Finally, I have a film to submit for UWA Science Communication! It is still to be submitted, but as soon as I am able I will get it out into the world.

In the meantime, here is the first 12 seconds!!

I thought I would comment on some lessons learned. This has been a great experience, and I hope to do more of this.

1. Write a good storyboard, but be prepared to ignore it. Get to know your talent’s work/background before you interview him/her. Revise the storyboard after having an intro discussion with your talent, and use it as a running sheet during your interview. Again, it still may go out the window in the editing.

2. Audio, Audio, AUDIO! Use good mics and watch for background noise. Its a killer. I used a decent shotgun mic and I still had noise problems. It just goes to show why professionals use lots of expensive gear (oh, if only uni provided…)

3. Get as much material from your talent as possible. Everything, stills, videos, random stuff. You never know how you can use it, and a good library of it is essential during editing.

4. Really important. Don’t be afraid to reshoot parts of the interview. There will be little things in each take that you don’t pick up at the time. You need options in editing.

5. Think hard about the cinematography. This is an art. Consider what’s in the room for the interview. Watch the lighting. Pay attention to things like what is behind the talent’s head! Depth collapse can be a big problem in photography, it’s also a problem in film. Focus pull and depth of field are advanced things that may be out of the student’s reach with borrowed gear, but if you can manipulate it, do it wisely. Don’t zoom or pan unless you’re good!

6. Science communication DEMANDS ACCURACY. Be careful with your talent’s material – be prepared to reject it or correct it if it delivers an incorrect/inconsistent scientific message.

7. Remember all those docos you’ve watched over the years that you love. Have a look again – there are good lessons there on what works well on film.

Finally, and most importantly, HAVE FUN – this is great fun, from the storyboarding, to the direction and filming right through to the edit. Showing it to friends is no where near as awkward as you might think!

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