Download Filmmaking in Action PDF

TitleFilmmaking in Action
PublisherBedford/St. Martin’s
ISBN 139780312616991
CategoryArts - Film
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size19.0 MB
Total Pages420
Table of Contents
                            Front Cover
Filmmaking in Action Your Guide to the Skills and Craft
Copyright Page
About the Authors
Preface
Brief Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Big Picture
	Why Make a Film?
		Action Steps: Getting Started—What You Need to Make a Short Film Right Now
	Three Filmmaking Principles
	Six Filmmaking Viewpoints
		Producer
		Writer
		Director
		Editor
		Image and Sound Crew
		The Audience
	The Filmmaking Path
		Producer Smarts: Congratulations, You Area Movie Producer!
		How Do I . . . Get My First Movie Made?
		Business Smarts: Taking Care of Business
	CHAPTER 1 ESSENTIALS
PART 1 CONCEPT AND PREPARATION
	Chapter 2 Start with the Script
		Where Do Ideas Come From?
			Original Ideas
			Action Steps: Brainstorming Ideas
			Source Material
			Intellectual Property
				Rights and Title
				Fair Use
		Theme, Story, and Character
			“It’s about Someone Who…”
			Structure
			Action Steps: How to Avoid Writing a Bad Student Film
		Writing and Screenplay Formats
			Action Steps: How to Get Started Writing Your Script
		Development
			Developing Your Script
			The Studio Development Cycle
			How Do I . . . Respond to Script Notes?
			Business Smarts: A Writer’s Contract
			Producer Smarts: How to Work with the Writer
		CHAPTER 2 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 3 Directing
		The Director’s Role
			Producer Smarts: Producer and Director, a Working Relationship
		Seeing Your Project through a Director’s Eyes
			Getting the Script and Working It
			Action Steps: How to Mark Up Your Script
			Casting Actors
			Action Steps: The Audition Process
			Selecting Department Heads
			Business Smarts: Agents, Managers, and Lawyers
		Planning and Visualizing the Shoot
			Planning the Shoot
			Visualizing the Shoot
		On the Set
			How Do I . . . Set the Tone On-Set?
			Different Styles of Aesthetics and Leadership
			Working On-Set
			Action Steps: How to Work with Actors
			Supporting Positions
		Working the Movie You Just Shot
			Finishing the Movie
			“Final” Cut
		CHAPTER 3 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 4 Conceptualization and Design
		The Principles of Design
			Design Composition Elements
			Mise-en-Scène
			Tech Talk: Color Theory in Design
			Action Steps: Choosing a Color Palette
			How Do I . . . Use Design to Tell a Story?
		Design Plan
			Action Steps: Design Analysis
			Research and References
			Locations
			Producer Smarts: Dumpster Diving
			Sets
			Tech Talk: Common Set Structures
		Previsualization
			Sketches and Storyboards
			Digital Previs
			Tech Talk: Digital Storyboard Tools
		CHAPTER 4 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 5 Production Planning and Management
		Management Overview
			Business Smarts: Business, Insurance, and Legal Requirements
		Scheduling
			Script Breakdown
			Shooting Schedule
			Action Steps: Be Prepared
		Budgeting
			Budget Document
			Be Resourceful
			How Do I . . . Manage My Production’s Details?
			Producer Smarts: Finding Funding
			Action Steps: Planning Crew Meals on a Tight Budget
		CHAPTER 5 ESSENTIALS
PART 2 IMAGE AND SOUND
	Chapter 6 Camera Skills
		Your Screen Is Your Canvas
			Aspect Ratios and Formats
			Action Steps: Shooting for Multiple Formats
			Special Formats: 3D Stereoscopic and Giant Screen
			Producer Smarts: Creative Discussion about the Look of the Film
		Image Capture Media and Machines
			Tech Talk: What Are You Seeing?
		Digital Cameras
			How Digital Cameras Work
			Types of Digital Cameras
			How Do I . . . Prepare the Camera?
			Action Steps: Using Your Digital Camera
		Film
			Film Formats and Film Stock
			How Film and Film Cameras Work
			Action Steps: Using a Film Camera
		Lenses
			Action Steps: Taking Care of Your Camera and Lenses
			Tech Talk: Go Negative!
			Focal Length
			Focus
			Key Factors: Aperture and Shutter Angle
			Depth of Field
			Action Steps: Rack Focus and Depth of Field
		Supporting and Moving the Camera
			Business Smarts: The “Camera Package”
		CHAPTER 6 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 7 Telling the Story with the Camera
		Basic Shots
			Long Shots
			Medium Shots
			Close Shots
		Camera Angles: How You View the Scene
			Action Steps: Low-Budget Dutch Angle Trick
			Action Steps: Dirty vs. Clean
		Composition
			What Is Good Composition?
			Producer Smarts: Composition Outside the Frame
			Action Steps: Shooting People and Objects
			Composition in the Moving Frame
			Composition and Lenses
			Action Steps: Low-Budget Hacks to Make Your Student Film Look High Budget
		Creating Images for Continuity
			How to Shoot a Scene
			Don’t Cross the Line!
			Eyelines, Visual Effects, and Animation
			How Do I . . . Motivate the Camera?
			Business Smarts: How Many Shots Do You Need?
		CHAPTER 7 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 8 Lighting Skills
		Qualities of Light
			Shadows and Contrast
			Directional and Diffused Lighting
			Measuring Lighting
		Exposure
			Approaches to Exposure
			Elements of Exposure
			Exposure in Action
			Action Steps: Solving Exposure Problems
		Color
			Color Temperature
			White Balance
		Lighting Gear
			Action Steps: Lighting Safety First!
			Lighting Instruments
				Exterior Lights
				Interior Lights
			Tech Talk: Don’t Blow That Circuit!
			How Do I . . . Light with Minimal Tools?
			Business Smarts: Renting Lights
			Mounting Equipment
			Producer Smarts: How Much Is Enough?
			Diffusers, Gels, Filters, and Cookies
		CHAPTER 8 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 9 Telling the Story through Lighting
		Style, Planning, and Preparation
			Action Steps: Planning the Lighting
			How Do I . . . Light for Mood?
			Three-Point Lighting
			Action Steps: How to Set Up Three-Point Lighting
			The Lighting Ratio
			Continuity and Your Lighting Triangle
			How Much Light?
			Adjusting the Lights
			Producer Smarts: How Long Will Setups Take?
		Outdoor Lighting
			Adjusting for Weather and Time of Day
			Practical Outdoor Setups
		Indoor Lighting
			Lighting Diagrams
			Practical Indoor Setups
		Special Lighting Situations
			Low Light and Mixed Light
			Skin-Tone Variations
			Lighting for Movement
			Lighting for VFX and Animation
		CHAPTER 9 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 10 Sound
		Principles of Sound Design
			Producer Smarts: The Sonic Business
		Planning Sound Design
			Dialogue and Sound Effects
			Action Steps: Annotate Your Script for Sound Opportunities
			The Music Plan
			Business Smarts: Licensing Music
		Sound Recording
			Recording Best Practices
			Tech Talk: Acoustics
			Action Steps: Using the Boom
			How Do I . . . Fulfill Sound Requirements?
			Production Recording: Dialogue
			Recording Sound Effects
			Recording Levels
			Microphones
			Recording Equipment
		Postproduction Sound
			Tech Talk: Mixing Consoles
			Action Steps: Prepping for Editing and Mixing
			Dialogue Editing
			ADR
			Sound Effects Editing
			Foley
			Music Editing
			Art of the Mix
		CHAPTER 10 ESSENTIALS
PART 3 PRODUCTION GLUE
	Chapter 11 Editing Skills
		Getting Started
			NLE Hardware
				Computer
				Monitor
				Cards and Devices
			NLE Software
			Organize a Workflow
				Logging
				Ingest
				Backup/Storage
				Resolution
			Producer Smarts: Stretching Resources
		Organize the Assembly
			Files and Bins
			Timelines
			Technical Assembly Techniques
			Action Steps: Art of the Trim
			How Do I . . . Keep Track of Footage?
		Finishing
			Tech Talk: Native Editing
			Action Steps: Adding Titles and Graphics
			Offline/Online Workflow
			Color Correction
			Outputting a Master File
		CHAPTER 11 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 12 Telling the Story through Editing
		The Phases of Editing
			Producer Smarts: Watch Yourself
		Find the Rhythm
			Analyze the Material
			Transition In and Out
			Action Steps: Cutting a Conversation
		Editing Basics
			The Styles
			Action Steps: Art of the Montage
			The Rules
			Breaking the Rules
			How Do I . . . Show Point of View through Editing?
		Transitions and Cuts
			Types of Transitions
			Types of Cuts
		CHAPTER 12 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 13 Visual Effects and Animation
		VFX Overview
			Planning Visual Effects
			Storyboards and Previsualization
			Producer Smarts: Affording Visual Effects
			Typical Visual Effects
			Action Steps: Wire Removal
		Special Effects
			How Do I . . . Embrace Simplicity in Visual Effects?
		Computer-Generated Imagery
			Action Steps: Plate Photography
		Character Animation
			Key Techniques
			Motion Capture
		Managing Data
		CHAPTER 13 ESSENTIALS
PART 4 FILMMAKING AND BEYOND
	Chapter 14 Marketing and Distribution
		Defining the Audience
			Learning from Your Audience While You Work Your Movie
			Action Steps: Preview Screening
			Kinds of Audiences
		Reaching Your Audience
			Publicity and Promotion
			Action Steps: Messaging Your Movie
			Action Steps: Making Your Trailer
			How Do I . . . Market My Movie Like a Pro?
			Producer Smarts: The Producer’s Role in Marketing
			Paid Marketing
		Distributing Your Film
			Distribution Basics
			DIY Distribution
			Festivals
			Business Smarts: Distribution Rights
			Action Steps: Entering a Film Festival
		Studio (Theatrical) Distribution
			Distribution Patterns
			Exhibition Venues
			The Right Date
			Business Smarts: Piracy
			Windows
		CHAPTER 14 ESSENTIALS
	Chapter 15 Careers in Filmmaking
		Analyzing the Credit Roll
			How Do I . . . Decide on a Career Path?
		Navigating the Industry
			Networking
			Internships
		Helping Yourself
			Action Steps: Creating a Demo Reel
			Business Smarts: Build Your Online Platform
		CHAPTER 15 ESSENTIALS
Notes
Glossary
Index
How Do I…? Videos in
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

mech_Leipzig-FilmmakinginAction-SE-060315

Learn about the film industry from the experts.

Filmmaking in Action
guides you through every

step of the production

process, including script

writing, lighting, shooting,

editing, marketing, and

more. Industry experts

Adam Leipzig, Barry Weiss,

and Michael Goldman offer

invaluable knowledge,

firsthand experience,

and unparalleled access

to Hollywood’s best and

brightest.

251

“The editorial workflow is in large measure determined by
how the footage is shot, how sound is recorded, and how

dailies are processed.”
– Mindy Elliott, veteran assistant editor of films including Nebraska (2013),

The Descendants (2011), and Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Editing Skills

The English Patient (1997)

Reflecting in the early 2000s on the huge suc-
cess he found the first time he edited a major
motion picture using an entirely nonlinear digital
editing platform—earning two Academy Awards
for his work on The English Patient (1997),
one for sound editing and the other, the first
ever given for picture editing using nonlinear
technology—famed editor Walter Murch looked
both back and ahead when contextualizing his
beloved industry’s transition from analog, linear
film editing into the digital, nonlinear, random-
access realm. In interviews with his friend
Michael Ondaatje, author of the book on which
The English Patient was based, Murch suggested
that film editing was still in something of an in-
between phase in terms of where it had been and
where it might be heading.

On the one hand, Murch said, basic editing
concepts had hardly changed at all. “Three things

you are deciding are: what shot shall I use?
Where shall I begin it? Where shall I end it?”1

On the other hand, even at that early moment
of the digital revolution, Murch was hungry for
what he saw looming just ahead—a more demo-
cratic editing landscape in which tools were ac-
cessible, affordable, more powerful, and flexible:
the kind of landscape, in other words, that is now
available to you as film students. It’s an environ-
ment Murch had been dreaming about since even
before he and Francis Ford Coppola penned a pa-
per in the early 1970s for Paramount Studios
specifically proposing a digital nonlinear method-
ology for editing the original Godfather (1972).2 At
the time, such a proposal was rejected as un-
wieldy. After all, early nonlinear systems just be-
ing born around that time were massively
expensive and required disk drives the size of
household appliances. They were large, expen-
sive, and cumbersome, and they relied on physi-
cal media (like videotape) for storage—a huge
limiting factor.

Years later, following his English Patient break-
through, Murch knew that even more freedom
was on its way for editors. That dream came to
fruition in 2003, when he became the first editor
to cut a studio feature—Cold Mountain, for Eng-
lish Patient director Anthony Minghella—using a
consumer-level digital system, Apple’s Final Cut

Key ConCepts
❚ Organizing is crucial. You first

need to pick hardware and
software for your nonlinear
editing system (NLE), includ-
ing a viewing monitor that
will allow you to display im-
ages in the resolution you
have chosen to work in. You
will also need to devise a
workflow strategy, including
how you will log and ingest
files, and what your storage
and backup solutions will be.

❚ Once editing begins, you’ll
arrange clips into folders or
bins so that you can effi-
ciently cull through your op-
tions. You will use your
timeline to view the entire
project as you build it. The
idea is to lay the project out
visually in a linear fashion on
your monitor and then move
material in and out of it until
you have your story cut to-
gether using a wide range of
specific assembly tech-
niques, transition methods,
and different approaches to
shortening, lengthening, or
otherwise manipulating clips.

11

C
h

a
p

te
r

11_LEI_1699_ch11_249-274.indd 251 2/9/15 9:08 AM

275

“If you put yourself into a scene, you can contribute to
what the director is giving you. Be a collaborator, not just

a pair of hands.”
– Michael Kahn, editor of more than 50 films, including Close Encounters of the

Third Kind (1977), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Lincoln (2012)

Telling the Story
through Editing

Editor William Goldenberg found himself particu-
larly challenged while trying to cut a scene in
Ben Affleck’s suspenseful drama Argo (2012),
which tells the tale of a group of American diplo-
mats attempting to escape Iran in 1979 at the
height of the Iranian hostage crisis. This crucial
two-minute scene featured no dialogue and no
action, just the main character, Tony Mendez
(played by Affleck), in a hotel room late at night,
drinking, smoking, and silently pondering
whether or not to disobey his superiors and initi-
ate a risky operation to save the diplomats the
next morning. The script required tension to
build as Mendez silently pondered his options,
but with no words and little action to use as

tension-building tools, Goldenberg had to adopt
a subtler approach.

To solve the challenge, Goldenberg realized he
had to focus on the character’s physicality as he
considers his dilemma. “I had to rely on Ben’s
acting—his facial expressions and body lan-
guage,” Goldenberg recalls.

He shot the scene about 10 times, with all
sorts of different coverage, and put himself into
a particularly emotional place each time. The
whole idea was to access the character’s emo-
tions, to watch him agonize over his decision-
making process. As the editor, I went searching
for the right takes that showed the progression

Key ConCepts
❚ As an editor, you are first

and foremost a storyteller,
responsible during the vari-
ous phases of editing for
weaving the disparate visual
and sound elements created
from the beginning of pro-
duction into a cohesive, fo-
cused whole that viewers
can both follow and connect
to emotionally.

❚ A good editor pays particular
attention to tempo and pace,
and how best to transition
out of one scene and into
another. A wide variety of
time-tested techniques exist
for making these types of
transitions.

❚ Good editors adhere to basic
principles for cutting
(180-degree rule, eyeline
match) unless they have spe-
cific reasons for violating
them, and they employ a
range of editing styles. Do
not attempt to adopt any one
style as some sort of signa-
ture approach to editing;
each story is unique and typ-
ically requires different com-
binations of styles.

12

C
h

a
p

te
r

Argo (2012)

12_LEI_1699_ch12_275-296.indd 275 1/14/15 2:24 PM

Informed guIdance about all areas of
fIlmmakIng from expert authors.
Filmmaking in Action addresses technical logistics, storytelling challenges, and business
complexities in a single book, offering a deep and immersive approach to filmmaking. Topics
like editing, cinematography, and sound design are covered dynamically with a focus on
technical mastery and creating effective, memorable moments in a film’s story.

a full spectrum of InformatIon, hInts, and tIps.
Boxed features look at filmmaking from different and productive angles: Tech Talk discusses
the hardware filmmakers will encounter in the classroom and on the job, Business Smarts
explains the ins and outs of financing and deal making, and Producer Smarts provides
big-picture examples of a producer’s role. All three boxed features appear throughout the
book’s chapters, providing a variety of perspectives on technology, business, and production
management. Filmmaking in Action also includes marginal tips related to the subjects at hand,
packing the book with practical, accessible instruction.

191

tech
Lamps are measured in watts; power is mea-
sured in amps. Most homes and commercial
buildings have circuit breakers that are rated
for 15 or 20 amps, but you should always
check the circuit breaker when you’re on loca-
tion to see how many amps are in each circuit.
How can you know when you’re drawing too
much power and might blow out a circuit? Use
this simple formula: WATTS ÷ VOLTS = AMPS.

Let’s use the number 100 for volts.
(Household current in the United States is

supposed to be 120 volts, but it can actually
vary from 105 V to 120 V; in most of the rest of
the world, it varies from 200 V to 240 V.) If
you’re using lighting instruments that total
1500 watts, then 1500 WATTS ÷ 100 VOLTS
= 15 AMPS. That’s already at the maximum
capacity of most household circuits, so you’ll
need to use another circuit or an external
generator if you need more power. Overloading
a fuse in an older building can result in a seri-
ous fire.

Don’t Blow That Circuit!

T
A

L
K

❚ The Westcott 500-watt constant light produces a soft general light, perfect for
portraits or green-screen work. Its color temperature is 5400 K, which means
it is balanced for sunlight.

❚ The Westcott Spiderlite comes with a range of possibilities. It is useful for
lighting backgrounds, and it features interchangeable tungsten (interior) and
fluorescent (daylight-balanced) lamps. You can use it to light a background or
a green screen.

❚ The Fresnel spotlight is the workhorse of studio productions. It produces a
bright, hard light, and with a slider, you can adjust the beam from a tightly fo-
cused spot to a widely focused flood. The difference between the intense cen-
ter of this light and the light around the edges is called falloff. In spot position,
the falloff is rapid; in flood position, the wider light beam is more diffused, so
the falloff between the center and the edges is said to be slow.

❚ Inkies are small, three-inch Fresnels.
They are lightweight and easily po-
sitioned for touch-ups and accents.

❚ Tungsten spotlights are spot-
lights powered by a tungsten
lamp, which offers the highest
amount of brightness in the small-
est possible fixture. Tungsten
lamps have been used in filmmak-
ing for more than 50 years and
burn at 3200 K, which is why inte-
rior lighting is sometimes called
“tungsten balanced.”

❚ Floodlights cover a wide area
with even light and produce little
or no shadows. The most popular
floodlights for filmmaking are
softlights, which are small and

beWare sudden
brIghtness
When a tungsten or incandescent
bulb suddenly gets brighter, it is
about to burn out.

This shot uses a fluorescent light manufactured by Kino Flo, one of the most popular providers of
movie and TV lighting.

08_LEI_1699_ch08_177-198.indd 191 2/9/15 11:14 AM

38

business

S
M

A
R

T
S

A Writer’s Contract

If you’re going to write for or with someone else,
you need to have a contract—a written legal
document that clearly explains what everyone
has agreed to. Seek competent legal advice on
any contract before you sign it, especially if it is
a professional screenwriting contract, which
usually runs 30 or more pages long and
contains rather sophisticated provisions.

Following are some common points a
contract will include:

❚ If you are writing with someone else (a
writing partner). Who owns the material? If
someone buys it, how will the money be
split? How will writing credit be determined?
If you come to a creative parting of ways in
the future, what happens?

❚ An option (an agreement to purchase
something in the future). For example, in
independent films, a producer might option a
script for one dollar for 12 months.
(Producers and studios may option material
for much more money, too.) That would
mean the producer pays the writer one dollar
and has the right to buy the screenplay
sometime during the next 12 months. An
option must specify the time period and the
purchase price. Sometimes, options have a
renewal built in, which means the option
period can be extended for a pre-agreed-to
time for a pre-agreed-to price.

❚ Purchase price (what the writer will be
paid to sell rights to the script). The
purchase price typically consists of
immediate cash plus back-end money, or a
percentage of future profits, if any. Note that
most films don’t make a profit.

❚ What happens if the movie isn’t made?
Do you get the project back? After what
period of time? Would you have to repay
some or all of the money in order to get your
project back?

❚ Writing steps. If a writer is hired on an open
assignment, the writer will be contracted for
one or more writing steps. These steps may
be a first draft, a revision, or a polish—levels
of work defined by the Writers Guild. The
writer will be paid some money on com-
mencement of each step (at the start of
writing) and the balance on delivery of the
final step (when the script is turned in).

❚ Credit. If you are working on a non–Writers
Guild movie, your contract should specify your
writing credit and how you want to be credited
on-screen, in posters, or in advertisements.
Typically, the writer’s credit is placed
immediately before the director’s credit, and
the writer’s contract will specify that the
writer’s name must be the same size,
boldness, and typeface as the names of other
people getting credit. If the Writers Guild is
governing the project, it has the sole power to
determine writing credit; the producers or the
studio have no say in the matter.

❚ Rights. You’ll need to state that the work is
entirely your original creation—that you own
the work—or, if the work is an adaptation,
that you have been given the rights to the
underlying work. If your script is purchased,
you will be selling all of your rights unless
you negotiate to retain some rights. Writers
are sometimes able to retain certain rights,
such as novelization or live-stage rights, but
this is uncommon.

❚ Sequels and remakes. Your contract may
address whether or not you need to be
offered the first crack at writing any projects
based on your original work and if you will
have any share in the profits from those
projects regardless of your writing involve-
ment. This stipulation is very important if
your script ultimately becomes the basis for
a hit studio franchise.

02_LEI_1699_ch02_017-042.indd 38 1/14/15 9:47 AM

11

printed page to a polished movie that an audience can watch and, if you did your
job right, relate to. Logistics, details, and nuances will grow and shrink in impor-
tance during a project and from project to project depending on a host of factors
(see Business Smarts: Taking Care of Business, p. 15), but this basic filmmaking
process will be the key to getting you where you want to go.

This journey is the focus of this textbook—not only identifying the steps you
need to take but also examining how you can logically go about taking them in a
creative and meaningful way. Loosely speaking, the basic components of a movie
include recording and combining for eventual display the following elements:

❚ Images, including the use and manipulation of light and darkness

❚ Movement

❚ Sound

producer

If you glance at the table of contents, you will
see there is no separate chapter on producing.
Although we discuss many of the producer’s
managerial tasks throughout the book and in
these Producer Smarts sections, we do not
focus specifically on this one job alone. Why
not? Our reasoning is that a producer needs to
know about every aspect of filmmaking; thus,
every chapter in this book is, to a degree, a
producing chapter. At the end of the day, the
producer bears final responsibility for all
business and creative aspects of a movie. In
this class, although you may not have anyone
who is officially credited as a “producer,” the
functions that a producer handles must still
get done, whether you are making a one-
minute class assignment, a short film, or a
full-length feature. Here are some basic
considerations:

❚ Calculate your limitations. How long can the
film be? What resources are available in
terms of time, budget, equipment, actors,
locations, costumes, and props?

❚ Plan the production carefully to achieve the
best creative outcome by making sure that
the script is in good shape, that everyone

involved is properly suited for his or her role,
and that there is a reasonable schedule.

❚ Manage the day-to-day, or minute-by-
minute, operation of the shoot by making
sure that everything—and everyone—is
ready and that there is a list of priorities, so
that if something needs to be cut or plans
change, the movie will still work without it,
and if something needs to be added, you will
have a plan for how you are going to do it.

❚ Be a supportive friend in the editorial and
finishing process by verifying that there are
resources at hand and by being an adviser
on creative decisions.

❚ Share the film with a representative sample
of the audience as early as possible, to get
an objective reaction, so that the director
and editor still have time to improve it before
the deadline.

❚ Make sure the film is screened under
optimum conditions—in an appropriate
setting and for the right audience.

❚ Support your team creatively and emotionally
throughout the process.

Congratulations, You Are
a Movie Producer!

S
M

A
R

T
S

01_LEI_1699_ch01_001-016.indd 11 2/9/15 3:16 PM To Access LaunchPad for FILMMAKING IN ACTION
If your book came packaged with an access card to LaunchPad for Filmmaking
in Action, follow the card’s login instructions. To learn more about or purchase
access to LaunchPad for Filmmaking in Action, go to launchpadworks.com.

Where Students Learn

LaunchPad for FILMMAKING IN ACTION
launchpadworks.com
At Bedford/St. Martin’s, we are committed to providing online resources that
meet your needs in simple, helpful ways. We’ve taken what we’ve learned from
instructors and students like you to create a new generation of technology
featuring LaunchPad, which makes it easy to find our online resources, do your
assignments, and prepare for exams.

Interactivity with the Print Book
Combining video interviews with experts, firsthand case studies from real
movie sets, links to professional resources, and more, the interactive units of
LaunchPad for Filmmaking in Action bring together all of the study tools for the
book, chapter by chapter.

Callouts throughout the book—at the end of each chapter and in the How Do I…?
boxes—point you to video interviews with film industry professionals about
directing, writing, editing, shooting, marketing, and more. (See a full list on the
facing page.) LaunchPad for Filmmaking in Action also includes additional behind-
the-scenes insights and tips from the authors and other top professionals.

Your instructor may assign these videos or readings as part of your coursework
or use them in class. You can also use these resources on your own to learn
more about areas of filmmaking that are of interest you. No matter how you use
them, these videos will help you gain a deeper understanding of the subjects
at hand, and better prepare you for your own filmmaking projects. You can also
upload, embed, and collaborate on video assignments with your instructor and
your film team with the NEW video assignments tool, making it easy to do the
work of the class.

Page 210

182 part 2 Image and Sound

versus evil world of superheroes is more black and white (more contrast), whereas
the subtle world of a family has more shades of gray (less contrast).

Directional and Diffused Lighting
Thus far, the lighting you’ve learned about has been directional lighting, which
means it comes from a clearly defined source, such as a lamp or the sun. Directional
lighting is, by its nature, harsh and specific; it has sharp edges, casts sharp shad-
ows, and has rapid fall off, which means its intensity diminishes quickly beyond its
area of focus. For example, if there is a floor lamp in your room, you’ll notice that it
makes a sharp circle of light on the floor, which is defined by the boundaries of the
lampshade, and that the light falls off quickly beyond the circle. If you stand out-
side in bright sunlight, you’ll see that your shadow is crisply defined.

But what if you want softer lighting, which is more even and, therefore, less
directional? This second type of lighting is called diffused lighting. If you’re
standing outside and clouds pass over the sun, your shadow will nearly vanish as
the light loses its sharp edges, yet the whole scene will be clearly illuminated.
This is an example of diffused lighting in action.

As a cinematographer, you will use both directional lighting and diffused
lighting, depending on what you are shooting. Most films and television produc-
tions use directional lighting in a majority of their scenes. Commercial and fashion
photography often use diffused lighting to create a glossy, smooth lighting ambi-
ance, without high contrast and sharp shadows. Later in this chapter, you’ll learn
about different tools you can use to achieve diffused lighting.

Measuring Lighting
Whether lighting is direct or diffused, it can be measured with a light meter.
Light meters show light intensity, which is measured in foot-candles. A foot-
candle is a standard unit of measure (like a quart or a pound) and is defined as the
amount of illumination one candle casts on a surface one foot away. The metric (or
Standard International) equivalent is the lux, which is the amount of illumination
one candle casts on a surface one meter away; one foot-candle is approximately
10 lux. Many light meters immediately translate foot-candles into f-stops, which
you learned about in Chapter 6, and will give you an f-stop reading based on the
shutter speed and ISO you have entered.

There are three kinds of light meters: reflected light, incident light, and spot.
Reflected-light meters measure the overall light in the entire scene by dis-

playing average light. The light meter in a digital camera is a reflected-light me-
ter, and it is generally useful when the contrast you’re trying to achieve is not too
high. A handheld reflected-light meter is more accurate; you should hold it next
to the camera lens to get the best information. Any reflected-light meter will indi-
cate if there is sufficient baselight—enough light for the image-capture medium
to register an image properly.

When there are extreme differences in lighting levels, as, for example, when
there is a lot of light flooding through a window and not much light in the room,
the “average” reflected light will probably not give you the look you want—some
areas will be either too light or too dark.

An incident-light meter solves this problem by measuring light at a specific
place in the scene. A cinematographer will often walk to a certain spot on the set
and take a reading with the incident-light meter to make sure the camera’s f-stop
is correct. An incident-light meter measures the light that is incoming toward
your subject. For that reason, you hold it where the subject is, face it outward, and

FOR BEAuTY, gO SOFT
“Beauty” lighting, which empha-
sizes how good the actors look, is
best done with softer, more dif-
fused light. Keep in mind that in
high definition, every little wrinkle
and blemish on an actor’s face
will be captured, therefore requir-
ing just the right light to make the
actor look better.

08_LEI_1699_ch08_177-198.indd 182 2/9/15 11:14 AM

Page 211

Chapter 8 Lighting Skills 183

read the amount of light. For example, you always want to make sure the actor’s
face is properly lit, and an incident-light meter will help you make sure you have
given the actor sufficient light.

But what if you want to find out how much light is reflected from a specific
subject? This is useful because it’s the light that will actually come to your cam-
era. For this you need a spot meter, which measures the amount of reflected light
in a specific area of a shot. You hold it like a rifle scope and “sight” what you wish
to measure, such as an actor’s face; the reading in the spot meter will tell you if
the actor’s face has enough light.

DSLR cameras, which began as still cameras and evolved into video cameras,
have spot meters built in. However, cameras that are designed as video cameras
do not, and for these cameras, using light meters is essential. On professional
shoots, cinematographers use a specialized video monitor to check lighting levels.
Here is the process:

❚ Look at the shot in the monitor to see how it appears overall.

❚ Check the waveform information on the monitor, which dis-
plays specific aspects of the video signal, to see if there is
enough luminance (brightness) and if the blacks and whites
are acceptable. (See Chapter 11, p. 271.)

❚ Check the vectorscope setting, which allows you to visualize
the levels of color hue and saturation in a graphic format. (See
Chapter 11, p. 271.)

❚ Use color bars to make sure the colors appear accurate. (On
professional productions, the monitor is carefully calibrated to
make sure the impression of color and contrast is accurate.
Color bars approximate this calibration.)

❚ Use a handheld light meter to double-check and confirm light-
ing levels.

❚ Shoot a test. This is advisable in extreme, if not all, lighting
setups.

Exposure
Exposure is the total amount of light that falls on the image-capture medium; it is
the means by which contrast shows itself. Only with balanced exposure can you
create the contrast and level of visual detail you’re aiming for; otherwise, your
images will be too dark (underexposed) or too bright (overexposed), and you
won’t be able to see all the details.

To manipulate exposure, cinematographers follow these four basic steps:

1. Take accurate lighting measurements of the entire scene, as well as the spe-
cific person or area that is to be the focus of the scene.

2. Know the sensitivity of the capture medium. For digital video, this means set-
ting the ISO. For film cameras, this means using a film stock with an ISO that’s
right for the scene.

3. Adjust the camera’s f-stop.

4. Adjust the camera’s shutter speed.

TAKiNg MEASuREMENTS
Using as many of the light meters as you
have available in your class (reflected light,
incident light, or spot), take light measure-
ments in both an interior and an exterior
setup, recording the f-stop from each mea-
surement. Then, using the automatic meter
on your camera, take note of the f-stop the
camera recommends. Are the camera’s auto-
matic meter and your handheld meters giving
you different information? Explain why or
why not.

EXPOSE THE FACE
The most important part of any
scene is the actor’s face. In gen-
eral, if the face is well exposed,
the rest of the scene can be over-
or underexposed, and the audi-
ence will forgive you.

08_LEI_1699_ch08_177-198.indd 183 2/9/15 11:14 AM

Page 419

mech_Leipzig-FilmmakinginAction-SE-060315

Learn about the film industry from the experts.

Filmmaking in Action
guides you through every

step of the production

process, including script

writing, lighting, shooting,

editing, marketing, and

more. Industry experts

Adam Leipzig, Barry Weiss,

and Michael Goldman offer

invaluable knowledge,

firsthand experience,

and unparalleled access

to Hollywood’s best and

brightest.

251

“The editorial workflow is in large measure determined by
how the footage is shot, how sound is recorded, and how

dailies are processed.”
– Mindy Elliott, veteran assistant editor of films including Nebraska (2013),

The Descendants (2011), and Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Editing Skills

The English Patient (1997)

Reflecting in the early 2000s on the huge suc-
cess he found the first time he edited a major
motion picture using an entirely nonlinear digital
editing platform—earning two Academy Awards
for his work on The English Patient (1997),
one for sound editing and the other, the first
ever given for picture editing using nonlinear
technology—famed editor Walter Murch looked
both back and ahead when contextualizing his
beloved industry’s transition from analog, linear
film editing into the digital, nonlinear, random-
access realm. In interviews with his friend
Michael Ondaatje, author of the book on which
The English Patient was based, Murch suggested
that film editing was still in something of an in-
between phase in terms of where it had been and
where it might be heading.

On the one hand, Murch said, basic editing
concepts had hardly changed at all. “Three things

you are deciding are: what shot shall I use?
Where shall I begin it? Where shall I end it?”1

On the other hand, even at that early moment
of the digital revolution, Murch was hungry for
what he saw looming just ahead—a more demo-
cratic editing landscape in which tools were ac-
cessible, affordable, more powerful, and flexible:
the kind of landscape, in other words, that is now
available to you as film students. It’s an environ-
ment Murch had been dreaming about since even
before he and Francis Ford Coppola penned a pa-
per in the early 1970s for Paramount Studios
specifically proposing a digital nonlinear method-
ology for editing the original Godfather (1972).2 At
the time, such a proposal was rejected as un-
wieldy. After all, early nonlinear systems just be-
ing born around that time were massively
expensive and required disk drives the size of
household appliances. They were large, expen-
sive, and cumbersome, and they relied on physi-
cal media (like videotape) for storage—a huge
limiting factor.

Years later, following his English Patient break-
through, Murch knew that even more freedom
was on its way for editors. That dream came to
fruition in 2003, when he became the first editor
to cut a studio feature—Cold Mountain, for Eng-
lish Patient director Anthony Minghella—using a
consumer-level digital system, Apple’s Final Cut

Key ConCepts
❚ Organizing is crucial. You first

need to pick hardware and
software for your nonlinear
editing system (NLE), includ-
ing a viewing monitor that
will allow you to display im-
ages in the resolution you
have chosen to work in. You
will also need to devise a
workflow strategy, including
how you will log and ingest
files, and what your storage
and backup solutions will be.

❚ Once editing begins, you’ll
arrange clips into folders or
bins so that you can effi-
ciently cull through your op-
tions. You will use your
timeline to view the entire
project as you build it. The
idea is to lay the project out
visually in a linear fashion on
your monitor and then move
material in and out of it until
you have your story cut to-
gether using a wide range of
specific assembly tech-
niques, transition methods,
and different approaches to
shortening, lengthening, or
otherwise manipulating clips.

11

C
h

a
p

te
r

11_LEI_1699_ch11_249-274.indd 251 2/9/15 9:08 AM

275

“If you put yourself into a scene, you can contribute to
what the director is giving you. Be a collaborator, not just

a pair of hands.”
– Michael Kahn, editor of more than 50 films, including Close Encounters of the

Third Kind (1977), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Lincoln (2012)

Telling the Story
through Editing

Editor William Goldenberg found himself particu-
larly challenged while trying to cut a scene in
Ben Affleck’s suspenseful drama Argo (2012),
which tells the tale of a group of American diplo-
mats attempting to escape Iran in 1979 at the
height of the Iranian hostage crisis. This crucial
two-minute scene featured no dialogue and no
action, just the main character, Tony Mendez
(played by Affleck), in a hotel room late at night,
drinking, smoking, and silently pondering
whether or not to disobey his superiors and initi-
ate a risky operation to save the diplomats the
next morning. The script required tension to
build as Mendez silently pondered his options,
but with no words and little action to use as

tension-building tools, Goldenberg had to adopt
a subtler approach.

To solve the challenge, Goldenberg realized he
had to focus on the character’s physicality as he
considers his dilemma. “I had to rely on Ben’s
acting—his facial expressions and body lan-
guage,” Goldenberg recalls.

He shot the scene about 10 times, with all
sorts of different coverage, and put himself into
a particularly emotional place each time. The
whole idea was to access the character’s emo-
tions, to watch him agonize over his decision-
making process. As the editor, I went searching
for the right takes that showed the progression

Key ConCepts
❚ As an editor, you are first

and foremost a storyteller,
responsible during the vari-
ous phases of editing for
weaving the disparate visual
and sound elements created
from the beginning of pro-
duction into a cohesive, fo-
cused whole that viewers
can both follow and connect
to emotionally.

❚ A good editor pays particular
attention to tempo and pace,
and how best to transition
out of one scene and into
another. A wide variety of
time-tested techniques exist
for making these types of
transitions.

❚ Good editors adhere to basic
principles for cutting
(180-degree rule, eyeline
match) unless they have spe-
cific reasons for violating
them, and they employ a
range of editing styles. Do
not attempt to adopt any one
style as some sort of signa-
ture approach to editing;
each story is unique and typ-
ically requires different com-
binations of styles.

12

C
h

a
p

te
r

Argo (2012)

12_LEI_1699_ch12_275-296.indd 275 1/14/15 2:24 PM

Informed guIdance about all areas of
fIlmmakIng from expert authors.
Filmmaking in Action addresses technical logistics, storytelling challenges, and business
complexities in a single book, offering a deep and immersive approach to filmmaking. Topics
like editing, cinematography, and sound design are covered dynamically with a focus on
technical mastery and creating effective, memorable moments in a film’s story.

a full spectrum of InformatIon, hInts, and tIps.
Boxed features look at filmmaking from different and productive angles: Tech Talk discusses
the hardware filmmakers will encounter in the classroom and on the job, Business Smarts
explains the ins and outs of financing and deal making, and Producer Smarts provides
big-picture examples of a producer’s role. All three boxed features appear throughout the
book’s chapters, providing a variety of perspectives on technology, business, and production
management. Filmmaking in Action also includes marginal tips related to the subjects at hand,
packing the book with practical, accessible instruction.

191

tech
Lamps are measured in watts; power is mea-
sured in amps. Most homes and commercial
buildings have circuit breakers that are rated
for 15 or 20 amps, but you should always
check the circuit breaker when you’re on loca-
tion to see how many amps are in each circuit.
How can you know when you’re drawing too
much power and might blow out a circuit? Use
this simple formula: WATTS ÷ VOLTS = AMPS.

Let’s use the number 100 for volts.
(Household current in the United States is

supposed to be 120 volts, but it can actually
vary from 105 V to 120 V; in most of the rest of
the world, it varies from 200 V to 240 V.) If
you’re using lighting instruments that total
1500 watts, then 1500 WATTS ÷ 100 VOLTS
= 15 AMPS. That’s already at the maximum
capacity of most household circuits, so you’ll
need to use another circuit or an external
generator if you need more power. Overloading
a fuse in an older building can result in a seri-
ous fire.

Don’t Blow That Circuit!

T
A

L
K

❚ The Westcott 500-watt constant light produces a soft general light, perfect for
portraits or green-screen work. Its color temperature is 5400 K, which means
it is balanced for sunlight.

❚ The Westcott Spiderlite comes with a range of possibilities. It is useful for
lighting backgrounds, and it features interchangeable tungsten (interior) and
fluorescent (daylight-balanced) lamps. You can use it to light a background or
a green screen.

❚ The Fresnel spotlight is the workhorse of studio productions. It produces a
bright, hard light, and with a slider, you can adjust the beam from a tightly fo-
cused spot to a widely focused flood. The difference between the intense cen-
ter of this light and the light around the edges is called falloff. In spot position,
the falloff is rapid; in flood position, the wider light beam is more diffused, so
the falloff between the center and the edges is said to be slow.

❚ Inkies are small, three-inch Fresnels.
They are lightweight and easily po-
sitioned for touch-ups and accents.

❚ Tungsten spotlights are spot-
lights powered by a tungsten
lamp, which offers the highest
amount of brightness in the small-
est possible fixture. Tungsten
lamps have been used in filmmak-
ing for more than 50 years and
burn at 3200 K, which is why inte-
rior lighting is sometimes called
“tungsten balanced.”

❚ Floodlights cover a wide area
with even light and produce little
or no shadows. The most popular
floodlights for filmmaking are
softlights, which are small and

beWare sudden
brIghtness
When a tungsten or incandescent
bulb suddenly gets brighter, it is
about to burn out.

This shot uses a fluorescent light manufactured by Kino Flo, one of the most popular providers of
movie and TV lighting.

08_LEI_1699_ch08_177-198.indd 191 2/9/15 11:14 AM

38

business

S
M

A
R

T
S

A Writer’s Contract

If you’re going to write for or with someone else,
you need to have a contract—a written legal
document that clearly explains what everyone
has agreed to. Seek competent legal advice on
any contract before you sign it, especially if it is
a professional screenwriting contract, which
usually runs 30 or more pages long and
contains rather sophisticated provisions.

Following are some common points a
contract will include:

❚ If you are writing with someone else (a
writing partner). Who owns the material? If
someone buys it, how will the money be
split? How will writing credit be determined?
If you come to a creative parting of ways in
the future, what happens?

❚ An option (an agreement to purchase
something in the future). For example, in
independent films, a producer might option a
script for one dollar for 12 months.
(Producers and studios may option material
for much more money, too.) That would
mean the producer pays the writer one dollar
and has the right to buy the screenplay
sometime during the next 12 months. An
option must specify the time period and the
purchase price. Sometimes, options have a
renewal built in, which means the option
period can be extended for a pre-agreed-to
time for a pre-agreed-to price.

❚ Purchase price (what the writer will be
paid to sell rights to the script). The
purchase price typically consists of
immediate cash plus back-end money, or a
percentage of future profits, if any. Note that
most films don’t make a profit.

❚ What happens if the movie isn’t made?
Do you get the project back? After what
period of time? Would you have to repay
some or all of the money in order to get your
project back?

❚ Writing steps. If a writer is hired on an open
assignment, the writer will be contracted for
one or more writing steps. These steps may
be a first draft, a revision, or a polish—levels
of work defined by the Writers Guild. The
writer will be paid some money on com-
mencement of each step (at the start of
writing) and the balance on delivery of the
final step (when the script is turned in).

❚ Credit. If you are working on a non–Writers
Guild movie, your contract should specify your
writing credit and how you want to be credited
on-screen, in posters, or in advertisements.
Typically, the writer’s credit is placed
immediately before the director’s credit, and
the writer’s contract will specify that the
writer’s name must be the same size,
boldness, and typeface as the names of other
people getting credit. If the Writers Guild is
governing the project, it has the sole power to
determine writing credit; the producers or the
studio have no say in the matter.

❚ Rights. You’ll need to state that the work is
entirely your original creation—that you own
the work—or, if the work is an adaptation,
that you have been given the rights to the
underlying work. If your script is purchased,
you will be selling all of your rights unless
you negotiate to retain some rights. Writers
are sometimes able to retain certain rights,
such as novelization or live-stage rights, but
this is uncommon.

❚ Sequels and remakes. Your contract may
address whether or not you need to be
offered the first crack at writing any projects
based on your original work and if you will
have any share in the profits from those
projects regardless of your writing involve-
ment. This stipulation is very important if
your script ultimately becomes the basis for
a hit studio franchise.

02_LEI_1699_ch02_017-042.indd 38 1/14/15 9:47 AM

11

printed page to a polished movie that an audience can watch and, if you did your
job right, relate to. Logistics, details, and nuances will grow and shrink in impor-
tance during a project and from project to project depending on a host of factors
(see Business Smarts: Taking Care of Business, p. 15), but this basic filmmaking
process will be the key to getting you where you want to go.

This journey is the focus of this textbook—not only identifying the steps you
need to take but also examining how you can logically go about taking them in a
creative and meaningful way. Loosely speaking, the basic components of a movie
include recording and combining for eventual display the following elements:

❚ Images, including the use and manipulation of light and darkness

❚ Movement

❚ Sound

producer

If you glance at the table of contents, you will
see there is no separate chapter on producing.
Although we discuss many of the producer’s
managerial tasks throughout the book and in
these Producer Smarts sections, we do not
focus specifically on this one job alone. Why
not? Our reasoning is that a producer needs to
know about every aspect of filmmaking; thus,
every chapter in this book is, to a degree, a
producing chapter. At the end of the day, the
producer bears final responsibility for all
business and creative aspects of a movie. In
this class, although you may not have anyone
who is officially credited as a “producer,” the
functions that a producer handles must still
get done, whether you are making a one-
minute class assignment, a short film, or a
full-length feature. Here are some basic
considerations:

❚ Calculate your limitations. How long can the
film be? What resources are available in
terms of time, budget, equipment, actors,
locations, costumes, and props?

❚ Plan the production carefully to achieve the
best creative outcome by making sure that
the script is in good shape, that everyone

involved is properly suited for his or her role,
and that there is a reasonable schedule.

❚ Manage the day-to-day, or minute-by-
minute, operation of the shoot by making
sure that everything—and everyone—is
ready and that there is a list of priorities, so
that if something needs to be cut or plans
change, the movie will still work without it,
and if something needs to be added, you will
have a plan for how you are going to do it.

❚ Be a supportive friend in the editorial and
finishing process by verifying that there are
resources at hand and by being an adviser
on creative decisions.

❚ Share the film with a representative sample
of the audience as early as possible, to get
an objective reaction, so that the director
and editor still have time to improve it before
the deadline.

❚ Make sure the film is screened under
optimum conditions—in an appropriate
setting and for the right audience.

❚ Support your team creatively and emotionally
throughout the process.

Congratulations, You Are
a Movie Producer!

S
M

A
R

T
S

01_LEI_1699_ch01_001-016.indd 11 2/9/15 3:16 PM To Access LaunchPad for FILMMAKING IN ACTION
If your book came packaged with an access card to LaunchPad for Filmmaking
in Action, follow the card’s login instructions. To learn more about or purchase
access to LaunchPad for Filmmaking in Action, go to launchpadworks.com.

Where Students Learn

LaunchPad for FILMMAKING IN ACTION
launchpadworks.com
At Bedford/St. Martin’s, we are committed to providing online resources that
meet your needs in simple, helpful ways. We’ve taken what we’ve learned from
instructors and students like you to create a new generation of technology
featuring LaunchPad, which makes it easy to find our online resources, do your
assignments, and prepare for exams.

Interactivity with the Print Book
Combining video interviews with experts, firsthand case studies from real
movie sets, links to professional resources, and more, the interactive units of
LaunchPad for Filmmaking in Action bring together all of the study tools for the
book, chapter by chapter.

Callouts throughout the book—at the end of each chapter and in the How Do I…?
boxes—point you to video interviews with film industry professionals about
directing, writing, editing, shooting, marketing, and more. (See a full list on the
facing page.) LaunchPad for Filmmaking in Action also includes additional behind-
the-scenes insights and tips from the authors and other top professionals.

Your instructor may assign these videos or readings as part of your coursework
or use them in class. You can also use these resources on your own to learn
more about areas of filmmaking that are of interest you. No matter how you use
them, these videos will help you gain a deeper understanding of the subjects
at hand, and better prepare you for your own filmmaking projects. You can also
upload, embed, and collaborate on video assignments with your instructor and
your film team with the NEW video assignments tool, making it easy to do the
work of the class.

http://launchpadworks.com
http://launchpadworks.com

Page 420

http://macmillanhighered.com

Similer Documents