View Full Version : Making short films?

11-23-2008, 05:15 AM
So, anyone out there, or rather, in here, make movies? Well, doesn't really have to be at a professional level, but I'm not talking about youtube "luk at me dance" videos, either.

If so, then what types of cameras do you use, any specifics?

What are your direction methods like? Do you like to take angle shots, so on and so forth?

What types of genres do you usually film? Are they heavy on story?

Do you use special effects? If so, what programs do you use?

Do you act in your own movies? How many characters do you put into one story?

Are your short films heavy on props? What kind of props do you use, and what kind of props do you avoid?

How is lightning set out in your scenes? How do you go about filming dark scenes, and so on?

Basically, I want as man tips as I can because as of next week, I'm going to start making my own short films. Please guys, help me out here! Even if you don't film/direct/act yourselves, yet you know something, please post it, I'll be glad to read it!

Please don't ignore this, since I REALLY want to get started. Most importantly though, I need to get the right camera, so please help me out before I actually go out there and buy some shoddy camera that fails at it's purpose :/

Thanks in advance guys and girls! =D

(Copypaste FTW)

11-23-2008, 05:43 AM
Well, learning about angle shots and their psychologic affect on people is a good start if you are planning to shoot your own movies.
Won't take long to get the basics and to know when certain shots are appropraite.

Also what type of movies are you planning to do?

My friends and I do some short films and such, nothing special. I'm mainly infront of the camera so I don't know much about what type of camera should be used and such.

We try to keep away from expensive props or ones that make your movie look cheap. So it really does limit your range of movies if you aren't resourceful and artistic.

We usually go for storyline more than anything, considering we're limited for visuals. I'll ask around if my friends have any info on what cameras to use and such.

Hope that tidbit of info can help in any way http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

Also goodluck with any project you may be on, I'd be happy to know of your progress !

11-23-2008, 05:46 AM
I've been prowling around for a good camera for months now, and all I have to do is give my father my prime choices and let him be the miser he is and choose the cheapest one of the lot, so...
On to cameras!! (yay)

You need to make sure of a few things when buying a video camera, besides the strength of the lens. To be honest, don't go for anything less than Full HD, unless you don't have the budget, of course. I'll also recommend that you buy a camera that has an HDD, making it easier to move things to and from your computer. The size of the HDD depends on the camera and what format it saves its files in. Some file types (like AVCHD) compress a lot, but actually finding the right program that supports them is a pain.

On to programs, I guess. >_>
I'm not going to specify a video editing program, as I haven't tried many for long myself, and I have done close to no research on them, but you have to make sure that the one you are using supports your camera's file format.
Otherwise, you've just wasted a butt-load of money.

And if you want me to recommend a camera, then get the Canon HF10.
But it be on the costleh sideh.

As for the rest, things to do with characters and filming techniques, it depends on the script and natural ability, duh.

Which is why I believe that studying film making is like studying how to eat: incredibly stupid.


Well, learning about angle shots and their psychologic affect on people is a good start if you are planning to shoot your own movies.
Won't take long to get the basics and to know when certain shots are appropraite.
I'm going to remain stubborn and exclaim that you're either born with it, or you're not. *snobbeh*

Ironic, ain't it?

11-23-2008, 07:12 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif maybe we're just the lucky ones? xD

If you are interesting in any script writing software I would reccomend Celtx, free download, very reliable and has some nifty tools !

If you have alot of cash to blow, then I would advise you get Finaldraft, around 150 or $200, really varies. It is used by everyone who is serious in script writing, but to be perfectly honest, there aren't THAT many features that overshine Celtx to make it worth it's price, but again, if you're loaded I see why not !

11-23-2008, 02:41 PM
Alright. My school has a tv channel(and there's not a lot of Luxembourgian tv channels) and I work there. It's not really the school's tv channel since we are more "independent" and don't have to show stuff about our school but are free to film whatever we like. For us, the few students over there, it's getting an insight in the world of media, basically.
We focus mainly on reportage but we also make short films every now and then. (Right now I'm working on a Lego stop-motion film) I suppose I could give you some tips if you have questions but if I'd have to start telling you what to do like that right now it wouldn't work really because there is A LOT to be said. (I also take cinema lessons so I also know something about shots etc.)
Now, for some of the questions you have already asked:

The cameras, microphones etc that we use are professional and therefore pretty expensive so I don't think I could give you advice there. :S

The angle in which you shoot depends on what you want to express, really. It's pretty obvious if you come to think of it, but your viewer will still not realize it if you're doing it correctly. If you film someone "from slightly down"(if you know what I mean) they will look imposing, powerful. If you film them "from slightly up" they will look more vulnerable and helpless. If you really film someone from above, they will look lost. Especially if you place yourself above the person, stabilize your camera, zoom in, start filming and then zoom out very slowly.(Be careful, zooms should only be used when they are really necessary to express something like in this case. Otherwise, you should only zoom in before you film.)
If a person is facing left and you're getting a head shot, leave some space on the left side. Don't leave space behind them unless something/somebody will appear behind them.

Also, try to tell your story through your shots. Take the Kuleshov Effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuleshov_Effect), for example. You are able to suggest an action, a state of mind etc to your viewers merely through the editing. So chose your shots carefully and try not to tell your whole story with your actors but also just by suggesting things to your viewers with images. (This also works very well if in the end you want to surprise your viewers as they will assume something that has never actually been stated by any of your characters.)

It is a general rule that you should spend a lot of time on the editing. Most people don't know it but editing is what will actually make the movie. If you edit your shots in one order and then in an other order, for example, you will be telling two different stories with the same images. It's all about manipulating the viewer.
At our studios we have macs because we use Final Cut Pro. If you have a mac and the possibility to get it, I'd recommend it but maybe it's a bit too much fuss if you're just starting.

Then with the lightning, it is important not to make the usual beginner's mistake: the most important lightning is NOT your front lightning but your back lights. Those should be your strongest lights. The lights you'll use in the front should be rather subtle and only serve the purpose of "filling up" what the back lights don't light. You'll notice that you get a lot more colours and shadows if you combine back and front lightning than if you focus on front lightning. Also use the lights to get effects. If you want to make somebody look "evil" for example, arrange your lights so he/she/it has slightly more shadows in their faces than your other characters. It's all about playing with the viewer's subconscious, really.

I hope that already helps a bit. Let me know if you have more questions, I'll see what I can do! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

11-26-2008, 09:46 PM
Thank you SO MUCH guys! It really helped a lot!

I'm still going to need a lot of deep thinking about this, though =P