camera How to shoot a film about a filmmaker

Hey guys, i'm a little confused. I'm making a film about a guy making a documentary and i need to better understand the use of the camera when shooting the film i am making and the film the protagonist is making. My thoughts are that in order to distinguish for the audience between the two films they should have distinctive styles thats fine, one style for the film being made and another style for the film im making about the film being made. But what are some cool ways to achieve this visually without confusing the audience? One cam (the film i'm making) could be shot entirely handheld, with the film the protagonist is making more high production perhaps. Any input appreciated : )
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Yeah youre confused - I got confused too when I first read that lol.

I thought someone was making an actual documentary - and then you were going to document that process. Very Meta.
Now I understand ----- you have a script with a movie character, and that fictional character is making a documentary in your movie.

I think the easiest way would be to put a little date/time stamp in the bottom if the movie character's camera.. or some kind of overlay with a RECORD button in the upper right. Something like that. You wouldn't be constrained to handheld only, etc which is a lot more subtle and not immediately clear in the first few seconds what camera the audience is seeing through
 
Thanks yes my writing style is a little all over the place : ) nice idea with an overlay, but you reminded me that the protagonist is actually often talking to his camera man also, this is done to allow audience to see another side to the protagonists character. The cameras i will be using he will not be aware of as far as i have considered so far at least. Initially i wanted to make it in the style of Fubar but maybe that's not possible.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
You have your movie and the characters documentary. I dont understand where these 3rd cameras fit into that when the character is talking to his cameraman. is that part of his doc or your movie ?
 
Its his camera but my doc, sounds confusing i know. I think its better not to think about the physical camera but the actual mode of communication. In the film there will be protagonist on camera PTC style for his investigatory film, then there is protagonist seen on same camera only outtake style while he is unaware he is being recorded or thinks it will be cut in the edit. Then there is all the interviews with his subjects. But then there are other aspects of the story that are seen through my movie. For example in scene 11 when the protagonist spots the target of his investigation film from 100M, we also hear his target on the phone to his mother.
 
Hey guys, i'm a little confused. I'm making a film about a guy making a documentary and i need to better understand the use of the camera when shooting the film i am making and the film the protagonist is making. My thoughts are that in order to distinguish for the audience between the two films they should have distinctive styles thats fine, one style for the film being made and another style for the film im making about the film being made. But what are some cool ways to achieve this visually without confusing the audience? One cam (the film i'm making) could be shot entirely handheld, with the film the protagonist is making more high production perhaps. Any input appreciated : )

So you are looking for some cool visual style? There could be reality tv style videoselfie with comments and bts how he shoots them
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
It took me a while to grasp this but I think I get it now.
You are NOT making a film about a real film (doc) being made. This would be called a documentary or a behind the scenes.
The "film in the film" (which is a doc) is part of your film only. This is 100% narrative and part of your story. And you are asking about distinct styles. Correct?
 
It took me a while to grasp this but I think I get it now.
You are NOT making a film about a real film (doc) being made. This would be called a documentary or a behind the scenes.
The "film in the film" (which is a doc) is part of your film only. This is 100% narrative and part of your story. And you are asking about distinct styles. Correct?
Yes, the style helps the audience tell when its the protagonists film being made, or us observing him making it. Problem i have is that i wanted to try to tell the enitre story through the protagonists camera, like a found footage film i guess, but there are certain scenes that require another perspective in order to convey important narrative to the viewer. This wont look right if it only happens i one scene though right?
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
The observer can't be using the same camera. I'm contused as well. Why would the the camera be the same? That's like saying 2 men rob and bank and record it (your protagonist)... and the bank camera also records it (your observer) but both cameras are..... the same????? Confused.
 
The observer can't be using the same camera. I'm contused as well. Why would the the camera be the same? That's like saying 2 men rob and bank and record it (your protagonist)... and the bank camera also records it (your observer) but both cameras are..... the same????? Confused.
That's a good example actually! The questions would be how does the bank camera footage get included in the film in a way that makes sense to the audience when telling the story, when all the other footage has come from the protagonists camera? There are only a handfull of shots in the movie from this second camera perspective but they currently dont make sense as the audience may ask themselves who is filming these shots right ? Options are to figure out another way to convey these shots using the protagonists camera but the info conveyed in these shots; the protagonist is not privy too so its kinda tricky how to do it.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Wait I'm still confused.

Ok so you are making a film about a guy making a doc. Let's call him "Acting Director." The guy playing the director in your film. Let's call the person he is making the doc about "Subject." Okay now who is not supposed to know the camera is there? Acting Director, or Subject? This is so meta! I'm not sure if you are saying the subject of the fake doc is not supposed to know, or the director of the fake film is not supposed to know you are making your film? Ugh please clarify lol!
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
That's a good example actually! The questions would be how does the bank camera footage get included in the film in a way that makes sense to the audience when telling the story, when all the other footage has come from the protagonists camera? There are only a handfull of shots in the movie from this second camera perspective but they currently dont make sense as the audience may ask themselves who is filming these shots right ? Options are to figure out another way to convey these shots using the protagonists camera but the info conveyed in these shots; the protagonist is not privy too so its kinda tricky how to do it.

Watch the movie Chronicle and you will see this play out
 
Wait I'm still confused.

Ok so you are making a film about a guy making a doc. Let's call him "Acting Director." The guy playing the director in your film. Let's call the person he is making the doc about "Subject." Okay now who is not supposed to know the camera is there? Acting Director, or Subject? This is so meta! I'm not sure if you are saying the subject of the fake doc is not supposed to know, or the director of the fake film is not supposed to know you are making your film? Ugh please clarify lol!

Yeah its quite a challenge : ) but "Acting Director." and "Subject." know the camera is there until this one scene where we need an over the shoulder shot of "Subject." so we can listen in to a phone call. I m thinking we will just have to cut what is said in the phone call and just infer by showing "Subject." on the phone, it's the most simple way to do it.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
The idea of the film you're making being handheld while the protagonist's movie
being of “standard” production value would be easiest.

My first feature was about a filmmaker – write what you know, right? - and what
I did was shoot the film on super 8 color and have the protagonist shoot his film
in 16mm black and white. That way it was instantly clear.

Since your movie is about a guy making a documentary you should reverse it – the
guy (protagonist) is using handheld and you (the film I'm making) use a more standard
style. To distinguish the two the protagonist's footage could be shot standard definition.
Or just the fact that it's hand held would do it.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Yeah its quite a challenge : ) but "Acting Director." and "Subject." know the camera is there until this one scene where we need an over the shoulder shot of "Subject." so we can listen in to a phone call. I m thinking we will just have to cut what is said in the phone call and just infer by showing "Subject." on the phone, it's the most simple way to do it.

Two mockumentaries, lol. One is being made about the guy making one. You could do some interviews and show them in the same camera style as one of the docs. So for example, the camera that is filming the "Acting Director," the guy could go get sneak interviews from his cast and crew. This footage could match the footage chronicling him. This would be different from the footage the "Acting Director" is getting from his camera.

Another trick is nature-style narration. The whisper of the cameraman narrating what is happening but not in a loud voice to startle the animals. "And here we see the cheetah in her natural habitat." But about the director. (Whispering) "This guy is such a sleaze look how he hangs on these women." You know, it also helps the fact he is not being seen.
 
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