We’ve all enjoyed films before. From heart-wrenching romances to action-packed stunt sequences to beautifully crafted stories. But how often do we consider the full extent of the efforts put into making these stories come to life? Why do these movies have such huge budgets? How many people does it even take to make a movie? What are all the components of a great movie? These are just some of the questions that the students of CMRNPUC had answered in the well informed and eye-opening workshop on filmmaking by Prof.Farooq Ahmed on 24th August 2020.
Before we were introduced to the more technical aspects of filmmaking, He broke down some of the fundamentals of the film: it’s the importance and a brief history of the visual art in India. This included the discussion of the first Indian film, ‘Raja Harishchandra’ (1913). A silent movie directed by Dadasaheb Phalke that utilized the now estranged intertitles in the languages English, Marathi, and Hindi. He further explored various styles of the film: Narrative, Documentary, and Parallel Cinema. Narrative films could consecutively be divided based on multiple genres.
With the basics set, Prof. Ahmed gave us a glance into the technicalities of cinema deconstructed into three main parts:
- Production and
Pre-Production is the segue from captivating storytelling to captivating visual storytelling. The classic ways to tell a story, he explained, followed this simple story formula:
The story centers around a hero who is faced with a difficult adventure or problem. He/she is trying to accomplish something and then eventually, he/she overcomes the adversity he/she was facing.
A conventional method of story construction that many stick to, while others attempt to strike their path. By analyzing the differences between two visual storytelling styles, silent films, and films with dialogues, he brings us to the next aspect of pre-production: Screenwriting.
Giving us insight into the process through a small participatory activity, we are then introduced to the next steps including creating a storyboard that is a shot by the shot layout of what the film will look like on-screen. Followed by budgeting, location hunt, and hiring of the cast and crew.
The Next stop on the movie-making journey is Production! This is when the film is shot and the stage where the actors are involved. Shooting a scene, however, isn’t a black and white endeavor (pun intended). Contrary to how it may seem due to the widespread popularity of actors, they are not the most important part of the creation of a film.
The cast and crew include the director who runs the whole thing, the producer financing the project, side actors, editors, sound engineers, cinematographers, assistants for lighting and sound, make-up artists, set designers, costume designers and so many more! The successful completion of a film relies on the combined effort of all these individuals.
This stage of the making of the film involves the actors along with those operating the camera, lighting, and sound.
How a shot is captured can add a lot to the story. Cinematographers harbor a repository of different style shots and camera angles often integral to capturing the essence of the moment in the best manner possible. Including but not limited to:
- The Extreme Long Shot (ELS)
- The Long shot (LS)
- The Medium shot (MS)
- Close up (CU) and
- Extreme Close Up
- High Angle
- Low Angle
And the intriguing Dutch angle featuring a slight tilt of the x-axis to create a disruptive or abnormal feel to the scene.
The final stage with arguably the most movie magic is Post-Production. In this stage the scene VFX specialists color grade and edit individual scenes while sound engineers mix the audio and tracks with the dialogues dubbed by actors. The individual products are then stitched together by the editor to create the stunning final product. This process takes months and sometimes years and it has come a long way from linear editing by professionals. Now numerous software exists that can assist them in their nuanced endeavors of crafting realistic visual experiences.
Once the film is complete, it is distributed. Usually to theatres across the globe. However, now, more popularly, they are released on streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hot star, etc.
Now you know why there are so many names in the rolling
Sayanth Shajith (I PUC)