Let’s take a look at the two K-5 honorees from the NSBA’s T+L 20th anniversary Moviefest (click this link to see the movies). I’m going to skip over the story elements and go right to the filming techniques as they might be the more unfamiliar part of the stories, but very easy to replicate.
Ignoring the fact that the "monster" ancient technology typewriter shown in the Escondido 1st place video got me through high school and college, we’ll start with the rating screen at the beginning. This is a great way to set the audience up for what’s to come and easy enough to make in any art program or even PowerPoint. I’ve used an "XS-Extra Sentimental rating: not suitable without a box of Kleenex" for my daughter’s rehearsal dinner video. And my daughter rated a short feature on her dog "K-9: not suitable for cat people." After that, I’m a big fan of the mouse’s eye view shots they use to build tension.
Put that camera down low, get it up high, look for interesting angles. Everything doesn’t have to be a shoulder level, straight on shot. Remember Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz" movie? It was black and white until she got to Oz. They make very nice use of that effect with the camera behind the actor and in color as he heads through the door. Then they meet him coming into the house with a reverse angle and it’s
black and white because he’s gone back in technology time. Very clever, both the color use and the camera’s perspective! My former students have used the color/b&w changes for dreams, flashbacks, and going back in time.
The McAuliffe video did some pretty clever things to earn their honorable mention rating. First, there is the projected image speaking to the students. This is an old movie convention used for backgrounds (You can still spot this in modern movies out car windows. The car is really stationary in
a studio and a film of the trip is projected and visible through the windows.) This is a good, modest way to mimic a green screen/chroma key effect if you can’t do it with your software. They also use a couple of futuristic images in quick cuts to give the idea of futuristic travel. And fitting right in with that sci-fi theme are a couple of hi-tech transitions.
You can use any of these techniques in your next video project regardless of the software and equipment you have.
Tomorrow, junior high students bring the "future to a reality near you."