The Sound design process in a film is a very complex one and requires great sensitivity. The sound in a film is an important part in creating atmosphere and to transferring the film’s message.
When to start working on the sound design?
Do not work on the film’s music and sound design before you finish editing the image. Some video editors say they need music to edit the scene. This is not the right way to work. The image should stand by itself and if you feel you really need music to help you edit the film then put any music as reference only. Unless you are buying music from music library (Which I’m going to talk about soon), do not let the music to dictate your editing.
Starting the sound design process
The process begins with a meeting of the sound designer with the video editor and the director. The sound designer will watch the film and write down notes as movie style, dramatic moments, repeated themes and preferences of the film director and editor. It is necessary to find out whether there are dialogues that need dubbing or other special matters that the sound designer need to know about them. It’s also important to clarify deadlines and Questions like are there more shooting ahead? What are the film director expectations? and so on.
Recording sounds (Foley)
The sounds in your film, that weren’t recorded in the set will be recorded by the sound designer and they are called Foley (after James foley who invented the technique). They are added later on to the film. These sounds need to sound realistic and interesting. Today the foley artist has a big part in making the cinematic experience a big one. The sound designer will show the film to the Foley guy (or girl) and explain it’s concept to him. The Foley guy should take his notes and translate them into sound recordings.
Here is a shrt clip, that will let you get the hang of how it’s done
Mostly in low-budget- movies the sound designer is also responsible for the music (the truth is that when we talk about low-budget films, there is a good chance that he will be even the same person who wrote the screenplay) There are several ways to produce music: First of all, you can go and ask the orchestra to record it for you. This, of course, will cost a lot of money and is not recommended. In today’s age people can record a full orchestra in their own room through a computer software. There are a lot of musicians who have their own bank of music.They sell you packages of pre-recorded melodies and all you have to do is come and choose what you like.
Today, there are many sites that offer you music for sale. Here are 3 examples:
When image editing is complete, you can send it to the musician and he will suit the music to what is happening in the scene. If you are using music from a music bank you may need to make some repairs in it.If it’s a problem to do that then you need to make sure that the film is edited by the music bits.
Don’t let the video editor do the sound design
There can also be in a situation where video editor become also the sound effects designer. That is the one who finds sounds libraries. Anyway, never agree to let your video editor become the sound designer, no matter how low is the budget. Actually, the more low-budget the film is, the more your crew won’t be the most professional crew and you’ll need a professional sound designer to fix a lot of problems.
Learning how to direct a film is kind of fun stuff, but there are a lot of responsibilities that are coming with it. Eventually, you are going to be in charge on a lot of money, so let see first if you have what it takes to become a film director.
Know the filmmaking craft
Before you start directing a film, make sure you know the film directing fundamentals and film directing techniques. It’s been known that the job of the film directing is to tell a story with pictures and sounds, but the truth is that In film directing the story is being told also through actors, art design, clothes design, dialog styles and more. You are in charge on all of that. That’s why the director must have knowledge in all the filmmaking departments like script writing, camera and lightning techniques, sound design, video editing etc. If you’ll look at the most respectable directors, you’ll see that many of them have a gift at least in one of these departments. Find yours and develop it.
In the article The film director’s vision I talk about how to translate the script into visual shots and concept that it unique to you. On the next articles I am planning to talk about the tools that will help you do that like storyboard and shooting script,
but the bottom line is:
While you are visualizing your movie (which is the main job of the director in In film directing), you’ll need to do it through the departments mentioned above. You will learn how to develop your visualization skills with practice.
Like everything else in life, film directing is all about practice. Shoot as much as you can and offer yourself to participate in as many productions as you can. Shooting a lot of shorts will also help you to get your deepest artistic voices, out of the system until you’ll find the one that works best for you. You have to be ready to deal with the fact that most of your first shorts will be bad ones and that you can only learn In film directing by making mistakes.
Find your own true voice
As a film director and an artist, you will have to find your inner voice- the one that separates you from all the others. You’ll have to be real honest with yourself and listen to it very good. I recommend reading my article, Find your inner voice, to learn better how to do that. Understanding your true voice is not enough. you will also have to keep it as your guide through all the trip. That means to watch out from what other people say, but also to watch out for yourself. Don’t try to show out how smart and artistic you are and focus completely on what the movie really needs.
Become a leader
The different betweena In film directing and other arts like a poetry or a painter is that the film directors have to lead a big crew after him. You’ll have to be good with people and also know how to push them to their limits, so you can take out the best from each one of them. You’ll need to be able to guide them, inspire them and supervised them all at once.You’ll have to make decisions that sometimes will be against the view of your crew. You will also have to lead with confidence. There is nothing worse for actors and crew member than to follow a director that is unsure of his actions. If you don’t know what to do in certain situations, don’t be afraid to console with the right crew members and then make a confident decision. Sometimes the producers will try to change things in your script to lower the expenses. Unless you really agree with their changes, it will be your job to defend the script. With all of that, you’ll have to remember that you are working with artists, and an open mind is needed too.
When you ask experienced video editors, how they know when to cut a shot, they will answer, that they just feel it. There is some truth in that, but here are some tips that will help you to “feel” the right time to cut a shot.
These are very technical and simple tips, that will make your editing a lot better, and will lessen the amount of what is known as “Jump cut” – when 2 shots are not cutting smoothly.
So here we go:
Know your digital video editing software
Become familiar with your video editing software. Know it’s tricks! The goal is not only to know how to cut the shots together but to do it in an easy and fast way and to be able to solve any problem you encounter with the footage you get. Knowledge of the editing software tools will help you do just that.
You can read more about continuity in the article – Continuity editing. but for now, what you need to know is that I’m talking about continuity between the shot and the one after it. For example lets say we connect a shot where the character lit a candle and then on the next shot he is holding the candle when it’s already half melted. This may jump to the eye of the viewer. Now: It may look like something that you can’t fix as an editor. They should have paid more attention in the shooting, right? Well…wrong. As a video editor, you will be expected to fix stuff like that and sometimes there are ways to do that. In our example, if you must connect the whole candle shot with the shot where the candle has been melted, try to push as many shots between them as possible, maybe some extreme close-ups on the faces or the hands so that the-the viewer will forget the size of the original candle. Sometimes it will be the small changes that the viewer will not notice right away, but he will feel something is wrong and won’t know why. take a look at the first clip of this Mistakes In Movies – Pulp Fiction mix uploaded by UnusualVisual.
A great trick in digital video editing to soften the cuts is cut in action, but it should be planned during shooting. Cut in action means to cut a shot in the middle of an action, and to continue the action in a different angle. If a character gets up from the chair, we can shoot him starts to get up from a long shot angle and then continues on another angle maybe a closer one. For this to work the character has to perform the action at any angle in the same manner and the two angles should be at a difference angle of at least 30 degrees in their direction.
The 30 degrees Law
I’ve talked about it in the article Basic camera angles & movements in film, but I’ll repeat it here quick. do not try to connect two different angles If their positions are less than 30 degrees from one another, it will not work. Even if it’s from Close-Up to Longshot. They just look too much alike.
Let The Character in
another nice trick is to start on an empty frame and let the character enter into the frame. Also, if there is a character in the frame that walks out, you should let her out completely until you move to the next shot
Cutting in the middle of camera movement
If for example the camera Tilts UP or turned in a Pan, let her finish the movement and even wait for half a second after she finishes. Do not cut it in the middle of the movement! The same when entering a shot with camera movement. You should start it about half a second before the start of the camera movement.
Finish the action
Let the actor finish the action before cutting to the next shot. Unless you make what is called “cut in action” (we’ll talk about it soon). When we cut in the middle of an operation, we feel that something is wrong with the connection of the shots. That is because usually the actor doesn’t do the action exactly the same way in the two takes taken from the two different shots.
Look at the actor’s eyes
The next tip required some emotion in it. It’s not a law you can follow blinly without feeling it yourself. This is a tip I got from a book called In The Blink Of An Eye, a very recommended book by Walter Murch, an academy award winning film editor. The trick here is simply to look at the actor’s eye to understand when he finished to deliver his emotion. This kinkind of cutting by bits. When you see the actor change his eye direction or maybe even blink, it can be a good time to cut. You’ll be amazed as to how emotions can be expressed by simply blinking.
Now this is the most important rule:
Provide more information
A shot always has to provide more Information. if the next shot will not provide any new information, so why did you cut to it? The video editor should always ask himself, what the audience need to see right now and what will he want to see next?
You’ll have to remember that these rules are for smooth classic video editing. sometimes that is not what the scene needs, but even when you want to to bring a jumpy atmosphere to the scene, You should know these rules so you can break them:
Please watch what we’ve talked about in this fight scene from Raging Bull:
While the camera sitting on a tripod, we set in motion its lens to the left or right. If the director wants to see more of the right, he will ask the camera man to Pan Right.
These movements often are done relatively slowly unless doing what is called:
“Swish Pan” which is a very fast pan that create a blur background.
While the camera is stable on a tripod, move the lens up or down. If the director wants to see more of below the picture, he will say to the cameraman to tilt down.
Usually we use it to show the size and power of a person or an object in relation to the viewer, so the viewer feels as if he is looking up. The same thing when you want to emphasize the lack of power Tilt down will show the bottom part of a photographed object.
Buying a video camera today can be hard work. There are just too many video cameras out there.and every one of them has different interesting features you can use. Just try to write camcorders on google and see what happens.
The first rule you should remember If you want to buy a video camera,is that eventually it is not the camera that matters-it’s the operator. there are many filmmakers that run to buy the best cameras out there, but don’t really know how to use it right.
Before running to buy your dream camera, you should know what are your goals for it. You should cover as many elements as you can, so you won’t fail on something silly (For example excellent camera quality, but there is no option to zoom in or bad focus). So here are some things you should be considering before buying the camera:
Buy video camera within your budget
Be realistic! Know how much you can spend on a camera, but also what camera will fit your needs. Everyone wants to shoot with the RED cameras or 4K cameras, but do you really know how to use it? Is your post ready to deal with the RED camera’s files?
When making the budget for buyi a video camera, you should also think about the accessories that come with it like extra batteries, tripod and so on (I’m going to talk about it in the next passage) If you don’t have enough money to get what you need, you can always check the used camcorder section, but you should be careful over there. You can get an older standard def camera that shoots 24p for around $500, but maybe you’ll prefer a newer HD camera. There are good new HD cameras out there, but you might need to give up the manual control as possible.
Accessories with the camera
So you buy a video camera that doesn’t cost much, but then you find out that you need to buy also special lenses and equipment that is expensive. For example, you might see a good camera, that will need a special lens to shoot in darker locations. so always check the equipment that comes with the camera. Personally I recommend buying a video camera that has the possibility to attach different lenses. That gives you more control on your shooting. If you are buying a camera that needs other lenses, you should also check if the camera accepts third party lenses too. If there are lenses or other equipment that comes with the camera, check their quality and see if that’s what you need. Can the lens cover enough wide angle? How is the zoom in? If there is a “Macro” mode, see how big it is . Different lenses have different macro sizes. How easy is it to change focus? Check the aperture ability of each lens you get (you can read about the aperture in this article about depth of field ). There are many things to check when you buy lenses so I’m starting to feel that an article about the subject will be uploaded soon.
Before you buy a video camera it’s important to see if you feel comfortable with it. Is it possible to zoom in (you’ll be surprised how many video cameras today do not have this option) and whether its movement is smooth? Is there a manual focus? If so, where is it’s button? Is the button located in a place easy to reach during shooting? The first choice you will have to deal with is am I going to buy an automatic camera or a manual one. The professional camera operators will always prefer manual because it gives them more control, on the other hand, sometimes you want to work with an automatic camera like when you are shooting sports events or documentary or when you shoot candid camera. There are cameras that offer certain effects or options or dissolve option. I strongly discouraged those features. It is best to shoot clean and then put the effects in the editing stage.
When you buy a video camera, you should check if there’s an option to attach a microphone? If so, you should check how it sounds. Connecting professional microphones usually called XLR connectors, so you should pay attention if there is such a connection. You should also check the quality of the camera’s microphone and a headphone jack is highly recommended that camera.
Talk to the Cinematographer
If you buy a video camera for the next film you are shooting, check with the cinematographer, what look you’re looking for a movie, do you intend to shoot with a Steady Cam, camera tripod or on the shoulder? What kind of shots will be in your film? For example, The Cannon Duel Pixel CMOS AF is a 70D camera, which means it has a good autofocus that is able to adjust fast while the characters are moving.
The new cameras batteries have a tendency to run out quickly.
Find out about them and how much it costs to buy a Battery that holds several hours.
LCD screen and viewfinder
The LCD screen is a small screen that flips out from the camera so you can see what is filmed. It will be better if the screen will be a removable one and that you can rotate it down (if you pick up the camera to shoot from above) and vice versa. In addition, it should be possible to watch through a viewfinder. Sometimes it is more convenient and more accurate.
The post-shooting stage
You don’t want to end up with a camera that will make your post editing stage long and expensive, that’s why, before you buy a video camera, you’ll need to check if the files that the camera produces are such that video editors can easily insert into their editing software without conversion? Conversion of the files might mean losing some quality and time. Some cameras have a convert software you can download from the website that does a good conversion for specific video editing software.
I hope this helps you. You can figure that to buy video camera is a step that has to be done carefully. Sometimes it’s the little bugs in the camera that can create an ongoing frustration later. I really recommend reading the reviews of every camera you plan to buy.
If you are just starting, I recommend buying a basic camera that can adapt other lenses and buy another lens with it, but makes sure you are buying from a reliable company.
When writing a good movie script, it is important to be able to communicate with yourself so you can touch the audience. Creative writing is all about breaking the boundaries of the professional writing for the purpose of expressing your thoughts, emotions and feeling instead of just delivering information about something. It’s a tool you use in academic writing also.
There are many creative writing tips out there, but trust me, only if you’ll use what you really feel, it will help you stimulate senses in the audience that they were not aware of before. The first step of creative writing is finding your own voice.
When we talk about “finding” your voice, we really mean that you should develop your own voice.
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”
Like it or not, you have an artistic identity
To produce any kind of art, the artist must have something to say, a certain value,
a certain approach, some experience, and vision. So here is the kicker: In your life you’ve went through a number of events that affected you emotionally. They created your own voice. Finding your own voice will happen if you’ll have a real curiosity and a desire to understand the logic of things with the desire to solve them. You have to be realistic and to understand the events that have shaped you into who you are today.
Before I’ll show you the exercise that will help you find your own voice, I want to emphasise that it is very important to write freely. Don’t think too much about rules and not even about your original idea when you started working on this film, just flow with whatever comes out and I promise your inner voice will come out
The Exercise that will find your voice
This is a very simple exercise that will change your script writing completely: Try to think of five things you like the most, five things you hate most, five things you fear most, five things you most believe in, the five things you most appreciate and five things you know best. Try to think of five people who changed your life, five discoveries that changed your life and decisions that changed your life.
“A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper.” Barry Neil Kauffman
For each category write at least 5 things. 10 If there is time. Try not to write general issues such as global warming or war. If something general like war appears again and again, try to understand what about war is it that makes you mad or fear. Vented this concept, understand what your relationship to these powerful emotions topics.
That’s it! A very simple but important exercise you must do before starting your writing career.
The Master scene method is the first tool you’ll use when you approach a scene. No matter how much you’ve worked on your shooting script, there is always something that can go wrong on set and you’ll miss it . The master shot technique method comes to the rescue in such cases.
The master scene method is one of the films directing fundamentals techniques that began during the silent movies in the 20’s. It was a time when video editing wasn’t as easy as it is now.
In the editing room, if you find you missed a shot, you can go to this cover shot to the rescue.
Master shot method tip When shooting a scene in a room, the master shot will usually be in the opposite corner. If you are shooting outside, just look for the farthest spot that will cover everything in the shot.
It’s very important to understand that the way you choose to shoot can really affect your audience emotions. For example, the camera is panning through a room and suddenly stops on an object. At that point, the audience understands that there is something important about that object. Panning can also be used on two men talking and by that it will emphasize the contrast between them.
Each time your camera will change angle in the scene, it will change your audience attention, so you must know how to use the camera right.
Why knowing the camera angles and shots is important?
I know I promised that on this blog, I want to focus more on the creative part of filmmaking than the technical part, but knowing the camera angles and shots is very basic and will help us to communicate better on the next articles. The camera angles and shots are the basic language of the film production. Everybody in the production set will communicate using these shots names, so you absolutely must know them. The cameras angles are the best tool to tell a story without explaining too much.
Building relationship with camera angles
The camera angles you’ll choose will be a great tool to describe the relationships of the characters without words. POV shot (I will explain it later on) will tell the audience who is the important character in the scene (that will also be the character that get more screen time), If you’ll shoot one character closer and the other in a more open shot, the one that was shot closer will look and feel to the audience as the stronger one. Read the next shots angels I’m introducing here and you will understand what I’m saying.
so here it goes:
Long Shot(LS )
The shot shows all the body of the photographed object and some of its background. Usually, we use it the beginning of a scene, so the audience will understand where the scene is taking place. Sometimes, when the scene is long, we will use it to remind the audience where the scene is happening. This angle has no emotional strength. It simply gives us information.
A very intimate shot. What we see is only head and shoulders of photographed object. It provides a great sense of intimacy with the photographed object. This shot is used a lot in interviews and TV. In films we use it a lot on reaction shots or when we want to emphasize the drama.It is customary to put the photographed object in this shot just beyond the center of the frame, so the shot will not be too symmetrical. You should also leave some space on the side to which the character speaks or turns to. There is also a shot called Close Up which is little closer.
The advantages of this kind of shot are: They are easy to lighten and it’s also easy to connect them with other shots in the scene. This shot helps convey what the character feels with only very light expressions using mainly the eyes.
The disadvantages of this kind of shot are: Sometimes the shot has nothing to do with the spirit of the scene and can serve as a kind of invasion of subject’s privacy (especially in documentary cinema). The viewer may find himself uncomfortable when it happens.
The shot is very close to the object. For example, in a person shot, we might see only the face of the character or his hands. The feeling that the viewer gets is that what we see at the moment is very important, or with intense emotional weight. For example, a woman walking on the street at night. ECU on her eyes can convey to us a sense that she is scared.
A very popular shot angle. Also called “Waist shot”. Usually, it’s an angle that contains the top of the photographed object. It creates a sense of distance from the person that is being shot, but to such an extent that we can still see him and his body language clearly, with some level of intimacy. When you are using this kind of shot (and you are going to use it a lot), you must pay attention to the background. Also pay attention to the actor’s body posture and movements.
A shot that is being used a lot less today. Its primary use is when you want to connect the character to its location. It’s a hard shot when to edit with. especially because it reveals too much of the background. If for example we have a dialogue scene, we can see the second character in the shot of the other, and that can make it difficult for the continuity of the editing. The biggest advantage of the shot is that it allows the actor to use his body language.
The shot focuses on an object over the shoulder of another person whose face is directed to the same object. We will see the back of the shoulder and part of the head of the person who looks at the object. Directors use this shot a lot in dialogues since it is kind of a “shortcut” to see both characters at the same time.
Ok, so I understand this post is getting too long, but please bear with me and trust me, if you don’t know the jargon of the film industry, you will be in a lot of troubles. So just a few more to go and we’re done:
Point of view (POV)
The POV shot is a great film technique to make the viewer identify with your character. This is also a great way to create tense. In the POV shot, the camera transmits the point of view of an object in the scene. It basically takes the place of character that looks at something. If we are filming two people talking and we want to pass the point of view of one over the other, the camera will be in front of the photographed object in the place of the one we want to emulate his eyes. Usually, the photographed object will not look directly into the camera, but 30 degrees to the side. If the object looks directly into the camera, it’s like he is looking directly at the audience and thus breaks the magic of cinema. Of course, there are quite a few films that do this on purpose, but this should be a conscious decision.
On this shot the camera is positioned in a low angle, making the shot object look very big.
writing a screenplay can sound frightening to some. There are rules, structure, formatting and many more elements that make film students scared to their bones. The good news is that writing a screenplay is not as hard as it sounds. In this blog, I’m going to give you tips and insights into writing a great script that will be sell.
If you want to learn the rules and the right format there are many sites and online courses that can help you. Today there are many script writing software, like the very recommended, Final Draft 9, that can guide you about format and structure while you write your script.
Now, here is something you probably won’t hear in film school:
The problem with learning script writing is that when you are trying to do something artistic, too many rules can back you down. The rules I will talk about here should be taken seriously only when you are working on the second or third draft of the script. The process of first draft writing should be flowing and fun. For a start just tell your story. If you think too much about the rules, when you write the first draft, you may get a script that has “correct grammar”, but really boring.
“I could be just a writer very easily. I am not a writer. I am a screenwriter, which is half a filmmaker. … But it is not an art form because screenplays are not works of art. They are invitations to others to collaborate on a work of art.”
The first step of becoming a writer
The first script writing lesson I can give you now is to write at every opportunity you get. If it’s possible to find a job that has something to do with writing, it can be excellent as well. The articles here are going to focus on finding your unique inner voice and learning how to let it out originally.