“Film or video is a means of communication like language, and like language it also has a structure – or grammar – which makes it work”​

I attended a class at The Yurt Academy a couple of months ago, on how to make a watchable video, and here are a few key things that I learnt:

Pre-production –Preparation

the more thinking that goes in at this stage, the easier the filming will be. Prepare a shot list, not a script. Think in blocks of content, rather than linearly. Think visually, and the words will come.

Shooting – Rules of Three.

The famous Framing Rule of Three  – divide the frame into three across and three down, and use the 9 squares to help add contrast to the dofferent shots. The focus does not need to be centre stage. Or, not all the time.

And the Shooting Rule of Three–  that is, three types of shot; close up, mid and wide. Mix and match to add real visual interest. And use different sequences of wide, mid and close.

And let action happen. Do not use the camera to create movement, rather capture that movement from a still lens. So, no panning or zooming.

Post production – Rough to Smooth

Start with a rough edit that focuses on the time line. Make sure there is interest from the angles and position in the frame. Then edit at leisure, adding quality with each edit.

I am far from being truly competent, but I have now made several short videos, which would have been unthinkable before I attended Bob’s masterclass.

Would you like to learn how to make a watchable video?

Join us for Bob’s next masterclass at the Yurt Academy.

“Film or video is a means of communication like language, and like language it also has a structure – or grammar – which makes it work. With language it’s spelling and sentence construction and the like. Similarly, film grammar is the basic rules of construction that make a film or video watchable. They include principles like shot sizes and breaking sequences down into individual shots that can then be edited together seamlessly. It sounds more complicated than it is, and the best thing is that when you know how you can watch any programme on television and see through to its film grammar. It’s a great trick that teaches you a lot about film-making and all you have to do is watch your favourite TV shows.”

Bob Maddams, director and Yurt Keeper of How to Make a Watchable Video.

Bob Maddams spent 20 years working in the advertising industry in London as a copywriter and director of TV commercials. Then he heard about a film school in Ethiopia that was training young people from the poorest parts of Addis Ababa to become community film-makers. Bob spent 7 years living and working in Ethiopia and filming took him all over the country. SoHo House, it wasn’t.

For many years Bob has also worked as a freelance travel journalist writing for the Guardian, the Times, the Sunday Telegraph and Wanderlust magazine. He is also the author of two travel books. Bob now lives in Brighton, is a qualified City & Guilds media skills trainer, has taught at Hove College, and is the owner of Gooroo, a company which runs creativity and media communications training workshops.



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