Lights, Camera, Action!
Ready to hit record?
Once you’ve got a team, a story, an idea of the camera angles you want to use and the locations and props you’ll be using, you’re ready to head to set and start calling the shots. Here’s a few tips to keep your filming days running smooth, so you don’t run out of daylight before the film is done!
Location Location Location
When deciding where to set you film, make it easy on yourself. Try to stick to one or two locations, and scope them out ahead of time to see if there are any concerns, like noise, or lighting. If you need permission to be where you are, you need to reach out to the owner. Be sure to keep you and your team safe on set- maybe bring some adults along (let them worry about that so you can focus on the film!)
What you see is what you get
Visual reminders of what you’re filming will really help you stay on task. Make a storyboard and a shot list (examples of these are here!) and have someone who is in charge of deciding what to shoot first, and checking things off as you get them done.
Calling the shots
Avoid losing valuable time to confusion on set, by sticking to the formula for shot calling. This means that once everyone is in the right spot, have the director call for ‘quiet on set’, and once you’re sure the camera won’t pick up any background noise, call for the camera to start rolling. Loudly say ‘ACTION’ and ‘CUT’ before and after the actors perform the scene. This helps you sync up the visual and the audio when editing!
You might need several takes before you’re happy with the scene and ready to move on. Try to avoid having actors move to much between takes, so you can edit between them. (Making a mark on the ground helps a lot!) Remember to film Cut Aways to help glue the film together!
Feed the team
Get everyone to bring a little money to pool in for a pizza once you’ve wrapped for the day. You deserve it! Plus it’s a great way to unwind and chat about what worked and what could be done better next time.
Filming can be one of the most fun and creative parts of making your film. The more prepared you are, the more freedom you will have to experiment, while if you are unprepared, you might find you have to do a lot more hard work.
Make sure you hold enough rehearsals, and that everybody has a firm understanding of what needs to get done ahead of time. This leaves everyone feeling confident and ready to absolutely crush it!