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English / Film Studies 221 (Dahlquist): Filming Tips and Info

Basic tips for filming a scene

Most importantly: BE SAFE!

Always pay attention to your surroundings, and do not film in unsafe locations, or attempt movements that could result in accidents or falls. Do not wear headphones when plugging-in, powering up, or unplugging equipment, or at any time when unexpectedly loud noises could be produced. Do not use electric cords in wet conditions, or allow them to create tripping hazards. Never walk across a cable or cord while acting or recording audio or video.

Here is some additional filming advice:

  • Have a concept for for your video. Have a concept or goal for your scene. Write down this concept or goal at the beginning of the process.
  • Distribute responsibilities clearly and equitably among group members (assigning roles, and determining who will edit the film, for example). Your group should meet as early in the semester and as often as possible; online meetings can be good for initial planning.
  • Create a shared folder for project materials.
  • Create a story-board, indicating key shots you will need to acquire. Here is a story-board template you could use for this. Consider camera angles and how your camera may move.
  • Create a script, indicating cuts and notes for blocking (character movement) that can be shared with your group members.
  • Record your scene several times, I would suggest recording a master shot as well as takes where the camera follows each of the speaking characters throughout the scene, capturing moments when that character is speaking, and also the reactions of that character when listening. These can then be edited together to create your scene.
  • Be sure that you capture clearly audible sound; either monitor your sound with headphones as you record, or periodically check it to make sure you are capturing good sound (try to eliminate any background noise). Consider using a "shotgun" directional mic, wired or wireless lavalier mics, or a mic on a boom pole to capture sound effectively.
  • When shooting your scene, record a couple minutes of "background" sound, with no one speaking; you can use this during the editing process, to avoid unnatural gaps of silence.
  • Leave plenty of time for editing, since it takes time to do this carefully.

Introductory Film-making Videos

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