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#1 Terry Hsieh

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 10:07 PM

Hey all,

So, I've been making amateur films for some time now- I've made some pretty bad things and some not-as-bad-pretty-bad things but the bottom line is that I have NO clue about the movie process. I've kind of decided that I'm not going to flub around like an amateur anymore, however, and that I'd like to get into
the more serious side of film-making. However, I'm totally clueless- allow me to elaborate:

I wrote my own script but i'm not sure of formatting and everything.

I have no clue about lighting.

I have no clue about what kinds of cameras I should be looking for to use.

I have no clue about HOW to get things like make-up, etc.

I have no clue how to secure a filming location such as a city corner, maybe? Do I have to get permission to film there, etc?

and I have no clue about what else I have no clue about....


If anyone could elaborate on anything they'd think a first-time movie maker might need, please do so.

Hopeless,
Terry
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 12:49 AM

Hey all,

So, I've been making amateur films for some time now- I've made some pretty bad things and some not-as-bad-pretty-bad things but the bottom line is that I have NO clue about the movie process. I've kind of decided that I'm not going to flub around like an amateur anymore, however, and that I'd like to get into
the more serious side of film-making. However, I'm totally clueless- allow me to elaborate:

I wrote my own script but i'm not sure of formatting and everything.

I have no clue about lighting.

I have no clue about what kinds of cameras I should be looking for to use.

I have no clue about HOW to get things like make-up, etc.

I have no clue how to secure a filming location such as a city corner, maybe? Do I have to get permission to film there, etc?

and I have no clue about what else I have no clue about....
If anyone could elaborate on anything they'd think a first-time movie maker might need, please do so.

Hopeless,
Terry


1. Screenwriting.com & www.script-o-rama.com/oldindex.shtml
2. cinematography.com & www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/qtvr/cineUpdate.jhtml
3 which ever one can you afford
4 www.monstermakers.com & www.makeuptalk.com/forums/archive/f-91.html
5 as Peter Bogdonovich related what Rodger Corman told him "Don't ask permission, you'll never get permission just do it." or Try just asking.
6 TONS OF STUFF, start reading and googleing all these subjects, NO ONE is going to hand you the stuff you need to learn, YOU'VE got to go LOOK for it. And above all, KEEP SHOOTING, the MORE you shoot the better you'll get. B)
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 01:47 AM

Read every filmmaking book you can. In the meanwhile, shoot very small projects with whatever camera you can borrow, doesn't matter. Things become more clear the more you shoot. Same goes for lighting; you have to learn to exercise your visual imagination and taste and SEE the lighting opportunities around you. Try to design sequences around a natural or practical light source and then you'll eventually learn how to simulate other light sources through studying reality. But you first have to train your eyes to notice the light around you.

You may look over and like the way the window in daytime creates a sheen over the table and softly backlights the glass and plate in front of you. So first you respond to light and decide what you like and don't like, then you breakdown what you are seeing and how it is being created naturally, and then you figure out how you may recreate it elsewhere if necessary.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 01:53 AM

Look into your local community college's film program. Jumping in there and working with other filmmakers is key to learning how to work in a collaborative art like film.

And I second David's statement about all the great books that are out there. I think you could find some great thing in lighting book. There's the "Lighting" book by Iain Brown or the "Cinematography" one by Malkewicz which has some of the most basic teachings of lighting, lighting equipment and electrical. To dig into more of the aesthetics and common practices of lighting professionals "Reflections" by Bergery is a fantastic read with some excellent examples throughout.

Good luck in just starting out! I can tell you have the energy and aspiration, which is all you need to keep you going, at least.
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#5 Terry Hsieh

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:46 PM

hey all,

Thanks for the very helpful tips and locations where i can download material. I'll be sure to post the results of my first real "project" up somewhere to let you all critique.


Also, what should i do about a crew? If i don't have a budget should i just run with friends or is this not recommended?

Terry
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#6 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:52 PM

hey all,

Thanks for the very helpful tips and locations where i can download material. I'll be sure to post the results of my first real "project" up somewhere to let you all critique.
Also, what should i do about a crew? If i don't have a budget should i just run with friends or is this not recommended?

Terry



Terry,
You're a student right? Where do you go to school? Depending on how big your school is you could probably put a crew call out around campus.

Kev
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#7 Terry Hsieh

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 01:26 PM

Terry,
You're a student right? Where do you go to school? Depending on how big your school is you could probably put a crew call out around campus.

Kev


Not a huge campus. Like maybe 800+ people? Not that big

Terry
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#8 Terry Hsieh

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:23 PM

I'm also still a little confused about script format? Someone told my to do 1 minute of screentime per page but for me, that's impossible because i'll never know how much in my head is a "minute"? What are the conventions for writing a script?


Terry
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#9 Nick Mulder

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 10:13 PM

I'm also still a little confused about script format? Someone told my to do 1 minute of screentime per page but for me, that's impossible because i'll never know how much in my head is a "minute"? What are the conventions for writing a script?
Terry


Act out the scenes live in your bedroom or whatever and time them ... Or make a mock-up in a 3d program
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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 11:50 PM

I'm also still a little confused about script format? Someone told my to do 1 minute of screentime per page but for me, that's impossible because i'll never know how much in my head is a "minute"? What are the conventions for writing a script?
Terry


One page of dialogue put into proper script form is equil to approximately one minute of screen time. It's unnessesary for you to be able to judge a minute in your head, that has nothing to do with aproximating a script's running time. Put your script into proper script form and you will have the approximate runnning time of your film. That's why many low budget submission scripts are trimmed down to around 90 pages. That's about an hour and a half running time for the finished film, That gives theater owners and investors a quick turnover of audiences so that they are making the maximum profit possible which increases the chances of having your script made into a film ESPECIALLY for an unknown writer with no track record. Any more and and there are less people seeing the film each day so that means less profit, any less and people feel created so less people show up at each showing so less profit. This isn't rocket science. If you had visited the sites I provided or Googled some of your own, you would know what proper script form is and this question would have been un-nessesary. As I said No one is going to do this for you, you have to do it for yourself. B)
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#11 Hal Smith

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 12:57 AM

To learn script format, download the free demo copy of Final Draft from their website. It'll let you write ten pages of script. Final Draft is what many pros use and learning to use it was, for me, a great primer in properly formatted scripts. I liked it enough that I eventually bought it. There is an educational discount version available through CDWG, you should be able to get your school's bookstore order it for you. You can order it direct from CDWG if you establish an account with them.

https://www.finaldra...wnload-demo.php

http://www.cdwg.com/...mp;platform=all

Another script format primer is at:

http://www.oscars.or...oll/format.html

It's somewhat hilarious in that it uses a script written in proper format to teach script format. I love re-entrant jokes.
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#12 Terry Hsieh

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 06:30 PM

thanks alot. Here's my next question- for sound-

I know on sets, there are multiple microphones- usually a boom mike, and individual mikes that would be hidden in an actors hair, etc. How does one go about patching these in? Does it all go to the camera through a patch system or would I record each channel individually on a computer and then put it all in when I do the editing?

Also, what's the difference of digitally editing HD and non-HD? Do i need specific programs to edit HD? What kinds of HD cameras would you recommend if I have a limited budget? Say....no more than $2300? (that's my own money)

Terry
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 07:01 PM

Most of the time, one semi-directional "shotgun" mic on a boom pole is used to cover the sound in a scene, swung around to whoever is talking. Occasionally, two mics on two booms, or one planted mic and one boom. Other times, a lavelier "lapel" mic, usually radio transmitted.

These all go to a small mixer board or portable mixer before being recorded to some format.

You may need to make things simpler than that for budget reasons though. You can run the mic directly into the camcorder and set the levels before the scene is shot, or use auto levels controls. A "prosumer" camcorder will have XLR mic inputs, a cheaper consumer camera would just have RCA inputs. Most pro mics would use XLR connectors.
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#14 Terry Hsieh

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 02:01 PM

Thanks, Mr. Mullen.

What about cameras? I'm looking between the Sony HDR-FX7, Sony HDR-SR1, and the JVC GR-HD1, although the last one may be pushing it. Those are the upper bounds of my camera budget. If I had to pick any of those, what would you recommend, and if there are any that fit within the $2000 budget that I don't know of yet but might work better for my filming situation, please tell me.


Terry
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#15 Matthew Buick

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 04:49 PM

Why not shoot film? You could shoot Super 8 happily for $2,000, so many film are shot digitally these days, it would really help your's stand out from teh crowd.
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 06:15 PM

http://www.camcorder...rder-Review.htm
http://www.camcorder...rder-Review.htm
http://www.camcorder...rder_review.htm

See also:
http://www.camcorder...X7-Compared.htm

I can't really recommend a camcorder that doesn't do 24P or 25P progressive-scan for that "film-look", but you'd have to pay more to find an HDV camcorder with that feature. The JVC cameras offer 720P and this new Sony HVR-VR1 does 24P, but they are all above your price range.
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#17 Terry Hsieh

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:30 PM

http://www.camcorder...rder-Review.htm
http://www.camcorder...rder-Review.htm
http://www.camcorder...rder_review.htm

See also:
http://www.camcorder...X7-Compared.htm

I can't really recommend a camcorder that doesn't do 24P or 25P progressive-scan for that "film-look", but you'd have to pay more to find an HDV camcorder with that feature. The JVC cameras offer 720P and this new Sony HVR-VR1 does 24P, but they are all above your price range.


Ok thanks.

I'm gonna go for the cheapest one I can get so that I can spend the rest on the film itself- which is the HDR-SR1.

Many thanks and merry belated christmas!
Terry
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#18 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 06:25 PM

I'm gonna go for the cheapest one I can get so that I can spend the rest on the film itself- which is the HDR-SR1.


You may regret not getting a camera that does 24P/25P. 60i HDTV still looks like ordinary video, just sharper.
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#19 Terry Hsieh

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 03:55 PM

You may regret not getting a camera that does 24P/25P. 60i HDTV still looks like ordinary video, just sharper.


Does this mean I'll have problems with green-screening? Not that I'm doing any, but if I WAS to do green screening, would that affect it? IS there are 24P/25P camcorder that is under $3000? Please tell me, because I'd DEFINITELY buy it. If I was to film, say a thirty minute movie- nothing fancy, like a melodrama, would a HDR-SR1 make it look terrible?

Thanks,
Terry
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 06:12 PM

You can do chromakeying with interlaced-scan material -- you see this everyday on the weather report on TV news afterall... it's more a question of color subsampling. The HDV/DV 4:1:1 codecs have limitations in color depth, but some people manage to pull keys off of the material. It's not as easy compared to a camera that has 4:2:2 or better yet, 4:4:4 color. But you aren't going to find a consumer camera that does 4:2:2 anyway; the Panasonic HVX200 can do it, but that's out of your price range once you factor in the P2 cards.

The whole 60i versus 24P thing is not an issue of "terrible" or "great", just a question of the look. 60i looks like classic video. It can be high-end, top of the line, classic video... or cheap, nasty consumer video, but it will always look like video because film can't create that look. Progressive-scan video has the potential to be "film-like" in terms of its motion reproduction.

This doesn't mean you can't create a pretty picture in 60i. Those expensive Japanese samurai soap operas you see on the international channels are quite well-done in classic interlaced-scan.

You're working at such a low price point for a camera that you can't have everything; you may find a used 24P DV camera like a DVX100B or get a 60i HDV camera, but I don't think you can find a 24P HDV camera at those prices. If you're going to ask me whether it is better to have the 24P look but in standard def versus shoot hi-def but get the interlaced-scan look, I can't answer that question.
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