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link TAKE 2021 - A filmmaking project for the year

Hi everyone - I'm new here so I hope this thread is all above board!

I've just started a new filmmaking project I'm calling TAKE 2021. Basically I used to be really into filmmaking but after burning myself out on a creative project I ended up putting things to one side for close to 6 years. I've dabbled with writing scripts and even came close to producing a couple of shorts a few years back but I've been in a real creative drought for a long time.

So to kickstart things and take control of 2021 I decided to start from scratch and re-teach myself the basics by making a micro short film, between 2-5 minutes long, every month throughout 2021. I just published January's micro short on my YouTube channel yesterday, and I'm pretty pleased with the result - it's a cooking video where I was trying to focus on basic framing of the shots and relearning how to edit in Premiere. It's far from perfect but it's done and I'm going to take the lessons I learned from this process into February's short!

I'd love it if you could check out my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXvgq1OmjMBdZU6zkyiiPXQ - I'll be posting on here a lot more throughout this year-long project!
 
Well, you definitely made me hungry!

(My brother-in-law is a chef - just tip the garlic and crush it with the flat of the knife; the skin will peel right off.)

Doing some experiments are a great way to get back into the swing of things. Your trying new things while shooting is a good idea. Reminds me a little of the "Try Guys" my daughter loved so much, although they are very much on the comedic end of things.

A short-short a month is pretty ambitious, but your approach of just learning and not making it "great" makes it seem do-able. You might want to check out the various One Minute Film competitions; seems to be right up your alley.

Post them as you make them in a thread and ask for comments about specific issues - framing, lighting, sound, etc.

I'm on a similar journey You can check out the thread here:


Keep plugging away and don't forget that it's supposed to be fun!

Peace,

Uncle Bob
 

CamBlamo

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Nice challenge! I can't watch the video now unfortunately, but I'll post here just so I can find the thread easier when I do get home.

I think a lot of us our trying to challenge ourselves this year. It's nice to see people so fired up and doing things. I'll be sure to sub to your channel so I can follow along on your journey.
 

CamBlamo

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I think it's a really cool challenge to do! And you get to choose what type of film you make right? I would like to join, but I'm super busy with my other projects. Hopefully I can join in sometime after March or so.
 
Nice challenge! I can't watch the video now

I think a lot of us our trying to challenge ourselves this year. It's nice to see people so fired up and doing things. I'll be sure to sub to your channel so I can follow along on your journey.

It's not a video. It started out as notes for a screenplay and "got out of hand." I'm writing a novel, which is quite a novel idea to me.

I can't believe I just wrote that.

I'm documenting my adventures on the -217 thread. A lot of it is me thinking out loud as I work things out in a craft that is completely foreign to me. I thought it might be fun for others who wanted follow the journey, just as you hope we'll watch your vids.

As far as challenging ourselves; I think that we creatives are getting a little "Covid crazy" with all the lock downs. We're looking for outlets.

--------

I just thought One Minute shorts could give you some ideas and inspiration about short format. I know I got some neat sound ideas there; the format is so focused.

Peace!
 
Nice challenge! I can't watch the video now unfortunately, but I'll post here just so I can find the thread easier when I do get home.

I think a lot of us our trying to challenge ourselves this year. It's nice to see people so fired up and doing things. I'll be sure to sub to your channel so I can follow along on your journey.
Thanks! Yeah, I had a year of treading water last year, wanting to do something creative but struggling to figure out what it was I wanted to do. Hopefully this challenge will get the creative juices flowing and help spark ideas for other things along the way.
 
Well, you definitely made me hungry!

(My brother-in-law is a chef - just tip the garlic and crush it with the flat of the knife; the skin will peel right off.)

Doing some experiments are a great way to get back into the swing of things. Your trying new things while shooting is a good idea. Reminds me a little of the "Try Guys" my daughter loved so much, although they are very much on the comedic end of things.

A short-short a month is pretty ambitious, but your approach of just learning and not making it "great" makes it seem do-able. You might want to check out the various One Minute Film competitions; seems to be right up your alley.

Post them as you make them in a thread and ask for comments about specific issues - framing, lighting, sound, etc.

I'm on a similar journey You can check out the thread here:


Keep plugging away and don't forget that it's supposed to be fun!

Peace,

Uncle Bob
Yeah, I'm a big proponent of both 'learning while doing', and 'done is better than perfect' (for this type of project, anyway). I'll definitely check out some One Minute Film competitions, thanks for the tip!

I'll also check out your novel progress - although I couldn't find the original post with chapter one? I'll take a look through the posts on your profile and try to start from the beginning!

*EDIT - I found your first draft!
 
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I think it's a really cool challenge to do! And you get to choose what type of film you make right? I would like to join, but I'm super busy with my other projects. Hopefully I can join in sometime after March or so.
We'd love to have you! Yes, one person issues a challenge, the other gets to interpret that how they see fit. So he challenged me to using candles. I did cheat a little and used some other lighting for weather effects, but the essence is there (as well as a few shots of just using candles). Use the challenge to spur creativity! Let me know when you're able to join us :)
 
Just posted a behind the scenes video for my January short last night, briefly running through some of the inspiration and challenges behind the first part of this project. Hopefully it's interesting or useful to someone!


EDIT: Forgot to say when I originally posted, I'm interested in people's feedback on this video. Normally for stuff like this I would tend to go with something quite scripted, but I had a concern that I tend to come across as a bit rigid when I script things out. So I just wrote down some notes and freestyled it for this video - I think I need to work on making my commentary flow a little better.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to improve this kind of thing? If you have any favourite interview/behind the scenes videos that I could take inspiration from then please post them here!
 
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Two months into 2021, two micro shorts made and uploaded! Last night I published 'Work In Progress' to my YouTube channel:


This month I wanted to focus on using film to craft a narrative, and tried to run through a very basic and condensed version of the 'Save the Cat' beat sheet to tell a story about trying to write a short film. How well I succeeded, I'm not too sure, but I was mostly pleased with how the writing montage came together in this one.

I think I need to take it back to some basic technical stuff in March and focus on lighting and sound, to try and get much better shots and much cleaner audio. But it's all progress, right?
 
I think I need to take it back to some basic technical stuff in March and focus on lighting and sound, to try and get much better shots and much cleaner audio.

One is inclined to agree! :yes: Only catching up with this thread now - great concept, if somewhat self-flagellating! - and it's obvious from your own comments that you can see the flaws in the final cut(s) so not much value in labouring the point. In the January video, the erratic lighting was the aspect that struck me most; in February's, it was the soundtrack.

One small detail that appears in both, which I'd file under the "directions to actor" category is the slightly peculiarly unnatural, slowish-motion way in which you place props into the field of view (most of the setting up in the cooking video, @ 0:54 in Feb). For this exercise, it's not a major concern, but perhaps something to add to your lesson list at a later stage?

Normally for stuff like this I would tend to go with something quite scripted, but I had a concern that I tend to come across as a bit rigid when I script things out.
There's scripting, reading from a script, and being perceived to be reading from a script. As you've raised the question, I'd say that it fits (loosely) into the same category that I mentioned above. But are the BTS videos also meant to be a learning experience, or simply a director's commentary? FWIW, I've done a bit of debating and public-speaking, and (if audience feedback can be trusted) always been the most convincing when I've been reciting a memorised script, one that I've taken the time to study and practise, phrase-by-phrase, until I can deliver it as "spontaneous" performance.
 
One is inclined to agree! :yes: Only catching up with this thread now - great concept, if somewhat self-flagellating! - and it's obvious from your own comments that you can see the flaws in the final cut(s) so not much value in labouring the point. In the January video, the erratic lighting was the aspect that struck me most; in February's, it was the soundtrack.

One small detail that appears in both, which I'd file under the "directions to actor" category is the slightly peculiarly unnatural, slowish-motion way in which you place props into the field of view (most of the setting up in the cooking video, @ 0:54 in Feb). For this exercise, it's not a major concern, but perhaps something to add to your lesson list at a later stage?


There's scripting, reading from a script, and being perceived to be reading from a script. As you've raised the question, I'd say that it fits (loosely) into the same category that I mentioned above. But are the BTS videos also meant to be a learning experience, or simply a director's commentary? FWIW, I've done a bit of debating and public-speaking, and (if audience feedback can be trusted) always been the most convincing when I've been reciting a memorised script, one that I've taken the time to study and practise, phrase-by-phrase, until I can deliver it as "spontaneous" performance.
Thanks for the feedback! I think the slow pace of moving props into the field of view was a reaction (or possible slight overreaction) to previous work I've done where I've not given shots enough breathing space and ended up with very choppy edits, but I take your point that it's a bit laboured in these two videos and I'll definitely try and work on it in future.

The BTS videos are meant to be a bit of a combination of a learning experience and a director's commentary - essentially explaining the concept and process of each short and trying to articulate what I have learned from each experience. I think for the next one I'm going to try what you've suggested and script it but put a bit more practice into it to make the delivery sound more natural.

I definitely appreciate your comments, and I've got a decent concept for March's video which is taking things right back to basics and looking at lighting.
 
I think for the next one I'm going to try what you've suggested and script it but put a bit more practice into it to make the delivery sound more natural.

Something else that niggles at me when watching many, many "speaks to camera" pieces on YouTube, and what seems now to be a typical blogger style, is a succession of pointless cuts during the dialogue. Well, I imagine they're not entirely pointless - rather the deliberate editing out of fluffed lines and miscellaneous other "imperfections" in the shoot. What irritates me about these cuts, though, is that they're visually amateurish - no B-roll insert, no change of camera angle, nothing but an obvious jump over deleted footage with the subject in a slightly different position to where they were one frame beforehand.

This, I think, is where a scripted delivery helps lay the groundwork for a more professional shoot, and it's not hard to do. My son (not a natural public speaker) wanted me to make an unboxing video of him opening some stuff. It was really easy to script out a series of relatively short paragraphs for him to use as the basis for his "live" commentary, and on the back of that, to shoot additional footage to cut in at strategic points. Sure, having tangible props makes it easier to justify a different camera angle, but even in a "stream of consciousness" there are opportunities for seamless transitions from one shot to the next - and that in itself would be a good exercise! ;)
 
Something else that niggles at me when watching many, many "speaks to camera" pieces on YouTube, and what seems now to be a typical blogger style, is a succession of pointless cuts during the dialogue. Well, I imagine they're not entirely pointless - rather the deliberate editing out of fluffed lines and miscellaneous other "imperfections" in the shoot. What irritates me about these cuts, though, is that they're visually amateurish - no B-roll insert, no change of camera angle, nothing but an obvious jump over deleted footage with the subject in a slightly different position to where they were one frame beforehand.

This, I think, is where a scripted delivery helps lay the groundwork for a more professional shoot, and it's not hard to do. My son (not a natural public speaker) wanted me to make an unboxing video of him opening some stuff. It was really easy to script out a series of relatively short paragraphs for him to use as the basis for his "live" commentary, and on the back of that, to shoot additional footage to cut in at strategic points. Sure, having tangible props makes it easier to justify a different camera angle, but even in a "stream of consciousness" there are opportunities for seamless transitions from one shot to the next - and that in itself would be a good exercise! ;)
That's definitely a good point, and it's made me realise that I need to plan out my BTS videos as much as the shorts themselves, to make sure I have that additional footage to keep things visually interesting. I've been watching a lot of Film Riot videos to get a feel for how to make them a lot more professional, so I've definitely got some things to try out in my next one!
 
New behind the scenes video - I took some pointers from this thread and scripted things out, used an autocue (very new experience for me and needs a bit of practice!) and tried to utilise plenty of b-roll and other footage to keep things visually interesting. It's far from perfect, but I think it's a marked improvement on my last behind the scenes video, so I'm feeling a lot more confident about my progress.

 
Another month, another micro short! For this one I took a cue from this post on reddit and experimented with using light to evoke different emotions from a single static shot of my girlfriend's teddy bear. As I was pulling the footage together in the edit I came up with the idea of putting the shots together into an 'audition reel' and added some V/O to bring it all together.


I'm definitely happier with how this one turned out than the last couple, even though it's not perfect. I realised once I'd pulled the footage into Premiere that I hadn't been adjusting the aperture and ISO when I was adjusting the lighting so some of the darker shots have come out a little grainy, so that's definitely something to work on. I also recorded the audio in a bit of a rush so there is some clipping even after I tried cleaning it up in Audition.

Considering that last point, I think April's short might focus on audio as that has definitely been a shortcoming of these shorts, and I'm very aware of the fact that bad audio is far more difficult to ignore than bad video.

Still learning loads with each short and feeling a lot more positive this month!
 
New behind the scenes video ... It's far from perfect, but I think it's a marked improvement on my last behind the scenes video, so I'm feeling a lot more confident about my progress.

Definitely a big improvement on the January one! :thumbsup: Still a few jump-cut-to-same-place jerkiness in the direct-to-camera pieces, but I'm assuming that's part of what you said about getting used to the autocue, and the B-roll insert shots made it much more interesting to watch.

Being a teeny bit pedantic, aren't these more "director's commentary" videos rather than "behind the scenes" ...?

In any case, on to March :

I took a cue from this post on reddit and experimented with using light to evoke different emotions from a single static shot of my girlfriend's teddy bear.

I'm definitely happier with how this one turned out than the last couple, even though it's not perfect.

:scared: Hmmmm ...

It's your project, so if you're happier, that's the main thing! I'd have one (not so teeny) pedantic bone to pick with you on this: you're using colour, not light, to manipulate the scene. Big difference. Yes, there are a few shots where you've moved the light, but nothing subtle, and none where you've moved the camera.

I think both exercises (light and colour) are worthy of a chapter in this challenge, but I don't feel that this short addresses either of them sufficiently, especially in the context of videography. As an exercise in lighting, while I think it's fine to use a static subject, I would say the scene should be larger to include/demonstrate the relevance of additional light sources, and be shot in monochrome to remove the influence of colour. (I believe this would be more along the lines of the concept described in the reddit thread.)

Regarding the use of colour, again, I would say that a proper set is needed to make this a real exercise, as in something that you have to work up a sweat over! The whole palette matters in a scene, not just the colour of the light falling on a subject's face, and especially if you're not moving the camera. To see this taken to extremes, treat yourself to a Hallmark movie or three - you'll notice that thousands of details are colour-matched to the season in question, to create an unmistakeable, over-the-top, Hallmark Card style. Other movies are more subtle about it, but it's there all the same.

Well ... I hope I haven't rained too heavily on your (Easter?) parade. :tear: As a gesture of solidarity, I'll leave you with a photo of my bear and long-time travelling companion (which was, as it happens, also an exercise in colour coordination) :


Party-Bears04.jpg
 
Definitely a big improvement on the January one! :thumbsup: Still a few jump-cut-to-same-place jerkiness in the direct-to-camera pieces, but I'm assuming that's part of what you said about getting used to the autocue, and the B-roll insert shots made it much more interesting to watch.

Being a teeny bit pedantic, aren't these more "director's commentary" videos rather than "behind the scenes" ...?

Thanks! Yeah, I struggled a little with the autocue and didn't have appropriate B-roll to paper over the cracks in a couple of places but I'm happy with a gradual improvement, definitely more to work on in my next video.

I'd argue that 'director's commentary' implies a running commentary on the film as it is playing from beginning to end, rather than a breakdown of how the film was made. Admittedly I don't go too much into the technical 'making of' stuff so I do take your point, but I still think that 'behind the scenes' fits the format more so than 'director's commentary'.

It's your project, so if you're happier, that's the main thing! I'd have one (not so teeny) pedantic bone to pick with you on this: you're using colour, not light, to manipulate the scene. Big difference. Yes, there are a few shots where you've moved the light, but nothing subtle, and none where you've moved the camera.

Again, I do take your point and constructive criticism is always appreciated, but my goal in this short was learning through practice some of the ways to change how a shot looks/feels using light (and yes, colour, which admittedly did play more of a role here than I'd initially intended) in very broad strokes. It's very much intended to be a 'step one' in a larger process of understanding and learning how to effectively light a scene and not just a shot, which is where the additional set dressing, light position and shaping will come in.

I guess I probably should have been clearer about my intent with this short, but your feedback is definitely appreciated nonetheless. I'm going to start thinking of ways to practice everything that you've mentioned in your post - current thoughts are to look at some shots/scenes that I like and try to replicate the lighting as best I can. I may even limit myself to black and white shots to really force myself to focus purely on the lighting.

Love the shot of your bear!
 
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