We all have two ears.
Together, the two of them work to give us a sense of the space surrounding us.
Meaning… if you hear a loud crash to your right (with your right ear), your left ear hears the sound the a little differently. It not only hears the crash at a slightly different time compared to the right ear but also hears more of the reverb (echo) of the crash off the walls surrounding you at the impact.
It’s kind of like surround sound… only it’s just the way our world naturally functions!
Mono or “monopohonic” sound is when one microphone records into an audio file and comes out of one channel (or the same one channel played simultaneously through left and right). If we make a recording with only mono sound we don’t get that sense of space. Sound is no longer surrounding us… it’s just there. Mono sounds can be “faked” into a more stereo field in a number in post, but it still will not attain the immersive experience that well recorded stereo sounds give.
With a stereo or “stereophonic” audio, we have sound captured by two microphones recorded into separate channels (a stereo file). This allows us to do much more with our sound in post and really invites our audience to feel like they’re experiencing a space.
This brings your audience into an entire world and connects them deeply with the film, making the story feel that much more real.
If you’re looking for a few practical ways that you can start adding more depth to your sound mix and make your audience feel more immersed in the action, we’ve got three here to get you started — straight from Stillmotion audio guru Jeremy Bircher!
On every shoot, there are problems on top of problems to solve, big and small.
What we filmmakers often don’t think about are the small tools we can pick up that will majorly help us out as we’re running around like crazy people on set.
For this tutorial, we’ve put together 10 of our favorite tools that have come to the rescue time and time again during shoots.
A lot of this stuff you may have considered getting before, but ultimately decided against because you think you won’t use it THAT much. To which we would say… oh yes you will!
All of the tools on this list have saved our lives many times, and we’ll continue to rep them ’til the day we die.
1. Black Foil
One of the coolest things about filmmaking is our ability to alter anything we’re using to make our picture look perfect in the frame.
Even with the most expensive equipment and setup, there will always be alterations necessary on a shoot — and black foil can really be your best friend in those moments.
Use it to:
- Extend your barn doors
- Block off the annoying window ruining your shot
- Quickly make a cookie and add texture to your background
The possibilities are endless… and it’s really quite cheap at just $23.
When you’re first starting out, it’s so easy to just set your camera to Automatic and let it make all the choices for you.
But that’s just a tiny robot in there who knows nothing about your story or characters, making a bunch of important decisions on your behalf.
Do you really want that?
Of course not. But like we said, it’s easy to do — because it doesn’t challenge you.
However, once you start feeling more comfortable with your camera settings and switching into manual mode full-time, you’ll really start to feel like a better storyteller with a much more unique voice.
Really, there are just six main camera settings you need to worry about when you’re shooting manually…
Six? That’s all?
What are you waiting for…
Shooting with a shallow depth of field can look really cool and interesting…
But, like any other storytelling tool, how you use DOF and when you choose to rack focus should be purposeful.
We love the look of a shallow DOF just as much as the next cinefile, but what we remind ourselves of and what we want to remind you of is to be aware of the dangers of using shallow DOF.
What are the dangers of using shallow DOF?…
Ok, we’re not trying to SCARE you into not using shallow DOF… we just want you to remember a few things…
A lot can go wrong with an interview.
A crucial piece of gear was left at the studio…
There’s a construction crew outside…
The talent isn’t opening up about anything…
It’s always an intense shoot with lots of pressure on everyone involved, and if the interview does go wrong, it usually starts going wrong during the process of setting up.
These are Stillmotion’s 11 biggest tips for making sure an interview goes smoothly — and it all centers around the preparation. Giving yourself enough time, communicating with your team efficiently, studying up on your story… these things and more are what make for a relaxed and meaningful interview in the end.
We hope you’ll come back to this list before your next interview, and share any tips of your own here on the blog :)