For this meeting, the format is going to be slightly different, possibly even radical in its thinking but should be treated as the same as any other practical evening. We are looking to do some filming and improve our techniques and understanding of our craft but this time it is up to YOU to manage it yourselves.


What does that mean? Here is our chair Jane Oliver to elucidate:


Our previous two practical sessions dealt with framing, camera angles, capturing moving objects, working out the best type of shot for a given scenario, pans and zooms, cutaways and capturing good sound. We now want to build on this by giving you all the opportunity to practice these skills.


Rather than meeting in the hall on the evening of 28th June for 2 hours, we’ve decided to give members the opportunity to commit 2 hours to practicing these skills or to start or complete their Top Ten entry at a time that suits them between now and 31st July to give everyone ample opportunity to film something in good light and hopefully in good weather.  Hopefully some will have completed their Top Ten entry before this, so that it can be shown in the first round on12th July. 


Filming can be done individually or in groups arranged by members who wish to get together.  You don’t have to use a video camera; a phone or stills camera will do the job (photo montages are acceptable too).  You don’t even have to leave home, as there is plenty of material available either indoors or out.


We want EVERYONE to be involved, so please commit to spending at least two hours on this ‘filming’ project.  If there’s enough interest, we plan to show footage from this session at the September 6th meeting and feedback will be given to those who wish.


Essentially, you could look at it as a practical club meeting without the actual club meeting part. Instead of driving down to Petts Wood (or suffering on the bus like I do) to film and hone our skills, we can do it from the comfort of our own homes or local surroundings. Self-management is as important in filmmaking as receiving direction and advice from others, and taking what we have learned and applying it to our filming projects is an essential part of our practical and creative growth, hence this session being an opportunity to do just that. 


Therefore, we are putting our faith in club members to dedicate the 2 hour window (or longer if required or desired) this coming Tuesday to your next filmmaking endeavours – in other words, treat the time as “OVFM time” and not an excuse to watch the tennis just because you won’t be at the club hall! For instance, if you did some filming during the morning or afternoon on Tuesday, you now have the time you would have spent coming to the meeting to check your footage instead. It is hoped this will give you an extra couple of hours to put towards your film to revise and improve it, or have it completed sooner for the Top Ten. 


Sadly, attendance has been down a little lately, and we understand why this is, but it doesn’t mean we want club members who can’t attend in person to feel they are being left out or that their physical absence at meetings means they should stop making films, or continue to learn more techniques or key areas that may require improvement. It is our hobby and interest – surely we should be striving individually and collectively to further our skills, and attain creative fulfilment. We therefore hope that this idea will offer encouragement for them to still feel connected to the club and rekindle their desire to be active filmmakers again.


Jane also has some suggestions for anyone needing inspiration:


For those of you wanting to improve on framing and composition (this applies to stills photography too) can be practiced through using static objects such as:


a letterbox

a house number

an envelope on the door mat

a front door

a flat or house

a street

a garden

a dustbin

a shop


a person, standing or sitting

2 people, standing or sitting

a group of people, standing or sitting



For objects moving across, toward, or away from the lens, you could consider taking shots of 





sports balls

People walking/running/skateboarding  *


You could then examine the footage; and consider:


Should I have taken that shot at a different angle?

Should I have been closer/further away?

What’s in the frame that ought not be or is distracting?

Have I left something out that is essential?

Could I make a story from my footage?

Can I take some cutaways/B-roll to assist?

What additional shots should I film to link up some of these things?


There is no need to do anything complex, unless anyone feels confident enough to want to challenge themselves beyond their current capabilities, especially those who were privileged to be at the last two practical meetings. Some members might like to use some time improving their ‘sound’ skills, lighting set ups, green screen filming, or use this footage to try different editing techniques, such as split screen, modern transitions, and of course, colour correction and grading.


Thank you in advance for stepping up to this challenge in support of your committee who are working hard to keep your interest in your hobby alive.



* For this suggestion, you could place someone centre of the frame and film them walking past different locations, then edit it together to look like one long walk with only the background changing. Just ensure it is someone you know a stalking is an offence!


Keeping a healthy, consistent stream of output is what keeps the club running and our members always learning and improving. Without the films we have nothing – no more film shows, no more competitions, no more club meetings. Currently, it is same few people who are keeping things afloat and one day even they won’t be able to do this anymore, which is why it is crucial that everybody steps up and makes an effort.


As we have demonstrated via Zoom and our Vimeo account, there are still ways to share advice and our work with each other. That is the beauty of modern technology – it affords us so much in the way of practical opportunities we’d be remiss if we didn’t take advantage of them, and we as a film club have no reason not to.


We hope that you all take advantage of this opportunity on Tuesday (weather permitting – or if it is that bad, perfect for a horror film B-roll!) to do something practical with the extra time whether improving a technique or adding to the making your next film. 


Thanks for reading and happy filming!



Despite a low turn out (of five people!) the last meeting was deemed a valuable enough experience that we’re doing it again for this session too!

We will once again congregate at the Barnard Rooms and expect you to bring along any footage you have filmed recently, unedited and untouched, so it can be viewed and discussed with the possibility of being either the foundation for a new film project, or is related to the upcoming Jubilee celebrations, which we hope to document in a special newsreel for the Autumn Film Show. 


Hopefully, with the weather brightening up you’ll feel more comfortable leaving the house and joining us in person  again. As before, please feel free to wear a mask if you are more comfortable doing so.  Equally, those who don’t like wearing masks, there is no requirement for you to do so.  It is an individual choice that we will all respect whatever you choose.


Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on Tuesday evening!



OVFM returns to the club hall of the Barnard Rooms for our next meeting, which will be a mix of filming and discussion to see if we have the seeds for a new project or something to bolster our coverage of the upcoming Jubilee celebrations for the special bonus newsreel we hope to include in our Autumn film show.


Per our chair Jane Oliver:


We’d like to try something different.  We’re asking members to film something ahead of the meeting whether on phone or camera and either bring their SD card along or download some clips onto a flash drive/memory stick.  Those who prefer to use a camera and take stills can bring some stills along too (on SD card or flash drive/memory stick).  There’s no need for it to be edited.


It would be good if clips could relate to the jubilee; there’s lots of bunting and decorations in Orpington High Street and it is likely to be the same elsewhere. On Saturday, Pratt’s Bottom have their fete from 11.30am to 4pm and there’ll be stalls and May Queens from across the Borough.  Anything goes really,  anything red, white and blue, a crown, The Queen’s Head, maybe a picture you’ve drawn, a red telephone box (if you can find one), a pillar box (good if it has a ‘topper’ of a crown or something similar),  corgis or decorations in shop windows; Bromley is having a competition for shop that best captures the Jubilee spirit with eye-catching window displays, so some shops might have started early.


During the evening we will watch some of your clips and have a general discussion and see where that takes us.  If any of you don’t have time to film ahead of the evening, there will be an opportunity for you to slip out at the beginning of the meeting and capture something locally should you wish, so please bring your camera or phone if you want to do this. This is a really good opportunity for you to see something of yours on the big screen which might be a first for some of you.


We hope to draw the evening to a close at about 9.30pm.


It will be good to see as many of you as possible;  I’m sure we are all at the stage where we’d like to get back together again in person….. and please feel free to wear a mask if you are more comfortable doing so.  Equally, those who don’t like wearing masks, there is no requirement for you to do so.  It is an individual choice that we will all respect whatever you choose.


As an adjunct to this, there are other local events happening this weekend, so do please consult this post HERE for information if you are short of ideas or something to film.


Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on Tuesday evening!



No this isn’t a case of deja vu, we have a second week where the theme of the meeting is another practical evening.

No this isn’t a case of deja vu, we have a… hold on didn’t I type that already?

Anyway, the idea behind this week’s session is to follow up what was learned at the last meeting about lighting. Much information was imparted about how to light a scene, what type of light to use and where to position it and now it is time to put it all to good use.

David Laker will be running the evening along with a little help from Andy Watson and Trevor Rogers. They will be bringing the club camera and lights but ask club member attending to bring their own cameras and any lighting gear they may have that will help add to the production.

In lieu of any other ideas, David has come up with a scenario he would like to use which will allow a chance to try out the various ways to alight a scene. If anyone has an idea of their own they are welcome to bring it to the meeting and time permitting we may get to try them as well, and hopefully even get to check the footage on the club PC before we wrap up for the evening.

So, it might be dark outside but it will be anything but when you join us this coming Tuesday for an illuminating evening of filmmaking!



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!



For this session, it is time to get the cameras out again and do some more filming, this time scaling things down a bit to try our hand at table top filming!

What’s that you ask? Well, rather than me explain it to you, I’ll let John Bunce have that honour. Take it away John:



Yes, we are giving simple stop motion animation a go, or something approximating that.  If you recall, former club member and erstwhile chairman Simon Earwicker also made some stop motion films using a whole array of everyday items, like elastic bands, glasses, coins and a desk lamp. Obviously this is a painstaking and time consuming process and two hours isn’t going to be an enough to ke a whole film (especially as it takes everyone so long to settle back down after tea break) so anything we do attempt will need to be very short and straightforward.

Hopefully though, this will prove educational and inspiring enough for you to try this for yourself or give you an idea for your entry into next year’s Top Ten competition!

So, if you have an idea for something you’d like to try, please reply to this post below so we can accommodate as many projects as possible, otherwise if you simply want to learn something new – after all that is why we are members of OVFM to learn new skills – make sure to join us this coming Tuesday and be a part of the fun!





It’s time to get practical again with an old favourite, the green screen filming evening! We did a couple of these last year and they yielded some interesting responses from club members in using the clips in different settings, as well as earning some of the makers an award at this year’s OSCARS!


Whilst last time we ran with the restaurant theme, this year the reins have been loosened a bit to offer a wider scope of interpretations for the backgrounds any willing editors will wish to apply to the clips that will be based on script ideas from David Laker and Hugh Darrington – the latter bringing his own bus stop prop!


As ever we shall be looking for volunteers to fulfil both production and performance roles for this evening. I shall be bringing my clapperboard, but we’ll need camera operators, boom operator/sound recorder, actors, help in setting up the green screens, sets and pops , and additional scripts if we have time. 


Please let us know how you want to contribute by leaving a comment below – the more the merrier obviously, but we’d prefer not to have 20 people with cameras and no-one to hold the boom mic!


We hope everyone can join us for what looks to be another fun and productive evening at OVFM!



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.



It’s time for us to put what we’ve learned into action once again for another practical evening at OVFM. The program for this week’s meeting is outdoor filming.

Now, I know we can do this just be stepping into our own back gardens or walking down the street but this is about group participation, so those who are unsure about how to film in certain natural light situations, or need pointers on the way to frame landscape or vista shots or multi-coloured floral images can get some advice form the more experienced club members.

You might also learn about how to create particular in-camera effects through filming moving images like traffic, by adjusting shutter speeds or using different filters for when the light begins to ebb away. Or you could simply be asked to be the featured player in someone’s shoot if they have a flash of inspiration for a narrative film idea.

Of course we must add the disclaimer that this is dependent on how the weather plan to behave come this Tuesday. We might official be in the Summer months but that doesn’t mean Mr. Clouds and Mrs. Rain won’t put in an appearance and scupper our plans. If this should the case then I am sure a contingency plan has been formulated to ensure the evening is not wasted. What this may be I cannot say, but I think I speak for everyone when I say we hope we don’t have a repeat of last year’s OVFM Full Monty performance! I was still bleaching my eyes for days after that!

So, be sure to bring your cameras and join us for an evening of outdoor filming  – weather permitting – this coming Tuesday!



For this practical evening we are finally bringing to fruition an idea that has been proposed for a while but was never acted upon until now for a number of reasons.

Originally suggested by Colin Jones in 1974, the idea is to make a series of quick joke films in a restaurant setting, akin to the classic “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup” gag and variations thereof. The format is simple – two people play the diners, a third plays the waiter – thus should be easily achievable with the minimum of fuss.

We will have practice runs to begin with, but hopefully by the end of the evening we will have found a comfortable groove on the production side of thing and will have enough material for a couple of one-off films or maybe a compendium if we are lucky.

There will be an opportunity for members to have a go at a number of key roles that they are either experienced in or maybe have never tried before, the latter ideal for new or less adventurous members. These roles include camera operating, boom and sound recording , clapper, continuity, props, lighting, and of course acting! And if you think you might flubber your lines, we welcome ad-libbing too since our regular meetings always reveals a few budding comedians!

Help will be on hand for the novices and those who are not so confident making this the perfect opportunity to learn on the job as they say whilst having fun. Please let us know by replying below what role you’d like to take on – you don’t have to stick to just one, we want EVERYONE to be involved in this and have a ago at EVERYTHING – and if you fancy an acting role please also bring a change of clothes for the role most suited to you (for example: smart dress for the diners, shirt, bow-tie and waistcoat for the waiter/waitress).

Equipment that will be provided on the night is as follows:

  • Green screen
  • Lights
  • Tripods
  • Cameras
  • Sound recorders

But you are most welcome to bring your own cameras, maybe to shoot some “behind the scenes” footage. We would also like to request that someone takes some still photos of the evening for our records and future promotional materials.

Props in the main will be supplied by the Committee but if you have something of your own you think might enhance the scenario then feel free to bring it along with you, letting us know what you will bring in a reply below. Oh and of course, please have some jokes ready too! Without them we have no films.

The main purpose of this evening, besides the educational value, is to have fun and that happens most when there is a healthy number of willing participants in the group to make this possible. So, we’ll see you all on Tuesday for another fun and hopefully productive practical session at OVFM!