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!


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.




Apologies in advance for the vagueness of this preview but while the theme of the next club meeting is a Workshop evening, where one of our knowledgeable members shares their expertise in a certain area of film making or post-production, I have little else to add to that.

I can tell you that our archivist and head projectionist Andy “Elementary My Dear” Watson will be demonstrating editing with Serif Movie Maker but I cannot share any specific details with you as Andy has sloped off on holiday and won’t be back until just before the meeting! I can only assume that Andy will take us through the basic set-up, explore a few features of the editor and share a few tricks with us he has learned but other than that, the content of his presentation is a mystery.

By the same token that makes the evening a little more enticing and gives it a sense of danger since we don’t know exactly what to expect!

Can you handle the tension until Tuesday?

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 Tuesday May 26th 2015



For our next club meeting we shall be inviting another member of the film making community to come to our humble meeting place to share their wisdom and advice with us.

The guest speaker this time is no stranger to OVFM having paid us a visit in the past. know for his technical expertise and for keeping his eye on the latest developments on the equipment side of the film making world, his columns can be read in the bi-monthly Film & Video News magazine.

I am referring of course to Tom Hardwick!

Tom Hardwick


Tom has a presentation ready for us which he says has “something for everyone” and with his years of experience and wealth of amassed knowledge you can be sure Tom will be true to his word on that front!

Filmmaking is an endeavour where one is always learning  and one of the best ways to learn is from others so make sure if you yearn to improve your knowledge, to be there for Tom’s presentation on Tuesday night and make  sure to give our guest a warm OVFM welcome!

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

Scriptwriting with Celtx Pt 2




Part 2: Writing Your Script


Hello Folks


Here we go with the second part of my Celtx demo. If you missed the first part or need a refresher, you can find it HERE.


On with the lesson!




Presumably you have already written a synopsis and a treatment (a scene by scene telling of the basic story) and have your characters and other essential information all worked out and added to your Screenplay catalogue (such as props, locations, cast, etc) on your Celtx project which means we are ready to go.


The first thing to remember is that Celtx works on a predictive basis, meaning it is programmed to recognise and suggest which instructions you want to use next (eg: dialogue, action, scene heading, etc). This is very handy as it saves you much time in typing out names as well as guiding through the various stages of the scripting process.


Always keep an eye at the bottom left hand corner of the workspace as this tells you what function will appear if you are to press the “Enter” key or the “TAB” key.


To begin you’ll notice in the top right hand corner of your workspace, the action tab should automatically be set to “Scene Heading”.


Click in the document writing space and a grey box will appear. If your story is set in the outdoors you’ll want the “Exterior” note abbreviated to “EXT.”; conversely if it is set indoors your want “Interior” or “INT.”.


Click in the grey box and type the first letter of your location and it will offer either and E for “EXT.” or an I for “INT.”





Then type your location description after it followed by a “–“ then if it is “DAY” or “NIGHT” :




Hit enter and it will move to the next line. Notice the Action tab will now read “Action”. Start typing the first scene of your story.



When you come to a character’s name, it is possible that you will need to highlight them then click on the “Notepad” Icon on the small box at the left hand side of the workspace, select “Character” from the list then click “Add”.




This will highlight the character’s name in red to mark their first appearance in the script and will store it for the catalogue for writing dialogue.




When you have written your passage, you will notice in the option of continuing writing or if you press “Action” you can start a new scene, or you can press “Tab” to the first stage of writing the dialogue which is “Character”.



Type the first letter of the character you want and the full name will appear in a dropdown box.




Press “Enter” and you are ready type your dialogue. If you want, you can add a parenthetical (or a “wryly” to give them their professional nickname) by pressing the TAB key once.





If you don’t need a “wryly” then press TAB again and it will revert back to Dialogue.:




Just continue this process to flit between action, dialogue, characters (remember the names should always be capitalised) and scene headings. Usually the Scene Heading option will appear from the “action” mode, when it believes you have come to an end of a scene. Just hit “Enter” to start a new scene and follow the previous steps.





You can also add shots into your script by clicking on the action box at the top and selecting “Shots” (N.B – you will also find “transitions” and “text” options here too but I’ve not yet used them so I’ll skip them for now).




This again works on a predictive basis so all of the shots are stored so you just need to type the first letter for the options to appear:




While it will take some time, you will get used to the tab/enter way of working and build up a steady rhythm which I hope you will find much easier and convenient than having to keep stopping to change idents, capitalising and typing names and other formatting nightmares.


That’s the basics for writing your script. Next time I’ll look at some of the additional features that makes Celtx has to offer to make this a more inclusive experience as well as some of the functions for an aesthetically professional looking script.


If you have any questions please reply to this thread and I or anyone else familiar with this software will try to answer them for you.


Until then, thanks for reading!

Scriptwriting with Celtx Pt 1




Part 1:  Getting Started


N.B – Celtx has changed a lot since this article was first posted. In 2016, they moved their operations to a cloud based service  to encourage online support and collaboration, as well as being able to push their subscription services since the basic version of the software was free.  However, the free version of the software is still available from external providers, with the tiny caveat of needing to run it whilst connected to the internet for the features to work.

For a beginner and the basic level we are going to be working at, what the free version provides enough to cover this. And hopefully, the software hasn’t changed *that* much that the fundamental principles outlined in these articles aren’t still relevant.


Hello Folks

Further to the recent Celtx demo I gave at the club meeting on the 12th of November, I figured that since there was a lot of information to impart at half an hour wasn’t long enough – plus my awkward presentation skills probably made it seem like a load of garbled nonsense – it would be more helpful to add a blow-by-blow guide to getting started with Celtx here on this site, for people to refer to whenever the need arises.

As before I will be concentrating to the absolute basics as there is a lot to take in and a lot of the functions available in Celtx probably won’t be used by many of us anyway.

First off you need to download Celtx – for free – from this website celtx.en.softonic.com/


On the front page you’ll see this download button:

Once the file has downloaded, run the .exe file and Celtx will be installed on your PC.


When you open Celtx you will see this front page with the various script options available to you:


Obviously we will be using the “Film” template but if you ever fancy ago at writing a radio or TV show or a stage play the option is there for you. There are also demo versions of each of the options for you to peruse to see how Celtx works and what it can do for you.

Once you’ve opened the new document you need to set the format so got to “Script” in the toolbar and select “Format Options”:


The best option is to select “A4” for paper size (as the US setting doesn’t print correctly) and you can select to have “one”, “both” or “none” of the scene numbers and dialogue numbers displayed. “Pagination” simply adds a dotted line at the bottom of every page of the script page to show you when writing where the page ends, This again is a personal option:


Now, to save time – assuming you already have your story and characters all ready worked out, you can “add” all your characters to the catalogue at the start of the process for convenience sake.

 To do this go to the “Project Library” box on the left hand side of the screen and select “Add Item”:


Then select “Character” from this list and simply enter the name of the character(s):


You can do this other items as well at this point if you so wish or you can add them as you go along.

Now, you are ready to begin writing your script which we will look at in the next instalment of this guide. Click HERE for that.

Until then, thanks for reading!

OVFM Club Meeting Tuesday April 2nd 2013

Filmmaking is not as easy as it seems as I am sure we have all found out. It’s one of those areas where one never stops learning no matter how long they have been involved in it or how much they think they know. This is something that is recognised here at OVFM hence our annual Q&A Masterclass.

For our next club meeting a panel of experts – including such knowledgeable luminaries as Cap’n Chris Coulson”, Reg “Bomber” Lancaster and Professor Mike Shaw – will be on hand to share their years of expertise and experience top answer any questions you may have that is troubling you with regard to filmmaking. Shutter speed, exposure, aperture, sound levels, HD vs SD, key framing – whatever it is you can rest assured our panel will do their very best to provide an answer for you or they will publicly sing the greatest hits of Celine Dion on the roof of St Augustine’s while dressed in tutus!!

So, if you desperately need some advice or are just genuinely curious about something that this is your opportunity to put that right. And don’t be shy in asking something that may sound simple – we all have to start somewhere and chances are you’ll be doing someone else a favour too by asking!

Hope to see you all on Tuesday night and on behalf of the panel – bring it on!! 🙂