Making Movies: Digital Video Techniques. By Troy Carnie. Script/Set Directing/Acting Producing/Editing Presenting/Premiere. Aspects Of Movie Making. From idea and camcorder to film. Script /Set. Ideas Script Writing Finding Location Set Creation
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Making Movies: Digital Video Techniques
By Troy Carnie
Aspects Of Movie Making
From idea and camcorder to film
Ideas Script Writing Finding Location Set Creation
DirectingActing - Stunts - Voice, Expression, GestureShooting Video - Equipment - Cameras, Microphones, Lighting -
The Potential of Movie Making in the Classroom
1. Using Your Camera
2. Camera Techniques
3. Other Elements
One skill you will need to master is holding your video camera steady. Whether you hold the camera yourself or use a tripod, there are steps you can take to help make your capture shake-free.
Hand-Held vs. Tripod
Although the tripod may take longer to set up initially, the disadvantages are fewer by comparison. The tripod is specifically designed for video use and offers distinct advantages such as a)Take steady shots every time, b) Ensure smooth camera movements, c) Keep the camera level during pan and tilt shots & d) Shooting complex shots more easily
When capturing video it is ideal to hold a shot for a 3–10 second duration. This will give you enough video to edit and allow you to engage the attention of an audience with a lot of short shots instead of long, drawn out single shots.
Zoom lenses can vary their angle of view from wide angle to telephoto settings. The main advantage of a zoom is its flexibility in composing a shot with different angles of view from the same perspective. Zooming in and out should be done when the camera is paused. Avoid ‘yo-yo’ shots that zoom in and out again while filming as they have an unsettling effect on the viewer.
FocusingMost video cameras can control the focus manually or automatically. Although auto-focus is sufficient most of the time, it can misread some situations, especially in low light.Manual focusing enables you to focus the lens precisely on the area you want to draw the viewer’s attention to.When focusing manually, here is a tip to check your focus.
1. Set up the shot2. Zoom in to a close-up of the subject on which you wish to focus3. Adjust the focus until detail is sharp4. Zoom out, then compose the final shot this method of focusing ensures that the subject is sharp and remains in focus throughout any subsequent zoom movement.
The pan shot is a camera movement that involves swivelling the camera through a gentle arc, left to right vice versa, in one slow, smooth and continuous movement. Care must be taken that the first and last images are held for about 3 seconds each, so the purpose is clear and be careful not to overuse this technique to avoid the movement becoming tedious or confusing to the viewer. Panning is best used for :
When hand-holding the camera, start with your body twisted in the opposite direction to the panning movement. As you pan, uncurl and move only from the waist up.
Tilting is pivoting the camera in a smooth, continuous, vertical movement (a vertical pan). Tilting, as with panning, is effective when the subject justifies it,eg tilting from the bottom to the top of a tall building or mountain. As with panning, the same rules apply with tilting:
1. Think about what you are trying to show and determine the beginning and end images
2. Rehearse the tilt before shooting.
3. Hold the 1st image for about 3 seconds, then tilt slowly and smoothly, in one direction.
4. End by holding the final image for about 3 seconds; do not stop abruptly or tilt past the final spot.
More Panning & Tilting Tips
Wide shot or Long Shot shows the whole scene and helps to set the stage letting the viewer knows where he/she is. These shots are also used when a scene involves a lot of movement.
In a Medium Shot the camera seems closer to the subject. You use this shot when you want a closer look at your subject, or when you need to transition between wide shots and close up shots.
A Close-Up Shot shows an even smaller part of the subject or scene. If you were interviewing someone, this shot would show the person from the top of the chest or shoulders up.
This extreme close-up shot gives an exaggerated view and shows further details. It is a shot full of impact and drama and for these reasons should not be overworked.
A cutaway is a shot that's usually of something other than the current action.It could be a different subject (eg. this carabiner that the subject is hanging from), a close up of a different part of the subject (eg. the subject's hands), or just about anything else. The cutaway is used as a "buffer" between shots (to help the editing process), or to add interest/information. Once you cut away from your master shot, you can return to it seconds or minutes later and your audience will assume what they’ve been watching is in real time.
Atwo shot has two people in the frame. A three shot has three people in the frame. Because you have to be some distance from the people to get them all in the frame, this is usually a medium or wide shot.
Two Shot/Three Shot
Your shot angle is the level from which you look at your subject. The relationship between the camera and the object being photographed (i.e. the angle) gives emotional information to an audience, and guides their judgment about the character or object in shot. The more extreme the angle (i.e. the further away it is from eye level), the more symbolic and heavily-loaded the shot.
Birds Eye View
Eye-level angle is one of the most commonly used shots. The camera is positioned as though it is a human actually observing a scene. If you're shooting a person, make sure you shoot at their eye-level, not yours.
A Low Angle shot has the camera looking up at the subject, making it seem important or larger than it is to the viewer. An example of this would be you might be sitting on the ground looking up at someone who is standing .Thebackground of a low angle shot will tend to be just sky or ceiling. The seemingly added height of the object may make it inspire fear and insecurity in the viewer, who is psychologically dominated by the figure on the screen.
High Angle has the camera looking down on the subject, making it seem smaller, and less significant, giving the audience a sense of power. In this case, the camera is elevated above the action where you'd be shooting higher than the subject (maybe they're sitting, or maybe you're standing on a desk) looking down at them. The object or character often gets swallowed up by their setting - they become part of a wider picture.
This shows a scene from directly overhead, a very unnatural and strange angle. Familiar objects viewed from this angle might seem totally unrecognisable at first (umbrellas in a crowd, dancers' legs). This shot does, however, put the audience in a Godlike position, looking down on the action. People can be made to look insignificant, ant-like, part of a wider scheme of things.
When arcing the camera is moved in a left to right curve where the subject remains in the centre. For example: A Point-of-view shot of bullies circling around a young victim.
There are many ways to compose a shot, depending on your story and what you want to achieve. You want to be aware of what is in the shot and what isn't. Can you clearly see what you intend for the viewer to see?Here are some things to remember:
Rule of thirds divides the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The points where the vertical and horizontal lines cross are aesthetically pleasing spots to place subjects or to have perspective lines converge. It is usually best to avoid placing horizon lines exactly in the middle of a frame, but to place the horizon either above or below centre, approximately one-third or two-thirds up the height of the frame.
Rule Of Thirds
When composing a medium close-up or a close-up shot, arrange for the eyes to be positioned about 1/3 of the way down the screen. This gives a comfortable feel within the frame.
Talking/Walking Room - If you are interviewing someone or have video of someone talking, you generally do not want them looking directly at the camera (again, it depends on your goals - certain situations may call for that). Generally you want the person to be looking off to the left or right of the camera a bit. When you do this, frame your shot so that there is some talking room. That is, you want to leave some extra space in front of their face as if you were going to draw a dialogue box in for them. This space is "talking room." If the person is talking to another person, this shows space between them. Walking room, if the person in motion, gives them space to walk to. Talking/Walking Room leaves space in the shot for the action, whether it be words or movement.
Creating visual flow in your movie requires mastering all the aspects previously mentioned and putting them together so that they flow. This is called sequencing. The key is to think visually – not in terms of single attractive shots, but in sequences of effective images that progress the sense or feeling of the subject. This ‘visual literacy’, in time will become second nature.
For example, a very basic sequence could be a wide shot of a mountain (this establishes to the viewer of the location/conditions), followed by a medium shot of mountain climber on a cliff face (this shot is a bridging shot from the wide shot to the close-up shot), followed by a close-up shot of climber from the waist up (this shot shows to the viewer detail and facial expression i.e., physical strain of the climber).
Another example of a sequence
SoundAudio can be just as important as the picture in doing a video story. The following are some suggestions for capturing good sound.1. Pay special attention to the distance from the source audio to your microphone and the background noise. These will be the most important variables in getting good audio2. Use a clip-on microphone or a hand held microphone if possible. The closer the microphone is to the source of sound, the better. If you use the on-camera microphone, the ideal distance is about 3 feet - just far enough away to focus on a good head and shoulders shot.
LightWhere’s the Light? Shoot away from windows and other forms of intense background light. If light is intense, use your camera's backlight feature. The backlight feature allows your camera to compensate for bright light. If lighting is poor use a portable or camera mounted light. Always light your subject.
Always use both hands to steady your camera, pulling your elbows into your chest and stand with your feet apart. Alternatively, rest your elbows on an object, kneel, sit or lie down.
______ Quick Release Platform
A dramatic low angle opens the sequence and establishes the fairground theme
A wide shot reveals the location and introduces the two main characters
A shot that allows walking room pans ahead of the subjects, confirms screen direction
A medium shot focuses the attention on the activity that will form the storyline
A cutaway shot continues the action, which can now be expanded
A close-up serves to concentrate interest and leads the viewer to the next shot
A cutaway shot of the prizes on the shelf, acts as an effective link shot
A cutaway, taken as a point-of-view shot, develops the action
A reaction shot taken from a low angle, dramatises the moment of success
A change of height adds variety to the shots and helps direct attention
A reverse angle shot concludes the sequence
“The potential of computer based digital video in expanding and extending a student’s capability to think, learn, understand and communicate is enormous.Desktop video production is providing students with unique opportunities to enhance their learning in creative ways. Video is a wonderful and affordable medium for students to mix moving images, text, sound, music, still images and dialogue into compelling stories, documentaries and research projects for sharing.With a digital video camera, a computer and user-friendly video editing software teachers and students have an ideal starting point for video making.Video is a versatile and global medium for sharing information. It can be used extensively in all curriculum areas and at all year levels. Imagine a project, a story, a poem, a biography, a news report, an interview, a documentary, collaborative research or a science experiment coming to life through video.Video productions can be compressed and used in web pages, placed on CD ROM or DVD, printed directly to video tape, or embedded into multimedia presentations.Students derive as much of their knowledge from visual texts as they do from printed texts. Just as there is written language there is visual language with many similarities between reading and viewing.Just as it takes a planned approach to write a book or an essay (a structure that links words to sentences to paragraphs), it's also possible to create a video in much the same way using a series of shots, sequences and scenes.In addition to gaining an understanding of the basic mechanics of how to use a video camera and video editing software, students need to develop a greater visual awareness and visual literacy.Classroom video production supported by supplementary viewing, discussion and planning activities not only gives students opportunities to broaden their literacy repertoire and to use creative production tools but it provides a richer understanding of how to create video stories that make sense, create an impact and tell a story.Video production works powerfully in a classroom that encourages exploration, inquiry, investigation, and discovery approaches to learning.There is evidence of improved self-esteem, increased confidence, and the development of leadership skills in students when they are given opportunities to explore visual language and focus on using video as a learning and communication tool. Students are becoming highly creative in harnessing this powerful ICT tool.” - Technology School Of The Future Website: www.tsof.edu.au