Here at cinema5D we value the quality of education tremendously. Together with Philip Bloom and others I have given numerous of our three-day Filmmaking Masterclasses over the years (Majorca, Las Vegas, Key West), where participants make a film from beginning to end under our guidance. This year we are back at Wotton House in Surrey close to London Oct 27-29, end of next month (website/signup here!), a beautiful venue perfect for a practical shooting workshop. We take only a very limited number of participants (no more than between 20 and 30 maximum, with a teacher-student ratio of 6-1 or 7-1) to keep the quality high. Because of the time and effort it takes to put these together, we do only one per year now, which is why this is a really rare opportunity.
Here’s Johnnie’s post about why you should join a Masterclass, and here’s Philip’s write-up about last year’s Masterclass including the finished films created during the workshop.
This year’s focus: Photographers becoming Filmmakers
With more and more photographers enquiring about workshops, we thought it’s time to tailor this year’s workshop around photographers who want to become more proficient in filmmaking. Starting with the concept and ending with the finished film, we guide the participants through all the hoops of filmmaking and focus particularly on the differences to photography. This is about corporate filmmaking under time pressure and with other constraints, just like a real “client job” in the real world. The finished piece will be a corporate film.
Alongside Philip Bloom and me, I am very happy to have World Press Photo award winner Edmond Terakopian and Julian Wakefield with us as tutors as well. It’s a high-end tutor line-up which guarantees an unmatched level of experience and amount of professional perspectives among the teachers.
The workshop agenda will be as follows.
Day 1: THE BRIEF & PREPARING FOR THE SHOOT
We start the workshop with an opening morning sessions by the lead tutors Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner, about various aspects dealing with the challenges of corporate filmmaking. We will also be joined by a leading photographer who has made the transition to video making. In this session we will cover the following topics to make you stand out and get that job!
- Pitching and budgeting jobs
- Hands-on experience on how to pitch and then budget for a shoot. What are good tips of differentiating your offer from your competitors? We will discuss accountability and transparency, as well as how to ensure that you get the job!
- Dealing with clients: So you got that job that you pitched for – now some hands-on tips on dealing with clients during pre-production, during shoots and post-production. How to keep your clients happy while not giving up your ideals and your creative vision. How to manage expectations and keeping them off your back particularly during shoots. We will also cover how to deal proactively with client expectations.
- A different kind of corporate film: Finally we will cover how to retain creativity in a field crowded with mediocrity. Some real world examples of corporate films that are less than usual, but more effective than others in gaining the audience’s attention.
Day 1 Afternoon Session:
In this session we will host rotating on-location mini workshops to the following topics, dealing with practical aspects of corporate filmmaking with
- The importance of telling a story through a sequence. Whilst much photography tells a lot of the story through one image in video you need many shots to fill time but each shot much count. In this session you will see a sequence being filmed lived with explanations as to the decisions being made. Using clean natural sound will also be highlighted in this.
- Setting up interviews – How do you technically set up an interview to get the best results? Camera angles, viewing directions, location, sound, and optionally added also movement and finally lighting for interviews.
- Interview techniques – A practical how to actually deal with your subject to make them feel most comfortable, i.e. getting the best out of them on camera. How to ask questions in order to get the right answers? How to guide an interview … and a lot more “soft skills”.
- Camera movement: A technical session on how to use sliders, gimbals and other camera movement equipment for greatest effect, particularly in constrained corporate environments. How to make a dull location and shot look interesting.
End of classes and break for dinner.
After dinner we will break into groups according to tutor’s assessments on who fits together. Then each group will get a “client brief” and the groups will start working on their scripts and concepts for the shoots. There will be some set stations for different aspects of the films, and every group will get to work with every tutor.
DAY 2: THE SHOOT
Actors, helping hands and extras will be on set who are playing the Employees, CEO and any other characters that may need to be in tour film. These actors have been instructed by the tutors before to play some “typical client roles”, so they will be similarly hard and easy to work with just like some clients. Each group rotates through each of these environments and gets to work with all the actors
These are some ideas of the different stations (actual “stations” dependent on some other factors such as location and available actors):
- Interview with manager of hotel.
- B-roll of staff working in hotel
- Shoot b-roll exteriors of hotel and grounds. Each team member will be given one aspect to film, one doing timelapse, one doing architecture, one the garden etc. This is where every one can show their shooting skill in a limited amount of time without having to deal with others – yet still thinking of a general style in which the shots have to fit for the entire production. These can be real-life b-roll shots or timelapses, depending on what is needed by the film.
In the evening, groups will start ingesting the footage of their shoots and organizing the edit, which will formally start on day 3.
Day 3: EDITING
The day will be spent editing with their main tutors on 1-2 edit stations. The main tutor will again act as the client and assess how close they stuck to the brief. There will be two different edits of the corporate film, a short and a long version. The exact length of these films will be determined by the “client tutors” at the beginning of the production.
There will be some mini breakout workshops during the edit day to cover aspects of post production. Details for these will be provided a little later in time, but they will cover basic colour grading, some editing techniques and audio.
After the deadline, there will be communal screening and feedback of the films, by all the tutors as well as the participants. We will talk about the challenges and learning experience of the workshop. After that, students and tutors will have an informal farewell evening together.