Running out of things to do this CB? Here's how to get started in making short films

Running out of things to do this CB? Here's how to get started in making short films
PHOTO: Pexels

With two weeks left in the circuit breaker, I'm sure most of us have exhausted the list of new activities to do at home. Whipping up dalgona coffee, doing home workouts, performing TikTok challenges — we've tried them all.

But if you're still searching for a new activity to unleash your creativity, why not try making a short film at home?

You can even stand to win cash and prizes from Canon by submitting your film for mm2 Entertainment's filmmaking challenge, Love Within.

From now till June 5, Singapore residents can film a three- to five-minute video revolving around the theme of love at home to take part in this challenge, organised in collaboration with AsiaOne and Cathay Cineplexes. Obviously, you can only feature people residing in your home.

Sounds exciting? All you need is a basic camera and these seven tips to get you started.

1. Think of a clear story

Before you start filming, plan out the story you want to tell. Having a brief story outline will give you easy reference points when filming.

It could be a comedy skit, a heartrending drama or even a vlog-style video about a day in your life.

Alternatively, if you want to capture the unique circumstances we find ourselves in, why not tell a story about how you and your family are coping this period?

You could document the daily routine of your family members or show how your lifestyles have changed.

2. Involve your family

For most of us, being with our family 24/7 is rare. On a usual day before the circuit breaker measures kicked in, we were mostly out-and-about doing our own things.

Take this chance to involve your family (or anyone you are living with!) in your mini-project. Cast them in your film or even have them assist you with lighting or sound-recording.

This might turn out to be a fun family bonding activity to look back fondly on.

3. Use your household items or furniture as interesting props

Being at home doesn't mean you are restricted to dull backdrops and boring furniture. Interesting props might just be hiding in plain sight.

Have some empty toilet rolls? Why not try this DIY spotlight that will transform your bedroom into a stage fit for a diva?

Or if you want to transform your bedroom to a LED dance floor, try changing the colour of your LED lights with cellophane.

4. Familiarise yourself with some camera basics

Planning is one thing, but operating the camera itself is a crucial step. Even the entry-level cameras might seem intimidating with all its buttons and extensive settings.

For filming a simple video, there are a couple of features you can focus on:

  • White balance: This determines the colour accuracy of your shots. Under cooler lighting conditions, set the white balance to a higher value. If you find a warmer tint to your shots, decrease the value.
  • ISO: This is your camera sensor's light sensitivity. The higher the ISO, the higher the sensitivity to light, and the brighter the image. Note that a higher ISO will also cause more 'grain' to appear in your video.
  • Frame rate: This refers to how many frames are recorded during every second of the video. A lower frame rate will add more motion blur to your video and vice versa. If you wish to shoot a slow-motion segment, increase your frame rate.
  • Aperture: This refers to the size of the camera lens' opening. The smaller the aperture number (f-stop), the larger the opening and the more light passes through the sensor. This means that the depth of field will be shallower i.e. less of your frame will be in focus when filming.

5. Vary your shooting angles

Instead of constantly shooting at eye level, use different angles for different visual effects. For example, simply lowering and positioning your camera below eye level can give your subject a larger-than-life effect.

Also, think about using the space within your home. If you have a staircase in the house, try a top-down view. Or try stepping out of your house and shooting through your door grilles.

Some cameras have swivel LCD screens that help capture creative angles more conveniently. Instead of straining your neck to see the camera display, you can view the screen comfortably while taking any challenging high or low shots. 

If your camera comes with this neat feature, take advantage of it and explore all angles!

6. Jazz it up with soundtracks

Inserting suitable background tracks can help complete your film.

Add in slow, melancholic tunes to complement the sentimental visuals in your film or add in upbeat music in the timelapse of a physical workout. Search for royalty-free music on websites such as Free Music Archive and Bensound

Alternatively, you can consider doing voiceovers, or get your family members to sing or narrate in your film.

7. Piece it all together

So! You've done the work — now it's time to piece it all together. There are several robust editing software available online, suitable for both Windows and Mac users.

Tip: edit a rough cut of all your video clips first by placing them in the sequence of your story flow. Then do a finer round of editing by refining your transitions, adding animation or titles, syncing soundtracks, etc. 

After all that hard work, don't forget to submit your film for the Love Within challenge!

The challenge is separated into two categories — a Professional category meant for members of the media community and an Open category for everyone else. Whether you're a novice or an expert, there is an opportunity for you to shine.

The top six winners will bag a cash prize of $2,000 each and each category winner will receive a brand new Canon EOS camera.

For the champion in the Professional category, this will be an EOS M6 Mk II kit (with EF-M 15-45mm) worth $1,409. For the Open category, the top scorer will receive an EOS M200 Kit (with EF-M 15-45mm) worth $809, and a choice of a workshop/course to enrol in at Canon Imaging Academy.

Don't wait anymore — grab your camera and get filming!

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