3 Things Students in Film Production Courses Should Know About Handheld Camerawork

Posted on October 14th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

Grads of Film Production Courses Know Handheld Camerawork Adds Realism

Getting steady shots is essential for professional quality productions. While this is usually best accomplished with a tripod, dolly, or shoulder rig, sometimes convenience, economics, or artistic preference will motivate you to use handheld camera techniques. Fortunately, modern video cameras have come a long way in terms of weight, flexibility, and stabilizing functions, but even so the deciding factor in handheld camera success will be the techniques you employ.

“Being quick on your feet at producing quality film and video work is what employers require,” notes Kalman Szegvary, director of Trebas Institute’s Film and TV Production program. In the program, students gain extensive hands-on experience in everything from screenwriting to post-production, including best practices in cinematography.

Here are some things to keep in mind to get great handheld camera shots.

1. Grads of Film Production Courses Know Handheld Camerawork Adds Realism

If you don’t have a tripod, forgot it at home, or your subject matter lends itself to moving shots, handheld shooting may be necessary. It’s an essential skill for all camera operators to develop and an important artistic concept for film directors to understand. It’s often used in television news and documentaries to capture urgent or demanding situations when speed and flexibility are top priorities.

Handheld camerawork is also an increasingly popular technique in film and television, easily adaptable for unpredictable conditions and adding an element of immediacy and realism. Commonly used in music videos and reality TV, it can be a powerful way to grip an audience and pull them into the action, enhancing emotional content like violence and chase scenes.

2. Students in Film Production School Know Good Posture is Important to Handheld Camerawork

Students in film production courses know that while shaky camerawork can be effective for certain artistic purposes, attaining a steady view is the more challenging issue at hand. Start with a steady stance, legs shoulder-length apart and slightly bent to act as a natural shock-absorber for your camera. Make your body like a tripod by keeping your balance, leaning against a tree or building for support if possible.

Keep the camera close to your body for stabilization

Keep the camera close to your body for stabilization

Gloves and lumbar support belts can help for long handheld shots, and two hands are better than one when holding the camera. Do some pre-shot stretching and deep breathing to be relaxed and limber. Keep your elbow tucked in close to your chest, with the camera tight to your body, or firmly on your shoulders for heavier cameras.

3. Handheld Camerawork Can Be Used to Create Different Effects

When working on your final project at film production school, you might want to experiment with different shots and effects, such as the “zolly effect,” through handheld camerawork. The zolly effect, also known as the dolly zoom effect, gives a vertigo-like illusion to your shots. That’s because the zolly effect makes it appear as if the subject in your shot is being pulled toward the camera while the surroundings are being pushed back, or vice versa.

Here’s an example of the zolly effect in action:


To achieve this look using a handheld camera, begin your shot close to your subject with your camera fully zoomed out. Then, slowly walk away from the subject while zooming in. The result will be a surreal look perfect for dramatic moments of realisation or other dizzying instants in your movie.

Would you like to learn camera techniques at film school in Toronto?

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Enrolling in Film Production College? These 2 Visually Stunning Films Will Inspire you!

Posted on September 16th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

These beautiful films are visually captivating and can serve as a great source of inspiration for students in film production college who are ready to shoot

There are so many beautiful films in the world, but have you ever wondered which elements of a film make it a classic? Usually the three most important elements are very simple, they are: storytelling, visual beauty, and acoustic beauty. Some movies have honed one of these elements more than the others, for instance some films have beautiful soundtracks that stand up over time, while others have an amazing storytelling capacity, and finally, others are truly pleasing to the eyes. There are many visually stunning films, but a few stick out as ultimate examples of what amazing art direction and directorial prose can accomplish in film.

Continue reading to discover some visually stunning films that could inspire your film career!

‘Enter The Void’ Will Inspire Students in Film Production College to Push Boundaries

Gaspar Noé’s film Enter The Void is so visually seductive that it may not matter what the mysterious film is all about. This film has somewhat of a deranged brilliance; it’s a grandiose display of light and colour that brims with stimulus. Everything in this film is shown through the eyes of the main character while he is alive, then changes to give the audience a view of Tokyo, where the film is set, from above, as if you were watching what his soul sees after death. The movie stuns with its shots from above that trace winding streets through the neon haze characteristic of the vibrant city. The visions of Tokyo are both real and imagined, meshing the visions of the main character with the city.

Noé captured the film’s stunning city scenes using a crane with a camera attached. Some of the crane shots were far too complicated, and often required a whole day to plan and shoot, so many of them were shot in studio with the city recreated underneath. It’s an exciting time to be in film production college as film technology can allow you to do things like shoot city scenes inside a studio.

Students at film production college know films often use cameras on cranes to capture a different view of reality

Filmmakers often use cameras on cranes to capture a different point of view

‘The Wizard Of Oz’ Has Been Inspiring Students in Film Production Programs for Decades

The fantasy world of Oz was adapted into a film in 1939, and is still a marvel of art direction today. Often, audiences explain that what they remember most from The Wizard Of Oz is the amazing colour in the film. Not the first film to be filmed in colour, but certainly the first to prove how captivating vibrant colours can be, The Wizard Of Oz demonstrated how colour, specifically new Technicolor technology, could help create fantasy worlds. Some very interesting special effects were used during filming as well, like horses being dyed with Jell-O powder. The scene had to be filmed quickly because the horses kept trying to lick themselves! Remember, students in film production programs don’t always have to use intricate special effects to get a desired shot or visual effect, sometimes it’s as simple as Jell-O powder!

Catch a glimpse of Oz’s horse of a different colour here:


Are you trying to decide between film production schools?

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3 Great TV Writers for Students in Television Schools to Watch

Posted on August 26th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

If you're looking at enrolling in television schools, these three accomplished television writers can teach you some valuable lessons about writing well

Writers are in many ways the lifeblood of the small screen; the process of creating a television show begins with them. If you want to become a writer, or really if you want a career in television or film at all, knowing how great writers craft timeless stories can provide you with useful insights to use in your own work.

To be great you need to study the greats, and these writers are among the top in the industry. From crime thrillers to dramas to comedy, these writers create some of the best stories in their genre.
Read on to discover three great television writers that make magic with their pen.

1. Students Taking Courses in Television Can Learn from Nic Pizzolatto When Creating Dialogue

The hit show True Detective has become wildly successful for many reasons, and one of them is its honest dialogue. Students in television school should take a peek at True Detective for the stunning visuals, but they should also really listen to the richness of the dialogue between the two main characters; Rust Cohle and Marty Hart. True Detective writer Nic Pizzolatto focuses on character development, and recently explained to Vanity Fair that when he writes, he descends into the character he is writing, much like ‘method actors’ try to become their character. If you’re interested in script writing for television and you want to experience how dialogue can carry a show, Nic Pizzolatto can provide you with some inspiration.

Check out some of Nic Pizzolatto’s compelling dialogue below, performed by Matthew McConaughey as he plays the character of Rust Cohle:

2. David Lynch Is a Master to Watch for Students Taking Courses in Television

The creator of Twin Peaks, David Lynch, is a man that has a few Hollywood accolades under his belt, including writing the starry drama Mulholland Drive, which began as a made-for-TV film. Lynch went on to release the television series Twin Peaks, which first emerged to critical acclaim in 1990. The television thriller is now slated to be resurrected for a third season which will be released in 2017. The show is notoriously enigmatic, posing more questions than audiences are given answers. At television schools like Trebas, you’ll get the opportunity to create a final project, so keep in mind that your work doesn’t necessarily need to be linear, and can leave more doors open than closed upon conclusion.

3. Students in Television Schools Might know Bob Odenkirk Is a Comedy Writing Master

If you haven’t seen the famous Saturday Night Live skit about a motivational speaker named Matt Foley, played by Chris Farley, you should go check it out. Odenkirk wrote that sketch, which Rolling Stone magazine named the best SNL sketch of all time. Odenkirk also went on to write for the Conan O’Brien Show.

If you’d like to try your hand at writing a comedy after your film studies, Odenkirk has some advice for comedy writers; run with silly ideas. Highbrow humour has its place, but often it’s the stupid, silly ideas that bring the most laughs. Odenkirk once wrote a sketch about Abraham Lincoln being alive still and roaming the forest like a Sasquatch. Ridiculous? Yes. Guess what? It’s also drop dead hilarious.

Whether you’re writing crime, drama, or comedy, the above mentioned writers can offer some inspiration.

Want to start taking some courses in television and learn how to write like the pros?

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2 Tips for Writing Exciting Non-Linear Movie Scripts in Film School

Posted on August 12th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

film courses

One of the first uses of non-linear story telling in cinema was in D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance, which uses four separate parallel stories, each separated by centuries. Although the film didn’t achieve great commercial success, the film heavily impacted the movie industry by showing movie makers that stories do not always need to be told chronologically. The non-linear movie script doesn’t have a beginning, middle, and end. Rather, it tells a story by rearranging events and trying to allow the structure of the film to better represent the psychological condition of the characters. For instance, many non-linear movie scripts will give audience members a peek into a character’s mind with the use of a ‘flash back’ moment.

Continue reading to discover two tips for writing non-linear movie scripts in film school.

1. Students in Film School Should Take some Advice from Tarantino; Focus on the Page

It could be said that Quentin Tarantino is a contemporary master of non-linear movie scripts. His films distort time and audience perceptions. From his directorial debut film Reservoir Dogs to the wildly popular Pulp Fiction, Tarantino makes chronological enigmas beautiful. His timelines make your brain tick, and gives audiences insight into characters’ histories to develop them more thoroughly. So, how does he do it? In an interview from The Hollywood Reporter, he provides some great advice for students in film editing school. Tarantino explains that he doesn’t think about the entirety of the movie while writing. He merely makes each page of script a work of art in and of itself. He wants each page of the script to be able to stand alone, and then worries about ‘climbing the mountain,’ as he says, or making the puzzle fit later on.

2. Students in Film Editing School Can Use Time Indicators to Link Stories Together

Director Jim Jarmusch explains that in art, “There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form.”

Not only does he preach this mantra, he follows it as well. Jim Jarmush’s film Mystery Train is written in a non-linear fashion. Three stories are told separately, at different times in the movie, but there are indicators that the stories are actually taking place simultaneously. The use of ‘time indicators,’ which are elements of the movie that show the stories are taking place at the same time, help to connect several different stories together. In Mystery Train, Jarmusch uses a gunshot, a passing train, and a radio announcement to help audiences recognize that the stories are happening simultaneously, even if they are being told in fragments.

When you graduate from your film courses and begin writing scripts that are fragmented and non-linear, try to incorporate ‘time indicators’ to let the audience know about the timing of certain scenes. This tactic is also done in Charlie Kaufmans’s non-linear film Synecdoche, New York, which uses time indicators by subtly showing shots of calendars and clocks to remind the audience of the time.

Whether it’s using time indicators or making each page be able to stand alone as a piece of art, writing a non-linear script is both an intense and rewarding process for film students.

Want to attend film school and learn more about scriptwriting?

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4 Ways Top Film and Television Schools Can Help You Land Your Dream Job

Posted on July 29th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

courses in television

How did top filmmakers launch their careers? Many will tell you that they were persistent, and kept trying without ever giving up. But while persistence is important, there is more the puzzle when it comes to landing your dream career.

The following are some of the best pieces of advice that students in film and television schools can use in order to land their dream job after graduation.

1. Courses in Television Help You Develop Your Network

Networking is an important part of landing a job in any field, and film and television is no exception. That’s because many jobs are filled before they are made public, as peers recommend trusted professionals they know. Fortunately, students can quickly build up their networks throughout their studies.

Try networking at film and television events in order to meet industry contacts and become friends with people who work at companies you would love to be a part of. Film and television schools can also assist with this process by introducing you to other professionals in your field, and can help you develop relationships with peers and other students that can last a lifetime.

2. Film and Television Schools Help You Hone Your Skills and Excel at Your Craft

Malcolm Gladwell is an author who studied some of the greatest success stories of our generation—including Bill Gates and The Beatles. He found that they all have one thing in common: putting in tremendous amounts of time and effort into their craft. Gladwell explains that it takes about 10,000 hours to master a skill, so keep up the good work! When you perfect your craft, whether it’s script writing or directing, opportunities will start to appear. Courses in television can open a lot of doors for you, as they teach you the ins and outs of everything from developing your storytelling abilities to lighting the perfect set.

3. Television Schools Help Students Build up their Portfolios

Resumes are an important aspect of landing your dream job, sure, but they can only carry you so far. Companies want results. They don’t want to just be told what you have done; they want to see it for themselves. This is where the importance of a portfolio comes in. Constructing a portfolio allows you to show off your great work to potential employers, and if done creatively, can be a work of art in and of itself.

Television schools offer students everything from hands-on training to access to industry standard equipment—the perfect tools for building up a stellar portfolio. Once you’ve completed your portfolio, don’t forget to add it to social media outlets such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to get your work out there.

4. The Right Television Schools Encourage You to Follow Your Dreams

Steve Jobs once said that “the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” That’s why for many students, the immersive environment of a film and television school is so important. It helps to remind them what they love most about the field, even as they build the skills they need to make their mark within it.

According to a recent poll, 70 per cent of Americans hate their job; so remember to follow your heart and don’t be part of the majority!

Want to discover what training from television schools can help you achieve?

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