It’s time to get out hands dirty again by putting what we’ve learned to good use for another OVFM practical evening. This time however, the session will be more of an educational one as we delve into the subject of lighting, one which has proven a perennial thorn in the side for filmmakers the world over, even in professional circles.

With new members recently joining the club looking to improve their skills and learn new techniques, this was a requested topic and a challenge gladly accepted by our chair Jane Oliver on behalf of our resident brains trust (who just happened to be absent last time, so this is their first time hearing about this).

As you are aware, the club has their own set of lights for us to work with, plus many members have either their own lights or helpful accessories like reflectors or filters which we encourage them to bring with them on Tuesday.

So, if lighting is a bug bear for you when making films and you want to learn how to fix or improve it, the the place to be is at the Barnyard Rooms at St Augustine’s in Petts Wood next Tuesday evening!



We have another practical evening lined up for you for this meeting but this one is different. Instead of learning about filmmaking we are going to hone a different set of skills – our judgement of films.

Opinions are like bottoms – we’ve all got one – but it is how we express them that matters and in the world of judging or reviewing films (must resist temptation to plug my own film review site) this is no different.  A brusque or snootily delivered comment can make all the difference in deflating the confidence of a filmmaker whilst excessive praise to disguise any obvious mistakes won’t help someone learn from them and improve in the future.

So, how can we all learn from this and distinguish the difference between brutal honesty and constructive criticism? Our chair Jane Oliver has this in-depth explanation as to what this evening is about:


The Purpose of the Evening
We all need to learn the art of giving and receiving constructive criticism and acting on it if we hope to improve our filmmaking skills. We need to learn how to mark films consistently and fairly across the board, irrespective of the filmmaker
Part 1
Show a short film (about 4 minutes)
  • Get club members to rate it in accordance with most of the points on the Top Ten entry judging form
  • Filmmaker provides explanation of how they went about asking for constructive criticism, accepting or disregarding that criticism and whether or not it resulted in the filmmaker re-editing the film.
  • Show film again, split into groups, expand on comments together through discussion and to make constructive suggestions as to how this film could be improved upon.
  • Feedback to whole club
  • Filmmaker commenting on the actions they took throughout the process
  • Show revised film if there is one.
Tea break
Part 2
  • Show a film that was entered into a number of different competitions resulted in extremely diverse results from the judges
  • Break into groups to discuss how this film could be improved upon
  • Guess whether or not it won any awards
  • If club members think it did, can they suggest which competitions it would have done well in?
  • What does this teach us about judging and judges?
  • Provide the judges comments to the groups
  • Filmmaker to make any additional helpful comments.
We hope that by the end of the evening, club members will;
  • feel confident to give appropriate marks fairly across the board
  • feel confident to comment constructively on other member’s films
  • be able to receive constructive criticism to assist in developing their filmmaking skills
  • be able to discard any criticism that is not constructive and helpful
  • be able to decide whether or not it is worth re-editing that particular film
  • have an understanding of how their film could have a better chance of winning awards
We want OVFM to grow, not just in numbers, but in confidence, with an understanding of how we can develop the quality of our films so that in time, OVFM will stand out from the crowd as a club that produces award winning films.  Bring on the next Triangle competition.  It’s about time we brought home the silverware!


I hope that is clear, so be sure to join Jane, John Epton and David Laker for what will be an interesting and worthwhile evening for us all.


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!



Well, actually it is only a part practical evening but we promise you that everything is completely congruent.

In a two part session, we shall first have a “making of” presentation from John Epton, Sam Brown and Barbara Walker, talking us through the filming of Barbara’s award winning comedy Commute, which featured some nifty green screen work to create the illusion of being on a train.

The second part is where we get practical, cracking out the green screen to go into depth a little more about using this technique and applying it into a little bit of filming to give everyone a first hand experience of seeing it in practice.

It’s been a while since we did some practical green screen filming at a club meeting (six years if memory serves me correctly), so make sure you are there on Tuesday to see how it is done and get involved yourself!




It’s been a while since we’ve held a session like this in OVFM but with a few new members now among our ranks, it’s time to one again open up the floor to our resident experts who are willing to share their wisdom and years of experience with the rest of us in the art of filmmaking.

The line-up has yet to be confirmed but we can hope that previous contributors club president Reg “Bomber” Lancaster and Professor Mike Shaw will be willing candidates to hold court and answer our questions as best they can.

Whatever the subject, be it editing, setting up the camera, framing, composition, getting the lighting, etc. if there is anything that has been bothering you, or you don’t quite understand or simply are on the look out for advice on your next filmmaking related purchase, do be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to get the answers and guidance you need.

So get your thinking caps on and we’ll see you on Tuesday with your questions!

OVFM Club Meeting Tuesday November 10th 2015

ovfm coaching


This week’s club meeting is a two part coaching evening to help improve the filmmaking skills and knowledge of club members and familiarise them with the club equipment.

First there will be a demonstration of how to use the various supplementary bits of kit we have at our disposal  (full list is HERE), including the dolly track, wireless mic, steadycam and more.

The second part of the evening will be a Q and A session in which your questions will be answered by our ever knowledgeable panel of experts. So if something is nagging you about lighting, sound, editing, focusing, or you have trouble understanding terms like “aperture” or “backlight” then this is the perfect opportunity to ask someone who knows to explain it to you.

Remember there is no such thing as a silly question as we all had to start somewhere, so don’t be shy in asking for help if you need it.

We are a filmmaking club and we are just as effective working as a group unit as we are as individuals, so please make use of this session to help improve your understanding and knowledge of making films, or to share your knowledge with those who need it.

See you there!

OVFM Club Meeting October 28th 2014


This week’s club meeting will feature a tutorial on the basics of Stop Motion Animation courtesy of our chairman Simon “Snapper” Earwicker!

Here’s Simon with a brief overview of what we can expect:

“I will regale the club with my knowledge and experience of the ever popular cinematic technique of stop motion animation.

So that’s the first five minutes taken care of, what shall we do for the rest of the evening?!

Seriously though I hope to demonstrate that stop motion animation is simple, requires only basic equipment and easy to find props and yet can be fun to do and even more fun to watch.

I’ll have some stop motion animations to show and I’ll be attempting to make a very short example during the space of the evening…fingers crossed!
So come armed with a small prop and you might find it starring in the film.  “

So if you’ve any ambitions of being the next Ray Harryhausen or Nick Park then be sure to pop along to the meeting next Tuesday evening for what promises to be an interesting and educational session!

Free Film Making Coaching Sessions


Free Coaching Sessions

OVFM will be running FREE Coaching Sessions in the New Year to show you how to get the most of your film material.  This offer is not limited to those using a camcorder but also includes anyone filming on an SLR camera or smart phone.  It also includes anyone who takes only still pictures but would like to know how they can put these together into a short ‘film’ by adding pan & zoom effects and adding music.  These sessions are completely free and without any obligation.



Why are we offering these free sessions?

Most families probably only have a couple of faded photographs of grandparents or perhaps great grandparents and these will be passed to the next generation as family heirlooms.  Our hope is that in years to come what is being filmed today will be regarded as similar family heirlooms by future generations.

You can’t fail to notice the boom in people using their smart phones or SLR cameras to film moving images nowadays, in addition to those using camcorders.  Sometimes they are filming an important family event such as a wedding, sometimes it’s children or grandchildren, sometimes it’s a holiday scene or maybe it’s just something that has caught their eye.  Some of those moving images should also become family heirlooms but too often they are deleted after a couple of viewings, in part because when watched the quality is disappointing.

Our members enjoy film making but do get frustrated when they see films that could have been so much better if a little more care had been taken with how the material was filmed and how it was edited.  In the club we give feedback on members’ films to help them improve, and with these free sessions we are keen to pass on what we have learnt to the wider public.

We also want to show people who only take still pictures how they can put the images together using effects such as pan and zoom and adding music to create short ‘films’.

For the club we hope that when people meet us through these sessions, and see what the club has to offer, some will decide to join OVFM.  However there is absolutely no obligation to join.


How can the sessions help you?

We can help you if you are not completely happy with the material you have filmed or what you do with it after filming. For example:

  • If what you filmed doesn’t look as good as you had hoped when you play it back.
  • If you don’t know how to edit out the parts you don’t want and move clips around to turn it into a memorable film that is worth preserving.
  • If you only take still pictures but would like to know how to arrange them in a show with pan and zoom effects and added music
  • If you want advice on cameras, software or any of the special effects you can create in your films.
  • If you don’t know how best to produce and store films for the long-term or how to convert old 8mm or 16mm films or VHS tape.


What will the sessions cover?

We will finalise the content when we have heard what people want to have covered.  We will cover topics such as:

how to plan what you will film,

how to build a story with your film,

how to film without excessive camera movement, which spoils many films,

how to edit your film to cut out the unwanted parts and move clips around,

how to make a film from still pictures

how to store your film for longer-term viewing.

When and where will they be held?

Fortnightly from 8 to 10 on alternative Tuesday evenings in the New Year at our club meeting room in St. Augustine’s Church Hall in Southborough Lane, Bromley Common.  Precise dates and further details will be provided when we know how many are likely to attend.

If you are interested in taking part or have any further queries please email us at info@ovfm.org.uk

Coaching Evenings – Your Opinions Please!!

ovfm coaching


Your Opinions Please!!


Coaching Evenings 2014

The five evenings have now completed and the numbers attending each ranged from 3 to 17. Most of those who came seemed to get something from the variety which was provided. Mike Shaw’s film music and sources presentation was particularly welcome.

The club owes a vote of thanks to all the stalwarts who contributed as speakers and demonstrators, without which the evenings wouldn’t be possible. Thanks also to all members for having supported the cost of the sessions through their subscriptions.

Your ideas for possible future coaching evenings will ensure that there are some!



Please use the comments facility below to leave your feedback on the evenings held so far – positive and negative – and what YOU want to see in future coaching evenings or let Ian or a member of the committee know directly.

Thank you!

Coaching Evening May 6th 2014


ovfm coaching


Following the last successful editing evening, as announced the next one will be outdoors. I confirm that we will meet on Tuesday 6th May at 7.30pm at the gates of Priory Gardens, Orpington on the corner of Ramsden Road just before it meets Church Road/Bark Hart Road. Park on the Road.


There you’ll receive, probably in small groups, a short assignment to film in the gardens whilst the light lasts.


I will be there at 7pm, so if anyone can come earlier they can start off immediately.


Bring your cameras and, if you wish, any portable lights for the darker places!


If you do some research on the features of the gardens, it may help you decide where to go.


See you there.




P.S.  In the event of forecast bad weather, I’ll email you on Tuesday morning to move the evening to the Barnard Room at 8pm instead, where we’ll have the opportunity to have another editing session. Given the filthy weather today, watch this space!