The series of video production short courses Alma developed for Loyola University Chicago included basic concepts in three different areas: preparation, production software, and special effects.
The workshop on preparation includes the different styles of pre-production documents, breaking them down and including what special needs they meet depending on workflow. Alma’s presentation on production software, or the Non-Linear Editor, is a mixture of background knowledge and workflow. This ties closely to Alma’s educational values, she has always felt that knowing why something is the way it is factors largely in how it is understood. The last presentation, on the Green Screen special effect covers how the effect works, and how it can be used.
With the increased access to high caliber video production tools, these presentations were supposed to entice the Loyola community to use video, and teach a little more about why things work (or don’t work) the way they do.
For more details on the specific topics of these presentations:
Storyboards, mockups, proof of concepts are tied together as incremental steps that test a creative vision. Also included are scripts in their myriad of formats and standards, how to write for someone to read easily and even how to gauge time from written length. Lastly Alma presented a tool that’s been helpful to her, the shot inventory list. This is usually a packet containing a prop list, equipment list, storyboard images, talent scripts and any notes that should be kept in mind for post-production. Obviously, all of this preparation is an investment of time, but it’s better to find something won’t work when there is still time to make changes and the more preparation there is, the faster later steps will go.
Going back to when editing involved razor blades, film/tape and acetone, editing has been a cumbersome process. In the present, video files can be large and hugely taxing on computer systems, for this reason editing software has evolved a special method of organization. Everything is based on references. Knowing the interface of the software is a start, but if there is an error, knowing what goes on behind the surface is what’s going to help you get back on track.
Green/or blue screens look great, and they allow us to make the impossible happen. But, the underlying process is simple, you tell your editing software what pixels it should treat as not present. This way, the actor is isolated and ready to end up on whatever background an editor wants, e.g., space fields, weather maps, or a scene shot with another actor.