Developing Digital Short Films

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-04-12
  • Publisher: New Riders
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The film market is shifting toward traditional desktop technology to create productions...digitally. Unlike traditional film production, though, digital films require producers to employ a different pre-production process.Developing Digital Short Filmsexplores how unique character and set designs, bluescreen ideas, special effects, and simple 2D character animation techniques can be used as narrative devices for telling stories. Part One focuses on generating visual ideas that are ideal for digital production and creating a short film script. Part Two focuses on the visual pre-production of a short film and the issues that go through a filmmaker's mind as they struggle with how best to present their stories; this includes topics like 101 camera shots, frame composition, developing a visual look and feel, color maps, and creating storyboards and animatics. Part Three explores the different production environments of DV, 2D and 3D, and how they shape the telling of stories based upon the technological strengths of each style.

Author Biography

Sherri Sheridan is the Creative Director at Minds Eye Media (http://www.mindseyemedia.com) in San Francisco, where she spends her time creating all sorts of digital projects. Over the years she has directed, produced, animated, written, and designed projects for a wide range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, major record labels, TV/cable stations, feature-film studios, advertising agencies, and video game companies. She is the co-author of Maya 2 Character Animation (New Riders, 1999).

Currently, Sherri is creating a series of international Developing Digital Short Films Workshops based on the ideas in this book. She is also writing, developing, and directing several original scripts for digitally enhanced shorts and feature films.

Over the years, Sherri has helped inspire thousands of graduate computer animation students from around the world, helping them to tell their own stories using their favorite digital tools, at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. While teaching these students, she started developing the foundation for a unique step-by-step digital visual storytelling process, which has grown into this wonderful book.

Before founding Minds Eye Media in 1995, she helped develop Shockwave Technology at Macromedia, and created the first Shockwave movies on the web. Sherri has a BA in English from U.C. Berkeley and went to San Francisco State to study interactive design and computer animation for her graduate work.

Table of Contents

Getting the Most Out of This Book
Becoming a Better Digital Filmmaker
Do Not Let Anything Stop You from Making Your Film
Digital Storytelling
Generating Ideas for Digital Short Films
Beginning the Story Concept Process
Using Digital Tools to Create Original Films
Generating Original Ideas for Digital Short Films
Brainstorming for Software Capabilities
Incorporating Plot Goals
Final Story Concept Sentence to Pitch
Final Story Idea
Creating Original Characters, Themes, and Visual Metaphors
Creating Powerfully Original Characters
Developing Themes In Films
Using Metaphors and Symbols to Tell Stories
Developing Plot Points
Aristotelian Dramas
Creating Character Arcs
Short Film Plot Points
Plot Points for Feature Films
Writing a Short Treatment
Writing Scenes, Conflict, and a Short Script
The Joy of Index Cards
Three-Act Structure for Developing Scenes
Constructing Individual Scenes
Moving the Story Forward Through Conflict
Adding Subtext to Scenes
Writing Dialogue
Writing a Short Script
visualizing Your Script
Shot Visualization
Producing the Final Storyboards
Determining the Organizational Structure
101 Camera Shots for Storyboarding
Designing Camera Shots
Sketching Rough Overheads
Composing Your Shots
Creating Depth in Your Camera Shots
Creating Storyboards
Mise En Scegrave;ne for the Twenty-First Century
Developing Visual Styles
Developing Digital Production Styles
Creating Visually Expressive Characters
Developing Set Designs
Conceptual Lighting Design
Developing a Color Palette
Narrative Sound Design
The Importance of Good Sound
Viewing-Room Speakers
Sound in the Script
Breaking Down Your Scripts for Sound
Creating a Sound Ambiance for Each Scene
Utilizing Different Sound Sources
Creating Original Sound Effects
Utilizing Offscreen Sound
Creating Sound Space for the Audience
Sound as POV
Designing Dialogue Styles
Matching Sound to Camera Shots
Mindspace Sound Design
Shooting Without Sound
Sound Problems
Preproduction Story-Editing Choices
Editing Information Is Natural to Storytelling
Juxtaposition as the Core of Editing
Print Out a Still of Each Shot
Miscellaneous Editing Tips
Final Thoughts on Nonlinear Editing
Creating Digital Short Films for Different Production Styles
Digitally Enhanced Storytelling Techniques
Using Digital Video Techniques to Tell Visual Stories
What Are Some Advantages of Using DV to Tell Stories? How to Combine Layers Using Transparent Areas
Creating Camera Shots Digitally in Post
Animating Still Photographs with Video Layers
DV Character Design Ideas
Digitally Enhanced Character Design Techniques
Creating Virtual Sets
Using Text and Motion Graphics to Tell a Story
Creating Simple Narrative Digital Effects
Defining a Visual Style for Your Film
Adding a 2D Animated Look to DV Footage
Using Color Manipulation to Develop Narrative Ideas
Other Digital Techniques
Using Modern 2D
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