October 22, 2017

5 Things You Probably Don't Need to Worry About as an Amateur Filmmaker

If you're new to filmmaking, you probably don't have to care about this tech stuff until later on in your career.

Filmmaking is a complicated art form in that it's both creative and technical. If you're like a lot of filmmakers out there, the techy gear stuff that you read about all over the internet can be a real drag when you're first starting out, so much so that you avoid areas of filmmaking, like camera operation and editing, altogether. (Because you're like, "What the hell is S-Log!? Don't I just hit record?) However, as a beginner, you may not have to trouble yourself with a lot of the technical aspects of making movies, a sentiment filmmaker/photographer Benjamin Jaworskyj talks about in the video below.

OKAY! Before you get out your pitchforks and try to torch my ass, hear me out. I disagree with the first item on Jaworskyj's list. (It's a shame that the video was led with that particular thing, but whatever.) In my opinion, shutter speed is an incredibly important camera setting for beginner filmmakers to know how to use, because it can greatly affect the way your picture looks. If you set your shutter speed too low, like he said, you get this blurry, smeary mess, but if you set it too high, you're going to give your audience a damn migraine. The rule of thumb is to set your shutter speed to twice the inverse of your frame rate, so if you're shooting at 24fps, you'd set your shutter speed at 1/48 or 1/50.

Furthermore, I see no harm in cutting your editorial teeth with a professional editing program like Premiere. I used Windows Movie Maker for one project as a young filmmaker because I literally had zero dollars to spend on anything but rent and food, but once I was able to afford a pro NLE (for me it was Final Cut), then I went for it. And, you know, that helped me get familiar with pro editing tools early on while I was still learning the basics, which may be too much for some, but for others, it's no big deal. 

Aside from that, I generally agree with him on his other points—shooting in 4K, recording in S-Log, using expensive NLEs (unless you can afford them), choosing a big, fancy camera—ain't no beginner have time fuh dat! You've got so many other things that are more important to learn about, like writing, pre-production, composition, color, lighting, exposure, recording audio, directing actors, and editing. I'm not saying that 4K, S-Log, and the other things on Jaworskyj's list aren't important, they're just usually not necessary until later on in your career once you've learned the basics of filmmaking. I mean, what good is S-Log going to do you if you don't know how to expose a shot? What's the point of sweating over your 4K workflow when you don't know how to record decent audio? See what I'm sayin'?

What do you think about the views in the video? Do you think there are things new filmmakers don't have to worry about until later on in their career? Discuss down in the comments.      

Your Comment

7 Comments

Deciding to be openly ignorant to technical details of shooting is one thing, but to call these things "lies" because they're beyond your skill level is just stupid. Yes, the pictures coming out of the "big movie cameras" will look nicer than this guys shit because all that crap on the tiny Alexa mini is there because the team behind the camera actually care about all the "lies". The camera is small, the lockit box to keep timecode, the monitor for focus, the EVF, the battery is real not some tiny consumer thing, the matte box holding your ND and specialty filters, the eyebrows helping control flares, the cinetape, the follow focus; those things are all there to make the picture and workflow better in a very subtle way.

Maybe its just a language barrier, and he doesn't mean that they are lies per se; but the overall attitude of this video is garbage. Learn as much as you can, and put out your best work always. If you're too lazy to slap on a ND3 and just crank up your shutter speed you can GTFO and stick to shooting your vlog videos. As a professional, seeing someone like this have a platform to spread this kinda stuff to a young / learning generation is aggravating

October 22, 2017 at 10:34PM, Edited October 22, 10:35PM

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Anthony Chen
Cameraman
40

You couldn't have said that any better Anthony. Filmmaking is a craft and wether you decide to learn it properly or not can and will affect you if you want to make a career out of it. Most of us probably started in a similar way, testing a camera we could put our hands on and fooling around with it, but that's just a first stage. I know it didn't take me too long before I wanted to know how to do things properly.

Some of what he says I could have agreed on if he had summed it up with a "focus on your story, not your gear", but he didn't. He just decided to state that "most youtubers shoot with a high shutter speed and edit on Windows movie maker (or whatever NLE)". Well, most youtubers are not filmmakers, just people sitting in their bedrooms in front of a computer. The fact that they have a million subscribers and views doesn't make them filmmakers, so using them as case study is just wrong.

Regarding using 4k or not, well, if you light like Roger Deakins and shoot on Master Primes, you shouldn't worry about that. The raw reality is that clients want that (even if they don't know what it is), so if you are not shooting 4K in this day and age, you are not competition. And about shooting s-log, raw or whatever, why wouldn't you want to get the best out of your images if you can? Same with the gear, I shoot on an Epic and sometimes I have to strip it down to lens and battery, but if I can enhance my work with filters and other accessories that will make my camera "large", why wouldn't I?

October 23, 2017 at 2:39PM

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Pol
8

BTW: Nobody needs 4K. If Roger Deakins can shoot a 200million dollar epic that gets screened in IMAX without 4K (Blade Runner 2049 was shot on a standard Alexa sensor) it’s probably a safe bet no one else needs it either.

October 23, 2017 at 3:06AM

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Jamie LeJeune
Director of Photography
145

Is not everybody aiming for more cinematic movies? Even beginners?

October 23, 2017 at 6:58AM, Edited October 23, 6:58AM

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Great...!!
Hope this video will delete the fear in the beginners... :)

October 24, 2017 at 3:29AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
670

Lol! I haven't looked at the video, I scanned the article. On thing I hate is video articles. Thanks for sites that summarise them into text. I can scan the text for worthiness like 10 times faster. It could even be 100.

So. I've been known for talking up the needed capabilities in low end cameras, but I'm really about appropriate functionality to incease your quality and efficiency. So, while raw, might be good for something special, ProRes will do, even h264/h265, depending on what you are level you are working at. My rule of thumb is the upper level of Bluray should be your minium codec quality, and visually lossless great unless you are doing something special. So, get Bluray 36mb/s+ h264 fullHD and times it by 4 to get Ultra HD, or the 144mb/s the early JVC camcorder could do. Double for p50/60 (nearly the 300mb/s of a good prosumer) double for 600mb/s intra (the high end prosumer). Halve the inter values for a potentially simular quality in h265. I forget, but I think visually lossless may be double this. Raw is a different, kettle of fish, refer to test figures for your models.

4k, for something worth preserving, or as something special. For a online video in a small window, does it matter, will your old SD camera do? Will a good phone on a gimbal do for the type of online work you are looking at?

Lenses, do you really need a lens set, will a single multifocal do, will a fixed lens camera do, even a phone.

NLE, if only the free resolve had user interface levels. In that way you could put it on beginner and get lite and easy features, but still powerful workflow, and just keep increasing the levels of difficulty as you become good at a level.

So, how do you get most of this sort of advantage as an amature film maker without going overboard. There is a new product coming out I hope will meet most of these needs (but not the leveled resolve nle etc). The Red Hydrogen phone, and it's single and multipoint lens add on modules. But I fear it maybe be expensive. We know no real details, but taking an educated esitimate. It should be able to somewhat emulate a s35 lens bokeh. Hopefully will be at least visually lossless, more than 8 bits, have 4:2:2 if not raw also. The single lens module maybe 6k video. The multipoint? Maybe it will be 2k video, maybe 4k? I imagine the single mountable lens module just might be cheaper and the multipoint just might be more expensive if 4k. With the standard dual lens phone, if done right, you can have reasonable footage bokeh and 3d in reasonable light, without the need fur a big lens or lens set. With the multipoint you should get better bokeh effect and 3D, plus more posts focusing possibilities , but it requires extra post work and processing power to take more advantage of.

With this setup you can handheld, you can gimbal, you can find some setup to mount in to use like DSLR, camcorder or eng. For a low end film maker. So, carrying that big mega camera on the video front end above, is less needed.

October 24, 2017 at 8:20AM, Edited October 24, 8:27AM

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Wayne M
Director of a Life
216

Get in da chopper!

October 24, 2017 at 10:41AM

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Jefte Campos
Filmmaker
4