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PE: Film and Animation

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 11:37 AM

As 2012 is coming to a close we can reflect on a lot of new technologies this year. Perhaps one of the biggest advances in technology was that of filmmaking both in the professional and pro-sumer categories with a new GoPro that has 4K capabilities, the Canon 5D MKIII, the Sony F5, and perhaps one of the biggest moves was that of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. With the exception of the Sony F5, these cameras all came in under $5000, making them readily available both for the professional world and for the pro-sumer world. 

Filmmaker vs. YouTube

With all of these cameras becoming more and more affordable, one must ask: what makes a filmmaker and what makes someone with a YouTube account and a camera? I believe that difference is in the technique, either way what someone films is telling a story, whether it is of a scene, a fictional story or documenting an event, person, etc. it still tells a story. So what has to be looked at instead are the key fundamental parts of filmmaking:

The Quality of the story
The quality of the story is likely the most important component, a lot of people will forgive bad technical aspects if there is a solid story. During an NYU Tisch Film program I took in Ireland this summer, I was shown something astonishing. A solid story requires one of two aspects:
:bulletblack: Complex Characters, Simple Story
:bulletblack: Simple Characters, Complex Story
Think about your favorite movie, for this, let's take something recent such as Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. What was excellent about the story that got so many good reviews this last year? At the base level it was that the story was simple, and the characters brought that story to life. It is these characteristics that allow for excellent stories to be formed. 

This is proven time and time again, even in older classics. Casablanca for example: Simple story -people are trying to get out of Casablanca. Complex Characters -determining who is on who's side, backstories of the characters. Citizen Kane is also similar: Simple story -what is rosebud? Complex characters -look into the life of Charles Foster Kane in order to try and find out what "rosebud" is through the memories of numerous other characters. This concept is hugely important for the story to be a success, as if there is too much complexity, the story will confuse people, too little, and you create a boring predictable story. 

The Cinematography or Animation
The actual visual component is also astoundingly important. Take Anna Karenina, a 2012 movie that just came out. It's astoundingly beautiful, perhaps one of the prettiest films this year. This movie uses a large number of components to allow for a fluid cinematic experience. Next time you watch a film, appreciate the cinematography, you'll notice there is likely constant motion keeping your attention. This motion allows the scene to feel real and engaging to the viewer. 

The Editing
Editing in a film today makes a big difference. It is less about the software you choose to use, and more of how you choose to edit. There are numerous styles of editing, but it is perhaps the most important part. Post-production can re-shape a story in the event of a bad shoot, or can make the story in the case of a documentary. Without it, the story can be entirely lost. 

Another form of filmmaking is that of time-lapse  Time-lapse photography is taking a series of shots of a subject as it moves or changes over a period of time. The most common forms of this are of stars, clouds, tides, etc. These often are created to tell a story or show passage of time in movies. As most films are shot in 24 or 30 frames per second, (although, this is changing, but that's a whole different story!) it would take 24 or 30 different photographs to make just one single second of video. 

Yet another form of filmmaking is animation. Animation doesn't require camerawork at all! In fact, using similar forms to time-lapse, one could create an animation without a computer at all! Some of the best animations are drawn by hand while others can be generated using computer animation. Both of these styles make for a cinematic experience that once again tells a story, just in a different form.  

There are numerous types of film both in the world and on deviantART. The following was written by the amazing kingmancheng who is the current community volunteer for the film and animation categories on deviantART. 


A documentary is a factual piece of film with the purpose of either preserving a piece of history or some form of instruction. Generally they have a sort of lesson or message that they are trying to document. 

It brings a world of understanding to those who seek knowledge. 
It show us the little things in the world that often overlooked.
It is the window to we use to see things we cannot normally see in our everyday lives. 

Documentary filmmakers are not scared to go out talk to people, discover the world, and ask questions about everything they see.

Music Video

27th January 1984, British singer and lyricist Morrissey was asked why there was no video to accompany song they were releasing soon. His famous response was:
No, we really want to bypass the whole video market.
I think it's something that is going to die very quickly and I want to herald the death of that. It has nothing whatsoever to do with music and I want total music.
Well we're still waiting for him to herald that! 

Music videos are short films that are produced to accompany music for artistic and/or promotional means. This medium began from music being over slideshow images. Over the years this has taken practically every form of film making that you can imagine and it continues to evolve alongside the film and animation industry.

Short Films

Well what can I say? It is everything it says on the tin! A short film is basically a piece of film that isn't long enough to be a featured film. Funny thing about this definition is, that there is no actual line drawn as to how long a film should be before it is considered a short film. These films are often low-budget or non-profit films, and resources generally only allow for so much production work.

One of the most brilliant things about short films is that animators and filmmakers often allow themselves more creative freedom for a range of reasons. A lot of film festivals have a short film category, and some are dedicated to short films entirely. Often these can be a creative groups earliest films, sometimes they're to help fund bigger projects. 

In the same manner as books, sometimes readers like to pick up a big epic, sometimes a short story. The same can be said for many entertainment mediums, and films are certainly no exception. Short films are often in a league of their own and they have certainly established themselves in the film and animation world.

So you have finished your film? That's great! What now?

Well, there are a number of different approaches. Large budget Hollywood films may immediately open in cinemas across the world, but these are films with budgets in excess of $100-$200 Million normally. Most films with smaller budgets open to a small audience at film festivals first. Submissions to these festivals are not always cheap, but can lead to filmmakers being invited with their films to additional festivals. Be warned though, festivals have strict requirements, and where a movie premiers does sometimes affect how well it will do. 

But let's say you just made the film for fun, sharing it on a website such as deviantART, Vimeo or YouTube is always an option! When you do this, be sure to have it get as much exposure as you can as it will bring more people to enjoy this film and future films you create. 

Happy Shooting!

TimberClipse is a 17 year old director of photography and photographer. He has been a member of deviantART for three years. His last film, The Symbol of Peace was awarded a Daily Deviation in November after being featured at four film festivals including the prestigious Austin Film Festival. More...
kingmancheng is the community volunteer on deviantART for the Film & Animation galleries. He also is an active freelance illustrator and animator. Kingman is an illustrator and animator, who is also skilled in UI and website design. Kingman won the Piccadilly Circus Screen Challenge in 2012. More... 

Project Educate Community week on Film and Animation!
Add a Comment:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012   General Artist
An amazing article Zev!
MidNightMagnificent Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well done!

I mean, I sort of knew all those things when I first started developing an interest in film-making, but seeing a well-written article on all of these concepts really drives it home and tries to remind me of where I want to go in this industry.

Thank you!
miontre Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
This is such an amazing article! :heart: Big thanks to Zev and Kingman. :clap:
JamminJo Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Zev :la:

I love this article and I thank you from all of us at #projecteducate for your time and dedication to our deviantART Community.
Arichy Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
YAY :clap:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Add a Comment:

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