How do you make really cool and fantastic films, well that’s what we set out to learn at the start of our latest maker project all about making our own videos.
To start off, however we first needed to ‘meet the movies’, where we learned about the history of filmmaking and got an introduction to some of the effects and skills professionals use while creating movies.
I must say that movies are a really interesting subject, and some of the solutions they came up with to solve their own problems were really amazing. However let’s not dwell too much on the past, you came here for some videos, so let’s start filming!
During the span of this project, we made many different videos, each time focusing on a specific part of the video making process.
The first video we made focused on thinking like a movie maker. Our task was to create a video using the app clips, all about one of our favourite hobbies.
This video was challenging as it was one of the first times we really tasked with creating an entertaining and good looking video. In hindsight, this video took a lot longer then it should because I didn’t really have a solid direction that I wanted to go. It was a lot of trial and error, I didn’t have a script or know what any of my shots were going to look like. We later learned all about planning out shots, and creating a treatment, a skill that is really important and would have made this first video significantly easier to shoot. Despite all this, I’m still really proud of the montage that I created for this video. I think it flows really well not staying on any one shot for too long, uses a variety of angles and creative cuts (Did you notice the match cut at the 17 second mark). Either way, there was a lot to improve with this first video but also a lot of good things that I can build on for the upcoming videos.
The next video was all about using different angles to enhance the story. We did this by creating a silent movie.
This was one of my favourite videos we created over the course of this project. I did mine with Fraser (you can check out his perspective on his blog). This was the first video that we made an actual treatment/script for the video. Although it was very rough and contained very little information about the different shots and angles we would use, it let us think about what we wanted at the start. This meant that while filming, although we didn’t have an exact sheet to reference we still had a very solid idea of where we wanted the film to go. We also tried to focus on different unique shots that use the rule of 3rds and angles to enhance the film.
This is also where we did our first challenge video, which are short clips that showcase one of the skills we learned. For the angles challenge, we were tasked with using forced perspective in a creative way. This is what we ended up with.
The forced perspective turned out pretty well in the video. You can definitely tell what is supposed to be small and should be big, but it’s a cool concept that I definitely want to play with more in the future.
The 3rd video was all about planning. Creating a storyboard of all of the shots and scenes was the main challenge of the video. I worked together with Dylan, Ines, and Patrick, to create our tutorial, all about how to make friends!
During filming even though we had our own story board, we ended up improvising a lot of the scenes as we realized what would and wouldn’t work. This ended up with the video taking way too long to film, and overall being rushed. Although the end product wasn’t my proudest work, I still learned a lot about how to effectively plan and shoot a film, and want to improve these skills as the project continues.
The final video was all about special effects and cool editing. We were tasked with creating a short film that included any special effects we wanted. Once again it was a group task, as I began creating our short story board and treatment along with Fraser and Theryn. For the final story, we decided to go all out and just throw ideas together until we had a somewhat understandable script. This was the result of that madness…
As you may have noticed, we included quite a few different visual effects in the film. Probably the most obvious one was the avalanche. To create that one it was as simple as going into the app Action Movie, and letting it do all the work for us. Some of the other shots took a bit more effort to pull off, including the jumping through the door, and disappearing at the end. For these effects we stitched together two similar looking shots with a jump cut to make it appear as if we disappeared into midair or jumped right through a door. Then for when the wizard magically turns into somebody else, there was a hidden match cut on the second blur. This stitched together the two shots in a way that looks very seamless when watched back. Finally, there was the part at the beginning where we opened a door using a magic wand. For that we just used real magic… no editing tricks required. Overall this video also didn’t take too long to shoot as we all had a clear idea of what we wanted the film to look like ahead of time, and didn’t need to rewrite the whole script on set.
Going with the special effects theme for the next challenge video, our task was to use a green screen in a creative way. I decided to go with portals, and spent way too long playing around with it to get something to work. I was first trying to get myself to go through the portal, but that ended up not working. I eventually discovered that if you walk towards a green screen and repeat the clip, it will look like you walked through it. I thought this looked quite cool and decided to elaborate on it for my video.
This green screen video ended up being a really good challenge. Trying to think of the different layers and how you can get some of these tricks to work is really mind boggling. Green screen is also one of those new skills that I didn’t really know you could do in iMovie, so it would be really cool to see what other videos we could make with it.
In the end, I realized that filmmaking is a very nuanced art, with many little things separating a good video from a great one. From the editing, to the music and sound effects, to the different angles you can shoot with, everything has an effect on how the final video is perceived. Overall I think the main thing I learned is the importance of knowing your film. Having a detailed storyboard and knowing the shots you want to take makes all the difference when you’re actually on set trying to film. Since this won’t be the last time we make videos in PLP, next time I’ll try to really make sure I know what I want to create before hand, which can be even more helpful while filming with others. The other main skill I want to work on is being very aware of the different shots I’m taking and what they need. For example, should I put in an establishing shot? What about a close up so you can really see the facial expression? Maybe we should put the camera up high so they look vulnerable. These types of things can have a huge impact on the look of the final film, so next time we create a film I’ll want to take note of what shot to use and when.
Anyways that’s all I have for this project. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in a project ever, and I really enjoyed learning about filmmaking and applying some of those concepts into my own videos.
See you next time,