Old January 19 2012, 02:43 AM   #162
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

^^^As to lights, invest $100 and buy some china-ball paper lanterns and some color-correct photo-optic bulbs and you'll never be sorry, as they are very useful in a lot of circumstances.
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Old January 19 2012, 05:29 AM   #163
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Thanks for the suggestion. This is the first that I recall hearing of color-correct photo-optic bulbs. Looks like I have more reading to do.
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Old January 19 2012, 05:11 PM   #164
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Maurice wrote: View Post
^^^As to lights, invest $100 and buy some china-ball paper lanterns and some color-correct photo-optic bulbs and you'll never be sorry, as they are very useful in a lot of circumstances.
+1

This is my personal set-up for when I'm lighting on my own. Definitely a good place to start. Also pick up some scoops (those clamp lights with the silver bowl reflector) at your local hardware store. They're great for throwing light at backgrounds and adding depth, or if you want a hard light source. Pick up some cinefoil to flag the lights (also works on your china balls.) You can't beat the price.

For lightbulbs, be sure to check out CFLs as they use less wattage and don't get nearly as hot so they are much safer to use, especially in those paper lanterns. If you want to match daylight (and from what I can tell, Trek used a cool color temp on the starships) be sure you have a color temp of 5500k or more.
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Old January 19 2012, 05:26 PM   #165
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I've noticed there are some repeating themes in this sub-forum. One of which is the argument about only designing/building the sets for what is actually on camera vs. what I've seen folks on here call "museum pieces." From just a filmmaker standpoint, I agree with the former; and as a fan I can understand the desire to do the latter. Trek fans are very passionate and detail-oriented. Which is why those museum pieces look so great and the CGI is often one of the best things about a fan production.

But what is best for your film? Which option will make the production process run more quickly and smoothly? It seems that a lot of pre-production on these fan films get stuck in the building stages, when maybe they only needed to build half a set and could have gotten the project completed sooner. But I digress...

Set Extension

Which sort of brings me to the point of this post:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BKdyMbdIug

This is an example of how the pros are saving time and money. And you can't even tell! So, I'm thinking, with the CGI skill of some of the fans out there, there is no reason why this can't save you time and money as well. You build enough of the set that your characters can interact, throw green screens up (lighting them evenly) and you can do some set extensions to make it look real.

Check out these free tutorials from the fantastic Andrew Kramer:
http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/set_extensions/
http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorial...et_extensions/

Anyways, just some food for thought.
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