Workshop Montage video

This workshop, attended at the Filmschool of Amsterdam was a couple of months ago, luckily I’ve written down the notes for it. During the negotiations with our former moviemaker I had also a couple of workshops on the preproduction and postproduction of a movie.This workshop was particularly for montaging principles that you could use and why and when you should use them, also with a little help from some links I found.

During this workshop we talked about two types of cuts in a movie, sensible cuts and non-sensible cuts. But before we get into these there should be a small explanation or digression of movie theory. Let’s talk a little bit on how a movie can be dissected. 

Three Acts Paradigm

Three Acts Paradigm

Almost every movie can be divided into three main parts, derived from the theory that was created all the way back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle and is called the Three Acts Paradigm. This says that every story has in the basics three parts:

  1. Setup

    • During this act all the major characters get introduced, the setting of the movie will be shown and the confrontation or problem of the main character will be introduced. This act could also be called the introduction because it introduces all the main elements of the movie.
  2. Confrontation

    • The confrontation is by far the longest act. This is where the story gets unfolded. Here the stakes escalate. The last part of this act is mostly a situation where “all hope seems lost”. Just before going to the next act, which is the resolution act.
  3. Resolution

    • Mostly this is the shortest part. The part where the final confrontation with the villain is being played. The last fight of Bane and Batman in Dark Knight Rises for example.

The two types of Cuts

  • Sensible cuts
  • Non-sensible cuts

Montage is all about cuts. But why even cut? Well there are practical and dramatical reasons to do this. 

Practical reasons

There are a couple of practical reasons to cut. Cutting, montage or editing is what makes a movie come to live. The two practical reasons to cut are to:

  • Turn to another scene
  • Keeping moving persons and object in the view

Dramatical reasons

You want to make your audience feel a certain thing. Here you can also play with the montage of your movie. How you montage it is closely linked on what of an impression people get from it. A very quick edit you often see in action scenes and improves the feeling of excitement of the watcher. Here are the main two reasons that I got from the workshop that could help to dramatise your movie/plot.

  • Letting the audience show the imagery from another perspective (literally as figuratively)
  • Relation aspect plays a part

Kuleshov Effect

Kuleshov effect

The Kuleshov effect is a very interesting effect documented by Lev Kuleshov, a filmmaker in the early 20th century. This has everything to do with the editing of a movie. When a neutral face is been displayed and the next shot is food, we perceive the person as being hungry. When the next shot is a woman, we think the person is in love or when the next shot is a graveyard we tend to think that the person is sad. So we link the way of editing or the way the montage was done subconsciously to an emotional attribute we give the person on the screen.

Conclusion

Some of the principles of this workshop I knew already, but it was a good refreshing of my memory. I try to implement this in the movie we are going to make, so this might be a very handy refreshment to have. To see the movie I’ve made for the crowdfunding campaign click here.

 

Feedback and reflection on the movie

Before and after I made the movie I have asked Bob van Schaik and Toon Koebrugge for a few tips and feedback on the movie I made.

The chat with Bob

Before I did the movie I had a chat with Bob about the movie. He gave me a couple of points on what I should do with it. He gave me elaborate response. He gave me a couple of books that I could borrow from him and which I am using, like “Video Marketing in 60 seconden” by Pelpina Trip, “Bedrijfsfilms zijn uit, videomarketing is in” by Wim Symoens and “Formats de next step in content marketing” by Aart Lensink. To read about the summaries of these books click here.

Viewing direction and the Rule of Thirds

As I was saying, Bob gave me a couple of interesting tips on how to go about the movie that I have shot the day after we discussed it. First of, when I am filming a participant and it is a shot like an interview. Be careful that he doesn’t look in the camera, but slightly next to it. If the viewing direction of the participant is to the right, make sure that the you have more space on the side where the participant is looking at. Here I should also implement the the Rule of thirds. When you look further at the subject of framing. The eyes of the person in front of the camera should always be on vertically one third of the screen like this:

Flexibilian framing

Also place the participant between objects if they are objects around him/her. With this He told me I had to be sure that the background is interesting to view, that not only the participant is the object of interest to the viewer but also the background. This makes the shots that you take more interesting to the viewers.

The interview: open questions and shut your face

Another two tips of Bob were the open questions. This seems very fulsome to add, but one of the most important elements of a good interview. Questions that start with: what, how and why. And with that. As human beings we have the natural tendency to acknowledge our fellow man, especially in conversation. He pressed that I should shut my mouth and just nod at best. This is one of the biggest reasons so much recorded audio by greenies is ready for the trashcan.

A few final notes

The last tips he went over pretty fast, but still very valuable if you ask me. I had experience with fucking up footage and this is one of the things he warned me about. For example the footage not being sharp. He said I could easily foresee this by zooming in completely and make sure that I make this zoomed in image sharp and go from there. Another is a headphone set, to really hear if the audio is free of noise, or at least as much as possible. With that the last tip he gave me. To record good audio, especially in an interview I should consider a Clip-on. A small microphone that you can attach to the speakers jacket/shirt. This is most of the time the best option because with this you have very noise free audio and it is not that expensive to rent. He even suggested a place to rent it in Amsterdam. It is called Budgetcam.com. It should be like 50 euro to rent it for a day.

The chat afterward with Toon

After I shot, edited and added text to the video I was pretty content on what I had achieved. I find it not bad, but it can always be better of course. But especially with the means that I had to create the video I was kind of happy with the result. Even more when Toon himself said it was nicely done. I asked him for some feedback and he said that some shots could be a little shorter to keep the flow in the whole of the movie going.
Another point he had were the words that I used. In some shots I had played around with the speed of the sentences that came into view. He suggested that I would choose one overall speed that the letters/words came into view and only change that if it was a real important message, like the call to action.

Conclusion: to sum it all up

I find it a great privilege to have a couple of friends who can give me professional advise on how to make a movie. I’ve learned a lot and implemented a couple of things from the suggestions they made. I’ve zoomed in on a couple of shots where I wasn’t sure it was sharp enough. I’ve tried to implement the rule of Thirds as much as I could and changed the speed of the words that came into the movie. The final result you can see here:

Thank you so much Bob and Toon! Check their professional profiles and websites in the links!

– Bas

The Crowdfunding Video

In one of my previous posts I told you guys about the video which I completely detested at the moment. Well I worked at it and since we haven’t got the budget, time or connections at the moment I had to do the crowdfunding video. I have to say, it is far from perfect, but with the time I had available and the resources that I had it turned out quite nice I think. Let me know what you think!

A link will be provided when our Crowdfunding Campaign on One%club will be launched, which will be the coming week. Stay tuned!!

I’ve learned a lot from the making of this movie. I had to dive in After Effects after some time and I did some cool interviews with a couple of friends.

Conclusion

It’s better to work with what you’ve got and make it the best that you possible can, than think that you won’t succeed and give up, which in this case I luckily did not. Thanks again for the help with feedback and the finetuning Toon and Bob!

– Bas

The crowdfunding video: Chaos!

One of the things that I’ve noticed during my time at DL and working on the crowdfunding campaign. If you think you prepared well enough, think again.

Change of Launch Date

We prepared to launch for our company, Delitelabs, Which was to be launched at October the 19th. This because then we would have time to prepare our networks, create a crowd and create contact lists to call when the time has come. A little over two weeks ago another idea arisen. The idea that we would have two crowdfunding campaigns running at the same time. One starting in the second week of the course, this week. And the other at the set date that we had set previously, the 19th.

This would be no problem for me. In my head this would mean that we could also use the crowdfunding campaign of the participants as a experimental CFC, and we could advise them to best implement it, but that was not what happened. In the first week of the course there has made a decision that we run the crowdfunding campaign with the participants. They would have a large roll in this and could use their networks to spread the message. I think a pretty good move, but this also meant that the video has to be made in one day, because the launch was planned on that day, yesterday.

How not to create a video

The video would have been made without a team, without expertise, without a plan, a budget, a script or even the right equipment to film the video. I’ve said that I would do my best, but that the quality of the movie would be very questionable at best. At the day before I’ve asked some advice from a friend of mine in the movie business, Bob van Schaik, about what to best do. He also advice very much against it, but if we should go through with it we should have a decent camera and audio equipment.

In the morning I stretched the importance of the equipment and the lack of all the things above. But that is off course not in the entrepreneurial spirit. Go, Go, GO! I’ve tried to do it on my own, but I don’t like the outcome of the movie. It is just of too poor quality. I feel like I’ve put people down and that just sucks. This morning we have decided that we are going to do it differently. Waisted a minimum of 9 hours creating something I’m not proud of. One of the first things I’m really frustrated with since I’ve joined DL. The lack of planning and budget when you work in a startup.

We didn’t finish it, because it was just not good enough and lacked audio but here it is…

We saw that it was a mistake to create a movie on such short notice. Especially with the long list of things we needed and didn’t have. So hopefully next time we’ll chose another path to create a movie, with a little of a lot more preparation.

See the followup post on how the creation of the movie went after this.

Hope you did also enjoy my whining once in a while.

– Bas

A big THANK YOU to Christof and Michaela

At the end of the second course we had a couple of things to celebrate. The second group of students had finished their course and had all made a product or service. Just before the pitch event a couple of students had a great idea. I had made a few movies and a lot of pictures for Delitelabs so they asked me if I could help. They were planning on making a thank you video for Michaela and Christof. I thought this was a great idea so we set up a room in our building so we could film students saying their thanks to the people that made it all possible for them. It went pretty smoothly and after all the shots were done I edited it into a movie. The result you see below. Hereby, Thank you as well Christof and Michaela!

Thank you video for Christof and Michaela

 

What a great place to be doing your internship! Really love to be with these people!

Thanks with love,

– Bas

 

Video for Jana and her team

The other kind of work I do at DL is to provide for the participants as much as I can. Sometimes it’s help them writing an English mail. Sometimes it is prepare them with their pitch, and sometimes you just listen to their stories, because most of them have been through a lot, and I mean a whole lot. Prosecution, life threatening situations, war you name it.

The video for Jana

Luckily you can help them a lot by doing these things, but every now and then you can also implement some of the skills you acquired from your studies. Most of the time you have to think on your feet, like last week I had to make a movie on a days notice. Without a script, a product or even a camera. Only a story to sell, which in my respect was fortunately a great one.

I immediately contacted everyone I knew that I could borrow a camera from and luckily one of my friends had one I could pick up the next morning. The next morning the participants first had a lecture on theater to improve their pitching skills, which after we could start with the movie. I gave them the assignment to write me a small text explaining their project in as beautiful and specific language that is possible. the other part was that they showed me a couple of short movies that they found very compelling and had to do with their project, called Fashionize. We brainstormed and we got started. I coached and polished the pitch she was going to put on film and we shot the text in one take. I took some fills as well, of the clothing she brought and of herself. After this I went editing and went back twice for some shots I had to do over or to take some new ones. This is the result. Not great, but with the time we had I’m still pretty proud of what we made.

 

Conclusion

It was wonderful to work for one of the teams in this way. In this way I also improved my skills as a movie maker. A skill that we might need in the future, because we don’t know if the movie maker we have chosen is going to go through with helping us out with a movie.
Especially on a moments notice, creating a movie is a hard one. Without a planning, a script or the props we needed it is a hard job to do. I guess this is what it means to be part of a startup. Luckily I pulled it off and Jana was very pleased with what we created.  Thanks for your faith in me Jana!

– Bas

Talk with SAE student

Today was a pretty interesting day. I had had already contact with two students from SAE to negotiate a proposal to make a video. One of them took it really serious and wrote me that she would love to make a movie with us. She had to look f she had enough time that she could spend on it, together with her work for studies she explained she was pretty swamped. So what we would proposed to her on this day was that she could collaborate with her teachers if she could combine an assignment that she had to do for her studies with helping us out with a movie.

So the collaboration was with SAE student, Neddy. We are now negotiating what will be the best way of pursuing the video for the crowdfunding campaign and if we need maybe more than one movie on it. And what kind of movie it has to be. It has to be a movie with a very strong CTA (Call to action). That is for sure. We want to persuade people to actually buy our movie and go with it. Spend money, share our video and our story.

To be more specifically on the crowdfunding part of the video. We need to ask questions like: “What perks we can use?”, “Who is going to talk in the movie and in what manner?”, “What is the overall tone of the movie?”, “What is our mission as a company?”.

I learned a great deal on what a moviemaker or person needs before a meeting. If I had send agenda points, an overview of our company and a small summary on what was already done with photo’s, storytelling and movies we could work way faster on what should actually need to get done instead of the first half of the conversation explaining this.

Conclusion

When creating a movie with other people that are involved you have to be very specific and thorough in your planning and necessities. Before the meeting you should have already sent a list with requirements and necessities that you want in the movie. Preferably, when you are already in the middle of these things you could even think of ways to write out your storyboard or script. This so you can collaborate with the movie makers what is the best way to go. So actually three words: Preparation, preparation and more preparation.

My first video on Delitelabs

I made my first movie on Delitelabs to see if I could make a example video for the people who have to have a overview of what we want with the crowdfunding movie. I asked a couple of people on feedback from the studie Art and Technologie with their main subject movies. The main critical points were that There was no call to action, a few technical problems like lightning, resolution, one shot was not in focus and the audio behind the movie was incompatible with the imagery. I learned a lot from this and thereby can do it better next time.

Conclusion

We are not there yet with the movie, but then again I’m not a movie maker. I have tried my best and hopefully I can make it happen that we arrange for a more professional movie maker to make us a movie. If not, then I have to up my game, which is always a good thing to do I think. Read about my first contact with an SAE student, the talk with our moviemaker, my own preparation of the CFvideo and the making of the crowdfunding video.