I'm filming a movie next week!

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Micheal, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    Alright, it's just a small project that I've cooked up but it could be quite fun. I wrote a small screenplay that's about 40 odd pages long. It's a horror film.

    I'm shooting it with a Sony Digital Video Camera Recorder. (Luckily I have a tri-pod to help steady some shots. [​IMG]) We're going to start shooting next week and I need some advice. What's the best way to prepare for this sort of thing? Lighting is my biggest enemy. How do you test the lighting for each scene? I don't want scenes to be washed out or too dark.

    I've shot some practice scenes that have turned out pretty well after editing. I'm using Adobe Premiere 1.5 to edit everything and I've had some experience with it. (We're talking a couple of days here...)

    The cast is small, 7 people in total, with 3 main characters. If anyone has ever been in a movie before and has some advice... please post.

    We're not taking this too seriously but we want to do the best that we can. Any tips on how to prepare would be great.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    My wife has been in some movies and some ads. Mostly she tells me how incredibly boring it is and how unnatural acting is to look natural.
    It's always good to have good plot tie-ins to the nudity if you need to convince someone [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Wes

    Wes Screenwriter

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    It sounds like fun, I have shot a few movies with my Kids (all Horror type films) and we had a good time doing them. They last around 5-15 min long and the main actors have always met with doom in the end. It would be fun to shoot a short with grown ups as actors. Some of these stupid shorts on killsometime.com and Ifilms.com I have seen just make you wonder how they could spend so much time and resources and create such stupid movies.

    No real advise though!

    Wes
     
  4. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I shot a nice little trailer for a horror project that imploded and we used tons of tricks (using wheelchair for dolly shots, gel lights, crazy camera shots) to keep it from looking like your typical backyard project. Plot everything out, storyboard as much as you feel comfortable with, and expect the unexpected.
     
  5. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    STORYBOARD STORYBOARD STORYBOARD!

    I've done dozens of video shoots, and that is the best advise I can give. Plan your shots. Know what you need. Think through the video, the shots, the angles, etc.

    Remember, it takes forever to shoot. My last video was 6 minutes long, and took two nights to shoot and a week to edit.

    The best thing for lighting is to hook a monitor up to the camera and view it from there. The little monitor on the camera can be way off. Make sure it looks good on the monitor.

    SOUND!!!! Get a boom mic. Don't use the mic on the camera. You will hate it. You will hear the noise of the lens zooming, you will hear your hands on the camera. You will hear your breathing as the scene unfolds. Get decent sound.

    (Oh, and turn off the auto focus!!!!!! It will drive you nuts. Get the focus on the scene and leave it.)

    Also, remember directing is like herding cats. You have to keep everyone focused on what they are doing (it turns into ADHD Theatre after awhile). Plus, you are planning for the next shot, watching footage to make sure you see what you want, etc.

    Make sure your actors understand acting on film. They have to do everything exactly the same each time they repeat a scene. No adlibbing, no changing the order they walk, etc. If you are shooting multiple angles, they have to do it the same. You need it for editing.

    Good luck. It's hard work, but when it's done, it's a lot of fun seeing the final results.
     
  6. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    How do you use a boom mic? Do you record the sound from the boom mic on some other device and then import it into the editor? Or does the sound picked up from the boom mic hook into the camera and get recorded digitally with the video?

    No auto focus... I'll have to try that.

    Great advice guys. I'm not heavy into storyboards but I do love to take a lot of time planning out the next shot with the cast.

    Keep them coming...
     
  7. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Some cameras allow an external microphone. A boom mike is held over the scene (although sometimes below) on a long pole and is directional, so the holder should aim it at the speaker. I got use a boom mike on the last piece filmed of my trailer and the sound difference is stunning!
     
  8. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    I looked into it. It's a maybe, it depends on if I can afford the equipment rental fees.[​IMG]

    I know what a boom mic is, I just wasn't sure how to sync up the sound with the video. I've got it now...[​IMG]
     
  9. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    You might buy an inexpensive shotgun mic (or any microphone, really), and build you own boom. I built a shock mount boom using a painters poll, a paint roller, a piece of PVC, two muffler clamps and 4 rubber bands.

    take the roller off the paint roller, leaving the arm. Attach a 3 inch piece of 4" pvc pipe to the arm using the muffler clamps. Cut notches in both ends of the pvc pipe so that the rubber bands form a tick tac toe shape (#) on each end, where the microphone rests in the opening in the middle. Attach the paint roller to the poll and VOILA. Shock mount boom mic.

    Record directly into the camera, if possible. Trying to sync up between an audio recording and the film is tough.
     
  10. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    Unfortunately the digital camera won't allow a direct input from the boom mic. We could use a slate before every scene to help sync up the sound to the film but that's only if we get a boom mic and recorder.

    I need to find some producers with some ca$h.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    There is an item called a Beachtek adapter, which allows you to plug an XLR microphone into the 1/8 inch jack on a camera. It also allows you to adjust the volume. It works very well. I use it with my Canon GL-2.

    Might see about one of those, possibly renting.
     
  12. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    You can also record the sound on a separate device, preferably a digital one to make it easier to import the sound into your editing computer.

    Also, have you written a biography of all the characters in the movie? This will help the actors better understand their parts and what's expected of them.
     
  13. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    Randy, great advice on the adaptor, I'll look into it.

    Francois, no biography but I have had many discussions with all those involved. They know their characters very well.

    Thanks guys, this is all great advice.
     

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