The Clip Club

Primary after-school club in East London, UK – we watch, talk about, shoot and edit short films and clips

Archive for the category “Sessions”

Session 9 – Alma, editing and a little bit of blogging

In session 9 we started off by watching a clip called ‘Alma’:

This clip was an award winning animation by French (actually, Spanish) people and has won 4 competitions and several Oscars. Here is what Leonardo, GMan and DJess posted about it. I think that everyone who signs their name on the wall is the next victim of the evil, self-killing shop. Unluckily, Alma signed her name on the wall and the doll popped up in the window. Clara had an interesting idea on the fact that they monitor you through the window on the wall and pop up an appropriate doll.

After watching and discussing we continued editing our trailers while Michelle took us out, to teach us to post. I taught Leonardo.

A great session and expect to see some posts coming soon!

Alma-by Leonardo

Alma was an animation by French people with a girl who turned in to a doll. A shot I liked was when the the girl’s life flashed before her.

Editing Horror/Thriller trailers

It’s great to see everyone turning up for more Clipclub sessions – we’ll be carrying on into the summer months. This is important because, as we’re discovering, films take lots of time, planning, concentration and effort! Over the past 2 sessions the team has been been working on edits for a potential film trailer.

Before they get on with editing we talk about what makes a good edit:

  • selecting the most interesting bits of the available clips:
    • visually
    • cinematically
    • dramatically
  • being careful about deciding where clips start and where clips finish (the start point and the end point)
  • thinking about clip length – shorter the better for trailers
  • carefully adding digital effects: sound effects, voices, titles, music, fade ins and fade outs
  • carefully editing digital effects: reversing or slowing down sound
  • not SHOWING and EXPLAINING everything… it’s better to make people curious and raise questions in people’s minds so they want to see the film

The below clips were done in a short space of time, with only a quick demonstration on the whiteboard of what’s possible in the software. This one by Nimbus and Leonardo is particularly good and captures all the suspense of a thriller/horror trailer, made from the various bits of footage and sound taken over the past few weeks.:

Here are more practice trailers which aren’t quite finished yet:

Sessions 6 & 7 – Editing

The Clip Club team talk some more about how they are going to finish their clips and 3 groups go off and film the last few shots. One group do a kind of scary tracking shot following Wizard23 through the corridors of the school: great camera work by Dual2 and stills work by Gman, from which everyone is going to benefit. Another pair film a classroom scene picking up from Clara’s extreme close-up and the last group film some strange and effective happenings with jumping pencils and wafting paper. All this footage will be used to create different movie trailers and nothing goes to waste.

IMG_2295I give everyone more advice about e-safety because it looks like some of the group have filled in boxes whilst commenting that they needn’t fill in. The group are reminded never to write their email addresses anywhere in school projects, nor their real names.

The next session sees the group editing their work on 3 Mac books. I remind them about selecting the good bits of clips to drag up into their projects and quickly create an example trailer with their footage, including some slowed down dialogue from some ‘accidentally filmed’ footage of the whole group talking – this is used as a soundtrack/sound effect to my example trailer. There’s a technical issue with one group but eventually they’re up and running, selecting clips and doing voice-over work. Two groups record their voices too loudly so they have to do them again. I explain that they can always make their voices louder in the software.

(I had to leave early this week because I was giving a presentation about The Clip Club and how it works at a Teachmeet-style event at the Media Education Association in Highbury.)

More people have started to comment so I think I’ll write a few things about what makes a good comment.

It’s Tuesday – but no clip club?

Welcome back,

Yes, I know what you’re thinking!

Why is there no clip club today?

Well there is no school today so I guess I’ll be off.


Session 5 – Get Filming!

In session 5 we started our storyboard filming (for the storyboard click here) with : Director : Nimbus, Asst. Director: Gman, Camera 1: Dual2 and finally Actors : Carla, Leonardo, Clara and Wizard23. Firstly, we went to the front of the school building and took the establishing shot which was a pan. Secondly we went to class 5U as they have blackout blinds (which, I have to admit didn’t do their job very well) and took all our other shots including : a blackout and a BIG CLOSEUP of Clara – see Session 4 for more info.

All in all, a great session.

Session 5: Ideas into Team ‘Action!’

It’s amazing what can be achieved in 50 minutes when you work as a team…. All the clip clubbers get a letter asking for permission to use their ideas, photos, video clips, interview info for my research. It seems that everyone agrees it’s OK and hopefully their parents will too. They also get a user name and password to be able to contribute to the blog. We’ll be doing more on that.

We recap on our storyboard pictures and discuss the different shots, especially the importance of shot number 4 which is when the story changes and becomes more scary – the camera needs to build tension. Leonardo writes the shot list. We then establish who’s in front of the camera (acting) and who’s behind the camera (production crew):

  • Director (Nimbus) decides: what’s going in the frame and what’s not going in the frame; how the actors and props are positioned; if, how, when and where the actors move; roughly how long the shot will be; he also watches the view finder as the shot is being taken and decides if another shot needs to be taken
  • Assistant Director(Gman) works closely with the Director and organises (shouts at) the actors to move into position
  • Cameraman(Dual2) works with the Director to film the action and discusses camera position, angle, height, distance and movement
  • Next time I’d like someone (Gman?) to be the production Photographer and take some still shots to document the production
  • When we get a microphone, we’ll also be needing a Sound operator, to record the sound separately

We run through how people behave on set, what they say and the order of events. The shot is set up and the camera positioned:

  • The Assistant Director shouts: “All quiet!” (production crew gets behind the camera)
  • The Cameraman starts filming
  • The Cameraman shouts: “Camera rolling!”
  • The Director shouts: “Action!”
  • The Director shouts Cut!” (after leaving the camera rolling for a few more seconds than perhaps will be necessary)

We go out to the playground and get the establishing pan shot in the can. We find a classroom with black out blinds because we need to make it as dark as possible. We get the shots we need without having to do any retakes. Everyone works together. Well done team! Here are the rushes that we’ll be editing next time and remember you can decide – and shoot – how the story ends. Why not make some comments about how you might use the rushes in your film, what you like about them or what you might have done differently:

Establishing shot 1:

Establishing shot 2 (more zoomed in):

Classroom long shot, high angle (on a chair):

Empty chairs, same camera position, black out shot (post-production on this?):

Reaction shot, camera moving towards actor:

Extreme close up:

Session 4 – Wallace & Grommit and the eye-line match

A bit of editing goes on while we wait for people to arrive. We talk about the different shots we know and I introduce the ‘eye-line match’. This mainly consists of 2 shots – one shot of the main character and then another shot of what the character is looking at – which is often a close-up shot. We look at a clip of Wallace & Grommit and the Curse of Were-Rabbit watching out for eye-line matches, for example, when Grommit is looking down at the carrots he’s chopping, or into the fridge and when Wallace looks down at his newspaper.

storyboardWe talk about how animations start out as drawings on a storyboard and how storyboards are not only used to build the story but also to plan the camera shots. When the storyboard is finished, the film makers have a list of shots to film.

This link shows an interview with Nick Park – the director of Wallace and Grommit – and some of his drawings.

Based on the work that we’ve already done on different shot types and scary classroom stories, we decide as a a group on another scary story to be filmed in 8 shots. One of these shots is an eye-line match involving an extreme close-up followed by a close-up of the top of a desk (that’s shaking!). Thanks to Wizard23 for volunteering to take over the storyboard drawing!

The group have a few good ideas about the ending of the film – for example, cutting to a news room – so it is decided that each group can shoot their own ending. Filming will begin next week.

Session 2 – Scary Movie editing 1

We miss a week but our Year 5 & 6 film makers turn up for the after school session as arranged 2 weeks ago. To recap on the first week we discuss camera shots and their effects … (see Session 1 post).  The crew take charge of the keyboard and stop and start the Wall-E clip when they have something to say about the shot. It’s great how much they remember and they come up with sophisticated observations. We talk about foreground and background, shaky camera movement, light and colour, contrast, tone and mood of the clip and how it makes you feel.

We watch the footage they shot a couple of weeks ago around the school and I show them the basics of iMovie by roughly piecing together a quick edit of a scary movie from their footage, adding sound effects. In 3 groups they go off to make their own. Not a bad amount covered in a 55 minute session. Well done guys!

With your knowledge of shots, why not pick one or two of the following stills from Wall-E and tell me about the shot?

Session 1

Michelle talked about what we’re going to be doing in the next few weeks – watching clips and discussing what makes them interesting/not so interesting, going on a trip to the British Film Institute to the Mediatheque, learning about film language, making our own clips, posting on this blog…

First we listened to a clip of a soundtrack and then watched the full clip – 4 minutes of Wall-E. It’s the part where Wall-E meets Eva for the first time. We talked about the different elements of a film:

Sound (sound effects/music/dialogue)
Sequence (real time/flashbacks/actions happening at the same time/time lapse)
Camera (point of view/distance/movement/angle/focus)
Cutting (editing/speed)

We looked at the different shots used in the wall-E sequence and some of the reasons why these shots might be chosen:

close-up (CU) – to show feelings
extreme close-up (ECU)
medium shot (MS) – to show action / dialogue
long shot (LS) – to show setting
extreme long shot (ELS)
high angle – to make someone/something seem smaller & vulnerable
low angle – to make someone/something seem bigger & powerful

3 groups (Clara & Carla / Gman & Leonardo & Nimbus / Dual2 & Wizard23 & Jessica) went off with the Flip cameras to video a scene in 4 shots using 1 close-up, 1 medium, 1 long and 1 other type of shot. The brief was that someone was experiencing something frightening in a classroom. Michelle collected the footage and transferred it to the computer. We will look at this in the next session.

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