This is chapter 1 in the sort of online workshop thingy.
Feel free to discuss, agree, disagree or question.
I will post Sid Perou's comments tomorrow.Stage 1. Development
This is the first step of film production. It is where all the initial details of the movie are weighed and considered.1.1: Have an audience in mind.Who are you making your videos for?
Think about who is likely to watch your videos. A few things to think about are:
Is your audience likely to be cavers or non-cavers? Are you recording the environment for future generations to see what it used to be like? Is your video telling a story? Is about cave conservation or a new discovery? Is it to promote caving? It is the history of cave rescue? Or something else entirely?
When I began my only reason for taking video was purely to show other people, mainly non-cavers, what it is like to go caving.
So who do I now make my films for? I must admit that I don’t always have a particular age or demographic in mind, so unless I’ve been commissioned to produce something, I simply make the films that appeal to me. However for a film to get beyond the initial planning stage it is a good idea to have an audience in mind. For example my film, So You Want To Go Caving?
was made specifically for newcomers to the sport.
Thanks to YouTube Analytics I know exactly the type of person who is most likely to watch my videos. They will be male in the age range 25-34 from either the United States or India and 82% of them will watch the videos on a mobile phone! From the comments I receive I can tell that the vast majority of them have never been caving and have absolutely no intention of ever doing so.1.2: CompetitionsGetting your work judged
Of course you may be making your video to enter in a competition but the same production processes still apply. To see the types of video that have been successful in competitions have a look at the Hidden Earth Video Archive
If you are intending to enter a film in a competition then read the entry conditions very carefully, not only to ensure your film is suitable for the competition but also that it will be looked on favourably by the judges. Below is an example of the sort of thing you might come across.
Films entered in this competition should have a story, or a narration of some kind, or have an interesting theme. It is also expected that the majority of the film will have been shot underground.
Videographers should state the audience that their film is intended for, the aim(s) and/or objectives of the film along any difficulties they may have encountered and how they overcame them.
The maximum length of films that will be accepted in this competition is 20 minutes.
Films will be judged on the following criteria:
- Suitability for intended audience and watchability
- Stated aim(s)/objectives met
- Technical filming quality, including effective lighting
- Post production editing, including both images and sound
- Overcoming encountered difficulties.
1.3: What are the aims of your video? What’s the story?Be clear about what you are filming and why you are filming it.
A number of caving videos uploaded to YouTube shot with a single helmet mounted camera appear to be nothing more than random clips taken on a caving trip. For a film to be successful and gain viewers it needs to have a story, or include a narration, or have an interesting theme. Generally I’m not very good at doing this. Often I set off on a caving trip with my video gear and with no real idea of what the end result will be. However I treat these trips as an exercise in capturing stock footage1
. Recently I’ve used stock footage a lot in my films as I haven’t be able to capture anything new. The Story of Caves
was made entirely from stock footage and stock photos.
Films where I have had definite goals to fulfil include The World of Caving
which I made to open the conference, 50 Years of British Cave Exploration and Science, and the film I made to show to scouts and their parents when they are thinking of signing up for the Caver Activity Badge.1.4: Get some inspirationLook at other people’s videos and don’t be afraid to steal ideas. It’s one way we learn.
Many of my videos, along with possibly the majority of caving videos on YouTube, are documentary style videos showing a caving trip in a particular cave system, and a lot of my views are from people looking to do a certain trip and wanting to see for themselves what it entails. However although caves are all very different this may have led to my videos becoming quite samey. So I regularly look at other people’s work and if I see a camera technique I like, or some imaginative or atmospheric lighting, or perhaps a style of editing that works well, I attempt to copy it in my videos. I really have learned a lot by looking at the work of other videographers.1.5: Consider different genresDocumentary, drama, comedy, etc.
I like to think that I am a little unpredictable and I hope it keeps my audience interested and engaged. I’ve produced a variety of different video styles and genres - documentaries, music videos, promotional videos, pastiches, drama, comedy, factual, spoofs and even a five part mini cliff-hanger series. I've also incorporated in my videos special effects including green-screening and animation.
My most successful caving video, Caving Claustrophobia Kill or Cure
was made in response to a Red Bull video, This 60-second clip makes you feel claustrophobic
(although mine lasts 85 seconds), to show some of the adrenaline filled moments of caving. I made it for something to do when I was recovering from a very serious injury. It consists of short clips cut to the beat in a piece of dramatic music. It was very simple and quick to produce and yet it’s the one video that my audience watches over and above everything else I’ve produced. So the message is simple: All videos don’t have to be as long as War and Peace, begin with something simple and easy to achieve, but most of all do it for the enjoyment.
1 Stock footage, and similarly, archive footage, library pictures, and file footage is film or video footage that can be used again in other films. Stock footage is beneficial to filmmakers as it saves shooting new material. A single piece of stock footage is called a "stock shot" or a "library shot”. Stock footage may have appeared in previous productions.
Chapter 2: Pre-production will be posted on Monday 8th March