Movie Making Made Easy teaches the fundamentals that go into making compelling videos from concept to completion.
The course is taught by video, illustrated with examples shot by the instructor. There is a five question quiz after each lesson.
It is followed by a ‘Plan of Action’ where the student goes out and makes a one minute movie based on what they learned in the course.
Students can use any kind of video camera and should have some form of video editing software and a way to store their footage.
The course runs about 90 minutes plus
Students will benefit by learning how to use sound, lighting, camera techniques and movie making organizing skills. These skills can be used to make: how-to demonstrations, self-promotions, home movies, video resumés, documentaries, kick-starter pitches, produce or service commercials or simply entertaining clips.
Instructor available in a number of ways: online question and answer periods, email response, phone, private consulting, online and in-person workshops.
Preproduction - Preparing the project
Overall introduction to the entire course
Introduction to preproduction.
A summary of key jobs that lay the foundation for making your movie.
1.What does the producer do?
2.Who does the researcher work with?
3.What’s an important part of the coordinator’s job?
4.What’s so important about the writer?
5.What other movie-related benefits are there to writing?
1.The producer hires the team and is responsible for their performance.
2.The researcher works with the producer and the writer.
3.Besides scheduling shooting locations, the coordinator provides backup plans in case the first one doesn’t work out.
4.The writer lays the foundation for the story.
5.The writer can also pitch sponsors, blog, apply for grants, send press releases...
Writing is the foundation for movie storytelling. Without it, your movie's just a screen saver.
1.Name four ways to improve your movie script writing.
2.What counts the most when writing a documentary?
3.What is the first step in preparing a shooting concept?
4.What comes after writing the concept?
5.What do you do if your text doesn’t go with the image?
1.Study ‘The Elements of Style,’ study car ads, hire an editor, practice.
2.The text and image work together.
3.Write a three-five word story concept.
4.Prepare a shot list and story outline.
5.Adjust the text or change the image so they match.
We cover the importance of keeping records of your shoot.
1.Name three easily overlooked movie making expenses.
2.What is a really big issue in making a movie budget?
3.What are the advantages of a database?
4.How can a database help a shot list?
5.Can a database help predict income?
1.Interest on credit card purchases
3.You can search by any word or any field
4.it can sort by shot such as interior or exterior or location
This lecture teaches advices how to deal with approaching your movie subjects.
1.When’s the best time to meet a one person operation?
2.Why should you avoid a hard sell to be in your project?
3.When calling a company to find the right contact, what’s a normal effort involve?
4.Once you reach the right person, what should you do?
5.Name at three dos and don’ts to make a good first impression.
1.Probably never. They’re usually always under pressure.
2.People can figure out themselves if something is good for them or not.
3.Figure two hours and 5-10 calls.
4.Secure as much contact information as possible so you don’t lose your effort.
5.Do bring business cards. Do get to the point. Don’t try to impress them how much benefit they’ll get.
Scouting deals with finding and fixing a wide range of production problems before they happen.
1.How should you scout a craftsman at work?
2.How do you clean up a shot?
3.When might you bring in extra light?
4.What kind of sound issues should you look for?
5.How is electricity part of the scouting?
1.Learn their entire work flow before shooting it.
2.Check that there are no distracting items in the foreground or background.
3.To highlight the subject and make it easier for the viewer to see.
4.Any distracting sounds and if so how can they be removed.
5.Figure out if you’ll need it and if so what items to bring.
More tips and tricks on how to be really prepared for your movie project.
1.What do you usually need to get free entry to an exhibition?
2.Why study your equipment manuals
3.Name the practice exercise mentioned in this chapter.
4.Why do you need backup?
5.What else should have backup besides equipment?
1.Letter of assignment, business card and link to published work
2.In case something goes wrong during a shoot.
3.Practice packing and unpacking your equipment and putting them in the same place every time.
4.In case one item breaks.
5.Have backup plans.
Closing thoughts on the importance of preproduction.
Production - The fun and glamorous part
Introduction to production
A review of the glamorous key production jobs. All of them involve action.
1.Name a directors responsibility other than being responsible for the creative work.
2.How does a good cameraman think?
3.What is the gaffers job?
4.On a small shoot, what does the assistant do?
5.When is the assistant most needed?
1.The director has to motivate the crew and the subjects.
2.What shots are needed and what shots might be needed.
3.He creates the lighting mood.
4.The assistant provides help everywhere and for everyone.
5.The smaller the crew, the more an assistant is needed.
Tips and tricks to help you use your energy efficiently.
1.What is ‘b-roll?’
2.Who follows the scrip more, the director or the cameraman?
3.Why have a base camp?
4.What can you learn from your dreams?
5.When in doubt which is more important adapting the image to the text or adapting the text to the image?
1.’B-roll’ is all the details which fill the story.
2.Both follow but are always watching out for inconsistencies between text and images.
3.So you don’t have to lug around all your equipment everywhere.
4.Your dreams are always perfectly shot movies. Study them. So subconsciously, you are already a great director and cameraman.
5.Adapting the text to the image.
We cover a number of aspects of using the right kind of lighting for the right kind of look.
1.What kind of look will you get shooting under high noon light?
2.Is there an advantage to shooting in hazy light?
3.Name one way to create a soft light on the subject?
4.What is one way to avoid high noon harsh lighting?
5.What is an easy way to imitate the lighting techniques of master painters.
1.Harsh, choppy shadows.
2.yes, it minimizes shadows making it easy to see details from every angle.
3.Using a diffuser, shooting in the shade, backlight or at dusk.
4.Don’t shoot at high noon.
5.Use window light.
We cover a wide variety of easy to use camera techniques - all used by the pros.
1.Why are amateur action movies often boring?
2.What is white balance?
3.What should you know about starting and stopping a shot?
4.Why should amateurs avoid wide angle shots?
5.What is panning?
1.Amateurs often overlook the need to match action with reaction.
2.Adjusting the camera so that white appears white no matter what lighting conditions.
3.Allow lead time at the beginning and ending of a shot for the editor.
4.Amateurs generally shoot from too far away to begin with.
5.Panning is moving the camera to follow a moving subject.
We cover the importance of sound and how to set sound priorities.
1.What is room tone?
2.What is the most important sound on a shoot?
3.Why test your microphone?
4.What do all actions have in common?
5.What happens if you miss some background sound?
1.It is the natural sound coming from a room even when it seems it is silent.
2.The speakers voice or any sound that cannot be recreated.
3.So you know where speaking into it sounds best.
4.They all create sound.
5.Background sound can always be recreated.
More tips and tricks. Some of them even cover what not to do.
2.Why get second opinions?
3.What is the advantage of taking a break?
4.What is a shooting opportunity?
5.What do you do if your camera batteries die?
1.To see what possible mistakes you have overlooked.
2.Because eventually you become stale and cannot see errors.
3.Working fresh often reduces chance of making time consuming mistakes.
4.Being ready and capturing footage that was not planned.
5.Use your fully charged backup batteries.
Summary of the production section.
Postproduction - All the work the audience doesn't see
Introduction to what postproduction is all about.
We cover the postproduction job skills that make all the production work shine.
1.What is the cameraman likely to do in postproduction?
2.What can you do as colorist?
3.What does the sound engineer do?
4.What software does the graphic artist work with?
5.Postproduction often works with what other section?
1.Get more ‘pickup’ shots.
2.Change, add or remove color and objects.
3.Mixes the different sounds which may be playing at the same time.
4.Motion graphics software.
Editing is all about putting your movie together and turning it into an easy to follow story.
1.What does ‘fix it in post’ imply?
2.What is a rough cut?
3.Why create a rough narration?
4.What is a ‘three shot combo?’
5.What’s the deal with encoding?
1.That mistakes made in production will be fixed in postproduction.
2.Laying down a sequence of clips to make a rough cut of the story.
3. It gives you a good sense of how long the accompanying clip or clips should be.
4.It’s the combination of a shot as well as the one before and after.
5.It’s mostly been prepackaged and now called ‘sharing.’
This is where our digital world can make movie magic.
1.What is the first rule of color grading?
2.What is another term for effects?
3.What is the most common transition?
4.Behaviors, generators and particle emitters are found in what software?
5.What does an effect do?
1.Get a good black and a good white.
5.it changes the look of a clip.
We cover the different ways that sound adds dimension to your movie.
1.Bad video makes people yawn, bad audio makes people...
2.Do professional always get correct sound on location?
3.What is ‘foley?’
4.What is the most important aspect of adding music?
5.What’s the most important part of creating a sound studio?
2.No. They often create it and then add it afterwards.
3.Foley is creating sound to match the video.
4.That it goes with the story.
5.Making sure that there are no hard bare walls.
This covers topics related to narrating your own movie.
1.What’s the best way to practice your narration voice?
2.What does write like you speak mean?
3.What is phantom power?
4.What is one way to break up hard walls that bounce sound?
5.What speaking tip did you learn?
1.Record a written text and see if friends and family think your voice sounds like you.
2.It means give priority to writing the way you speak, not speaking the way you write.
3.Power used to drive a microphone, often from a different source.
4.Hang blankets on them.
5.Once camera is rolling count to three before speaking and when finished count to three before moving away.
Advice and ways to double check your work.
1.How do you know when a movie is done?
2.What happens when you want to correct something after everything is finished?
3.Is the movie finished when you can’t find any mistakes?
4.What’s an easy way to have people review your movie?
5.Which platforms should you test your movie?
1.Actually, you never do.
2.You will have to reencode the entire movie. If it’s an hour long, this can take a day or two.
3.No. You might become stale and no longer notice them.
4.Have a prerelease party.
5.Ideally on everyone that people will be watching it on.
Equipment Setups - Enhance your movie making
We review different sets of equipment to help you decide what investments to consider.
Review - no right or wrong answer at this point
1.Based on what you’ve learned and your personal movie making aspirations, select a video camera you think could most benefit you. Now research and find three advantages and three disadvantages to that type of camera.
2.Name three equipment items seem the most important to your movie making needs. Explain why.
3.Write out an affordable equipment budget. Now list your set of priorities, what you’d get, why and what it would cost.
Plan of Action
Conclusion of the study part of the course.
This is an outline that guides you through the step-by-step process to making your movie.