How to document your adventure and create a film that your audience will love (editing skills NOT required).
Whether you are filming your summer road trip for a screening at your next family reunion or dream of producing a film-festival worthy masterpiece, there are a few simple tricks that you can use to build a story that will keep your audience engaged from the beginning to the end.
- Plan ahead.
It is fine to go with the flow and document your experience as it unfolds, however, making the effort to stop what you are doing and think of creative ways you can capture the action goes a long way in creating a compelling film. Perhaps this is a storyboard you draw up ahead of time, or just taking a minute to mentally plan your next move as you move through your day. The same shot, from the same angle gets old fast- and it is important to change it up as much as possible to keep your viewers engaged. This does mean some stopping and starting as you film, but if you enjoy creative process and put in the effort you will find you have much more to work with when it comes time to edit.
2. Set the scene.
Start by showcasing the environment that your film will take place with a panoramic of the surrounding area, a wide still frame, or even a timelapse of action happening in a specific spot. These opening shots will set the stage for your film.
3. Add your characters.
Introduce your subjects by shooting them moving through the epic landscape you captured in your opening shots (like a skier moving across a ridge or a mountain biker flying through the forest).
4. Sprinkle in some details.
Think about what kind of details will add layers to your story. Get footage of the hands on a clock ticking or a key turning in the ignition. Snow flakes falling. Birds chirping in the trees. A fire blazing. These little details will help set the tone for your story and keep it visually interesting for your audience.
5. Get up close and personal.
Aim to get a few close up shots of skis swooshing through the snow, or a tire throwing up dirt. A shot of your subjects expression as they tackle a tough part of the trail. The bits of dramatic up-close action will draw your audience into the action and help them connect to your subject.
6. Mix it up between your subjects point of view and yours
Set your subject up with a GoPro, Hitcase or Sony Action Cam to get some POV action. Get creative with mounting options so you can show your subjects Point of View from a variety of different angles. These often take some experiementing with- not every shot will work out.
Remember: it is possible to over do it on the POV footage. Keep it tight and make sure that it is exciting action- no one likes to sit through 5 minutes of sliding down an icy cat track. Get action shots of the subject while they are filming with the Go Pro or if you are the main character in your film- set up a tripod or ask a friend to film you for a bit. That way, you can change up the angle in your edit and really make the audience feel like they were there.
6. Change up the pace.
Most cameras have timelapse and slow mo settings these days. By using them you can show the passing of time in different ways and can add a fun visual element to your projects.
7. Finish it off with a bang.
The best closing shots elicit some emotion. A round of happy high fives at the end of the day, a door closing, or a car driving off into the sunset are all examples of shots that can help end your piece. Sometimes you may want to keep ’em hanging with a dramatic piece of action to a blank screen. No matter how you finish off your film — do it intentionally and don’t leave your views disappointed by a lacklustre ending.
8. Send it over to ChopShop.
Once you’re done filming ChopShop editors will help choose the best shots and put together a film you will be proud to share… so you can start planning your next adventure.