Tag Archives: film 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: 


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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Helpful Tips For First-Time Filmmakers

helpful film tips

When you start to learn about filmmaking, it’s best to keep things simple and stick to the fundamentals.  You might be using a video camera, a smartphone, or an advanced DSLR camera.  Before you start, make sure your video camera is ready, with a fully charged battery, and enough free space on the internal hard drive, or a few memory cards.

  1. Prepare to film many separate shots: Limit camera movement around a scene and try to not follow action. Film a series of separate shots that can be edited later in post-production.
  2. Keep the camera steady: Support the camera with a tripod, camera gimbal stabilizer, or by resting the camera on a surface, such as a table, wall, shelf, pillow, or chair.
  3. Take backup shots: It’s always smart to take multiple backup shots of different scenes
  4. Move around: Don’t film only at eye level or waist level. Move around and film shots from different places. Try from above, below, and from different positions around the subject.
  5. Don’t use zoom: It is best to stay all the way zoomed out, video camera shaking will be less apparent, and sound will generally record better and be clearer.
  6. Frame shots carefully: Stay focused on the background and edges of the shot and keep the camera level
  7. Get close to the action: Use lots of close-up shots to bring attention to important details, consider using a macro lens for close-ups.
  8. Think about lighting: Film where this is a lot of light but not much contrast, film with the light behind you.
  9. Take control of your camera: Do not only rely on autofocus and auto exposure, learn how to set exposure and focus manually.
  10. Think about sound quality and holding the shots in place: When using an internal microphone get very close to the subject being filmed, also film shots for a few seconds longer than you need. Hold the shot for about 10 seconds for a non-action shot and hold the shot 5 seconds before or after any speech or action.

Are you interested in a promising career in film? Want to learn more?

Consider observing a class at our leading film school in New York, NY.

Digital Film Academy was founded by film producer and director Patrick DiRenna on September 10, 2001 in the historic Film Center building in New York City. While making his first feature film Train of Illusion in 1991, DiRenna realized that he was at the mercy of others who did not share his same passion and drive about his project. This realization echoed throughout his career, and as technology advanced and the reliance on film lessened, DiRenna foresaw digital media as the future for independent filmmakers while other academic institutions still focused on film.

Wanting to create an all-digital media school offering tools to filmmakers not available at any other school, Digital Film Academy was born! In addition to state-of-the-art instruction in digital filmmaking, filmmakers receive a production membership to the academy’s facility upon graduation. This unique combination of instruction and access to the facility enables filmmakers to become independent and start working in the growing industry without having to invest thousands of dollars into equipment.

The demand for such a program was noted as our school grew and established an excellent reputation in the community and abroad over the years. At that time, Digital Film Academy offered a part-time, hands-on program where students would write, produce, direct, and edit their short film.

In 2008, the academy further flourished under the leadership of Elena Primost, former Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs, who expanded the academy’s curriculum to full-time beginner and advanced conservatory programs and led the academy to national accreditation in 2011.

Digital Film Academy continues to be innovative and strive to exceed the needs of filmmakers. With our program, you are provided with the skills, the tools, and the support that you need to be truly independent.

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