So what do the 8 steps actually look like in real life? I’m glad you asked, cause not only do I get to tell you how I went about them in a recent video that I made , but I get to share the video with you (watch it below). Be prepared for when you watch it though – it can be a bit gross and wacky. But I think any student will feel some affinity with it; maybe even video makers who are trying to function the next day after a long night in the editing room. So I’ll talk through each step one by one, trying to give an indication of what you might expect when you go to make a video.
1) Making sure our idea was incredible
I love brainstorming ideas with other people – it keeps me fresh, and sparks my creative side into action. This is totally what happened here. The reason to make a film was already there: our college revue was coming up, and being in our final year, a bunch of us were keen to do something that would be a funny reflection on something to do with our time at college. So that was our brief. The idea then came by a shared experience of watching some sketches by Tim and Eric – funny but wacky stuff, and often in a sort of infomercial style. Someone made an extreme comment on facebook, being so desperate to be able to function better for study that he’d inject caffeine directly into his eyeball. The idea was then sparked. All it needed was for us to brainstorm how the plot would begin, develop, and finish on a high. We figured out a basic structure that could work well, and then it was down to scripting to add in more of the joke ideas that we had been tossing around.
2) Scripting “The Cisco Direct Injection System”
With the idea in hand, we took it to the lunch table and started trying to put it to paper. We came up with the basic bits of dialogue that moved the drama along, and hold it together. Then we filled it out a bit more with some additional gags that we thought would be funny as well as complementing the flow of the story well. We also decided not to include some funny lines because they did not complement the overall flow. We then read it through to see if it felt right, and whether it actually sounded like timing would work. This process then went back and forth (scripting and reading) until we were happy with what we had.
3) Storyboarding “The Cisco Direct Injection System”
I then broke down the script into a 4 column table, where each row represented a different shot. I put the dialogue that ran through each shot in the appropriate row in one column, and the action occurring within each shot in another. Then I had another column which I could drawn within each cell how I wanted the shot to look (though in this instance, because I was strapped for time, I wrote down a description like “cu portrait student”, picturing in my head what this would look like – you can get away with this when you can visualise exactly what you want, but I would always recommend drawing it when you can). I used the forth column to then write down any props we would need, a possible location, and which actors would be involved.
4) Organise the filming of “The Cisco Direct Injection System”
Because the idea and scripting had been done over a period of time, a lot of this had already been talked about (in terms of who we would get for acting, possible locations, and props). And we were going to shoot it on my equipment (Canon 60d with 50mm 1.4f lens with shotgun mic plugged in). So, I just needed to kick it all into motion. Again around the lunch table, we sorted out who was bringing each prop, where we would film each scene, and the time and date for our film shoot. I also drew up a shooting schedule, planning the order in which we would film each shot (it’s usually the case that it’s easier to film them out of order because of location and availability of actors). While we’re on that, it took longer than I expected for filming. This is always always the case. So make sure when you’re planning a schedule for filming that you allow lots of extra time.
5) Filming “The Cisco Direct Injection System”
This was a lot of fun. We had a good laugh seeing our ideas come to life. Thankfully, the logistics all worked out ok. There were a couple of last minute changes, but because we were well thought through, these were manageable. Because we had a shot schedule, none were missed. Some shot plans didn’t work as well as hoped, so they were adjusted, and some were much better than expected. The team did a great job, and although it took longer than I had communicated, they were very forgiving and happy with the day. The only thing I was unhappy with, which I only discovered later, was that one of the shots had its audio distorting because I had the levels too high (can you pick it in the video?). This is the danger in using the DSLR – unless you have an additional audio mixer, which I did not have at the time, you cannot monitor your audio.
6) Import the footage of “The Cisco Direct Injection System” for editing
Thankfully I had done this process with the DSLR a couple of times already, so knew what I was in for. I imported the footage using the EOS utility, and then used Log and Transfer in Final Cut Pro to import the footage. I checked my project and sequence settings so that they were the same as the footage, and I was ready to go for editing. At this stage, I also started collecting some of the other bits of media I would need, pulling in my folder of royalty-free music and some images that I knew I would need for the green screen shots.
7) Editing “The Cisco Direct Injection System”
Including the importing above, this took about seven hours. This is a bit slow for me because I’m out of practice with editing. “But the final video is only two minutes! Why did it take so long?” you say? Well I say get used to video my friend – it takes a long time, especially if you’re pedantic about getting it right. And it would have taken soooooo much longer if we had not plannned well for filming, as well as being a much worse final video. I started from the beginning and inserted the shots for the first scene in order. Then I found some appropriate music, laid it in my ‘music’ tracks, and started editing the clips to the music so that it felt right. I tried to make the cuts where you could see the continuity in action (like being at the same point of movement in sitting down). I also added in any sound effects needed. Once the scene was about right, I moved onto the next one following the same process. This continued until I got to the end of the film. At this point, I was able to close my eyes and listen to the film – the audio was pretty much as it would be at the point of export. I then adjusted all the visual stuff, adding in graphics, credits, and backgrounds for the green screen shots. To do this, I needed to spend some time in an image editor to get these right. I then rendered the whole thing and watched it through to make sure I was happy with it. Then I did a sound master to make sure that it was consistent throughout and as loud as it could be without peaking, followed by checking for any audio peaks which I could then remove. Then I put a broadcast safe filter across all the footage to stop colour peaks, and rendered the whole thing. Done! (For tips on editing in Final Cut Pro, check out this)
8).Export “The Cisco Direct Injection System”
Ahhh, the final step. For this, all I needed to do was export it as a quicktime at its current settings, making it self-contained. I then used Compressor to compress it into a smaller file (using the settings suggested by Ed McNichol on Vimeo), and it was ready to transfer to the person organising the Moore College Revue, and upload to Vimeo. And there you have it!
Please comment if you want any more details about the above process.
This post is part of the series 8 Steps to Making a Video