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April 16, 2010 / nicotvandenberg

3 Tips On How To Boost Your Production Value

There is no way around it! We are in what has been referred to as a “Youtube,” generation. What does that mean exactly though? The way I have interpreted this coining of a generation is that film and video has become so accessible to the masses. Everyone from a child to their grandmother has a video camera, and now with Youtube growing a mile a minute there is no stopping this media train. Anyone can create an account on a video hosting website, but how do you separate your work from everyone else’s work? So here are 3 tips that i suggest you consider on your next production to give it that edge.

1: Moving Your Frame

I have seen a number of student and independent works that may look beautiful but if they had decided to utilize a dolly or jib arm they could brought their frame to life. The camera is another character in the film so bring it to life. This doesn’t mean you have to choreograph major tracking movements or jibbing, but consider slow movements in our out of your scene or tracking past a subject to reveal something new, the sky is the limit. A whole new door of creativity can be opened when using a dolly. Keeping in mind the student or independent budget, here are two recommendations for affordable solutions, Eazy Dolly System and the Swift Dolly System. I personally own the “Swift Dolly System,” and use it on practically every shoot I am on.

2: Shot Composition & Staging

A film’s creative vision is often changing but before you move on to actual production, make sure the Director and Director of Photography have their ducks in a row. Often times when their is a lack of pre-production both the Director and DP will stumble to build a shot list on the spot. Shot composition is everything! It determines the look of the film, how the audience will interpret what is in frame. So it is crucial that the shots are planned and that you are not just shooting just to be shooting. In my personal opinion I feel that student and indie filmmakers do not utilize the “Close Up,” enough. A wide shot is extremely hard to make visually stimulating unless you has a beautiful city scape or rich nature. So the tighter the framing you use the more intimate the experience an audience member will have.

Going along with using a more intimate frame, using “Medium” and “Close Up,” shots, is staging. What I mean when i refer to staging is you using your “Mise en Scéne” elements within the frame to help tell the story. Don’t just set up your camera in you friends living room because it is the only place to shoot. Take time to scout locations and if you are stuck with “that” room, dress the set to better portray the look and feel of your film.

3: Don’t Settle For Less

Put down your “Handy-Cams” and “DV Camera,” we’ve gone HD now. If this project is something you are taking seriously, pouring your time and effort in to you want shoot in the latest format that will do it justice. All the major video hosting platforms now are supporting full HD resolution videos, with the SD video slowly fading in to the background. So it is important that you stay up to date to draw attention to your project. Today in the “indie” market the cameras that is creating all the buzz are the HD -DSLR’s. So if in the budget try to accommodate the HD platform.

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