Learning to do the creative side of video stories

teddoman

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I find myself getting stumped on video due to lack of experience. With photography, it's a lot easier b/c each photo stands alone. A video piece, on the other hand, will weave together lots of scenes. So you sort of have to have this mental image of how you're going to weave a bunch of 4 second shots together. But w/o already having experience weaving scenes together, it feels a bit daunting. Sometimes I just don't know where to start. I don't have a story or a mood already thought out to guide me in the scenes I should film.

Do people have cheat sheets or checklists from video class with a template of shots or techniques to use? Or do people just try to imitate videos they've seen? Or people just do lots of random stuff and then just create something in post? How do you train yourself to have the creative vision for a project in advance that then determines how to film your scenes?

I'm really not concerned with the technical side of video, my question is more on the creative side. How do you envision your "plot" or story that unfolds on a typical vimeo video accompanied with a nice soundtrack?
 

kevinparis

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I did a training course at the BBC a few years ago...it was a 3 day course aimed at programme makers/producers without basic filming skills, introducing them on how to operate the BBC approved camera of the moment ( Sony Z1) and more importantly what to shoot with a single camera that could be edited for broadcast in a as a news/feature type situation..

I attended the course as an paying outsider... but it was probably the best training I have ever had, and i believe that the these fundamentals apply to all video shooting

The take away from the course was that if you have even the most basic of storyboard or indeed no story at all , then if you get these shots or multiples of them, relating somewhat to the message you are trying to portray then you will have something to edit

1) Master or establishing shot - a wide view of the whole subject or the subject in the environment

2) Medium shot - a tighter view of the subject doing what they do

3) Close up - either of subject or what the subject is doing - preferably both

4) Reverse/ Over the shoulder - the subjects view of what they are doing... key here is not to 'cross the line' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/180-degree_rule

5) Art shot - something that is a little off the wall that can open or close a scene

my other main take away was.. if you pan to the left, keep shooting and pan back to the right. similarly if someone picks up something like a cup... keep the camera rolling and let them put it down... you get 2 shots for the price of one.

Bottom line is that video happens in the edit.. but a good edit needs good material, and if you have enough 'coverage' ( shots that make sense that will edit together) then the edit is much easier

K
 

OzRay

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You need to do what film makers do, start with a storyboard, it would also help if you write an actual screen play, albeit, a short one such as dot points, as that's what drives the storyboard. The storyboard then sets out every scene and makes you think about what you're shooting, how you're going to shoot it, why you're going to shoot it in a particular way and all the other considerations of time of day, lenses etc. Every video needs to have an introduction, beginning, body and end/conclusion. I mentioned this in another thread; that you need to do all of this before you ever pick up a camera.
 

Talanis

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I watched 2 great courses on Creative Live: One by Rob Adams and the other by Ray Roman and they help sooooooooo much. You can find some good things here too: https://vimeo.com/videoschool . Watch the 4 tutorials there too: http://stillmotionblog.com/four-ps/

Thanks Kevin for the tips :)

What I find difficult is finding ideas to practice all that I learn. In photo, you can find tons of lists (30 days challenges, 52 weeks projects, etc) but I never found the same thing for video.
 

kevinparis

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OK

so here is an exercise for budding video makers

work out how you would film somebody making their first cup of coffee/tea/fruit juice of the morning.

use as many shots as you think needed

the story has to go from need for drink to achieving the drink

rest is up to you

K
 

teddoman

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Eric- I had actually come across those Vimeo classes before but I didn't realize they had ones for storytelling. I watched a few of the Stillmotion ones and they are an excellent starting point. Really gave me some much needed direction.

Thanks all! A lot of great content for me to watch. It will take me a while to watch and digest it all.
 

sgreszcz

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I've been starting down this video path too, and it is quite the learning curve. As Kevin said, it all comes together in the edit, but it helps to know what you need, what type of coverage you need, and shoot for the edit.

Here are some of the training resources that I've found that explain how to edit creatively to tell a story (including which types of shots to use) and also how to shoot for the edit:

Fstopacademy.com

I signed up for Den Lennie's "How to Shoot Sequences" online course this July. Den starts off with the basics:

Week 1: Composition, Framing, and Camera Movement
Week 2: Here Den shows in 30 minutes how to shoot an outdoor interview (one man band) and then get enough coverage (B-Roll / cutaways) to produce a 3-minute video. He then spends over 2 hours showing you the thought process of editing and how and why he selected the shots he did to assemble the final piece
Week 3: Another full lesson on how to shoot an interview and produce a commercial project for a business
Week 4: We were challenged to film, edit, and submit a 45-90 second film containing 3 segments, and interview and enough b-roll to support the story.
Week 5: We submitted the film and had Den do a live critique of all the submissions.

I don't know if this course will be offered again or if the material will be for sale as it had a live, interactive forum Q&A and live webinar component. To get an idea of the content is the (free) preview material that convinced me to sign up for the course: http://www.fstopacademy.com/how-to-shoot-b-roll-video-1

Lynda.com

Well worth the subscription for whatever you are trying to learn and here are some great courses on learning how to shoot and edit films. Most of them involve journalistic or event filming, which is more inline with the type of video that I shoot (family and events).

Video Journalism Shooting Techniques
Video Journalism Storytelling Techniques
Foundations of Video: Interviews
Documentary Editing (with Premiere Pro or Final Cut ProX)
Foundations of Video: The Art of Editing

There are also some newer ones that I have not yet watched

Ripple Training

I am learning to edit using Final Cut Pro X and I find the material from Ripple Training to be excellent. Here are some titles that go beyond the tools and show the "why" of editing:

Creative Editing in Final Cut Pro X
Building a Promo in FCP X in 4 Days

Larry Jordan

Larry Jordan just released a couple of videos showing the art of editing, showing three different styles of video – montage, interview and dramatic as well as the craft of editing: timing, "story", shot angle and order.

PowerUP Webinar 134: Editing as Story-telling
PowerUP Webinar 137: Timing is Everything (in Editing)
 

teddoman

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I did a training course at the BBC a few years ago...it was a 3 day course aimed at programme makers/producers without basic filming skills, introducing them on how to operate the BBC approved camera of the moment ( Sony Z1) and more importantly what to shoot with a single camera that could be edited for broadcast in a as a news/feature type situation..

I attended the course as an paying outsider... but it was probably the best training I have ever had, and i believe that the these fundamentals apply to all video shooting

The take away from the course was that if you have even the most basic of storyboard or indeed no story at all , then if you get these shots or multiples of them, relating somewhat to the message you are trying to portray then you will have something to edit

1) Master or establishing shot - a wide view of the whole subject or the subject in the environment

2) Medium shot - a tighter view of the subject doing what they do

3) Close up - either of subject or what the subject is doing - preferably both

4) Reverse/ Over the shoulder - the subjects view of what they are doing... key here is not to 'cross the line' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/180-degree_rule

5) Art shot - something that is a little off the wall that can open or close a scene

my other main take away was.. if you pan to the left, keep shooting and pan back to the right. similarly if someone picks up something like a cup... keep the camera rolling and let them put it down... you get 2 shots for the price of one.

Bottom line is that video happens in the edit.. but a good edit needs good material, and if you have enough 'coverage' ( shots that make sense that will edit together) then the edit is much easier

K
Stillmotion videos had a very similar concept, I think they called it "3 in 1". Always get 3 perspectives on the same thing.

It's good to have this idea that you don't just film a scene once, you film it multiple times from 3-5 perspectives.
 

tosvus

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Find some good shorts, music videos etc that you like. Analyze them, write down what shots they do, how long, what camera angles, distance etc. Note how they skip between clips. Get a feel for how the imagery works with the audio. Try to recreate one on a similar topic/length by following your notes/storyboards.
 

Talanis

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OK

so here is an exercise for budding video makers

work out how you would film somebody making their first cup of coffee/tea/fruit juice of the morning.

use as many shots as you think needed

the story has to go from need for drink to achieving the drink

rest is up to you

K
Challenge accepted. It was a way to test the LX100 in video. Here is the result:

[video=vimeo;111127692]https://vimeo.com/111127692[/video]
 

kevinparis

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Challenge accepted. It was a way to test the LX100 in video. Here is the result:

[video=vimeo;111127692]https://vimeo.com/111127692[/video]

good work... you are on the right tracks... my only criticism is that you could have got the story done in far fewer shots.... but better to have too much footage than too little

cheers

K
 

tosvus

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Challenge accepted. It was a way to test the LX100 in video. Here is the result:

[video=vimeo;111127692]https://vimeo.com/111127692[/video]
Good job! How did you do the panning at 0:18? Did you software pan 4k material, or do you have special equipment you used?
 

Talanis

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Good job! How did you do the panning at 0:18? Did you software pan 4k material, or do you have special equipment you used?
Software pan 4K cropped to 1080p. I wanted to do a slider shot but forgot. I thought I could get one by puting one side of the slider a little bit higher than the other and let gravity do its job but I totally forgot.
 
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