Archive | Tips RSS feed for this section

The ‘Language’ of Cinematography & Lenses

9 Apr

lang of cinematography banner

Getting to know how your lens choice can affect the the ‘language’ of Cinematography

For budding cinematographers the ‘language’ of cinematography is certainly something you need to understand if you are going to move forward with your career. This language includes not just phrases and terminology (though I’ll touch on those in this post) but also your lens choice and camera blocking. Become fluent in the language of Cinematography and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next big thing!

So join me as we quickly explore the many wonderful elements of motion picture photography. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll be more familiar with some of the core basics that will help you improve your movie skills.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The No.1 Most Important Piece of Filmmaking Equipment

20 Nov

filmmaking_equipment_banner

We live in a wonderful age of technology; a time when anyone can pick up a camera and make a movie. It’s amazing, fabulous, incredible… but it has put a lot of focus on equipment.

It seems almost every man and his dog in the low budget filmmaking world is talking about which camera they should choose? Which format or lenses should they shoot with?

Frankly all this BS drives me totally nuts! Guys please listen, stop wasting all your energy on techy camera pros and cons.

Here’s a little secret… Most audiences these days can’t tell the difference between digital or film, they don’t know the difference between a ARRI Alexa or a Box Brownie! What’s more, most of them don’t actually give a damn what the hell the movie was shot on. What’s far more important is whether you are giving them what they really need. A compelling STORY with believable CHARACTERS.

So what’s the most important bit of gear you need to make an amazing movie?

Continue reading

From Gun Camera to GoPro: A Short History of Small Cameras

16 Nov

gopro_header

A little while back I bought a GoPro as I thought it would be a great way to add fantastic production value to our productions. I’ve used GoPro’s in the past and the image quality that comes out of that little black box never ceases to amaze me!

But how did we achieve those otherwise ‘inaccessible shots’ that gave an audience a radically different perspective before the GoPro arrived on the scene? In other words, how did we go from this:

to this:

The Lipstick Camera, a ground breaking piece of kit in its time.

The Lipstick Camera

I think it was back in the  the 1980’s when we used a tiny little video camera for these kinds of shots, this camera was nicknamed a ‘Lipstick Camera’ because of its shape and size. They produced rather fuzzy images but at the time they were pretty groundbreaking. (No HD in those days! – God I suddenly feel old !) But hang on a minute… it gets even worse.
Continue reading

What Directors NEED to know about DP’s & what DP’s NEED to know about Directors !

9 Nov

DPs and Directors Header

Whether you’re working on a big budget movie, a TV documentary or a low budget independent film, one thing is for sure – everyone on the crew will be giving 100 percent to make that production as outstanding as it can be… so guys, good is NOT good enough! Working towards that common cause is a keystone value of every single crew member from Runners to Directors and Producers. It’s a pride thing!

Often striving for that elusive level of perfection can create a lot of friction between people, especially when the pressure’s on.

Over the years I’ve seen many conflicts between crew members, especially when an individual’s professionalism is criticized or threatened… it’s not an ego thing, it’s just pride in doing what you do.

It’s a funny thing though, one minute we’re happily working to the best of our ability, producing work we’re proud of, then all of a sudden something horrible happens, someone (usually working in a superior position to you) comes along and rattles your cage.

Oh Dear…Mr Kubrick isn’t a Happy Bunny today!!! Courtesy tvtropes.org

It may be that they’re getting it in the neck from some big cheese Producer; for example your film is running over schedule (a classic one!) so the Producer kicks the Director’s butt and now that Director’s going to kick yours! You’re told that ‘you’re taking too long and time is running out and the budget’s running low and Blar, Blar, Blar!!!’ Now you think your professionalism is being compromised. ‘What’s this all about?’ you mutter under your breath, you may even utter an expletive or two… who knows! You may even get all protective and openly retaliate. Suddenly BOOM! You’ve got a conflict of interest on your hands that can escalate into a full stand up argument. It happens in Wardrobe, in Make-Up, in the Camera and Sound Departments… you name it. So if this happens and you’re a Director or Producer relying on the crew’s talent to give you the very best they can… now there’re all upset and boy, you’ve got a problem!

One of the main ‘Hot Spots’ can be the relationship between the Director and the Director of Photography. So before you embark on your beloved film production, here are a few tips that can make that relationship a blissful marriage rather than ‘The Clash of the Titans’! I would also advise Directors to read the tips for the DPs and vice versa, understanding each other is key to your success to being an ‘Effective Team!’ (As they say in Oblivion – great movie BTW!) So…

Continue reading

Mimic the Movie Masters: STEVEN SPIELBERG – Part TWO

8 Feb

spielberg header part 2
More Share Options…

Mimic the Movie Masters
STEVEN SPIELBERG – Part TWO

spielberg thumb part 2Welcome back to Part TWO of my study of Mr. Spielberg; if you haven’t read Part ONE, I’d strongly recommend it if you’re interested in his signature “Push In”. The idea of this series is to give you, the filmmakers, more tools at your disposal, to further improve your work and help take it to the next level. I am going to highlight certain director’s individual cinematic signature shooting styles, so you can understand and apply these master techniques to your own independent movies. But anyway, enough of that, you’re here to read Part TWO. So let’s get on with it!

Continue reading