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Learn to storyboard
Try out some of these moviemaking techniques on your next shoot and you’ll be sure to add atmosphere, texture and a professional gloss to your filmmaking
From simple creative projects to big movie productions, making a storyboarding or a shooting script before you begin filming improves your chances of success tenfold. But don’t worry, you don’t need to have any drawing skills to do it. A storyboard or shooting script simply shows what the content of a scene is and how it moves to the next, as well as giving instructions on how it might be framed and what, if any, movement there’ll be from the camera or cameras. You can also note down any sound
requirements and B roll that might be required. This helps you plan sequences you shoot and tick off the elements as you capture them. After all, there’s a lot more organisation going on with a movie than there is when shooting stills, so it’s vital you don’t omit anything you’ll need later. It’ll also help you in terms of piecing together the edit later. Make sure you have this working plan to hand when you begin production and you can also note any extra ideas as you shoot.
DIGITAL CAMERAS MAKE shooting video easy and, combined with the right accessories, you can quickly get to a good level of basic footage. For instance, you’ll soon understand how different frame rates work, how exposure and focus settings differ for video, and how add-on ons like ND filters and fluid tripod heads make shooting slicker and easier.
So, what’s next? Well, now you can start to build on those basics by adding a range of creative shots and greater finesse to your output. We’ll look at several techniques that will give a stylish finish to your movies, and these cover all aspects of videography, from planning and scripting simple sequences, to moving the camera in a more fluid way and improving your sound.
Keep your continuity
Continuity helps you to keep sequences consistent and avoid silly visual errors. Say, for instance, you’re shooting someone wearing a jacket and carrying a bag on their shoulder. If they appear in the very next shot without that jacket, or with the bag on the opposite shoulder, it’ll look very odd and spoil the smooth experience for the viewer. It’s the same for group shots – try to keep the order of people the same. Continuity also extends to the movement of people in and out of shot, so if your subject walks out of the left of the frame, you don’t want them coming back in on the Just as when shooting stills, you can use a range of framing styles to tell the story in your movie. And by ordering the framing from shot to shot, you can make that narrative clearer. Most simple sequences start with a wide shot, often from a raised position, then move closer to the subject and finally end on a close-up. This lets the viewer understand context before moving to specifics. Moving on, you can mix up framing without the viewer wondering where they are. Just like composition with stills, once you understand the basic rules, you might want to subvert them. For instance, starting with a tight shot and slowly revealing more of the scene – but this is a tool used more often in mystery or suspense narratives. Set the scene
opposite side in the next clip or it will break the flow. Professional set-ups have people dedicated to continuity who make sure everything syncs
up, but that’s not easy if you’re working on your own or in a small team. Keep a notebook handy and write down anything important as you move between shots.
16 Photography News | Issue 79
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