As Brian Tyler says, “your best work is only your best work, if works with the film”. Filmmaking is a collaborative creative process and the end goal can only be achieved when everyone works together. The creative process never stops, and for Brian, a project never finishes, it simply comes to an end when they run out of time. This is a lesson for us all; Brian is constantly building on what he has and striving to improve his pieces of music. For him, the work that goes out to the public is just a “snapshot” of the idea at the point he ran out of time. Don’t be afraid to change things as you go along as a director, don’t be afraid to allow your work to evolve. A piece of music can catch you off guard, and a piece that was meant to be drumming along in the background, can soon become the title music for the opening sequence. Allow your creativity to run free.
We know a musical score can make a film, but the film also makes the musical score. The film leads the way and influences composers work. As with any creative, they go through a process, just like if you’re directing a film or designing a set. Beginning by coming up with the central themes of the music he’s setting out to write, Brian normally starts at the piano. He maps out the themes of the piece he’s going to create; taking influence from the film. Brian discusses the relevance of knowing about the filmmaking process (take a look at our article on the 3 phases of filmmaking). Filmmaking tips and techniques are not just for the camera man. The more you know about the filming process, camera angles, lighting and editing, the easier it is to capture the essence of the film in the music.
As a director, if you’re asking someone to create a piece of music for your film – you need to involve them in your creative process and allow them to be part of your vision. Leaving them in the dark isn’t going to help them shed light on your film with a beautiful musical score. One of our top filmmaking tips for students has got to be to communicate. Communicating with the team around you will make your vision many times easier to achieve.
The director is the main man (or woman), and every director is going to enjoy different types of music. A film composer has to understand the different genres because all the filmmaking tips in the world won’t help someone who doesn’t know their genres. But equally, remember that your favourite piece of music might not be the best piece of music for your film. A composer needs to be central to the creative process and understand the director’s wants and needs, before they can really engage with the piece of music they’re creating. As a director, think about what a composer might need to know. Every composer will be different, just like every director will be different. You need to become a collaborative force, so together you can create something meaningful. With the right team around you, turning your filmmaking dreams into a reality is one step closer. Give this article about turning filmmaking dreams into reality a read to see what else goes into it.
To see Brian Tyler describing and explaining the above philosphy and approaches in his own words, check out this micro-documentary.
Halloween is fast approaching, and this might have started your creative juices flowing. No good horror film is complete without a good dose of gore special effects. So, here are some filmmaking tips and techniques to help you create practical gore effects, without breaking the bank. If you’re on a budget or are just a bit of a DIY’er, then you’ll have a great time with these.
If you’re creating the next Saw movie on a budget, you are going to need fake blood. There’s no better way to get exactly what you want than by making it yourself. You can make as much or as little as you want, and exactly how you want it. Here’s a great recipe for fake blood we found; it’s not harmful at all and you can tweak the recipe as you need!
If anyone is going to be wielding an axe in your horror film, open wounds are a must. You can fashion your very own open wounds with things you can find around the home. You can do this using toilet paper, glue and some makeup products. You use toilet paper and glue to create your wound shape and make it look realistic with makeup and some of the fake blood you made. Here’s a handy YouTube video which demonstrates how to do it. These wounds look great, and pretty realistic considering they’re effectively made out of loo roll.
Is it even a horror film if there isn’t an exploding head? I think not. This probably sounds like it’s going to be really difficult, but it’s actually one of those things that’s way easier than you might think. Thanks to a little bit of digital trickery, you can create an exploding head scene which would fool anyone. Take a look at this tutorial to see how it’s done, it’s got some great filmmaking tips and techniques. You’ll need a load of fake blood and a little bit of time to get that perfect blood spattered, horrified look from your actors.
If you want to ramp up the DIY and you are in need of a severed limb for your project, this tutorial shows you exactly how to create one. Beware: this is going to be time consuming, but it will be worth it as you horrify everyone with a super realistic severed hand. These filmmaking tricks will help you create some amazing effects.
Squibs and gunshots
You can’t give up easily when making a horror film, and if we’ve learned anything from spending hours and hours on zombie films (albeit often through fingers), it’s that the best way to protect yourself from an attack, is with a gun. To make your gunshot look effective, you’ll need to use a squib. This video shows you how to do this all yourself, in a relatively easy and very cheap way. It’s also really safe, meaning your actors aren’t going to get more than they bargained for.
If you have enjoyed reading this, take a look at our article on Breakthrough Technologies of 2017 which are set to Reshape Filmmaking.
A high-end, high-price cinema camera will not make a great filmmaker. Knowledge of the craft, a deep understanding of the language of cinema and the creative flair of the individual will make the next generation of filmmakers shine.
They all have to start somewhere and today’s image capturing technology is making that start more and more accessible. Of course, the professional kit is there – RED and Arri are out there and it’s tempting to think that a project is not going to be up to scratch without such 8K monsters. But audiences want to see a good story and nowadays a good story can be captured on and increasing number of affordable devices that allow student filmmakers to flex their burgeoning creativity.
At the higher end of the student budget the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera comes in at just under one thousand pounds and is becoming the go to camera body for the serious low-budget filmmaker. It’s small, easy to handle and produces excellent results. Just remember to budget for lenses, batteries and digital storage.
A step up from this is the URSA Mini 4K EF, also from Blackmagic. Another thousand pounds adds a 4K sensor and 12 stop dynamic range for that close to professional polish.
Perhaps the most popular format for those learning the craft is the DSLR. These are widely available and offer enough flexibility to allow even the keenest student to apply the latest filmmaking tips and techniques. Take a look at Adorama’s favourites in this field with the Canon 70D as the best all rounder for an easy to handle, robust camera that produces good results. Paired with the right lens it can produce great results. Again, remember to budget for batteries and storage.
There is another factor that the student filmmaker must consider with these budget cameras and that is sound. A big caveat with any of the units listed here is that a separate sound recorder will be a necessity – audiences will forgive picture definition being slightly off from perfect but loss of sound track fidelity is something that will seriously distract from the emotion that is being created for them. Try the Zoom H6 Handy Recorder, an external digital sound recorder with plenty of features and flexibility.
Traditional cameras are all well and good but let’s not forget that technology is moving forward apace such that now every filmmaking student will have the means to capture a visual story already in their pocket. Almost all filmmaking tips and techniques can be executed on the current generation of smartphones – check out Sean Baker’s Tangerine as proof. The ever evolving iPhone and Samsung S series are the pick of the crop that can handle 4K and 60fps footage.
One last branch of camera engineering that requires mention is that of drones. Costs are coming down and quality is going up. The Mavic Pro comes in at a thousand pounds and for that you get a 4K camera with 3-axis stabilisation. It’s not just the grand, sweeping aerial shots these machines create – they allow for crane shots and ultra-smooth tracking shots over the roughest terrain.
Once your students have the equipment that can further enhance their creativity, they’ll be free to apply all the filmmaking tricks that their emerging imaginations will want to express on the screen. Combine this with Quickclass.net’s filmmaking tips for student filmmakers and the next wave of visual storytellers will be on their ways to proving themselves.