Five filmmaking tricks and techniques that you need to learn

Apr 29, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Five filmmaking tricks and techniques that you need to learn

Apr 29, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Everybody’s always looking for tips, tricks and shortcuts to make their lives easier. Whether it’s photoshop, filmmaking, or just about any part of our lives. With filmmaking, especially, there are a lot of different things to learn and experiment with. So videos like this one from the folks at Film Riot are always welcome.

In it, Ryan Connolly gives us five of his favourite filmmaking tips that he’s used regularly over the past 10 years. Things that every filmmaker should at least try and know a little bit about for those times when it might just be the perfect solution to a problem that pops up.

Whip pans

Whip pans are often used as a simple tranition from one shot to another, but this isn’t all they’re good for. They can be used to show items travelling at speed from one part of a location to another. In the video, the example used is an axe being thrown by one person and caught by another.

Naturally, no sane person actually throws an axe at another person, so the trick here is to record it in two shots. One of the axe being thrown, another of the axe being “caught”, and then a whip pan to mask the join where the two shots meet.

Stop Motion

This isn’t something we typically thing of when it comes to live action. But it can be a fantastic way to fake fast movement in a shot if you don’t have access to stunt people with fancy rigs. Here it’s used to show an adult being “force pushed” across a room by a child. It might not be the smoothest workflow, but it works well.

Set building

Building a set isn’t always in the budget of video shoots, but if it is, it’s a great way to have complete control over every aspect of your scene. You get to set it up and light it exactly the way you want. You don’t need to rely on the natural lighting of a real location and limit yourself to only shooting at certain times of day or night. Even outdoor locations can be created indoors if you think it out and plan it properly.

French Turnaround

This is an interesting trick, and probably something you might start looking out for  in the future as you watch movies. The French Turnaround is where you fake turning the camera around to change the view from your subject to what the subject is looking at. Except, you’re not actually turning the camera around. You’re just moving your actors and bits of the set around, reframing the shot, and keeping your camera pointed in the same direction.

Green/Blue screen

Once squarely in the domain of Hollywood alone, blue & green screen effects are much easier to achieve today than they once were. Just about every piece of editing and effects software out there worth its salt these days has some form of chroma keying facility. It’s a simple technique, but it intimidates many people who’ve never tried it before. Give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?

What other filmmaking tricks do you think people should try at least once?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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