Last week I took a one-in-a-million chance to film in the most incredible light and color of the year. I had the camera and the willingness, but no subject matter, no script, and no props. Still, there was no way I’d let this opportunity pass me by. If there was nothing to film I’d create something to film.
I spotted the glorious sun setting beyond the lake, sending a shimmering golden glaze over the water and the greenery. There was a winding road in front of it all and that made the perfect scene. There were persons meandering about, just enough to cause a distraction while shooting, but not so many that they’d become curious throng of onlookers ruining my shot.
The only “actor” I could find had to be coerced into action, and the only prop was a Bible that I borrowed on the spot. For this film, I had the “actor” walk toward me, embrace the Bible, pause, and walk away. We did this four or five times. I got three or four closeups of the embraced Bible and the skirt, and that was it.
I found an easy way to deter bystanders from ruining my shots: I just stop what I’m doing until they leave. I’ve found them to get embarrassed and exit when they hear me tell the actor “I’m going to wait until the people pass by”.
So, with my footage, I loaded it into Final Cut Express, as usual. Output a QuickTime file and uploaded it to YouTube for you to see.
It’s here that I want to underscore the need to be prepared at any time to film. In order for the beginner filmmaker to grow in his craft—any level filmmaker, for that matter—you have to film. To film frequently. Take chances and make mistakes. It’s this kind of practice that will lead to experience.
Pack your gear and walk with it. Be prepared. Learn how to use your gear well so that you make the best of the situation and get the best footage.
I’m looking forward to more opportunities like this as the summertime weather approaches. And, of course, I’ll keep you abreast.