Production – Film It!

Film Day!

Costumes, Props and Make up!

If your characters are part of an elite task force, what kind of costumes would they wear? A tuxedo? Swat Gear? A clown costume? Who is your villain and what do they wear? You’ll want your costumes to make sense for the character and to add to the story. Would you give a chef a shotgun to stir his soup? Would you want your mad scientist wearing a suit of jingle bells?

Unless your story requires those elements, keep their costumes from becoming too distracting to the story and for the actors themselves. If in doubt, make sure your actor is comfortable wearing or holding an object. You may need to adjust your script if this is the case so keep that in mind.

Think about colors in your film too as some colors represent various feelings and moods. Try not to have costumes with excessive lines as they may turn out funky in the video which can be distracting to an audience.

Almost Ready to Roll.

Film Blocking diagram – Credit: No Film School

We have our Storyboards. We have our actors. We are ready to Roll. (Roll is a term used to start the film reel recording in-camera) However; before starting anything, take pictures of the location before you move furniture, set up lights, or mount the camera to the tripod. This way when we are finished you can set the space back to its original state.

Now, on to the shoot. We find out what shot we want to shoot first. Our storyboard is a great way to find out which shots to group together so we don’t have to move from one location to the next.

Let’s say our film starts out in the garage and the conversation moves to the kitchen. But, little johnny is still in the garage and he spilled the can of paint and it’s beginning to leak everywhere so he frantically tries to clean it up. So he runs out of the garage and asks for his brother for help who is standing in the kitchen. It would be too hard and a lot of time to move the camera from the garage, then to the kitchen, back to the garage and back to the kitchen and back to the garage as they clean up the mess. So, it’s best to shoot all the parts inside the garage. THEN, move our setup to the kitchen.

Once our scene is set, we must figure out where our actors will go as they deliver their lines. This is called, Blocking. Sometimes you can run an entire scene just by creating some clever blocking. Please check out this film for some amazing blocking.

Photo from NoFilmSchool


When you are ready to start filming, make sure it is the very best possible shot. Is it in focus? Is anything in the background that is distracting? Is the light illuminating your actors or is the light too bright? Does your camera move and if so, is it a small transition?

Check out this video on Framing by D4Darius

Video by D4Darius

Moving the camera excessively is a style of filmmaking called shaky-cam footage, but know when to dial it back. We don’t want our views to be sick from a camera that can’t be still. Make sure our equipment is not in the shot. Do you see a mic boom pole? Is there a production stand or light in your scene? Just take a hot second to look at behind your actors. Do you see the crew in reflections, shadows from the crew, onlookers from neighbors across the street?

Otherwise, you may have to pay someone to remove the object digitally in post-production when the mistake could have been avoided in the first place.

Ready to Roll

This is it. All this hard work and you are ready to finally hit record on the camera. You have your storyboard as a shot list, your actors are ready to deliver their lines and the location is locked down free from distractions or interruptions.

BTS – “Little Brother”

Sometimes our first shot of the project should be an easy one with little dialog. This way our actors feel comfortable as well as our crew. So when they are ready to perform that Oscar quality performance, they are ready to go. Just don’t leave the most intense scene for the end of the shoot day.

Robert Rodriquez – Photo Credit: NoFilmSchool

Also, make sure you have your most important shots completed first from the list. You could always come back to shoot B-Roll later or on another day if possible. B-Roll is the extra footage that doesn’t require the focus of our main actors. Just be ready to adjust the script accordingly if you forgot something so it’s always best to plan the entire day before shooting.

Be sure to make sure the shooting set is quiet from any kind of outside noise or distractions such as TVs, Video games, barking dogs, conversations in the next room. Even a refrigerator can be very loud and can ruin good audio recorded from our actors. If it’s outside, make sure no planes are passing overhead and could be heard. Simply wait a minute for it to pass and continue filming. Waiting 1 minute can save hours of work in Post Production and Sound Editing/Mixing.

After the last shot is done, double, triple and quadruple check your storyboards. Did you film all the locations? Was the dialog either spoke and acted on scene? Do you need insert or extra B-Roll Footage? It’s always best to get as much footage as you can for cutaways.

Are you sure that’s it? OK, Call it. Scream out loud…

That’s a Wrap!

All the shots are finished, the actors have wrapped and it’s time to give yourself a good pat on the back. Be sure to thank all of those who were involved with the filming process and it’s now time to download all your footage to the computer. (or mobile device)

Be sure to return any and all equipment in the SAME shape you got it. Clean up any mess and replace the furniture if you moved any for a scene. The location should look the exact same as it did before you started filming. Refer to the pictures you took earlier to make sure it is returned properly.

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