Fan Filmmaker's Primer

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

  1. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Filmmaker IQ explains ADR. Worth watching for all 12 minutes:

    [yt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP_673W270Y&feature=em-subs_digest-ctrl[/yt]

    What the hell is Snapchat? :lol:
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^Related to the above, and actually even more important to fan filmmakers. here's a great and straightforward introduction about the how-to of recording sound for your films, including discussions of recording equipment, audio formats, and how to mic it.

     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  3. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    That was really good and explained a few things I had very limited understanding of.
     
  4. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for that, very informative. Also a really good channel. :)

    We have to do a lot of ADR on our Fallen Star series. Reassuring to know I'm more or less doing it right, though I had to work it out the hard way!
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Okay, here's something different. This is a review of a no-budget film version of The War of the Worlds, and so much of what these guys critique in this film is directly applicable to a lot of fanfilms, from overuse of greenscreen to crossing the Line (180 degree rule) to over reliance of CGI effects, that I think it's a worthwhile discussion of "how NOT too".

     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Annnnnnnd this seems timely, since I keep seeing fanfilms which, segment after segment, don't improve. Lots of basic but good advice here.

     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  7. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    I know you're not singling anyone out, but I feel the need to say that while we have always aspired to do better every time, we don't always succeed at doing so. So lack of improvement might not always reflect a lack of desire to improve.

    Sometimes the realities of the situation just conspire against you. Or sometimes you're just not as organised as you think. :)
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just to be clear, my reason for sharing the above is that it's a nice, concise summary of what ails a lot of fanfilms.

    What I'm getting at is that many people keep making the same easily avoidable/correctable mistakes time and time again. "We didn't know," only works the first few times, especially given how much feedback and suggestions are offered here in this forum. As always, I'm trying to help people improve their work and make it more entertaining, or at least watchable. :)
     
  9. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Oh I agree, and I really like the video. :)
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Small bump.

    Here's something that's not a fanfilm, but it was directed and edited by "The Tressaurian Intersection" director Scott Cummins, scored by frequent fanfilm composer Hetoreyn, VFX by fanfilm visual effects staple NEO f/x, and scripted by yours truly.

    The film was produced by the Rose City Softball Association of Portland, Oregon as part of its bid to host the NAGAAA world series in 2017. It was made on a super tiny budget and largely shot in one day.

    Now, the idea here was to sell Portland as a cool, fun place to host the series. Scott's concept was to do a sort of faux movie trailer sending up some cliches about the city while soft selling it, and simultaneously taking a few gentle pokes at competing cities Tampa and Phoenix (better weather).

    Even though it was supposed to be a sort of trailer, the script actually tells a tiny story about a guy who moves to this "weird" town but after finding an activity in the community (softball), "goes native". It's shorter than a fanfilm "vignette", yet it still features a narrative arc.


    A few cool things here that fan filmmakers might pay attention to.
    • The sound! Listen to how clear it is. This comes from proper mic-ing and good sound mixing, and really adds the to quality of the piece.
    • The editing. Notice how tightly it's cut. How there's basically no dead air. Notice too how the dialog is often played out over reaction shots of the protagonist because the story is about HIM and its his reactions to what's being said is sometimes more important than seeing the speaker.
    • The use of the mirror in the restaurant. When looking over the protagonist's shoulder at his "weird" lunch companion, we can still see his face in the mirror. Mirrors are great ways to open up a set or add interest to shots (albeit watch out for unintended crew reflections!).
    • The flying camera. A drone camera is used in a couple of shots to open things up, and it adds a LOT of production value.

      And finally...
    • The visual metaphor. The pitcher mimics the pose of the Portlandia statue, personifying the city (that was my idea). Even without the on-the-nose dissolve from statue to the pitcher, it was still set up early in the film when the statue is first revealed in the matching angle.
    By the way, Portland won the contest, and Scott was told "the video put us over the top."

    And, yes, that's a Field of Dreams reference at the end. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  11. OpenMaw

    OpenMaw Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Very awesome stuff, Maurice. Thank you really for sharing all of this knowledge. Much of it is very, very, helpful indeed.. :)
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    I debated whether to put this in the Fanfilm Writers' Primer, since a lot of what's presented here applies to screenwriting, but since it's got broader applications to editing, etc., this seemed the better venue.

    Don't let the title fool you. What this concerns is STRUCTURE in narratives of all sorts. Have a look. And, if you are intrigued, please see the film he's using as his example, F For Fake (link). It's really good.

    F FOR FAKE ON YOUTUBE
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  13. The Transformed Man

    The Transformed Man Commander Red Shirt

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    Remember the mantra, "Room tone is your friend." Get a good 30 secs to 1 minute of ambient noise in the room for sound editing purposes.... can hide a lot of shortcomings.
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Okay, a quick bit of advice for...

    SHOOTING OUTDOORS

    Shooting outdoors is both a blessing and curse. If you're shooting in daylight hours the blessing is that you typically have all the light you could possibly want, but the curse is that the sun is a single directional light source and realllllly powerful, which can be too contrasty and downright unflattering.

    So here are some easy tips for shooting outside:

    • When out in direct sunlight, try to get your shots in the morning and the afternoon, because the angle of the light will be lower and fill in faces better.
    • Conversely, avoid shooting when the sun is high overhead because that tends to make people's eyes disappear under the shadows of their brows. So not pretty.
    • Embrace overcast! Overcast days are the best for shooting because the clouds/fog act like a giant all-natural gauze which diffuses sunlight in a wonderful way and makes it more omnidirectional. Beware scattered cloud as the sun may pop in and out mid-take.
    • Never put the sun behind the actors unless you want silhouettes.
    • If it's bright, avoid getting the sky in shots. This is because the sky tends to be the brightest thing around (unless you point your camera at the sun) and to get the exposure right on the talent and scenery you risk a "blow out" and overexposure of the sky. (You can get around this with a circular polarizer, but that has side effects.)
    • USE REFLECTORS! The best dirt-cheap reflectors I've found are those tri-fold project boards kids use for science fairs and whatnot. Get white ones. (click for example) They're cheap. They're stiffer than poster board. They fold in two places and let you get multiple bounces off each. And their folding makes them manageable for easy transport.
    • Even if you just plop the reflectors at the actors toes, just out of shot, that will help get some fill light to soften harsh daytime shadows.

    Here's a video I shot outdoors in about 4 hours. This is in on and off overcast (darned moving fog), shot early/mid afternoon, using two bounce cards (typically set on the ground right in front of the performers), no on location diffusion, and some simple contrast adjustment in post.

     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  15. Karzak

    Karzak Commodore Commodore

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    "An editor has to know film grammar, screen structure, acting (or more accurately, character), directing, as well as the tools that we are known for; pacing and emotional impact."

    WHY A DIRECTOR SHOULDN’T EDIT THEIR OWN MOVIE

    Some good points to consider discussed within ^^
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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  17. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    So basically, the same reasons why a book author doesn't do the editing on his or her own book before it's published.

    Kor
     
  18. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Commodore Commodore

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    CF: Wheel of Time series.
    The first half dozen novels were very good (some spectacular, some not so much). When the author married his editor, the series started to get very bulky and out of control, and began to suffer from 'information overload' and too many plot threads all over the place.
     
  19. JE Smith

    JE Smith Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    *Whew* I've just read through the entire thread (over the course of two days). Lots of great tips and info here. But here's something I haven't seen covered, which I have struggled with on some of my recent productions:

    Outside sound. I have watched numerous professional productions where characters are outside, having a conversation -- sometimes on the roofs of buildings -- and the wind is whipping their hair violently to and fro... and yet not a HINT of noise on the mic. And no, these scenes haven't been post-looped; you can tell from the quality of the voices (or if they have, they're the work of some kind of sound genius, as almost *any* inside-for-outside looping I've heard sounds quite obvious to the trained ear). Obviously there is specialized professional equipment -- beyond the obvious deadcat/windsock -- that is able to pick up the voices/performances while blocking out virtually all of the wind (I realize you can get rid of some wind noise in post; I've done it on a couple of my films as well).

    So my question is: what techniques/gadgets/tips are there for no-budget/fan films to try (again, beyond the obvious deadcat) and cut wind/outside mic noise as much as humanly possible?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  20. JE Smith

    JE Smith Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    A lot of great points there -- but as with many things in the no-budget/fan area, it's not something you can always afford to hand over. And for me, personally, editing is where the real fun comes in, and it starts to really feel "real." I consider myself a better editor than a director, frankly, but in both cases, I'm all I can afford and/or count on. :ack: