Printable Storyboards

This is a resource that you definitely need. Storyboards are an amazing tool to visualize how a scene will turn out before adding dialogue and music. It allows you to be able to find potential problems before a scene is filmed. I can’t really draw much, but I still use them for planning out shots.

This resource is a site that has printable storyboards in a variety of formats. You can choose 3:4 or 16:9 aspect ratios, and have anywhere from 1 to 9 frames per sheet. And best of all, it is completely free.

Go to http://www.printablepaper.net/category/storyboard to get this great resource.

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Always Create Content

This is something that is for the other Business filmmakers in the crowd.

Sometimes, you may be recording content that is…less than interesting. Maybe a deposition isn’t something that grabs attention. Or you may create a training video that has to be kept private, and you won’t be putting it on your reel. No matter what: ALWAYS CREATE CONTENT.

As filmmakers, it is our job to create art and make interesting images. If you are at an event, take an artistic photo of the craft services table. Use your artistic eye, and look around at your environment and find something that grabs you. Look at the architecture. Play with depth of field. Take a close-up. Find the image in reality that is visually striking. For example, the image of the flower I used is something I captured during an event I was filming.

In Neil Gaiman’s words, Make Good Art”.

Lights Camera Action?

I have a small pet peeve about this phrase. It’s old, outdated, and nobody says it anymore. It’s a holdover from the silent film era where a studio was making several movies at once, some even right next to each other. Plus, it doesn’t account for some of the other important jobs on set.

So, what should happen before a take?

  1. Once everyone is in their respective places and ready to do their jobs, the Assistant Director (usually) calls for everyone to settle, and get ready to work.
  2. Director: “Sound”
  3. Sound Engineer: “Sound Speed” (The audio has begun to record)
  4. Director: “Camera”
  5. Cameraman: “Camera Speed” (The camera is now recording)
  6. Director calls “Marker”.
  7. Slate: Calls the Scene, Take, etc. like “Inglorious Basterds, Scene 137, Take 4”
  8. Clap!
  9. Slate guy scurries away.
  10. Director: “Action!”
  11. Actors act.

After the scene, the Director will say Cut, meaning everyone stops recording.

Obviously I have left out some important jobs that are pretty vital to the filmmaking process, mostly because they occur many hours or days before and after the shot. I’ll be covering what each person’t role on and off set is later in this blog series.

 

 

Why use a slate?

A slate (AKA a clapboard, clapper, sticks, sound marker, and probably a dozen other names) is the tool that most people think of the most when you mention film production. But what is it for?

A clapboard is a tool that has two uses. The first use is to provide scene information. There are spots on the front to mark the day, location, scene, take and several other bits of information. In postproduction, the editor can group them according to these elements and keep their workflow organized.

The second use is to assist in syncing sound. On professional sets, the sound is recorded separately, and is matched up later. When the person in charge of the slate claps it, there is a peak that shows up on the audio track. The editor will be able to line up this peak with the closed clapboard so sync sound more effectively.

Do you need to clap it when you’re not recording independent sound? No, but it’s fun and you’re probably going to do it anyway.

Becoming a filmmaker on a budget

So, you have decided to be a filmmaker. You have watched enough movies, read enough about the process and you want to start making movies. However, there’s one problem: you don’t have enough money to spend on a top of the line camera or expensive software. Do you give up? No! You spend as little as possible to practice your passion. Here’s where to start:

First, you need some sort of screenwriting software. You don’t want to make a movie without having a plan after all! The good folks over at Celtx have a great program for $0. It’s fully functional and will format your screenplay appropriately.  I really can’t say anything bad about it. I also can’t stress how much you need to have a proper story before you film.

Next, you need a camera. If you’re just starting out, really any camera will do. Just make sure you can access the content easily. In other words, make sure you can connect your camera to your computer. Also remember that you do get what you pay for, and an extremely inexpensive camera may need upgrading after some practice.

While we are on the subject of cameras, make sure you get a tripod. Don’t try the handheld effect. Nobody liked it in Blair Witch, and nobody’s liked it since. Tripods will usually run you about $20-$30.

(While you’re acquiring things for production, you might as well start assembling your grip kit.)

After that, now you’re ready for post-production. Time to edit together your first masterpiece. Fortunately, your computer may already come with some editing software. For Macs, you can use iMovie to edit your creations. For PCs, you may need to download Windows Movie Maker. If you bought a camera, you may have some software that came with it in the box. Once you cut your teeth on these, I recommend upgrading to Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere Elements. NOTE: Check to make sure your computer is compatible with the software, or plan to add upgrading expenses to your budget.

Follow these guidelines and you have your first film production! Now get some actors and make a movie!