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Shooting inspiration and ideas


Andrew Reid
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This is the place to gather ideas for shooting.

Gain inspiration here to go out and use all this great gear we have, and don't forget to post your results.

General discussion of the filmmaking world is also allowed here - favourite directors, writers, etc.

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Sadly, I get most of my shooting ideas from used lenses/equipment I find at Goodwill on work breaks.  If you have a "thrift" store nearby, or flea-market, take a quick tour.  It's all about timing.  If you find a lens, you can buy a $20 adapter and shoot with most any camera covered on EOSHD.  Here are some of my finds over the past year.  Nikon D80 and 18-105 VR zoom $17 (yep, I kid you not), Sekonic Spot Flash meter (first version, good enough for me!) $5, Vivatar 28mm lens $7, a few 50mms, around $10 each, various zooms, same price.  A set of 4 Topcors for $95.  Tripods for about $5 each.  Various lights $5 to $10.  

Once I have a new/old anything I go out and shoot something with it--a fire hydrant or any family member I can trap :)  

Also, there are always very interesting people milling around thrift stores.  I'm not a street shooter, but if I was, lots of material there.  

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I don't drink coffee. What on earth am I supposed to film now? :P

In all honesty though, that's really a great place to start, just filming a routine. Maybe you get a new lens or a new camera and you want to just get something for the sake of testing. Filming yourself (or someone else) making coffee is a great way to get different shots/angles, different lighting situations etc to check out how something holds up... or just to familiarize with operating. Added bonus is of course that at the same time it gets you to work on your cuts/edits.

You can also theme your shoots. I believe lately I've spotted some themes in Andrew's shared review footage. Like putting focus on reflections (puddles, windows, etc)... making it a recurring theme during the video or in a similar way putting focus on people using their hands. You could also use a color or just anything really. It breaks 'the random' of seemingly random footage.

A great tip from Dave Dugdale I've come across recently: find someone in your life who's interesting/does something interesting and ask them if they'd be up for an interview, then just sit down with them and see where it goes.

You probably have a favourite movie, try to shoot something and end up with the same look. You can even try to make an exact copy of a certain scene.

Enter a contest. If you need a little bit of a push, there's like Film Riot's Monday Challenge that reoccurs from time to time. You get an assignment, so you don't have to come up with the whole idea yourself. You do have to digg a bit in that creative mind of yours to come up with something unique of course. Sometimes it's all about participating and perhaps getting the honor of winning and getting your name mentioned, sometimes there's actually an incentive, like some gear you can win, so you've got a bit of pressure to do well, if that's just the thing you need.

There's a bunch of stuff one can do.

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I like to consume as many different mediums as possible. Lately I've been more inspired by comics. Daniel Clowes and Charles Burns blow me away and really make me want to tell stories. Recently I read The Squirrel Machine by Hans Rickheit, which is great example of visual storytelling. There's hardly any dialogue in it at all. It's almost entirely visual.

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A great idea shot on an iPhone will be a far better viewing experience than a mediocre idea shot on an Arri Alexa.

Ideas, ideas, ideas.... if I don't have an interesting idea, I don't shoot. These ideas come from everywhere - music, film, locations, experiences, personalities.... all moulded into one. These influences come WAY WAY before any camera gear choices. It makes for much more compelling and entertaining content in the long run. 

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A great idea shot on an iPhone will be a far better viewing experience than a mediocre idea shot on an Arri Alexa.

Ideas, ideas, ideas.... if I don't have an interesting idea, I don't shoot. These ideas come from everywhere - music, film, locations, experiences, personalities.... all moulded into one. These influences come WAY WAY before any camera gear choices. It makes for much more compelling and entertaining content in the long run. 

​ABSOLUTELY. Ideas or nothing.

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That's nice and everything, but 'this is the place to gather ideas'. I'm not sure telling people looking for an idea to just 'come up with one already' helps them. Atleast give 'em a push in the right direction. Some general idea. Maybe they just need to get some momentum initially and then take it from there themselves.

I'd rather say 'go on and shoot something; anything really!', than 'well, then just do nothing'.

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This thread is interesting in raising the question of how and why are people creative. Can it be learnt or is it something one is born with? Personally I think only craft can be taught or nurtured with effort and discipline, while  art comes from a mysterious inner place. Many great artists fail because they can't master the craft to express themselves, and many great craftsman have nothing to say despite ability to express someone else's visions beautifully. Wally Pfister comes to mind...his "Transcendence" was a chance to step out of Nolan's shadow and be his own artist, but even with a budget and Johnny Depp as a star he had little to communicate in his film, despite incredible ability to express ideas as a DOP. 

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This is a funny one, is called "KITCHEN STORIES"

Swedish efficiency researchers come to Norway for a study of Norwegian men, to optimize their use of their kitchen. Folke Nilsson is assigned to study the habits of Isak Bjørvik.

By the rules of the research institute, Folke has to sit on an umpire's chair in Isak's kitchen and observe him from there, but never talk to him. Isak stops using his kitchen and observes Folke through a hole in the ceiling instead. However, the two lonely men slowly overcome the initial post-war Norwegian-Swede distrust and become friends.

 

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Shot a short horror film early december that I wrote. Shot it with a BMPCC, speedbooster, Sigma 18-35mm a Benro monopod (used it as a stabilizer) and one IKAN IB500 LED light. I'm still learning how to best work with RAW files and how to color footage without expensive software (I'm poor :( ) So I did my coloring in After Effects using the CAMERA RAW feature for this clip I sent out to the "crew" to make them excited and feel somewhat rewarded cause I couldn't pay them. 

 


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  • 4 weeks later...

I should go through the past responses when i can, looks like good stuff :)

i've recently (well a few years now) been insanely inspired by all of John Cassavetes's films. They feel so real because of his directing style where the actor has so much wiggle room to just be in that situation instead of reciting memorized lines. But it's really inspired me in my screenwriting to write more in the way people actually sound.

That's only one reason he's my favorite director. Writing directing and acting are things that can take a backseat sometimes with this "amateur" work, but i hope we're all making films about things we care about, with each shot having a purpose (at least for narratives). Let's make films, not just a series of demo reels that look pretty. Good luck, filmmaking brothers and sisters!

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