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The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Lesson 3 of 15

Basic Film Terms

Bill Megalos

The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Bill Megalos

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Lesson Info

3. Basic Film Terms


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:14:31
2 The Three Eyes of Filmmaking Duration:18:59
3 Basic Film Terms Duration:12:18
5 Camera Mechanics Duration:20:32
6 Depth of Field Tools Duration:20:19
7 Framing & Shot Sizes Duration:12:55
8 Camera Holding Techniques Duration:19:24
10 Sound Basics: Learning to Hear Duration:24:45
11 Basic Interview Setup Duration:18:23
12 Interview Techniques Duration:17:59
14 Telling a Story Using Imagery Duration:17:10
15 Creating the Shots Duration:1:08:27

Lesson Info

Basic Film Terms

Every time you make a decision, how can I tell this decision? How can I shoot this shot so that has the most information and has the most meaning has this the house economic as powerful as possible? So there's a lot of work there and there's a lot of thinking so let's let's uh let's go onto this art just so that we can get get through some terms very quickly here as to what? So we can start using the terms you know, if you're a mechanic, you and you and you have an assistant or if you're a surgeon the surgeon needs a scalpel. Everybody needs to know the names of the tools, the names of the elements so we can start talking about them. The first thing here is a frame all right? We're tough right now I'm talking about the building blocks of sent over the building blocks of storytelling. Okay, the word frame means two things. It means the image that you see what's inside the frame like when I was on a wide shot there I was in close up, but it also means a single image like a photographic s...

till, the way that video works is that here in the united states we have twenty four frames per second in in europe and in asia it's usually twenty five frames a second, so these individual motion pictures as they start running very quickly we have this thing called persistence of vision it makes it look like motion so we went with the smallest absolute piece of film is called a frame um the next biggest the next bigger sizes called a shot all right a shot khun mean different things when you're when you're rolling when you when you're filming and different things when you're editing but basically it means from the moment the camera turns on until it's turned off and if I started recording something if I started and I started on a close up of this camera and I moved in I pant and I showed you guys here and then I turned off the camera that's a shot from the getting to hear till the beginning of the end alright if when I edited it I cut I just used this part before the camera started moving or this part that was still be a shop but a shot is from one from when the camera rolls until it stops rolling. The next biggest thing is called a scene all right a scene takes place and edited segment that shows action in one place and time so in that movie that we saw in that movie that we just saw do you remember when esmeralda is talking about herself and then you see a shot if you see a couple of shots over the shoulder of her being interviewed she's sitting at the desk with this other one that's a scene it's taking place in the one room at the same time. All right, um what's another scene in there? Um, when? Well, let's go to the next one and maybe this will the next thing is a sequence scenes that are connected usually in time or else by content and run continuously. Well, remember, when she walks, he starts out on the street and she's walking with their kids, going to the school, right? That's taking place sort of continuously, but they're on different streets, right? So that can't be the same scene. It starts out with her. What are you going to do today with the two kids looking? You know, they're walking this way, then there's a shot from behind them where you see you see them walking away and then there's shots where they're coming up to the school so that stuff you could it's clearly told that that she's leaving her house and she's going to school so that's called a sequence all right? The next thing that would be bigger is a section, uh, continues scenes and sequences that comprise a thematic portion of the film. Well, that section would be the parts where they're talking about the center where you have different people talking about the centre you see all that all that you see, all the families there, they've got their kids they're listening that one teacher that one woman laura diaz who who talks about what the family's needs so that's a section it takes it it's thematically connect so they go from smaller, bigger, smaller it's almost like the shot the shot is the brick that builds the wall on how big the wall is and how you maybe maybe this wall is ah is ah is ah, the front of a building maybe that wall is, uh, there's an elevator coming down. So, um so that's the uh so these are these are the things that will talk about mostly will be talking about scenes and shots, right and frames and scenes and shots the putting it together how you put it together in the end is editing. We can't really talk about editing in the scope of this class. Editing is its whole other way of working, but what we are really concerned about in this class is, um, gathering material so that when you get into the editing room, you have what you need to tell your story. The worst thing to do is to go out there and not have the material you need to tell your story properly one of the challenges of this film with his morality was we had the one day I got to make sure I get enough material enough coverage so that we can really tell her story the way it needs to be told. Um so any questions at this point before you how do you plan? I mean, are you just kind of ah presenting this to us from a foundational level of knowing what it to these are or do you consciously I guess like plan ahead and approach kind of how you're gonna film it considering these things so for example I mean, this isn't like a plan film so how did you okay beforehand? No okay, I'm gonna get this angle in this angle and in here to get the walking to the school shot or is it because it's very organic so I just don't know what the approaching okay? Well that's a great question that's a great question. I did plan it as much as I could I you know, when I met with her first of all I had to meet with her so she got comfortable with may and let me come into her house now I did, I did shoot I did shoot her making breakfast for kids I saw her kid's waking up, but you know when a kid is waking up and they're looking at you like this and it's not really part of the movie you know but what I did certainly what I did do it I said what is your day going to be like when do you get up? When do you go to school? When do you and then what happens? What are you going to do it school here? What are you going to do there? So I knew roughly where she was going to be and sometimes you know, I was running from one part of the school to another saying, oh she's now in the lunch room I got to get over there where she's going to be or you know and I'm not just chasing you don't want to always be chasing people whose if you're always chasing people you're not really you're not on top of it you've got to be ahead of them you got to know where they're going as much as possible but yes, the question with this was you how what issue? Where am I going to focus? I figured out before the day whom I'm going to talk to I couldn't like skip pick someone out oh you tell me about her I talked to all the people who are in there I talked to the day before because I knew I only had the one day if I could if I could come back on different days I could be much more lax about it but in this one yeah I had to say who's there and who's going and I talked to the two there are two women who worked with her which one is going to be the better one which one's going to say better things about who are going to say it more easily and which one because I didn't want to and I had to say to the other one you know, I I don't really have time in the course of the day to interview both of you is it all right if I just talk to this one I know you both work with her but I can film you doing this so there's a little negotiating there but as much preparation as you can you know there's ah there's a very good saying um I don't know if you guys know this fail to prepare prepare to fail obviously making a film like this you can't really know what's going to happen but you can do your best choices you khun do your best imagination what's going to come up what's going on you know just to get out before we're going to jump into the cameras really soon but one last thing to answer your question that I think is has to do with them that's really right to the point here when I was working in sierra leone I was do I had a very short time in the country I mean, you know, and also is very hard traveling around and going through the road blocks and getting because certain parts of the country have blocked and all that and any time you're working in another country, a developing country travel is always an issue just getting somewhere the roads are bad or just it takes you many are you going to somebody's villager taking, like, eight hour, six hours to get to the village and then you, you know, you've only got them for a very short period of time, so, um, in these things making these profiles of the people I knew they were gonna be three or four minutes long, I knew we were going to do interviews, um, that the core of it was going to be this person's interview so clearly making making a good a good connection with the person was very, very important, making them very comfortable and making sure that they were able to tell their story, especially there's a lot of stigma. A lot of people who survived ebola were rejected by there by their community when they came back and we stayed away and don't come back or, you know, said get out, move somewhere else they were never some people never went back to their homes, so but the point I'm making about this is I knew that in the storytelling that we were going to do, we had to have not just them talking injury, we had to see them doing other things in their lives. One of the guys was a schoolteacher. Will the schools were all close to keep kids from contained from infecting each other. So what does this guy do now? So, you know, filmed him maybe helping a kid by himself, just working on math or something. So but there's all this stuff that we call it's a term that we don't really like called vero vero makes it sound, you know, in the case with as morale dah there the b roll is the stuff of her preparing, washing the dishes or preparing other stuff while you hear her talking. The actuality are you really doing real things? So I knew I needed plenty of this bureau. I knew that we needed people t stand and watch. You know, teo too be in their lives walking through their villages, doing doing different things to cover this, to give a sense of their story very quickly. All right, one of the things that the b roll does is it allows you to take let's say someone says some someone's talking for twenty minutes and you like this part and you'll like this part and you like this part well, one of the big things that b roll allows you to do is to take this stuff out and cover it with pictures of the b roll while you cut right to that next section. All right, that's one of the things we did in here, she's talking, you could see the lighting changed on her when she's sitting at that table, the lighting actually got she's talking and we used the shots of her being in that interview with the other people, so to cover that so anyway, the toe answer quick question not so quickly is you really you're constantly you know, that the what the person's voice is saying is the core of it and that this close up that you're going to see in them where you can see their eyes and you can believe them were you saying this is a this is someone you can believe that's going to be the core of it? But you know you need all this other footage and you're constantly thinking, what is other footage that can get that is truthful to this person? I don't want them doing something that's, not what they really dio I mean, I don't want them doing something that they don't do because they won't look natural doing it but what's part of their life and not just what's part what tells this story what tells their story? What shows one of the guys we did, you know, I showed him teaching younger kids, had a place. I talking of coaching a soccer match. You know, it was a very impromptu soccer match. But you saw him working with the other kids in the community. That's, a really great way of showing his life.

Class Description

It is common to "postpone" your filmmaking due to insecurity and doubt: Do I own the right camera? Do I have access to the proper resources? Can I support my vision with a strong artistic/technical point-of-view? Those fears are why so many film and media projects never get off the ground.

In The Lone Wolf Filmmaker with Bill Megalos, you’ll learn camera, sound, and storytelling techniques that will place you on a simple, yet sophisticated path towards completing a moving-media project. 

Bill will help you:

  • Choose the best camera for your project and budget
  • Use the camera on a technical level, with an artistic intent
  • Develop an aesthetic and technical approach to sound recording

The class will demystify the distance from the first step to the completion of a formidable, marketable piece of media. You’ll learn techniques that will simplify your process, no matter the scope of the project or your experience as a filmmaker.


Mulk Raj

This was excellent. I’ve been learning filmmaking up until now from watching YouTube videos and from my own practice which has been great. But I found these lessons to complement everything I knew and filled in much of where I was going wrong or wanted to know, and all in one convenient place. The course covering both the technical aspects as well as telling the story. There were lots of great techniques, tips and information from all aspects. Shooting mainly on the Sony Camcorders but I didn't consider this to be an issue, and the course also provided an excellent side by side comparison with the Digital SLRs. You can see from the lesson list that many topics are covered from the different types of lenses (one interesting question Bill asked was “what type of lens was that photograph taken with?” I had never thought you could discern this from the photo). Other great lessons was on sound tests, covering reflective sounds and comparisons with booms and lab mics and the ideal placement. The emphasis was always on telling the story and the reasons why you would choose one over the other. I learned a heck of a lot from the interview section. How to set-up, where to set-up an interview, looking at all the different aspects and backgrounds open to you from a location, how to conduct an interview, how to ask questions, lighting from the far side, the concept of slow disclosure, and the final hour being a fly-on-the wall on getting the shots was really interesting if you’ve never worked on a filmed set before. I personally thought this was an invaluable insight into filmmaking, well worth the investment. Great work.

jamie applegate

I have seen a couple other film courses on CreativeLive, but I think I have enjoyed this one the most. It was very informative, Bill's personality is great. I loved how hands on he really got with his student's including seeing them actual film. It had some good laughs. Well done!

Josh Moore

Great overview of capturing video from a one-man/small production team perspective. And great insight from an expert who's done it all. The Making One Location Look Like Many episode was fascinating to see how Bill spontaneously approaches creating shots in a location.