Fresh from delivering his recent project, Give This Heart a Pen, director, writer and photographer Jolade Olusanya shares his top tips for delivering on your creative vision as a single-cam filmmaker.
“Get out there and experiment with your style to find what works for you. Ask yourself lots of questions to find out what you want the end film to look like. For example, do you want something with a natural finish, or will you rely heavily on postproduction? What emotions do you want to provoke? Do you want your audience to be connected to your subject or estranged? It’s important to ask yourself these questions when you’re in the storyboarding phase.
“When it comes to defining your creative approach, I’d recommend following creatives that inspire you. Ask what it is you feel when you’re watching their work, and then try to mirror and parallel this in your own. You’ll quickly learn what works for you and what doesn’t! Emulating some of my favourite creatives is what helped me define my ‘fly-on-the-wall’ filming style, which I like to define as creating films that are as natural to the human eye as possible.
“Once you have you have a good idea of where you want to take a production creatively, the decision about what kit to choose is next and vital to executing your chosen creative style.”
Consistency is key
“To immerse viewers in your vision, the way you tell your story through film must be consistent. I’m personally a very hands-on filmmaker who likes to move around a lot when I’m shooting. Keeping this consistency can get challenging if I’m wanting to change angles or lens without completely disrupting the flow.
“To make things as smooth as possible, I’d choose a smaller camera that allows you to be agile and versatile. For example, for my latest project I used the EOS C70 – Canon’s latest addition to its cinema line-up. I chose it because it’s small and lightweight and allowed me to move freely with the subject without a tripod – enabling me to shoot in an inconspicuous style. As it has a RF Mount I could also use it with the range of RF lenses – a game changer when it comes to achieving different styles in top quality.”
Keep your kitbag light and tight (your back will thank you later on!)
“As a ‘one-man band’ production house it can be exhausting carrying around heavy filming equipment, so you want to shoot with something that’s lightweight and small that can be easily placed in a bag. You also want a camera with an excellent battery life – as every dead battery is unneeded weight. What’s more, if you have a camera where you don’t need a tripod – that’s one less thing to carry around! Because the EOS C70 ticks all those boxes it’s my new go to camera when shooting solo. The RF lenses also fit nice and neat in my kit bag too – a win win!
“Without kit weighing you down, you can truly focus on the project in hand and pushing your creative boundaries. The wrong kit choice could set you up for a stressful and tiring day – the right choice can free you up for a day of creative thinking and filming experimentation.”
“If you’re working with subjects you don’t know it can be tricky to get your subject to act natural on camera when you’re carrying big, bulky equipment, especially without a wider team to offer counsel and direct.
“To create something authentic to your vision, try to get to know your subject prior to shooting to help them feel comfortable and at ease with you. Small, less imposing kit is also key to easing subjects’ nerves – it has done wonders for my ‘fly on the wall’ style.”
Use your skill to amplify others’ voices
“The root of all great video content is a great story. I consider myself as a storyteller and feel privileged that I can amplify my subjects’ voices through the films that I make. I choose the stories I want to project into the universe wisely, as each one is important to me, and I’d encourage that of all filmmakers starting out. I often share my content across social media because it is a place where you can learn a lot about different cultures and interests. It’s clear storytelling is on the rise on social media – and another apt feature of Canon’s EOS C70 is it’s vertical shooting mode, this is a great benefit to those shooting and uploading directly to social media platforms.”
Location, location, location
“Video makes the world more accessible. It can transport you to places you’ve never been and introduce you to cultures you’ve never experienced. But this doesn’t mean that you need to take a flight to the far corner on the other side of the world, interesting places are everywhere and in these current times use your creativity to show the beauty of areas on your doorstep.”
This is an opinion piece by director, writer and photographer Jolade Olusanya.
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