Pro Video Tips
Illustration by John Hersey

Pro Video Tips

with Anthony Q. Artis

Video: Five things you can do when your production stalls out

- So sooner or later every filmmaker reaches a point where they're stalled out. You start trying to raise funds, but then give up after a few fruitless meetings and near misses. You shot those 18 hours of footage for your doc so far, but don't know how you should structure it. Somewhere along the line, you went from pumped up and overflowing with ideas to burnt out and discouraged that it was ever even a good idea to begin with. This is a natural part of the filmmaking process. It's like getting cold feet before your wedding. It's normal and you'll work through it most of the time.
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  1. 5m 44s
    1. Five things you can do when your production stalls out NEW
      5m 44s
  2. 2m 8s
    1. Intro to Pro Video Tips
      2m 8s
  3. 17m 27s
    1. Controlling reflections in glass
      4m 7s
    2. Managing color with polarizers
      2m 32s
    3. Using a polarizer to adjust skin tones
      2m 0s
    4. Using polarizers when shooting landscapes
      4m 42s
    5. Ten polarizer tips
      4m 6s
  4. 14m 34s
    1. Supplies to get to hide lav mics
      2m 13s
    2. Hiding lavs in collars
      5m 16s
    3. Hiding mics in hair
      2m 17s
    4. Hiding mics in sheer tops
      2m 40s
    5. Hiding transmitter packs on talent
      2m 8s
  5. 34m 25s
    1. Canon C100 overview
      11m 33s
    2. Looking at the Atomos Ninja
      12m 20s
    3. Checking out the C100 menu options
      10m 32s
  6. 10m 28s
    1. Ten tips for set safety
      10m 28s
  7. 9m 18s
    1. Packing a truck
      9m 18s
  8. 19m 24s
    1. Putting together your lens kit
      1m 0s
    2. Normal lenses
      1m 54s
    3. Wide lenses
      3m 5s
    4. Ultra-wide and fish-eye lenses
      2m 53s
    5. Telephoto lenses
      4m 53s
    6. Super zooms
      2m 54s
    7. Macro lenses
      2m 45s
  9. 17m 22s
    1. The importance of exposure
      1m 31s
    2. Using waveforms
      5m 3s
    3. Using histograms
      6m 53s
    4. Using zebra stripes
      3m 55s
  10. 10m 20s
    1. Shutter speed overview
      3m 18s
    2. Different ways to use shutter speed
      7m 2s
  11. 10m 29s
    1. Tips for keeping your budget down
      10m 29s
  12. 10m 11s
    1. Working with batteries
      10m 11s
  13. 24m 39s
    1. External audio settings
      4m 2s
    2. Audio input menus
      9m 31s
    3. Audio output menus
      4m 6s
    4. Setting and monitoring your levels
      7m 0s
  14. 16m 33s
    1. Introduction to backlight
      1m 18s
    2. Types of backlight
      3m 51s
    3. Exposing for backlit shots
      5m 31s
    4. Backlighting translucent object
      1m 39s
    5. Avoiding lens flare and wash out
      4m 14s
  15. 13m 28s
    1. Booming techniques
      13m 28s
  16. 5m 42s
    1. Feeding your crew
      5m 42s
  17. 8m 36s
    1. Choosing between prime, servo, and manual zoom lenses
      5m 19s
    2. Running and gunning with prime lenses
      3m 17s
  18. 10m 55s
    1. Green screen lights and materials
      3m 47s
    2. Mounting the green screen
      1m 39s
    3. Lighting the green screen
      3m 8s
    4. Lighting your subject
      2m 21s
  19. 9m 28s
    1. What to look for when buying a tripod
      6m 13s
    2. Working with monopods
      3m 15s
  20. 23m 19s
    1. Choosing a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Preparation and supplies for a surf shoot
      2m 13s
    3. Dealing with lens fog
      1m 44s
    4. Mounting your POV camera
      3m 20s
    5. Tracking and shooting your surfer from the shore
      6m 56s
    6. Interview with Tony Cruz
      6m 4s
  21. 8m 37s
    1. Introduction to lens mounts
      1m 24s
    2. Canon mounts
      2m 0s
    3. PL mounts
      1m 59s
    4. Nikon mounts
      1m 24s
    5. Micro 4/3 mounts
      1m 50s
  22. 7m 30s
    1. Introduction to lighting ratios
      1m 19s
    2. Comparing ratios
      2m 52s
    3. Measuring light ratios
      3m 19s
  23. 10m 25s
    1. Ten Looks in Ten Minutes
      10m 25s
  24. 5m 36s
    1. Using camera height and POV to better tell your story
      5m 36s
  25. 9m 49s
    1. Tips for lighting an interview subject
      9m 49s
  26. 15m 5s
    1. Taking 10 pounds off your subject
      4m 1s
    2. Dealing with nose shadows
      3m 3s
    3. Lighting different skin tones
      2m 55s
    4. Putting makeup on your subject
      5m 6s
  27. 10m 4s
    1. Types of cookies
      4m 6s
    2. Making your own custom cookies
      2m 47s
    3. Controlling the look of a cookie
      3m 11s
  28. 18m 11s
    1. Introduction to shooting sports footage
      1m 15s
    2. Getting good coverage for your sport shoot
      5m 55s
    3. Camerawork for shooting sports videos
      5m 4s
    4. Gear to bring on your sports shoot
      4m 52s
    5. Wrapping up
      1m 5s
  29. 8m 34s
    1. Tips for using bounce light
      8m 34s
  30. 21m 43s
    1. Video portrait intro
      1m 51s
    2. Video portrait camera work
      13m 32s
    3. Considerations for a video portrait interview
      4m 11s
    4. Bonus: Finished video portrait
      2m 9s
  31. 9m 48s
    1. Shooting at 24p
      3m 2s
    2. Using depth of field
      1m 37s
    3. Lighting for a film look
      1m 18s
    4. Using filters
      2m 31s
    5. Getting a film look with software
      1m 20s
  32. 38m 57s
    1. Introduction to professional car rigs
      7m 41s
    2. Attaching a side mount rig
      12m 58s
    3. Mounting a speed rail rig
      10m 54s
    4. Hood suction mount
      4m 27s
    5. Car rig safety tips
      2m 57s
  33. 14m 3s
    1. Manipulating the size of people
      6m 12s
    2. Manipulating the size of buildings
      2m 59s
    3. Making crowds look more crowded
      4m 52s
  34. 12m 32s
    1. Introduction to lighting cars
      5m 13s
    2. Lighting the car from outside
      3m 10s
    3. Lighting the car from inside
      4m 9s
  35. 13m 46s
    1. Packing your gear for air travel
      6m 8s
    2. What to do at the airport
      4m 39s
    3. Getting on the plane
      2m 59s
  36. 15m 53s
    1. Why you should hire an editor
      1m 29s
    2. Working with editors during pre-production
      3m 33s
    3. Working with editors during shooting
      4m 3s
    4. Working with editors after your shoot
      4m 18s
    5. Final tips on working with editors
      2m 30s
  37. 7m 46s
    1. Tips on avoiding scam film festivals
      7m 46s
  38. 5m 22s
    1. 36. Four common budgeting mistakes
      5m 22s
  39. 12m 13s
    1. 10 Filmmaking Lessons...I Learned the Hard Way
      12m 13s
  40. 9m 38s
    1. Why you get moire and aliasing
      2m 52s
    2. Avoiding moire
      6m 46s
  41. 18m 56s
    1. Tips on boosting your production value
      1m 46s
    2. Shooting with a shallow depth of field
      1m 36s
    3. Great audio and sound design
      2m 44s
    4. Keep your shots steady
      2m 32s
    5. Keep your camera moving
      2m 29s
    6. Location, location, location
      2m 15s
    7. Adding appropriate titles and FX
      1m 56s
    8. Hiring a colorist
      3m 38s
  42. 11m 19s
    1. Positioning yourself for the interview
      2m 29s
    2. Settings for camera and audio
      5m 57s
    3. Using a second camera
      2m 53s
  43. 8m 5s
    1. Tips on shooting an interview with one camera
      4m 25s
    2. Faking reverse shots and cutaways
      3m 40s
  44. 8m 58s
    1. The trouble with shooting windows
      1m 6s
    2. Dealing with exposure issues
      2m 55s
    3. Managing mixed color temperatures
      2m 16s
    4. Tips and tricks for shooting window scenes
      2m 41s
  45. 4m 35s
    1. Adjusting SMPTE color bars
      4m 35s
  46. 11m 32s
    1. Introduction to shooting discreetly
      1m 1s
    2. Scouting locations for a stealth shoot
      1m 47s
    3. Traveling and shooting low profile
      1m 25s
    4. Recording audio discreetly
      1m 25s
    5. Using discreet cameras and camerawork
      2m 22s
    6. Running interference
      1m 24s
    7. Adding production value with local resources
      1m 13s
    8. Always have a plan B
      55s

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Watch the Online Video Course Pro Video Tips
9h 53m Appropriate for all Apr 15, 2014 Updated Feb 24, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Pro Video Tips is designed for busy videographers like you. This series brings you a new tip every week, on everything from controlling reflections to hiding mics. Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck. Come back every Tuesday for a new round of tips.

Subject:
Video
Author:
Anthony Q. Artis

Five things you can do when your production stalls out

- So sooner or later every filmmaker reaches a point where they're stalled out. You start trying to raise funds, but then give up after a few fruitless meetings and near misses. You shot those 18 hours of footage for your doc so far, but don't know how you should structure it. Somewhere along the line, you went from pumped up and overflowing with ideas to burnt out and discouraged that it was ever even a good idea to begin with. This is a natural part of the filmmaking process. It's like getting cold feet before your wedding. It's normal and you'll work through it most of the time.

Here are some tips you help you increase your odds of survival and get your production back on track. Starting with tip number one. Work on someone else's movie. Just being in the thick of it again will help you remember why you started your own project in the first place. Working with other filmmakers to achieve their vision will help make your seemingly impossible dream a little more plausible reality. If the production team has more experience than you, you'll probably pick up some new tricks, some new crew members, and possibly even have a breakthrough revelation about how to jump-start your own stalled production.

And if the crew has less experience than you, you may be motivated by the revelation that if those guys can do it, especially with less resources, you can definitely pull it off. If you can at all see the finished product, or at least the raw footage of the project you've worked on, it may be just the match you need under your butt to rededicate yourself to your own filmmaking vision. Tip number two. Go to a film festival. If you don't have time to actually work on another Indie filmmaker's project, try just attending the screening of a new Indie film project with a director question and answer session, or a discussion panel at the end.

Just like working on someone else's set, viewing someone else's first effort and hearing their war stories can be very educational and motivational whether it's good or bad. Often the biggest obstacles in a stalled production are entirely in our head. They're mental blocks. A loss of confidence in our abilities. A loss of confidence in our projects, our funding, or even in filmmaking itself. Going to a few screenings and seeing and hearing other filmmakers live and in person can help snap you out of your head and back to the very difficult but very plausible realities of filmmaking.

Tip number three. Take a break. It's always risky to put a project down, because there's a good chance that you'll never pick it back up again. However, if you're completely overwhelmed, starting to come unglued mentally, it may not be a bad idea just to walk away from your film completely. Go on a vacation. Start a new art or home project. Go back home for a week and hang out with your old friends. Just give yourself permission to temporarily let go of the project, enjoy something else, and clear your head completely.

After you come down off the ledge, take the time to really recall why you started making your project in the first place. What drove you when it was still fun? How can you can tap back into that original state of mind and enthusiasm? Come back to your film in awhile with fresh energy, fresh perspective, and a better and more determined game plan. Let it go, and if you really love it, you'll go back to it. Tip number four. Bring in some fresh blood. When you're working on a major project for a long time, you're essentially living that project, morning, noon and night.

It's quite easy to just spread out and lose all perspective on your original vision. When that happens, it always helps to bring in someone else with a fresh set of eyes and new energy. Every now and then you'll be amazed by the fresh perspective or simple breakthrough suggestion that someone else can contribute to your project. An enthusiastic assistant to help tackle that pile of receipts. A wiz kid editor to completely recut that scene you can't get right, or even a custom song by a talented composer could all help push you over your organizational story or creative obstacles and re-energize you to persevere until your film is finally up on the screen.

And finally, tip number five. Back yourself into a corner. This is simply jumping off the high dive. Put yourself in a situation where it's really difficult or even disastrous to back out. Choose something with a definite deadline and other people and professionals that you're now accountable to. Pick something that costs you money, public embarrassment, or some other harsh penalty for not following through on the commitment. Make a poster and heavily publicize the premiere date. Tell all your friends and filmmaking groups on Facebook and Twitter.

Rent a theater, put down a cash deposit, and email a formal announcement to all your friends and colleagues. Agree to do a benefit premiere for a local charity. The only real goal here is to put yourself in a corner so that the only real way out is through whatever obstacles still remain. You'd be surprised at how quickly many non-swimmers can learn if you push them out of a boat. So those are my five tips to hopefully help you get back to where you once began. Remember, losing enthusiasm somewhere along the way is just a routine part of the filmmaking process.

If you didn't experience some self-doubt and frustrations along the way in an endeavor as complexed and involved as filmmaking, you wouldn't be human, and you wouldn't have a good story to tell at the end. So it ain't going to be easy, but the increased self-confidence that you will ultimately get from overcoming the challenges before you, will make you a better and stronger filmmaker in the future. I'm Anthony Q. Artis, and until next time, keep chipping away at that dream.

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