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If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed. - Stanley Kubrick
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KEY TERMS: Glossary
Method for Directors?
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
prof. Anatoly Antohin Theatre UAF AK 99775 USA
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Film & Video Directing (Spring 2004): textbook Grammar of the Film Language by Daniel Arijon
Why did I make this page on such an unpleasant subject? Perhaps, because you have to plan it ahead, have to leave some room for the troubles, my friends. You have to count on that, trust me, you and a lot of others in your team will make a lot of mistakes.
It is wise to shoot the alternative shots right away.
See Actors page and re-examine your shot to help them to act. Go for cut-away shots, or ECUs -- if you can get it from them. Think about different angles, organize your shots in such a manner that the actors would face the camera only, when they deliver! Go for LS, if the CU or MS reveal the "bad" performance. You must work AROUND your actor (model). Most likely you will be working with novice "actors" -- so, rely on the camera!
[ also, see rules page ]
Film PunctuationFilm punctuation -- separations between sequences, pauses in narration, stress of a passage -- is achieved by editing, camera movement or subject movement.
Very handy if you do not have the fotage to cover the transitions. Also, adds the STYLE.
[ hyperlink the page! ]
Transitions from scene to scene: fade out -- fade in
White-outs and color fades
Use of dark areas
Movement in the same direction
[ more RULES ] "Video Composition Rules: Start out playing by the rules. Some people feel that rules restrict them too much. However, if you're trying to control the visual messages your video is sending, you need an understanding of traditional rules of composition. Then when you go about breaking the rules, you'll be able to do so with purpose and intent! Many centuries ago, artists developed rules to guide them when painting or positioning objects in a rectangular frame. They discovered that certain placements were more pleasing and that the eye was drawn to some areas of the canvas more readily. You can use what they discovered to help tell your stories more effectively. [ more ]
Cutting around the prop
A sudden close up
Transition by parallel editing
The ActorThe body blocks the camera lens. Moving away, disclosing the scene.
The CameraAbsolute stillness case.
Abrupt jump cuts as punctuation
Jump cuts as time transition
Inaction as punctuation
Out of focus images as punctuation
Dark screen used as punctuation
Camera motion as punctuationVertical punctuation
I see a lot of good advices on the net:
Rules of Shooting
Let's start with some rules for making "video sketches." These rules are neither a political manifesto nor arbitrary. Rather, they are based on simple observations I have made that result in watchable and easy-to-make videos.
Shoot to edit.
Shooting to edit means you are consciously collecting bits of video that you know will cut together nicely. You don't need any preparation for this (such as story-boards). But you must be dedicated to the notion that you are shooting with the intention of making a video out of the material you've shot. Keep it simple.
No equipment that you can't carry in your pockets.
No tripods. No steadicams. Again, keep it simple. You could use additional lenses, adapters, or filters, but they aren't necessities either. You may be tempted by fun gadgets that make your camera big and heavy and sexy—but if they're difficult, uncomfortable, confusing, or time-consuming to use, don't let them get in your way. Shed the baggage. It's just you and your camera.
Use existing light only.
Lighting is as much a part of a scene as the people and action in it. Adding light changes the mood from what is really going on (and it violates rule No. 4). Learn to appreciate the light that exists in the scene, and capture whatever you can just with your camera. To follow this rule, however, you'll need to have good control of your camera (although automatic exposure settings make this awfully darn easy to manage). If the existing lighting isn't working for you, don't add light—learn more about your camera's manual exposure controls.
Concentrate on static shots.
By "static shots," I mean that the only thing moving is whatever you're shooting. Static shots are the building blocks of your video. Use moving shots minimally, if at all. In other words, stop moving around while you're shooting. This is probably the hardest rule to abide by. But you must trust me on this: Stop moving. Stop moving the camera, stop moving your body, and stop zooming in and out.
Don't let your subject talk directly to the camera.
Observe conversations, but don't participate. There are many ways to shoot and make fun videos, and interviewing people from behind the lens—having them talk to the camera—is one of them. But many of the rules of filmmaking, and in particular my rules for video sketches, don't work when people talk to the camera. It's simply hard to edit.
If you feel like interviewing someone, do it with the camera held to your side and away from your face (or set it down somewhere else), so that the subject is looking at you and not at the camera lens. But it's usually better simply to shoot people interacting with one another, not with you.
Impose limits on your project.
This rule is critical. Shoot no more than 20 minutes of source video per project, and use this raw footage to create 1 to 5 minutes of "program." This way, you can finish a project in 1 to 3 hours of actual work, probably in one sitting. This is the nature of video: The more you shoot, the more difficult the project will become. If you keep your source material under 20 minutes, all the variables come together and result in exceptionally finishable projects.
Avoid in-camera effects.
Ignore those little digital things the camera can do, like titles, special effects, and even digital zoom. Sure, they are fun to use—but don't. If you want effects, you can always add them later with the computer; if you use the camera for your effects, you can never remove them. So save the effects and titles for post-production.
Use MiniDV and FireWire—period.
No analog. No digitizing. And don't fret about the cost: It's worth it. MiniDV
and FireWire or nothing.
What went wrong in the first shoot?
[ always examine the STORY ]
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