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The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Lesson 13 of 15

Making one Location Look Like Many

Bill Megalos

The Lone Wolf Filmmaker

Bill Megalos

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Lesson Info

13. Making one Location Look Like Many

Lesson Info

Making one Location Look Like Many

All right. So here we are in this lunch room, which is quite a large location, and right now there's no one in here eating lunch. So I thought this would be a good time to talk about how you can get many, many shots out of one location. All right, let's assume just for the sake of this, this exercise, now that you're doing, ah, film where you're interviewing people at a certain company, let's say a tech company and you I really need to interview a lot of people in that day and there's people moving all over the place and no one thing you've gotten them to do say, yeah, you can use this room between this hour between these hours. So we want to make it look like you're in is many different places as possible without moving, cause every time you move, you gotta move the cameras. You gotta move lights, you gotta move everything. So we're gonna were gonna come up. Let's say that your job is to interview staff for this up, you know, company morale, building, film. So, um, guys got any ideas?

Which way would you like to film? I remember we can we can film. I mean, if I was shooting in this place, I could probably find 20 looks that didn't look like it was in the same place for maybe 10. At least 20. You would know it's kind of the same place, but it would look so different that you wouldn't think. Oh, you know, you want they went to some trouble. So which way would you guys said We're going to do an interview, right? No. You want to shoot that way where you see where you see the monitors? Okay, that's one way. Well, look, let's let's take a list of things and then we'll move through them and see what we got with the window. Okay? Now the window is a background. Look at me. When I'm in front of this window is a background. What happens really dark. We can't remember the whole thing about exposure. You can't. We can't. So if we wanted to shoot with that, we have to do a couple things. We have to bring up the level of light in the room significantly right. You get a really big movie style light in here where the other thing we could do is weaken dark in this so we can bring these, and we will do some of that will play with a little of this. Um, you know, we'll take these shades that mean shades were down for, so we'll bring these down, and that's basically an nd it shows the outside, you'll see a little bit of the texture, but yeah, we'll do a lot of stuff with this with playing with light over here. What's another put? So we can try one of those, but we still will need to, like, maybe we'll use this little light for that. Use this life, and then you so you could you could film someone here. Okay. What else? Somebody the other thought shoot someone sitting there looking at direct. Okay, it does look very different. We have to. Well, might want to do is over there. We might want Teoh do the windows open the open the door so that we don't see reflection from there. Um all right, so why don't I set up one, and then you can Guys can each try to set one up. Okay, But also remember, in here we do want to kind of. We want to take some consideration into lighting, right? Why don't you stand over here for a minute and see what? Stand over there for a minute, for instance? Remember how we talked about in the interview? You want a light from the far side of the frame, right? So that means that if I'm going to use this natural light here, which is pretty good with a dark background there, which way should I be looking when I'm being interviewed this way, Right. So we'll have to. What we would do is then we would have to get the get the person I'm being interviewed to, kind of sits. Well, maybe maybe sitting on here and doing something like this. All right, Right. But But that that way, we correct it. That way, we make sure that the light is in the eyes of the right way. We could also so let's set up. Let's set up a shot over there. Let's pull this down and put this on the ground real quick because that will give us a little more room toe to do that. Now, for the sake of this today, for the sake of this today, you know, normally would do the interview. We would put it on a tripod. It'll But for today, let's not Let's not do the tripod. Okay? So I'll be the I'll be the person here. I'll be the interview subject for this one. When you guys said that, were my gonna set up the 1st 1? Go ahead, Emanuel. Now what I have to worry about without whatsoever worrying too high, right? All right. Now, what about these things? They're kind of distracting for May, aren't you? Look, I'm aren't looking this way into the light. Yes, so So, friend that So you gotta tell me, Is there a bright white thing in the friend that's bigger than me? Brighter than my face? Yes. Yes. Okay. Well, then that's where that's where the I is gonna go too. So Well, you can move the frame. Or we could try this with those waken Try this. We can put this blind down. This is what I'm assuming is white, right? So that if I dark in it here, but I'm still over here, I mean, how does that look? Is that interesting? Yeah. All right. So is this one of our setups. I would say so. Okay. Anybody else like it? All right? Like a little bright. It's a little boring. Okay, what happens if we put the camera down here on the table and we actually use a little bit of table in it? Just keep a little bit of light on this table. Is that Is that anything? Is that interesting? Kind of cool. Not so crazy about that white back there, but that's kind of a cool, dramatic look. Also, we want to be careful about these, right? We don't want to keep those in there. All right, let's get someone else. Have the camera. Don't you turn it off while we're setting up again. All right? What do you want to do with these? You want to leave all of them open, or some of them open the child open. So grab that. Then we get. Okay, I'll sit here. Okay. Now, the only thing about this that I would say Okay, let's see what happens there. Remember, I can always move back. I can always move back, and you can get tighter or whatever. The only thing I'm thinking about this one, it might be a little flat on me when I say flat lighting is very even. I don't know about too much. You can change the exposure. That's not my concern. Shallower depths shield. Okay, well, what we could do is I could Well, first thing you do is you could put on the nd filter. In the end, he was already on, and they could open it up that way. Is that doing anything for you? What are the three things that give you now? A depth of field, long lens, open, open aperture and and distance? How's that working? It's better. Is that better? Now? Look at everything that's in the back down. Is there things in there? They're distracting. Is the Is the coffeemaker distracting? Do you want to move over? So I cover the coffee maker. Do you want to cover? It's I think, guys, you guys can work together with this witness screen, too. Everybody can look. That's for you in this screen with the screen in the back. Well, that's that's pretty clever. We could try that. Never ending but never ending. May. Yeah, maybe you want a little bit less of me in the screen. a little more of the screen if you move it, just moving an interest. So a couple inches makes a big difference. And remember, if you need a light, there's a light right over there. You can just bang that and plug it in and banging it. All right, Uh, you're happy with that scene? Which way am I looking to the left or the right is this way. Okay, once you once you like it, Hanley camera over to somebody else. That's good enough for No. Yeah. Okay, So who else wants to try one? Jessica, what do you like? Is the background. Think about the background and then and then think about where you would put me. So what do you like? Is the background. You want that you like the plants? OK, let's figure out what you want to use the plants first. Set the background and then we'll put the person in. Now one of the things we're always trying to do is make things is three dimensional. Was possible. That's why we throw the background a little out of focus. That's why we so that if I want to make this background three dimensional, if I shoot in it. Well, the lights that are on that kind of give a little bit of shadow and make it feel somewhat three dimensional. But if I shoot it at an angle, it feels more three dimensional dozen. If you if you were to shoot it from here, right, So or you could shoot against, because this is what you like. You don't really like this, right? This is messy. And this is very distracting. Isn't So you want to get You probably want to move these, but you'd also want to raise me up to a higher level so that what's behind me is that rather than that, if you want to make it three dimensional, you have to look down it that way. Yeah. Yeah, right. So you're okay. So are you saying you're not saying anything? So I'm trying to imagine what you're saying. Am I gonna move over to here or you're gonna move back over there? And that is this is this is where the the more you move back over there. Like where that camera is Because I have to be in the shot too, right? You see what's happening now? Close the hours found for her a little bit shot. It's very right here. I've Okay. So which way am I looking this way or this way? Uh, look over like you. Okay? Remember, I'm doing an interview, so I'm not looking right at the camera. Is that good? Is that the right way? Is that we liking what we see? Obviously we'll move a couple of these things just because they are really distracting. Just how can we make this better? Kayla? Any ideas or at an angle? Like there we go. There we go. Thank you. I think I try to get tilting it up. Away from the counter is better. So even lower the camera a little bit, but don't get that, okay? Everybody like that. The plates in the back is the group mind like it? Uh, then you should face to your left face to my left like that. Okay. In terms of our preferred lighting, generally, I'm gonna look better if I'm looking this way or not. It's pretty much straight, and it doesn't matter pretty straight. Okay. All right. Even if you got a little bit of like table, it's just me. But then It feels kind of like casual. Like you're having a sit down interview at, like, you know, it's not so very formal. Okay? Yeah, the table. If I'm leading like this, it is very kind of informal. Isn't maybe even lower the camera a little bit. What happens if you lower the camera? Little So does that work? Yeah. You like it? Yeah. OK, good. Let's Let's give earthy camera. Eric, what do you like is a background You're hanging about your very quiet right now. I was trying to speak at the beginning. Oh, maybe in front of this. Okay, Now, notice what happens when you look at this now because it's right out there. You see a lot of reflections. So if you don't want to see the reflections in the screen, you have to come move over to the part of the room where the light is coming from. And then when you look back, you'll still see a couple of reflections from all these lights up here. But you don't see the reflections there. So where do you want? May you still see some of the like the light bulbs like, Yeah, Well, you could turn those off. You could ask someone to turn those off. You know what? You don't want too much trouble. Yeah, it's not trouble. It's a lot less trouble than than moving the cameras. That is that better now. Okay, where do I go? Um, I hear Now, remember, in this way, I can either look towards the light. I can look away from the light. Look towards the light. Okay, so I'm looking towards the light. Now, if someone is standing generally, most people are not that comfortable standing. It depends how long your interview is. If it's just a, you know, like the length of something on the red carpet where you know you got him for seconds. Standing is fine, But generally standing is gonna be a little more uncomfortable for people. So do we like this? Do you like what you got there? Okay. What's wrong with tighter? Don't you go tighter? Yeah. Now, one of the problems is where I am versus what's there, Right? So I'm saying Okay, that's better. Is it? You got a lot of head room up there. Maybe you want to bring the camera lower again. Keep it coming down. Keep dropping. The camera dropped the camera, dropped the camera. That might be a little low, but you could Maybe maybe you could just lean it on this thing for a second. Just just put camera right about what happened Was that kind of funky angles. Kind of funky angle. It's If you can figure out what you don't like about it, we can work on it. That I don't know. I think I look pretty big in here. I think I look pretty pretty important as long as my stomach doesn't show too much. I looked like I really like only you know, on something when you Okay. So that means coming lower means coming lower. So come on. So tighter and lower. Go back to the chair. Kale is telling you to go back to the chair. She's the producer right now. And then I could You could also sit someone down there and I could be looking there. Okay. What's uncomfortable the way it looks. Are you holding the camera? Oh, don't worry about that for now. I mean, we would if we were really doing it. We put on the tripod. It's really about making look and moving. The combination of things. The room, the person and the camera to get the look that you want. All right. Can we move on to another person? Okay. Who wanted to look at this orange background? Three idea here. Why? I opened the door. So there's no reflection. Right? Open the doors. Go back way back. Why am I saying go way back? Because if you go way back, what happens then? You You're on a longer lens, right? You're on a longer lens, and that means that the background is smaller, right? The thing behind me, so you can be mostly on the arm. If you were up closer with the wider lens, you'd be getting all this stuff and all that. Actually, that's pretty sure it's not too bad, huh? Yeah. Okay. So why don't you shooting? It was supposed to look right there, Uh, to my Do we want this, or do we want the hand down? Uh, we don't Don't want the hand in it for sure. Okay. Um, I think you should be looking to my right. Really? Yeah, yeah. Yes. So you have to move the camera so that the short side of the camera is over here. The long side. No, no. Till depend the camera there. Yeah. So the longer the leading side is there, Okay. Yeah. Okay. So change the iris. Close the iris down. Okay, let's do Kayla list of Kayla's thing about this backdrop. Right? Way Can't really bring the big light. And we could bring these guys down and see what happens. So, what we think Let's just take two of them, okay? Why don't you tell one of your assistants to get that light plugged in so that there is a little like you are gonna need to, like, the otherwise I'll be silhouette. I think you should be enough. Really? Come on back. You want to get further back? Oh, are? Maybe not. Maybe you don't want to get further back. Maybe you like it with a big, big thing there. But you want to bring someone once the lightning with this thing? Eric, maybe you can hit me hard. That Yeah, but And this is okay. Okay. So wow. Interesting. Very different, huh? Now, maybe that light needs to move a little bit right now. Pan the right light, so it hits me. All right. Good. And then raise it on the stand. Remember how we raised it on the stand? Yeah, it's a little Yeah, do this Looks kind of almost. Annie Liebowitz. Hard light against the daylight. Yeah, you get less head room. All right. Anything else? Let's Let's try to get one more in here. Anything else? What would you change aside from? I mean, this is not that attractive. Frankly, zoom in a little more. I would also raise the camera, I think a little bit because then because right now you're seeing Yeah, you're so the light is coming from below, so this light needs to come higher. Let's just see what we do and tell this down a little bit. Come right up. Is that working more for you? Yeah, that's pretty good. I kind of like this. Totally different. Look to the room books. So what we've done is now what happens if you just go all the way back? Go back. Go back beyond Jessica. Beyond Jessica Going back it up. Back it up. Back it up. Back it up. Back it up. Back it up. OK, now try that. Now zoom in until It's the same size on you. Got to refocus. See how you say I'm out of focus. Now It's the front one is the focus, so that's kind of a different look, huh? Kind of nice, huh? So what's happened there? What was the difference between those two shots? The background is much tighter now. It's not so big, but it's got. It's also more intimate, isn't it? All right, can we do one more? Who hasn't done one? Nobody hasn't done 1 to 4. So let's try one more. What else could we do? That would be different. That would look totally different. Can we do some where we use this really long table? Looking this way or looking that way should try it from there because the camera's already there. Bring it all the way down to the table and see what I don't know. I just is. There were maybe even bring it here. I don't Yeah, like that. That's interesting with that little bit of table in there, so you need to zoom out. Just just Yeah, okay. That's pretty good, huh? Which way am I looking straight on? Right into the camera. Okay. My kingdom of dirt. Basically zoom in a little bit, Okay? You tell him how Just the life? No. Like Fine. Yeah. Yeah, century. You know, it's really good for doing that for raising the camera. Just a little bit. Wallet make sure. Pretty good, huh? Do it Was, um it Yeah. Just get rid of this guy over here. Keep him out of my shot. There we go. All right. Good. Okay. What about those blue? What about the blue? It no one's used any of the blue. Let's just get one more with anybody. Want to try that blue or this? These blues here, I guess these things kitchens air always hard because kitchens always look like kitchens. No matter what you do with them, it's even if you throw him entirely out of focus. So you want to try something with this blue? Maybe. I don't know. Is there anything there or so? So So Get the camera way back there somewhere. Set the camera up so that half of its the blue and half of it is the bubbles. And then put me in there somewhere. Ok, come on, get on back with and find that. Why don't you set the shot of Emmanuel. It's your idea. Is that the right place, or do you want to be okay? Uh, now, generally, we really don't want to put someone up against the background, right? Because that's gonna make it feel tight and closed and claustrophobic. That's kind of interesting. We certainly don't want to see the word garbage. All right? No, it's decent. That's not bad, huh? Which way should I look? I look, this one, I'm still thinking over my right shoulder this way. Like that. Okay. You're liking it. Yeah. Okay, good. A lot of times when you do this thing, we should really think about the law of thirds, right? If you're looking at the three of these things, put someone in 1/3. Don't put him in the set in the same thing with the blue and black. Like, make one sided to be 2/3 and one side. The 1/3. It will always look better. It'll always look more interesting. Yeah, it's not just a symmetrical has this sense of balance this gestalt balance. Let's Here's what. Here's the last one I'd like to try. Which is can we bring the light over here, and I'd like to try something where these things are kind of backlit and out of focus, and they're just like a If we bring the camera all the way down here, try to get these guys out of focus, right? And then tell me where to go. Are you know where to put my body? I mean, I could be here. I could be Come closer. OK, um I too low. I mean, we don't want to see the other stuff. We want to see this stuff, so maybe you come down. But the idea what I'm hoping is you can get these things enough out of focus that they're just this very interesting, unusual element in there. I don't know, I could I could be on this side of the frame where I could It would be nice to have them in the frame, so I would be looking here. So maybe the light actually wants to move on to the other side. Look, look here, okay. You guys were looking at the monitor. Give him some help. Give him some ideas. Maybe if you came from this direction is a little bit more. There he should move over to his left. Right? That's what Jessica saying. Keep moving. Keep moving even more. Just get a little lower. She says, Be nice. Rid of the screen behind screen, behind the head. The television. Yeah, I was I asked to have that move, but I guess it let's move that. Yeah, so that we were got something. That's a little Does he have to keep moving to his left? Just just more to your left. Keep moving. He moving? How's that? And let's move the light. You on the light there. You're moving on to the other side over there. Just right. Just beyond the eggs there. Okay. All right. How's that? Just is that what you had in mind? You like it? Okay. Likes it. What about you guys out there? Is it possible to get the plants that let's say hold on a second. Let me see what we're right. Where? Where we out here? Uh, not. Not much more than that. Not at this. Unless you tightens up. You know what? Yeah. Open it all the way. And in this life, see the little dimmer on their open this all the way and dim the lights. Keep them in. Okay. How's that? Like like boy like, man. There's a word in India. They call them white boys, no matter how old they are. It's OK. It's what? It's all right. All right. I don't There's, like, a lot of, um, space, like, yeah, because of the wall. But because there's no succulence there or whatever. Yeah, all right. What did you have? Okay. Shows what you had. Then we'll move on, and we just like you just put down that shade. Why don't you pull that shade down and see what it does to it? You know, the other one? The little guy. How you doing, Eric? Yeah, well, it's just, you know, it's It's It does. There's not just one solution and, you know, still, because it was just too much a blank space on that wall. Okay, good. So we got a lot of different looks, huh? Ok. Should we move on? Yes,

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.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


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.