UNLIKE the SMCRE (Sender, Medium, Channel, Receiver, Effect) communication model that relates to the profession of journalists, broadcasters, writers and even educators by involving a sender, message, channel and receiver that ultimately generates an effect, the matter of art creation, exposition and appreciation is quite different and I’ll attempt to delve into it while this Covid-19 pandemic has caused a limiting effect to my day-to-day chores.
I was a college instructor for over a decade teaching media methods and techniques in two universities and generally, my students were able to relate with topics like radio-television production, photojournalism, newspaper layout and web page design but I observed that very few can excel in the later or manifest a good narrative that is important in heading a story.
I often discussed the importance of primacy and latency or the first and last effect to my students telling them that they should also hit the heart of their audience with creativity in writing a journal, radio or television program or a short video story as readers and viewers can be intellectual and also emotional. Tele-viewers scan channels with their remote controls looking for something interesting and most readers today are impatient to read long titles and they prefer brief but concise heading before they go over the narrative. I also noted that in a newspaper, front page headlines and photos must be creatively captivating as broadsheets are usually folded and most people just glance at newsstands seeing a mosaic of printed papers as they walk-by.
As a visual artist who engages in media works, I’ve been wanting to relate these mass communication approaches to the varied disciplines of arts like painting, dance, music, literature, architecture, theater or performing arts and the celluloid arts of cinema and photography as these so-called seven arts also target audiences as their yardstick for success.
Visual artists like sculptors want their works immortalized in public parks and facades of town halls, painters want to have solo exhibits in big and notable galleries and dancers, singers and theater performers aim for big gala or concert halls while architects aspire for landmark projects and literary artists for award-winning publications and poor me, I have none of the above.
Well, they say once a teacher, always a teacher so I have developed a workshop module for smartphone video-documentary and film-making which is equivalent to a 52-hour 3-unit major subject in college. So why smartphones? Nowadays. smartphones are not only used for talk and texts but for hundreds of other uses including medical and scientific researches to mention a few. One the particular application that has put smartphones in good use is on the area of information and education and this includes filmmaking or video production.
As a non-expensive tool that democratizes audio-visual production, one can already engage in movie production and with the proper use, appropriate applications and creative utilization by its handler, outputs from smartphones can even be at par or comparable with those taken by big production firms with big budgets. In 2015, a film entitled Tangerine about two transgender sex workers became the first film shot on an iPhone to feature at the Sundance film festival. It is filmed on a super low budget using an $8 phone app that delivers a close-up, social realist edge to a story that crosses the boundaries of drama and documentary.
For a starter, may I share few tips for shooting with smartphones in both Android and iOS. One must Plan a shoo ahead of time and be ready with the right gear and accessories. To avoid interruptions, enable the Airplane Mode to keep a constant bit flow to its storage device when recording. If you want to produce documentaries for big-screen presentations, shoot horizontal and not upright or portrait position. Try to learn screen directions that aid viewers to understand the flow and spontaneity of your scenes better without visual jumps or lack of connectivity. One must also compose like an artist and plan image perspectives like an architect.
Like a master photographer, make lights work for you by avoiding back-light and shooting under direct sunlight. As a rule of thumb, take as many shots from varied angles but must not shorter than 6 to 7 seconds. And, for easier editing after the shoots, you must label every shoot of footages appropriately when saving it to the hard drives of your computers. More on these tips in my succeeding columns.