So you say you want to make a movie

The second half of the Video and Sound course focuses on producing a short video by using Canon 5D cameras and Adobe Premiere Pro. As a team assignment, our group decide to make a 5-minute portrait of a specialist. In this post, I’m going to explain the process of how we make this video in general and some takeaways.

First, we began brainstorming by creating a storyboard using shots from existing movies. I found this method particularly inspiring because we got a chance to find and watch films we liked and learn from them. We’re not film school students, and we don’t have much time to study all the history and how the classic films are made. At this point, imitating is the most effective way to learn. In the end of our group discussion, we not only came up with a presentation of the shots we wanted to achieve visual-wise, but also made a detailed shot list to prepare us for the next step — shooting.

The storyboard consists of the shots from movies we like

Next, we made a trip to visit our interviewee, Che-Wei, and scout the environment before shooting. We used this chance to discuss our interview questions with Che-Wei, and in retrospect, I think it was a nice warm-up for a shy interviewee. In addition to the shot list, our preparation also included a list of the equipment. On the day of shooting, we brought two Canon 5D Mark III cameras, two Neewer LED lights with stands, two Zoom audio recorders, a shotgun mic, and extra batteries for each equipment. We shot our conversation with Che-Wei as main scenes, and then shot the supplemental footage based on the notes we took during the conversation. Overall, I think it was a successful progress because we were well-prepared.

Finally, we came back from the interview with 36GB of footage and were ready to start editing. In the beginning, we found it’s difficult to coordinate the details of what should be preserved or cut possibly because the editing work and the software are intended or designed for one-man task force. As a result, we produced four rough cuts individually, and selected the one we liked the most to continue. As a beginner of using Adobe Premiere Pro, I learned some useful skills by watching tutorials on Lynda.com, especially memorizing some keyboard shortcuts and three-point edits to speed up.

Overall, it was a great experience and teamwork. We were able to touch on every tool and thing we need to make a video from very beginning to end. We not only practiced the techniques, but also learned how to collaborate with team members effectively. Now let’s see what we made!

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