Blocking Operation and Control

Hugo Chinchilla Holding olympus

Summary

In this project we created a quick film of a conversation. This film’s purpose was to practice blocking skills and use a multi-cam to create a minute of a normal conversation. There was also an opportunity to use J and L cuts to create a cleaner, less choppy feel. We filmed on the first day which gave us tons of extra time to edit and upload. As well as to work on our blog post.

Terms and Concepts

Notes:

  • Every film is divided into five parts;
  • Block, Light, Rehearse, Adjustments, and Shoot…
  • You need to have a shot list to help you with blocking process
  • You need to let the actors show you what they want to do first
  • Where the camera is placed is determined on what’s important in the scene
  • Blocking may take a while to finally work
  • Blocking is usually overlooked by actors
  • Learning the basics of blocking is essential
  • Stage areas include up right, up center, up left, down right, down center, and down left
  • Directors job is to make sure the blocking works for the scene
  • Actors job is to have a good idea of what the character would do in the scene

Five Stages In Blocking

  1. Block – determining where the actors will be on the set and the first camera position
  2. Light – time for the DOP to light the set and position the camera for the first shot
  3. Rehearse – camera rehearsal of the first set-up with the actors and crew (practice).
  4. Adjustments – changes- making lighting and other adjustments
  5. Shoot – video scenes- shooting the first scene (then repeat the process)
  • Having a shot list will help you during the blocking process. The shot list is like a map: it gives you a path to your destination but you don’t always have to follow it
  •  Let the actors show you what they want to do first, then, when you make a suggestion, it is based on something you have already seen
  •  Where the camera is placed is determined primarily by what is important in the scene.
  • Blocking is like a puzzle: directors need to keep working at it until the whole scene works.
  • In Television and low budget films, speed is essential, story and block some scenes so that your action takes place in one direction (to avoid turning the camera around for reverses.)

In summary, first you determine the blocking in the scene. Then you make sure the lighting is right. After that you rehearse and make sure the cameras are in place. Then you make a other needed adjustments and lastly you shoot.

Links:

Timeline

  • Day One: be filmed, film a team
  • Day Two: upload and begin editing
  • Day Three: finish editing and upload
  • Day Four: work on blog post
  • Day Five: finish post
  • Day Six: publish blog post

Project Skills Evidence

Alaina 8’s blog post
Alaina 8’s blog post

 

Alaina 8’s blog post

In this conversation we chose to have Alaina be the center of most of the blocking. As you can see this was a choice of power motive. We wanted Alaina to kind of lead the conversation, take control. Hannah’s blocking was definitely weaker, she popped in and out and placed her input only in certain places. My blocking was a little more than Hannah’s but not quite Alaina’s power. Alaina had a strong posture, showing she was in power. She also faced the camera, where Hannah and I were angled towards Alaina. We chose to have Hannah more measly with her arms crossed and posture not as strong. My hands were in my pockets showing I was not as powerful. We made choices in the blocking to create a more apparent power difference.

What I Learned

Blocking is a very important piece of film making. It is the actors job to know their character and have ideas for where to move, and the directors job is to help the actors movement relate to the camera. That’s what blocking is. Where the camera is placed is also blocking, it determines what is important in the specific scene. I ran into a few problems working with the multi-cam with the audio but after a few tries I got it synced. I also learned how to do J and L cuts in the editing which made the conversation a bit less choppy.

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