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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old January 10 2011, 10:26 PM   #61
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Dennis wrote: View Post
...- feed the cast and crew. If you're not paying them and particularly if you're asking them to schlep a distance to participate, you need to do that much. IMAO. And there's a selfish aspect to it - bringing meals in keeps the production running on something resembling a "schedule" (hah!).
QFT.

Also, one rule I learned: never ask the crew to give you orders for meals. If you do, what ends up happening is everyone tailors their order to a degree that it wastes a lot of time getting lunch ordered and sorted out. I usually cater with a variety of sandwiches and snacks so that there's something everyone can eat. It saves time and cost. It's good to know beforehand about anyone's requirements (dietary or otherwise) and have pre-picked food that will cover these.
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Old January 10 2011, 10:59 PM   #62
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

We serve chicken wings, pizza (cheese, pepperoni and sausage), chips, dips, cookies, occasionally fruit or cupcakes even, three or four different types of $5 footlongs, coke, sprite, water and diet coke. Never can tell what anyone will eat, but everyone can find SOMETHING that they'll eat. The wings are comped from The Crowbar in exchange for copies, the pizza's comped in exchange for copies, and the $5 footlongs aren't all that much. Everyone's well fed, always left overs to nibble on when you're not on set or even after filming.

Oh, and always put the mayo, mustard, salad dressing on the table, not the food. And make sure that not all the sandwiches have cheese on them. Easier to keep all day, and in case someone has some dietary restrictions either for health or religious reasons.
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Old January 11 2011, 02:43 AM   #63
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

[/CENTER]

The basic rule of The Line is that once you establish it, you cannot cross it. This is because The Line establishes direction of looks, movement and relative positions in relationship to the camera. It makes it possible to maintain a sense of screen direction and where things are even when you change setups and angles.


REDRAWING THE LINE

The Line isn't a permanent thing. You can establish a new Line if the actors move around in the scene, or if the camera moves (say dollies) to a new position, but you need to see the move and establish this new Line.

Hope that all makes sense!
[/QUOTE]

Believe it or not, this rule also applies when editing audio scenes and using panning. I just got feedback from a producer on a show I've been working on and he noted in one scene that an actor's voice was panned left while her footsteps appeared to move from stage right...busted for a basic mistake. Panning is a great tool, but just like camera movements it must be used sparingly and with proper respect for "THE LINE"!
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Old January 12 2011, 01:06 AM   #64
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Following up on the topic of The Line, Nick/USS Intrepid was nigh enough to give me permission to use frame grabs from his show to illustrate things. So here we go.

In this scene we see two characters meeting in a tunnel. Nick's character looks to screen right to face the other character, and she looks to screen left to face him. Even though the two characters do not appear in the same shot, a Line has been established between them.


His eyeline to her is to camera right


Her eyeline to him is camera left

All fine and good, but then some addition characters intrude, so now there are sets of three eyelines to deal with.

When the woman faces these new characters her eyeline is to screen right (opposite of looking to Nick's character), like so...



And Nick's eyeline to the intruders is to screen left, again away from the previous eyeline to the woman. All good so far.



But a problem happens when the baddies talk to Nick's character...



Their eyelines are to screen left. Eyelines should be in opposition, but here both the intruders and Nick are looking in the same screen direction. So, the intruders appear to be looking at the woman instead of Nick.

Still, they got 5 of the 6 looks right. Close!

Now, it's entirely possible I'm misreading the scene, but if I am, the fact that there's never an eyeline between Nick and the intruders is adding the confusion.
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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; January 12 2011 at 08:14 PM. Reason: Corrected an error!
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Old January 12 2011, 11:11 AM   #65
USS Intrepid
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Nope, we totally screwed that one up. Mainly because we didn't put much planning into the action, and we rushed to get it done. I was pulling triple duty, so wasn't paying enough attention to what was happening. I remember looking at the footage when I was capturing it and going 'doh'.

Which underlines the need for storyboarding and proper planning very neatly.
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Old February 13 2011, 09:40 AM   #66
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Continuing with cinematography basics, let's talk about...
THE JUMP CUT (A NO-NO)

A Jump Cut is an edit in which two sequential shots of the same subject are taken from camera positions that vary only slightly, with the result that the subject appears to "jump" position, making the edit both visible and jarring.

The Jump Cut is easily avoided in two ways:
  1. If you've already shot the film and your camera setups on a given subject vary too little, never cut directly from one shot of that subject to another shot of the same subject. Cut to another subject (another person in the conversation, etc.) before cutting back.
  2. Better yet, observe the 30° Rule when shooting (see below).

THE
30° RULE

The 30° Rule is a basic guideline that applies to both shooting and editing. Its purpose is to make sequential shots of the same subject different enough to avoid a Jump Cut.

The rule is pretty simple: the camera should move at least 30° between shots of the same subject in order to impart a change of perspective significant enough so that the change feels motivated (intentional), with the added benefit of making the edit less obvious to the viewer.



If consecutive shots of the same subject are too similar in angle (say less than 30°), they may look like a Jump Cut.


Just moving the camera in an arc around the subject isn't always a full solution. For instance, if the framing of the subject does not change significantly (e.g. medium to CU), then even observing the 30° Rule might not be enough. It's usually best to change the framing of a subject when changing the angle, as again, it makes the shot change feel intentional and thus invisible to the viewer.



So, as in this example above, with each angle, the camera moves to a different distance from the subject, resulting in different framing.


A CAVEAT
You must always be mindful of The Line and actor Eyelines. It's easy to get carried away and cross The Line or mess up the Eyelines by moving too drastically on an opposing axis.


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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; February 14 2011 at 03:24 AM.
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Old February 14 2011, 01:50 AM   #67
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

We were out scouting a location where we'll be shooting a sort of "sniper" sequence for Polaris, and I realized that the first thing we had to decide was where the "rest of the planet" is relative to our landing party - that is, when they go out from the landing site to explore do they go camera right or left? The sniper fire has to come from that direction as well, and therefore if "outward" is camera right then the gunman has to aim camera left, etc.
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Old February 14 2011, 10:28 PM   #68
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

^^^Right. You need to figure out where everything is so you can establish eyelines and maintain directional continuity.

Interestingly, I noticed that Exeter broke its own directional continuity in Act 3 for one shot (the ship consistently travels screen left, but in one shot it's heading screen right). I looked at the shot in question and it's actually correct, but in editing someone flopped it...oops.
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Old February 17 2011, 06:08 AM   #69
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Following up on the discussion of the cinematography basics, let's talk about...
AXIAL CUT

An Axial Cut is a type of cut that has been generally out of favor since the silent era, but it's worth knowing about.



Essentially, an Axial Cut changes only the framing (say Medium to CloseUp), and not the angle. As such, Axial Cuts are very prone to the Jump Cut problem, as when jumping in or out along the same axis any difference in the subject's pose or expression or movement is instantly obvious in a way that does not happen when changing the angle. The 30° Rule helps avoid this.

As with any kind of shot there are places you might want to use this, but it's actually more likely something you want to know about mostly in order to avoid it.
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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; February 17 2011 at 09:43 PM.
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Old February 17 2011, 07:00 AM   #70
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Even though I'll never be a filmmaker myself, I'm finding this thread very educational. Thanks, and hope it continues.
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Old February 17 2011, 09:16 PM   #71
DrMcCoy
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

A quick scan of this (excellent) thread, looks like no one has yet discussed sets...

In my experience, fan films are prone to constructing museum pieces where they need SHOOTABLE SETS.

Making things wild is almost never a mistake and building only what you need for the production according to the plan (i.e. THE SCRIPT) saves cost, time, effort, space, etc.

While it may be nice to have a complete recreation of your favorite spaceship bridge, it doesn't always add up to a practical shooting environment and, at the end of the day, it's what's on screen that matters, not the physical set.

When it comes to Star Trek, you can easily get probably 95% of the bridge shots in TOS using about 60% of the pie (and less than that if you're even modestly creative). For the first two New Voyages episodes we only had from Uhura's station to the starboard flat of the viewscreen...
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Old February 18 2011, 07:07 AM   #72
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

DrMcCoy wrote: View Post
A quick scan of this (excellent) thread, looks like no one has yet discussed sets...

In my experience, fan films are prone to constructing museum pieces where they need SHOOTABLE SETS.

Making things wild is almost never a mistake and building only what you need for the production according to the plan (i.e. THE SCRIPT) saves cost, time, effort, space, etc.

While it may be nice to have a complete recreation of your favorite spaceship bridge, it doesn't always add up to a practical shooting environment and, at the end of the day, it's what's on screen that matters, not the physical set.

When it comes to Star Trek, you can easily get probably 95% of the bridge shots in TOS using about 60% of the pie (and less than that if you're even modestly creative). For the first two New Voyages episodes we only had from Uhura's station to the starboard flat of the viewscreen...
A good point, Dr.!

As has been discussed here a number of times, even on TOS they typically had a good third of the bridge pulled out most of the time and rarely put the entire set together. Starship Exeter had about 2/3rds of a bridge and would swap sections around to be opposing sides.

On Polaris we had a 200° set (basically one side plus the front and back ends), and at the end of the shoot we rearranged the one of the end pieces and redressed and rotated the center console 180° degrees and got all the shots we needed of the other side. The set being wide open on one side made it easy to work in, that's for sure.
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Old February 18 2011, 04:47 PM   #73
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I, too, will never be a filmmaker (I don't think!) but have found this thread a great read!!
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Old February 18 2011, 04:51 PM   #74
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Yeah, Exeter had 80 percent of the bridge. Two 36 degree sections could be moved from starboard to port with the overhead displays swapped out in order to get the full set.
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Old February 22 2011, 05:19 AM   #75
Captain Robert April
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I hope the Ajax folks know that. Otherwise, they're busy driving themselves nuts trying to figure out what happened to those two missing sections.

BTW, shouldn't this thread be stickied? This is some pretty good info being dispensed in here.
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