Production Diary

The latest goings on at Candle & Bell.

How to Make a Web Video (Part II)

You've thought long and hard about what you want to achieve with your video and who the target audience is. Working closely with a production company you've created the best script possible and decided on all the other particulars including cast, location and schedule. Now you're ready to move into production.

Production

Production refers to the first day of filming and ends when the shoot wraps. Shoots can vary in duration and complexity but generally they all adopt the same approach. If you have hired a production company to create your video, it is unlikely that you will be involved in the production stage. Whether you involve yourself with production or not the following will hopefully give you a small insight into the organisation of a video shoot.

The Schedule

During pre-production the producer or production manager will create a production schedule based upon the final script. This process is usually referred to as a 'script breakdown' whereby the production manager divides up elements of a script into various categories such as Cast, Special Effects, Props, Vehicles, Stunts and so on. The Production Manager will also carry out a process of marking 1/8s. This rather confusing principle stems from the idea that most pages of a screenplay are eight inches, so each inch is 1/8. If a scene adds up to 8/8 then it is noted as 1 page. If a scene adds up to 2 pages and 4/8's then, in principle, this adds up to 2.30 of screen time. By breaking the script into 1/8's the production manager will be able to accurately time a script and know how much of the script can be shot on any given day.

Using this information the production manager will then go on to formulate a schedule. A video or film is rarely filmed in sequential order which is why it is vital that the correct paperwork is created and distributed among the cast and crew. The day before each shooting day, the cast and crew will receive what is known as a Call Sheet, which is essentially the schedule for the next day's filming. The call sheet is broken down into a number of sections detailing all the information including the production office details, which scenes are scheduled to be filmed, which cast are involved and any specialised equipment that might be needed for that particular day.

The Crew

Depending on the budget and complexity of your online video shoot the crew can range from 5 to 15 people the following are the key roles that every film or video shoot should have a Producer (sometimes doubles as Production Manager), Director, Director of Photography, Sound Recordist, Assistant Director, Camera Assistant.

On a large scale production the crew can double or triple in size to include: A Gaffer (chief lighting technician), Best Boy (assistant to the Gaffer) 2nd and 3rd Assistant Directors, Floor Runners, Focus Puller (the person who sets the focus of the camera) Clapper Loader (person responsible for loading the camera and who notes each take) Boom Operator (person who holds the Boom Microphone), Location Manager and Catering.

The Jargon

If you're a client and decide to visit the production set of your video you'll hear a fair number of words and phrases that make absolutely no sense in the real world. Film Set Lingo has gained a reputation for being, in some instances, rather bizarre. Here are a few words and phrases to watch out for:

  • Turn Over/Roll Camera: called by the 1st Assistant Director to start the camera rolling.
  • Speed: Called by the Sound recordist when sound is ready to record; Also called by the 1st AC when the camera is ready to record.
  • Eyeline: The eyeline of an actor refers to the direction they are looking while performing. All crew must avoid the actor's eyeline.
  • Sparks: Electricians.
  • Best Boy: The assistant to the Gaffer or Chief Lighting Technician.
  • Grips Department: the department responsible for building and maintaining the equipment that supports the camera, for example a tripod or crane.
  • Apple Box: A solid wooden box that comes in standard sizes of full, half, quarter and pancake.
  • MOS: means 'without sound' and indicates that a scene doesn't require sound.
  • Blondes and Redheads: These are different types of lights used on a set.
  • Clapper Board: A board that holds information about the shot usually filmed before the take.
  • Second Sticks: a call made by or to the Clapper Loader to inform them that the clap of the slate sticks was not captured properly and is needed again.
  • Video Village: the area in which monitors are placed for the director, clients and other production personnel to view the action.
  • Wrap: means 'wind reel and print' and signals the end of the shooting day or the end of the production.

Depending on the scale of the project, production on a web video can last between 1 day and 1 week. If the planning and scheduling has been carried out and no changes have had to be made you will be on time, on budget, and ready to move into post-production.

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