Archive for the ‘Tips!’ Category

One of the best ways to enhance the impact of your video images is through the creative use of
lighting. Lighting can have a tremendous impact on how the viewer perceives your video. Through
creative lighting you can establish a mood or the time of day, enhance the illusion of three
dimensionality, reveal or obscure visual information, and create an artificial reality.

Have you ever noticed that your movies sometimes appear to have image issues? The dark areas of your
shot look like there are digital blocks? This is called "artifacting". This can be caused by a variety
of things including compression of your movie file or a lighting ratio that your camera cannot process.
Do not think that your shot is lit correctly because everything looks fine with your eyes.
Always try to view what the camera is processing. You can do this by looking through the viewfinder or
hooking up a field monitor and watching a live feed of your shot. Alright then, let's figure out how to
light your shot correctly using whatever you can find. 

Seeing lighting: A valuable skill that is important to develop-the ability to SEE how light and shadows
fall on objects and people around us, and in the scenes that we shoot. You have to make a concerted
effort to look past everything else and concentrate on the subtleties of color, shadow, and highlights,
which are created through lighting.
You can also make an impact by "lighting with shadows". Lighting is not necessarily the art of adding
light to a scene. As Tom LeTourneau so aptly put it in his book, Lighting Techniques For Video  
Production, lighting is "the art of Casting Shadows".

There are four basic elements to lighting: direction, quality, lighting ratio, and control. 
 Direction-
The direction of light is specifically related to the height and angle of the lighting source.
Height refers to where the light source is placed above ground level. Is it above, below, or even with
the subject? Angle refers to the slope of the light's beam. Together, height and angle determine where
the highlights and shadows fall on your subject.

 Quality-
The quality of light relates to the hardness or softness of the light striking the subject.

 Lighting Ratio-
Lighting ratio refers to the difference in brightness from the lightest area of a subject to the
darkest. This brightness difference is described by a numerical ratio that defines how many times
brighter the brightest area is compared to the darkest area. For example, a 2:1 lighting ratio means
that the brightest area of lighting on the subject is twice as bright as the darkest. Depending on the
sensitivity of the camera, video can accommodate up to about an 8:1 lighting ratio before the shadow
areas loose all detail. The more commonly used lighting ratios for video are 2:1, 3:1, and 4:1.
 Control-
Control refers to the methods we use to shape and color the light emitted from our light sources.
Part of the beam of a light could be blocked in order to create a shadow in a specific area of the
subject. Frequent use of shadow placement can heighten the drama. Another method of controlling light
is to place translucent material in front of the light, which alters the light's beam or color.

*A little bonus -  
Make your own effective "light ring" for $10: HERE
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Over the past three years we have come across many videos guiding new film makers with step-by-step
lessons that allow them to create functional products on a tight budget. We’ve also noticed that
because of these tutorials, every filmmaker that follows them may look like a crazed plumber. 

The following is a list of video links and descriptions that we have found helpful. Hopefully you
can step up your productions to the next level using these products and techniques.

A $20 camera slider from Indy Mogul: HERE

A $42 Steadicam from Rgsauve: HERE *This is how you hold the Steadicam by Rgsauve.

A $9 Steadicam for Iphones from Cgrusden: HERE

This is just the beginning. We will seek out other great tutorials that have footage to show that the
products are worth your time. Currently there are thousands of videos out there. Sadly, it’s hard to
find easy products that have great video footage to back them up. 

Simply making a product like these will not allow you to make better movies. You must train with them.
Use them often and for different tasks. Learn what each product can benefit. Just because you have a
Steadicam doesn’t mean your whole project should be shot using it. Each product has it’s own strength,
find out what that is and add it to your movie. 

If you decide to make these products on your own, please BE CAREFUL.

-Happy filmmaking!
One of the main goals we have set for this project is to make sure everyone can take part, even those
without proper funding or equipment.

Lots of people set their sights on equipment and programs first. They believe that without the best
programs and equipment they cannot create anything that can compete with everyone else in the market.
This is not true. We know this is not true because we have created content of our own without ANY
equipment whatsoever and put on a television show. You heard us right. No equipment at all. Want to
know how we lit the shot? We flicked the light switch to the ON position. The majority of laptops and
computers now come with a web cam either built-in or attached externally. We literally carried around
an old MacBook and shot whatever it was that we wrote down on scraps of paper. We found an old digital
camera (not HD by a long shot) with no external lenses and used that as well. Those were our “fancy”
shots. This isn’t a grandparent story either. The year was 2009.

 We cannot allow budget restraints to deny everyone a chance at creating something that they care about.
To combat this we have come across a list of FREE ONLINE SOFTWARE. Yes. That last sentence used free,
online and software all together. We will throw a link up to the book we found it in once we get their
blessings.
Pay close attention because this is the first step you will take into joining our project/nation and
participating in a brand-new, exciting and large digital movement.
 *Please note that our production company has purchased all of our own programs and do not personally use 
these listed programs ourselves (Except Celtx. We love that program). We know they have been used on feature 
films and they seem legitimate. If you for any reason encounter any computer issues due to any of these 
programs the issue lies with you and the program creators themselves. *Wipes hands. Now let’s begin.
 
For every piece of mainstream software, there’s a free or open source application that works just as
well, if not better. 

For almost everything pre-production use: 

 -OpenOffice.org  - It’s like Microsoft Word.
 -http://www.celtx.com has a program called Celtx. It’s a full-featured preproduction suite that not
only properly formats script for film, TV, theatre, radio and everything else, but it also has built-in
scheduling and storyboarding tools. 

For almost everything post-production use:

-http://www.blender.org - A program called Blender is a full-featured 3D modeling software. It also
functions as a nonlinear editor. *It was used in SPIDERMAN 2!
-http://www.cinelerra.org – A program called Cinelerra will help you edit your stuff.
-http://www.cinepaint.org – A program called CinePaint allows you to retouch your movie frame by frame
without degrading the quality. *It was used in SPIDERMAN, HARRY POTTER and STUART LITTLE!
-http://www.ardour.org – All about audio here. You can lay down the music and sound for your flick with
this program called Ardour.
-http://audacity.sourceforge.net – another audio program called Audacity.
-http://majorsilence.com/devede – A program called DeVeDe that will burn your movie onto a DVD.
-http://www.gimp.org – A program called GIMP that you can create your movie’s cover art with.
-http://www.inkscape.org – a program called Inkscape that you can create cover art with.
There you go. Our first gift to you. Just look around online for these types of software incase any of
these programs don’t work on your specific platform. 

Do not let not having enough money for a specific application stand between you and 
producing your film. *Once again, we will post a link to the book that we found this information in
once we receive their blessings.

Happy film making!