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Steps in Film Production

Steps in Production
Written by Nwachukwu_nelly

On our last post on the process of film making we shared 9 Pre production Steps to Consider in Filmmaking, in this post we will be discussing about steps in Production, this steps will help any film maker to have a stress- free production.

But first I strongly advice you read my post on pre-preproduction then you will understand the role it play in the process of making movie and how it links to the second phase of film making which is production.

ALSO READ…Film Career; The Producer As a Career.

Don’t forget we have got three main phase of film production which are

  • Pre-production
  • Production
  • Post production.

Understanding Production

Production is one of the main phase of film-making that includes shooting of the footage.

It usually lasts about 1 month for smaller films and up to a few months or even years for larger films.

Production stage includes preparing the set and rehearsing and filming each scene.

In Production there are five major steps for easy and effective film production.

But first let me introduce you to a French term ‘Mise-en scene.

Mise-en scene

This literally means putting into the scene” it describe the aspects of directing that take place during shooting.

Having the knowledge of what Mise-en scene is, let’s look at the five steps in production or better still the five part of shooting sequence in Production.

Blocking

Blocking means planning the positions of

  • Actors in relation to each other, (know how close, far, above below etc. to each other)

Ps: Block with the actors before blocking the camera – let the actors show their version first.

  • Action in relation to set or location
  • Camera placement in relation to actors and special set features (close, far, high, low, etc.)


Remember blocking is a step in production that means planning positions it helps the crew involve (especially the DP) to understand and plan the position, movement of actors, camera in relation to others.

Light and Camera Set-Up

The second step involve the setting up of the light and camera.
Director of Photography and crew, lights the set and positions the camera(s).


In Preparing the Camera, Here are what to check out.
  • Film stock and processing, or color settings (video)
  • Choice of lens
  • Composition (depth, perspective, treatment of space)
  • Movements
  • Coverage for editing
  • Image design Use of color
  • Lighting mood, and treatment of place and time of day
  • Frame design in terms of the scene’s dramatic functions Dramatic content
  • Rhythms (action and visual)
  • Point of view (whose consciousness the audience should identify with)
  • Motifs or leitmotifs Visual or aural metaphors
  • Foreshadowing
All this must be planned in practical rather than intellectual terms. You will have to make an overall mise-en-scène design for the whole script, and thereafter fit each scene into the intentions of the larger structure. Develop clear ideas about what options exist and how you will discuss them with the director of photography (DP) and sound crew. The DP is the most important collaborator during the shoot.

Rehearsals

This is about the practice between the camera, sound and actors.

The director must be aware of many people’s work simultaneously. A supportive, enthusiastic cast and crew will endure and triumph together, but under the best of conditions, work will be stressful.

It’s a period of high concentration as everyone tries to do their best work. For the crew and cast it is of unremitting pursuit of perfection shot through with occasional euphoria or despair.

DRESS REHEARSAL or DRY RUN.

In this rehearsal, actors have to be in costume and makeup, it’s a full rehearsal but without running the camera.

  • The dry run helps internalize what they must think and do to make their lines and action coincide with the precise needs of the camera, its movements, and attendant lighting.
  • Any problems with costumes will show up and can be fixed.
At this time, the members of the sound crew are checking their sound coverage and rehearsing what they must do to get on-mike sound without casting shadows or making any movement noise.
  • The script supervisor will take a timing of this scene as a benchmark for other shots to follow. Everything should now be in order, and everyone is set to roll camera..
  • With the footage shot of rehearsals you will already have a good sense of the coverage you want and the optimal camera positions for the main shooting. After this the director and Director of Photography have to take a final decision of the production of the film.

Adjustment stage

This is when all the technical adjustments are finalized just before you roll.

This step compliment the step above, it is the final process of rehearsal before you roll. Every equipment needs to be in proper order, sound, light, camera all needs to be set and ready for shooting.

Actors should be set also, at this point actor should have internalize all they need to triumph and become the best, its not time to start looking at script.

At this step, the script supervisor makes a last check to see that actors are correctly costumed, that the right props are at hand, and that nothing has been forgotten or misplaced on the set.


The assistant director (AD) marshals everyone to their starting positions, ensures that doors and windows are closed to seal out exterior sounds, and calls for silence on the set.

There is a last hair and makeup check, and the director of photography (DP) confirms that all lights are on. If you are using a film camera, the assistant camera (AC) has inspected the film gate for debris, something that must be done regularly and without fail.

Main Coverage

This is the last step, at this step you start Shooting, Director should look for both performance and technical – your notes should come after the first take.

  • Authorial intentions: During shooting make sure you are fulfilling the intention of the script writer.
  • Dramatic clarity: The sign of effective performances is that, standing by the camera, you spontaneously feel what the audience is going to feel. When it’s real, it takes you over. If you are searching for what you expect, something is missing, and you must take action.

Directing film actors means getting clear detail from both their interior and exterior lives. You watch like a hawk to see that your cast maintains the detail and clarity of performance you expect.

During shooting, the script (or continuity) supervisor works hardest and longest of anyone.

Its important that the director, the script supervisor knows how a scene should be covered—then, after shooting, how it was actually covered and can be edited

THE PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT TEAM (Behind the Lines)

  • Executive Producer (“he who pays, has the says”)
  • Line Producer (responsible for the budget)
  • Producers (writers)
  • Co-Producer (executives/post-production supervisors)
  • Associate Producers (AD’s/Writers/PM’s – part of deal)
  • Production Manager/UPM (crew, equipment, budget)
  • Production Accountant (budget)
  • Director’s Assistant (not the Assistant Director!)
  • Production Coordinator (office/travel)
  • Script Coordinator (inputs re-writes on the script)

Conclusion

Every Movie production comes with its own challenges and stress, but if you get to understand the principles that guides easy and fun production you will make success. This post will definitely help you in film production and making the process enjoyable for you, crew members and cast.


I encourage you to leave a comment and also do well to follow me for suggestions, contributions or Questions.

Do well to see related posts also in Film Production.

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