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Making your celluloid dream come true!

Everyone across the country loves to watch a film. Be it young or old or from any part of the country, the love of films runs parallel with the love for God and crickets in any order. We spend close to three hours watching a film unfold on the screen and our mind gets lost in the fiction world that plays across in front of our eyes. But do you know what goes making a film that transports you into the world of fantasy? Today, we’ll talk about the film making process that transforms an idea on paper into a three film that each one of us enjoys.

In broad sense, the film making process can be divided into three stages:

  1. Pre Production
  2. Production, and
  3. Post Production

Lot of people are involved in making a film. For film lovers, it offers ample opportunity for career development in many fields whether it’s in the writing field or director or animation and cinematography, editing etc.

The whole process starts with the film concept or story. Once the screenplay (blueprint of the film) is ready, the writer either approaches the Producer or a Director with it. Once it’s approved, then people are taken on board to prepare for the production. That is why it’s called the pre-production stage.

Pre-production stage involves hiring of cast and crew for the film. Here it’s the producer’s prerogative to either finance the film himself or get some third party investments for the film production. A number of crew members are signed for the production and it’s during the pre-production stage, meticulous planning is done for the film production such as storyboarding of the film, budget planning, shooting dates, coordination between various artists etc. From the director and his assistants to the Production Manager and his assistants to Costume Designer etc, all play and active part to prepare for the film production.

Production implies the actual shooting of the film which involves lots of coordination work between the cast and the crew on scheduled dates. In order to prepare for the shoot, the production team reaches the stipulated venue and sets up base along with the lightmen and the art direction team. Art direction team and the lighting team often set base before the others as art direction and lighting setup takes much longer time.

The actors then get ready with their costumes and makeup etc in according to the role etched out for him or her. During the pre-production stage, they are given copies of the screenplay to rehearse their lines. On the shooting day, they practice their lines again in conjunction with the director incase there is any change. Once everything is okay on the set, the scene is shot. Just before the shoot, the director or his assistant calls for silence, then cues the sound recordist by yelling Roll Sound and the camera operator with Roll Camera. An assistant director or the clapper then claps the sync clapper shut with the director then telling the actors to act with Action. The take is done with when the director yells Cut. If for some reason the director is not happy with the shot, he asks the actor for a retake till he gets the perfect shot. At the end of the day once the planned scenes are shot, the director tells Pack Up or Wrap Up to indicate the day’s shoot is over and to pack up for the day. Throughout the day, it’s either the Assistant Director or a Script Supervisor who’ll make a note of all props and accessories used in the shoot so as not to miss the continuity issue in the shooting of the next scene. At the end of the shoot, the director and the heads of other department decide on the requirements of the next day’s shoot. Accordingly calls sheets are prepared and distributed to all the crew and cast members before they leave for the day.

Once the complete scenes of the film are shot, film making process moves on to post production stage. Post production involves developing the exposed prints (film reel) and printing it on a positive film in a specialized laboratory. The scenes are then assembled in a narrative manner by the film editor on mechanical editing machine. Alternatively, the editor might transfer the footage on a video tape through a digital technique called telecine which is a common occurrence nowadays as most editors prefer editing and assembling their film on a computer through Avid software or something similar. Background score, animation, graphic etc is easy to add to the film this way.

Alternatively, the editor may use the exposed negative directly for editing purpose by scanning the uncut negative, edited and digitally altered e.g. colour correction etc. through the computer. The other post production functions are also carried on these scanned film. Once the complete post production activity is done along with titles, background music, animations etc, an internegative is burned out to film through which the final high quality release prints are made.

Once the film is ready, its advertising and marketing begins through various media activities targeting the audience. The rights of the film is also sold to video companies, broadcasters etc which is another source of income for the producer other then through distributors. It’s then released in theatres across the country and the world through its distributor who may have come on board either in the preproduction stage or after the film is completed and they had a sneak preview of it. Music rights, in film advertisements are another source of revenue for the producer. It’s then left to the audience to either make the film a colossal hit or a super flop. For a career in film making, visit http://www.bpftio.org.