Directing and On Set Instructions

Here at OVFM one of our primary aims is to share our knowledge of filmmaking to help everyone improve their skills either in front or behind the camera, pre-or post production.

In a recent double practical sessions of making joke films, some club members found themselves stepping into the role of director or camera operator for the first time and it opened their eyes to what these duties entail and their impact on the filming process. One helpful factor was the crib sheet our chair Jane Oliver created in a Word document, which you can download and print off to use yourself for future reference HERE.

John Epton also compiled the following points guide which expands upon the suggestions in Jane’s crib sheet in how to respond and comply accordingly to the director’s instruction, be it on single or multi-camera shot, detailing the roles and expectations of those participating in key roles:



In the event it is going to be a long day be prepared and bring your :

Heaviest/Best Tripod

Spare Batteries

Blank SD Cards

External Battery Charger


Set your cameras to:

Maximum quality


Stereo sound

Automatic everything


If the action is mostly static shots, it will be important to capture facial reactions and body language so:

Frame the shot beforehand

Do not pan or zoom during the take (unless absolutely necessary or instructed)

Allow plenty of ‘nose’ room when filming an actor from the side, (ensuring that he is talking to the centre of the screen and not to the edge of the screen).

Keep rolling  (if something is going wrong with your shot whilst filming, wait until the Director shouts CUT and then explain what has gone wrong).

There may be a film shoot with more than one cameras. However, not all scenes will require every camera to be used so please be patient if you are not called upon. Perhaps whilst waiting, you could:

Capture some relevant cutaways.

Assist with related tasks like creating shadows or wrangling the dolly.



The boom mic will be used and in some instances fed into a separate sound recorder. The boom mike should be as close to the source of sound as possible and is directional so that it must point towards the source of sound .  However, it does pick up unwanted boom movement.  So it must be:

Close to the sound source

Not in the shot (above heads or below belt depending on the shot)

Kept as still as possible during the take.



This is the most important job. The Clapper Board provides the synchronising signal which is used in the edit to lip sync the 3 cameras and the sound system. So ensure:

That the clap is loud

That  you announce the Scene and Take information loudly.

That the board is placed close to the main actor’s face so it can be seen by all cameras.

If necessary clap after the Director shouts CUT but just before the cameras are stopped (should there be a problem with the Scene and Take details ).


General Instructions

When the Director has ensured that everyone is ready he will shout CAMERAS and then SOUND to initiate the start up of the equipment.

At your instruction :

Press the record button on your equipment.

Wait until your record indicator is steadily on

Then shout ROLLING to confirm.

The Clapper operator should wait until all active cameras and the sound recordist has confirmed they are ROLLING before clapping. The Director will shout MARKER to initiate the Clapping. Once the Clapper person has moved out of shot the Director will call ACTION.

When the action is complete the Director will shout CUT. At this point, everyone should stop the recording and shout CUT.

The Clapper operator should ensure that each person has stopped recording.


Hopefully this makes things clearer for those of you who have only worked on small shoots and may one day expand to something bigger, or have only worked alone. It is amazing how something so small can make all the difference and the benefits will be felt during the shoot, in the editing process and in the final cut.

Thanks again to Jane and John for their efforts in providing these articles for us which I am sure you will all put to good use.


This week’s meeting is a filming project with a difference and requires participation from you, dear club members.

In order to get people comfortable with filming and to propagate the understanding of what goes into the preparation and making of a film, the concept for this mini-project is to strip the process down to its barest form make a film with a narrative but without any edits!

How will this work? Well, the idea is you film a number of scenes (either prepared and scripted or shot extemporaneously) that accumulate to no longer than 3 minutes in length that tells a story but you are not allowed to edit them in any way shape or form, and that includes using the in camera editing functions to.

If you wish to provide a voice over narration or musical accompaniment then that has be done whilst filming or be diegetic, although the former is rather ambitious, hence this is not compulsory – you know what they say about pictures and the amount of words they paint. It doesn’t have to be shot in the same day or in the same location, just as long as a tangible narrative is present in the footage.

For some of the more experienced filmmakers in the club, this will be a throwback to the old days of shooting holiday films long before the idea of editing and composition was a primary concern, where we would wander about somewhere, capturing whatever we saw then bore our friends and family with the warts and all results afterwards!

Conversely, we hope that this will also reignite the simple joy of filming for some of you and maybe inspire you to start your next big project having got your mojo back so to speak.

We appreciate that the notice for this is rather short (that’s down to the committee not me) so if you don’t have a film ready for us then we will divide the evening into two parts – first we’ll use the last of the evening light (weather permitting) to film outside for anyone short on time or ideas, then in the second part we shall playback all the results of our endeavours.

No need to burn a disc or anything, we shall play straight from the cameras or via an SD card were possible

If you are bringing footage or would like to film at the club meeting then PLEASE reply to this post below, otherwise we shall see you all, cameras in hand, next Tuesday for this exciting project evening!

Meet Lily!


Meet Lily!!

With Christmas coming up I’m sure your family is asking what you want for a present. Well, thanks to Ian Menage, we may have the answer right here! 😀

Lily is the world’s first throw-and-shoot camera. It lets anyone create cinematic footage previously reserved for professional filmmakers. Lily is waterproof, ultra-portable, and shoots stunning HD pictures and videos.

For more information visit their website their website

In the meantime take a look at this video of Lily in action:


720p or 1080i?


720p or 1080i?


Brian Pfeiffer


Is anyone thinking of buying a new Camcorder?  As my mini-dv camcorder is showing its age I’ve been thinking about replacing it with an HD device.  So I’ve been searching the ‘net and magazines for useful information and likely models.  Obviously there are many things to consider: I’d want a view finder; an external mike socket; good optical zoom; image stabilizer etc but perhaps the most important for me is to be able to get the best quality images possible.  So I began to think about what I call the filming format.  Based on information gleaned from conversations, I had thought I should go for 1080i.

 BUT then I watched an article ( which expounded the virtues of ‘Progressive’ as opposed to ‘Interlaced’.  This stated that 720p will give a better resolution on screen that 1080i and that 1080p is the very best and gave good explanations as to why this is so; it’s worth viewing.

So I’m leaning towards 720p or even 1080p if the cost is reasonable.  But I need to know what overheads there might be for filming in ‘Progressive’ e.g. storage requirements both in the camcorder and when the data is captured for editing.  And what impact on the editing process too?  And other things such as: Do I need HD specific SD cards for filming? or HD quality DVDs for the outputIf I record in HD can I view the edited output on a non-HD TV?

As you can see I am a more than a bit confused, so I wondered if this might be a worthwhile topic to open up for discussion one Club evening when there are 10 minutes or so to spare as perhaps others might be in a similar position.

Brian Pfeiffer