My film program at college isn't teaching me anything... I need your help.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by budha, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. budha macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    Hey guys.

    I'm in a multimedia undergrad program at my college. Unfortunately it is lame, and not advanced enough for my taste. Can you recommend the best self training videos for video editing etiquette/lighting/filming/color etc? I am tired of waiting for my professors to step up to the plate and I am willing to teach myself whatever is needed. I just need the core knowledge, and then I can grow from there.

    I have already taken all of the basic film and editing classes, and I am looking to really read more on proper editing techniques and other areas above.

    I really really appreciate any input.

    -Mark
     
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    Are there any production, post, broadcast/cable, etc., facilities in your area that you could get a part time job or internship at?


    Lethal
     
  3. grooveattack macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #3
    i know how you feel mate. (well i am sure my lecturers are very skilled but they have to dumb things down allot for the unskilled students of the class) what i did was just to get hold of final cut (studio or express) and just play around with some footage. Anytime i come across something i dont know how to do i just google it and lots of cool videos will come up.
    self teaching is a good way to learn because you can get your understanding into it rather than someone else's.
     
  4. budha thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Thanks I really appreciate the replies, if possible please keep them coming.

    Are there any really bad ass books out there that can teach me film theory in a nutshell?

    I'm gearing myself more towards reality/documentary type of work if that makes a difference.
     
  5. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #6
    I have a slightly different answer... if the film program at your school is not working well for you, you need to find a new program. You can never get those three years of your life back!!

    Unfortunately, it is hard to find film programs these days that really focus upon the "language" of filmmaking as opposed to the technical process of filmmaking.

    I have actually found that animation programs (meaning curricula, not software) explore many of those issues more deeply, and you may find a few classes there useful.
     
  6. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    #7
    It's unliklely to be a complete waste, and even so if you only ever "waste" three years of your life then you've done a good job.
     
  7. Mavimao macrumors 6502a

    Mavimao

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    #8
    If you are wanting technical skills, there's nothing better than an internship somewhere. But the basics of film are not that complicated. Takes practice and talent.

    Lighting: 3-point lighting is king. 1 light back ground, 1 light on key side of subject, and one fill light on subject. If they haven't taught you this...god help you. Video is much harder to light than film. I always find using a mix of natural and cinema lights to highlight the darker areas work best. If you're shooting film and don't have a contrast viewing glass, I find using sunglasses is just as helpful. You only need to peer through them for a few seconds to get an idea for how the contrast will look on celluloid.

    Editing: Watch your favorite movies without the sound and take notes. I would also recommend watching films by Eisenstein which will show you what montage can potentially create in the film medium. He believed that montage is the one entity that separates film from all other arts. You can create sensations, movement, parallels, action all through editing.

    Filming: rule of thirds, rule of thirds, rule of thirds. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!!! So many student films are unwatchable because they're poorly framed and focused. If you have a zoom lens, zoom on your subject, focus and pull the zoom back to the desired focal length. If you're using prime lenses, trust your eye more than the info on the focal ring. Oh and never set it on infinity. Oh and a shallow depth of field makes for a pretty picture. Wide angled shots are great, but don't be afraid to blur the background.

    Oh and for the love of god, follow these rules:
    http://www.filmmaker.com/dumps/

    PS: what film school do you go to?
     
  8. budha thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    It isn't a film school, it is a film/video program at a normal 4 year school (yes I know that is the problem already).

    I mean I've already been in 3 years, I can't go to another one because I don't have the time and money.

    I already know the basics, I just need better skills.

    I am attempting to get an internship, but I would love to learn more if possible.

    oh and I am not going to ever be making "films." Everything I do will be reality/documentary based if that makes a difference. I would be doing interviews in a studio though that would need 3 point lighting.
     
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    You learn a lot more from a good internship or part time job than just technical skill. You learn how things are done in a real work environment and you learn how to do things from working professionals.

    Actually that's not a problem at all. W/rare exception in this industry no one gives a crap where you have a degree from, or even if you have a degree. I know people who graduated from USC and they started at the bottom just like people that graduated from SmallVille University. This is a big reason why, when talking to people still in school, I stress getting jobs and internships while still in school because once you graduated your actual work experience will far outweigh your diploma in terms of getting you a job.

    I'm pressed for time now, but later I'll post some links to good websites and books to check out.


    Lethal
     
  10. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #11
    Truer words have never been spoken... or typed....

    I went to a 4yr University and majored in Film and Digital Media. And while the program stressed theory and non-hollywood thinking (crazy hippies) I still got a lot out of it because of how I approached the production classes I was able to take. If you can't get an internship nearby, then take every production class your program offers and set your goals above and beyond the requirements of the assignments.

    As far as books... for editing, it's hard to beat Walter Murch's "In The Blink Of An Eye". He's a great editor, it's a great book, and you can read it in an afternoon.
     
  11. grooveattack macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #12
    'the eye is quicker' is a great book for editing stuff...
     
  12. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #13
    It's late and I'm too lazy to post links, but here are some various forms of media to check out about various aspects of the industry.

    If you want to learn more about editing, any book about/written by Walter Murch.

    If you want to learn more about color correction, any book by Steve Hullfish (I think he has three out currently).

    If you want to learn about practical no-budget film making techniques get the DV Rebel's Guide (it's geared towards action but there are things that can be applied across the board).

    Some sites to check out
    dvxuser.com
    dvinfo.net
    CreativeCOW.net (great forums, articles, and tutorials)
    Studiodaily.com
    ProVideoCoalition.com
    Reduser.net (if you want to learn more about the Red camera(s))
    prolost.blogspot.com (same guy who wrote the DV Rebel Guide)
    lfhd.blogspot.com
    cinematech.blogspot.com
    normanhollyn.com
    lowel.com/edu (good tips on lighting)
    VideoCopilot.net

    Since you are more interested in documentaries watch as many as you can. Also watch shows like 60 Minutes and pay attention to how they craft their segments. Find interesting people in your area and do a 3-4 minute story about them. Always remember storytelling is paramount and the story should focus on who they are, not what they do. One time I worked on a piece about a mother and daughter that were guards at a nearby prison and
    even though the prison made an interesting backdrop the heart of the piece was about the mother/daughter relationship.

    If you want to tackle something bigger, like an event or how the economy is hurting local businesses make sure you humanize it otherwise you won't be able to connect w/your audience. Remember what Stalin said, one death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.


    Lethal
     

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