Filmmaking Day 1 : Knackered, the cool way

A part of the storyboard

It was a long, and not the least hot day but it was so cool.

This is a kind of resume of my first day at the London Film Academy. I mostly wrote it because I want to keep track of what we have been doing, and how it has been. It might not be that interesting to you, and it is quite a long story too. Be warned.

The hard stuff
The day started with an introduction to cameras. And this certainly wasn’t the easiest part of the day. Forget everything about auto settings, everything had to be adjusted manually. Juggling with F values, shutterspeeds, depth of field, focus etc. it is still orbitting in my head. The teacher shivers when hearing about camera’s like my Ixus 60, where nearly nothing can be done manually.

We had to take some test pictures on a SLR (exactly not a digital one), with a 50 mm lens (exactly no zoom at all), and with no automatic sections whatsoever. In practise this means that you have to measure light with a light meter before taking a picture, then adjusting the shutterspeed and iris manually. Then focussing manually, and then you are ready to push the big bright and shiny button to take the picture. If you had remembered to transfer your film to the next picture that is, cause that is a manual action too.

And you know what, after taking the first 3 pictures I actually thought it was very cool. And I am now even more seriously considering to buy a DLR. I love to experiment with a lens without zoom because it forces you to be creative in a completely different way.

The groovy stuff
Well, the fact that this really was a camera man who has worked the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy movie did do miracles for my ability to concentrate. I took in every single word he said (and he was quite good in explaining things).

The fact that he later on personally helped us making stills for our project was, well groovy. Here I was, a humble girl, learning how to really properly use a real camera from this man. How funky, and how I love this course already.

The practical stuff
We did create some things too. We came up with a short script and had to make a storyboard for that (see picture). This was kind of hard too, because I was obviously not the only person having trouble being creative on demand. But we came up with something, and after that we had to translate our storyboard into 15 stills. (still is a funky word for picture). We were a group of 5 people, 3 had to be actors, one director and one the photographer. I partly directed and took a bunch of the pictures (I hate acting) and it was good fun.
The pictures were taken on the same SLR camera and a film with 36 pictures on it, and that was it. I think we managed to translate our storyboard to real life pictures pretty well, but we will first see our pictures again 5 weeks from now. Since we were all very eager to see the results right away, I took the same pictures with my Ixus 60 too. Not all pictures are perfect, but the story we want to tell is recognizable in the 15 shots. In about 5 weeks time we will hear what a real filmproducer thinks about our stills and film pitch.

The bonus stuff (not neccesarily related to the course)
1. The THHGG cameraman has both touched and used my IXUS 60. [serious mode off] I think my career in the filmindustry is guaranteed now.[serious mode on]

2. When I came home, the first trailer of The Project was waiting in my mailbox. And wow, it looks good ! It will be online tomorrow for you to watch – at 9am (BST)/10am (GMT+1) sharp.

3. Bill’s face is visible on a lot of busses here in London. This is promotion for the upcoming Stormbreaker movie, which has premiere on Friday. Stormbreaker is a kind of younger version of James Bond, and has a glorious cast : Robbie Coltrane, Stephen Fry, Ewan McGregor and Mickey Rourke as the baddy, are all in the film, and so is Bill playing head of MI 6. Get your popcorn and cola ready.

3 thoughts to “Filmmaking Day 1 : Knackered, the cool way”

  1. What an intense day. I can tell you’re in the right place — when you find yourself able to even concentrate on the hard bits, then you’re where you should be! Thanks for this post.

  2. It was a very intense day, the program is packed, and I really was knackered but I loved it.
    But what are you doing here ? You are supposed to enjoy your holiday ! :-) Enjoy it, may the sun shine over California (not neccesarily as insane as here in London, as we are nearly melting here).

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