View Full Version : Share the knowledge.
12-15-2004, 08:41 AM
I will be going to a cg school next year. (just fascinating) anyway I would like to know how to improve my story telling skills in film. More for a demo real than anything. I would like to be able to create something fresh and professional as well (as do we all).
Does anyone know any tricks of the trade? Special secrets about the field from the industry. How does one learn about cinematography? Are there any significant theories worth studying?
are there any websites that show how to properly juxtapose scenes in a professional manner. I know these are miserably non-specific but I'm afraid I dont know much about the subject. if you can elaborate on anything, that would be swell.
C'mon get the forum going.
12-15-2004, 10:50 AM
How does one learn about cinematography? Are there any significant theories worth studying? There are plenty of books on the subject which are definately worth a look. From a digital filmmaking point of view Digital Cinematography and Directing (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0735712581/qid=1103107408/sr=8-1/ref=pd_ka_1/002-7768343-6048043?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)is a good starting point.
Probably the best way of learning about modern film styles is to watch lots of movies. Pick a favourite director and break down their style shot-by-shot. Why did they make those decisions?
The quickest way to learn practically, is probably to grab a video camera and a couple of friends and make a short film.
12-15-2004, 02:13 PM
I'm in first year filmschool, we're learning general filmmaking now at school. Here are the relevant books that are required reading for us:
-Hitchcock by François Truffaut, also available in an english version
-The Art Of Dramatic Writing byEgri Lajos, Touchstone books and Simon&Schuster Trade
-Lessons In Directing(not sure of the exact name, translated, sorry) by Sergej Eisenstein
I also recommend actually watching hundreds of movies a year, See how other people bend the rules. A year ago or so I watched a movie a day literally(I kept track) and it has helped me a great deal beside the fact that some movies become infinitely boring and predictable.
And if your a cg'er, you would be well served to study the fine details of camerawork/photography. The two areas of cg and photographics are somewhat similar, but one has allready established a working environment and the other is desperately mimicking. Build on the shoulders of giants and you will reach heights unimaginable! But experimentation is required to bring cg into it's own, a lot of people are doing extraordinary things with cg, but these, in general, don't seem to lend themselves for major budget films, except teletubbie cr*p that's shuffed down our throat on a daily bases.
I'm a firm believer that one should use the computer for bringing to life creatures that don't exist, and driving a psychotropic reality further than any other art has. That's what I'm saying with bending the rules, nature is our reference at all times but our experience of her is very limited. Anybody could accept that fairys really exist, but they don't. In line with Fantasia's remarkable achievment, I think it's time for CG animation to undertake a similar jump tot tomorrow. Good Luck my foolhearty friends, you will have to learn more than several fields to be good at yours.
(ps: a filmmaker that turned cg I think, proof of my theory in general. Cg has mimicked and must slowly find it's way, but it remains at the core a mimickry of real life. You can only bend the rules of nature not break them: studio aka (http://www.studioaka.co.uk/):scream:
12-15-2004, 04:36 PM
I completely agree with you jmBoekestein. theres certainly alot of junk out there that is designed to attract the stereotypical teenager, which usually contains cool graphics and neat action but the narrative means nothing. The plot is usually boring and all they are looking for is a cheap thrill and easy money. Its like spam!! But thats ok I guess since we are the masters of filtering through spam and these miserable movies give us jobs. its all good.
Thanks for the help. Its nice to get a feeling for what film schools are teaching. I never thought eisenstein would still be so influencial. Thanks a bunch
12-15-2004, 07:01 PM
Nice to hear that!
If you're wanting to learn more about the history of film you might want to check out "A History Of Narrative Film" by David A. Cook. It's very contemporary, my teacher in film history class gave us this for reference and study. It covers just about everything that ever happened in film.(ISBN 0-393-97868-0).
PS:I must admit, though, that some mindless movies actually appeal to me, incl. the new Chronicles Of Riddick movie. I wouldn't have minded to make effects for that movie, however simplistic it was setup. Gasp.
12-15-2004, 07:48 PM
Probably the best way of learning about modern film styles is to watch lots of movies. Pick a favourite director and break down their style shot-by-shot. Why did they make those decisions? i agree... a steady diet of the classics is a great way to start, too.
Kurosawa would be my first suggestion, especially any of the Criterion releases - watch them a few times straight through, then watch again with the audio commentaries.
12-15-2004, 08:05 PM
Watching a lot of movies, as has already been said, studying art in general, reading classic novels and writing down your ideas and interesting observations!
12-17-2004, 02:25 PM
Very important to do also, as indeed mentioned before, is writing down everything! I mean literally everything. Buy a creditcard size notebook which can endure whatever weather you have to endure, and jot down anything. Including mini thumbnails, pictures are always better for a visual story teller(unless he can't draw that is, then he'll get jealous.)
12-17-2004, 11:45 PM
Very important to do also, as indeed mentioned before, is writing down everything! I mean literally everything. Buy a creditcard size notebook which can endure whatever weather you have to endure, and jot down anything. Including mini thumbnails, pictures are always better for a visual story teller(unless he can't draw that is, then he'll get jealous.) Actually for a while I've been working with the opposite philosophy. I'd have so many different ideas that it was hard to separate good from bad. To solve the problem I don't write anything down - I'll continue thinking about the project for several days/weeks and I figure the ideas/story points/shots that I actually remember are the best ones. The ones that stick.
(I'm not saying this is the right way to go for everyone - but works for me :))
12-18-2004, 08:48 AM
I was at a 5 day seminar with ex pixar animater Kyle Balda and Ex Disney Isaac Kerlow.
They realy drilled in that animatoin is story telling.
The main books they recomended were Robert McKee's Story and Joseph Campbell Hereos Journey.
When getting better at story telling for short films really try to get to grips with the main concepts.
Dramatic pauses, character arcs, relvealing story line, hiding story elements.
12-18-2004, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by Tibes
Probably the best way of learning about modern film styles is to watch lots of movies. Pick a favourite director and break down their style shot-by-shot. I find it very helpful to watch a movie with the sound off. It allows me to concentrate on the purely visual stuff. (Obviously, this is for second screenings... I heartily recommend watching any movie for the first time with the sound on. :D)
In the same manner, if I wish to study the audio properties of a particlular clip I'll just shut my eyes and listen to the 'flow'.
With smaller "pure" animation clips I've found that watching them in slow motion (or even frame by frame) offers a great deal of information the viewer never sees with the conscious mind.
12-18-2004, 11:44 PM
I find it very helpful to watch a movie with the sound off. It allows me to concentrate on the purely visual stuff.
Yeah that's a really good tip, Viridian! I often forget to do it, but when you do it really does help you focus.
12-20-2004, 10:37 PM
The best way I learned cinematography was to go out and buy a cheap screwmount 35 still camera and just start taking pictures. The more manual the camera the better, but make sure it at least has an internal spot meter. A lot of poeple might argue with me and say digital is fine, but remember that movies were shot on film for a long time, so the vocabulary rests in the way celluloid percieves the image. Lens flares, scratches, tinting and flashing...you get the gist...
12-23-2004, 08:34 AM
thankyou everyone for the extremely helpful tips
12-29-2004, 11:57 PM
I completely agree with you jmBoekestein. theres certainly alot of junk out there that is designed to attract the stereotypical teenager, which usually contains cool graphics and neat action but the narrative means nothing. The plot is usually boring and all they are looking for is a cheap thrill and easy money.
Stereotyped, teenage pop...popular cutulure.....etc video still follows the same steps in cinematography and directing in order to convey a clear message. A movie with bad plot can still have the good cinematography. A good product is made up of many element. I've learned alot of valuable information from pop video you see on MTV...sometimes with muted sounds, and alot of movie that i'd rather not see.
12-30-2004, 01:17 AM
Here's another: Arijon, Grammar of the Film Language.
Mamer & Wallace: Digital Editing. Written for Final Cut Pro 4 but let's be honest, "Bruce Mamer is a film guy." He learned editing with celluloid and a razor blade. I mean that as a compliment.
Don't overlook the director's commentaries that appear as an extended feature on most DVDs. You can watch any scene over and over. LOTR-1 (Extended) has a very good feature on editing... they show you the sixteen-odd takes they have of the council meeting in which Frodo accepts being the ringbearer.
Above all, shoot film. Video, that is. Take a scene, any scene at all, and find ten different ways to record it. Ten different angles; ten different lighting styles. Take the video clip and chop the first half off and stick it on the end and watch it just to see what happens. The Nike Principle: "Just Do It." Steven Spielberg learned filmmaking with a super-8 camera in the Arizona desert.
With your computer, stop making pretty still-pictures and shoot something that moves. It can be pencils competing to be the next in line to go into the pencil-sharpener. Anything. But it has to move and there has to be several consecutive shots until you've got about three minutes' worth from four different camera angles. Now cut. Make eight different versions, each just one minute long. Using only the editing, make eight different stories out of it. Do stupid things; nothing's right, nothing's wrong. Just Do It. You can't learn how to swim by reading a book about it...
When you look at finished work you really see nothing at all about how it got to be that way. You don't easily see the process. It looks like magic. Worst of all it looks "easy," "obvious," and maybe, "like the only way." You can extract film clips from a finished movie and edit the scene a totally different way. (The dialogue will be nonsense but who cares? Turn the bloody sound off.) You feel like a babbling fool but in the privacy of your office, den, or dorm-room who will know? Just Do It, and promise your computer a juicy upgrade if it'll just keep quiet.
01-05-2005, 06:31 PM
take pictures or draw to learn more about compostion.
get a video camera and some cheap editing software and put together some simple storys that dont require any real acting or diolage 5 min max. or use a regular camera and take photos in progresion to tell a story.
01-05-2005, 06:57 PM
You can extract film clips from a finished movie and edit the scene a totally different way. NB: I did that with Memento. Let me tell you: in the correct order it's a pretty ordinary film ;) But doing it has shown me how intelligently it has been constructed.
01-20-2006, 02:00 AM
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