Thursday, January 5, 2012

Video production class weblog: Day 3--student filmmaking cliches and tips

Today's class went very well in part because a former student named O. K. Keyes shared much of her filmmaking expertise and experience with making documentaries (I plan on posting an interview with her later).  She included in her presentation a list of student filmmaking cliches:

1) alarm clocks
2) bad dialogue
3) graveyards
4) tortured artists
5) dream sequences (ironically, our class was working on a dream sequence today)
6) time lapses (better to use a montage)
7) zooming
8) overacting
9) one joke films
10) transition effects (solid cuts, even smash cuts are better)

OK stressed the importance of drawing storyboards for brainstorming, structuring her films, and checking off completed scenes during the shoot.  She also uses her iPhone both for framing shots (using the phone's regular camera feature) and shooting rehearsal footage a day before the real shoot.  Our class should invest in a Zoom Handy Digital Recorder and a V-MODA headphones to improve our use of sound.

What's the best camera?  A more affordable T3i Canon Digital SLR.

Where can one find good legal music on the internet?  From Kevin MacLeod's free music archive.

In the afternoon, the class collaborated on a story idea involving two teenagers who dare each other to enter an old house.  We jotted down possible bits of dialogue, props (a rocking chair, taser?), and ideas for scenes and characterization on the whiteboard. The narrative may include a Civil War legend, staring spectral children, and a young man's inability to make a noise when he screams.  We will continue to develop the story tomorrow.

Other suggestions for class equipment?  Ways to use the iPhone for filmmaking? (Scott Johnson of @irregulara just recommended "focus remote, slate, logging, sun position/location, storage and depth of field calculations, and shutter remote."  Britt Parrott of @brittp uses it for "location scouting, continuity, fill light, and audio.") Internet resources? More student video production cliches?

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