This is quite popular. It’s a two-year degree that includes film and television production, video production, and the art of storytelling. We train over 600 students each year to produce high-quality, professional-looking content, including web-based storytelling, podcasts, and original short films.
Why is this important?
A film is a series of short pieces filmed by one or two people, often in a particular location. Those scenes are then edited, and the result is your story. In short, a film is like many other short films that are made by independent filmmakers (no financial support or financial incentives are involved in the making of a documentary). It’s often the first step toward becoming a documentary filmmaker.
But are there any pitfalls?
Yes, but they’re relatively minor!
Here are a few of the biggest mistakes that aspiring documentaries make:
1. The camera doesn’t move much.
Most film students who embark on this journey, at some point, learn the hard way that moving a camera around is a surefire way to make a mess of a film. With your camera resting on a tripod, you can’t adjust the image with the lens (unless you’re using a pan/tilt head—that’s not the same thing!), and it will constantly pull out of focus when you move from one place to another.
2. The lighting technique is a work in progress.
One thing I’ve found helpful over the years has been using a handheld torch. I find this works best for shooting from a distance and the same with a handheld flash. My torch doesn’t allow me to use wide angle lenses, so I have to use my camera much further away to get the same results. This, of course, puts a big burden on the camera, and it takes way longer to set up (I usually set up the torch first, and use a quick flash on a tripod to get the light into a very specific spot—usually at a distance of about 30 to 50 feet so that it will focus on a point on the ground). I also end up taking more time with the tripod and focusing. I’d like to work on this, but I’m not sure how yet. It takes time to figure out.
3. Your camera doesn’t have good zoom lenses
There’s no shortage of budget zooms. There is a bit of an expectation that the camera will allow one to zoom in and out without messing up the image