Purpose: To become familiar with your camera's settings.
Basis: Film tools can be confusing and overwhelming when you don't know what does what. It's time to really dig into your camera's functions and discover all the ways you can push it to give you better images.
Directions: Record 20 minutes of footage outside, 20 minutes around your house, and 20 minutes in other locations (a car, an office building, a parking garage, a cave, a box, etc). Practice using your camera's manual controls. Do not use the auto-mode unless you are totally stumped, in which case let the camera adjust and then switch it back to manual to see what it did. Things to focus on: Focus (bring the things on screen in and out of focus, can you "pull focus" from one object to another?), White Balance (can you make the sunlight look yellow, the lights inside look blue, and then both look white?), Iris (how much light do you want to show? does it look better with more or less?), Zoom (zooming all the way in and moving your camera back gives you a shallow depth of field, zooming all the way out and moving the camera in gives you clearer images), etc.
Looking Forward: You’re not always in control of what images you have to use. Next you’ll take other people’s images and make something beautiful from them.
What to Watch: Nader El-Saeed's "K-Pax" [PG-13] Trailer. This trailer gives you a good feel for the ways the filmmakers used light and camera control in K-Pax, which is a visually pleasant and powerful film.
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