Tools

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Filmmaking isn’t just all shooting and editing. There is a LOT of planning that goes in before filming and a lot of organizing that takes place in post production.

Here are some important forms you will need during each phase.

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Forms

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Writing Rubrics

It doesn’t matter how good you are with a camera or Final Cut Pro X to edit. If your film doesn’t have an EXCELLENT script prior to filming, you are going to be stuck with a poorly written film. For a film to enter production, YOU MUST SCORE A 5 OUT OF A 6 ON THE “IDEAS” and “ORGANIZATION” and “VOICE” rubrics for the 6+1 Traits of Writing. Click HERE to view them and assess your own script prior to showing it to me for final approval.

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Story Board

A panel or series of panels of rough sketches outlining the scene sequence and major changes of action or plot in a production. This is where you share your vision for the look of a production from the camera’s point of view. Imagine it as your film rendered in a comic book format. A story board sometimes needs a few notes beneath the image to clarify something important.

Story Board DOC  Story Board PDF  Story Board Pages

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Script/Outline

A two column guide of imagery you plan to use in a film and the audio that will accompany it. Unlike a story board, this tool blends the script-both spoken on camera as well as VO-with a more detailed description of the imagery you plan to use in a production.

Script/Outline DOC     Script/Outline PDF

Script/Outline Pages

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Shot List

A form numbering the shots to film for a production and including  a few notes describing camera angles and moves, the type of shot and source of audio, as well as a brief description of the shot’s composition.

Shot List DOC   Shot List PDF   Shot List Pages

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Film Log

A form recording the number of the SD card on which  film or still images for a production has been shot, the date of the shoot, the location to which the imagery has been saved as well as a brief description of the shot’s composition.

Film Log DOC   Film Log PDF   Film Log Pages

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3rd Party Images Inventory

A form to use when obtaining works (film, photos, graphics, animations, etc.) you have not personally created.

You are free to use works which are in the public domain. You might be able to use works labeled with a Creative Commons license, depending upon the license. You might be able to use a copyrighted work without a Creative Commons license and argue “fair use” if it truly is a fair use.

The point: when you want to use 3rd party works to supplement the video, still photos, animations or other graphics you are creating for a production, you MUST keep track of where the work came from and the copyright/use restrictions placed upon that work.

3rd Party Images Inventory DOC    

3rd Party Images Inventory PDF    

3rd Party Images Inventory Pages

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Script

A properly formatted Hollywood script is a rather odd looking piece of writing with its own special rules of formatting and capitalization. Want to take a peek at the rules Hollywood plays by? Click HERE. For our purposes, we will focus on writing a clear message that is either spoken to camera (OC) or used for voice over (VO).

We’ll use script and storyboard to translate ideas into shots on camera. We’ll also use an incredibly helpful tool called a “Script/Outline” to relate script to imagery.

Talent Release Forms

“Talent” refers to people you film. You need to obtain permission from people you film to use their image and words on film. Different festivals and competitions use different release forms. To view the SEVA release form click HERE.

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Here are the stages of making a film and some of the resources you will need during each phase.

Much of the information below is adapted from the book The Director in the Classroom: How Filmmaking Inspires Learning by Nikos Theodosakis, published November 2, 2001.

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Development

What does it mean if a film is “in development?”

Before filming can begin and before planning can get started, a filmmaker must define their idea, the story and project they want to create.

Development includes:

  1. Brainstorm and develop ideas
  2. Determining what actors and crew will be required
  3. Deciding who will direct the film
  4. Determining the market for the film (Will it be entered into SEVAs or some other competition or festival?)
  5. Determining a schedule and budget
  6. Research content material related to the project
  7. Research visual and audio ideas for the project
  8. Research other videos, films, and works of art for ideas on the use of location to enhance the film’s ideas, goals, and themes
  9. Research visual imagery from works of art and other videos and movies
  10. Research and develop ideas related to sound design from other videos, movies, and audio works
  11. Research ideas related to lighting from other videos, movies, and works of art
  12. Research ideas related to editing styles
  13. Pitch idea to instructor (and submit written materials for approval)
  14. Instructor approves or rejects idea and asks for clarifications or changes
  15. Writing (and rewriting) the script
  16. Submit script to instructor for approval
  17. Instructor approves or rejects ideas and asks for clarifications or changes
  18. Photograph and video “behind the scenes” footage of students at work in development and pre-production stages

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Pre-Production

What does it mean if a film is “in pre-production?”

Once a story becomes a script, pre-production can begin. During pre-production, the following things will happen:

  1. Students prepare storyboards and submit for approval
  2. Instructor approves storyboard
  3. Students prepare breakdown of:
    1. locations
    2. scene breakdowns
    3. shooting schedule
    4. equipment needed
    5. contact list (people/experts to be filmed)
    6. cast and crew lists
    7. obtains talent release forms (SEVA or EGUSD forms)
    8. shot list
    9. shooting schedule
  4. Students submit planning documents to instructor for approval
  5. Instructor approves planning documents
  6. Students make arrangements to use locations
  7. Students create props, costumes, and sets
  8. Students rewrite script as necessary
  9. Students discuss:
    1. lighting ideas
    2. camera movement ideas
  10. Students determine:
    1. sound to be recorded
    2. types of microphones to be used
    3. study noise of locations in which filming will take place
    4. lighting obstacles of locations
    5. camera movement obstacles
  11. Photograph and video “behind the scenes” footage of students at work in development and pre-production stages

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Story Board

Imagine your film as if it were a comic book, a series of pictures showing the action as it unfolds. That’s what a storyboard is! It’s a tool to help you visualize what you want your film to look like. It’s also a place to make some notes on the framing, angles, and then action. You’ll want to have this handy as you are filming. To see a story board click HERE.

Script/Outline

This tool was developed by Patrick Davidson of The World We Want Foundation for documentary films we made in the 2011-2012 school year. It’s proven a useful way to match written script to imagery. To view an example of a script/outline that’s been filled out, click HERE.

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Production

What does it mean if a film is “in production?”

When the planning is complete, filming starts. This begins the production phase. Once a film is “in production,” the emphasis is on capturing audio and video images to tell a story or convey an idea.

During production students will:

  1. Students sign out and obtain equipment
  2. Students review shot list and storyboard and film required scenes
  3. Students photograph and film behind the scenes footage
  4. Students download audio and video captured
  5. Students return equipment
  6. Students make sure memory cards are cleared and batteries are charged/charging
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Post-Production

What does it mean when a film is in “post-production?”

Once the filming is complete, the post-production phase begins.

During post-production, students will:

  1. review footage captured
  2. review “B-roll” footage captured
  3. import footage into an iMovie or Final Cut Express “project”
  4. edit video and audio, adding pictures, transitions, sound, titles, and credits
  5. search for archival images or film to add to project
  6. finds or creates additional sounds, music, video, pictures necessary to complete the project
  7. write narration and record for voice over
  8. submit a rough edit to instructor for review/approval
  9. instructor approves or rejects, offering ideas or suggestions
  10. organize a test screening
  11. make sure locations were left clean and orderly
  12. send thank you notes to people who assisted or participated