Stages of Production (+Lenses)

initially with all the light coming in on the middle is in focus, as it goes up f2.2- f7.1, all is darker, but more in focus [ISO400/ Shutter 90]

My mentor and I went over Lenses, but it was also lightly covered in the workbook.
Wide-angle lenses (24-35) make things closer to the camera look larger and backgrounds seem further away. Smaller objects can appear larger, which is good if you are trying to put emphasis on a subject. They make you feel closer to the subject in terms of perspective.
Fish eye is less that 16mm and ultra wide is in between the two. Ultra wide gives a deep depth of field where everything is in focus, but they also bend the picture around the edges.
Telephoto mashes everything for a compressed together look. You see much less of the background and it will also look much closer. Very good for isolating a subject in the frame. Used often for commercials and close ups with a smaller depth of field. A 200mm lense can show a nostril in high detail.

Field of View is the amount of stuff you can see in the frame. With smaller MM lenses you have a larger field of view. Larger MM you can see less of the environment around a subject. 36-70 mm have a field of view similar to the human eye but 35 will be twice as wide and tall as 70. A telephoto lens is just about anything above 70mm.
Focal Length is the magnification of the lens expressed in millimeters. The greater the FL, the larger the object (100mm is twice as large as 50mm)
A shallow depth of field can have the foreground and background soft and out of focus, with only your subject in focus. Wider angle lenses increase your depth of field & telephoto reduces it. The larger your Iris is open, the less Depth of Field you will have. So a wide open 1.4, 1.8 or 2 f stop will cause less depth of field. If you HAVE to have a low F stop, add light or raise the ISO.

In the Film Connection workbook, I studied up on different stages of production. Development. Financing. Pre, production, marketing & distribution.
Development is identifying the idea, writing the script and refining it. Writers who mainly work on refinement are called Script Doctors.
{Loving these Aaron Sorkin classes, currently, he’s on character development and how you develop your character without writing a long list of character traits. I wrote a scene for that class that I am participating in to add into my screenplay for Film Connection, whenever I get that made. Aaron Sorkin is my hero. His writing is phenomenal. Looking into him, he has given these same tips before, in many an interview- damn near verbatim. I stayed up all night watching his interviews on screenwriting.  He claims long biographies are magical thinking. Just worry about Intention & Obstacle. These are characters, not real people. The properties of these 2 have very little to do with each other. Write a character who isn’t like you, which is something I am not doing currently.. but I will eventually. }

Financing is getting the money. Either through a studio or independently. Indy causes you to have to find distribution and relieve money like a start-up, raising capital.
(Producers get the script. Executive producers find the money and representing investors. Producers then lay out logistics. Producers have staff, line producers, Unit production manager & accountant. )

Pre. Shooting schedule and budget. A Script breakdown involving actors, locations, and props. Find everything you need(unless you’re smart and wrote around what you had).
[Werner Herzog on Location. You should put alot of work into locations. Great locations attribute tremendously to great films. Do not fake it, go and get the real thing. He says even today for Fitzcarraldo, he would move a real boat over a real mountain. The best advice came when discussing shooting with permits. Do the rogue thing when necessary but honor a shooting permit when you have one. But just do it and get away with the film. Bank robbers, just hit & run.]

“Pre Production usually involves Storyboarding. Mapping out the way you want scenes to look, so you will have an easier tie on the day of. It is a weapon in the director’s arsenal used to mimic camera angles and timing. A good visual reference can keep you from forgetting to grab a shot. There is always so much going on during production it would be easy to forget even the most obvious of shots.

You can put notes at the bottom to explain the drawings, arrows to denote movement and numbers for sequence. If you have multiple frames for the same shot, number and letter them. There are templates online and even programs that can help you make a more sensible picture if you are terrible at drawing all together. As I have mentioned previously, you can video story board on set with your actors or even a stand in. you don’t even have to use anything more than your phone camera, as long as it is a good portrayal of your shots. This works for people like me who could never fathom drawing it all out and trying to make my terrible drawings work.

If that is the case with you aswell, you could also have a script where you draw them important framing in the margin for just a tiny visual reminder when on set. My mentor met with me to tell me about his way. He puts brackets over the scene in the margine and overlaps them to represent the different coverage. Wide/Establishing/Master shots are close to the edge of the page with brackets from the beginning to the end. Close ups are close to the text as you can get without having to warp your brackets and medium is obviously in between. No matter which way you chose, you llikely also want to do a shot list for each scene, as I have mentioned before. This is a checklist for the forgetful that explains in text exactly what the director wants to see.

You can go overboard with your storyboards, setting the bar too high. What if you thought of a shot that unreachable via camera or unshootable via cameras? The answer, it’s not that big of a deal, but having a well planned out film is. Werner Herzog says screw storyboards, but you need to plan. I have stated in an earlier Blog I would never want to write down the steps of my screenplay on notecards.. But that was before I had a project that I got writers block on. Now I am considering it. My mentor says he lays out story beats, actions, relationships and lays them out in the order he would like them to go to get a good grip on how he wants the story to progress. You could also get this new notebook called the StoryClock Notebook. And once you have it and use it once you can repeat the process on your own as far as putting the story together in a sensible way. I know I ventured from shots and framing to story beats with that Segway, but it all had to do with the layout of your project. It all blends together, and it always will. Its not always one step to the next and onward because sometimes pre-pro leaks into production and you have to keep rolling.””

Herzog on Production:
Maintain formality. Skill base comes with experience. LET the experts guide you as you make decisions. Give them space to help build the architecture. You don’t need to direct every single detail. But not only listening but dealing with the unexpected. The craze of an actor or the relocation of a set.
Keep the crews small, as often as you can as it’s cheaper and moves faster. Christian Bale is correct, stay the fuck out of an actors eyeline.
No cellphones on set. Keep them 200 ft away. It’s detracting from the environment. & lastly Start shooting 90 minutes after call time.

Post. Piecing together your footage. Sound editing, adr and music score. Special effects. Then make sure it all fits.
[Bigger movies will have a postproduction supervisor who organizes the many positions.
But a movie is made when you write it, shoot it and edit it. So 3 people have the helm, throughout. Editing can be done on an Avid, Final Cut Pro. Premiere, Windows movie maker or iMovie. Even DaVinci Resolve. ]

Marketing/Distribution. Getting people to see your film, which for young filmmakers means to find a distributor. Marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought. Likely meaning getting PR on board as soon as possible. Keep good clips on you. Trailer and poster should be on point. Looking at the photo for the poster should tell you everything.
Email lists.
~C.R

More from the Film Connection Blog:

Day 1
A lil on Editing
Event Planning
Motivation in Writing
Camera Functions
Lil on Crew & Budget
Setting a Story In Motion (w/ Audio)
Genre & Conflict

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