In this article we’ll walk you through the three main stages of film-making. Whether you’re creating a 15-second TV commercial or a feature length Hollywood movie, the basic steps are always the same: pre-production, production, and post-production.
Before we pick up a camera, it’s important to know precisely the story we’re telling. For TV commercial, it’s important to learn about the client’s brand and business objectives. This will help to answer the following questions: Who is our audience? How should the film feel? Why are we making this film in the first place? We listen to the client and understand the “personality” of their business in order to replicate it through sound and motion pictures. At this stage it’s also important to set goals and a timeline for completion to help everyone stay on track.
Once everyone understands the “end-goal,” you’re ready to develop some initial concepts. Establish the type of video needed (company video, brand video, explainer video, testimonial, etc.) and build from the foundations upwards. This part is the most fun…. allow yourself to get creative, brainstorm, generate story-lines and shot lists, as well as establish a “look” including colors and aesthetics. This part of the process often includes a ‘storyboard,’ which is a sequence of drawings, typically with some directions and dialogue, representing the shots planned for the film.
A location recce refers to a pre-filming visit to a location to determine the suitability for shooting, including access to necessary facilities and assessment of any potential lighting or sound issues. This ensures that everything runs smoothly on the day of. If it’s an indoor or studio location, the facility will require booking. It’s important to check the availability of all parties involved in the shoot before setting the date.
If the film involves people on camera for the story line audio, capturing this will be the first step. Cameras, lights and audio equipment are set-up for filming. Being filmed can be nerve-racking, so it’s important to make the talent as comfortable as possible during this part of the process!
At BENCO Productions our production team team typically comprises 2-5 people.
- The director is the leading creative artist on a movie set. The director works with the actors on their performances and has final creative control on almost every aspect of the the film. The director plays a large role in casting, script revisions, shot composing, and even editing.
- Director of Photography (DP) / Camera Operator
- The director of photography (D.P.) is in charge of the overall visual look of the film, as seen through the camera. They recommend which cameras and lenses to use for the production. They design the shot’s framing, and the camera movements in conjunction with the director. The camera operator physically controls and operates the camera during filming.
- Assistant Camera (AC)
- The 1st AC is the chief assistant to the camera operator. The 1st assistant camera person is in charge of measuring and pulling focus during filming. The 1st AC also threads the film through the camera when a new magazine is loaded. This person also helps setup and build the camera, as well as maintain and clean the camera and lenses.
- Boom Operator
- This person is responsible for properly positioning the microphone boom pole during the actual filming.
- Gaffer / Lighting
- The gaffer is also known as the chief lighting technician. This person is primarily responsible for developing a lighting plan according to the desires of the Director of Photography.
The term “B-roll” comes from the world of film where editors used to use an “A” and a “B” roll of identical footage, before the digital age changed everything. It is alternative footage inter-cut with the main shot. B-roll shots are similar to cutaways in that they help break up the static interview shots. It can make telling your story much easier and compelling with added footage. As a general rule, B-Roll can include animation, graphical elements, photographs and extra footage.
This is where the real magic happens! It allows the project to come to life. Everyone has a slightly different workflow when it comes to editing. However, most video editors start by placing their main footage and audio on the timeline and adding transition and visual effects later on. Editing takes time, and good editors are extremely detailed in making sure the music, voice over, and visuals all work cohesively.
Color Correction & Audio
Modern cameras create images that are very flat (low saturation, contrast, and sharpness), which provides an image that can be heavily manipulated without degrading the quality. First, color-correction color gives the raw footage some contrast to brings it back to life. After the Reds, Greens and Blues (RGB) are balanced it’s onto the color-grade. Color grading is the process of creating a “look and feel” with color. Color correction and grading can be done in Adobe Premiere Pro Lumeti Scopes, featuring vectorscopes, histograms and waveforms that help to accurately evaluate and color-correct video footage. It’s impossible to do using just the naked eye.
Intro / Outro & Motion Graphics
Motion graphics can set your video apart in a big way. Adding text, graphics, and other elements that are animated adds high production value to your final video, which will draw your viewers into the experience. Take a look at the final cut below and notice the cuts, animations, transitions and changes in audio.
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