Filming Workshop – 1st Level / 3rd Years // First approach to filming
At the end of this article: 3 short films and their making-of videos
First Step to Filming
ArtFX is not a film school, our students go into post-production companies and not production companies: this is why we don’t train them to become cinematographers, electricians or assistant directors. However, in-depth knowledge of these skills is consider essential in the ArtFX pedagogical program : in order to work well with all the trades in the film making world, one must know about these fields.
Additionally, if you want to work with image manipulation, it would be good for you to do some filming at one moment or another.
This year, the shooting schedule for the graduation films is being stretched out over 3 months. Cold, rain, wind, short days, lots of actors, and reduced budgets are the type of difficulties that the 2014 graduation class is surmounting without problem.
An accident? Certainly not.
Preparation? Without any doubt.
Training in steps
To help prepare our students for this, we have put in place two «Filming Workshops». The First Level for the 3rd Year students, the 2nd Level at the beginning of the 5th Year.
While the 2nd Level gives them access to all the schools most advanced equipment (cranes, steady cams, dolly…) and takes place outside, in general at sunrise or sunset, the 1st Level takes place ‘at home’ (ArtFX) and uses the basic filming equipment.
Mission: Each class must organize a film, which is shot in one day and is centered on a given theme. As the leader for this exercise, I am playing the role of director. ArtFX is the producer. The story has been given to them.
– Research the different film making positions and organize yourselves into film crews
– Pre-production: concepts, story, story-board, casting, reservation of equipment, etc.
– Filming preparation (shooting schedule, service sheet, budget, etc.)
– On-set manage
– Post-production, from editing to calibration.
– The film shoot must take place at the school, with student actors, standard materials ( to put the importance of staging above all else).
– I am there for a subtle mixture of helping and hindering the students to progress. As teacher, I must advise and help them, as director I should insist on things that are sometimes restrictive and make sure they are doing the best job possible.
Playing with staging
The Game: Transforming the neon lighting of the classrooms in order to complete this project:
1- In a taxi, in New York, at night, in the rain.
2- Next to two Russian soldiers, in Chernobyl, as reactor 4 explodes
3- In a high-tech basement of a future underground
Here we go! Let’s get to work!!!
My part stops here. For the rest, I’ll let the students speak for themselves.