Film-maker, film-maker make me a film – by Ian Parnell

With the increasing quality of budget video cameras and free editing software included with many laptops there is a perception nowadays that film-making is a simple process open to everyone. But lets be honest about this when you shortcut the systems you usually shortcut the results.

Monday, February 12th, 2018

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Ian Parnell, LWimages Studio Creative Director, explains our recipe for a successful video production.

With the increasing quality of budget video cameras and free editing software included with many laptops there is a perception nowadays that film-making is a simple process open to everyone. To some extent it’s true – you can now film, edit and upload straight from your phone. But lets be honest about this when you shortcut the systems you usually shortcut the results. In certain rare circumstances the authenticity of this kind of approach can be a strength, however most of what gets uploaded in this rapid-fire way to Youtube or Vimeo is pretty shoddy. Part of the issue is not really the level of technology but the perception that making a film is all about those minutes holding your camera up to your eye. What gets overlooked are all the other equally important steps behind the making of a successful film. We like to think of the art of making a good film is like that of a master baker making a cake. After years of experience it looks easy – a quick stir of the ingredients and then bang it in the oven but there is a lot more happening behind the scenes.

Recipe

No project just starts in a void – the plan or you could say the recipe has to be carefully considered first. At LWimages that often comes in the form of a brief from a client – perhaps defining the role of the film – say the launch of a new product or the showcasing of a particular event. We put a lot of importance on this first stage of the process, with a lot of discussion to fine tune concepts and ensure we fully understand the client’s ethos and aspirations for the film. Miss something off the recipe and your cake can quickly go badly wrong.

Ingredients

The finer the quality of your ingredients the finer the taste. Each of those ingredients needs to be carefully considered whether it is actors and models, specific lighting equipment or venue choice.

Preparation

Long before we pick up a camera the film takes shape and character through a thorough story development process. Scripts are fine tuned with the client, and our producer methodically checks each stage of the forthcoming film shoot. It’s an exciting and creative time and working with the client we are always looking for that added zest to make each film standout.

Making

Actual filming hours are often severely limited by the time constraints of actors, venues and the vagaries of the weather. As a result a good production crew will know how to make the most of every minute on set. Of course this only works if you’ve put the effort into the script, equipment-choice, venue scouting, shot list etc. of the previous steps.

• Into the oven

If there was any film-making analogy to the heat of the oven it would be the intensities of the editing studio. Much, much harder than it looks the dark arts of editing can take years to master. The primacy of the story, pacing, flow, transitions, grading and quality control – the list of editing requirements can seem endless but each element most be properly considered.

• Tasting

Like all good chefs, whose reputation is built on the quality of each individual thing they produce, this is a key moment. We build pre-release screenings and a full review process into all our work. After all the hard work ‘the proof of a pudding is in the eating’.