Sunday, January 5, 2014

Video production class weblog: Day 0, 2014--terms and questions

On the evening before this year's interim video production class begins, I am, as usual, wondering if I'm ready. Yesterday I shot a sample 5 minute horror film entitled Slasher with a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR. Even though we had lots of good sunlight, the practice video helped remind me of all that tends to go wrong with a quick, sloppy shoot--problems with automatic focus, leaving the shadows of the cameraman in the shot, continuity errors (my footwear changed from Sperry topsiders to running shoes between shots), ambient noise from a heat pump, eyeline mismatching, etc. I did enjoy throwing the last bit of earth on the grave, wiping my hands, and walking away. Afterwards, I edited the movie using the new iMovie software and that went comparatively smoothly.

For opening class discussion, I assembled a list of terms:

Pre-production:
Storyboard, Framing the Shot, Location Scouting (getting permission), Costume and Makeup,
Shot Log, Scheduling, Organization, Dialogue, Props
Writing – “Drama is life with the dull bits cut out” --Hitchcock, 3 Act Structure, Genre, The Hook, Scene, Sequence, Character Archetypes, The Pitch, Screenplay, Treatment, Allusions, Story Coherence and Unity, Emotional Payoff
Acting Rehearsals
The Shoot: “We’re losing the light.”
Shot Types - Establishing Shot, Close-Up, Extreme Close-Up, Medium Shot, Full Shot
Over-the-Shoulder, Tracking (Dolly) Shot, Pan, Tilt, POV Shots, Eyeline Match, Handheld Shot, Composition, Continuity, Reverse Shot, Eye-Level Shot  
Tripod, Telephoto Lens, Wide Angle Lens, Rack Focusing, Auto Focus vs. Manual Focus
Mise en Scene, Room Tone, Head Room, Magic Hour, Coverage, Boom Mic Operator, External Microphone, Cinematographer, Header and Footer, Zoom (NO!), Director,
Dominant, Subsidiary Contrasts, Placement Within the Frame, Improvisation, Blocking


Fluorescent Lights, Camera Batteries, Ambient Noise, Shadows, Daylight, 3 Point Lighting, Wrap
Post-production: “Editing continues the writing process.”
Editing, Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Sound, Montage, Special Effects, Foley,
Dubbing, Rough Cut, Final Cut, Credits, Outtakes, Trailer, Voice Over, DVD Burning, Jump Cut
Seamless Transitions – Dissolves, Fade to Colors, Cut, Sound, Corrupted Memory Cards 

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I'm mostly trying to anticipate classic student video production problems in advance.

Some opening questions:

What is the best digital filmmaking textbook these days? I've been reading Ted Jones' and Chris Patmore's Movie Making Course, 2nd Edition and Clifford Thurlow's Making Short Films.

What is the best iPhone app for help with video production?

What new video technology could come in handy? Should we pick up a GoPro Hero 2 and make a timelapse?

What is the best substitute for a Steadicam these days?

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