Monday, September 12, 2005

Starting on Backyard filmmaking


Producing a film or a record once took rooms of expensive equipment and armies of technicians. Getting the finished product to the public required billions of dollars in infrastructure--theaters, stores, radio and TV stations. Now you can make a movie or an album at home, cheaply. I know--I've done both. As for distribution? Just hit Enter.


Video is a great medium of art to learn.

I've done it, too. My wife and I made a little "How to Bake Bread at High Altitude" video. We did it in about 8 hours. That said it wasn't all that easy and it needed more time and skill then we really had.

But you children have quite a bit more time. Movie making can be a really good skill to have. A simple How-To video can make a big difference for lots of people.

There are several skills to learn actually and you would want to focus on them separately. How to videos are really great to start with, they only have to last half an hour and can be very easy to make.

The first thing to do is get familiar with the equipment. What you are filming is of secondary importance, s stick with something easy and short, like how to tie a shoelace. This is harder then it looks, but this is for practice. It isn't tying the shoe that is important it is things like framing the shot so you get the detail you want, getting the lighting right and capturing the right sounds. You are trying to figure out how to use the lights, camera and editing equipment to tell a story.

Telling the story is the important part. A story has three basic parts:
The Beginning: Introducing who and where the story is about.
The Middle: The problem to overcome.
The End: Solving the problem.
Okay that is extremely simple but that is all you need for now.

The first one will be terrible, that's okay, like everything: practice makes perfect. You will need to do this until you are reasonably happy with the result. Then you can do something more challenging.

The next level to to have a few actors, for example a short scene from Hamlet. The focus here is on the sound, capturing their voices (or learning to do voice-overs) and directing people to do something particular.

With time and persistent effort your children can gain the skills to do any video job. Start small, focus on just one aspect and learn how to do it right and then learn another skill.

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