Tag Archives: director

“Call it”

It’s your first day as AD (Assistant Director) and everyone is ready to shoot. The director just looks at you and tells you to “call the shot”. What do you do?

“Picture’s Up!” or “Quiet on Set!”

This is your first step. Loudly, without screaming, let everyone know they’re about to go into an actual take. Anytime you hear this on set, stop what you’re doing and get comfortable because you shouldn’t move or make a sound until you hear “cut” and sometimes that can take a while.

“Roll Sound!”

First thing you want to do is get the sound recorder to start recording (On your very own Zoom f6, if you’re in our Associates Program with equipment included*). Why start there? Sound is cheap. It runs on cheaper cards, taking up less space on the drives. Don’t get me wrong – it is not the sound mixer or boom mixer that are cheap, they’re looking at up to $800 a day for their expertise.

Your Sound Mixer will start recording audio and they will let you know by saying: 

“Sound Speeds” or “Sound Rolling”

You will then say:

“Roll Camera!”

Now your Operator will start the camera recording (with your 6k Blackmagic*) and they will let you know by saying: 

“Camera Rolling” or “Camera Speeds”

You’re now getting audio and video recordings so it’s time to capture the slate “clapping” this is used (when you don’t have timecode) to synchronize (sync) the audio and video clips. (Slates are also included in the Associate equipment package*) You will now tell the 2nd AC to:

“Mark it!” 

The 2nd AC will read the pertinent information from the slate so the editor can identify which take it is by listening to the audio.

“Scene 1 Charley, Take 4”

The 2nd AC will clap the slate and clear frame. At this point, on most sets, your job is done. When they are ready the director will finally call: 

“Action!”

This is the basis for every take, but things change on the fly and there’s lots of special circumstances and some different ways to call the shot.

If you’re interested in learning some of these industry specifics and so many other important elements of the filmmaking and media business, consider coming to one of our Open Houses. You will be able to get a feeling for our school, programs, and more!

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5 lessons from Francis Ford Coppola

For Coppola’s 82nd birthday, after almost 60 years of filmmaking, we’ve tried to extract some wisdom.

1) Don’t Give Up


Coppola almost got fired three times while filming The Godfather. But he didn’t quit, delivering a film most consider one of the greatest of all time.

2) Don’t Be Afraid of Change

 “I have seen movies change from devastating to wonderful in my life. And those changes could be made in a day”

In a recent interview to Vulture, Coppola said that when The Godfather Part II was previewed in San Francisco the audience was indifferent. 
That night, he made 121 changes, which is unheard of, because the sound edit was already completed and altering an already mixed movie, with music, is incredibly difficult. 
But three days later they previewed it again in San Diego and the audience reacted completely differently, and this ended up being the edit that we’ve come to love today.

3) Seize Every Opportunity, Even If It Scares You.

After making The Godfather II, Coppola pivoted to a completely different genre with Apocalypse Now and encountered an entirely new set of obstacles. 

“I didn’t know how to shoot helicopter sequences or such large-scale pyrotechnics. Then I had a lot of natural issues to deal with — the weather, the typhoons, and Marty’s heart attack (Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack while on the set of Apocalypse Now. Pushed to physical and emotional limits by Coppola while filming, he also experienced a full mental breakdown.)

4) The Emotion Is What Counts

“I mean any real Italian knows that Vito Corleone would never be called Don Corleone. You would call him Don Vito. I’m Don Francesco, I am not Don Coppola. What came out in Mario (the author of the Godfather book) was a natural understanding he had of the family.”

5) Cast Based On What Your Gut Tells You

Francis Ford Coppola has an eye for talent. He has cast either people who were at the beginning of their careers or total unknowns who went on to become huge stars — James Caan, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Jim Carrey…

His advice is to cast whoever got stuck in your head. 

“Say you go to a party, and you meet several dozen people. There’s always someone the next day that you’re still thinking about, who stuck with you. Obviously, when you’re young, it might be a woman. Or it just might be some old guy who said something. But something sticks, and you don’t know why. That’s how I cast.” 

If you’re passionate about making meaningful content (while supporting yourself financially), Digital Film Academy might be the right place for you. Our goal is to help our students become successful storytellers and we don’t take that goal lightly.  

DFA offers lifetime equipment access to all students and graduates that qualify. We give you all the training, and the tools for you to put your best ideas out there. You will learn the ways to successfully navigate the business side of the industry so you don’t get lost in the sea of idealistic artists. 

If you want to learn more about our programs, classes and schedules, sign up for one of our Online Open Houses, we would love to have you there.

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DFA Blog

NSFW: Production of the Series ‘Future Sex’

One of our former students was a producer on all four episodes of the anthology ‘Future Sex’. Stephan Zlotescu was featured as a producer on the hit series Future Sex by French digital-media startup Blackpills.

Featuring stand-alone dramas — incisive, exciting, futuristic stories that explore techno-sexual interactions in the future — “Future Sex” is a forward-looking anthology with stories that tap into the collective unknown about sex in the future. Each story features its own cast of unique characters exploring what’s to become of mankind’s most favorite ritual.

Why the DFA Open House is a Must-See!

You know the regular school open house drill: sit in a chair with some strangers, hear a few words from a professor about what you would do in his class, maybe hear some success stories about former students…

But the Digital Film Academy Open House is no regular open house.

The DFA is all about getting students working in film – and their open house on Saturday, March 8th from 3-5pm in NYC is no different.

At this totally free event, attendees won’t just get to see the facilities and network with current/former students and professors. They’ll also take part in three hands-on demonstrations:

Directing

Directing Demo: Ever dreamed of commanding your own set as a director? Taught by Patrick DiRenna, the President of the DFA, this directing crash course gives attendees the “magic formula to create the perfect shot.” Guests will learn how to set up two different, dramatic SteadyCam shots and will also be taught the primary functions of a director.

ADR

ADR (Additional Dialog Recording) Demo: Imagine this: you’ve yelled “Cut!,” you’re bursting with excitement over what you filmed, and you get into editing – only to discover that the sound is a garbled mess. Something went wrong – so now, is your project dead?

Absolutely not, because you can replace that original dialog – if you know what you’re doing! Guy Mor, the DFA Director of Operations and an audio wizard, will show you how to both replace bad audio and record audio for animation… the best part? Attendees can take part in a fun exercise, re-recording audio for famous movie lines such as “Hasta la vista, baby” – and enjoy the results.

Media composer

Avid Media Composer Demo: Two things are hot right now in the world of film: Avid Media Composer, the most widely-used non-linear editing program for professional film, and the Red camera. (In fact, most DFA grads report being able to easily find work after graduation thanks to their continued free access to the expensive Red camera through the DFA membership program.) In this demo, DFA Equipment/Facilities manager Corey Christian works with both, showing how to load footage from the Red camera into Avid Media Composer and use the software to create a perfect final image.

If you’ve ever considered a career in film, what are you waiting for? Come to the DFA Open House to make connections, learn tricks of the trade, and see if you’re ready to take the next step to “monetize your media!”

RSVP today at DFA Open House.

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain

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