This toolkit is aimed at you. You are anyone who wants to know how to get that message across. You want to tell the world (or maybe just a few friends to start with) about your story. You may be a community group with a strong sense of purpose, or an individual seeking to communicate with a larger audience. You may want to tell a news story or make a music video.
In the last few years the changes in digital photography and the Internet mean that you can have the power of the media in your hands. Both cameras and computers are now available on the High St and are capable of creating video for your teatime news bulletins. The last remaining snag is that most people’s videos are too dull to watch. Some groups get around this by employing a specialist film maker. You don’t need to. This toolkit gives you what you need to actually use the equipment, to develop skills, get your story told, be creative, and make an impact.
This is all you need! It will cover all aspects of film from the idea and the reason behind it, to editing, uploading, viewing and finding your audience. In short we will cover the technical, creative and functional aspects of your video.
We will keep it simple. We are not trying to teach you everything you need to know to make blockbuster films or TV series. We will show you what you can do. Luckily the basics of filming are the same as the advanced stuff, so if you do want to end up releasing Star Wars 7 you can still start here. We also include pointers to where you can learn more and develop your talents further should you wish to conquer Hollywood or Bollywood. You will gain not only the knowledge, but the confidence to create, produce and share your story.
We will show you:
Equipment is changing all the time. The information in the toolkit will be based on what is current today but not specific to it. We will put the more up-to-date stuff in the appendix at the back and refer you to good websites for the latest information on equipment etc. We will also put in some extra bits which you can use like blank storyboard templates and legal forms.
Ed Downs - The National Computing Centre
Diane Rodgers-Wilson - The Community Media Association
David Hooper - The Community Media Association
The Author, Michael Wray, and the National Computing Centre would like to express their appreciation to the many contributors to this project and where appropriate their organisations. They have all contributed significantly to the development of the OUR Video toolkit and YOUR Video - A practical guide to planning and creating effective videos:
Roz Collins, Elspeth Mackenzie, Mick Chesterman, Rachel Stabb, Sarah Wray, and all the community groups who helped with the development of this book; Burnley Food Links, Fran and Mandy at Wigton Outreach, Toxteth TV, Cumbrian Development Education Center, East Manchester Community Forum, St Martins College, LUDUS Intergr8, Manchester Community Information Network, Broughton Action Group, Connexions - Cheshire and Warrington, Proud and Loud, Bollington Drop In, Dingle Online, Sean at Seal Films, David Wilcox. Photography by Michael Wray and 3D artwork by Robert Stephens.
It is very important, in any form of communication, to be clear about what you are trying to say. Take a look at any newspaper and the messages will be conveyed in short, easy to understand chunks, often repeated to be clear. The key is to keep your message just as simple and clear.
Film making is a group exercise. Group skills such as brainstorming may be helpful.
Different media is effective in different ways depending on your audience and your message.
Once you have an idea you need to be sure that you fully understand everything about what you are trying to say. These methods will enable you to have a deeper understanding of your ideas. The planning stage is perhaps the most critical step to producing a successful video. Time consuming errors can be avoided by spending the necessary time to make a clear plan, right from the start of the project. This planning process is known as pre-production.
Any good project will have a strong message or theme. Deciding on your key message will hugely increase your effectiveness in communicating your issue. If you are able to concentrate your ideas down to one or two sentences, it will really help you to focus. If you don’t have an idea yet, don’t worry, this chapter is here to help you focus on what you might want to explore, and maybe help give you some ideas on how to get started and how to begin to develop these ideas into a plan for a production.
Get the idea, the one spark that gets your script going, or the main issue you want to focus on and you’ve got a great starting point.
Gather your group in one room. Try spending an hour or two with a large sheet of paper, blackboard or flipchart and a central person to to co-ordinate the proceedings, introduce the purpose of the brainstorming session and write down ideas. This will be easier if you can decide on a main theme or issue for your topic. Then, encourage everyone in the group to shout out ideas remembering these following points:
Sitting in an empty room isn’t going to inspire you - read a newspaper, get out to the cinema or exchange stories with other people. Write down anything that might be useful. Think back to something that made an impact on you, why was that and how did it work?
The great thing about coming up with concepts for a production is that you can talk through ideas in a group.
List a couple of films, documentaries, TV programmes or even adverts and start mixing them together. Take a look at the results and see if you can make a new idea.
Once you have brainstormed your idea and have a number of suggestions around it, try and then condense this down to a few key points - the ones you believe are at the heart of your idea; the essential core which you will focus on. Then try and write a one or two sentence brief, a ‘mission statement’ that includes your subject matter, how you want to tackle it and the results you would like to achieve. For example, "We wish to make a video about elderly people in the local community from a fresh perspective, including their own opinions, in the hope that people will think about and help improve the facilities available to them and the way they are treated in general." Referring back to a statement such as this will remind you of your key objectives and help to maintain focus on your story/arguments and your desired outcomes.
You could then even condense this further: for example, in Hollywood filmmaking, many films that stand out can be summed up in this way in one line - this is usually called ‘the pitch’. A couple of examples:
Jaws - ‘Man afraid of water pursues killer shark’
Batman - ‘Man avenges death of his parents by becoming a vigilante crime fighter in a costume.’
See if you can write your own for ‘Titanic’.
This may seem apparent but examining why your message is important, in relation to what you want to say, puts things into perspective. Write it down!
Once you have your idea, you can start planning the production, but it will help you develop the idea further if you think about why you want to tell this story and what effects you want to achieve. Think about your aim in making this video - is it to inspire, to inform, to entertain? What story can you tell that might make your audience think? We will look at audience in the next section, but thinking about this at this stage might help you to focus.
It’s best to define your audience as early on as possible. Who do you want seeing this video? Who do you think would be most influenced by your work? Different types of video appeal to different people and you can make your production in a variety of ways depending on whom you are targeting. These targeted groups are your audience. Examples may be your neighbours or politicians. Be critical when defining your audience, because it may be a much more specific group than you would first assume. No single project or issue will be interesting to, or appropriate for, everyone.
Think about where your audience lives, their income, their culture. Do any of these unite or divide your audience? Will they understand the issue(s) in the same way as you, or do you need to present them with relevant background information? Keep your audience in mind as you proceed with your work. This definition will influence the choices you make as you shoot, edit and distribute your project, and it will eventually enable you to have an impact on your audience.
Your idea should be of interest to your target audience; think carefully about whether they already know a lot about the subject matter and if you are presenting them with new information or tackling the subject in an interesting way. An interested, attentive audience is key to the success of your project; your audience does not need to be huge... it simply has to be right! Issues like the environment affect everyone, but not everyone may want to watch a film about the environment. For example, if a film is about toxic waste, then your audience could include environmentalists but also companies who create toxic waste, officials who are writing laws about it and people who live near toxic waste dumps.
Knowing your audience may help you to select appropriate information, vocabulary, and style in order to achieve maximum influence with your target groups. Make a list of the issues that may be raised by your video, then make a list of the people whom those issues may directly affect. This is your audience. Does your target audience include opposing groups? If so, think about how you can address both groups equally in your project. Think about how you can make your project interesting to the people you want to watch it. How can you best get the information across to them in a way that is relevant and that will affect them - especially if you want to inspire them to get involved or take further action?
There are a few questions to help you define your audience, available in the appendix as an "Audience Worksheet", to help you think about the types of people/community groups that your message might be aimed at, and where it might be most successful.
When promoting your project, you could build partnerships with non-profit organisations or community groups that are connected to your audience. Start locally and ask all of your friends and advisors if they have any ideas or contacts. Maybe they could make an introductory call for you. This way you can make sure that you are in touch with the people your film is intended to reach.
If your video is trying to raise awareness of an issue, your audience may want to know what action they can take and how they can take it. You could include examples of successful action taken by others and contact details of people or organisations your audience could use if they want to follow up the issue.
Plan how you will measure your effectiveness. You could ask people after they have seen your video what they thought; be specific and set dates to review your progress. A valuable way to judge your piece’s effectiveness and your audience’s reaction is to have a rough-cut screening - see more about this in Chapter 2.
You could contact some members of your audience and ask for their advice in your planning. As your project takes shape, ask them to review and provide feedback on the results. This ongoing dialogue will help keep your purpose and focus in mind during the project, and give you helpful feedback for improving your work. Hopefully, you will also have the opportunity to have a discussion with audience members. Remember, you don’t have to do everything the audience members suggest, but the information that you gather from them will prove to be very valuable!
Videos and films are often sorted by type; familiar genres (types) include drama, action/adventure, comedy, horror, science fiction, and more. You might want to think about how you want to approach your idea - do you want to make a fictional piece telling a story or do you want to make an educational or documentary piece presenting facts about your subject?
Educational films can take many different forms including documentaries, news reports/broadcasts, opinions and debates, Public Service Announcements (PSAs), interviews, training etc. This may affect how you plan your idea and production; we will explore fiction film vs. documentary film further in chapter two.
Here are some ideas for different types of videos you might want to consider:
Once you have decided on the genre or style of video you would like to make, it is useful to have some basic knowledge of film language to help put this into practice. We all have an understanding of this language often without realising it. Learn this language by examining films and adverts. If you understand how light, camera angles and editing can work for you, it will vastly enhance your message.
The first few images of a film or video (the opening sequence) can be very important as they give us lots of clues as to what the production will be about. We look at the opening shots of place and time, and put them into context. We look at the actors we are presented with and make assumptions about their characters and roles in the production and their relationship to each other. We look at the title of the piece - the way it is worded and the style of the lettering and we try to guess what genre (type) it will be. We listen to the sound, which is often predominantly music at this stage, and the tone and beat of this again gives us further clues as to how the film will develop. We do all this automatically - at this time we are extremely receptive and actively involved.
Without realising it, we have begun to read the signals that have been set up for us; we have begun to decode the film language.
Figure 1.2: As a symbol of childhood we may assume this ‘lost’ teddy represents more than just a discarded soft toy.
In the spoken or written language that we use, words often have hidden meaning, or a ‘signal’ behind the literal meaning of the word. For instance, the sun is literally a yellowish ball in the sky, but the word ‘signals’ to us meanings such as warmth, cheerfulness, life, etc. A teddy bear is a stuffed, brown plaything but it ‘signals’ comfort and childhood innocence to us. Therefore, these ‘symbols’ have literal meanings alongside hidden signals and implications, which can be used to strengthen the themes in your work.
The codes do not only have to be visual. The use of sudden loud music signals ‘something dramatic is about to happen’. An extreme close-up shot of a person’s face signals ‘this character’s reaction is very important’. Most audiences are able to recognise these codes; even young children are aware of the basics. Let’s look at some of the elements which make up a film/video project, and through which the signals are sent to us. These are the basic criteria through which we can make judgements about a piece.
Different types of shots are used in a combination to give you information about where and when something is happening, the role of a character and his/her reaction, to draw attention to someone or something, or to create an impression or feeling. Different camera movements can be used to create a specific effect, for example:
Lighting is important as it conveys the mood or atmosphere of the scene which we are observing. The director can manipulate lighting to achieve the atmosphere he/she wishes to signify. For instance, a sharp contrast of dark and light areas can be produced on the screen as shadows are formed. These shadows can suggest an air of mystery, as used in the ‘film noir’ (dark films) of the 1940s and 1950s. Exaggerated use of this type of lighting can be found in horror films, where under-lighting (placing a light under a face or an object) gives a dramatic, often distorting effect. Adding more light, with less shadows will appear much more normal and realistic but can also be manipulated to give a more glamorous appearance to a character’s face, or add a ‘twinkle’ to their eyes.
The extra dimension that sound adds to film/video has been acknowledged since the early days of cinema, when live music in the form of a piano, organ or even a full orchestra accompanied the images on the silent cinema screen. Sound in productions today is of course much more sophisticated with a digital synchronised soundtrack combining the elements of dialogue, music and sound effects (SFX).
When the filming has been completed, the editing process begins. This is a matter of choosing which shots to include, which to put next to which, and what method to use to join the shots together.
The director can create a mood or atmosphere by choosing certain shots in a certain order, to build a picture in our minds. Smooth continuity of events and ‘normality’ for the audience is best achieved by using simple cuts. The director can also manipulate time and space by, say, having a car leaving one place in one shot and arriving at another in the next. Suspense can be created by using short shots frequently edited with other shots. For example, a murderer breaks into a house, we cut to the victim in the bedroom, then back to the murderer on the stairs and so on. Shock tactics can be used by cuts to a sudden close-up of an expression or object. Expectations can be built up by cutting from one shot to another and back again repeatedly, then suddenly replacing one shot with a totally new one. These types of techniques, along with many others are useful if you have a particular point you want to emphasise or highlight for the audience.
Making a video project is a group exercise. Even in a very small group or alone, you are reliant on the subject and the audience. In practice there are many people involved in presenting the final images. Group skills such as brainstorming may be helpful.
Film and video making project roles may include job titles such as Director, Producer, Writer, Editor, Actors and so on. Depending on the number of people involved with the video project, roles may be combined and assigned to one person, or perhaps you may choose to assign two people to work as partners in the same role. One person could take on more than one role.
Although you need to make sure that all the key roles are filled, it is important to discuss roles between the group members and to try and ensure that everyone has a role they are interested in or are happy to do. Make sure the exact responsibilities for each team member are clear before you begin to plan your video project, as this will avoid confusion later.
Some of the roles you may need to fill are briefly outlined below, along with suggestions of how to fill the roles within a small group - for further explanation of these roles and a worksheet to divide them up, see the appendix.
This is usually the instructor/project leader/community worker who is responsible for the progress of the group(s). They will be the overall person in charge with responsibility for the group, the project and guidance.
The Director represents and leads the group working on the project. In a small group, the Director may also be the same person who writes and storyboards the script, responsible for all creative decisions including set design, costume etc. They may even take on a post-production role such as editing.
The Producer co-ordinates the project schedule and tasks during the entire project. In a small group, the Producer could also have some creative input, being responsible for research, sourcing interviewees, perhaps even conducting interviews for a documentary. Sometimes, in small groups, the Producer could have an additional key role such as sound recording.
The researcher is responsible for finding, analysing and compiling the information necessary for the video project. This could be carried out before shooting by the Producer. The researcher could also be involved in script writing and areas such as conducting interviews.
The Script Writer works with the Researcher and the group to provide the exact wording (the script - see chapter 2) to be used for the video project.
This role is to create the scenes for the video production on paper. This could be carried out by the same person responsible for writing the script and directing the project. Story-boarding is like a version of editing on paper.
The Set Designer is responsible for gathering props, costumes and setting the stage design. The Director would have overall say in terms of creative decisions.
The Camera Operator is in charge of the equipment and filming during the shoot. If sound is being recorded ‘in camera’ then the camera operator could be responsible for this. Usually, the camera operator will be responsible for any lighting equipment, and, in small groups, much of the equipment overall. The Director could share responsibilities with the camera operator in terms of framing and movement of shots.
The Sound Recordist captures the proper sound quality on the days of filming, but may also research music, and other sound ‘clips’ for the finished soundtrack. In small groups the Producer could take on this role.
The Editor will help decide what shots should be used and makes the final edits.
This is a role in which any group members may be able to participate where relevant, acting out parts in the script or being interviewees as part of a documentary. This could be friends, volunteers, or anyone you can use!
Different media is effective in different ways depending on your audience and your message. Broadly speaking, mass communication methods have a wide but indiscriminate spread. They also detach the producer from the audience. More local methods are effective within local communities but can seem less credible. It is important to remember that the most effective and powerful method is to use a selection of these media, don’t concentrate all your efforts just on the video for example, back this up with a leaflet campaign locally and then telephone and personally invite a variety of key people.
You may also want to bear these options in mind for later on after you have made your video, as you may want to use some of these methods to promote your video. Your choice of media depends on what you aim to achieve. Read through the following information to expand your knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the various media.
Strong on visual impact but weak at getting across detailed information. It is not easy to access the wide reaching broadcast networks such as TV and the cinema, and it can also be expensive. The Internet is a good alternative but it can still be limited quality even with broadband.
A good photograph is a powerful and inspirational medium and can become very symbolic. For example, look at the changes brought about, in part, because of the stills that came out of Vietnam. It is not easy to access the national networks of magazines and papers with an image alone and there are very few other venues. Taking good pictures is an acquired skill - even the best photographers take many images to get one good one.
A great way to create a professional-looking video when starting out is to use still images and audio. By using still images in video editing software with a recorded voice-over or music you can bring a subject to life without having to learn too much about video filming techniques. This is also a great way to get around the problem of shaky or otherwise difficult to use camera-work.
The radio is widely acknowledged to be one of the more intimate forms of mass communication. People tend to have it on as a constant companion in the work place and in the home. Local radio overcomes some of the disadvantages associated with mass media. Recording good sound is difficult in lively environments and access to these channels is again not without difficulty. Internet radio is a growing medium with some potential.
Like radio, people tend to approach the Internet as a more personal form of communication and trust it as a reliable source. It can combine a variety of media and has a high level of interactivity and the possibility for feedback. Although creating a website is still quite a technical task, more and more companies are attempting to make it easier and offer templates on their site, like Blogs, a form of online diary. However, more than half of the population have yet to gain access to the Internet, despite government targets.
The highest aim of all advertisers is to access personal networks. It is widely regarded as the most powerful recommendation for any product. Keeping satisfied customers is highly valued, along with the power of word-of mouth.
A very tailored and personal approach with great effect, however this is time consuming and limited.
Again, a very personal and effective local method. Printing can be expensive and distribution difficult and tedious. It is worthwhile tailoring your distribution method to your audience if you can.
Powerful, cheap and surprisingly effective. The novelty value and distinctiveness in a conformist society seems to work well for this format. You will need wide distribution for this to be an effective method.
This is a great way of putting a message across although there is a bit of an art to writing them and they are more effective with an image. Local press are often looking for stories and will often use your text changing little (although they may still give their reporter the credit!) and it’s free! The printed medium is still well respected. The national papers are more difficult and all papers have an editorial slant, which may not favour yours.
It may be that you use a variety of different media within your presentation. Maintaining interest and spreading the impact of your message will greatly increase your effectiveness.
You can combine a variety of media, text in video, video on the Internet, images and text for press releases. The important thing is to use the media most powerful for your message. Stills in documentary are often used because of the lack of footage (stills of the First World War for example) but now they have a place and effectiveness of their own. Obviously long lines of text are out of place in video just as lengthy dialogue is out of place in a music video.
Video is strongest when the combination of sound, image and movement all give different aspects of the same basic message. Each aspect of your presentation should be worthy on it’s own but doubly powerful in conjunction with the other aspects. The elements should focus, not distract, the audience. Editing in music videos usually occurs on the beat of the music, this reinforces the beat and makes the cuts flow unnoticed. A good photograph not only combines all aspects of a story but also injects a wider sense of humanity or intimacy with the subject.
Equipment; pens, flip chart, paper.
Key words; marketing, audience, perception, issue, impact.
Introduce the session and ask the groups to invent a community group for the purposes of the exercise. This will prevent anything getting too serious and introduce a level of humour into things.
Duration 10 minutes
Get the groups to separate into small groups and come up with a name and purpose for the existence of the fictional group e.g. ‘group against snack food’. Ask them to consider;
Duration 5 minutes
Back in the main group, write each groups name and message on the board encouraging comments from other groups in the room.
Duration 5 minutes
Next ask them, in their groups, to brainstorm the following;
Duration 15 minutes
Back in the main group, write the main points of each groups answers next to their names. Encourage feedback from the other groups. Based on each groups answers ask them what kind of video would be best suited to their needs, bearing in mind audience and other factors which have become apparent. Make sure each group truly understands and focuses on their audience. Most people try to create a video that will suit everybody, but the idea is to create a highly effective and tailored video. A good test is if the video will be disregarded by some audiences due to content, i.e. pop music, then it is a tailored video!
Duration 15 minutes
Get the groups to draw a poster image or one line advert for their idea.
Duration 5 minutes
Summarise the session for everyone asking them what they feel they have learned whilst giving them a chance to see each others work.
Duration 5 minutes
Once you have got your idea and you know the theory of how to communicate it to your audience, you need to plan how you will actually present it.
There are two basic types of film, fictional and documentary.
Documentary films follow 3 basic formulas.
When film was invented, there was no such thing as editing, the story of a journey covered the whole event from start to end. Your story does not need to be told in a linear order like this, you should use a structure which emphasizes the most important aspects. Here we will look at some different ways of doing it.
Here are some of the many different ways you can prepare your idea for filming. For examples see appendix.
Schedule for everything, this applies to people’s time, the resources, money and equipment you need. Make sure it is available when you need it. See the appendix for lists of equipment you may need.
Following from Chapter 1’s discussion of different types of video, here we will define the two basic types of project: fictional and documentary.
A fictional project is one in which all, or the majority, of the story has been invented by the author. Whilst it may be based on true events, the creative process takes priority. Types of fiction (genre) include: Action-adventure, Art, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Musical, Thriller and many more. See appendix for a ‘genre’ list and descriptions.
The setting in a fictional piece can be carefully planned with everything, ideally, working to create a certain mood or atmosphere and to comment on the film’s characters or events. Other design aspects include costuming, props and make-up. These elements are carefully controlled in a fiction, working together to create characters that are believable to the audience. This character can be either realistic, such as a trendy 16-year-old or a middle-aged lawyer, or fantastical/imaginary such as the alien Mr. Spock in Star Trek. Fiction films have actors playing roles of these characters in order to tell the story. They portray characters other than themselves. Someone else directs how they should act. The quality of the resulting performance often determines how much the audience appreciates the film.
Most frames in fiction contain some type of camera movement to hold the audience’s interest, usually occurring in relation to characters’ actions - eating, walking, driving, or fighting, just to name a few. Their actions create a sense of direction in a frame and also set a pace for a scene - fight scenes, especially in martial arts films, set a faster pace than dinner scenes. Rather than presenting natural seeming light, lighting in fiction can be manipulated to set a tone, atmosphere or mood. It also directs the audience’s attention to the point of focus in the frame - consider the shadows in a film noir or a horror film.
Fiction films often make extensive use of sound, including dialogue, music, or sound effects that appear to originate within the world of the film. In addition to this, fiction often uses sounds external to the world of the film, for example music on the soundtrack. Much of a fiction film’s sound effects, music and even some dialogue is added after filming has taken place, in post-production.
Documentaries tell a story set in reality, using the events to express a point of view. Documentaries may include fictional elements to underscore real events that were not filmed (re-enactments, staged events) but the overall relation to actual events must be a primary one. (For more types of documentary see 2.3).
Documentaries, for the most part, rely on places in the real world for their settings. For example, a video maker might take us to their school or where they live. Like the setting, the costumes and make-up we see in documentary belong to the real world, to the person who owns and wears them. In documentary, there aren’t usually typical ‘actors’; rather people being themselves or acting like themselves as if in everyday life, to serve the documentary’s greater purpose - its argument. The question of how the presence of the camera affects behaviour can come into play here, but the point is these ‘characters’ follow no script, take no direction, and generally get paid no money.
In terms of camera movement, documentaries traditionally tend not to move the camera as much as in fiction. Most documentaries use what is called "available lighting", which literally means whatever lighting is available in the location becomes the lighting for that scene.
Documentaries also make extensive use of natural sound, especially the spoken word. Many documentaries use talking heads, or recorded interviews of people speaking on a given topic. Unless part of the initial filming, most documentaries incorporate few sound effects or in-frame music. In addition to making extensive use of talking heads, many documentaries also employ voiceover narration. The voiceover serves many purposes: to explain the images on the screen, to provide linkage across disparate images, to offer specific commentary on the subject, and to persuade us to believe a certain viewpoint.
The function of editing in documentary, however, differs from fiction. Instead of working to preserve the narrative, it serves to further the documentary’s argument. It presents interviews, alongside other images that serve to illustrate a point or act as evidence rather than cutting on movement and for effect.
Most fiction films have distinct beginnings, middles and ends. These are often broken up into Act One, Act Two and Act Three - a three-act structure. In fact these acts are often so distinct that you can spot where each of these acts start and finish. The three-act theory (which most Hollywood films fall into, for example) state that in the first act you should establish your characters and the issue they face. The second act should involve a conflict and its outcome. The third and shortest act resolves all the loose ends and allows the audience "closure".
Using an example of a 30 minute video, (30 minutes of screen time) the script should be roughly 30 pages long. This is because it is generally assumed that one page of script roughly equals one minute of screen time. If we split the script up into the three acts, the beginning of the film (Act One) should take up a little less than ten minutes, the middle of the film (Act Two) should run just over ten minutes and the end of the film (Act Three) should be the last five to ten minutes.
Each scene within the acts should be a mini version of the three-act theory explained as follows. It should have a beginning, an issue and a resolution although it may leave some loose ends to be resolved after; the tension that occurs when two characters fight over an issue is called dramatic tension and greatly increases the interest, most soaps are based on this alone.
This first section is the setup, it has to lay the groundwork for the story and answer three questions:
1) Who’s this film about? Who is the lead character? What kind of person are they? Usually we are introduced to the characters and see what they do day to day. We are encouraged to identify with the characters and like them.
2) Where’s it taking place? What’s the story’s location? What kind of world do the characters live in?
3) What’s going to happen? Something is going to happen that is going to challenge the lead character.
Plot Point 1 - At the end of Act One comes the first plot point. A plot point is a hook in the action that spins it around and creates direction. Something happens that sets the course for the rest of the movie - e.g. the aliens invade or a body is found. Now the characters know their purpose; to fight back against the aliens or discover who the murderer is, and that’s what they’ll spend Act Two doing.
By this point, your character should have a dramatic need: to find the murderer, or some other task or mission to fulfil. But it wouldn’t make a good story if they could complete their task straight away. Conflict is the essence of drama. The character has to overcome a series of obstacles that you drop in their path. Act Two is the biggest section to write (which can be around 60 pages long in a feature length film!).
Plot Point 2 - At the end of Act Two comes the second plot point. Now the character has been moving towards their goal and it’s usually by now that the solution is in sight. It may not be easy to achieve, but they know what they have to do. Usually it’s just before plot point 2 that all the really bad things happen. One minute it seems the ‘hero’ is about to achieve their goal, only to suddenly be imprisoned, or a colleague/loved one may get shot for example. Now the lead character’s efforts have to be redoubled.
Everything should be in place for the finale; all the plot threads and characterisation that have been building up in Acts One and Two can be used for dramatic effect and released and resolved in Act Three. By Plot Point 2 the main character knows what needs to be done so Act Three is spent planning and getting into a position of strength, mostly carrying out the action and finally enjoying the aftermath and seeing who gets to ride off with who into the sunset. The ‘hero’ realises the final task that must be completed, carries it out and most (if not all) loose ends in the plot are tied up.
Even with a structure in place, you still need to use your creativity and talent to fill in the characters and story. This system of structuring helps to break the task up into chunks: a series of smaller tasks to be tackled. With the basic structure of your film mapped out you can concentrate on telling the story, building characters and writing dialogue.
The three-act structure is vital for short fictional films as well as full-length features - it can fit almost any fictional piece, however long or short - even if your video is only five or ten minutes long, this structure can still be applied. For some examples of fictional community videos and where you can see them on the Internet, see the appendix.
Documentaries follow 3 basic formulas. For some examples of documentary community videos and where you can see them on the Internet, see the appendix. Here we will explain the types:
In its purest form the crew do not interact at all with the subject. The most common forms are nature programmes. The observational documentary was first made possible by the introduction of lightweight cameras and portable sound-recording systems in the 1960s. This allows the crew to move quickly and stick close to the subject.
The observational documentary refuses the use of a narrator explaining events, preferring to allow the visual material to ‘tell its own story’. It creates the impression that events are unfolding ‘naturally’ in front of the camera.
In ‘direct cinema’, the documentary makers attempt to remain invisible, observing but never interfering with the action. In ‘cinema verite’ mode, the presence of a camera and crew is recognised by the participants, who may be asked to answer questions from the crew or to address the camera directly (for example, TV programmes like ‘Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’ or ‘Wife Swap’). Here the subjects speak directly to the camera or crew about their feelings.
As the conventions of the observational documentary were adapted in the work of television documentary makers in the 1970s, the mode was often referred to as fly-on-the-wall, emphasising the privileged position of the audience. In other words, we are witnesses to a situation to which we would not normally have access.
The current trend for ‘docusoaps’ is one illustration of the adaptation of documentary techniques for the medium of television; the participants of programmes such as ‘Airport’ are filmed in their homes and workplaces as though they are carrying on with normal life. It is their ‘normal’ lives that we are interested in. Occasionally the participants will acknowledge the presence of the crew by talking directly to the interviewer or camera, serving to give us public access to their private thoughts and viewpoints.
Interviews, voice-overs, even confrontation can come together in this format. When it has a strong point of view, it is called political documentary.
This type of documentary often uses a narrator to address the audience directly and to present an explanation, interpreting what they are seeing on screen. This is one of the oldest forms of documentary and one of the most established conventions. Programmes such as Big Brother still use this type of voice-over narration, in order to interpret and explain the material we are watching. Whether or not the narrator is ever seen, we are expected to trust the narration as the truth about the subject or the best interpretation of it.
On occasions, the narration of a documentary is shared between a number of people, as experts, witnesses or participants, or ‘talking heads’, as they are known. This approach is often used in programmes such as BBC’s ‘One Life‘ and also programmes like ‘Crimewatch’, where a number of different perspectives on a single incident are available.
Uses reconstructions to tell the ‘truth’, common in disaster or history documentaries where actual footage is unavailable.
This is one of the most controversial areas of documentary and one of the most difficult to define. This mode generally involves the dramatic reconstruction of real events, using actors (or occasionally the original participants) employing the style and form of fictional film or television.
It is generally used when there is no way of gaining access to original material or when there is a need to make that material more persuasive or more striking. This mode can be used in small sequences to illustrate or support wider concerns of the documentary (the dramatic reconstructions of ‘Crimewatch’, for example) or can constitute the whole programme. Drama-documentaries have always been controversial because of the ways in which they openly mix fact and fiction in order to gain an audience.
When filmmaking was invented, there was no such thing as editing; the story of a journey covered the whole event from start to end. The story in your video does not need to be told in a linear order like this, you should use a structure which emphasises the most important aspects. In this chapter we will look at some different methods.
You should be able to relate your story in such a way that the most important bit is highlighted, usually placing it in the middle. The beginning and ending frame this, the beginning establishes the background and the end giving a sense of satisfaction and closure.
When we watch a film, documentary or TV programme we are often caught up in the story that it is telling and accept everything that happens on the screen as natural. In fact, everything that we see has been carefully chosen and arranged, on the screen and within the story, to have a specific effect on the audience. After seeing a programme we might tell a friend what it was about - we would tell the ‘story’ of what happens. But a programme or film is much more than just its story. The producers have constructed events to tell the story and told that story in a particular way.
Within the pattern of the story, time may be managed in various ways; events may be presented chronologically; there may be flashbacks or parallel story lines; parts of the story may be emphasised - more time may be given to some events or characters than to others. In constructing the plot, however, the project group must bear in mind what an audience can take in, given the length of the film/video and that the audience can’t ask for sections to be repeated if they get confused. (See narrative structure chart in the appendix, which may be useful to focus on how to tell your story).
So a narrative is a story told in a particular way. The same story could be told in different ways by different people: the way the story is told may depend upon the audience for which it is intended. There are a number of different techniques that can be used:
This is a common technique used to give perspective and interest to the structure of stories. This technique involves telling a story about the past with the film constantly jumping between the past and the present. The diagram below shows how the story of Little Red Riding Hood uses flashback. The numbers show the order in which the audience will see and find out about events, but the order in which they are listed, in letters, is the timeline in which events actually occur:
This is where two events are shown at the same time, the audience assumes that they are happening simultaneously and will eventually come together.
Again, using the example of Little Red Riding Hood, the following diagram shows the timelines of the story of the two characters and the order in which they occur in relation to each other. This is, however, not necessarily the order in which events may be presented to the audience.
An audience may feel like neutral observers watching a series of events unfold before their eyes, or they may identify strongly with a particular character. The position of the audience will depend on whose eyes the camera tells the story through. The placing of the camera can position the audience in relation to the characters on screen: the audience may be positioned as an onlooker as if in the centre stalls of a theatre watching events on stage; or the camera can bring the audience into the narrative space so that they see things from a particular perspective.
The Little Red Riding Hood story could be told through the eyes of Red Riding Hood, the eyes of the grandmother, or even through the eyes of the wolf. You may prefer, however, to present a detached viewpoint or the viewpoint of several characters. At this point your knowledge of your viewers is vital if you want make the audience you have chosen really understand your ideas. you will be able to decide at this point if and how to make them identify with the situation and hopefully be in sympathy with your story.
There are many factors then that shape a particular narrative. Films/videos may share a narrative pattern, but each will be different depending on its genre, the way it is made and the message the maker(s) wants to communicate. Every individual who sees the film will interpret it in a different way and have a different opinion about it depending on their personal experiences.
Here are some of the many different ways you can prepare your idea for filming.
Just like a novel you can write your story down as short or as long as you need. Bear in mind structure and the focus of your piece.
It may be useful to you, before going on to writing your script, to write what is called a ‘treatment’. A treatment serves two functions; the first is to make a record of the idea in written form. The second, and most important, function of a treatment is to communicate the idea to others. Before writing the treatment, it is useful to think about your intended audience (see next section) and then clearly define the objectives of your project (See sample in appendix).
The first part of a treatment should contain basic information regarding the film or video. This could include the group’s names, approximate target length for your video, genre (for example: comedy, horror, documentary etc.), the video format (type of videotape stock you will be using) and the intended audience. The main body of the project treatment contains the basic story concept, with little or no dialogue (this isn’t a script). The over-view should contain only significant highlights that convey the general concept and the project treatment should be brief and to the point - no more than around one page in total length. This is a useful way of focussing on your idea, communicating your project idea to others and, for professionals, is often used to interest producers in financing projects following the ‘pitch’ one-liner.
The most well known way of putting down ideas, following a fairly formal format. It is worth learning the format as it helps divide aspects of the production into scenes, dialogue and instructions for camera and actors. (See the example in the appendix.)
Just as in plays, films can begin with a script. This generally includes the words the actors are meant to speak, a breakdown of the characters and scene descriptions. If it is a detailed script it may also have directions for the actors, where they move to and even for the film crew like “CAMERA ZOOMS IN” or “We HEAR the door CREAK”. There are some conventions to fiction script formatting – for an example of a script including these elements, see the appendix.
There is a new trend towards lifestyle programming like gardening, DIY or cookery which use the conventions of documentary but in a more light-hearted, less serious way.
Documentary scripts follow a different format; ‘two-column’ scripts where video and audio material are placed in parallel columns. The left-hand side contains video information, with audio on the right. Every visual and audio element should be specified with full descriptions in the appropriate column. For an example of a two column documentary script, have a look in the appendix now.
The audio column can contain any kind of sound, speaking or music cues that are important to the meaning of the project. It can contain narration or a transcript of what people onscreen are saying, or at least their first and last words to use as cues to begin and end the shot.
This format has many variations and possibilities. Shots are usually given as a basic size, with perhaps some camera direction. The font is generally the same as with fiction scripts; 12 point Courier. In some cases, documentaries have already been shot when the script is written, simply for the purpose of pulling ideas together and seeing how they look. It is essential, if possible, to write a script for documentary, even if it is only an outline, so that you don’t start filming with little idea of the end result. Most documentaries work from an outline script or shooting script written ahead of filming. It is possible, however, to write your script after the documentary has been shot, which helps create the narrative of the video. It isn’t recommended to work without any idea of your final piece, though.
The format you choose may depend on the type of documentary you choose. A detailed script for a fly-on-the-wall documentary isn’t feasible because much of the camerawork will be event-led. In such instances it’s really a case of capturing the action and trying to ensure that there are sufficient cutaways and other material for the post-production processes. The same usually applies when shooting a talking head sequence, where the gist of what is to be said is probably known, but not the precise detail. However, material for later insertion (insert edit) in that sequence could be scripted after the interview.
Even in fly-on-the-wall documentaries there are still likely to be some scenes which will benefit from either a shooting script or much more detailed notes developed from your outline. For example, if you know you are going to film on a boat, and that prior to this the boat crew will engage in preparatory work getting ready to sail, you could at least make a note of what preparations you want to show.
With a dramatised documentary, where full directorial control can be exercised, then most things can be planned and scripted in advance. Storyboards can also be useful for documentary - see below.
A storyboard, which doesn’t have to be elaborately drawn, showing the shots and required camera angles etc. may also help. This is especially so in a team shoot, where the director needs to ensure that the crew can set up the shots with a minimum of verbal instruction.
Storyboarding is the process of producing sketches of the shots of your script. The end result looks like a comic book of your project (without the speech bubbles). Ideal for describing framing and angles very specifically. You don’t need to be brilliant at drawing; stick figures will do although it helps to indicate which way characters are facing. Text underneath the frames helps explain it further and can indicate sound and camera movement.
It helps you think about how your film is going to look. You can work faster on set and, as pictures communicate better than words it will allow your colleagues to know which parts of the location are going to be in shot and understand how the overall project will look. It allows you to experiment quickly and cheaply, testing out different versions of how a scene may look and play on camera.
Storyboarding is especially useful for complex visual sequences e.g. elaborate shots or special effects sequences. There are a few conventions storyboard artists use to illustrate movement - whether it’s movement within the frame (actors walking) or the frame moving itself (camera panning etc.).
Drawing storyboards is an excellent way to keep motivated, to keep organised and helps everyone understand the project. Storyboards aren’t there to constrain you - they are there to act as a useful tool for you to work from. If you want to change some aspects during production, then you still can. In the real situation you may see a new angle - go ahead, shoot it. Get the shots you need by checking your storyboard and give yourself the time and freedom to experiment.
Shot lists are like a description of the storyboard in its most detailed form. It is very handy for scheduling later on as similar shots (for example all those in the same location) can be scheduled side by side (out of sync with the story) for ease of filming. You can combine it with the storyboard, or write out a separate list to use during filming.
In a nutshell, a shot list is exactly what it implies. It is a list of shots you intend to take. It serves as a reminder during filming. Write down the shots you want to get during filming in a list and number them so that they can be quickly referred to on the shot list and during editing.
Some different shots can be labelled with letters, as they can be filmed as if one continuous shot then later cut into two or more to match your storyboard. For example, see ‘Scene 2’ in the sample shot list below - shots 2 and 2a can actually be filmed as one and then cut into two later in post-production. Also, shots in the same locations can be filmed at the same time, even if they don’t happen next to each other in the story. For example, scenes 1 and 3 below can both be filmed together as they both take place in the park. See 2.6 for more details on scheduling (there is a blank version for you to use in theappendix).
|Low Angle, track in following footsteps towards flower.|
|Arm reaches in from left for flower.|
|Zoom in to centre of flower as its plucked from the ground.|
|Flower being placed in a vase.|
|Johnny smiles down at the vase.|
|The flower wilts over.|
|Johnny's smile turns to a frown and he walks out of shot.|
|Johnny enters the park gates and walks toward a bench.|
|Johnny sits down on the park bench.|
Fig 2.7 a short example of a shot list
Schedule for everything, this applies to people’s time, the resources, money and equipment you need. Make sure it is available when you need it. See the appendix for a list of equipment you may need.
Production schedule - here is an outline of the types of things you will need to think about and plan after scripting and assigning roles within the group. See the appendix for a simple schedule plan for you to use.
1 - Storyboard all the shots needed.
2 - Script breakdown. Create a list of needed shots from your storyboard (shot list). Then you can sort by location, scene, actors, etc.
3 - Write down all the scenes and number the shots you will need in each scene.
4 - List locations, sets, props, equipment, actors for each shot.
5 - Special needs. Are there any special lights/effects equipment needed? Legal clearance etc? (see chapter 6)
6 - Rehearse first where necessary and possible. Make sure the actors learn their lines and shoot rehearsals.
1 - Sort shots into locations - shots in the same locations can be filmed at the same time, even if they don’t happen next to each other in the story.
2 - Coverage - use all the available angles. Film everything you need and more if you have time.
3 - Arrange the shots so that people/volunteers are needed first, or keep their tasks/interviews etc. as close together as possible, so that the time they are contributing is minimised.
4 - Multiple takes - do a number of takes for each shot until you are satisfied.
5 - Equipment - if rented or borrowed equipment is being used, try and organise shots using it to be done on one day or as close together as possible to minimise costs.
It is strongly recommended you have a look at a location before videoing if possible. Make sure everyone can get to the location at the times of filming.
Make a list in advance and make sure you have everything with you ready for shooting. This may include: camera, accessories, batteries, charger, tripod, lights, reflector, stands, mics, mixer, spare cables, extension electrical cords, power boards, tapes. You should check through the list as you pack up at the end of each day to make sure nothing goes missing or gets left behind. See appendix for a more detailed list.
Make sure they are all ready beforehand.
Crew, Actors, volunteers etc - plan how many people are needed. Make sure they all know what their individual roles are and when and where they are needed.
Get them before you start. You may need permission to use locations, music, etc. See chapter 6 for more details.
As mentioned in chapter 1, you could contact some members of your audience and ask for their advice in your planning. As your project takes shape, ask them to review and provide feedback on the results. This ongoing dialogue will help keep your purpose and focus in mind during the project, and give you helpful feedback for improving your work. Hopefully, you will also have the opportunity to have a discussion with audience members.
You could plan for a rough-cut screening after your production is done. This is a very valuable way to judge your piece’s effectiveness and your audience’s reaction. Ask people after they have seen your video what they thought; be specific and set dates to review your progress. At this screening you can hand out a questionnaire and get some vital input. For some questions to ask, see Audience Feedback Questionnaire in appendix.
Equipment; pencils, rubbers, storyboard templates.
Key words; Extreme close up, mid shot, reverse shot, tracking, pan.
Introduce the theory of storyboarding with examples and explain the plan for the lesson.
Duration 5 minutes
Separate them into working groups. Either working with the fictional idea formed in the previous chapters exercises or with an actual "live" idea, get them to break it down and do a storyboard for it. Ask them to think about:
Aim for about 6 panels (see appendix for a storyboard template).
Duration 25 minutes
Back in the main group, ask one member of each group to explain the storyboard to the rest of the group. Remember, if people are judgemental about others drawing no one will want to get up!
Duration 15 minutes
Ask them to go back into their groups and think about planning. Get individuals in the groups to do these separate tasks;
Duration 10 minutes
Summarise the session for everyone asking them what they feel they have learned whilst giving them a chance to see each others work.
Duration 5 minutes
Tripods add a level of professionalism to your shots and are especially useful when zooming in to a distant subject.
By imitating photos you like when you are filming you can learn new styles.
When constructing a film sequence, especially for documentary, it is important to imagine how your filming will look on the screen, how it will "cut together". Generally speaking there are different techniques or styles used for the two main formats of filming, Fiction and Documentary.
Most cameras follow a common layout, but it is important to get to know your camera before you start filming. Either read the manual, or play with the camera until you know what every button and menu does! Here is a list of the basic functions.
All cameras can use the mains electricity for power or a supplied battery which will need charging. Some cameras charge the battery separately, some have to be connected to the mains whilst the battery is in place. You can’t film and charge the battery at the same time with this latter type so this limits your filming time unless you film near a plug socket! It is worthwhile to get a spare battery and charger so your filming time is limited.
Most cameras operate in two modes:
There are a variety of different options through the various menus which are too fiddly to use while filming. Get to know the shortcut buttons like "Focus" and "Backlight", which are commonly available.
In playback mode your camera is like a video player. It will have controls like play and rewind. Once you find these (they are often well hidden and tiny!) they help you to see what you have filmed and line the tape up so you don’t have big gaps between sections of film or wind up taping over something important.
Increasingly there is also a stills camera mode, allowing you to take digital photos, or "stills", on your camera using a separate "photo" button. It is worth noting, however, that stills images, whether on memory card or tape, are NOT good enough for print unless they are printed very small. If you want good stills buy a stills camera.
There are a variety of formats available but mini digital video, or "miniDV", is better for economy, quality, and the ability to edit on your computer. They generally come in 30 minute and 60 minute lengths. We don't recommend using the long play option with some cameras, which means you can fit 90 minutes of footage on a 60 minute tape, because it involves a drop in quality and reliability that isn’t worth what little savings you make. (see appendix for more up to date info on formats and cheap places to buy).
The record button both starts and stops recording; it is usually red and when recording there should be some sort of indication on the screen. There is often a red light on the front of the camera letting people know they are being recorded It may be handy to turn the red light off if the subject is nervous! This setting will be available in the camera menus and if it is not available, a small piece of electrical tape over the light will suffice. Always record for at least 10 seconds; anything less is not practical when you edit.
Most cameras have a zoom control. This is usually a two way or rocker switch. Some even zoom quicker or slower depending on how far you push the switch. Practice with this to get a smooth action. Whilst it is very handy to be able to magnify the image this way, it magnifies unsteady camera work too. Your images will be much better quality and less shaky if you get close rather than zooming in!
Whilst not ideal, sometimes it is your only option to use the mic fixed to the camera. Be aware that you are close to the camera/mic so breathing noisily, moving your hands, and/or chewing are not recommended. The microphone may also pick up the sound of the camera mechanisms. Be sure not to rub the mic with your hands! It is also good to be aware of background noise so that you can adjust the mic and environment accordingly. See previous chapter on mics to use and below on using a separate mic.
Usually consumer cameras come set up on fully automatic setting. When you are learning, this is the best option. However, you will soon notice that sometimes the camera won’t focus properly, or the colours will alter. You can learn how to use these settings manually but it is often fiddly and difficult as they are frequently hidden in menus. Menus also make it impossible to change more than one setting simultaneously.
The most important manual settings to use are Focus and White Balance (see appendix). If they are easy to get at, spend some time practising with these. It is possible to set the White Balance before filming. Focus can change as you or your subject move around, so sometimes has to be altered as you film. Unless your camera has a focus ring on the lens, try and set it before you film too, or make do with auto!
Apart from the obvious, like keeping sand and water out, the only other two things you need to do are clean the lens and the heads. Use a special cloth or tissue from good photography shops for the lens and a tape head cleaning tape from your local video camera shop. Remembering to keep the lens cap on will help keep it clean and free from scratches. If you have a good quality camera we would also recommend having your camera serviced yearly, it is a good investment and prevents tapes being chewed or unreadable.
There are lots of extras and special effects available through the various menus. You can simulate most of these on your computer so if you are unsure how you want your final image to look, keep it simple. However if you are sure you only want your final film in black and white, for example, it will save you a lot of time later. Beware of shooting "wide-screen", some TVs and computers struggle with this. If in doubt, test it first!
A good exercise in camera discipline, this method involves being very accurate with what you are filming and having no mistakes on tape! In practice, this means rehearsing your shots and knowing your camera and subject very well. Editing in camera means that your footage filmed is what you show, no editing afterwards on a computer deleting unwanted bits.
Framing is a skill which comes with practice and one you should start studying now. Look at images from different areas, how a press photographer frames their subject is different from how an artist does. However, everyone who creates images for a living, thinks very consciously about what is in the frame. Think how you can show the audience what is important. If you can, get close to your subject so there is no excess information in the frame. If the whole person is important, show their feet to their heads, or can you pan up from their feet ending on their head for the interview? Do you really need their hands in shot or the tree in the background? Always use a variety of close-ups and wide shots to tell the viewer more about the subject. A good rule to follow is that they eyes of your subject should be in the top third of the frame. The simpler and more readable your frame is, the more powerful the message.
You may decide to make the audience feel tense by using a handheld camera, or give your film that documentary feel but, at all times, aim to keep the image relatively steady. The camera that constantly moves, never settling on a subject is usually held by an amateur. Decide how you will steady the shot, hold the camera well against your body, use a table or door frame to steady your hand, hold the camera against your hip if you want a low angle. Remember pans and zooms, whether hand-held or on a tripod, should only be done to add meaning to your shot.
This teaches the importance of the steady shot and the significance that can come from a powerful image. The editing software in chapter 4 shows you how you can still create moving images by zooming and panning on high quality still images. It simplifies filming and means beginners can create a very watchable piece with no shaky handheld camerawork.
Tripods add a level of professionalism to your shots. They prevent the audience from being distracted by too much camera shake and are especially useful when zooming in to a distant subject.
Ideally your tripod will have a mini spirit level near the top. This is simply some liquid with a bubble in it, by lining up the bubble near the top of the dome it is in you will know the head of the tripod supporting the camera is level. This is useful when you are not sure whether it is you, or your subject which is on a slant!
Used well, they bring a sense of calm and stillness to a shot. A handheld camera will create tension if done well.
Take a look at some photos you like, by imitating these when you are filming you can learn new styles. Looking at how films use light is a great source of ideas too. Whole styles of film such as "film noir" use light to give a particular meaning. You can use natural conditions and environments to add atmosphere to your film. Lighting serves best to emphasise your subject, if your background is better lit than your subject it will pull the audience’s attention away. You can direct the audiences eye using shadow details well.
Great for dramatic landscapes, difficult for interviews as the shadows tend to be black leaving out all the detail. Light reflected off a wall will soften harsh shadows.
Can give a great moody feel to the shot, take a look at films like "Se7en" or "Bladerunner". Also good for illuminating details but can give a very general light that makes everything look flat.
A good guide will tell you to shoot with the sun to your back, this is true if you don’t want everything in silhouette or with sun flare all over it. On the other hand at times this may be exactly the effect you want! Try it and see!
Taking light to a location is best done with either lots of experience or lots of planning. It can be a whole department on its own and can slow you down enormously. Lights are difficult to use and can often be very dull and flat or add unwanted colours and shadows to your image, although odd colours might work well. Sometimes a well placed lamp can displace or create effective shadows. Beware of double shadows when using more than one light source.
Begin your lighting education by using reflected light. Take note of where the main light is coming from and what surfaces it is reflecting off. The sun off a white wall will create a different or flattering light in the shadows. A desk lamp may bounce off white paper and light your subject’s face. You can use these natural instances and you can create them with artificial reflectors like white boards and mirrors. You may even want to create shadows using black boards.
A light which gently lights the shadows is often called fill light because it is filling in the detail. You can use a desk lamp to do this; move it further or nearer to the subject to change its strength or get a dimmer plug from an electrical store. The Chinese style lanterns are also very good at this as they cast very little shadow of their own.
The basic system most commonly used. It consists of a main light or key light, which lights your subject, a backlight to help define the subject from the surroundings and a fill for the shadow. Watch a film and you will be surprised how often people in dark or moody surrounding always seem to have at least these three lights on them!
All lights have a slightly different colour. Moonlight has a blue tint and street lights are orange, for example. Mixing these can look quite effective, or it can look awful - experiment! Use a TV if you can to preview what you will film as the small LCD screens are very deceptive. (See next chapter on how to connect your camera to a TV.)
Sound is a part of any presentation but is often overlooked. One of the most powerful ways to enhance your message is to get crystal clear sound with your images. Think how much money Hollywood spends re-recording all the sound for their films, including dialogue, in a studio. They think it is money well spent and they’ve been doing it for years (most Hollywood sound, including dialogue, is re-recorded in a sound studio and the original taken off). Using a separate microphone to the one built into your camera will make your film far more professional, with little effort. Here are some other things to consider.
Research it first! There is nothing worse than finding out your planned shoot is under the main flight path for Manchester Airport!
There is very little background noise which isn’t distracting for the viewer. If you have to have it then make it part of the film, if there is a racetrack nearby, get a shot of it and even refer to it in the interview. You could even use it as a background to stop the audience wondering, "what is that noise?"
If at all possible, get your subject somewhere quiet; a studio is ideal. If you can’t find a studio, find a quiet room, ideally one with carpets and soft furnishings. However, your interview should be held in a suitable location. Sometimes a quiet front room will be right, but when interviewing a farmer about farming methods, a field or barn is best!
The best place for a microphone is as close to the sound source as possible to get clear sound. This can conflict with the camera if the camera operator wants to get a wide shot. This is why you often see lapel mics used (difficult to hide without hearing clothes rustle though) and mics on long poles (booms).
It is a good idea to do some sound tests before filming. Your lapel mic might work really well until you realize your interviewee is wearing a shell suit or squeaky leather! Rifle mics on a boom pole work really well and you can mount any sort of mic on them. Ideally your mic will have some kind of rubber mounting to separate out any shakes or noise the boom operator (op) makes. The boom op should however be aware of not fidgeting especially with hands and not swinging the mic around too much in case of wind noise. One way of stopping wind noise, which can be distracting, if not downright annoying, is a furry cover called a windshield.
Wearing headphones is a must if sound is to be used. It is surprising what your mind will filter out which, when you watch your rushes, will ruin your sequence. Even computer fans or fridges or a crew member with annoying breathing habits can make your footage unusable.
Keep the microphone close to, but not directly in front of your subject and ask the speaker to talk in their normal voice. Beware of speakers who stress their "s’" or "p’s", try and angle the mic so it doesn’t pick these up too much. Don’t be frightened to ask them to speak clearly in a noisy environment. Ask them to repeat something if you don’t feel it was clear either because of the speaker mumbling, stuttering or a background noise. After all, they want to be heard clearly.
If you choose to cut at a point when a background noise is prominent, even in a quiet room, it will seem odd. Getting a separate recording of the room or location means you can add this separate layer in the edit and smooth over the cut. It will also mean you can add it when you have someone talking or coughing in a "silent" shot of a scene. If you collect these you will realise how many different sounds a "silent" environment has and how it alters your film. Think of the low rumble of engines in a ship and the power that conveys.
You can use your camera or a minidisc recorder. The microphone is the first consideration, it is worthwhile considering hiring one (they can be a few pounds a day) if you really want good sound and can record it in a day or two. Make sure the mic you buy is compatible with your recorder.
Whatever sound you want to catch you need it isolated from background noise or "clean", choose the best location for this and get as close to the source as possible whether recording a train or the sound of a kiss.
It may be that the sound you got for that slamming door had someone speaking over it when filming, or it was distorted, maybe it just doesn’t sound like you wanted it to. Go out, get a "clean" version and then paste it over the top of the old sound!
There are music and sound FX libraries available but there may be copyright issues with these, meaning you have to pay to use them. This can be expensive so consider what you are going to use when planning and try and source it yourself or get a free copy! (For more information see chapter 6.)
You may need to go back to a location when things are quieter if there was too much noise during filming. Alternatively you could find a similar sounding location with cleaner sound.
This often means at night! Between 3am and 5am is about the time when traffic and planes are most absent, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
Interviewing someone is a very personal skill, one that requires good communication skills and understanding of people and their points of view as well as the factual approach of a journalist. You also have to know about filming and what your interview needs to have in terms of sound and image that will cut together well. All of this and you have to think of it while listening to someone else!
You have to get them to sign a document stating they are happy for you to use their image and words for your programme, get it before the interview so you don’t waste time chasing it a week later or find out they’ve changed their mind! (Seeappendix.)
The best way to get the information that you want is for you both to be relaxed. Have a joke, reassure them about their appearance, the time, how you will edit the material you get. Don’t use language they won’t understand, don’t shout "action" and "cut" as if it were a film set. Ease them into the recording process gently, let the tape roll while you talk to them about their journey. You may want to turn off the red record light on the camera if you think it will make your subject nervous.
Work out what you need from the interview and how your questions will get that. It may be possible to go over the questions with the interviewee, it will certainly make them happier! Make your questions difficult to answer with a "yes" or "no", questions such as "tell me about..." rather than "do you think that..." Think about having questions ready that ask the same things in different ways in case you don’t get the response you need. If you interview someone who stammers or uses "you know" a lot you may need to go over the same ground a few times so you can have something to edit. A sound bite, as they are called, is a sentence or two which really sums up the interviewee’s point of view without pauses or stumbling speech. As you are listening to the responses imagine how they will be cut and appear in the final piece. If it doesn’t work, ask again!
Vox pops are a type of instant reaction from the street interview, a great way to get the opinions of loads of people into your video. They are often used in news items with an interviewer and camera going out and literally interviewing people on the street.
Although you may be concentrating on other things (especially if you are also doing camera etc.) if you don’t make the interviewee feel like they are having a conversation they will be as distracted as you and appear nervous. They will also doubt you are valuing their opinion.
Nod your head, smile a lot but don’t go "Uh huh" or "Mmm" to encourage the responses, you will ruin the sound. Leave your next question until you are sure they have finished talking, sometimes pausing, allowing silence will let the interviewee relax into an answer they wouldn’t normally give, you don’t want to ruin it by talking or interrupting their line of thought. Don’t rush!
With only one camera it is difficult to include the interviewer as more than just a shoulder. A noddie is where the camera is turned around to face the interviewer after the interview and records them asking the questions again (the interviewee doesn’t need to hang around). You may also want some nodding, smiling etc. because when you come to edit it the only way to cut out an irrelevant part of an interviewee’s answer may be by cutting to the interviewer.
Filming a still image such as a photo helps recreate scenes which can no longer be filmed such as dead relatives, destroyed buildings or artefacts. It also adds a sense of history and culture to a film. The lighting is often difficult on photographs and people will not always trust you to take them away. The use of archive material may also require special permissions.
Again this can help with the editing and it helps describe a subject to your audience. If an interviewee talks about their car, you would ideally get a shot of it driving by, parked up, close up, wide, interior. This also gives you another easy way to cut up an interview smoothly. If there are no obvious or possible shots, take some of the environment, close ups of their hands, desk and some of them talking generally with the interviewer.
When constructing a video sequence, especially for documentary, it is important to imagine how your video will look on the screen, how it will "cut together". The good video maker adapts to the situation, using what you come across throughout the videoing process! Whatever you do, keep the message in mind and look for opportunities.
Documentary style can give the camera some freedom and a shot such as the broken "Welcome to..." sign to a town can really help the editor give the audience that message, though it may not have been planned. When videoing you should have an image of the whole video in your head, what you’ve recorded, how it will edit together, and what you need. When you come across an opportunity or a situation you know instantly how to respond, where to place the camera, how it will edit into the final scenes and how your sequences will edit together. Imagine a kitchen scene; you might video some shots preparing food, some cooking and some eating. If you are inspired you might decide to use a series of shots showing in different angles how the food is chopped, sliced, diced, fried, boiled and served. This gives the editor a rhythmic, stylish sequence adding a light hearted feel and quickening the pace of the video. Record wide shots and close ups in a logical, story led order i.e. what the chef is looking at (close up shot of her face), a knife (wide shot as she picks it up), which is chopping onions (close up of the onions and blurring knife), which is being put into a pan (overhead shot of the onions falling into the water). You not only tell a story, but you tell it in an interesting way.
A common technique in fiction video technique, but also used in documentary, is to video from different angles. If you video someone walking down a corridor it might serve to stimulate interest in the scene if you show the event from different angles. If you have more than one camera and they don’t get in each other’s shots you can do this in one take. Alternatively you can ask the person to do the walk several times and film them from a different angle each time. When you come to the edit, these can edit together much easier. You may start with a wide of the whole corridor, a medium shot of the person walking to camera, a close up of the persons feet and then an extreme close up of their face. (See diagram).
Generally speaking there are different techniques or styles used for the two main formats of film, Fiction and Documentary.
The key signature of camera work for narrative fiction film is the pace. Because of planning time and rehearsing your camera will be well placed to get all the action and may even be mounted on tracks (see appendices) or a wheelchair for that smooth tracking in shot to the actors face! Pans should be smooth, we should not see microphones and scenes will be well lit and recorded. All aspects of the mechanics of video recording are hidden.
In recent years this has developed more because of the accessibility of cameras. So we have the video diary style, with the camera pointed at the video maker. The fly on the wall style is handheld and squeezes into every room. The secret videoing format is low quality as the camera is hidden. Handheld camera is the most common aspect of all these styles used because of flexibility and speed, you also may not have permission to mount a tripod. Crews seen in mirrors and mics are forgiven, interviewers can be heard and often seen. The mechanics of video recording are apparent. The key is to still use a tripod if at all possible, keep production values high, aim for the narrative standard and keep the message central.
Create your own library of special effects. You can use your camera for this leaving the lens cap on so you only capture sound or any sound recording equipment. Remember, sound is only as good as the equipment and the recordist.
Equipment; Cameras, blank tapes, tripods, microphones, TV and appropriate cables.
Key words; Close up, wide, hand-held, focus, establishing shot, reverse shot.
Introduce the session
Duration 5 minutes
Give the group the following example;
Imagine you have to film the following sequence;
A man walks into a hallway, picks up some keys and leaves. In your head you probably saw all the details in that image, the keys on the table, the man's image, the table etc. Most amateur film makers would film that sequence in one shot. Tell them that the keys are important and they might use a dodgy, handheld zoom in and out to emphasise it. Now using the storyboard template in the appendix draw 4 panels or panes depicting that sequence as if it were a horror story. See how much emphasis different angles and sizes of shot place on different aspects of the scene. Remember, the keys are important but you cannot zoom! Now go out and film it!
Get the groups to go out and film the sequence.
Duration 30 minutes
Let everybody watch each other's rushes. If the groups discipline is good these shouldn't be to long bearing in mind the final sequence will only be about 1 minute maximum. Otherwise you may have to watch edited highlights!
Duration 15 minutes
Have an open discussion on what the groups have learned and how they would do things differently next time.
Duration 10 minutes
This chapter will cover the technical stuff on editing.
Like any skill editing has some basic rules that help us to understand what the filmmaker and editor wants to say. Take some time to study films and TV so you can learn these. What you add to the image and sound after it is filmed can hugely influence a film. You will notice that tension is indicated by music and close up shots on actors. Different camera angles break the scene down and make it interesting by leading the viewers eye to what is important. The way you cut between these, i.e. fast or slow, is also telling the audience more information about the story. The editor can alter everything about the film with their skills.
When films were first shown there were no editing techniques. People marvelled at simple scenes of workers exiting a factory with no cuts in the filming or music playing. As audiences have become more discerning, editing has grown into a job in itself, cutting and sound are key to the language of modern films.
Understanding modern techniques is key if your audience is to follow what you mean with your edits. Watch lots of movies and examine how cuts are made. How do scenes end, what does a cut to black signify or a slow dissolve?
Editing styles can alter the feel of your film. Short snappy cuts give the film a tense, fast pace. Long gaps between cuts allow time for the audience to relax into the scenes.
Clever editing can create illusions, just the sound of a helicopter creates the illusion that there really is a helicopter just out of shot. Editing can also help smooth over problems, you can edit around a difficult interview by cutting out bits.
If you need to show more than one aspect of a scene, you can film the scene several times from different angles and in the edit cut between those angles.
Montage is the principle underlying all editing. The audience are trying to interpret your film as they watch, create meanings from the images and sounds you play them. If for example, you put together a politician’s speech without sound, followed by images of war, then the politician is assumed to be talking about war. Montage creates a new meaning from two independent images. Similarly you can lead the audience this way, show separate images of two people walking down a street and the audience will assume the two will eventually meet.
Getting what you want on the computer is called Digitizing. This section will cover all you need to know about digitizing and editing your clips.
Before you put your material onto the computer you should review your tapes. Ideally you will have logged and recorded dates and relevant information when filming, if not you can always do it now. The better you know your tapes the easier the edit will be. Logging information might include scenes, whether it was an exterior, dates etc. (See appendix for log sheet.)
Connect your camera to the mains and turn it to the playback or video player mode.
For connecting your camera to the computer to transfer video, use the Firewire cable. Not all PCs come with a Firewire connection, so check this out first. Firewire is a cable which allows data to travel very quickly between different pieces of equipment. Your camera will probably use the 4-pin, u-shaped connection and your computer the larger book-shaped 6-pin. Your computer may recognize the camera and automatically start the video editing software.
Figure 4.1: How to connect your editing equipment -
Figure 4.2: Types of Firewire cable.
We recommend you also connect your camera to a TV. You can do this by using the "AV" cables provided with most cameras for this purpose coloured red and white or black. You may need an adaptor such as "Scart" for this and have to switch your TV channel to "Aux" or auxiliary channel. Computer screens and TV screens are different so it is very handy for spotting problems and viewing your edit as your audience may view it. For more detail on this go to the "Connecting your camera to a projector/tv" section at the end of this chapter.
Sometimes your computer may lose the connection and be unable to see the camera even though it is connected, you can unplug the firewire in this case and reconnect it or restart the software, this will usually work! If something doesn’t seem to work check back through all the cables and check they are well connected and in the right sockets.
A USB cable is a cable that connects computers to printers and other equipment. Some cameras can connect using a USB cable which is fine for transferring stills but not high enough quality for video.
Take time to know your software, if you know what the following terms mean fine, otherwise look them up in the glossary! Browser window, preview window, timeline, transitions or titles. Most video editing software has a similar layout. Even if you aren’t using iMovie or Windows Movie Maker you should still be able to follow using these directions.
The most common question asked by beginners is "now where did we save that clip again?!" Avoid hours of frustration by learning how and where your computer stores files! Getting to know your computers layout is vital if you are to keep track of all your footage. Decide early on you will store everything in one folder and stick to it! Be conscientious, when saving your work, what you are calling your file and where it will be stored! Give it a name you, and others, will easily remember, use a simple number system if you use more than one version of a file.
Any changes you make to the video clips in the timeline do not affect the original clip. This remains the same on the hard drive and in the browser window. So don’t worry about not being able to undo anything, you can always start again with the clip from the browser. If you do make a vital mistake, don’t save your work, close the software and reopen it. It will reopen at the last point you saved it. In the worst case, you can always reimport your files from the camera!
The video footage you capture is stored individually on the hard drive. In the software, the footage clips are held together on the timeline by the project file. This points to all the clips and tells the computer how to play them. You need both to complete your movie. (Important if you transfer your files onto another computer.)
If you want to import files into your edit rather than capture them, this is quite important. Importing a file means you don’t have to capture it off tape, it is already in a digital form such as a CD or on your hard drive. Where this comes in handy is reimporting video files. Because of non destructive editing (see above) your original video file remains on the hard drive untouched even if you delete it from your edit software. If you reimport it as you would a picture or audio file you will find the file untouched! These folders are called the root folders and are sometimes a bit tricky to find but very worth while. Usually you can discover where they are hidden by right clicking (alt>click on Mac) on the file and scrolling to properties.
Remember to save your work regularly or risk losing it! Go to the file menu (top left) and scroll down to "save". Or press Ctrl>S for PCs and Apple>S for Mac. In most applications (though not some versions of iMovie, see level 3 for a work around this problem) you can go to the "file>save project as" option, you can then create several versions of your edit as you progress, for example "my movie edit 1". This is handy if you want to try an edit style out which will mean doing so many moves the "undo" function will not be enough. You can always revert to the older version. Remember to keep track of which edit you are working on though, it may be a good idea to delete the versions you don’t need.
Try watching a movie or just the TV without the sound (you could try this whilst watching a really boring film). This has two effects, firstly it makes you realise how important sound is (especially horror movies, imagine how pretty all those underwater scenes would look without the "Jaws" music). Also it makes you look at the images as just that, a series of images someone has created, you can imagine how they lit a scene a particular way and why, why did they choose to cut from one camera angle to another, does it tell us something or maybe cover something they didn't want us to see or hear?
Equipment; scissors and old magazines, storyboard templates and glue.
Key words; structure, plot point, set up, confrontation, resolution.
Introduce the session. The following exercise is aimed at getting people to understand the principles and importance of editing. Either in groups or individually, using images cut out of magazines the group will create an imaginary storyboard.
Duration 5 minutes
Get the group to cut out images.
Duration 10 minutes
Next mix them all up and throw them onto a desk. Now see if they can create a story from the images. Try mixing them up several times, many a good edit has come from happy accidents! From this they can see there may be several ways of getting to a final edit but some will be better than others. Remember, you don't have to show things in the order they happened! Get individuals to tell their stories from their photos. Ask the group to analyse the structure of their story, get them to look at why some aspects work well and others don't. How it could have been told differently? Relate this to the 3 act structure in Chapter 2.
A great alternative to this if the group is confident enough is to get them to tell a personal story, anything at all, a trip to the zoo for example. Get them to decide the 3 act structure, they'll be amazed how good their storytelling techniques already are!
Duration 35 minutes
Summing up of lessons learned and how this applies to editing.
Duration 10 minutes
There are a variety of options available if you want people to see your work. The Internet has become one of the most powerful media tools available in the world today and an excellent place to showcase your work. We will take you through the necessary steps to get your video available for viewing on the Internet. Alternative options will also be looked at including both mainstream and community channels.
The Internet is a global network connecting millions of computers across over 100 countries. It is referred to in a number of ways; the web, the net and very aptly the information superhighway. Think of it as a library on your computer. Information on the Internet is stored on websites, which is like a shop front full of information in different formats including text, images and video. You can have your video available for mass exposure or a select important few. Who do you want to view your video? How do you want them to view it? Do you want to stream, download or progressive download? What’s the difference? Lets have a look in closer details at what these distribution options mean and which is best for you.
The video on your site is accessed through a hyperlink (this is usually a graphic or text in a Web page that, when clicked with a mouse, opens a file, this could be another webpage or another type of file such as a video file on your website).
The user will need to have the correct software to be able to play the video. Just like you need a DVD player to play a DVD video you will need Windows Media Player to play Windows Media Video and Quicktime Player to play Quicktime video.
Streaming is the word used to describe any method of delivering video over a network, in this instance the network is the Internet. Streaming is the transfer of video over the Internet allowing the user to play it as it arrives.
Streaming can be used with both live and pre-recorded material, we are not looking at live streaming in this toolkit.
Streaming is useful if you wanted to stop people copying your work, as the viewer cannot store the video because the computer deletes the video as it plays.
If you intend to stream your media then you may need to contact a streaming media company.
Downloading is the process of copying the entire video file from the source website to the viewers computer. These type of files are housed on a standard webserver just like other files on the website such as images. Once the file has been downloaded it can be viewed at any time. The file can be duplicated and re-used on other computers providing the correct software is installed.
Downloading is not dependent on your Internet connection speed as you are downloading the whole video before viewing, although the speed of the connection will effect the time it takes to download.
Equipment; computers connected to the Internet, preferably broadband
Key words; Surfing, browser, player, QuickTime, Real Player, AVI, frame size, frame rate, bit rate, download speeds.
Introduce the session. This session will cover some of the basics of Internet video. Explain the theory of video players and why we need them, how video is available across the Internet and what its limitations are.
Duration 15 minutes
Get the group to have a look at some Internet sites with video on, taking note of the really good ones like the big movie distributors. Get them to download 3 different types of video across the net.
Duration 20 minutes
Show them to the rest of the group and discuss which videos work well and why that might be. Areas to discuss are image quality, bit rate and speed of download. Does the group think the video was filmed or edited especially for the Internet? Ask them what is it about the videos that really work? How do the big movie companies sell their product using the Internet and is it different to other forms of marketing?
Duration 15 minutes
Summarise the learning and get the group to ask themselves, "how can I apply this to my work?" What lessons have they learned?
Duration 10 minutes
The legal stuff and health and safety issues can seem complicated but are very important.
In the UK, generally speaking, you are allowed to film in a public place without permission, including the people in that location. You don’t need a release form/permission to film people on the street or passers-by as long as your camera is not concealed.
If you are shooting in a public space where it is likely that strangers might appear in your shots, you could consider putting up signs that say:
"By entering this space, you are granting permission for your likeness to be included in the project
"__(YOUR PROJECT NAME)__"
"__(YOUR GROUP NAME)__"
There are, however, some restrictions which you need to be sensitive to; you will need release forms for people who are identifiable in sensitive places, even if they are not speaking (e.g. hospital waiting rooms, gay clubs, law court corridors). See below for further information.
Anyone considered important to your video project will need to give you legal permission to use their image in case at some stage they decide to withhold that permission. It is best to gain this before filming.
You will be legally obligated to have signed release forms for all the people that appear in your project. This is especially important if you are interested in sending your finished work on to be shown at festival screenings, broadcast on TV, available on the Internet etc. A release form is a legal document that you and another person sign. It shows that you have their permission to include them, their property or their creative work in your project. For a sample ‘Personal Release’ form, see the appendix.
If you are making a documentary, every person you include should sign a release (unless, as above, they are a passer-by in a public space). This is important, even if the person you are filming is a close friend, as:
You should be sure that each person has given his or her ‘informed consent’. This means that you must be honest about the content/angle of your project and that they understand the language you are speaking sufficiently and are of sound mind. Someone who is drunk, mentally unwell or in distress could be argued not to have been able to give informed consent.
It is possible to use an ‘on camera’ release - where you record instructing the interviewee and getting their agreement on video, but some broadcasters may still require a signed form. It is a good idea to get both an ‘on camera’ agreement as well as a signed form in case problems arise with one of them later on.
Children are a sensitive subject and people are becoming more prone to preventing their being filmed. If you focus on a child at all we recommend you gain permission from their legal guardian.
Children under 16 must have a release form signed by a parent. Make sure they both understand the issues involved in your project fully beforehand in case any sensitivity may arise. These considerations apply to filming with vulnerable adults, e.g. those with mental disabilities. People over the age of 16 are generally felt to be sufficiently adult to sign their own forms; but bear in mind some young people may lie about their age to avoid involving their parents, so double check their date of birth.
Children’s working hours are governed by three pieces of legislation which may be important for you to be aware of. (See references for further reading). These are:
Working hours for children can be complex - there are certain licences/police clearances they may need depending on if they would normally be at school, whether they have a chaperone, tutor, any special needs or disabilities etc. When filming with a group of children, e.g. in a school, parents must be informed in advance and have the opportunity to withdraw their child from the filming. Children may be the subject of custody cases or other situations which you may be unaware of. Most education authorities require several weeks notice prior to filming. See further reading for more details - it is your responsibility to find out more and seek appropriate advice.
However, here is a very rough guideline for the maximum amount of hours a child can work per day (including travelling time) - bear in mind that there are also limits on the total number of hours a child can work in a year:
Hours per day
There are exceptions to the right to film in public which are fairly common sense; sensitive areas like government buildings and schools fall into this category.
When you are shooting in public places such as the street, in a park or in public transportation, you should do some research to find out who you may need to sign a location release - contact your local city/town council or relevant Screen Agency (see references) in order to figure out which signature(s) you need. Remember to allow enough time for your filming request to be processed. If the location that you are shooting is not recognisable, then getting a release may not be necessary, but, as with anything related to the law, it is better to be safe than sorry. Most "public" places are not actually public. If you are shooting on a busy street in front of a restaurant, you should be aware that someone owns that restaurant and you may need to get them to sign a release. See appendix for a sample location release form.
It may be important to find out who actually has control of the location and can actually sign the release. For example, if you are filming in a rented flat, it may be wise to get both the occupant’s and the building owner’s permission.
Location releases are important not only because you may need them if you want to distribute your film, but also because they function as permits while you are actually in production. If you are shooting on the street and a police officer questions you about your activity, showing them a signed location release will usually put you in the clear.
The police may move you on if you cause a nuisance or obstruction. Don’t block paths with your tripod!
There are many rules that govern factual filmmaking in the UK. Some of the rules are matters of law such as libel; the rest are the rules drawn up by the bodies governing UK broadcasters. As the producer of a video you are responsible for knowing what the rules are. However, in general the main things that you need to consider are:
You cannot depict someone or a brand in a way that is derogatory or unjustifiably critical. You can feature any brand you like without permission provided that brand is shown in the way it is normally used.
The UK has very tough libel laws - be careful of any statements or allegations you or people in your film may make. If someone sues, they may sue everyone involved including the filmmakers, any interviewees plus any broadcaster who may show your film. In court the onus will be on you to prove that you are correct. It is no defence to say that the libel was made in error. Be very careful and perhaps take legal advice if you are dealing with a potentially contentious or sensitive issue. Double check facts and statements; if you cannot prove your allegations think twice about including them.
Accidental libel is a common cause of problems. You have to be very careful what you are inferring with your combination of interview, commentary and picture. A shot of a busy street with a few identifiable people walking past the camera next to a commentary line that says "two out of ten people in the UK use illegal drugs" is an accidental libel unless you can prove that those people are drug users.
If you are filming in front of a branch of a well-known hamburger chain, you do not need permission to show the chain’s trademark or logo, as it is simply a part of the street. However, if you were making a film about poison-contaminated hamburgers and you include a shot of the chain’s logo taken from the street, you may be laying yourself open to legal proceedings as your inclusion of the logo could be seen to imply that the chain’s hamburgers are poisonous. If you are filming, for example, inside a branch of a well-known hamburger chain, you must have written permission not only to use the location but also to show the chain’s trademark or logo.
If you are going to have your film shown on television, you need to be careful about what is called ‘undue prominence’. You should avoid giving any one company or product undue screen time. Again, if you are making a film about a well-known hamburger chain then you are justified in including its imagery throughout. If you are making a film about advertising, make sure you include lots of different logos so that no one company is unfairly featured. However, if your film is about education but the key interviewee is leaning against a well-known drinks machine the shot will probably have to be cropped or the logo blurred out. Think carefully about shots lasting for a long time on screen - is there a poster with a logo on in the background? Also watch out for logos on T-shirts and caps. Short pieces with people in clothes with logos are fine - but not your presenter or key interviewees.
You are obliged to be fair to both sides (or more) of a story. What this means in practice is offering a right to reply within the film to people who have accusations made against them.
If you film someone making an accusation about the way they were treated by a corporation, a member of their own family, a politician, a neighbour etc. you should contact them and ask for their side of the story.
It is required for ‘fairness’ that you offer to include their reply if they wish to give one. Even if they decline you should include any other factors you are aware of, even if they weaken the central argument of your contributor.
Music is owned by the authors. Contributors such as the musicians or singers on recorded music, also have rights over its playing or reproduction. Generally the creator of a piece of music is the first owner of any copyright in the work. However, since copyright is a form of property, the creator can transfer the whole or part of his copyright in a work to another party (such as PRS or a record company - see below), so the author of the work is not necessarily the copyright owner.
You need to be aware of copyright laws, because if you want to use a piece of music in your project you must get permission from the copyright owner to use it. This might involve paying a fee and, in the case of well-known pieces of music, this can be expensive.
If you can find all the people involved and get their permission, you can use the music, though you may have to pay for the right. One way of doing this for people you do not know personally is through bodies such as the Performing Right Society (see appendix).
Clearing music can involve contacting two sets of people:
For example, if you wanted to sing your own version of a Madonna song, you only need permission from the publishers. However, if you want to use an actual clip of the Madonna song, you would need to have permission from both the publishers and the record company.
Finding out further information about songs and what you need to do should be fairly simple; all the information is held by the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) - see references for contact details. Related bodies you may need to contact are (more details are in the appendix):
The PRS collects licence fees for the public performance and broadcast of musical works.
The MCPS collects and distributes ‘mechanical’ royalties generated from the recording of music onto many different formats. This income is distributed to their members - writers and publishers of music.
Copyright applies for TV and film clips too. For example, you might be making a video about a game show winner and decide you’d like to include a clip of a TV programme like "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" You would need to get permission from the production company that makes the programme to use it. To find them, their details are usually on the credits of the programme. You may be charged a fee, and it may prove very expensive.
Movies are also covered by similar copyright laws - for example, if a film like ‘The Little Mermaid’ is playing on the TV in the background of one of your shots, Disney would have a right to come after you for not getting their permission to reproduce copyrighted work. Similarly with the radio - there could be music playing in the background which you didn’t notice and may end up causing copyright problems.
Copyright also applies to photography, paintings, sculptures and other forms of artwork, even if they’re on a greeting card or a wall in the back of a shop. You may be liable for expensive copyright charges for using these, so it’s safest to exclude any material for which you do not have written permission.
You can try to avoid copyright issues completely by not including any copyrighted material in your project. For example, you could film a spoof game show and use this as your clip instead of using a known programme. If someone appearing in your work is wearing a T-shirt with a large obvious logo, ask him or her to change! This will be easier and less time-consuming than blurring out the image in post-production! If you are filming in a house and a radio or TV is playing in the background, simply turn the radio/TV off.
Plan part of your project schedule for composing your own music especially for the production, or get someone in your group or who you know to record some original music for it.
You could also use material that is in the public domain. The public domain means Intellectual Property (writing, artwork, music etc.) for which no person or organisation has any copyright. These works are considered part of the public’s cultural heritage and anyone can use and build upon them. Property is in the public domain if any of the following apply:
Copyright expires when all of the following have happened:
Therefore, you may be able to use some public domain work for free in your project, but you may need to do some research beforehand!
This is property that comes from the work of the mind or intellect and includes an idea, an invention, a trade secret, a process, a program, data, or a formula.
Like personal property (i.e. an object that you own like a TV), intellectual property can be purchased, assigned, licensed, pledged, transferred or leased.
This a legal right that protects creative works from being reproduced, performed, or distributed by others without the permission of the copyright owner.
As established by the Copyright Extension Act of 1998, copyrights owned by individuals last for the life of the author plus 70 years.
The owner of a copyright has the exclusive rights to reproduce a protected work (make copies), make derivative works (sequels, spin-offs, action figures, posters, etc.), sell, transfer, or lend or lease copies of the protected work to the public, perform protected works in public, or display copyrighted works publicly.
There is no official register for copyright. It is an unregistered right, there is no official action to take, no forms to fill in or fees to pay. Copyright comes into effect as soon as something that can be protected is created and "fixed" in some way, for example on paper, tape or on the Internet.
Copyright law is intended to protect your work, and the work of others. Since 1976, creative work (Intellectual Property) is now automatically copyrighted. What this means is that as soon as you put pen to paper or shoot a frame, you automatically have rights that no one can take away from you without your permission.
You could register your work with the UK Patent Office-although your work is protected before you register, registration gives you additional legal advantages. In order for you to protect yourself and your work, you should understand the copyright laws that regulate and control intellectual property.
We recommend using a "Creative Commons" licence, which will allow others to view and use your work, so long as they are not making money from this (see appendix for sample licence text). This encourages sharing and collaboration but avoids you being exploited. (You may be able to use some music and other material which is available under Creative Commons licences).
Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that offers a flexible copyright for creative work. Offering your work under a Creative Commons license does not mean giving up your copyright. It means offering some of your rights to any taker, and only on certain conditions. Their web site lets you mix and match such conditions from the list of options below. There are a total of eleven Creative Commons licenses to choose from, here are a few examples:
Everything can be done via the Creative Commons web site where they have lots of easy to understand explanations and examples of how to use their licences. The licences are very clear and simple, with a link to the full legal code text where this is necessary.
This section will cover all the things that you may need to think about regarding health and safety.
The starting point is to fill in a risk assessment form which will prove that you have thought consciously about what areas you could ensure safety in (see appendix for a template). If any accident occurs and you cannot show you took every precaution possible, it may invalidate your insurance and you may be liable. It may be a good idea to also keep a record of emergency contact numbers and details of any relevant special needs/medication for everyone involved in the production so they are easily to hand in case of an accident.
It is essential to identify each significant hazard before considering how the associated risk should be controlled. In order to do this effectively it is necessary to consider each part of the intended action and answer the question; "What could go wrong?" or "What could happen, other than what is planned?" This is often called the "What if?" question: What if a rope breaks, what if someone trips etc?
A risk assessment should take into account a number of factors:
Examples of risk assessments can be found on the BBC Health and Safety web site (see level 3 for link) although an easy to complete shortened version would be more appropriate for community group use.
Caution must be used, even in the least hazardous areas. Consider the following, which could be found if filming in your kitchen:
Other hazards could come from the environment you are in, specifically the weather or heights.
Major (e.g. death/disability)
Serious (e.g. serious injury/lost time)
Minor (e.g. first aid injury)
Insignificant (e.g. accident but no injury)
Very likely (and will almost certainly happen).
likely (and will probably happen at some time).
Unlikely (but could happen at some time).
Very unlikely (and might happen only rarely).
In many cases identifying the risks and appropriate precautions may not be as straightforward. It may be useful to get people involved in different areas of the project to fill in a risk assessment form as they may spot different types of risks.
When risks have been identified, their significance can be evaluated and appropriate precautions formulated to eliminate or control them. A risk assessment matrix, as shown below, can be used to determine how likely and/or serious the identified risks are so that you can easily see which are the most important to deal with and eliminated where possible. Plot your risks on here so you can see where your problem areas may be. Remember, it is always better to eliminate a risk than attempt to control it.
This will provide some cover should you take reasonable measures and still have an accident. You may already have insurance through the personal liability part of some other insurance, or from an insurance policy your group holds. You could also buy specialist filming insurance, although this may be expensive (see the appendix for more contact details).
Film insurance is highly specialised with each production carrying different risks. The types of insurance needed and level of premium vary from project to project. At its most basic, insurance is generally needed to cover sickness, accident, death (of crew, cast etc.), physical loss and damage to equipment and assets, employers and public liability.
A few types of insurance you may need to be aware of:
The producer, and each person in charge of something, will have some responsibility to those involved, especially those less aware of the risks. It is a good idea to make someone specifically responsible for Health and Safety and make everyone aware of any risks, however small. This person could be in charge of keeping hold of emergency contact numbers, lists of equipment and checking risk precautions remain in place. Where relevant, you may want to familiarise yourself with the UK legislation on Health and Safety - Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This requires provision of a safe and healthy working environment, and those involved to observe safety rules and carry out work in such a way that they do not endanger themselves or others.
The main concept to bear in mind is that ‘careful consideration’ of health and safety issues for all has to be taken and proven. It is important that all group members are made aware of their personal responsibilities as well as actions deemed to be the group’s responsibility.
It is always a good idea to have someone around who is capable or qualified to carry out first aid, or to be able to contact them at short notice if needed. A basic first-aid kit will be handy to have around containing plasters, bandages, scissors etc., in the case of minor accidents. Knowledge of care in handling lights may be especially useful as minor burns on hot lights can be a fairly common accident for people not used to using them. It will also be useful for everyone to establish where the nearest toilet facilities are.
A crew is a mobile work force. Establish the fire exits and the meeting places in the event of an emergency. Make sure everyone knows what the plan is in case of an emergency and have a list of all those who may need to be accounted for (all cast, crew, volunteers) to make sure no-one goes missing.
As mentioned in 6.1, best practice is to tell the local police what you are doing. You do not generally need permission when filming in public, but they may move you on for causing an obstruction if you don’t notify them. Don’t attempt anything involving weapons or violence on public streets without talking to the Police. They may not write this down so take a name and a number! Adequate notice should be given in writing to the local police force about any filming activity in its jurisdiction. Again, the Screen Agencies can advise you of the relevant contact.
Equipment; pens and paper, risk assessment templates from appendix, risk matrix.
Key words; responsibilities, liability, safe, location permissions.
Introduce the session. This session will cover how to do a risk assessment and aims to show just how many potential risks there are. This is particularly useful with inexperienced groups as they often don't realise just how quickly things can become dangerous.
Duration 5 minutes
Get the groups to imagine 3 different scenarios where filming is about to take place. You may use locations available to you like the kitchen, toilets, exteriors or create them like a trip to the woods or a scene on a bridge. Get them to fill in the risk assessment templates for those scenarios.
Duration 15 minutes
Ask the groups to report back on their findings and using the matrix in this chapter establish how much risk is involved.
Duration 5 minutes
Summarise the learning and ask the group what they learned from the exercise.
Duration 5 minutes
Here are a few questions to help you define your audience:
EXCEL SPREADSHEET BUDGET TEMPLATE
This is usually the instructor/project leader who is responsible for the progress of the group(s). This "head of studio" position approves project ideas (the pitch and treatment), meets with Director(s) and Producer(s) to ensure the project remains on-task and appropriate, mediates any team issues, and assigns final grades to video productions. The Executive Director/Producer is the "guide" with final say over difficult decisions, but is available to support the needs of group members.
The Director represents and leads the group working on the project. The Director will help to ensure that all processes are followed and will report team progress to the Executive Director/Producer. The Director should hold regular team meetings. The Director is the creative lead on the project, with ideas of how the production should look, and should communicate these ideas to the group. The Director should make sure that all copyright laws are followed (see chapter 6), proper copyright permissions are secured where necessary, and credits for materials and work are properly referenced in the video. In some cases, the Director may also construct the storyboards (see chapter 2).
The Producer co-ordinates the project schedule and tasks during the entire project. The Producer is responsible for communicating the next steps to all group members so that the project stays on schedule and meets the project objectives. The Producer will reserve equipment and supplies for the day�s work and be in charge of making sure all supplies are returned on time. The Producer basically manages the day-to-day team operations. Producers duties may include reviews of the daily work log for the group, overseeing the budget alongside the Executive Director/Producer, analysis of what changes may need to be made to the schedule and reporting issues to the Director, keeping them informed.
The researcher is responsible for finding, analysing and compiling the information necessary for the video project. Research may include, but is not limited to: interviews, surveys, primary source materials (documents, photos, music etc) and finding facts or statistics. All research should be conducted using credible library resources. Depending on the size of the project, the Researcher may also assume the role of Script Writer.
The Script Writer works with the Researcher and the group to provide the exact wording (the script - see chapter 2) to be used for the video project. This role involves reviewing the research information to determine what facts might best convey the video�s message, then paraphrasing the research materials. In many cases, the Script Writer creates original writing that may not be directly related to the factual information, such as dialogue between characters or entertainment-based work.
This role is to create the scenes for the video production on paper. The artist will sketch every scene in proper, numbered order before any filming takes place. A storyboard template (see chapter 2 appendix) is used for sketching the scenes and also showing production details, such as camera angles, lighting and text captions that describe the action of each scene. Storyboarding is an important pre-production planning task, however, at times, a great idea will arise during filming which will cause storyboards, scripts and even research to be necessarily modified. Several types of storyboard styles may be used.
The Set Designer establishes the environment for each scene prior to the start of filming. This may include simply organising props on the set, or finding the necessary resources needed to create the scene. The Set Designer is responsible for gathering props, costumes and setting the stage design. They will work closely with the Camera Operator to arrange the setting to match the specific camera angles for each scene.
The Camera Operator is in charge of the equipment during the shoot. The Camera Operator may gain direction from the Producer, Director and/or Set Designer, but will be the person responsible for creating the video footage. Actual filming duties may include ensuring there is enough videotape and that the lighting and audio will be correctly captured, marking the taped scenes, allowing for �black space� between scenes for altering transitions and knowing what scenes may need to be re-shot the next day. The Camera Operator creates clear scenes in order to make the editing process more efficient.
You may wish to assign one individual to be in charge of making sure you not only capture the proper sound quality on the days of filming, but also to research music, to obtain permissions for use and to suggest other sound �clips� to the team for the finished soundtrack. In some cases, the Camera Operator may assume these duties on the days of filming while the Editor suggests sound additions to the group during the editing process.
The Editor will facilitate the process of viewing the footage with the group, deciding what shots should be used and making the final edits. The Editor will add music, consistent transitions, correct titles, text and credits, while providing the video with an overall �look and feel� that meets the projects objectives. The Editor may work closely with the Director, Producer, Script Writer and Set Designer to guide the overall effects of the film and lead the review of progress to the group during meetings. The Editor should be able to select the best scenes and combine these with appropriate and effective special effects.
This is a role in which many group members may be able to participate. You will probably need to assign specific group members to be actors in your film. You might also include people who are not in your group as an actor or an extra, or perhaps you may include interviews. Whoever appears in the film, make sure you obtain the proper permissions from participants to appear on film.
Action movies usually involve a fairly straightforward story of good guys versus bad guys, with fast-paced action where most disputes are resolved by using physical force.
Art film is a film style that began as a European reaction to the classical Hollywood style of film making. Art film often allows for increased subjective realism and personal expression.
A biographical film or ‘biopic’ is a film about a person or group of people, based on actual events. These may present the events as they actually happened, or may adjust the truth for other purposes.
A comedy film seeks to provoke laughter in the audience. Black comedy is a sub-genre of comedy and satire that deals with a "serious" subjects - death, divorce, drug abuse, etc. in a humorous manner.
A disaster movie is a movie that has an impending (national or global) disaster as its subject. They typically focus on the characters’ attempts to avert, escape, or cope with the aftermath of the disaster.
A drama is a film that depends mostly on in-depth character development and interaction. This film genre is often considered to rely heavily on dialogue rather than action.
A broad category of cinematic expression, traditionally the only characteristic common to all documentary films is that they are meant to be factual.
Gangster film is a film genre which features characters such as members of the Mafia and inner city street gangs. Many (e.g. The Godfather, The Untouchables) are often set in a historical context.
The horror film genre incorporates a number of themes such as killers, vampires, zombies, cannibalism, werewolves, haunted houses, etc. Horror films are often associated with low budgets and ‘gore’.
A mockumentary is a comedic, often parodic fiction film presented as a documentary film.
A musical film belongs to a film genre that features songs, sung by the actors, interwoven into the narrative. The songs are usually used to advance the plot or develop characters, often incorporating dancing.
Romantic comedy films are a sub-genre of comedy films. The basic plot of a romantic comedy is that two people meet, and, after various comic scenes, they eventually get together as a couple.
Science fiction films are often set in futuristic times/places, or involve futuristic things/beings clashing with the world of today. Science fiction films generally employ a large quantity of visual special effects.
Thriller films are movies that primarily use action and suspense to engage the audience. A thriller emphasizes nervous tension and anxiety.
A war film is any film dealing with war, usually focusing on naval, air, or land battle, but sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, training, or other related subjects.
The Western is a film genre devoted to telling tales of the American West. They are usually set in the 1880s onward and are filmed in the desert. Stories include legends of outlaws, and tales of ‘Cowboys and Indians’.
Pitch / Single Line concept:
A mild mannered vegetarian battles monstrous rubbish bins to clean up the City he lives in as "Captain Marvellous"
Other Group Members:
Bobby Pickett, Ed Bishop, Gabrielle Drake
Mini DV Video
Approximate Running Time:
To inform (recycling/environmental issues) and entertain
In the heart of the big city we see a mild mannered, horn-rimmed bespectacled vegetarian who is always getting pushed around. In times of crisis, however, he dives into a nearby phone booth, restroom, or even behind the bushes to return as Captain Marvellous. In this video, the monster rubbish bins are out to smother humanity in its own debris. Captain Marvellous battles with the monstrous bins. He gets hit with every kind of rubbish imaginable, but he finally triumphs over the evil bins. Captain Marvellous cleans up the city, and we see what types of rubbish can be re-used and recycled in the fight against waste dumping. As he's walking away in victory, a child throws a crisp packet into the street, Captain Marvellous turns to scold the child and gets kicked in the shins to comic effect.
Sound directions can include:
TRACK - camera moves completely to the left/right
PAN - camera pivots left or right
TILT - camera pivots up or down
CRANE - camera moves up or down
DOLLY - camera moves in/out from subject
ZOOM - camera zooms in/out from subject
CUT TO: A straight change of picture from one scene to the next.
DISSOLVE TO: The final shot of the previous scenes fades into the first shot of the next scene. This can be used to suggest the passing of time.
FADE IN: Usually used at the start of films, with FADE OUT used to end the movie. You can also use CUT TO BLACK and CUT FROM BLACK/CUT IN.
(Example drawing from Diners: America’s Roadside Attractions, Dec 20, 2001 by Fred Lacey)
|FADE UP EXT DINER
|MUSIC UP Buddy Holly ("Peggy Sue")|
|INT DINER CU PIES under glass||MUSIC PLAYS along with NAT SOUND|
| Counter - tilt up to MS
Waitress delivering milkshake.
CU CUSTOMER #1 in booth eating dinner - looks up
|MS DOLLY DOWN AISLE (camera passes customers in both booths)|| MUSIC & NAT SOUND UNDER NARRATOR
V.O.: Maggie’s diner, just off the New York turnpike has been serving up burgers and shakes since 1930.
|TRACKING SHOT MS WAITRESS with tray|| Maggie’s Diner hasn’t changed much in the 70 years it’s been Open.
Customers can still get friendly service,
|CAMERA FOLLOWS TRAY as she sets it down in front of a customer.||good food, and an atmosphere that takes us back to a time of innocence and youth.|
|MS WAITRESS scooping ice cream. CU MILKSHAKE MACHINE||CHUCK HAINES VO: I remember when I was eight years old, having my first milkshake.|
|CU CHUCK HAINES||I was sitting right over at that counter. I took one taste and I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven.|
|FADE TO BLACK||
|FADE UP MS SMILING WOMAN in passenger seat (b&w 1940s Ford car commercial)||MUSIC UP (1940s "Two Lovebirds")|
|MS MAN DRIVING (from same Commercial)||NARRATOR V.O.: Early in the 20th century, America began a love affair that still burns today.|
|TRACKING SHOT CAR with couple||America fell in love with the automobile.|
Camera - avoid gimmicks! What you need are a DV in and out facility and a mic input and, after that, spend your money on image quality, like 3-chip camcorders.
Tapes - plenty of extra tape for the camera and for the sound equipment.
Camera Accessories - a waterproof cover if it rains, different lenses, filters, a bag for accessories.
Batteries - for camera and any other equipment. Make sure they are charged up the night before.
Battery Charger - so you can be charging used batteries as you go.
Tripod - make sure the camera fits the tripod plate.
Lights - which type(s) do you need?
Bulbs - spare lightbulbs are always useful as they can blow out easily.
Stands - for lights, microphones if necessary.
Microphones - what types do you need? Handheld, tie-mics (clip on), radio mics?
Boom Pole - to attach the microphone to so the crew can stay out of shot.
Mixer - to balance to sound as it is being recorded.
Sound recorder - are you recording sound separately from the camera? Do you need a Digital Audio Recorder (DAT), or other equipment?
Spare cables - make sure you have all the correct cables to connect equipment together (e.g. microphones to camera, microphones to sound equipment etc.).
Extension Cables - long cables may be useful, especially if you are moving equipment around. Spare cables are always useful.
Filters/Gels - for the lights to give the lighting mood and atmosphere. They are even used to give an impression of daylight.
Pegs - always useful, especially to attach gels to lights. Can be used to hold props and costumes in place too! Use clothes pegs or bull clips if you need to.
Gloves - thick workmen’s gloves should be used when handling lights as they get very hot very quickly.
Reflector - used for directing light towards/away from a subject when the light itself is too harsh or cannot be pointed at it directly.
Tools - a couple of different screwdrivers, and a ‘multi-tool’ or something similar will come in handy for all sorts of things.
Stationery - have plenty of paper, blank storyboard sheets, pens and a clipboard. Useful for noting shots and using for any last minute script alteration.
Permission or Personal release forms - see chapter 6 and later in this appendix.
Gaffer Tape - very strong glue backed sticky tape, very handy but don’t use it on skin or wood varnish!
(Taken from Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org, based on selection for licensing video work for non-commercial purposes):
You are free:
Under the following conditions:
Attribution. You must give the original author credit.
Non-commercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.
(Actual document also includes link to LEGAL CODE - THE FULL LICENSE)