Archive | Film

So You Want to Make a Movie: Everything You Need to Become an Indie Filmmaker

Ok, so you’ve got your script – the one you spent months working on, rewriting, editing, cutting down and refining while going through instant coffee and packets of Marlboro like they were going out of fashion. And you’ve got your cast assembled – sure, they might not be perfect actors, but they’re cheap and they’re willing and they believe in your vision. And you know precisely where you’re going to shoot your film, since you’ve set it in one room in your mate’s massive house. So now what?

Camera

Well, if you’re very actually dedicated to making your movie, the first thing you’ll want to get hold of is a decent camera. Sure, if you’re feeling particularly brave or don’t mind a bit of shoddy handheld, then by all means grab your phone. But if you’re seriously serious, a camera is crucial. There are plenty on the market. The main thing is you want it to be digital – that might sound obvious, given we’re living in the 21st century, but cameras which capture on film are still pretty popular. The only real issue is that it costs an absolute bomb to buy up the film. DSLR are the popular choice, but certainly the only option out there. Also, make sure you have plenty of storage space too. You don’t want to film for 10 minutes and find out you’ve used up all the memory! One of the best cameras out there, in terms of both price and image quality, is the Panasonic HC-V750K.

 

Of course, you don’t have to shell out for a Red One – or anything anywhere near as expensive. Heading over to eBay is a sound idea, since many decent cameras are pretty durable. And if you’ve got the gift of the gab – and you will have, because it’s an important aspect of becoming a filmmaker – you could always try to borrow one from your local university, or hiring one on a temporary basis. Best of all, these will usually come with tripods too – because handheld motion sickness is so Blair Witch.

 

Lighting

Taking care over the lighting of your film is another key facet. After all, you don’t want it looking like you shot it in a windowless basement at 4 in the morning, right? Even with all the lights switched on in the house, the film will still look a bit, well, amateur hour. So get your hands on a decent lighting rig. Or a semi-decent one, at least. This doesn’t mean you have to remortgage your parents’ house. You can easily pick up a high-powered light and stand from a hardware depot. Failing that, a guerrilla filmmaking rig can be made from lamps from around the home, attached to a portable stand. Don’t believe us? Check this out

 

Sound

Sound is something which can really elevate a film from great to awesome – or conversely, take an awesome film and make it awful. No-one wants to sit through 90 minutes of crackles and buzzing and barely audible dialogue. After all, you’ve spent all that time writing and filming the script, so it’d be nice to actually hear what your actors are saying. Invest in a boom mic and high-quality microphones that can capture everything that’s said. After all, your story isn’t just told through visuals, but the audio as well. If you really want the best results, consider hiring a studio to dub the lines your equipment failed to pick up. Companies like L and F Music and Scotland’s Rage Music specialise in audio production and it can make the difference between a standing ovation and standing up and walking out of your picture.

 

Editing

Phew! That’s it, right? Well… not quite. You’ll want to get hold of editing software now. But which one? There are tons of free software out there, like VSDC, as well as more professional ones like Adobe available to purchase. And after all that, you just have one choice left – where to release it. Maybe you’ll submit it to a film festival. Perhaps you’ll get it up on Youtube. Wherever you put it, good luck!

Media Studies: Is It Worth It?

Physics is the study of matter in time and space; mathematics, the study of life’s numerical code, geography, the importance of environmental awareness, and politics the complication of simple matters. Ok the last one was a bit of a dig, but media studies I hear you say? To anyone else, a media student is some sort of desperate attempt at legitimizing watching films and calling it study. It is constantly teased by other academic subjects, right in the bullying corner with philosophy and creative writing, because honestly: what life advantages could one take from the study of film? I would like to share some insight from a long-term film disciple, and hopefully restore some of your faith in the field of media studies.

I began studying film after being on a different course for 6 weeks at college. I switched over and, despite joining so late, found myself creeping to the top of the class. It wasn’t that it was too easy, it was that I had finally found a subject I was both good at and interested in. Movies have been around for over 120 years; it would be foolish to think that the everyday images you see, hear, and buy have no effect on your brain. I have thought hard about the following list, and would like to outline the reasons why studying media is so vastly important to our culture:

Ok, We’re Rolling…

Physics may study the effect of matter in everyday life; but we are surrounded by media in the form of television ads, films, product packaging, radio, etc. The list really does go on, and having an awareness of the effects these things have on society pulls you out of the crowd. Although, having this knowledge means that almost every film/advert I have ever watched since studying at college I have deconstructed and analysed during, a trait my friends often wish I would keep to myself. Despite making some movies completely unbearable, studying film enhances your viewing experience by making you aware of filmic devices such as camera work and sound.

The Reel World

You may think having these skills will simply ruin watching movies, but it’s not just film that you can apply the theories to. Jobs in advertising, marketing, film, tv, radio and theatre production all require an intricate knowledge of filmic devices and design. The practical upshot of studying media at university gives you access to professional broadcast equipment allowing you to make your own movies and gain a great deal of technical experience. You can’t say it doesn’t look like fun!

Developing Talent

I don’t ever like ­summarising people by course, though it does often appear that some people are meant for their subject. Studying something you enjoy, especially if it’s in the creative industry, gives younger members of society the opportunity to make something inspirational. The way the media industry constantly adapts to incorporate new technology and culturally relevant material is an attractive prospect to creative-minded people. Take a look at this project by Creative England as an example.

Media is absolutely everywhere now, and if you’re dead set on making a career from staying on top of it then get to studying, but don’t forget that it’s a creative subject, your viewing experience may turn out something wholly unexpected. Exciting stuff!

Happy Tuesdays and Film

Film in itself is obviously a massive industry and a huge topic of discussion. I could start a blog just about any one very specific part of the film industry, horror films for example, and would still struggle to keep up with all of the industry news and developments. With that in mind, I intend to focus my coverage of film in this blog to short films and other relevant non-mainstream films that make some form of impact on the animation industry.

Short films lend themselves well to animation because of the huge production costs and time commitment required to make a full feature film with animated images. Additionally , it is an art form that is traditionally related to a short running time; as children we became used to watching short cartoons and various other short forms of animation; as a result, full length animated features can seem very long.

Obviously, this is a gross generalisation if it were applied to all animated feature films, after all, the company Pixar has won countless awards over the years with their animated features which never fail to wow audiences with their wide appeal, comic timing and aesthetic wonder. In fact the mere existence of the ‘best animated film’ category at the BAFTAs shows the respect and consideration the the film industry gives to animation.

However, one of the most liberating elements of short animation, is that it can be achieved on a small scale independent of huge production companies. With the artistic talent, vision and the right software, budding film makers can realise their vision through animation. So with this blog I hope to direct attention towards some small films and important developments within the animated film industry.