Neszis' Top Ten Ways to Make Your Fanfilm Look Professional (for those on a budget)

Discussion in 'Fan Films, Fan Audio & SciFi 3D' started by Neszis, Aug 16, 2002.

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  1. jbird69 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2000
    star 4
    Flaming is not telling someone they are full of it. If you can't take that little piece of criticism, you will have a lot of trouble in life.

    Anyway, back to the topic. You both make very valid points. But lokmer is right. The basics need to be understood and mastered before you try steadicams, cranes, etc. Having been a part of three films and seven commercial shoot, I feel that I have mastered the basics enough to try steadicam in my next film. While it may be boring to have static shots, a lot of times, it's boring because of what is going on in those shots.

    There's my .02.
  2. Neszis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    Sounds like .03 to me, you LIAR! ;)

    Also, I agree with EagleI with the widescreen thing, as I didnt care for Kubrick's movies. In addition, the steadycam will add to professionalism as opposed to someone holding it, and will heavily held you making those more interesting sweeping 0or at least slightly moving shots rather than a tripod. Am I saying that a steadycam is the only way to go? No. Am I saying that using it sometimes will make your video more pro? Yes indeedely.

    ~Neszis~
  3. Neszis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    I think that this needs a bump, there seems to be a few "professional look" questions goin round.

    ~Neszis~
  4. spoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2001
    star 4
    You know, I'd have to disagree with some of what Lokmer said about steadycams.
    What he said about needing to learn composition and the other basics of visual storytelling is incredibly true - without it it's just poo on a screen.

    BUT, it seems like he's trying to say that steadycams are only used for crazy dizzying wondershots. In the film industry steadycams are being used more and more for ever shot. Even for shots where you don't notice that the camera is moving, alot of them are done with steadycams. Alot of pans and tilts are just easier to pull off with a steadycam. Heck, look at M. Night Shyaman (how the heck do you spell that name?)'s films. If you pay attention, you notice that almost every shot that's not static (and I have to say, he uses his static shots very well) looks like it was done on a steadycam, even the simple pans and tilts.
    So, steadycams can be VERY useful in your film, even if you don't plan on having sweeping grandios.



    Oh, and I have to agree with EagleI on the widescreen issue - the wider image gives the feel of incresed peripheral vision, and makes you feel like you're actually there, and it's happening to YOU. That makes it more personal feeling, at least to me.
  5. pahket Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    I'm watching A New Hope right now and will list the times when the camera actually moves (excluding the Battle of Yavin and all other miniature/FX shots)

    1. Dolly with 3PO and R2 aboard the Tantive IV (first live-action shot of the film)
    2. Dolly with Leia as she's led to Vader. ("Darth Vader. Only you could be so bold.")
    3. Dolly with Vader and Commander. ("Holding her is dangerous.")
    4. Handheld as R2 rolls down the rocky Jawa-infested path, shot from a crevice.
    5. Dolly alongside R2 as he rolls through the sandcrawler.
    6. Dolly with Luke through the Lars garage. ("It just isn't fair!")
    Then, practically 20 minutes later...
    7. Dolly through Ben's hovel as he goes to get Anakin's lightsaber.
    8. Dolly around Death Star conference table as Vader and Tarkin enter.
    9. Dolly around landspeeder as Luke jumps out in front of the Cantina.
    10. Short dolly/push-in on Luke as he and 3PO walk into Cantina.
    11. Handheld as Dr. Evazan draws his blaster, then again as he falls.
    12. Dolly towards 3PO and R2, waiting outside. ("I don't like the look of this.")
    13. Short dolly away from Tarkin and Vader. ("Her resistance to the mind probe in considerable.")
    14. Dolly in with scanning crew as they haul the scanners up the Falcon's landing ramp.
    15. Dolly with Gantry Officer as he approches the door to repair TK-421's helmet. Handheld for the actual shootout.
    16. Push-in towards 3PO and R2. ("He says 'I've found her' and keeps repeating 'She's here.'")
    17. Slow push-in on Luke, Han and Chewie as they wait for the elevator.
    And even both Cell-bay shooutout remain all tripod shots.
    18. Dolly around console as Han has the "How are you?" conversation.
    19. Dolly back with Troopers as they storm the Gantry Control Room (clunk!).
    20. Short up-angle dolly around tractor beam generator as Ben moves to the next station.
    21. Dolly with the heroes through abandoned corridor. (Look, Your Worship, let's just get one thing straight!")
    22. Dolly with Han and Chewie/Stormtroopers as they run through the corridors. ("Close the blast doors!")
    23. Dolly through hangar as the heroes arrive on a hoversled and talk to Dodonna.
    24. Dolly with Leia through Massassi War Room. ("Standby alert. Death Star approaching.")
    25. Dolly through Death Star Control Room. ("We've analyzed their attack, sir, and there is a danger.")
    26. Dolly through Massassi War Room with Dodonna. ("Red Leader, this is Base One.")
    27. Crane down with luke as he gets out of his X-Wing.
    28. Dolly with heroes as they walk through the throne room.

    The point is not that I have far too much spare time, or even that this information has no real value, but that moving camera shots were VERY judiciously used in the film. 28 shots out of a 2-hour film is not much at all, and yet the shots where the camera did indeed move didn't call attention to themselves. They were used purely artistically and aethetically, only where perspective changes were necessary. I think we all can learn some very valuable lessons by sitting down and analyzing films and seeing exactly what makes great movies great. So break out the popcorn, everyone, and watch closely!
  6. pahket Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    ::bump::

    Not only should my hard work go noticed :D , but this is a very important thread and should stay near the front in light of all the "How-Can-I-Make-My-Fanfilm-Look-Like-Film) threads being posted recently.
  7. spoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2001
    star 4
    Ok, you cited a very bad example;
    A New Hope was not a great film.
    It was also made 30-something years ago. Steadycams weren't around, or at least they weren't developed enough to be useful back then.
    Some movies have alot of moving camera work. Some movies have alot of still camera shots. Some movies have long, uncut, continuous shots, some movies cut back and forth for every reply in dialogue.
    Moving shots are good. Still shots are good. The point of the debate was that a film that has nothing but still shots looks bad. There needs to be at least some motion of the camera, or else everything looks to static. The viewer ends up nothing but on objective observer instead of a participator, or at least an active observer.
    So, moving shots are good. Please include them appropriately.

    I'm done.
  8. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    It was also made 30-something years ago

    26.

    M. Scott
  9. spoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2001
    star 4
    Ah, my argument must be invalid. I misapproximated by four years.

    The horror.




    [face_plain]
  10. pahket Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    Are you saying ANH is a bad film? I heartily disagree. I think it was shot the best way a story of such magnitude and grandeur (for the time) could be. I mean, those are pretty significant events that take place in ANH. It was filmed with a very formal style. It's filmed exactly as a "space opera" should be, and I'm gauled that you'd call a movie bad judging by the way it was shot.
  11. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    That's kind of like saying "I'm shocked that you would call a song bad because of the way it was recorded!" If you screw up the medium, you screw up the fundamental expression of the work.

    Not that I'm saying ANH was a bad movie (though it remains my least favorite out of the lot), just the logic of your dissent is flawed.

    Moving shots good!

    M. Scott
  12. pahket Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    You're right. I knew that came out wrong... :p I realize you weren't saying that ANH was a bad movie. I was stating my opinion that I thought ANH was very appropriately shot. My apologies if I came off as hasty. :) I offer my smileys as an offering of peace. And by the way, I'm in no way calling ANH a msterpiece of cinematography, but remember, few of us will ever create what could ever be called masterpieces. I say set your sights a little lower and learn as you go.
  13. spoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2001
    star 4
    "but remember, few of us will ever create what could ever be called masterpieces"

    Speak for yourself [face_mischief]
  14. Shadow_of_Evil Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2001
    star 6
    I personally found that when i played around with after effect with my footage wide screen always made it seam, well, more movie like...

    I had a 720x576 res Comp and just quickly added some black bars at the top an bottom and it did make a big deffernence in the overall look.... so filming in wide screen is my recommendation..

    PS: sorry about my spelling ;)
  15. -Sithcloak- Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 2002
    star 1
    Nice list, good tips, but story will always come first in making a film great.

    Sithcloak
  16. -Sithcloak- Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 2002
    star 1
    I just was searching the net on Wide Screen options and I ran into a adaptor. It looks pretty good, but it says that it strechs itself on a normal monitor. How can I avoid this, without editing the widescreen version into two versions, one with ADDED black bars, and the normal for wide screen monitors. I know that DVDs can handle this, if I made it in DVD format how would I pull that off?

    Sorry, just a lot of questions in my mind.

    Sithcloak
  17. Neszis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
  18. Shadow_of_Evil Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2001
    star 6
    this is a great thread.... Its threads like these wich i think are most helpfull.
    Cause i know i have always tried making my videos look more professional, and i'm using a MiniDV camera, so all the other suggestions realli help.
  19. Neszis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    Man, I get all these positive comments about the thread, then it sinks into page 2 oblivion....come ON! :D

    ~Neszis~
  20. darth_paul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    Those steadicam links are great. I've got my parts/mechanical people whipping one up to be all nice and ready for the GL-2 when it comes in. Thanks! There are some good ideas here!

    -Paul
  21. niennumb1 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2001
    star 4
    If it hasn't been mentioned in the tips for professional looking fanfilms on a budget...

    Learning the tools and knowing the craft will get you far no matter how terrible the equipment is. Story, your creativity and imagination is key.
  22. Neszis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    Im talking more about the superficial aspects that make it good in preparation, not like script or story. More like the actual video/audio part. Camera stuff, u know?

    Man I need to really start work on my FanFilmFX column stuff.

    ~Neszis~
  23. Neszis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    Let's rally. Post if you like this thread, like honking if you like donuts.

    ~Neszis~
  24. DarthArjuna Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 5
    *honk*

    I think hat makes a movie look the best is not its moving shots (or lack thereof) but it's compression. Come on, tell me how many times you've said, "Oh, I'd watch this movie fullscreen on my monitor but its compression is so bad I have to watch from a couple feet away"? Compressions and lighting are, I think, the biggest things for visual.
  25. Neszis Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    Thank you for that honk.

    (Any of these posts I make that aren't necessary are mostly just to bump the thread in a way so that I don't feel shamed to have posted it.)

    ~Neszis~
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