8 Points For DIY Filmmakers

Many business opt to produce video content in-house and this is to be applauded however we often get questions from businesses implementing these resources about how to get consistent results. If you want to produce video for your business and you’re finding yourself in unfamiliar territory then this blog post should get you up and running quickly.

TIP 1. A GOOD SCRIPT/STORYLINE

Even if your production does not require a script, a simple storyline is essential. A good tip is to create a basic storyboard or shot-list, which covers the type and amount of shots you need in order to produce your video. If you’re a visual person, a storyboard can really help you imagine what your production will be like and should save you the time during both the filming and editing process.

If you require a script for your video, our blog ‘FROM SCRIPT TO SCREEN: HOW TO PREPARE YOUR SCRIPT’ is essential reading.

TIP 2. THE 180 DEGREE RULE

The 180 degree rule is commonly used for an exchange between two characters. It is called the 180 degree rule because the camera cannot move more than 180 degrees (half a circle) around the characters. Imagine there is a line between your two characters; all shots within this scene needs to take place on one side of this line. Failure to do so is referred to as ‘crossing the line’ and will result in your characters appearing as if they’re facing in the same direction.

This rule is especially important when filming a shot-reverse-shot scenario, such as a discussion between two characters. (Filming of an exchange first in one direction, then in the other direction).

crossing-the-line

TIP 3. USE A VARIETY OF ANGLES

It is good idea to mix things up and use a variety of angles within your film. Failure to do so can make the film feel monotonous and/or repetitive. Effective shots range from a close up, to a two-shot, to a long-shot.

The long-shot and the wide-shot is well-suited to establishing a scene, where the close up is at its most effective when trying to convey something either emotional or significant.

wide-shot-element-26

 

TIP 4. RECORDING SOUND

Poor sound can really undermine the quality of your finished film. In most cases a clip-tie mic is a discreet and very effective way of recording sound straight into the camera. However if you are filming outside, ‘LOOKING TO FILM A LIVE EVENT’ or shooting more than one person then you will require an external microphone or boom mic (think long fluffy microphone).

Never rely on the microphone attached to your camera to record the sound as these will often pic up the sound of the camera itself and are often not in the optimal position to pick up the nuances of the sound you’re looking to record. If you’re filming with a small camera like a Canon 5D, you might want to consider investing in, or renting an external sound recorder such as the Zoom H4N. This handy little device allows you to record all your audio separately to the video and crucially has XLR inputs meaning you can get a far more professional audio signal.

TIP 5. EYE LINE

The eye line of your subject must be level with the camera. If the camera is too high or too low, this may alter the audiences perception of the subject, making he or she appear more or less powerful in the frame. Make sure you have a couple of tests to check the level before hitting record.

eyeline-framing

The use of eye line matching is also helpful when you are using cutaways (see tip 7), as your subject may be looking at something and their eye level needs to match that of the object they are looking at or it may all look a little odd.

TIP 6. USING EXTERNAL LIGHT SOURCES

There are two principle factors which determine what type of lighting equipment is required for your film. Is production taking place internally or externally or if the shoot is taking place either during the day or at night.

Common external daytime shoots can usually be accomplished without the need for any external lighting. If you have a good camera and are capable of setting the colour temperature of your camera, then you should set this between 5,000 and 10,000 kelvins. The higher the number the warmer the picture will look.

Interior and night shoots however, usually require some level lighting. If you’re going to light your scene we would absolutely recommend enlisting the services of a cinematographer (or at least an experienced cameraman). If you’re looking to film inside without any film lights then it is important to know what type if bulbs are being used within the room you’re filming. Typical tungsten bulbs have a colour temperature of 3,200 kelvin when as strip lighting (UV) is generally a bit more green and is closer to 3,700 kelvin. It is important to set your camera to the correct colour temperature to ensure your footage looks natural.

TIP 7. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY SHOTS

It is likely that you may have to film your talent various times before they get their performance completely right.Therefore you will require some cutaways to cover up any little mistakes they may have made during their initial attempts.

Cutaways can also be great to further explain what a person is saying during an interview. For example your subject is talking about what the do in their spare time, at this point the film would cut to a shot of your subject going for a run. It just provides a nice bit of context to what is being said within the scene. 

TIP 8. BE ORGANISED

Whatever type of video you are looking to produce, planning is absolutely essential. Forgetting one piece of equipment can waste time and cause havoc in post-production.

Here is a rough and ready list of equipment you should bring with you to every shoot:

  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Flashcards
  • Tripods
  • Lenses
  • Camera Wipes
  • Lighting equipment
  • Some Snacks (Filmmakers have got to keep up their energy levels)
  • Laptop
  • Hard drives

Be sure to pack at least one pair of hard drives which are large enough to store as much media as you think you will film. If you have any reservations about how much storage you think you will need then you can use THIS handy online data calculator from Digital Rebellion to figure how much storage you will need.

Another handy tip, still cameras which shoot video (such as the Canon 5D), are not ideal for filming live events. This is because the limits of the file system mean that they can only film for short bursts. This can be incredibly limiting when filming for instance a presentation.

At Element 26, we’re experts in both devising strategies and creating effective video. If you require any further assistance either preparing for, or shooting your video, do not hesitate to get in contact.

 

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

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