Production is the most exciting part of filmmaking as it is where all of the planning and preparation is realised. Everything is set up, constructed, played out and committed to film. With digital technology you can view the results back that very evening with a process called ‘dailies’.
The first aspect of production that usually hits people is the expense of it, often the first question I get asked is how much the camera costs. While the cameras and lights etc can be expensive they are usually rented. The expensive part is usually the crew hours. Filmmaking is a niche discipline and is made up of lots of, even more, niche specialisms, each highly skilled and difficult to learn. This is why larger productions often cost tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds, sometimes millions.
There are several key aspects that are important to understand:
- Directing/story. Filmmaking is fundamentally a form of story telling and should be treated as such. No matter if you are creating a narrative commercial or a short social media promo, storytelling makes the difference between a video your target market can relate too, or another piece of video that can be easily forgotten. Amongst all the grips, gaffers, lenses and lights it all has to come down to how to tell the story best. Script is king. Directors’ are the most responsible of this and that is why everybody answers to them and checks with them before they do anything on set.
- Cinematography. The cinematographer runs the camera, electrical and lighting departments and is responsible for setting the mood and using the non-verbal language of cinema to tell the story. In collaboration with the director the lighting intensity, position and colour is set to convey an emotion that is dictated by the director and script as is the lens choice and all other aspects surrounding the image itself.
- Sound. Sound recording is one of the most important aspects that conveys quality. Nobody ever notices great sound but if it comes across tinny or fuzzy then it is the first thing that people will point out as poor. Dialogue needs to be clear and easy to understand and if music is to be added later it is important to factor this in as a mood setter.
- Production design. This is any art direction that is involved with physically constructing a set or designing an already existing location. This includes any practical lights, rugs, tables, chairs, clothes, costumes, props etc that are involved. Each of these, as with everything else, serves the script and the story. Almost all student films fall down in this department as films set in student halls always look budget and the same. The gangster film has lost a certain reality when it is set in a studio flat with a Pink Floyd poster on the wall.
There are many other aspects of production and each are very important. A film is the sum of its parts and if one department is lacking it can draw you out from the story entirely.
If you would like to know more about how we can create your production book your free consultation here.