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FÍS BLOG

We’d love to see the film you make!

So why not upload it to a platform of your or your parent/guardian’s choice, such as You Tube, Vimeo, Instagram, etc.
Then let us know please by emailing the link to fisfilm@iadt.ie or simply tag @fisfilmproject (Insta) or @FisFilm Twitter.

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Make Film At Home Blog

ANIMATION

#5 – The Final Cut

The final cut is what we end up with after we cut out all the bits from the master copy that we don’t want.  We can move some bits around, add in other elements, dialogue, narration, music, sound effects, captions, film title and credits.  This process is called EDITING!  And it’s a great opportunity to edit out material that doesn’t work, out-of-focus shots, bad takes, badly framed shots, wrong camera movements, and shaky zooms and pans. Unless that is the effect you wanted! smile

 

doll image 

I am presuming that you have used Stopmotion Studio to create your  animated film. In that case, everything you need is within the app’s integrated movie editor with frame-by-frame preview and a time adjust feature between frames. You can also cut, copy, paste, delete and insert frames at any position. It’s simple to use. Themes, titles, fades and sound effects are easy to add.

 

However, you may prefer to use the built-in editor on your phone, such as iMovie for iphone and ipads and there will be ‘How To’ videos on the internet to guide you through how to use that particular product. I found this video on YouTube created by a teacher, Ana Maria Gach for anyone wanting to take a film project out of the Stop Motion Studio app, move to iMovie app, edit and save or share the Final Cut.

 

 

The important point is that video editing apps all work on the same basic principles. The video below, made by IADT student Beren McCormack, is a non-software-specific introduction to the basics of editing.

 

Before-You-Begin Tips:

  1. ALWAYS save the original version of your unedited film and audio recordings in a safe place.  Export a copy to the editing app.  That way, if something goes wrong you will always have your Master Copy!
  2. Be careful when using special and/or sound effects not to over use them as this can distract from your story.
  3. Remember the most important function of the editing process is to tell your story Don’t be afraid to delete footage that is not adding value to the story.  A few seconds of a shot is often enough to let the viewer know what is happening in a scene.  Sometimes Less is More! 

 

signs image

 

Credit Where It’s Due!

Film Titles and credits is text (names, crew roles) rolling up the screen at the beginning and end of your film.  Most editing apps have built-in text editors so you can easily add a Film Title at the start of your film and a Credit Roll at the end of your film. The app will offer different templates, fonts, colours, etc.  Select the one that you think best suits your film.  Alternatively you could make your own artwork of Film Title and Credit Roll, then photograph them and add them to the timeline before exporting the Final Cut. Below are some examples of different styles used by children in films made for FÍS previously.

 

collage image

 

Be sure to credit everyone involved – that is, after all, film tradition!  But I guess you already know that from going to the movies. smile Remember to save the Final Cut to a safe place and include the word ‘FINAL’ in the file title!! smile

 

Editing takes time so please be patient with yourself.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Give your film project and yourself all the time you need.  Getting the Final Cut you are happy with will be worth it in the end.  I will be back next Tuesday after the bank holiday with more Tips & Tricks! Happy Easter & remember to #StayHomeStaySafe wink

#4 – Sounds Great

In animation film-making, the voice recording (dialogue & narration) is done separately after filming.  You can record audio using the built-in voice recorder on the phone, tablet  or camera, however having an external microphone to plug-in to your device will give you a better quality recording.  You’ll need the script for each actor and narrator.

Tips for recording audio:

  1. Pick a quiet place to record the audio so that you do not pick up ‘ambient’ noise.  The microphone might pick up sounds you don’t want; someone opening a door, an alarm, a phone ringing, a dog barking, a train or traffic outside!.
  2. The microphone should be close to the person speaking.  They should stand up while recording as they will feel more energy and breathe more freely so their voice will sound clearer.

Make sure to number/name any audio recordings so you can easily identify them later for adding to the film in the correct place.  Don’t worry I’ll guide you through editing in the next blog!

Well-chosen music tracks will add greatly to your film as it helps to convey the mood and atmosphere of a scene; scary, tense, upbeat, happy, sad, downbeat, etc.  Soundtracks are one of the last items added and this is done when editing the final cut of your film.  See IADT film student, Ian Burke’s short video highlighting the benefits of adding a sound track to your film below.

 

 

Only use music that is copyright free otherwise, you will need written permission from the original recording artist(s) and studio who recorded the song – and that’s extremely difficult to get!  You can find copyright free music for all genres of film free in creative commons libraries such as YouTube audio libraries or similar.  Of course, if you or someone in your family is musically talented you or they could compose, record and add that as an original sound track to your film.

 

dog barking image

 

Sound effects involve the addition of various noises to improve the film.  They are usually an exaggerated version of the real sound to add drama.  The Stop Motion Studio app has some sound effects in the app that you can simply use or you could record your own or download copyright-free sound effects from an online library.  Examples of sound effects are; footsteps, monster roars, car skidding, alarm ringing, bells, horses trotting, glass breaking, dog barking, etc.  The below video made by IADT Film Dept student Ian Burke explains how some sound effects are recorded!

 

 

Now you know more about different types of sound that can be included in your animated film; dialogue, narration/voiceover, music and sound effects.  It’s time now to record the audio and to select the copyright free sound track or sound effects that you might like to use.  Be sure to SAVE all your files and name or number them so you can easily identify which ones you want to add when editing your animation.  Tomorrows I will be introducing you to the editing process with #5 – The Final Cut!

 

 

#3 – Get Set, Get Ready, Go!

When you have created your scene and character(s) for your animation you will need to find a table to set up so you can start recording.  Preferably a place where you can leave it set up for as long as it takes you to shoot your animation.  Ideally set up in a room with the blinds down/closed so the lighting is consistent.  To light your set all you need is to position 2 lights (ordinary led lamps) positioned at either end of the scene to create an even light.

 even light image

 

Easiest way to shoot stop motion is to use an app that simplifies the process.  A very popular app used in schools to make animated films is called Stopmotion Studio.  The good news is the app is free.  So ask the phone or tablet owner to download from the app store and you are good to go!

 

I found this video on YouTube, created by a teacher, Ana Maria Gach, to be particularly good for explaining how the app works.  She is using clay/plasticine models.

 

 

Here is another good YouTube video which is an overview of stop motion animation using paper cut models.  This one is by Vanessa Webb – check it out.

 

So now you have completed the Get Set, Get Ready stage and are ready to Go! shoot your stop motion film.  No need to record audio at this stage – that can be done separately and tomorrows blog #4 – Sounds Great will guide you through hints and tips for recording good quality audio (dialogue and/or voiceover narration).  See you then!

 

 

#2 Characters, Sets & Storyboards

Another lovely video created by IADT student, Sophie Quin gives us more great ideas about creating characters and sets for animation.  It’s a great source of ideas for the kind of materials around your house or garden that could be used.

 

 

Well done Sophie! And thank you from FÍS.

 

By now you know I love to show you films made by Irish children that are good examples of what I am referring to in this series.  ‘Children Can’t Resist’ is a great example of lots of different types of materials being used to make their animation. This is another good example of an adaptation of the Hansel and Gretel story. Enjoy!

 

 

Storyboarding (that’s drawing out your story!) is a very important part of preparation to make an animation.  IADT student, Jessie Desmond Schmidt put together this video about storyboarding and gives lots more very useful tips on how to enhance your animation. I was inspired by it – I hope you are too.

 

Thumbs up & thanks Jessie!

storyboard image

 

Next step for you is to draw a STORYBOARD for your film – this is a very important part of the planning process for making a film, known as the pre-production stage. This way you will have a plan to follow and it will make things easier in the long run.

 

Storyboard template for Animation link available here …

 

Tomorrow’s post for the #MakeFilmsAtHome Series – Animation is called Get Set, Get Ready, Go!

#1 – The Illusion of Movement

When it comes to animated films I guess we all have our favourites.

Ever wondered how they make them?  Would you like to learn how to make one?  Well, let us help you with that!

Quite simply, animation is a form of film-making that uses sequences of images to create the illusion of movement.  I really like the way that student, Charlotte Connolly at the Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT), Dún Laoghaire explains the three main types of animation.  Charlotte also gives some great tips to think about before you begin making an animated film.  Check it out!

 

Thanks Charlotte! J 

Personally, I find a great way to understand something new is by looking at examples.  So I would like to share with you a short animation called The Life Cycle of the Salmon made by Irish primary school children.  It’s a very colourful example of animation made using  ‘paper cut out’ models!

 

 

smile face image

 

Next step is for you (and maybe family too) to decide what you will make your animation about.  In my experience the best approach is to either

  1. pick a topic that you will research or
  2. write an original story or
  3. adapt an original story.

It’s up to you!  Whichever one you choose remember to apply the Golden Rule that is KISS! No not that kinda kiss, wink …. I mean “Keep It Short and Simple”. No more than 1 x A4 page written as a script, so that it includes what the characters are saying (dialogue) or a voiceover narration of the story or a mixture of both.

 

 

It never ceases to amaze how creative Irish primary school children can be. Here is a creative example of an adaptation of an original story.  The story was found in the Irish Folklore – Schools Collection at https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes where there are lots of stories written in the late 1930’s that you could use.

 

I’ll be back tomorrow with more from the #MakeFilmsAtHome Series with a post on Characters, Sets & Storyboards!.

 

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Make Film At Home Blog

LIVE ACTION FILM

#5 – The Final Cut

The final cut is what we end up with after we cut out all the bits from the master copy that we don’t want.  We can move some bits around, add in other elements, dialogue, narration, music, sound effects, captions, film title and credits.  This process is called EDITING!  And it’s a great opportunity to edit out material that doesn’t work, out-of-focus shots, bad takes, badly framed shots, wrong camera movements, and shaky zooms and pans. Unless that is the effect you wanted! smile

 

running image 

Most phones and tablets have a built-in video editor, such as iMovie for iphone and ipads and there will be ‘How To’ videos on the internet to guide you through how to use that particular product.  Alternatively there are lots of free-to-download & for purchase editing apps available on the internet if you prefer, e.g. WeVideo (free), Filmora Go (free), Videopad Masters edition (paid).

 

The important point is that they all work on the same basic principles.  The video below, made by IADT student Beren McCormack, is a non-software-specific introduction to the basics of editing.

 

Before-You-Begin Tips:

  1. ALWAYS save the original version of your unedited film and audio recordings in a safe place.  Export a copy to the editing app.  That way, if something goes wrong you will always have your Master Copy!
  2. Be careful when using special or sound effects not to over use them as this can distract from your story.
  3. Remember the most important function of the editing process is to tell your story.  Don’t be afraid to delete footage that is not adding value to the story.  A few seconds of a shot is often enough to let the viewer know what is happening in a scene.  Sometimes Less is More! 

 

signs image

Credit Where It’s Due!

Film Titles and credits is text (names, crew roles) rolling up the screen at the beginning and end of your film.  Most editing apps have built-in text editors so you can easily add a Film Title at the start of your film and a Credit Roll at the end of your film.  The app will offer different templates, fonts, colours, etc.  Select the one that you think best suits your film.  Alternatively you could make your own artwork of Film Title and Credit Roll, then photograph them and add them to the timeline before exporting the Final Cut. Below are some examples of different styles used by children in films made for FÍS previously.

 

collage image

 

Be sure to credit everyone involved – that is, after all, film tradition!  But I guess you already know that from going to the movies. smile  Remember to save the Final Cut to a safe place and include the word ‘FINAL’ in the file title!! smile

 

Editing takes time so please be patient with yourself.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Give your film project and yourself all the time you need.  Getting the Final Cut you are happy with will be worth it in the end.  I will be back next Tuesday after the bank holiday with more Tips & Tricks! Happy Easter & remember to #StayHomeStaySafe wink

#4 – Sounds Great

In live-action film making the dialogue recording is usually done during filming.  You can use the built-in voice recorder on the phone or tablet you are recording the film with.  However, having an external microphone to plug-in will give you a better quality recording.  If you don’t have an external mic than you could use different device to record image and another one to record the audio.  Place this near the person or people speaking and then add it to your film timeline at the editing stage.  Don’t worry I’ll tell you how to do that in the next blog!

 

girl in focus image

 

If your film requires voiceover/narration you can record that separately and add in to the film timeline at the editing stage.  Make sure to number/name any audio recordings so you can easily identify them later for adding to the film in the correct place.

 

Tips for recording voiceover/narration :

  1. Pick a quiet place to record the audio so that you do not pick up ‘ambient’ noise.  The microphone might pick up sounds you don’t want; someone opening a door, an alarm, a phone ringing, a dog barking, a train or traffic outside!
  2. The microphone should be close to the person speaking.  They should stand up while recording as they will feel more energy and breathe more freely so their voice will sound clearer.

 

Well-chosen music tracks will add greatly to your film as it helps to convey the mood and atmosphere of a scene; scary, tense, upbeat, happy, sad, downbeat, etc.  Soundtracks are one of the last items added and this is done when editing the final cut of your film.  See IADT film student, Ian Burke’s short video highlighting the benefits of adding a soundtrack to your film below.

 

 

Only use music that is copyright free otherwise, you will need written permission from the original recording artist(s) and studio who recorded the song – and that’s extremely difficult to get!  You can find copyright free music for all genres of film free in creative commons libraries such as YouTube audio libraries or similar.  Of course, if you or someone in your family is musically talented you or they could compose, record and add that as an original sound track to your film.

 

piano play image

 

Sound effects involve the addition of various noises to improve the film.  They are usually an exaggerated version of the real sound to add drama.  You can download copyright-free sound effects from an online library or record your own.  Examples of sound effects are; footsteps, monster roars, car skidding, alarm ringing, bells, horses trotting, glass breaking, a dog barking, etc.  The video below made by IADT Film Dept student Ian Burke explains how some sound effects are recorded!

 

 

Now you know more about different types of sound that can be included in your film; dialogue, narration/voiceover, music and sound effects.  It’s time now to record the audio and to select the copyright free sound track or sound effects that you might like to use.  Be sure to SAVE all your files and name or number them so you can easily identify which ones you want to add when editing your film.  Tomorrow I will be introducing you to the editing process with #5 – The Final Cut!

 

#3 – The Shoot

Before you begin filming it is a good idea to think about different camera angles and shots that you could use to best effect in your film.

 

This short video was created by IADT Film Dept. student, Ian Burke and gives a good insight into angles and shots and when to use them.

 

 

Below is a diagram of all different shots you could use.

 

camera angles image

 

Continuity is also very important in film.  Without continuity the story can become difficult to follow.  This involves paying close attention to the position of objects, characters, lighting, and keeping notes of what is happening in each shot.  This helps to prevent errors in the story.  For example, if a character is wearing a hat in one shot, then good continuity means she or he is still wearing the hat in the next shot of the scene.  Here is a Continuity video made by IADT student Ian Burke.

 

 

By now you will have made decisions about where to shoot your film, maybe you’ve created a set at home or in your garden.  You have decided what costumes your cast will wear and now need to decide what camera angles or shots best suit the scenes you are going to shoot.  Write these on your storyboard & have the script and storyboard close to hand so you don’t wander off course!  Do some practice runs/rehearsals to get used to filming and acting, etc.  Remember the golden rule – KISSKeep It Short and Simple.  It’s not a feature film you are making!

 

You will need to know a little bit about recording good quality audio so tomorrow’s blog, #4 – Sounds Great for film-making will guide you through that.  See you then!

#2 – Set Design, Costumes & Cast

Making a film in your house or garden could be exactly the right set for the film, requiring little or no alteration.  But sometimes objects might have to be hidden or disguised because they do not fit the story or the period in time that the film is set in.  The ‘When You Wash Upon A Star’ film example below shows how the children created a pretend space ship and a washing machine (props) for the scene using cardboard, paint, imagination and some very shiny paper.  Check it out – the little children acting are very cute too!

 

 

You can use materials that you have at home to create props and scenes.  Old fabric, old curtains/sheets, cardboard, paper, fabric, wrapping paper and other creative materials.  Best to ask your parent/guardian for permission first though to make sure the items are available for use in your film!

 

father and child building image

 

 

Costumes can be also be found at home with the help of your family – think about clothes already in your house that relate to the storyline. For example, the characters might look good in their own modern day clothes, ready-made costumes, dressing up clothes and old adult clothes.  Feathers, ribbons, braid, scarves, beads, old costume jewellery can be collected up for enhancing the costumes and headgear (hats, caps, helmets, etc.).  Look at how the children below used clothes from home as costumes when acting for a film they made about the first ever Dáil in Ireland.

 

group picture image

 

‘When Cropfields Cry’ is a good example of how old clothes can be torn up or damaged if the character is supposed to look poor or shabby.

 

 

Next steps are for you to decide where you will shoot the film, make props and scenes if necessary and gather together the costumes so you have everything ready for the next stage – filming!!  You will also need to identify what camera you will use for recording – a phone, a tablet or a camera.

 

Tomorrow’s post for Live-Action Film-making is called The Shoot!  When I’ll talk about shooting your film.

 

#1 – What’s The Story?

Film helps us to share stories.  Live-Action films are a moving image recording of what is happening at a particular time.  I love the way that ‘The Story of the Willow Tree Pattern’ made by Irish primary school children captures great acting and also other movement such as, the trees blowing in the wind.  What really makes it stand out is the other sensory stimulations included, like voiceovers, music tracks and sound effects.  These help to tell the story to great effect.

 

 

Next step is for you (& maybe your family too) to decide what you will make your film about.  Either make up your own story or adapt an original story.  The Irish Folklore – Schools Collection at https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes is a good source of stories which could be adapted into a film.  Or you could choose a short story or chapter from a book you’ve read and make your own adaptation of it.  Its totally up to you!  But remember you are not making a feature film so my advice is to keep it short and simple.

 

Best way to prepare is to Storyboard the script so that you will have a visual image of how to organise the film before you start recording.  Trust me this will save you lots of time and error!  The storyboard can specify the movement, actions, expression, and dialogue for the characters.  It also includes information about the location of where the scene is being shot.  It is written in the ‘here and now’.

 

live action image

 

Check out this brief introduction to storyboarding made by IADT Film Dept. student Ian Burke.

Storyboard template available here …

 

Next step is draw out a storyboard for your film – this is a very important part of the planning process for making a film, known as the pre-production stage.

 

I’ll be back tomorrow with more from the #MakeFilmsAtHome Series with a post on Set Design, Costumes & Cast! For Live-Action Film-making.

 

ANIMATION

Make Film At Home Blog

LIVE ACTION FILM

Make Film At Home Blog

Important Notes

 

Completed films can be uploaded to a platform of your or your parents choice, such as You Tube, Vimeo, Instagram, etc.
then simply TAG us @fisfilmproject instagram or @FisFilm twitter please.

 

A series of interactive online lessons covering all of the above & SOME! are available free here. Originally designed for use in school but they can be used at home too.         

 

Please do not use copyrighted visual material (i.e. photographs, logos, insignias, branded items, footage, etc. or music unless you have gained permission in writing from the artist and recording studio.  You can get access to copyright free music available from audio libraries, such as You Tube or other music available under creative commons – free of charge.  Or you could create and record our own original piece of music.