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How to make this film – Part 1

6mb source file .zip – rushes and After Effects scene


The Camera
Frame the action so that you can see everything. Use a tripod and keep the camera still for the duration of the shooting

The most important aspect of my films is having a background without me in, so I can rub parts of myself out. This is called a backplate. So the first step is to film the backplate, without me/any props that will change in it


Be careful of changes in the lighting, as it will affect the backplate. The easiest is to either black the room out or film it at night time using artificial light. That way the light will stay exactly the same. Digital camera chips need a lot of light to stop the footage being noisy so the brighter the lights the better

It’s important to either use lamp shades or bounce the lights off walls to diffuse it – lots of harsh shadows can potentially make a five minute masking job take hours. For this film I used two lights, the main light and a little halogen light pointing at the wall:


When it comes to filming, don’t be afraid to reshoot as necessary. A bit of thought can save you a lot of time when it comes to doing the special effects. Notice in the rushes I did a few takes, just in case one wasn’t right

Use the best quality camera you can, a camcorder is best as it has a higher resolution and frame rate than the movie function on most digital cameras. Try to use the frame feature on your camcorder to remove the interlaced fields, otherwise you will need to use the deinterlace function in your editing program

If you haven’t got much room to shoot your action, try the same technique I used on this film of rotating the camera through 90º. This is only really useful for making gif anims or videos for the computer screen, as no one is going to be willing to rotate their television round 90º just to watch your one film (unless they all tilt their heads of course). You can potentially letterbox your film, but it’s not ideal

29 March, 2005