Friday, 28 November 2008

Filming for effect

As my various Year 12 Media Studies groups get stuck into planning the opening two minutes of a film that they must plan, shoot and edit, it seemed an opportune moment to reflect on what makes for a powerful cinematic viewing, when time is tight, money non-existent and resources more limited that one might like.

Quite often, the simplest ideas are the ones that bear the greatest fruit. That means thinking carefully about mise-en-scene - lighting, location, costume, framing and so on - and how to maximise what strengths are available. 

I was reminded of this as I read about a film by the first time director Lance Hammer, who's spent several years self-funding, writing, directing and then editing his feature length debut, Ballast.

Although Hammer shot on 35mm film, he did so using hand held cameras, and then edited the movie over two years using a Mac, Final Cut Pro, Color, and DVD Studio Pro. We have all of the hardware and software in school that Lance himself used. So, from that point of view, taking on board how he made the film, and the lessons that he learnt, are relevant.

First though, here's a link to the trailer for Ballast:

There's a great article about how Hammer did it on the Apple website.

You can read it here.

There are many stories and examples of people bucking the Hollywood system and following their own dream. The example of how Ballast got made is the latest in a long line of guerrilla film makers, such as Robert Rodriguez.

His seminal book, Rebel without a Crew, became a must-have guide about how to transform the obstacles of film making into advantages. It's worth a read.

Anyway, all being well, I'll have some work in progress to review and show early in the new year. For now, it's planning, planning, and more planning still, to ensure the ideas that are brought to life are the best ones possible.


C.K said...

Do you think the first 2 minutes need to be exciting or do you think they need set a base on whats to come. For example the new James Bond has the first 5 minutes dominated by the beautiful Aston getting destroyed. Is that what people want or do you just think that is what everybody expects from the same old JB films?

hellograce'smedia said...

Ah can watch it in class please. it look amazing. Its good that nothing has been given away either. As far too many films do that. the best bits are in the trailer and then you spend your good money and time watching it and you may as well have just spent 3 minutes watching the trailer..
But this looks good. so can we watch it please?!