Top Tips from Film Making Training
Film is fantastic for informing and inspiring – and certainly for entertaining. But without the right techniques all your creativity – and your viewer’s time – will be wasted.
This year we’re finding the Green Shoots Movie Making Masterclasses are a big hit. We love giving film making training and helping film makers not just to make films but to make good films.
A really good film (if that’s what you make) is much more likely to be remembered, shared and to make that difference you hoped for.
A to Z as a film-making approach may be informative but is a little dull. Getting long job titles, organisations and brand identity in your film may be correct but they are are likely to drain the interest from your film. Importantly remember that the opening seconds have to be captivating.
Is the film made with a light touch? Does it a have a story that draws the viewer in? Does it have humour (appropriate, of course) and human interest? If you enjoy making it your viewers will enjoy watching it.
Which film equipment to choose or use
Yes, you can want to invest a lot of your hard earned money in equipment. But let’s face it, you may just have to use what you already have. Be aware of the potential and the limitations of your gear.
If you are thinking of investing then the best thing, we think, is to have a camera with a microphone input.
You will have to invest in a microphone too – and headphones! But our tips help you make the best of what you have.
Techniques to help you film better
When filming with a phone camera shoot in landscape not portrait. Hold the camera with both hands and lock your elbows into your side to achieve the human tripod effect and a steadier shot. A robust tripod will help with those static shots, if you need them.
Frame the subject of the shot sympathetically. Filming your speaker(s) straight on is unflattering. To the side of the frame and slightly side on is much better. Get close up, it will be better for sound, and look even better still.
Images are not all that counts. Get the best quality sound you can. In built microphones are very good at getting rubbish sound, there’s nothing to shield them from the wind. Choose a sheltered spot. And if you’re using a microphone check the sound as you film. No good? Do it again.
Extra shots or scenes that give context, or add detail to the story being told are useful. Get lots. Don’t just film at eye level. Good ground shots give a great feel.
Film a few seconds at the start and end of each shot to make your editing easier.
Some films are all about spontaneity, capturing the moment. That’s fine. Most films – and all editing- works best when there’s a plan or storyboard for your film. Thought beforehand on the aim, the audience, the story and the finished duration – and the time you have to make the film – will shape the shots, the message in each scene, and the sequence. Thorough planning will save time and effort later.
Love editing? If you do, that’s great. The task will be intuitive and you will steadily and gracefully slot all the lovely footage into sequence. Remember to save your work frequently.
Free software will let you do the basics, top and tail scenes and add music, a title screen and a closing credit. You will soon want to upgrade to tools to do more.
Hate editing? You can film for few edits or even no edits at all, if you plan it carefully.
Publish – but what difference does it make?
Before you publish or share widely offer to colleagues or friends to preview. Listen to their comments on what they liked most – and least – and what they remember from your film. You may need to go back to your film and make a few edits to improve it.
Happy with your production? Share it. Upload it, link to it, create conversations around it. Embed it in a webpage and with web analytics you can analyse where viewers come to it from and how long they stay.
Most importantly, learn and improve. Your skills get better and so do your films.
We thought you’d like this glimpse of the feedback from the Movie Making Masterclass for young farmers