Focusing Through Misty Lenses

It’s common enough how we, at rather young ages, feel ready and amped up to do a lot more than we actually can, but that is all the energy it takes to get your passions off the ground. Here we have two alternatives: sit still with a smile and wait until life is tender enough to give you all the resources and support, or just enter the field with whatever tools you have at your disposal. Here we can fairly relate to holding a cooking show in the kitchen at 8 years old while frying eggs for breakfast, or covering half our face with a white napkin, gripping a plastic knife and glaring at our younger sibling’s tummy while performing their open-heart surgery inside our pillow fort.

So, considering how intuitively convenient and cost-effective the latter choice is, I’ll be giving you a few points to show how easy it is to carry out your first role as an amateur director or cinematographer, say, for a competition that you’ve decided to participate in. I remember how, three years back I had to shoot a fake advertisement for a mobile brand. I was gathered in the school courtyard, blocking everyone’s passage, doing the same shots fifty times in a row with cliched acting, hoping to at least get my idea across with this advertisement. I took the base files home and compiled them into a minute-long ad, which utilized a Chainsmokers song for background music; despite it being evidently cringe-worthy, I still sat there admiring it like a proud mother. All I mean is, that to create exceptional pieces of ‘art’ that you can laugh at, but still be proud of, all you need is a camera, some creativity and friends who are willing to be a part of your team. Without further adieu, here are a few tips and tricks that can help you get started:

  • If you need to shoot a realistic scene of a character crying, feel free to cut some onions beside them to set the mood and bring the feel which will make your scene impactful. Besides, this will also help you win over your parents by indirectly helping them with dinner preparations.
  • If two characters are enacting a serious argument or a scuffle, steadily revolve around them with your camera to create tension. Moreover, stabilizing your movement is important (its best to use a tripod and digital stabilization) so that the audience’s attention is not diverted to the shaky movements.
  • If you have a fictional idea where you need to capture a small object mid-air, attach strands of some light-colored hair to the object and then suspend it in the air. You can now actually shoot the object paused in air without the hair being visible! (this one is actually tried and tested) Having said that, you can of course use fish wire as that would be much stronger and easier to handle, but where’s the fun in that?
  • Hold a candle close to your chin and turn the lights off to create an eerie, ghostly presence in your scene. Also ,ensure that you use the same colored light throughout to avoid awkward transition between different colored lights.
  • Mix cornstarch or gelatin with red dye and water to create fake blood for a horror scene, instead of working with red poster paint which will dry on your skin before you can even start shooting. Working with paper napkins, German glue and your mother’s makeup kit can also create formidable wounds for your scene.
  • Scatter some grains in an open space on set to attract pigeons and then take fancy slow motion shots of them like in John Woo’s Face Off or Hard Target. We all know doing that is much more important than the high-budget action scenes.

Speaking of open spaces and sets, you might find yourself wondering where to actually find appropriate spaces to shoot your videos. In most cases, you need not look further than your own school! From horror trailers to fake advertisements and even music videos, there is no such video that cannot be shot within the dear premises of your school. With the school being so much more than just a four-walled classroom for studying, video making provides room for us to try our hand at materializing vivid ideas, while spending quality time with friends doing something productive and creating memories.

Hadia Shehzad
TLC Writer

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