Anyone out there?

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TimStannard
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Location: Surrey

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by TimStannard »

Glad you're back in the saddle again, Ken.
Like you, our filming of local stage productions (although not a business like your weddings) obviously came to a standstill. However we have been able to make a couple of films - for film challenges - my first creative films in two years!
I also did a lot of editing just before the end of term for end of school year performances. Instead of end of year productions, primary school pupils filmed bits and pieces at home and I was editor in chief, performing tasks ranging from trimming footage through to multi track "Brady Bunch" type stuff recorded over Zoom using OBS.
Hardly great quality, but against the clock, "worthy" and good fun.

As an aside, these parents all have the latest iPhones and snap away with them all day and despite instructions to shoot 1080P in landscape manage to come up with unbelievably low resolution footage in portait.
What is up with these people?
How can they do this?
I have to jump through hoops to get anything less than 1080P on my two year old (ancient in today's terms) Galaxy S9.
I was sent some footage in - 568 x 320!
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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Willy
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Willy »

Me too I'm back. Our chairman had a fantastic idea. Let's make a "chain film" in lockdown he said. An egg ended up with each club member. I was number 6 out of 7. We were asked to make up a story. Theme: the pandemics. I have already filmed it, edited it and translated it... I have done everything myself. Just like our friend Bob Lorrimer Always does. One of our prominent IAC-friends will be the narrator for the English version. It will be a new film for BIAFF 2021. Michael, the editor of FVM has also asked me to answer some "journalistic questions" to write a story about my life as amateur filmmaker. I guess that Ken Wilson and Tom Hardwick have received similar questions and we will not be the only ones. Maybe that was a secret. But secrets are there to be leaked. My story "I hopped around the Weald" in FVM is coming to an end. Now I have ended my life story as amateur filmmaker "pur sang". I hope that the readers will find it exciting. It's a story with sadness and happiness. My neighbour who lived in England for 35 years in the arms of a former RAF-pilot and who studied languages at Brussels University has corrected my mistakes. Length of the story: 26 pages! But I told Mike that he can make my story much shorter. It's a story about attempts to rejuvenate my club, about BIAFF and the IAC in general, about the loss of some important fellow workers in my club, about acquiring and losing a clubhouse, about the visit of my club to the Haywards Heath Movie Makers, about the new trends in filmmaking, etc... If Mike shortens it then I can say that I enjoyed having written it.
Willy Van der Linden
Howard-Smith
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Howard-Smith »

I’m pleased to report that after the frustration of not being able to make films for a few months, I’ve returned to making films with renewed vigour. Two films are already in the can, with 7 more scripts lined up ready to go. Currently unemployed with “retirement” status until I’m forced to find a new job, I have all the time in the world to make most of these films over the coming months. Fortunately I’ve found plenty of actors who are willing to just get on with it. Today I start filming a new thriller with young Paige Allen, star of GOOD GIRL. I know some people who are still shutting themselves away in terror of the virus, still afraid to go out except for essential shopping. I say life is for living and as far as I’m concerned it’s time to get back to living it!
It’s amazing how helpful some people can be. For one of the films I’ve made since Lockdown, there were films inside a hotel. I approached the Station Hotel Dudley about this and they were happy to let me and my three actors just get on with what we wanted to do for two hours around the building one Saturday morning for two hours, as they weren’t yet open for guests.
I wonder when we’ll know whether BIAFF is on for October. If it’s on, I hope to see you all there.
Ken Wilson
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Ken Wilson »

Willy wrote: "Michael, the editor of FVM has also asked me to answer some "journalistic questions" to write a story about my life as amateur filmmaker. I guess that Ken Wilson and Tom Hardwick have received similar questions and we will not be the only ones."
No that hasn`t happened to me, Willy. I think I started writing regular articles for FVM around 2003, but I would have to check that. I wrote random one-off pieces for a while before that but I think the regular ones started around then. So it is 6 articles a year of around 2000 words each, times 17. Regular readers will know all my back story by now I should think, so no need to be asked to write it all out again.

To Howard...how do you you make 6, 7, 8 films a year? I would love to know and it should make an interesting article for FVM. I know you don`t write them all yourself, so that will help, but editing so many in one year??? From my notes, during the 90s I made between 1 and 4 per year over that decade and in the noughties, I made between 2 and 5 most years and hit 7 movies in 2004. 5 of those were dramas and 2 were behind the scenes ("Making of") films with interviews and behind the scenes material to show when we are invited to clubs to explain about the films and screen some of them.

Things have tapered off between 2010 and now as new ideas get fewer as stories seem to be getting used up and others don`t write an occasional script to add to mine as they once did. We also have fewer actors due to some moving away, others giving up acting and one dying. People will do anything to get away from me! But the whole process takes a long time, so I would love to know how you do it Howard.
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Willy
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Willy »

That's strange, Ken. In a message on 7 August Mike wrote to me: "20 pages! (in the mean time 26 pages) Gosh! That is some effort. Thank you very much. I may not be able to use it all as I want to give Tom, Ken and a few other regular contributors similar space." I told Mike that he can decide if everything that I have written is relevant. I hope my articles are interesting enough for all readers in the UK. I remember that my story "I hopped around the Weald with my camera" was longer than 26 pages. In the September issue part 13 will appear. That's the end of my story. Yes, I am sure that everybody knows you very well Ken. For years and years you have contributed to FVM in a very detailed way. It's always interesting to learn about your experiences when making films.This week I will send my story to Mike.
Willy Van der Linden
Howard-Smith
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Howard-Smith »

To Ken...
In recent years I’ve found it easy to make 6 or 7 films a year... and that was when I had a full time job. I can stay up until 2am... 3am even... to complete an editing session.
Not having been able to make films during the lockdown months, I’m now actively catching up on lost time, working on three films simultaneously, two of which I wrote myself, with two or three more to follow later this year. Having already completed three films so far, that will be up to nine films to enter for BIAFF 2021. Oh, and one more, hopefully... a very rare (for me) documentary centring on the recording of a song written by a jazz musician friend of mine, which hopefully will take place in November in a recording studio.
With no day job for the foreseeable future, I’m able to complete my editing after each filming session within a day or two, without the need to stay up until the early hours of the morning. Editing is the most enjoyable and most satisfying part for me.
It’s just that I have this burning ambition to be a top amateur and to win some top awards. If I don’t get there at least I’ll die trying!
I’ve been making films on and off since 1970. Only the films since 2012 are on my Vimeo page, 43 videos (although a couple of these are just trailers and there are a small number of duplicate alternative versions).
Film making gives me a reason to keep going. It’s something I need to do.
Tomorrow is the first filming session for a film called OFF THE CLIFF and I’m just hoping for dry weather!
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Jameela M Boardman
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

Have you considered combining your energies and making a longer film, like a feature film rather than multiple shorts?
Ken Wilson
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Ken Wilson »

Wow Howard. And I thought I was obsessive! It sounds like you are editing as the filming is still ongoing? I like to wait until everything is completely shot and on the PC. I know then that once I start editing, there will be no delays as all the material is there.
Re-shoots and going back to do "pick-ups" or cutaways is extremely rare, though I have done this once or twice. The editing then takes several weeks as the(usually large amount of...) footage is reduced down and down and finally stops with increasingly minute trims and tweaks until I can go no further with fine tuning.
It is rare to have long editing sessions now as there are always jobs to do around the house and garden and often grandchildren requiring attention especially in the school holidays like now.
Howard-Smith
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Howard-Smith »

Reply to Jameela.
When I returned to filmmaking in 2005 after a few years’ break, I made just one film each year up to and including 2011. The first two films weren’t good enough to submit to BIAFF. Then in 2007 I made a 50 minute thriller called CASHFLOW which was awarded 3 stars at BIAFF 2008 but wasn’t shown at the festival probably due to its length. In 2008 I decided to make a feature length thriller called MADDER about an abusive husband who is determined to track down every painting of his naked wife done by members of an art group. With a cast of 16 and a 6 month filming schedule, it was an enormous undertaking. The full length film has a running time of 87 minutes. I submitted three different cuts of it to BIAFF 2009: a 72 minute version was awarded 4 stars, with the judging panel saying that they would have liked to have seen it shortened. Ironically the second version I sent in running at 50 minutes called SEEING RED was awarded just 2 stars. Then the third version called FOR ART’S SAKE running at 34 minutes was given 3 stars. It was the last version that was screened at BIAFF. The experience taught me that (a) it’s the luck of the draw what judges you get, and (b) the multiple scheduling problems I had during the filming meant that it was unlikely I’d tackle something so ambitious again.
In 2009 I edited two versions of a controversial thriller called PERCEPTION (30 minutes, 3 stars) and MISCONCEPTIONS (15 minutes, 4 stars). More than one person told me around that time that in the amateur film world “Short is good”. And I heard one person high up in the IAC organisation say that if a film is much longer than about 12 minutes they get restless and are inclined to lose interest.
So, from 2012 onwards I thought that I’d be better off making multiple short films in the same amount of time that it would take to make one long film, thereby giving me more chances of higher awards.
I’ve managed to get three 5 star awards over the years but I’ve learned to live with private disappointments that some of my best films have been given much lower awards than I think they were worth.
THE SONS OF NATALYA PETROVA. 3 stars. Russian language thriller. The judges criticised the fact that it had subtitles because by their very nature they takes one’s eyes off the screen. The top film that year was DER LOOS (The Warehouse) with subtitles. Bet the makers of that film didn’t get the same comment I did.
BLUE LADY. 3 stars. The judges clearly didn’t pick up on the fact that it was a kind of British Woody Allen film and claimed it was full of poor tired old jokes like a 60s sitcom, and that the ending came out of nowhere with no setup, whereas in fact 90% of the humour in the script was original stuff written by me and my mate Vaughan Williams, and the shock ending was absolutely clearly signposted.
I could go on an on... but the bottom line is I’ll carry on with multiple shorts for as long as I’m able to make films, in the hope that one day I’ll achieve a Diamond. If I ever do, I’ll be a happy man... and keep trying then for a second Diamond.
If I never get one, nobody can say I haven’t tried.
My films since 2012 can easily be found with a Google search:
Howard-Smith Vimeo
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Jameela M Boardman
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

Gosh, what a story, I admire your tenacity!

In reading it though, I can't help but feel again that the problem is 'competition culture'! ...but I won't start on that subject again here :wink:
ned c
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by ned c »

This has turned into a fascinating insight to what people are doing. I am gearing up to shoot four one minute films for regular writer/director Carl. We want to use this as an opportunity to explore more original camera work so have set up two cameras; the Sony AX 700 with a BeachTek adaptor to use my XLR connecting mics. Second camera the Lumix G 85 A set up to use prime lenses and the Zoom H2n to record sound. For editing I use Vegas Pro 18 which I am now exploring the new features.

As I am more techy than creative so some questions; Howard, Tim, Ken, Willy what cameras/editing systems do use and your thoughts about them.

I find the Sony AX 700 an excellent camera; easy to use and delivers first class results and can be set up for either "cinema" productions or BTS. The Lumix combines both delight and frustration; after all it is a stills camera with video capability so perhaps I should not expect too much; but it can do an amazingly good job.

I have been using Vegas Pro since version 13 when Apple did their thing to FCP and drove me to PCs; now that Magix own Vegas they are doing a good job of both development and support. I did indulge myself and had a computer built for my Boxx; it is both powerful and reliable.

ned c
Howard-Smith
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Howard-Smith »

I’ve been using the same two identical camcorders since 2012: CANON LEGRIA HF G10, recording straight onto the built in hard drive. They’re small but they serve me well. I haven’t got the money available to buy new equipment.
For editing I’ve always used Pinnacle Studio and have stuck with version 15 as I couldn’t get to grips with the changes they made in subsequent versions. It has it’s annoying little quirks but it does everything I want it to do.
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Willy
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Willy »

Hello Ned. I use a SONY PXW-X70. My previous camera was a bigger one: a SONY HXR NX5. I chose that one because Tom Hardwick had recommended it in Film and Video Magazine. The image quality was fantastic. I bought it in 2014. I was very happy with it. But as I had too many health problems my camera was too heavy. The price was about £5,500 "Keep your pecker up" my friends said. They encouraged me to make films again. So I sold my camera second-hand to a filmmaker from another club. In the mean time I have joined his club.We are very good friends and I am happy that he is happy with my old machine. I asked £2,750 for it and with that money I bought my SONY PXW-X70. This one is much lighter. But it is as sophisticated as the previous one and I have the impression that the image quality is even better. You can even change AVCHD into 4K if you pay extra. I have not done it, because my AVCHD-images are super. I am one of the last Mohicans who still works with Casablanca. I have been doing that for 30 years. It is a user-friendly machine and as my technical IQ is only -45 I could not have bought a better one. My clubmates who work with editing machines like Adobe-première always try to encourage me to drop my Casablanca in the containerpark, but I will never do that. I am still in love with my Casablanca.
Willy Van der Linden
ned c
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by ned c »

Thanks Howard and Willy. Howard; I have a similar NTSC version of your Canon; the Vixia HF G10 and although it is now 7 years old I keep it as it delivers such excellent HD results and for some BTS projects it is ideal as it is so compact and easily set up for either auto or manual. I visited your Vimeo site; thanks, particularly enjoyed "Pieces". Where do you get your actors, they deliver excellent performances (OK good direction as well). If you visit my Vimeo site (Ned Cordery Vimeo) most recently recorded with the Canon is "Interviews" and earlier all the BTS stuff.

Willy; my Sony AX 700 is the consumer version of your camera so I have to use a Beach Tek to adapt to XLR microphones; but great results.

Thanks

ned c
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TimStannard
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Re: Anyone out there?

Post by TimStannard »

Ned (and anyone else who's interested.)
Both my cameras were bought for ease of use and the fact I'm not going to get sucked into the game of just spending another few hundred on another lens. Also I'm no photographer, so DSLR/Mirrorless would be wasted on me. It takes me long enough to get framing, focus, colour and exposure right on my camcorders without worrying about all the other stuff. If I want particularly high quality images, I'll get someone else to shoot.

But to answer the question a Canon XF100 which I love - a perfect combination of small enough but with enough buttons to make it easy to use and a Panasonix HC-X1 (1" sensor 4K purchased mainly for shooting theatrical performances from the back of the hall in 4K with a view to cropping in post). The XF100 is a great little camcorder and the 4:2:2 Mpeg2 footage is a joy to edit.

I've been editing in Vegas since version 6 (after a baptism of Pinnacle Studio which lasted about three months) although I'm beginning to get competent (though not efficient) with DaVinci Resolve (and fusion). In fact I've just finished editing my own "leaving" video, recorded on their phones by 9 teachers at a school I've finished working at.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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