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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old May 12 2011, 10:55 PM   #136
MikeH92467
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I cannot directly answer your question, but it sounds like what you are asking would fall under the responsibility of a "production supervisor" or whatever title you would like to give someone who would determine ahead of time your personnel needs. It seems like this would require someone with at least some experience in video production. One thing that would probably help is to make up story boards for your production. These drawings need not be elaborate or great works of art...even stick figures will help you match what's on the script to the space with which you are working. It will also help you with potential camera placement and with maintaining the "eyelines" that are so important to proper editing. Have fun and good luck!
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Old May 13 2011, 05:59 AM   #137
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

offtrackv wrote: View Post
What would you say is the minimum crew needed for a production? Over the life of this thread I've seen grips, best boys, ADs, prop masters, script editors, etc. etc.
I don't think this thread has really touched on roles other the Director, the A.D., and Actors. Certainly no one's brought up Best Boys.

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This is great, but what if you can't round up all those people (or feed them, or even get them all into the set space)? What roles can be combined? What roles can be dropped altogether if need be?
That's a fair question.

On a small production you can often lose wardrobe people if there is little costuming. Sometimes you can leave out makeup but only if someone else on the crew can tend to it (many stage actors are used to doing their own). You probably don't need a property master. You WILL want a D.P. who is not doubling any other role, except maybe being the camera operator and focus puller/Assistant Camera. For newbies, the Director should probably be doing that only, and not be the camera operator, because the Director needs to focus on the actors and watch the takes, and that's hard to do if you're also running the camera.

You can dispense with a boom operator if you can plant mics and the actors don't move a lot, but if you're recording second sound the sound gal can often double as boom operator.

I prefer to have both an A.D. and a Script Supervisor. The former runs the set and tracks the schedule. The latter tracks what you've shot and monitors continuity (to the script, between takes and setups) and tracks what's been covered from which angles. I've tried to cover for a missing Script Supe as the A.D., which is possible but not ideal.
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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; May 13 2011 at 09:38 PM.
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Old June 9 2011, 06:23 AM   #138
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Time for more hints and tips. Let's revising lighting with
LIGHTING TRICKS 1: LED FLASHLIGHTS/MAGLIGHTS

As I've said before, you don't have to have studio type lights to get workable results. I've previously discussed China Balls (paper lanterns) for ambient light, but there are interesting options for dramatic lighting as well.

Years ago a friend who worked at MTV told me how for one show they lit the central area of a set by hanging something like 100 maglight flashlights on cables in an array overhead, and if some inevitably conked out, the sheer number of them meant you always had a lot of light. It sounds impractical (and who'd want to have to switch them all on and off all the time), but as the lights hung into the shots it gave an interesting design element in addition to providing practical illumination.

On a smaller scale, you can use cheap LED flashlights to dramatically light single subjects. I did this for the first video I did for The Kinsey Sicks, titled BP is Creepy (click to view on YouTube).

The song was designed to have a spooky sound, so the video needed a spooky look. My idea was to just have the performers disembodied heads floating in black (representing oil and being dark/spooky). I needed something I could shoot fast, too, as we piggybacked this on the tail end of another music video shoot, and basically had to shoot it within an hour. I decided to buy four LED flashlights and use them to light the faces from below, horror-movie fashion.
Original photography was of each performer in this framing.
The frame above illustrates how each of the performers were photographed. The setup was each singer in front of black foamcore board with black tablecloths draped over their bodies. Three LED flashlights provided all the illumination, with one pointing up at the face, and one to each side and behind the performer to rim light the hair.

Originally, I tried photographing all four performers together with one light on each, but with such low lighting levels and resulting poor depth of field it was difficult to maintain focus on all four. I opted to shoot each singer separately so that I could get more light on each (three lights instead of one each), knowing I could easily composite them together in post (after all, what's easier than matting against black?).


Separately photographed heads could be mixed and matched and duplicated and scaled.
As you can see here, the results are pretty dramatic considering how little light we were actually using.
Simple scaling and rotating tricks were used to create choreography like this Busby Berkeley shot.
Naturally, a big part of making this work is to get the exposure right. I you get the exposure wrong, or your camera's no-good in low light, this might not work. BUT, you can increase the number of flashlights for more light. You can even tape them onto C-stands or other stands to keep them in place.

Obviously this technique was its limitations, but there's a lot you can do with it.

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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; June 9 2011 at 09:52 AM.
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Old June 16 2011, 11:20 AM   #139
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Time for more hints and tips. Let's revising lighting with
LIGHTING TRICKS 2: JOGGER LIGHTS

Related to the previous post about LED flashlights, pretty much any kind of light can be used in a shot, provided you have enough of them or a camera that can shoot in the light provided.

On Starship Polaris we had to shoot a closeup of an actor to appear in a very small craft. I suggested that we repurpose some small lighted jogger wands that had been set dressing on a Command Deck console and put them near the actor's face to simulate colored lights coming from instruments inside the craft. Our DP took that one step further and used the three small lights as major lighting elements for the shot.

The three lights around actor Garrett D. Melich's face.
No, it's not Dentistry..of the FUTURE!

The specific lights we used are Life+Gear LED Glowsticks, which cost about $6 each. Our DP taped these to some C-Stand arms and arranged then in a triangle around Garrett's face. The red one was set to steady ON and the other two were set to flash in an alternating pattern. One conventional stage lamp was used to give sufficient illumination for proper exposure, but the flashing LED lights did interesting things on the actor's face and made a shot that would otherwise have been pretty staid actually rather striking.
Frame from one of the takes.
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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; June 17 2011 at 04:23 AM.
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Old June 16 2011, 06:34 PM   #140
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Improvisation is a great way to make up for a lack of money and/or technological resources. TOS is a great example: they originally planned to send away teams to planets by shuttle craft, but the expense was prohibitive and they came up with the transporter. The result was not just a cost saving, but it allowed the script to go directly from the ship to the action without having to fill any space between. The result was tighter writing and faster pacing.

Another example: a friend of mine was working on a college video project and she didn't have any way to create opening titles. So she came up with the idea of mocking up newspaper front pages and having them thrown into the shot. The result was an eye catching way of getting her point across. It was much more effective than regular graphics would have been.
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Old June 16 2011, 06:40 PM   #141
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
Improvisation is a great way to make up for a lack of money and/or technological resources. TOS is a great example: they originally planned to send away teams to planets by shuttle craft, but the expense was prohibitive and they came up with the transporter. The result was not just a cost saving, but it allowed the script to go directly from the ship to the action without having to fill any space between. The result was tighter writing and faster pacing.

Another example: a friend of mine was working on a college video project and she didn't have any way to create opening titles. So she came up with the idea of mocking up newspaper front pages and having them thrown into the shot. The result was an eye catching way of getting her point across. It was much more effective than regular graphics would have been.
Couldn't agree more, improv often results in better ideas.
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Old June 16 2011, 06:47 PM   #142
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
Another example: a friend of mine was working on a college video project and she didn't have any way to create opening titles. So she came up with the idea of mocking up newspaper front pages and having them thrown into the shot. The result was an eye catching way of getting her point across. It was much more effective than regular graphics would have been.
How is that different from the newspaper front pages filmmakers have been using for decades because they allow them to seamlessly convey a message without having to break from the atmosphere of the story? Sounds like she simply chose the best option, saving herself time and expenses at the same time. Just shows she's efficient and can work on a tight budget, which is always a good talent to have.
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Old June 16 2011, 11:32 PM   #143
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

lennier1 wrote: View Post
MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
Another example: a friend of mine was working on a college video project and she didn't have any way to create opening titles. So she came up with the idea of mocking up newspaper front pages and having them thrown into the shot. The result was an eye catching way of getting her point across. It was much more effective than regular graphics would have been.
How is that different from the newspaper front pages filmmakers have been using for decades because they allow them to seamlessly convey a message without having to break from the atmosphere of the story? Sounds like she simply chose the best option, saving herself time and expenses at the same time. Just shows she's efficient and can work on a tight budget, which is always a good talent to have.
No disagreement. It's just that the initial thought was to use normal graphics and when it wasn't available, she didn't pack it in, she just found a workable alternative, that actually turned out better. Actually the TOS example is even more interesting in its own way, because it shows that even full-scale professional productions run into these kinds of issues.
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Old June 17 2011, 02:04 AM   #144
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

^^^I'm a big believer in embracing limitations and using them to force yourself to be more creative. The idea of using thrown newspapers is a clever solution to a problem that I can imagine made the title sequence more interesting than it'd otherwise have been. Bravo to your friend, Mike.

Dennis and I were a few weeks ago discussing ideas for the opening titles for POLARIS, and as we both were tired of flying through starfields under space movie credits, we started discussing alternatives, looking at all kinds of title sequences from suspense and dramatic pictures from the 50s and 60s to break ourselves out of the conventional mindset.
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Last edited by Maurice Navidad; June 17 2011 at 04:22 AM.
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Old June 17 2011, 03:48 AM   #145
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Yes we are, but in the end I suspect there's a reason that DS9Sega addresses me from time to time as Mr. Debris...
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Old June 17 2011, 04:22 AM   #146
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Dennis wrote: View Post
Yes we are, but in the end I suspect there's a reason that DS9Sega addresses me from time to time as Mr. Debris...
Roger that!
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Old June 17 2011, 04:32 AM   #147
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Bring in the chorus girls.
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Old June 17 2011, 05:22 AM   #148
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Dennis wrote: View Post
Bring in the chorus girls.
I remember you telling me, "Of course, I think we should add a little music...and that whole first act has got to go. They're losing the war? It's too depressing."

It's DeBris, by the way. Oy.
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Old June 17 2011, 06:20 AM   #149
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Dennis wrote: View Post
Yes we are, but in the end I suspect there's a reason that DS9Sega addresses me from time to time as Mr. Debris...
Dandruff?
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Old June 19 2011, 10:41 PM   #150
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DS9Sega wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
Bring in the chorus girls.
I remember you telling me, "Of course, I think we should add a little music...and that whole first act has got to go. They're losing the war? It's too depressing."

It's DeBris, by the way. Oy.
that's Bigboo-TEY.
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