22 elements of Filming Movies for brilliant directors


What key factors for a director to keep in mind while filming Movies. These 22 elements have been carefully taken from the big filmmakers like Rajkumar Hirani and many others around the world.

22 elements of Filming Movies
Source: thebetterindia.com
Behind the scenes of I See You. Courtesy: Charles W. Murphy.

#1. Your way isn’t the only way in filming movies.

Being in a creative field, you need this thinking to be green-lighted all the time that there can be numerous ways to achieve a particular scene or to make the whole film. You should always think about the visuals you wish to achieve and then discuss with the core team like DoP, Production Designer, Editor, Costume Designer, Sound Designer and even to the assistants. Their suggestions can add to new ideas to help in delivering the film project.

Making movies for directors
Source: hindustantimes.com Film: Dunkirk (behind the scenes)
Christopher Nolan does not allow chairs and bottle of waters on the set because they are distractions- the noise of [the bottles], they’re like toys almost, playing around with toys. [The lack of chairs, meanwhile] keeps you on your toes, literally.

In 1931, Debaki Bose directed the film- Apradhi was the first Indian film to use artificial lights. So, before this, the Indian films were made with natural lights and practical lights like home bulbs, etc. In another case, indie filmmakers use gorilla shooting technique, which means shooting on actual conditions without any permissions. They do so due to budget and time constraints while big-budget films shoot on the same location with proper base and permissions from the local authority.

#2. A pathological zeal for an organisation will save you on set.

Your irresistible zeal for filming movies will help you think every minute details about the film. Henceforth making you work beyond departments and cover-up for others work to deliver the film in the best way possible.

This passion travels tangibly to crew members and inspires them for the project and when most of the crew are inspired they give a lot of contribution on set.

#3. Many of your plans will fall through, for one reason or another. Be flexible.

That’s true and it will always happen. You will prepare for days before the shoot date and rework everything from actor dates, costume trials, camera tests, setup prototypes, storyboarding, recce, figuring every logistic possible, but your plan will fall through at some point.

Let’s understand this by an example- On a particular film recce for a desert scene the core team clicked pictures of barren land but when they returned for the shoot the place was occupied by nomads with their large group of livestock. So, the line producer will either find a similar new location or deal with the nomads ASAP. Since the crew has already moved in and production days are being wasted in terms of money and time.

#4. Get out of the way of actors.

filming movies elements
Source: Amazon Prime Film: Gulabo Sitabo

When actors are approaching to the sets, they are in their zone to deliver the performance in front of the camera. They need to concentrate on the part of job they have been hired for because they have done a lot of preparation for the same. So, let them be focused and leave their way.

#5. Your rough cut will suck and that’s okay.

The essential factor to keep in mind while editing a film is, it will gradually move to fineness starting from a sucking initial cut. The thing to notice is, no matter whether you are making a short film or feature-length you have a tremendous amount of footage to go through after the shoot.

Tips of filming movies

For a two hour feature-length film shot on a Red digital camera can have a storage space of 10 Terabytes to 16 Terabytes, which is huge. To edit it is a gradual process which takes up to 4-6 months for an average film. It involves a lots of process like sound mixing, Foley, dubbing, colour grading, etc. in the way to make the film better and release for audience.

#6. Story is everything to your film.

It will never work on a shoot if you have not given enough thought while writing. We’ll see it on the shoot will not save you while filming if you do not have a screenplay for a scene. You should always prepare the story well in terms of giving every scene in your story building blocks to the other scene.

#7. Conflict is everything to your story.

elements of filming for director
Source: Disney movies Film: Up

Conflict gives purpose to your story to move forward while engaging the audience. Like in the film Titanic Jack was poor and Rose was from the rich class. There is a divide of class on the ship. Rose wanted to break the customs that rich are blindly following like sitting properly and wearing custom dresses.

#8. Crew respect directors who listen.

Film sets have a very vibrant atmosphere. The crew works like different parts of a machine to shoot the particular scene dedicated for that day. In this atmosphere, the director is taking the logistics in mind and working with the crew for the betterment of the film. But sometimes the director ends up shouting and terrorising the whole crew which in return demoralise them while filming.

Elements of filming movies
Source: YouTube Film: Singham Returns

Workers prefer more to work on a Rohit Shetty film than other filmmakers due to the way he listens to their issues and treats them by taking care of their basic facilities like food and stay.

#9. Crew respect directors who learn their name.

It is always good for a human being to remember the name of everyone they are surrounded while working. It boosts crews confidence in the director and makes them be more aware while filming movies.

Similarly, Hrithik Roshan has learned since childhood how Rakesh Roshan used to call every worker by their names and hence follows the same.

#10. You can’t just get every shot you want. Priortise.

Sometimes you end losing time over a small shot of a scene, like closing a window while sun rays are falling but you don’t have the desired light. In this case, you can shoot with the actors and ask the lighting department to set up the desired light and then shoot it in break time.

#11. There is never enough money and time.

Film is like a product delivery on a particular date that has been decided. You have to calm down your creative bones at some point and keep moving forward from shoot to post-production and release.

#12. Don’t have to move the camera just because you have tracks on the set.

Making films
Source: Live about

It is always better to understand the gist of the shot and the kind of the feel you want to transfer to the audience. Hence, the camera should move as per the flow in the film.

#13. You should be able to narrate the script without a copy in front.

Director should know the story in detail from every shot to each dialogues. So that he is always able to communicate to any department in order to describe the vision or make actors understand their parts.

Rajkumar Hirani in Bollywood is such a director who is known for narrating the whole script without a copy.

#14. Listen to cast and crew ideas. Use them in an option.

Listening is a great power which very few acquire. You never knew when you are stuck in the middle of a shot where you want your actors to fall with curtains and start making love but curtains are falling with the rod on the actors. An assistant director came up with an idea of not using a curtain rod rather pasting the curtains on the wall with double side tape, see that works.

#15. But watch what great actors can do with a script, so don’t rush the writing or the casting.

Filming movies
Source: Twitter Film: Brahmastra (behind the scenes)

You should always take your time and consideration in place while writing and then casting. Right casting uplifts the whole film and hence you should consider all logistics from every scene to required action from the actor you are casting.

#16. Over-prepare for the filming/shoot day.

You need to check every logistics for the shoot day from actors and crew call sheet delivery to checking each action props for the shoot.

#17. There is nothing more important than the safety of your cast and crew.

Always inspect and take all required safety measures for a built structure to be shot or an intense action sequence to be performed while filming.

#18. Always be willing to teach someone just starting out.

Elements of fiming for directors
Source- Twitter
Steven Spielberg behind the scenes on Empire of the Sun (1987) with Christian Bale

Always remember that you also started somewhere and many peoples have helped you accumulate the knowledge of filmmaking you have today. Spread the knowledge and help others will fill your soul.

#19. Always be willing to learn from someone, who knows more about Films.

No matter what there always be someone who knows more than you and hence learn from them. Ask your queries and confusion and they would definitely help you find answers.

#20. Lose your temper and lose respect.

Do you remember the #8 point. Crew will show they are working quickly by making rapid movements but believe me they are not. Due to your bad temper crew limit their work by only doing the work asked and stop giving their inputs to the project. It is always a both way respect partnership.

#21. Only your obsession will see you through the film.

You will be running out of schedule, some shots have not to be taken the desired way, the lead actor got injured while filming, and many such things can happen. But being a director you should be fully invested in the story to sail through and visualise the whole film time after time.

#22. Storyboard key scenes.

essential elements of filmmaking for a director
Source: Stdio Binder Film- Ali

Keep in mind the visuals of the most effective portions of your film. Now, you need to make the storyboard for the same so that you can communicate with cast and crew about the brief for the same scenes.

It even helps a lot when you are on set filming your scene. It gives you the breakdown of the shots in visual format to follow and achieve the particular scene for a film.

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