Since first experiencing a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse of the filming of Tots TV (a famous 90s kids TV show) on holiday at the age of 9, I’ve always been inspired by the film-making process. Not surprisingly then that one of the first things I do when I buy a film on Blu-ray is go straight to the title page to watch the ‘behind the scenes’ extras because it gives a real insight into the art of film-making. Some examples of great behind the scenes films include those from The Shining, Avatar, Halloween and Birdman.
Whilst on a recent video shoot with a new client who was inexperienced in video production, I was reminded of the movie making magic!
‘I didn’t realise it took so long to film… I wasn’t aware there’d be multiple shots for one section of the script…I’ve learnt a lot from today….’…
It’s only when you see poorly produced films in contrast to professional films that you can truly see the art of film. Since most people can now be deemed a ‘video director’ by shooting and editing an array of films on smart phones, it can sometimes feel like the value of the video production service has gradually fallen to the wayside.
All of us are guilty of subconsciously reaping the benefits of film escapism without actually focusing on what we see on the screen. Next time you watch a documentary, a drama, or a brand film, write down the number of times the shot changes from one to the next and I think you’d be surprised at the outcome. The number of shot changes you observe should give you a good idea of the number of shots directors need to shoot – and that’s without going into detail about the complexity and time taken for each shot set-up.
On the flip side, not all films consist of umpteen different shots. You’ll no doubt have seen films famous for their single long shots, such as this scene from Martin Scorsese’s film, Goodfellas…
Each and every shooting style is cleverly crafted for story-telling purposes and to add a sprinkle of ‘je ne sais quoi’, whilst highlighting the genius behind the creativity of film making.
Honda’s Cog Advert from 2003 is a real work of video art.
Just to put it into context, the two minute advert took six months to plan and almost a week to film. The production needed over 600 takes, 20 sets of alloy wheels, 10 bonnets, 15 pots of paint and two handmade pre-production models of the new Honda Accord. Although it looks like one single take, the sequence is split into two shots and required a major act of technical planning from its producers. Pretty impressive eh?
Video Directors may want to shoot a low angle shot to portray the power of a shady character, or switch to a really wide angled lens to show off a beautiful landscape. Like with a lot of things in life, the more time we factor in for our plans, the more likely we are to see the fruits of our labour in video form!
One other phrase video producers often hear is, ‘It took an hour to get that shot and we only saw it in the film for 3 seconds..’. This phrase really emphasises what film-making is all about. In a nutshell, films are created by talented teams of creative people working hard to make your film look pretty cool and that’s what the team here love to do.