Pre Production

This started as FaceBook post to my group for my film students, but I think it is worth sharing with anyone.  We are participating in the the Ten Day Film Challenge for the next 2 weeks.  I am really looking forward to our production next week. Students from all 3 levels will be collaborating to produce a short film.  Before the first day was over, the students came up with an idea for a script and began to write it.  We now have a script and are planning the production schedule for next week.

This morning, I was previewing some YouTube videos for my class. I have learned my lesson with this.  EVEN IF IT IS DISNEY TRAILER preview it first.  I want to recommend Rocket Jump Film School to everyone involved with the teaching film and video production. They have playlists divided by area everything from breaking down a script and editing to visual effects.

We can all learn from these videos. Some of these you may show in class. Others you will never show in class for a variety of reasons. Some of the content may need a little censoring.  This is no worse then anything they see on TV during prime time, but I try to aim for a PG rating for my class.  I plan on contacting RJFS and Film Riot to beg for more school appropriate content.  That being said I don’t play films in my class for entertainment, unlike some math teachers I have worked with. This is excellent content.  It helps to fill in the holes in areas that are not my speciality.

This is what I posted for my students earlier today.  If you have a few minutes watch 2 or 20 of these videos in an area that interests you.  Remember film making is a team effort. When you get better so does the team. Your role is very important to the film making process. Learn more then one role, there can only be one director, DP or lead actor. Make yourself a MVP by doing multiple jobs when needed. I learned a few things this morning and so can you. GO TEAM!

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Bring Your Own Technology Update

I was hoping by now to have a BYOT video to share. I am working on writing the first 12 episodes which I plan on releasing every 2 weeks. This should get me enough videos to last until the Christmas break. I will record all the episodes over several days. Then I will edit them as needed. So far I have 3 scripts close to being finished. They would all be finished but this has been a busy summer.
Last year, we were told to not say we were busy. Apparently, it is better to give people the impression that you are ignoring them then to say you are busy. Actions speak louder than words, but that is a topic for another time. Anyway I have been busy. For someone who works as a teacher 9 months of the year, I would expect to have had more free time in the last month. Nothing could be further from the truth. This isn’t a bad thing. I am enjoying everything I am doing. With that being said something is going to get missed. In this case my BYOT videos.
Since the last day of May, I have sold, recorded, edited and mailed 50 copies of my school’s graduation. This could have been done quicker at my school, but I was trying to finish before my last day of work. For the first time since I began, I didn’t work additional days to complete the task. This was made possible by working all weekend and by chasing down the person for the last video sold to hand them their copy, instead of mailing it.
The very same day, I recorded several episodes of Tap That. This has been our regular routine dedicating one day a week to working on Curious Intentions projects. We have hit a few bumps in the road, but we have kept a good schedule. For an example, we are excited about the new iOS but should we continue to produce videos for the old iOS. So we are going to put out one video a week until iOS 7 is released.
The first day of June, I met with the producers of a children’s film to discuss working with them on a low budget film. So now I am working on it. We have had casting and the shooting begins next weekend.
The 2nd week of June brought the 48 hour film project which I participated in. This was my first time to direct, this type of project. My house served as team headquarters. So in addition to working the film, I had to clean up before and after the event, cook and host. That tacks on another 24. Here is the finished project.

Not long after finishing the film, we were meeting with an Atlanta director who pitched us a project for next summer. Most of this week was a blur because we were recovering from the 48 hour event.
The next week I went to the screening for our 48 hour entry. The other big item was brainstorming for a script for this summer.

So here it is I have been busy.  It has been a lot of fun.   I hope to have a BYOT video out soon, but it is looking kinda b….. Well I would rather not say.

Using iMovie on an iPhone

Every spring we have a night for the upcoming 8th graders. At this time, you need to put on a good show to recruit new students for your classes. I have tried a number of things, other students, green screens, interviewing people, but there is a lot of competition from other programs. Last year I decided to try something new. I usually have videos of student work playing, but that isn’t enough. So I decided to make a promotional video, one that was aimed directly at the students. I was thinking if they saw students having fun in my class, this might convince a few students to take my class. The problem is that by this time of the year, we are into full swing and all of my classes are doing production. I have had students make recruiting videos before but have been disappointed with the results. Although their videos are highly entertaining, they are seldom useful. Unless the 8th graders believed that ninjas would attack them if they didn’t sign up, I was going to need to make this video.
One day I took my students to the cafeteria so they could spread out and record commercials. This would be perfect day to record the students, if they were not using all of the cameras. I pulled my phone and began taking pictures thinking I might could use them for my website. After a few pictures I got the idea to shoot video. I had not been a big fan of cell phone video. However, it worked great and I quickly had a variety of shots.
About a week earlier, I had purchased iMovie for my phone. Although, I had no plans to use it for anything serious when I bought it, I decided to experiment with editing with it. I used iMovie on a desktop for a long time. It was a great program to teach students the basics of editing. Finally, I moved on to Final Cut Pro. Because I was training my students for careers in the broadcasting industry, I needed to use professional tools. However, I was quickly able to edit a 30 second promo for my class on a $5 phone app.
Here is the final product.
http://youtu.be/ki_exeaCQNs
Not too long after finishing the video, Apple released an update to iMovie which included several templates. I put together few more videos using the templates which I showed for the 8th grade night. Using the templates has some limitations, but it is a great starting point for beginner students.
In video production, we discuss workflow. This is the process of taking video from your camera, and transferring to your computer. Once in the computer, you can transfer the video into a variety of programs to edit, adjust audio and color and output to DVD and the web. It doesn’t seem like we are that far off from doing the entire process all on an iPhone.