Media student benefits - Practice basic filmmaking techniques


There are many challenges that face an aspiring filmmaker.

One of the biggest is that reading about and studying film technique is a great start, but skill comes from putting that into practice and really knowing how to use those techniques to tell stories.

 

This means making as many films as you can, trying things out, and learning from your mistakes as well as your successes.

It’s no different to any other creative endeavour; you learn by doing. However, there’s never enough time to make enough movies, and most of the time you’ll probably end up just holding a microphone boom, looking after the lights, or even acting, instead of developing your skills as director, editor or cinematographer. What’s more, you’re usually limited to what you can film locally, and you’re hugely constrained by budget and safety issues.

Moviestorm’s fast, easy approach allows you to practice your movie skills on your own, whenever and wherever it’s convenient. You don’t need to get a cast and crew together, you can film things that would otherwise be impossible and you can get experience in every single role in the production process. If you like, think of Moviestorm as a moviemaking simulator, and use it in the same way a pilot uses a flight simulator to train on.

For example, film someone walking down a corridor and into a room. You can shoot this many different ways. You can use fixed cameras, pan the camera to follow them, or dolly the camera from in front, the side, or behind. You can go with close shots or long shots. You can do it with a continuous shot, or you can cut it. You have different options as to when to start filming from inside the room. You may choose to use an insert to show the hand opening the door. Add in different music tracks and see how that affects your directing and editing choices. With Moviestorm you could easily shoot and edit this very simple sequence ten different ways in an evening and compare the results.

For a more advanced exercise, experiment with ways to tell the viewer that a scene is taking place in a lawyer’s office in a skyscraper in Manhattan (or Dubai, if you live in Manhattan). You could use a combination of establishing shots, inserts on nameplates, on-screen text, views from the window, background sounds and so on. You can also experiment with different ways to cut the sound: the opening dialog may overlap the establishing shots, or may not start until you have established the location.

 

Getting the best from Moviestorm

Focus on the specific thing you’re trying to practice. You don‘t need to make every exercise a masterpiece. If you’re practicing filming two people having a conversation while walking down a street, you can learn a lot even if you use a basic set, minimal costumes, and just worry about your camerawork and editing. Adding in sound, lighting, and extras to create a finished scene will teach you more, but those are refinements you can add in when you’re familiar with the basics.

Reuse as many assets as you can to save time. Have a few standard sets and characters you rely on, then you can get right into filming instead of set and character design. Film the same few scenes repeatedly, employing different techniques each time. This will show you many ways to do the same thing and save time recording dialog.

Make the most of Moviestorm’s flexibility, and practice the same techniques in many different scenarios. Don’t just film one phone call - film five. Or ten. Or twenty. Do it until you know instinctively exactly what options are available to you.

Film in settings and shoot scenes that otherwise wouldn’t be easily available to you - don’t limit yourself to what you could film at home with a cheap camera and a couple of friends as actor. Imagine you have a big budget and really push your creativity!