Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Maurice, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly right. Which is why I've been trying to tackle stories with minimal effects of late.
     
  2. Potemkin_Prod

    Potemkin_Prod Commodore Commodore

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    Same here. The vignettes we've been shooting lately are sparse on the VFX. As a result, we've completed 6 more than we've released. Everything's waiting on the VFX-laden episode and two VFX-heavy vignettes.
     
  3. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    The effects-less production is one of the best suggestions offered on here. It's simple, straightforward, and liberating. Trek fan films are of course handicapped from the get-go by the desire to have effects.
     
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There was a 1968 version of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris done for Soviet TV which has ZERO effects. It's all set in a space ship and space station and uses some stock rocket footage here and there.


    turn on CC unless you understand Russian!​
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  5. Taylirious

    Taylirious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Such great advice as I said before and I applaud those who have contributed and those who are doing it. :)
     
  6. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I got into watching fan films because I LOVED (and still love) INTREPID. By the way, I just updated and corrected the Intrepid page at Star Trek Reviewd, and Ulisses just updated the Portuguese Language Page's Intrepid section, too.
     
  7. dcsmokey

    dcsmokey Commander Red Shirt

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    The original series of Star Trek had maybe 10 FX shots an episode, and many were stock footage. That Bob Justman knew how to maximize his shows time and budget

    I think some, maybe most, fan films rely on VFX way too much at the cost of story.

    In the early days, we would have 80+ shots. I'm thinking "In Harm's Way" has almost 200 shots if you count phaser shots, Transporter scenes and green screen shots.

    Nowadays, I encourage the use of way less VFX shots and more emphasis on character driven story.

    Star Trek is a morality play presented in the skin of science fiction. My challenge to the teams I work with are to return to the story and stop treating each episode like a major movie event with 100's of VFX shots.

    The simple morality play is much more appealing to me and truer to Star Trek than recreating a Battle of Wolf 359 type shot/episode.

    Star Trek is at its best when commenting on the human condition on a weekly basis rather than as a summer movie tent pole event (as the JJ movies are).

    I know fan films cannot be a weekly occurrence as all of us have real jobs and commitments, but it would sure be nice to see a real Trek episode being made by the fans rather than some sort of "event film" burdened with stunt casting and elaborate VFX which causes, in some productions cases, YEARS of delay in getting them done.
     
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  8. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Jack Marshall! Good to see you around!
     
  9. dcsmokey

    dcsmokey Commander Red Shirt

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    Greetings Sir! Nice to see you're still around these parts as one of the voices I've always enjoyed.
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I see we're on the same page here.

    Get it in camera is my motto. I shoot on greenscreen only when forced to, and I always try to minimize the number of VFX shots and keep them simple.

    Using Wolf 359 as an example, let's not forget that originally we never saw the battle. We just saw a few shots of shattered hulks. That was waaaaay more impactful (and a helluva lot less complex) than showing starships going pew pew pew. What we imaged was surely more horrifying than any effects could have portrayed.
     
  11. dcsmokey

    dcsmokey Commander Red Shirt

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    You're right - a better example would have been the opening battle of First Contact.
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    QFT. And when they did try to show a bit of the battle in the DS9 premier, it felt really small and not scary. In fact, since they had the Borg just grab and hold the Saratoga for minutes instead of just blasting it the way they did the Excelsior class ship, it sucked the life out of the scene.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  13. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Gotta say that for some reason, the destruction of the Odyssey was extremely impactful on me. I don't know if it's the angle they used or the perspective of the ship being docked that gave a feeling of enormous size to the ship compared to the space station or what, but when that thing blew up, my jaw dropped.

    Back on topic, good to see you back Jack and I hope you will keep beating the drums for stories. Get your hands on a good story and you will find a way to make it work!
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Getting back to...

    EDITING: Continuity Editing

    TOPIC: EDITING

    A while back I posted a message with video on the subject of Structural Editing vs. Relational Editing (link to post), but it occurs to me that I should introduce the topic of basic Continuity Editing first.

    Here's a Filmmaker IQ segment which ably illustrates this: Birth of Continuity Editing.


    I recommend watching this even if you're not an editor or think you're uninterested in the historical sequence of development of editorial technique. Why? Because it introduces the various kinds of cuts in the order they were born. It also illustrates what I've said before about some filmmaking "rules", i.e. that they're not arbitrary decisions but based on observing how audiences reacted to various techniques.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  15. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    This is the best video... and likely one that the majority of the big name fan film editors would benefit enormously from studying.
     
  16. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Some problems with fan productions are easily identified and can be easily improved upon (sound, for just one example). But editing is in my mind the toughest issue to deal with. Good editing requires a high degree of technical skill and it also requires a great feel for a film's pacing and structure. Even if there are no glaring errors such as jump cuts there are subtle mistakes that can distract a viewer even if they're not sure what the problem is.
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Editing is an art, it's true. I touched on this in my review of "The Night the Stars Fell From the Sky" (link), where I felt the editing actually hurt the film.

    A slim volume I highly recommend to beginning filmmakers is Oscar-winning editor Walter Murch's In The Blink Of An Eye: A Perspective On Film Editing (link to Amazon page for the book), which isn;t a book about the technical act of editing but rather about the art of editing, and approaches to it. As the title suggests, one of his observations is that oftentimes you can tell when to cut because the actors blink before and after a thought. If you watch people in conversation you'll notice that when they're passionate talking they will hardly blink at all, but the moment they complete the thought, blink.

    Just for reference, here are excerpts from notes on various Exeter edits I sent to Scott Cummins:

    3:40 Around [dialog] there’s too much cutting. I know none of the takes are ideal, but there are just too many jarring angle changes for no apparent reason. I realize that this is because the footage is not ideal, but the edits really draw attention to themselves. As they say in the record biz, if you notice the edit, then it’s not working.

    at 08:17 You need to cut off the first 15 frames of this shot of Garrovick and then it will be fine.

    at 08:23 You need to cut away from Cutty a few frames earlier because I register his eyes moving the follow Garrovick, who doesn't really move much until the next shot

    at 08:31 The cut goes to Garrovick when he's half in the frame. Is there any way to roll-edit this cut to avoid that?

    09:44 I'd trim the head of the corridor shot a hair because we only barely see the one crewman as he exits, so we either need to see more of him or none.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  18. Taylirious

    Taylirious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Has an "Elite Force" fan production been done? I don't think I have seen one and loved the games and think it would make an awesome series. :)
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Excuse me, what does that have to do with this thread?
     
  20. Taylirious

    Taylirious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nothing I suppose. My apologizes but I don't think I can delete my post. :shrug: