DESIGNING THE SCENE PROFESSIONALLY

January 17, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Drama
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DESIGNING THE SCENE PROFESSIONALLY

By the end of today’s sessions..... • • • • • • • • •

Shot sizes Camera Introduction Composition Coverage The Axis of Action The Slate & Calls on Set Preproduction Planning & Design Tools Working the Camera Safety

RECOMMENDED TEXTS “Producing Videos” (Third Edition) Martha Mollison Allen & Unwin

WHAT DOES “PROFESSIONALLY” MEAN? • TIME = MONEY (Fixed budget) Lose money if you don’t have everything you need, when you need it, where you need it • “Professional” means you come armed with a plan! • Planning leads to efficiency • Planning allows for creativity • Planning assists in achieving safety

Four STAGES of Film & TV Production

• Development • Pre-production

• Production (Principal Photography) • Post-Production

Coverage • How do you cover a scene • How many shots • Who decides

Shot Sizes What do we mean by ? MCU MS

WS VLS ECU

Shot Sizes • Wide Shot

Very long shot (VLS)

Shot Sizes • Wide Shot

Long shot (LS)

Shot Sizes • Wide Shot

Medium long shot (MLS)

Shot Sizes • Mid Shot

(MS)

Shot Sizes • Medium Close-up (MCU)

Shot Sizes • Close-up

(CU)

Shot Sizes • Big Close-up (BCU)

Shot Sizes • Extreme Close-up (ECU)

Camera Introduction

Camera Introduction

Camera Introduction

Using a Camera • Automatic Settings fine if NO problems • Turn on and press the big red button -like an auto pilot • Results often acceptable, but could be so much better

Camera Introduction

• Automatic Settings take control of… • • • • •

White Balance Exposure Focus Shutter Gain

Camera Introduction

• Automatic Settings

Often Simply can not reproduce the shot you want

Skills • If the shot needs to be steady

Use a tripod or at least Hand-hold carefully!

Working the CAMERA There are SIX variables to consider: • Angle / Height • Image size / Framing / Composition • Motion (pan, tilt, tracking) Why move? Is it motivated? • Depth of field (shallow focus) • Focus • Speed. Undercranked / Overcranked

Skills

• Composition Think ahead Rule of thirds

Perspective and points of view

The RULE of THIRDS • Is

commonly used to help create interesting, appealing images. • Cut your frame into thirds, vertically and horizontally, and place the elements of your image on these lines eg the horizon of your landscape shot sits on the top or bottom third and not dead centre in the middle of the frame. • Your subject is positioned on the right third or left third of the frame, not directly in the centre.

Camera movement

• • • • •

Pan Tilt Zoom Dollie-track-crab Crane-tongue-ped

Composition • Looking space

-to be pleasing to the eye -to match other shots of a sequence (style)

Composition • Looking space • Headroom Too little headroom

-to be pleasing to the eye Too much headroom

-to match other shots of a sequence (style) Good

Composition

-to be pleasing to the eye

-to match other shots of a sequence (style)

Coverage • Movement

• Make the shots you take editable Master shot Motivation Advancement

The Axis of Action • (Crossing the line)

• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALgu EHV9VvA&feature=related

THE TOOLS OF PRE-PRODUCTION PLANNING & DESIGN • • • • • •

Project Brief / Script The Shotlist Storyboards Marked-up Scripts Camera Plots The Schedule

PROJECT BRIEF / SCRIPT • Is a document (from an extended paragraph to a fully developed script) outlining the story for us. • Requires you to figure out your story.

• Can be visually interpreted in many different ways. • Designing shots and coverage to effectively and seamlessly reveal story is one of the great creative challenges

A PROJECT BRIEF Example: • “CASHCOW” Margie approaches a computer in an empty lab. She dumps her bag on the desk and slumps in the chair. She feels something on the chair and reaches under her bottom to find a wallet. It has wads of cash inside. A quick glance around the room and at the door confirms there is no sign of anyone so she decides to put the money in her pocket. She grabs her things and heads for the door, dumping the empty wallet in the bin as she leaves. Just as the wallet lands, the door opens and Margie is face to face with an angry person, glaring between her and the discarded wallet.

SOME POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND •

SIMPLICITY: A good short film usually has a SIMPLE idea at its core. It usually deals with ONE incident and the conflict is established early on.



ACHIEVABILITY: The best short films focus on MINIMAL CHARACTERS and are set in ONE or TWO LOCATIONS. Minimise the time wasted on travelling between locations and you will have more time to spend on composing brilliant shots. Have a rainy weather contingency too if you’re filming outdoors.



MAKE IT CHALLENGING: Keeping your script simple doesn’t mean writing something bland and pointless. The best scripts are simple but layered. They have meaning and subtext; they have developed characters and a satisfying payoff.



THINK VISUALLY: Don’t pick ideas where most of the drama or comedy is in the mind. Think “VISUALLY”!



NOT HEAVILY DEPENDENT ON DIALOGUE OR SOUND: Avoid ideas where dialogue or sound are integral to the story.

The SHOTLIST • Is a LIST of required SHOTS in script order, indicating shot size and a description of characters and the actions to be filmed. The shot may cover a lot of action and be used many times in the edited film. However, it only needs to be written in the shotlist once, the first time the script calls for it, with a complete description of all the action to be captured. • The DIRECTOR generally composes a shotlist and marks-up the script. • Make your shotlist clear: explain the characters’ actions thoroughly but concisely.

A SHOTLIST Example: • • •

SHOTLIST “Cashcow” SCENE 1 - INT. COMPUTER LAB. NIGHT SHOTS and DESCRIPTION



1. WS Margie approaches computer, dumps bag, sits, continue all action and pan to capture Margie’s action at door. 2. MS Margie sits in chair, feels something on chair, reaches under her and pulls out wallet, opens it and finds wads of cash, continue all action until she gets up from chair. 3. CU Margie’s face as she feels something on chair, pulls out wallet, opens it, finds cash, looks around room and at door, pockets money. Continue all action til she gets up from chair, TILT with her as she stands and let her leave frame. 4. ECU (HA OS) Over Margie’s shoulder as she pulls out wallet, opens it to find wads of cash, pulls out money, looks around room and pockets it. 5. WS (PAN, HH, POV) Margie looks around room and door, TILT see money and pocket it. 6. MS (PAN) Margie walking to the door, she throws wallet in bin, her hand reaches for handle and door opens 7. CU (HA) Wallet lands in bin. Shoot from person outside door POV, so can cut back to this, shoot with door open and closed for different lighting. 8. CU (HA) Margie turns from bin to person opening door, shadow of door opening crosses her face, her shocked and guilty look as person realises she has thrown wallet in bin. 9. CU (LA) Person looking up from bin back to Margie, very angry.





• • • • •



STORYBOARDS • A storyboard consists of drawings representing each shot as outlined in the shotlist.

• Storyboards are used as a pre-visualisation tool and enables the Director to communicate their ideas to the entire crew. • You should do a storyboard to help you plan and prepare but they should not limit flexibility. • You don’t need to be Picasso! Line drawings are effective as they establish angles, framing, eye lines and so on.

A STORYBOARD Example:

A STORYBOARD Example:

DESIGNING COVERAGE •

Coverage refers to the variety of shots that cover the action in a scene.



Adequate coverage means you have planned enough shots such that the story will cut together (i.e. be able to be edited together into a coherent story).



As an example we could decide that we are going to cover all of the action in a given scene, two people talking at a table in a café, in 3 different size shots: 1. A wide shot WS showing the café, both characters and the whole scene if possible. 2. A mid shot MS (or two shot 2S), showing both characters in shot from the waist up, all action. 3. A close up CU of each character - so this is two separate shots of each character’s face. In total, that’s 4 camera setups: a WS, a MS and 2 x CUs.



To get maximum coverage we would do each camera setup and have the characters play out the scene from start to finish and, therefore, end up with 4 copies of the same scene with different framings and characters on camera for each version.



We would then have maximum choice when it comes to editing in choosing how to put the scene together. We would have any overlapping action that we need and be able to make choices that give the audience an impression of a flow of action as we cut between different sized shots.

KEY CONCEPTS IN DESIGNING COVERAGE • Overlapping Action. • Cutting on Action. • Matching on Action (Continuity of Action). • Master Shot or Top-and-tailing. • The Axis of Action / 180 degree rule / crossing the line.

Some additional tips: • As a guide it is a good idea to always have at least 2 shots covering the action at any given point. • When planning coverage of a scene you also need to think about what shot you will be cutting to next in order of a story. This is what a shotlist tells us. As a rule it is best NOT to cut from a WS to a WS. It feels like a jump, and does not flow very smoothly. A better cut would be from a WS to a MS. Once the camera is closer in, it is ok to cut from CU to CU. • The jump cut effect (abrupt jump when viewing) is avoided by changing the camera angle. Therefore, the rule is that when you change a shot size to cover the action in a scene you must move the camera at least 30 degrees and change the length of the lens.

MARKING UP THE SCRIPT • Is the process whereby you physically write your shots over the top of the words of the script. • This process ensures you have planned good coverage and overlapped action. • It’s important to see that shots overlap each other and that each significant piece of action is covered from multiple angles.

MARKED UP SCRIPT Example:

A CAMERA PLOT • Is an aerial map of your location, indicating the position of the camera for each shot. • This helps you maintain the axis of action and group similar shots together for effective scheduling. • Is a tool used to communicate to crew members relevant aspects of the shot

CAMERA PLOT Example:

Use the CAMERA to tell the STORY OBJECTIVE OR SUBJECTIVE CAMERA ??? • Is the camera curious, playful, omniscient, lyrical? Will we use extreme close-ups or stay distant from the characters? • AUDIENCES prefer to be in the hands of a strong, authoritative narrator rather than a weak, tentative one.

• The camera is as important as the dialogue.

The SCHEDULE •

You will rarely shoot in script order. Shoot in the order that is most EFFICIENT, taking into account the following factors:



EXTERIOR or INTERIOR: try and shoot your external shots FIRST. If it rains, you can shoot your interior shots while you wait.



ACTOR AVAILABILITY: Leave shots not requiring your actor until the end so that they are not standing around (i.e.. POV shots, door handles turning, etc.) Alternatively, shoot them first and allow the actor to arrive later. Respect your actor and the time they are giving.



CAMERA POSITION: Shoot all shots with the camera facing in a particular direction. Keep camera movement to a minimum, as this requires additional time to reset the tripod, adjust the spirit level, change lighting, etc.

A SCHEDULE Example:

Some SCHEDULING Tips: • Remember to have regular breaks at least every 4 hours or so and stop for meals. • Factor in time to set-up and pack-up, as well as travel time if you have two or more locations. • We usually film the WS also known as a MASTER or SAFETY first. This works as a great run through for everyone, establishing continuity and action for cast and crew. • You won’t get the shot right in the first take. A take is an attempt at recording the shot. Even if the first take is good, do another as a safety. Two takes per shot, minimum. • BE PREPARED!! Time is money so have a plan. • Be realistic as accidents and mistakes happen when you’re in a rush.

THE FLOW OF PRE-PRODUCTION PLANNING & DESIGN • • • • • • • •

STORY IDEA PROJECT BRIEF / SCRIPT SHOTLIST STORYBOARDS MARKED-UP SCRIPT CAMERA PLOT SCHEDULE SHOOT

TIPS FOR STUDENTS • Communication is key. • Have “back-up” plans for the important aspects of filming. Eg. locations, equipment, talent, etc. • Consider all risks and ALWAYS act in the interest of the safety for the cast, crew, the equipment & the public. • Preparation does not restrict creativity or inspiration on the day of shooting… it allows for it!

Safety • Students must take their obligation under the Work Place Health and Safety Act seriously • You can not place anyone at risk • You can not place yourself at risk • You can not place any equipment at risk

Safety • Students must take their obligation under the Work Place Health and Safety Act seriously

Safety • Students must take their obligation under the Work Place Health and Safety Act seriously

Safety • Students must take their obligation under the Work Place Health and Safety Act seriously Hazard Controls • Elimination • Substitution / Modification • Isolation • Engineering Controls • Administrative Controls • Personal Protection Equipment

Safety • Film and Television Project Risk Assessment Form • 1. CAST AND CREW SAFETY • A - Scheduling and logistics of proposed shoot from a risk management point of view. • Location • Transport • Manual Handling • Weather • Electricity • Meal Breaks • Security • B - Administration ……………

RISK ASSESSMENT Example:

RISK ASSESSMENT Example:

RISK ASSESSMENT Example:

PLOTTING the Actors’ Movement BLOCKING / STAGING • Why do the characters MOVE? • What do they DO as they speak? • Key elements to STAGING: • To drive the plot forward eg. JACK needs to get the knife from the drawer in this scene. • To make PHYSICAL what is INTERNAL. ie movement of a character to explore internal frustrations, anger, tension; to reveal character. • To indicate the NATURE of a relationship eg power relations - one standing, another sitting. • To REVEAL key information or orient the viewer eg discovery of key prop (gun, knife, . • To emphasise dialogue or create contradictions eg I’m quite calm as she shreds a lettuce.

DIRECTING the Actors on Set Above all the Director must understand the purpose of the scene. • Don’t say “Do it this way”. Avoid line reads. • Understand what is the objective of the actor at any particular point.

• Understand what the character wants and what is stopping them from getting it. • What does the character learn about themselves through the story? Does the hero become a “better” person by the end of the story? In what way?

The Slate

Used to identify each shot taken

The Slate

CALLS on Set • When shooting you need to establish a way to communicate on set. • It is crucial that you get into the habit of doing CALLS before and after each shot. • Proper CALLS make for an efficient, organized and professional shoot. The lines of COMMUNICATION need to be open so that your cast and crew know what’s going on. • Poor or non-existent calls will result in wasted footage, confused and frustrated actors and headaches in the editing suite.

An Example of CALLS on Set: FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Standby. Quiet on set. EVERYONE IS QUIET (even if it is a film without sound). FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Camera Ready? CAMERA OPERATOR: Ready. FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Roll Camera. CAMERA ASSISTANT: Calls slate. Shot # Take # CAMERA OPERATOR (hits record button): Rolling and Set/Speed. DIRECTOR: Action! When the scene is finished… DIRECTOR: Cut!

Shooting the Monster • Control the Monster! Do not let it control you. • Efficiency is vital if you are to have creative control. • The number of eye-lines determines the number of setups. • Coverage - have a plan but remain flexible.

• Don’t over-cover the scene! • Don’t use your preparation as a safety net.

• To shoot the master or not? • Clear and precise shot descriptions.

Remember your Audience And if all else fails:

remember your audience…. because if you remember your audience, your audience will remember you!

RECOMMENDED TEXTS “Producing Videos” (Third Edition) Martha Mollison Allen & Unwin

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