The essence of the “holistic” approach
for us amateurs is much the same as a Pro film-maker’s mental-set: he recognizes a “workable script”,
how to “direct”, plus a good deal about camera-work and editing.
Four inter-dependent skills. Intuitively, an
individual experienced amateur takes a shot at managing all four skills, simultaneously. “Holistically”.
My movie featuring Barkerville. A new destination.
Take two days to shoot. Just my partner and me.
up” the information available. On arrival in Barkerville, the walking tour; marking the various exhibits’ starting
times, looking for potential “scripts”. First tour. The “salting” of the gold “nuggets”
at the water-wheel. And the “school-house”.
The “gold” movie. While tootling
around the streets, I’ll shoot some establishing shots, some “color” provided by costumed characters, signs,
etc. Plan for two chances at the gold-mine. Arrive ahead of time, find a tripod site, best lit side, shoot what I can of the
sequence in the “staged plot.” Likely, I’ll have to abandon the tripod if I get crowded out.
My head’s cranking around pondering on
a set of options from my “promise” and how I’ll “deliver” that promise - an “approach”.
Take some DV just for the background audio regardless of the video - Get all the shots I can today; tomorrow’s lighting
may be different.
Second day’s shoot. Missed shots. Take
a whole raft of “cut-in’s” and cut-away’s – specially of faces “reacting”.
As I shoot my stuff, my editing mind’s
in gear, figuring how I can maximize the “natural” video and audio, and minimize commentary. Let the video and
audio carry the content. “The Old Schoolhouse” - similarly.
this kind of shoot, I may be able to ‘direct” an actor’s response or comment. After the “show”.
Back at the motel, review what I’ve got.
Plan on tomorrow’s supplementary shoot. If I’m traveling with a partner, I’ll ask her to stand close in,
one corner of the frame and make (prompted) comments. And get some of her (prompted) facial “reaction” shots.
Make all my shots “too long”.
As I plan on adding minimal commentary using
my own voice, I’ll ask my partner to take me speaking a few times. Personalize “my” movie.
“Camera-work and editing”
Often enough, on this kind of serendipitous
shoot, a tripod is too restrictive. If I’m shooting a heap of hand-held, by necessity, I’ll keep the lens at wide-angle;
vary my shooting spot and angle; try a couple of trucking and tracking shots, capitalizing on my camcorder’s Steadishot
Radio-mike, boom mike - nice but hardly practical.
I’ll get in as close as I can to the audio source.
Take as much DV as I can – blank tape
is cheap. The shots I discard at home at the editor - I may use them for another project. Even years away.
My short (say, 5 minutes max.) long Barkerville
movies will reflect a personal experience, perhaps a unique point-of-view.
On the way home, I’ll be refining the
design of the “promise”, how I’ll deliver the promise in the following sequences and how I’ll “wrap
it up.” Artistic unity.
So, there’s no better way to make better
movies than “DOING”. You’ve gotta DO it! If the above recipe
is new to you, give it a shot. It’s tried by many, tested and true!
Fall, 2006, is there a “people”
event on your horizon ?