Filming hints and tips...

Whilst you muster your thoughts on what you would like to say, I thought I would put together some info on filming tips since many of you may not have filming experience.  I hope the following will useful:



For the first few questions (1.1, 1.2 and 1.3) you will need to look as though you are being interviewed by some one.  The trick is to look off camera or just to the side. (See the left hand image)


For your final comment and the Na'vi words, you need to deliver them direct to camera - you will be talking direct to the film crew, so look them in the eyes and make it count! (See the right hand image)


Whatever camera you use from a phone to a DSLR to a proper video camera, make sure it is sat on something stable and horizontal.  This can be a tripod, a table or supported on books!


We need to be sure that we get the best out of our video cameras.  So here are a couple of tips that will hopefully help:


  • Whilst it would be great if we all filmed using HD cameras, this is not overly important.  Film your footage on the best camera you can.
  • If all you have is the camera in your phone or webcam that is fine.  The key is to make sure you are as well lit as possible to get the best performance out of the camera.
  • Always record a bit before and a bit after the shot, as this gives some editing room.



Sound can be more crucial that the video!  So it is important that your dialogue is captured really well for this project as it carries our message. Below are a few tips to help capture it:


  • The on board camera mic can usually only capture good quality sound close up. So try to ensure you are close to the camera or in a quiet place.
  • When doing dialogue to the camera it is a good idea to count 3-2-1. This allows the automatic gain control in the camera to get ready for your piece to camera.
  • If your camera has an external mic socket use an external mic that can be positioned closer to you, but not in shot or too close to your mouth.  Talk above it and about 6 to 8 inches away (15 to 20 cm).  This avoids 'pops' from 'Ps' and 'Bs' etc. Also use the count down 3-2-1 so the camera can adjust its audio levels.
  • If you're shooting your footage outside, wind noise can be a problem. This can be solved by putting some foam or fur-fabric over your mic or the camera's mic.  Alternatively find a more sheltered spot to film.
  • If possible try to capture the sound with as minimal surround noise as possible.



Here are a few general tips about lighting:


  • Try to light from the side slightly.  This can be a light or  the light from a window.  You can use a reflector from the other side to act as a fill in.
  • Don't shoot into the sun otherwise you will end up as a silhouette.



Here are a few tips that might help you deliver your shots:


  • Don't repeat the question in your answer. What we are after is good sound bites from the heart.  Something that captures the essence of your Avatar experience.
  • Finally, please don't be offended if you get asked for retakes. This is all part of the normal course of film making. It can be for a variety of reasons, but they are all aimed at making our film the best it can be.  It is for a very special audience.


I hope the above tips are useful. If you have any tips yourself then feel free to post them. Also you will find a shed load of film making tips on You Tube.  Just type in the subject and up they will pop!


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