How To: Use Camera Angles Creatively, Shoot "Bullet Time" Easily, Use Google Earth to Make Awesome Animations, and more...

By David Schonauer   Tuesday March 5, 2019

Are you ready for your close-up?

“No shot has more of a direct impact on how the audience interprets a scene that than the close-up shot (also known as the close shot). How and when you use a close-up shot can have an enormous effect on the emotional weight of a scene,” notes NoFilmSchool, which recently featured a lesson on the proper use of the close-up, along with close-up looks at two other basic camera angles, the medium shot and the wide shot. We include them in today’s roundup of filmmaking tutorials.

You’ll also learn how to shoot “bullet time” the free and easy way, how to use Google Earth with Adobe After Effects to create awesome animations, how to do J-cuts, the five tenets of shooting great B-roll, why you should keep all the footage you shoot (even if you don’t it’s good), tips to help you level up your time lapses, and some basics on depth of field in filmmaking. We've also thrown in some camera tricks that will surprise viewers.

1. How To Use the Close-Up, the Medium Shot, and the Wide Shot Creatively

Unsure of what a close-up shot is? Want read a primer on the use of the close-up? NoFilmSchool explains it all, with examples from films like “Psycho” and “The Shining.” Want to go further? You’ll learn when to use the extreme close-up, ala Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

But wait, there’s more: NFS also has a lesson on the medium shot and the wide shot.

2. Shoot “Bullet Time” the Free and Easy Way

Want to create a “bullet time” shot but don’t have an ultra-expensive camera array or high-speed camera? This 27-second video from independent filmmaker Kris Gids shows how to create the same effect with any video camera.

3. Use Google Earth with Adobe After Effects

We’ve recently seen some awesome animations made using Google Earth imagery. If you would like to create something like that, there’s good news: Google recently introduced Earth Studio, a browser-based animation tool that allows users to create, customize, and share detailed Google Earth animations, notes NoFilmSchool, which shows how it all works.

4. Do One-Step J-Cuts in Premiere Pro

J-cuts, one of the basics used by editors to create seamless transitions between clips, don’t have to be daunting. Here, Nathaniel Dodson of tutvid shows how to do them the traditional way, and the fast way in Premiere Pro.

5. Factors of Depth of Field That You Should Know About

Shallow depths of field are great for interviews and close-ups, allowing your subject to be in focus while the foreground and background blur and swirl with beautiful bokeh, while deep depths of field are useful for landscapes and wide shots. In the video above,  Kellan Reck explains some depth-of-field basics. NoFilmSchool has more on the subject.

6. Get Better Time-Lapse Footage

Here, Christian of The Phlog Photography offers 7 tips to raise the level of your time-lapse footage. Tip number one: Use manual settings for a consistent look. Tip two: use aperture priority for day-to-night time lapses. Tip three: Use an ND filter.

7. Three Simple Tricks To Add Interest to Your Vlogging Long Shots

Vloggers love the long shot: They often walk around for several minutes, holding the camera as they talk. Here, photographer and vlogger Peter McKinnon explains three camera tricks that will make your long shot more interesting. The secret? You need a partner.

8. The 5 Tenets of Capturing Good B-Roll for Your Documentary

When you’re first starting out as a documentary filmmaker, it makes sense to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more, but  as you grow as a documentary filmmaker, you may find yourself being more selective with your footage, notes PremiumBeat, which offers 5 tenets for shooting documentary B-roll.

9. How To Be a Documentary Cinematographer

The documentary cinematographer is a special kind of cinematographer — she or he wears many hats, notes NoFilmSchool, which recently talked with cinematographers David Paul Jacobson of (“Ask Dr. Ruth”) and Kristy Tully (“Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins) about how to grab the most effective b-roll, the perfect kits for the job, and not overstepping boundaries with directors and editors.

10. How to Develop An Idea Into a Finished Documentary

Documentaries are huge now — just look at the offerings on Netflix. If you’re considering making a doc, you might want to start with VideoMaker’s tutorial on how to turn your idea into a finished film. It all begins with two basic, important questions: What is your documentary about? And why do you want to make it?


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