Students with Camera

 

Introduction

Movies are one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world. The movie industry has many talented people making billion dollar movies every year. This includes directors like Spielberg and Lucas and producers like Bruckheimer. Millions of people come to se the movies that these illustrious men and women make. These people did not start out making million dollar movies they started my making films when they were students. Spielberg "began making movies at the age of 12, and by the time he had finished college he had at least eight amateur works to his credit"; Lucas's "career began with his prize-winning student film THX-1138 (1965) (Microsoft(r) Encarta(r) Encyclopedia 2000). The people who are out there making movies started to make them somewhere.

The motivation behind this paper is the filming of a student film during the summer of 2001. After the film was complete there was comparisons that wanted to be made to other student films around the country. Research showed up little to nothing. There are web sites devoted to the student film but nothing of the importance of them. Believing that making a movie is important while a person is in school it is important to show what goes on in the classroom of a student production.

The purpose of this paper is to share the experience of the pre-production, production and post-production for the ten-minute film Krytzia. By presenting this topic it will show that the same amount of effort that goes in to the million dollar movies goes in to the making of any film that a student makes.

Pre-Production

Pre-production is the planning stage for any film. For the movie Krytzia the first step was the writing of the script. With out the script there would not have been a movie. The script contains the story to be told. A script has a structure to it that is important to follow. The script must be easy to read, follow and understand. A good script has a theme, good mechanics, plot, people, and premise. The premise is the foundation of the script this is where the plot takes place and the people live. It is like the setting of the movie. The plot of the movie is what transpires in the locale that the story is set. The mechanics of the script is the way the script itself is written. There is a proper screenplay format that is necessary to follow when writing the script. The proper format includes:

TITLE PAGE

* The Title of Your Script: All caps

* The Author's Name

* The Author's Address

* The Author's Telephone Number

FONT

There are a few rules that can't be broken - one is the proper Font - 12 Point Courier. This can't be broken. Again, use 12 Point Courier. Every word, every line, must be written in 12 Point Courier.

SLUGLINE

A Slugline looks something like this: INT. SCREENSTYLE OFFICE - DAY This Slugline answers three important questions. 1. Where are we? 2. What time is it? 3. Are we inside or outside? In most cases, you can use DAY or NIGHT but there are times when you might want to use DUSK, EVENING, MORNING, etc.

ACTION LINES

Action Lines are immediately written after Sluglines. They set the scene for what is about to happen. Action Lines explain in visual terms what happens in the scene.

CHARACTER

A Character is first introduced in an Action Line. Upon first introduction, the Character's Name is capitalized. Throughout the script, refer to the Character with the same name so as not to confuse the reader. Immediately after the Character Name comes the Dialogue.

DIALOGUE

Dialogue is what the character speaks. Sharp and well-written dialogue between characters is often what interests us - a boring lengthy monologue doesn't work.

CAPITALIZATION

1. Sluglines must always be capitalized

2. Character names should be fully capitalized when they first appear. After the characters are introduced, their name no longer needs to be capitalized.

3. Character Names when written before Dialogue need to be capitalized throughout the entire script.

4. Sounds are often capitalized throughout descriptive or action lines to bring emphasis to these sounds. This element can be distracting if used too much.

VOICE OVER

Simply writing (VO) immediately to the right of the Character Name formats a Voice Over

DIALOGUE DIRECTIONS or PARENTHESES

There are times when a writer wants to show how a character speaks. This should be done very rarely for two reasons. An actor or a director does not want the writer to tell them how to speak the lines. More importantly, if the dialogue is written well, it won't be necessary to show how the line is spoken. Nonetheless, if it's critical to your script you describe the dialogue in parentheses immediately under the Character Name.

CAMERA DIRECTIONS

Try not to use camera directions such as CLOSE-UP or THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN. Rather than CLOSE-UP write that Jack arches his eyebrows or Jane purses her lips.

SPACING AND MARGINS

1. The left side of your script should have about 1 1/2" of margin. The right side of the script should have 1/2" to 1" of margin. The top and bottom margins of your script should be 1".

2. The left side of your script should have about 1 1/2" of margin. The right side of the script should have 1/2" to 1" of margin. The top and bottom margins of your script should be 1".

3. Sluglines and Action (Descriptive) Headings are spaced 1 1/2" from the left side of the page. Dialogue should be spaced 2 1/2" from the left margin. That's 1" from the Slugline or Scene Heading margin. Character's name should be 3.7" from the left margin. Parenthetical or Dialogue Directions should be 3.1" from the left margin.

PAUSE or BEAT

Using the term BEAT indicates a pause in a character's dialogue. There are times when you want to show that the character waits a bit before speaking.

FLASHBACKS

There doesn't seem to be one common way to write a Flashback. Perhaps the easiest way is to indicate a shift in time via the Slugline or Scene Heading. INT. JEFF'S FAMILY HOME - EVENING - FLASHBACK Then when it's time to leave the flashback: INT. JEFF'S OFFICE - DAY - PRESENT DAY1

After learning how to write the proper script for the movie Krytzia a script was chosen to produce. The next step was to make storyboards. Storyboards draw out the entire movie shot by shot. This gives the director of what the angles of the camera are and what type of shot it is. This help to frame what is in the shot weather it is a close-up of the face of a character or the long shot of a mountain. The storyboard looks like a cartoon with what is going on in the shot written underneath. The purpose of the scoreboard is to communicate the shooting strategy to the individuals making the movie. 2 Storyboard form end of days

During the making of Krytzia after the storyboards were put together the class was ready to shoot the movie. On a major production there is a little more planing and consideration for the way the film will be shot before actually going into production.

Production

The first and most important piece of equipment that was introduced in to the making of Krytzia was the camera. The camera that was used was an Arriflex 16mm movie camera. The Arriflex was a sync camera, which enables the sound to be recorded at the same time as the film is being shot. It also has a magazine, which the film is loaded into. The camera is an older model but there is little choice now that America has moved into the digital age. Some of the cameras that are used are 16mm but there is also 8mm and most professionals use 35mm. There are many types of cameras to use when filming a movie. Director of Photography Michael Hofstein in an article in Movie Maker Magazine said, "What it comes down to is that I will use the best camera for the job, although I prefer Arriflex and Panavision. For 16mm it's always the latest Arri SRIII. The camera itself is compact, easy to use, easy to set up and maneuver. The viewing system is film crewbright, so you can see clearly. It works in all conditions, whether you're in a desert or a jungle. I also prefer to use Zeiss high-speed lenses, because to me there's nothing better. For a non-sync camera, and even though they stopped making them in the '70s, it's the Arri SB for me. It's still a wonderful camera. It's great for shooting high-speed.3" In the filming of Krytzia a Bolex camera was also used to film the parts of the film that intended to be slow motion. The Bolex has variable speed and when the frames per second was speed up the film when it was played back appeared to be in slow motion.

Lights

In order to properly expose the film there must be enough or not too much light it must be at the correct balance. The purpose of the lights is to give the scene more light than what is present at the time of shooting. The lights for Krytzia were mainly used for the indoor scenes. It was very important to use the sunlight when it was available. The sun seemed to expose the film the best. There were times that the film was overexposed as well because of the sun as well. The light meter measures the light that the camera sees it was important to measure the light before shooting to make sure it didn't change during set up especially when working with natural light sources.

Some of the lights used to light a scene are Incandescent lamps, which range from a few watts to 10,000 watts in power. Arc lamps are stronger and cast a wider and more direct beam of light. They are used to illuminate a large area or when the scene demands extremely bright light. However, there may be times that the light must be diffused in order to shoot a scene.

Crew

The crews for Krytzia was changed daily in order to give the students a different perspective on movie making every day. The crews on major motion pictures are more involved than that of a student film. Some students film the movie themselves and occasionally have help from their friends. The crew positions for Krytzia were camera, slate, sound, lights, script and director.

The slate was the mark of the scene, take and roll number. The slate helps to mark a sound on the recording so that the sound can be synchronized with the film after it is back. Who ever was the director for the day made the decision on how the film was to be shot that day. They had the say of how the action tool place in the scenes that they were shooting. There were usually two people on sound one to hold the boom and one to run the nagra. The nagra is the sound recorder that can be synchronized with the camera the same time it is rolling. Cameraperson was able to actually shoot the scene for the day. They had to frame the shots in the camera and communicate with the director the limitations of the position of the camera. film crew working

Having this experience enabled the crew to try different things in the making of the film. With motion picture filming the crew does only one job. "Many other people take part in movie production. Foley artists help create background or peripheral noises, such as footsteps. A gaffer supervises electrical work and is assisted by the best boy. The key grip supervises the grips, who set up and adjust production equipment on the set. The production sound mixer supervises the sound recording during a shoot, and the sound mixer puts together all the sound for the final track by adjusting volume, fading noises in and out, and creating any other necessary audio effects. Depending on a movie's genre and budget, it can require many other professionals, including assistants, carpenters, drivers, etiquette coaches, historical consultants, housing coordinators, medics, and so on." 4

Editing

Postproduction should be a magical time where your project is transformed from a mere concept to a finished product. All the creative options available, from visual effects, sound, music, titles, opticals, and even film stocks can seem overwhelming."5 The editing for Krytzia was done in the second half of the class. When the film is developed at the lab and comes back, the sound that is transferred form the nagra stock to the sound stock, need to be synchronic. This is done by matching up the picture of the slate coming together with the sound of the sticks coming together. Once that is done the sound and the picture can be played together to see what was actually shot.

editing a film on computerAfter the completion of the synchronization the film is ready to be cut. The film is cut with a straight splice and sound is cut at a diagonal. The first thing that needs to come out is any flash frames and extra footage that is not part of the actual film. Then the movie can take shape. The movie is cut to create interest and to tell the story the way that the director wanted it. The editor of a film could save or destroy what was shot.

Sound Mix

The mixing of the sound in postproduction is to add additional sounds or to replace sounds that were recorded on the set that may not sound right. The sound is also balanced to give the level of sound the same through out the movie. Krytzia had some additional sound that needed to be added. For instance there was music playing on the radio. The scenes were shot with no sound during production. It was all added after the movie was complete. The sound of a movie is good when it is not noticed it is just taken for granted.

Last Steps

The last steps in creating a movie are needed before the film is ready for distribution. After the editing and the sound mix are done the film must be conformed which is taking the work print and making the original print just like the work print. This involves cutting the film in the same sequence as the work print by following the numbers and the marks on the print. After this is done the film goes to the lab and another print is made to determine if the film turned out the way it was supposed to be. Then the film can be made in to a final print if everything looks good.

Conclusion

The production of a film is long and envelops a lot of different people. The project of making Krytzia took the whole summer and that was only for a ten-minute film. For a major motion picture to take months to shoot is not unusual. Films are usually worked on for longer than 8 hours a day. The student films that are being produced are not worked on that long. Most of the student films that I found were shot on video. I feel that that is a place to start but a true filmmaker will use film stock and edit it like it has been done in the past to really get a feel of how films come together. We are moving into the digital age and more things are being done with computers including the editing and mixing of sound. This is technology that will take over movie making for years to come.

Starting out making a movie in school will not guarantee that someone will be the next George Lucas or the next Steven Spielberg but it may give someone the experience to get a job with them. I feel that more student films should be shown to students to give them an idea of how other students are making films compared to them. The students need to support each other to make the best film they possibly can. Somewhere there maybe a student that will make the most phenomenal movie ever made.

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Works Cited

Clayton, Justin. An Independent Camera View for the Independent Moviemaker http://www.moviemaker.com/issues/29/cameras/29_cameras.html

Mamer, Bruce. Film Production Technique. Wadsworth United States 2000

Motion Picture," Microsoft(r) Encarta(r) Encyclopedia 2000. (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Screenwriting tips. http://screenwriting.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dsiegel.com%2Ffilm%2Fanatomy.html

Spohr, Susan J. Post Prefect: In 10 Easy Steps http://www.moviemaker.com/issues/36/postperfect/36_postperfect.html

1 Source. http://ad.about.com/adi/about.com/arts_screenwriting;svc=;site=screenwriting;kw=;chan=arts;syn=about;pos=vmslot1;sz=120x600;ord=10.2579537357458856

2 Mamer, Bruce. Film Production Technique p48

3 An Independent Camera View for the Independent Moviemaker by Justin Clayton http://www.moviemaker.com/issues/29/cameras/29_cameras.html

4"Motion Picture," Microsoft(r) Encarta(r) Encyclopedia 2000. (c) 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

5 Post Prefect: In 10 Easy Steps By Susan J. Spohr http://www.moviemaker.com/issues/36/postperfect/36_postperfect.html