Talk the Talk - 8 Must-Know Terms in Filmmaking
I have been dabbling a bit in film / motion / video work over the last 10 years. It is still mind blowing to me how much there is to learn and understand about the medium, particularly about making feature length films. I’m sure I could study filmmaking for the rest of my life and still consider myself a novice. Talking to filmmakers can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with the strange lexicon they share. There’s a lot that goes into making a film and I still hear things I don’t understand or know about. Here are some good ones to wrap your head around. Just understanding what they mean can give you a glimpse into how much there is to know about filmmaking. Or you can sling them around to sound like you know what you’re talking about.
Cinema Verite translates literally to “film truth,” and refers to a mode of documentary filmmaking that came about in the late 50s and early 60s. Anyone set on capturing “the real” in adventure filmmaking could be helped by a healthy dose of this film history. You’ll certainly gain a greater appreciation for the role that the camera can play in influencing the events on screen.
ADR stands for Automated or Automatic Dialog Replacement. This is necessary when the dialog from the original production isn’t up to par, forcing you to basically “re-do” it. You get the person who spoke those original lines in a studio or sound booth, loop the footage on a screen in front of them, and have them sync new dialog to the footage of their moving lips. It can be a pain, but doing it can also add a lot to the project.
Mix is the process of combining all your soundtracks into one, with all the sounds blended together at their correct volumes, together with any equalization, filtering, and effecting of the sound to give you the desired end result.
Foley is sound motivated by on screen action, specifically movement. Foley primarily includes footsteps, doors opening, silverware, ice axes clinking, and on and on. It is generally recorded live by foley artists on a stage watching the on screen action.
Storyboard is a series of rough sketches outlining the scene sequence and major changes of action in your film or video. It’s a common misconception that you have to be able to draw to make storyboards. But with a little creativity and vision it’s possible to create storyboards without creating a work of art. Ultimately, storyboards are important because they save time, and therefore save money. WIth well thought-out storyboards the camera crew knows what to do on set - there is an established roadmap that keeps things tight.
Dailies refer to the raw, unedited footage shot that day (or the previous day). Reviewing the dailies gives the director a sense of how the overall project is going.
Pre Pro obviously stands for “pre-production.” Once a production has been greenlit (contracts are in, financing or payment established) you get organized. Create a schedule, hire the necessary crew and map it allout. In Hollywood they bring in the cast and do a read-through of the script. In my world we are lining up the gear, the travel, the athletes, guides, permits or other necessities for when we start filming.
Post Pro stands for “post production.” This is where a lot of the magic happens and it can take longer than the actual production itself. Editing, music, color correction, titling, packaging, versioning… there is a LOT to post production.
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