Thursday, 21 May 2015

Protect what matters

– What kind of films do you make? 
– How do you know which jobs to say no to?
– What is your roll as a filmmaker?
– When do you use camera movement? 

These are some of the questions people ask me all the time. 

I do such a lot of different projects. Therefore I always end up saying; "I am interested in anything with an interesting story.” If the idea is not good, then its your job to try and convince the client otherwise. But find a way no matter what.  

Regarding the questions: "How do you know which jobs to say no to?" Well, I don’t. I just push for a unique angle to make it interesting for myself. Whether it is to try out new film styles like lighting methods, camera techniques or trying different film genres. The point is to keep on enjoying what you are doing and not that it starts to feel like work. 

My roll as a filmmaker: In the perfect world you have a highly skilled crew standing firmly behind you. Assisting you every step of the way. People can bring their expertise to the table and together you direct them to make a production happen. But more often than not, you are out-and-about, far away from home, having to do everything yourself. Then you need to rely on your experience to make fast judgements, regarding framing, focus, exposure and direction. You need to understand everything about every aspect of the job. About sequence, cutting, colour... you name it. If something goes wrong with the camera you need to know, how to save your day. Understanding the roll of everybody's job helps you to protect what matters and nobody can take you for a ride. 

Another question that keeps on coming back for more is the issue of camera movement. In my opinion, when drone footage starts to looks like drone footage, then we are missing the point. When we are putting emphasis on the camera movement, then the audience will concentrate on the wrong aspects of what you are trying to tell them. The camera is there to not show that it was filmed with a camera. Movement should only be used to reveal something important, or to move only when your subject is moving. Like my BBC mentor Phil Darley always used to say. “Camera movement should always be motivated by something on the screen.” Next time, before moving your camera, ask yourself these questions. 

- Why does the camera have to move?
- Why do I need to see what the camera wants to show me?
- What information do I learn when revealing something on the screen?

Then you will have intentional camera movement to create a feeling. If you are not sure… the save bet is to NOT move the camera! Well, that was my two sense for the day. For more on my work visit or check out my blog for more stories.