So you want to make VIDEOS?! (or create film full time)

I’m getting asked more and more about film advice, cameras, editing software et al. It’s good that more people are realising the capability to get our message out is available here and now.

For the die-hards that want to make film a career, caveat emptor – I get work because I’m a business consultant that recommends companies can increase their market traction through making video, when they agree with me, I make the videos.

For example How to build a zero-cost web 2.0 startup Part 1 and Part 2.

Not that much has changed since I published them in 2009 aside from Responsive WP sites and where I choose to host.

I have no idea how you would find people to give you money to make film for films sake, at least before you starve. Be aware.

*** On with the show !! **

Editing wise I use Grass Valley Edius because it’s fast… F A S T. Any footage, any camera, all at once, real time editing.. it’s amazing.

The good tutorials (using Edius) I know for colour grading which is the thing you do after you’ve got everything filmed (and the film look means having a good story, actors, lighting, shots and blocking etc) can be found via Matt Scott Visuals.

There are many great, free resources such as The Basic Filmmaker, No Film School and Film Riot into medium and then advanced online material you can access such as the Hollywood Camera Work collection.

Next on my list will be the online courses for Lights-Film School (the free stuff is excellent) and the Lighting DVD.

Early inspirations for film making techniques were watching a lot of Devin Super Tramp, Digital Rev, Go Pro Camera, Freddie W, Indy Mogul, Neumann Films, The Slow Mo Guys, Philip Bloom and Colin Furze (because he is insane).

Vimeo is where the beautiful film and their creators hang out.

Additionally How to make a feature length film without a crew is a great read (I went through it on my iphone over 2 months of travelling) and in a few days I’ve got The 5 C’s of Cinematography arriving.

1st Assistant Directors is hilarious when you have been on a few shoots and The Black and Blue is a good resource for working in camera teams and 1st / 2nd AD / AC’s (assistant director / camera).

The most useful thing I ever did aside from my own test and measure was the complete 19 days of Melbourne Summer Film School.

By going to all of these pages, finding their Facebook links and having your news-feed fill up with educational material, I find a lot of articles, inspiration and commentary from like minded people coming through my Facebook page (eg Taste of Cinema).

I hire my equipment from Ben’s Hire, I bought my recent C100 from Lemac and previously got a lot of things from E-global Digital Cameras, plus my 3 LED light panels and Comer on-camera light from LA Color.

B&H Photo Video is good for equipment and Istock + Neumann Films and Envato is great for stock images and the like. Free Sound is also fantastic (let’s talk Foley!! :p)

If you need to hire lights for shoots in Melbourne go to LiteMUp.

Open Channel is interesting and I’m a member of the Australian Cinematographers Society.

VHX is interesting if you want to sell your work ondemand, as is Vimeo On Demand.

One of my first rigs was a Sony CX550VE with a Letus 35 mm adapter on the front and a series of old Canon lenses.

It was hilarious and produced some incredibly beautiful footage.

Then I went to a Sony NEX-5 with Canon FD lenses again, then when the Olympus OMD-EM5 came out I snapped it up due to it’s incredible insensor stabilisation (so your footage doesn’t shake and make people sick). Buying a variety of cheap old lenses on E-Bay meant I got to play with focal lengths, f-stops and all manner of things to understand the technicalities of it.

Reading doesn’t help much, personally I need to touch things.

With a $5 adaptor from ebay you can put anything on anything most of the time, with various implications that are fun to learn when they arrive on your desk.

I quit my day job 5 years ago to do this, maybe you should keep yours if you don’t have support to get through the early years.

Is it fun? Yes.

Seeing the joy on peoples faces when their story reaches across borders and people come to them is very rewarding.

At times, it really can change lives. At worst, you can contribute to the resources of humanity with engaging, educational and inspiring material.

The technicalities of filming, lighting, editing and sound are millions of different ways to tell a story, often which don’t come close to speaking person to person around a camp fire, which is why at the heart of it all, being good with people is the key.

Lastly, learning the ‘language of film’ is a fascinating process I hope one day to be comfortable with – Onwards! is me and Bravo Charlie – YouTube has a lot of my work on it in the playlists.

Good luck with it.

– Philip Bateman