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Related Advancement and Awards
- Animation, Communication, Digital Technology, Moviemaking, Photography, and Theater merit badges
- Cyber Chip
Many studies note that about 95 percent of young adults are active online. While the Internet can be a very useful tool, it can also be dangerous to give out personal information because it can be stolen and used by anyone around the world.
Be aware that pictures or opinions you post on the Internet may not always remain private between you and your friends. Often, everyone on the World Wide Web can read and see them, too, and chat room “friends” are not always who they say they are.
Ways to protect yourself online include:
— Guarding your identifying information (name, sex, age, address, school, teams)
— Making your username and online profile generic and anonymous
— Knowing how to exit an inappropriate website
Here are some essential principles of camerawork, lighting, and sound that can help you create a quality production.
Selecting a Camera
— Use a digital camera. Recording using a digital camera makes the editing process much easier.
— Check for a mic port. If your camera has a mic (microphone) port, you can use an external mic to record the audio.
There are many things you should keep in mind that will help improve the quality of your project.
- Film multiple takes. Once the shots are planned and the actors know what they are doing, filming multiple takes will make postproduction easier by providing more options in the editing. Film every shot at least three times.
- Keep it simple. Zooming, panning, and dollying (moving the camera sideways with the lens pointed forward) could make shots look complicated and may confuse the audience. Whenever possible, do not move the camera during a shot. However, if you decide to try it, shoot the same scene again without moving the camera so you can see what looks best during the editing process.
- Use a tripod. This will make an amazing difference in the end product. Even if the camera operator thinks he or she is steady, the shots will be noticeably shaky without a tripod. However, if you want to establish a sense of uneasiness in a scene (e.g., turbulence on an airplane or spaceship, movement while a character is running), you can create this by carrying the camera or tilting it a little to one side.
- Check for continuity. You should have someone assigned to make sure that nothing in a scene changes from shot to shot. For example, during a conversation, a lock of hair should not go from being in front of a person’s face to behind the ear in two seconds, unless one shot shows them moving it.
- Film close-ups. TV and computer monitors are much smaller than movie screens, so you should frame most of the shots as close as possible to the people or items that are important in a scene. Remember that viewers do not always need to see a whole object to know what it is. For example, if someone is sitting on a car, it isn’t necessary to show the entire car; you can film the actor from the chest up with the windshield in the background.
- Creating the Shot – Follow the rule of thirds. When framing a video shot or a still photograph, imagine what you see being divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Everything of interest in the shot should be near the invisible dividing lines. If you want a head-on shot of an actor’s entire body, the actor should be within the right and left vertical lines with his head at the intersection with the upper horizontal line. If you want a close-up of the actor’s face, the eyes should be on the upper horizontal line.
- Be aware of height. For a normal angle shot, place the camera at eye level with the actor, allowing just a little headroom (the distance between the top of the subject’s head and the top of the frame). A high angle—the lens pointing down from above the eye line—can make the actor seem weak or powerless, while a low angle pointing up at someone from below the eye line can make an individual seem dominant. No matter what angle you use, be careful not to have too much headroom.
Decide what to use. Built-in microphones on cameras don’t always provide quality sound. Using an external microphone can lead to better results. Consider which style of mic is best suited for the project. The most common options include:
- Shotgun mic – This type is the one most often used in film and television. The microphone is usually mounted on a boom so that it can be lifted above the heads of the actors, out of shot. Shotgun mics are good for catching dialogue both inside and outdoors, so they are ideal for recording actors and presenters. The downside to this mic is that it may pick up background noise when filming in small spaces.
- Lavalier mic – This microphone clips on the performer’s clothes and is great for eliminating background noise. Some styles of lavalier mics have a long cord that connects to the camera; others are wireless with battery packs. However, it can be difficult to hide a lavalier mic, so you may risk losing the illusion in a dramatic scene.
- Hypercardioid mic– Singers often use this microphone on stage because of its ability to pick up sound from a limited direction. The mic is shaped like a figure 8 with one side larger than the other. If you have trouble with background noise, hypercardioid mics are great at blocking sounds that come from behind the actors. They are bulky, however, and often not appropriate for film and video productions.
Keep audio levels high. When recording, keep the audio level as high as possible without going into the red. If your camera has an audio level indicator, watch it while you are filming; if not, then watch the levels while you are editing and adjust them as needed.
A script is a document that provides the actors’ actions and behaviors and outlines the sound and visual effects—all the things that go into telling a story on screen. The most common script formats include the following elements.
- Headings that list camera location (“INT.” for interior or inside; “EXT.” for exterior or outside), scene location (local lake, living room, etc.), and time (night or day). Special headings may indicate montages, dream sequences, flashbacks, flash forwards, and so on.
- Narrative descriptions that include action, characters, settings, and sounds (door slams, dog growls, etc.).
- Dialogue that provides the name of each character speaking and what they are saying.
Having a script is essential to telling a story on film or video. There are many ways to craft a script but in the most basic form it should specify the locations and dialogue and include a beginning, middle, and end. The script may offer a complex set of instructions or a simple outline of what needs to happen. Most importantly, it must be written down. To allow for proper shooting and editing, you should never try to “wing it.”
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