Video / Film Theory

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Cromulent, May 2, 2007.

  1. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #1
    I was wondering if anyone had any links to any websites that offer good tutorials or articles relating to video / film theory and practice. I want to learn more but do not know enough to know whether the information I am reading is of good quality and technically accurate or not.

    Thank you for any help.
     
  2. sturigdson macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    #2
    So, I have to tell you that you haven't quite given us enough specifics to really help you.
    What aspect of film/video are you talking about? production? editing? history and criticism...?

    If you want tutorials, for what program or system? FCP?

    Here's a good selection of tutorials for programs through Atomic Learning. Just click through and explore. There are a lot of other FCP books and CDRoms that you can check out, but online, it's a bit difficult because most tutorials require some specific media.

    You might want to check out the forums at Digital Media Planet for some tips and discussions.

    I'm going to assume you're interested in editing theory and practice, because it is the primary stage of filmmaking that Macs play any significant part in.
    So, there are a few different schools of thought on Editing. You'll find that the most theoretical discussions will, historically at least, break down into Montage and Continuity theory. Read some Eisenstein for Montage [he wrote the book, after all] and I found Dmytryk's book "On Film Editing" to be particularly helpful for H'wook continuity editing. But Murch also has great material.

    I did find this book on Google Books. Haven't read it. It looks long, and somewhat useful, though dated.

    So there's a couple places to start. If you're more interested in practices of film production or compisiting and animation, let us know.
     
  3. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #3
    Ah sorry my mistake. When you think of something in your head you sometimes forget that other people don't know what you are thinking (at least I do :)).

    Right, specifics.

    I have Final Cut Studio. I have an idea for a series of Podcasts that I think would also do well when produced on DVD. In order to do this I need to learn the theory and related techniques for producing and editing film / video.

    So I do my filming and capture it. After this point I am lost, but have some really good ideas. I can play around and have a look at what is available but I thought in order to get started I would try and learn the industry accepted techniques for editing and putting together a long video / film. Colour, effects, transitions you name it.

    I hope that has helped some what and I'll definitely look into those books that you linked.
     
  4. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #4
    This isn't really something you learn from a book. A good portion of the editing process with video is no different than the editing process on a written work—it's about taking the pieces you have an putting them together into a story, essentially. Maybe look at what you have, and make an outline of a sort of "script" for your video, so you know the order you want to have. Organize. Then it's just an issue of cutting things together in an order that makes sense and conveys the point you want to.

    Honestly, learning generally accepted editing techniques is as easy as turning on your TV and looking at what's being done. I suggest choosing something like a reality show, so you can focus more on the method behind the editing rather than the content itself (drama shows, for instance, often are very well edited, but can be so compelling that you forget to pay attention to how they're being put together and get engrossed in the story).

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that editing is just writing with video. :) Beyond that it's all technicals (which buttons to push, knowing video formats and things like that).
     
  5. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
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    #5
    Funny you should use writing as an example, as I am primarily a writer :). I guess continuing with that analogy I want to learn the "spelling and grammar" of video work.

    I've been doing that a fair bit recently. I guess I just like to see why people make the decisions they do so that I can then see if that method would fit into the framework I am working with.

    If you understand the reasons behind certain decisions then it becomes easier to make decisions yourself. Rather than just going with what someone else has done before you all the time.

    Technical information is always good too :). I have six manuals here that I need to wade through :p. Still, the training DVDs that come with FCS are very good.

    Thank you for the advice.
     
  6. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #6
    Well, any decent film theory book will cover you well in terms of general principles, but keep in mind most of this isn't all just editing—the grammar of film obviously relies upon you understanding how shot composition (and cutting between different kinds of shots) has an effect on viewer perception. Things like the camera's angle in relation to a subject, how a subject is framed, or a camera's movement in relation to the subject (to name just a few) all have an effect on the subconscious message conveyed. In other words, your thoughts about "editing" actually have to start even while you're still shooting the material you want.

    And, of course, you cut different kinds of things differently. Demonstrative/documentary-style editing focuses mostly on showing the viewer the action (whatever that may be). Dramatic editing sometimes leaves things not shown in order to heighten audience imagination (choosing to show a character's reaction to an event instead of the event itself, for instance). These are just a couple quick examples off the top of my head.
     
  7. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #7
    Well you've certainly given me a lot to think about. I guess it is time to head to a book shop (or more likely Amazon :)).

    Thank you for the help everyone.
     
  8. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #8
    http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Edit-...7435106?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1178149246&sr=8-1

    It's the more traditional form of website - a book - but couldn't be a better match from what you have mentioned, eh?! I haven't read it so can't vouch for its quality, but I had heard of it and it immediately came to mind reading this post.

    You may well benefit from going back a step and looking into shot composition techniques and traditions. It will at least help you narrow your options when you sit down to edit, and just have this mass of footage, if you know which shots traditionally fit together smoothly/in the least distracting manner (not "crossing the line", etc.).

    (I've used the words 'traditions', 'traditional' and 'traditionally' in this post. Maybe I should get a thesaurus.)
     
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #9
    Off the top of my head..

    For film theory
    "In the Blink of an Eye" by Walter Murch
    "The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film" by Michael Ondaatje
    "The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media" by Bruce Block


    For film practice
    "The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap" by Stu Maschwitz
    hdforindies.com
    creativecow.net
    dvinfo.net
    dvxuser.com


    For fun
    "Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple's Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema, First Edition" by Charles Koppelman


    Lethal
     
  10. rjfiske macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Washington State
    #10
    video tutorials

    You know, I've really gotten a bunch from the free tutorials over at DigitalJuice.com. There are too many to link to (and sort through as some are product specific) but try these:

    Camera
    and
    Frame
    and
    Focus

    as examples. Also Chuck Peters' new series "Field of View" has a really good flow, if only to show a high quality production value. The acting at times can be a little hokey but I enjoy the concepts & examples immensely.

    rjf
     
  11. Mavimao macrumors 6502a

    Mavimao

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Location:
    Lyon, France
    #11
    Look here are the basics:

    A scene should have these kinda shots in order:
    1) Wide shot - establishing the place of the scene
    2) Medium shot - we focus on the subject of the scene
    3) Close-up - use for more dramatic effect.


    When filming a conversation scene, remember the 180 degree axis rule which states that one character on the left should be looking screen right, and the other character (on the right) should be looking screen left. Think of a sports game broadcast on TV. They don't set up cameras on both sides of the court for the wide shot and mix between them. There's just one going left and right. Otherwise it would get confusing.

    Rule of thirds. This is useful for composition. Divide your screen into 9 even squares and look at the middle square. The focus of composition should fall on the corners of that square. Example


    Now if we want to go into REAL film theory like Realism versus Fantasy, Theory of Russian Montage, and "pure cinema"...we could. That's what I thought you really meant.
     

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