Course report: Video Techniques & Expression

Story and photo: Sabrina Seidl
Upcoming next: Autumn holidays - but not for all of us. Some found the motivation to participate the intensive course 'Video Techniques & Expression' which took place from the 18th to the 22nd of October.

5 days + 1 script + 18 motivated students + funny ideas + loads of equipment = great time with the result of 3 awesome movies!

Monday morning, school is empty, people are tired, but we are attending the intensive Video Techniques and Expression course. To be honest, our lecturer, Mikko Uimonen, didn't have an easy task with us in the morning, cause it seemed as we all had some starting problems. We were barely interacting with him, but after some interesting facts he told us about the movie making and after he showed us some good scenes from different movies to explain the video techniques, we finally started to warm up. We got interested and emphasised about the upcoming task and the use of all the professional equipment. We carried, unpacked, put up, changed, inspected and analyzed the camera and lights.

Tuesday morning learning about screen writing with Carita Forsgren on the basis of the fairy tale 'Snow White' instead of boring paper stuff was on the schedule. Did you know that all the characters of Snow White follow a specific role and that every story has actually the same or similar gradient? Maybe some of us did know it, others might have assumed it and for some it was a total new insight. However, now none of us is looking the same way at movies anymore as we did before. After we got our basics in screen writing, we started working with all the equipment and functions again to get prepared for our main task.

Divided into three groups, we started our preparation, putting up the light, making loads of sequences of our scenes, trying out the optimal positioning of the actors, the camera, light, microphone and all the other stuff you need for making a movie. Once we had everything filmed, we went to cut our video to make sure the material is fine, or if we need to change light, if the sound is good enough, if the actors were action appropriate and the most important thing, if we can cut the separate pieces into a good movie.

After discussing within the team and some advices from out teacher, we started all over again and the serious work began. It was time to act professional and to actually think before acting!

Recording a scene for 20 times, needs a lot of patience, but it is not to avoid, if you want to make a scene with showing different camera angles and to highlight expressions and movements from the actors.

When we had everything as planned, we went back again to the cutting, to make the video run smoothly, showing the actors from different angles, letting the camera tell a story, and of course, rising the viewers attention by using some sound.

Sharply at 3pm on Friday afternoon, all three groups were done with their task and ready to present the produced video to our fellow students and to watch the videos of the other groups.

It was interesting to see how different the results were, though we all were working with the same script. According to this short movies we could see, that the way you are recording and the way, you put all the tiny pieces together, makes a big difference in the film production. You are leading the thoughts of the viewer and you are the one deciding, how much the viewer should know at what stage.

At the end, we discussed about our experiences we gained during our filming and which problems we had to fight. Mikko gave us feedback on our movies and our approach of filming and cutting. His feedback was highly positive with constructive criticism and we all were happy that we finished our movies but probably not entirely satisfied with the results our short films, but who ever is?!

Here and example of the produced movies

Video Techniques & Expression was a course for first year IMPs (Media Programme students) and exchange students.