Teens Know Web 2.0: iHCPL for Teens is a self-paced discovery learning program designed to help teens make the most of free Web 2.0 technologies, such as photo editing sites, productivity tools, online videos, social networking and sites for sharing music.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Three P's of Video Production

By now, you have decided what type of video you would like to produce. In this module, we will explore the three P's of video and film production:
Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production.

Pre-Production: Lights, Camera....
In this stage, you will get everything ready to begin filming. Here is a checklist of all the things you need to think about before you start your first day of shooting (in no particular order):
1. Location! Location! Location! Where are you going to shoot this film masterpiece? The first rule of location scouting is make sure there are no surprises in store for you when you start filming. If you are using your own home, then you don't have to worry about anything other than getting your parent's permission. If you are using your friend's house, make sure your get their parent's permission. Some people may not feel comfortable having their house featured in a video. As far as public places go, you must get permission to film on public or private property. In public places such as the library, there may be certain rules you have to follow in order to film there such as not filming patrons without their consent. Always get permission to film anywhere. In some places, you may even have to apply for a permit to film there. One of the best sources of information on this issue and many more is the Texas Film Commission.
2. Releases. Everyone who is appearing on camera should sign a legal release form. Since most of your cast members will be under the age of consent (18), there parents must sign for them. Sample copies of an actor's release form can be found in several film books including The Complete Film Production Handbook by Eve Light Honthaner.
3. Script. Even silent movies need scripts. The script tells the story of your film and builds the foundation for your production. For more information on screenwriting, check out these books at your library.
4. Storyboards. Once you have the story down in words, you need to figure out how to tell the story in visuals. That's where the storyboard comes in to play. Storyboards can be as simple as stick figures or as complicated and artistic as the ones in the video below:

5. Costumes, Props, Sets, and Makeup. Make a list of the items you will need for your movie. If you need any special makeup, check local theatrical supply and costume shops. Hit the local thrift stores for costums and props. After you have gathered everything together, make a checklist of everything and organize it by character. You don't want to have to scramble for something the day of shooting. Also pack a bag of emergency supplies to bring with you to the set such as sewing thread, sewing needles, bandages, duct tape, masking tape, etc.
6. Scheduling. Most films are not shot in sequence. Unless you plan on using one location, you will have to break up your shooting schedule into scenes by location. For example, shoot everything that takes place in the living room and then move on the all the scenes shot outside by the pool. Also make a realistic estimate about how long it will take you to shoot a scene. One formula you can use is one minute of screentime is equal to one hour of shooting. Sometimes it will take more especially if you are working with special effects, animals or small children. Filming outside can take more time due to noises such as airplanes, cars or your neighbor's activity (you never know when someone might decide to mow their lawn).
7. Rehearsal. Give your actors a chance to read the script and ask you questions. They might have some valuable input that will save you time in the long run.
8. Lights! Lighting can make or break a video. Entire courses are taught in lighting for stage and film but here is a quick tutorial.
9. Camera! Make sure you have plenty of videotape, film, DVDs, or media cards. Also charge your batteries the night before shooting. If you have a backup battery, pack it and bring it with you.

Now you are ready to film! Your checklists have been checked off, your actor's have memorized their lines, and you have all your storyboards ready. Here are some things you can do to keep everything running smoothly:
1. Have a contingency plan. If you are filming outdoors and it starts raining, what are you going to do?
2. Watch your playback. If you think something might be wrong with the scene (i.e. bad lighting, garbled audio, etc.), watch the video playback before you move on to the next scene. Better yet, do more than one take of the each scene if time allows. That will give you a few choices when it comes to editing.
3. Continuity. Don't make these mistakes:

Use a digital camera or an instant camera to keep track of wardrobe, prop placement and set dressings.

Post-Production: Putting It Together
All you have to do now is edit, dub, and upload your video. Use the programs mentioned in the first post to edit your film. During this process, you can also add titles, subtitles, special effects and music. Check with the video sharing site of your choice before you get ready to upload your video to double check the formats they accept. Most sites accept .avi, .mov, .wmv, and .mpg files. If you are unsure, check with the site's help center.

Discovery Exercises
Create your own film and post it to a video sharing site. Let us know about it!

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