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Set Markers and Follow Focus

Lesson 34 from: Guerilla Filmmaking

Ryan Connolly

Set Markers and Follow Focus

Lesson 34 from: Guerilla Filmmaking

Ryan Connolly

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Lesson Info

34. Set Markers and Follow Focus


Class Trailer

Day 1


Writing Your Story


Script Breakdowns and Shooting Schedules


Finding Cast and Crew


VFX in Pre-Production


Filming Gear: Audio


Filming Gear: Camera


Filming Gear: Lenses


Lesson Info

Set Markers and Follow Focus

First let's talk about what marks are uh let's grab some gaff let give me all three colors so setting marks you'll set marks for uh the actors you'll set marks for the focus the camera will have its mark so you won't really set come for it let's get the other thing yet who wants to be in a c appear so now you can so this is this is yours now this is your world you might say so if we have our actor you want act right here it's ok, let's get the camera happening right here let's get some lighting going I'm going to say right here let's get aquino let's get the forefoot kino right here. We're gonna put camera what's the camera doing this side actually, you know what? Let's get a little bit of that red wall so we could make it a little bit more interesting way so okay. So cutting gaff the easiest way to do is put a palm on it and rip sideways do it one more time if you try to rip it like normal tape you're gonna be there forever. You just put a piece your palm right on the edge there and y...

ou're gonna rip sideways and it's going to come right off pretty much every time give that a shot put your palm on it so you gonna pawn it mike griffin and then you're gonna rip it at an angle so the idea is the idea is you're taking it and you're ripping at all so you're ripping like piece by piece palm it and then angle you know it comes with practice no worries so the best way to do it though is grab with your fingers here palm it here angle uh josh gonna help him with that sweet figure it out so you're probably gonna be about here probably gonna need to move this guy into about here do you want to start setting up a back light for us so let's do a mole let's do it right in that corner there let's also get a dimmer on it on bill marine you morning. You want to get the two footer kino let's get this guy happening over uh you know what? Actually we're going to need to put uh ctb on that guy too. We're going to bring this over here next other side of the camp as opposed to this guy just about right here right next to the camera let's truck that in mind let's leave that for now but we're probably gonna turn it's five ways. Yes, we will turn it sideways so get hands on it see if you if you if you if you come up and bring it down it's not gonna work he's gotta have the piece so if I do I do this it's never gonna happen just take the piece and I start guiding it straight down this's coming up this is coming down let's give the diffusion on it and then put ctb over the diffusion doing diffused light we're going daylight on these guys and then we're gonna balance that a little bit I still wanted a little bit warm we're going to deming it so it's gonna be a little bit warm but it's also gonna be a little bit cool of a about our back right kick light on these guys you're good she's she's here she's gonna stay half in half of the war yeah we're gonna move let's do less of the right white wall just want to have it in in a bit could be interesting little number we're going to come out wide start come here second probably going to have to come up to look here thank so you look right here way are gonna have to come up let's come up to about right here uh I wanna help out with okay you're going to step here a little bit more keep the comment keep become and keep coming and that's good look at once so you're gonna need it longer than that about double the size and once we have our actor where we want them to be on the show so we're gonna pick a color for each actor so we're gonna have hers white we're going to have him as yellow we're gonna have josh is red ok so everybody's going to have the same color so they easily no this is my mark and then we're gonna create a t on the ground so we're gonna cut a piece put it right at where she should stop wearing a grab one more piece we're gonna make a tea which is really sloppy so she also knows what direction not just where she's going to stop but she knows where both her feet supposed to go what direction? What angle she was initially standing out we're going to do that for all the marks we set so that's our first mark as we go I'll start telling you uh when it's that marks and you can help him with that you're going to come a little bit more this way it's still down to touch we're gonna lock off we're not going to move for this shot make it you more this way and let's pan towards me that's good you come but mark step step in a bit right here right here over here here. Okay, we're gonna bring this guy. We're probably gonna go one bank on it. She got it just right across a lot of work let's take it up uh let's take it up a foot that's good right there solid ok like that let's mess with the background a little bit um let's move this cart let's mark stark let's get this three hundred what pulled up can help with that let's take this three hundred put a dimmer and c tb on it let's put it right in that room all the way to the opposite side of carpet of us let's just aiming at the couch and the picture way getting that actually pan in a little over so like the center of the beam should be where the framed picture is wei have that uh can we get these out of here so we can truck this further so get these out move this further to the wall I want a kick it on these guys swap today like could we take the house lights down, please. Wei light right now good way have our cookie let's get a cookie marine let's get our cookie going. Um let's do it right here. Why don't you come help with that privacy stand let's put it on a cookie. Put the cookie on the c stand right here facing this way and actually, you know what? We're going to need to utilize that dimmer so let's swap that let's just go uh no dimmer on this guy and then we're going to use that over there way might if that's too intense if that's too intense of for what we're doing we'll swap over teo clamp plate so let's throw this guy on a dimmer and we're goingto get that right behind here we're just gonna hit the wall right behind them that way okay so why they're setting the lighting with set our movement way mark stark okay, now let's step back here you're looking at her kind of then you're gonna look at him uh let's get you two take just a half step this way right on let's turn your body just the slightest bit towards may right there stop keep coming right there. Okay uh let's mark josh stark has come back and look at them let's actually let's bring you back a bit right there and you're looking at them good we're going to drop drop that diffusion off and when you mounted to the stand make sure you're mounting to the arm not just wrapping around because it'll slide right out uh all right let's mike mark stark's uh first position so there's going to be starts one they're going on they're not going to move in this so that's just there marks starks and a handsome marks s o we're going to call each of his marks one, two, three depending on where he's going we can call them out to cue him all right, go to your two you three start over let's reset toe one you ever heard that reset the one that's what it means everybody's going back to their first mark all right start your second all right you're missing it just a touch you need to go this way so just get make sure your foot's planet right on your mark there look up all right now you're gonna turn turn around for me and face them completely so you gotta move your feet and you're gonna land right here uh let's mark him this's your three well uh we didn't mark has one all right well over you do that that's fine so this is gonna be your third good deal hero I'll get that for you so you cut that I'll cut this get a longer piece yeah that's perfect it was god so close he's gotta practice with this stuff could be real pain in the butt when I first started it was the same thing in film school I got made fun of because I could not cut gaff tape to save my life okay, so that's your three let's get you back in your one josh still has trouble all right and uh let's mark his one here so try not to pinch it with one hand just let holding the gaff to the work we're gonna go down sideways now you want to buy gap tape practice with uh oh snap are ya all right, so that's your one now let's go to your two and then you're three and let's grab bill is there another follow focus on that grip cart is that we're on a job. God, you're so there's a lettuce direct uh follow focus I love this guy this is for when you actually have a, uh first a c doing you're doing your work for you you're already all over it. S o who wants teo pull focus. All right, come on over here. This side of the cam let's see if this is gonna work out for us I don't know how well this is gonna, so we're gonna have to go this side of the camera. All right? We're going to get this side, which is gonna be hard for other people to see e e it really is. So obviously this rig is not set up for this, but we do want to try out someone pulling focus just make it work. You grabbed that guy is my face on camera? I think americans another mean dang it that myself start stepped here next, but yeah, you're right your second set not locked in here. Okay, we got, so do we have a dry erase marker by chance, we fly that in, so what, these follow focus? Um, yeah now that's funny I was going to show what you did so we have a dry erase market we have this little wheel on the dry erase marker and we have some a signal fire on the top so he's going to pull focus fine words and focus and set his mark so he can just snap to those pieces with each move so let's get that that's going to be here too so go ahead just try to there okay let's go to your three and we're gonna wear that we want to focus on them and let's go to your one okay so you're one and three are going to be the same all right so we're talking about movement without moving the camera spiller does this all the time and if he doesn't sew so well hitchcock did it a lot a cz well obviously you see it a lot of classic films because the cameras were so massive there was no moving them around so they found other ways to liven up the frame and this is one really great way to do it and one way to get a really dynamic frame as well so start on action I'll cue you to your marks and you just head off to your mark so ready for this let's try it just one time and ready stark let's go to your two that were missing that focus a little bit a little soft okay, so now let's reset that too. Yep. It's little bit off. You just get a finger. That's. Fine. I want to just put a line there since you have the three three's gonna be a little easier to hit. All right. Now, let's, turn to your two or your three. Rather. And we're gonna go ahead and focus on what you missed it a little off. And we're gonna want to hit that once he turns that we're going to rack with him. So we're moving. Kind of his focus. We're mimicking what his focus is. All right, let's, head back to your one. Try it again and back up just a touch dark ready and to you too. And we're off just a bit. Me right there and to your three stewed again. I'm gonna kill you guys through everything and start we're gonna back up just a touch feel that free male obit turn your body a little bit kind of makes this balance hold it more stock stark is robot already? Uh, a little more natural body movement bagel already and we're focused on them. Yeah, alright, role you're talking, courtney, tell some start something shocking. No, you tell him something shocking, shocking. Start going you two you gotta think about this look off oh my god what are you gonna dio let's go again now you gotta look right right in your spot we're looking to do it again okay and uh come a little bit you're a little off your mark courtney come a little bit back on it all right start we're gonna turn the body just a little bit all right let's roll and action josh tell stark you're pregnant pregnant start todo start going to you know think about this wait a minute is it yours? Go to your three all right so you could see how it just with a little bit of dynamic movement like that you can really live it up a scene and we just did what could have been covered in three shots and just one shot takes a little more registration but it's muchmore interesting way to pull off this sort of situation indiana jones is a great example of this exact in autumn kind of ripping it off right now when I believe marcus is the character's name comes in tells indiana jones that they have the whole deal he steps into the shot that's pretty much how the scene plays off alright awesome let's move on to the next one so let's fly the table in actually let's just get a chair in here get a chair right here let's go to the right there that's gonna be a little short I think go ahead and find it uh no just the chair for now I know I know right here should do it and saying you want to clear these marks from the police yeah josh can you come here sick stay right here let's go down just a touch I'm going to say let's say three inches you like right here which is more than three inches yeah keep going keep going keep going down there right about there so then just balance that out that'll work sit down for me you know if you like was that pretty much what you're doing that's my m o let's truck about a foot to camera right on let's come back to about right here but still that's enough right there when I actually want to keep that angle a little bit okay and let's throw him yet left susie we're getting a little more headroom about about about that, okay? And marks we got our gaff come up uh any yellow's fine come this way and we're gonna frame him uh right still and you're gonna turn your body just touch that let's look more where same is josh and uh yeah, right there a little more to your right josh uh with your eyes that work a little more headroom on this mark vega got that focus get that focus that that mark that'll be is too nice so now you're getting it man yeah so if you're doing something like like this where you're the camera's moving around you have you're gonna have just a pile of people on that camera someone doing the focus someone yeah usually would have it I mean we usually don't uh when you do a job like this have you ever pulled focus before walter okay you have uh pretty much any of you could do this when your son is something this simple when you have mark one mark two marks three and you have to nail it because it is a very composed very spielberg and shot it's very easy to just go always going is to this the two came down three three okay, I'm done it's when you see the guys with the remote follow focus on a monitor just going like this is when you really need somebody who knows what they're doing I focus pulling is an art unto itself those guys are unreal in film school I had a teacher who had literally just thing was on a crane all the way up to the ceiling he's just looking at it going that's twenty feet that's eighteen that's fifteen and he was dead on it was like entirely sharpen the death field was about that and you nailed it all the way it was insane so I worshipped him I brought frankincense and murder and later so yeah that's an art into itself but if you have a shot like this you could pretty much get any anyone practice in a few times and will be able to nail it for you otherwise you're the one sitting there pulling focus yeah when you're in like an outside location where you don't have a really solid what other heroes could you use as some marks anything wave used bottles bottle caps sandals someone took off the shoe that put it there in proximity we had marks we had no well you can use gaff tape because that is pretty pointless it was dirt everywhere it's not going to stay there so we use things like rocks whatever you can use to set the marks this is the best obviously especially because the idea is josh go to your one don't look at it and go to your too so he can see in his perfect all this bright yellow tape on the floor without having to look down at it if he has something same colors the floor for anderton its rockets like where is that where's that rock but if he is something like this you can kind of see it really easily because there's so much contrast their brain good it's uh take him center just a touch more little more little more right there right there is good it's getting a little more headroom and right there is good actually just split the difference between what you just have figured right there you got your marks that's all right do you have your two because that's when it really matters okay ready? So josh you're just looking just relaxing and then I kind of look off a little bit just thinking about something and then uh can I get someone to stand here so he has something to look at and uh look it look at him okay? I'm just gonna talk you through this school, okay? Let's roll that's yeah there you go and he's thinking josh action he walks up he's saying something you don't like not at all step up in approaching too one more time for camera nice job on the focus uh the end let's put him you know, a little more right wait we should have a whip so his hands not on the follow focus that's on the camera that's making this a lot more difficult so you would have a whip which is something that comes off the follow focus a little loose rubber piece or plastic piece that healed then pull it from so he's not affecting what the cameras doing so this is a little bit more difficult for them but I believe in us as a team is a unit a little bit more right just pair board at other yes, we do good I I mean we got a bunch of stuff and shot that we're not worrying about obviously this is more about the shot but that is a bit distracting let's go a little more left a little more right there and let's give it just the slightest bit more headroom good alright riddick and roll joshua's relaxing he walks up says something you don't like more pissed and approaching one more time let's get him left framed so we want to land on the same sort of framing that we had when he was sitting yeah that I say right before sorry about that all right let's reset quickly get him back in his spot a touch more headroom just a touch right there roll ready josh action steps up says something you don't like little more pissed off approach awesome great job great job alright what switch around let's go right here. Nice move. We're gonna go right here. Stay about same angle and you want to be an actress, huh? All right let's let's swap the lighting around a little bit here let's go right here with this guy bad girl yeah, this is for the approach way get uh the kino here back in that corner so it's gonna be more of a back light on her actually one thanks um bill, you guys wantto get this guy's sideways for me I'm not gonna want it like right here yeah so it's going to be straight up and down you kick that off thank you what we're going for that right right here so you're right here what's approach a bit more keep coming keep coming keep coming keep coming right there um it's moving back just a touch so right where you were lets let's adjust that I don't change my mind he's the worst uh let's swap down to just one now let's stick with two balls now step back towards me right there okay let's go a little bit this way let's step a little bit forward okay and uh sam I want to mark this for me still down a little bit when you see that that's come up a little bit right there and now you're cutting those like a pro look this way so we get the reflections in the eyes are in the glasses so follow my hand all right keep coming right so you're not gonna turn your head past sort of so don't look past where the camera is cool actually know you're over here you're this side so let's move actually let's move this back a little bit just for that let's frame her this way more come come this way background from more interesting that's good wait actually flick those back lights back on that were on just a second ago kind of like that. Oh, what about all right it's uh a little bit more this way okay now step up towards me stop just that let's get what is that three hundred let's bring that over here um let's yes yeah let's mark that right there we're gonna bring it right here you can watch out you give me that chair too let's mess with cookie see what the cookie will do with this right right right here bill about right there let's raise that up keep it going all right let's put some diffusion on that and by some I mean a lot and let me see you back up on the suit that's gonna do color wass and let's double up on that c t b just fold it in half all right step up here you're one so this will be your one and you got that mark walter let's let me have you turn your body a little bit more so you're gonna be facing this guy right here that's pretty much this level but it's pretty much right behind walter is going to your eye line something so you look right here little bit higher let me see if you can look beyond that casey my hand here right about there is gonna be all right I got it let's go one single decision on that oh that's a bit it's a bit much and just hollywood it in front so I could see what it's doing let's, go no diffusion let's do know diffusion and it'll actually doubling up on the cctv did it for us. All right. So why they finish up the lighting? Let's rehearse the move. It's from her a little bit more right about there. Okay, go to your one guys ready to try this out and held down. They go and go, you two. Now you're gonna slowly back away and back to your one. Okay, so you're gonna approach him confident, he's going to approach you, you're gonna lose all confidence. You're gonna back away from him. Okay? I'm just gonna qu for it. So let's, roll and let's frame her a little bit more center than we are. We're going right right there. Perfect. All right and roll. Not yet. Let's, go back to your one, all right? And action and approach. Confident he approaches you. You back away, you lose all confidence back to your one good one more time. Make sure you don't shift your eye line here locked on him the entire time. Okay, so if you're looking around, you're losing interest in him, and we're losing interest in this scene. So make sure your eyes are locked on him the whole time, and when you back away, sort of, give it a you don't know what he's about to do back away okay what's up no you're gonna walk on my cue so wait for all my cues for everything are you ready? Let's roll and action approach you're too confident very confident he approaches back to your one and good so basically what we're doing there is we're switching power positions right? So josh is sitting we got a high angle slightly looking down on him we're doing it very, very subtle and she approaches him probably says something to him right he's in sort of the week of position he looks at her and then he shifts everything on her and we do that visually he steps up, steps up to her, we give him a very massive power position actually and then she backs away back into a weaker position and were even doing that with the lighting, which somebody was asking about walking through lighting we're doing that right now go ahead and walk into it so we got a warmer, more confident light here happening there and then she backs into a bit of a cooler light right there I wouldn't do it is drastic it is as it is right now I would try to balance it a little bit more I'd want to warm that up just a touch but you see the general idea of using all these things happening all at once that kind of convey the scene that you're trying to convey, that makes sense when we could edit this together in the next segment as well, and we have any questions, or do we want to just go out now? So one of the questions was when directing actors, do you dictate their every move or like you did with the placement of the gun? Or do you give them a lot of creative control? Ah, that entirely depends on the scene, the relationship you have with the act of the type of actor I like to give. So in rehearsal, that's, when I give my actors time to move around, um, maybe we should actually settle until we're done with the questions that is kind of loud, let's, settle it, then we'll do this after the questions, so in rehearsal, I'll give them freedom. Josh, josh let's hold off on this that we did with the questions, because can you give them freedom to move around? Sort of start finding the scene that way? Uh, you, you know, you make a plan, but you don't have to stick entirely to that plan. If you do, you're going to hurt the film because I've said it all the time said it so many times you write three times you write the script then you write when you direct and then you write when you edit three phases of writing this story for me and it always shifts there's been massive changes in all of my films once we got on set on we're following through things just changes your doing you find something new and interesting, especially with what the actors are doing if you cast well, I mean, you hear it all the time for really good directors. I agree with this one hundred percent directing is like seventy five percent casting when it comes to actors, you don't cast the right person and you're screwed, you cast the right person, they're going to take your film from here toe up here, they're going to do things you didn't expect that it's just amazing the words that you wrote are like flying at you and you're like, thank you, thank you for blimp bringing life to my words so it's a little bit of both, but I find it in rehearsal and then we usually stick to that. But if we're going and we're getting into the the motor there, seeing the emotion of that seem like I was talking about before all oftentimes get an idea and toss it out them and see what they do with it, sometimes we won't rehearse a certain things, so they're a little off guard when it happens sometimes if they're very new actor which some actors is this makes them very angry but there's a story of a director who actually fired the starter pistol you ever hear that story and the actress didn't know it was gonna happen and she lost it seems amazing because of it but she was livid we did that too an actress once we could not get this girl to cry or freak out we're like okay and you hear the shot and she's like uh and you hear the shot? No and you hear that? So I went over and I said, hey, when I say when I nod take this hammer frickin nail this metal desk he did, she lost it, we got the shot was amazing moved on and she was like like the other actor that wasn't even in the scene was more mad than she was she was like that worked why'd you do that the other actor with like what? That but it worked and sometimes when you're dealing with very amateur actors, obviously if you're dealing with seasoned actors who are solid, which I adore them, you're not going to do stuff like that they don't need that this is their craft this is what they do for a living they can conjure these things out of nowhere it's amazing and I respected to no end but if you're working with friends you do things to get them in the place you want to get them there's a scene in pms lahar movie where I needed one of my friends when he looks down to be scared and it's comedy but I'd say you know, look down look scared he's like I'm like okay but look down and you're terrified he looked down and someone's pointing a gun at you and then I kid you not it's immature but I go ok look down and act like you smell like somebody passed gas and he's like cut moving on you know so it's like finding ways to get the reaction from that I'd be in the main way I work with children too is like okay, now this happens finds a way to relate to them and talk to them on their level if that answers the question I kind of went on my own tangent now let's get any others? Yeah, absolutely nerd girl wanted to know is it necessary to mark additional focus if the distance between the beginning point and end point is longer I love the name first of all, they're girl that's fantastic actually nerd girl five thousand there girl five thousand so is it more difficult to nail the focus if there's a long distance between the two? Is it necessary to mark additional focus if the distance between the beginning like the media s so you would usually just rehearse that if you're working with an experience, focus puller again, they're just going to know the throw of that lens, and they're gonna be able to follow them perfectly and just know where the end, but you can't do that create distances, which stark was talking about, where the gate signifier is on the lens and that's when you see people with tape measure that's what their mayor measuring from the measuring fromthe subject to write exactly where the sensor is and that's what you're going to pull focus too, so you can actually look on the lens and if it's at ten, feet, you measure it out to ten feet, you set it to ten feet, you're gonna nail that focus so you could actually set points and watch their feet when they hit that point. You know you're supposed to be a ten hit that point where you're supposed to be at six and then their final mark eyes that three feet, so you can do that, especially if you're new at pulling focus. You could definitely that's probably a really good idea. It's a good question, and you always need a separate person for follow focus. As I was saying before I mean I usually put my own focus to my dismay I hated so much and there's no one to get mad at me when I don't nail it I'm like you idiot and I'm like I'll try again but having a focus puller is obviously what you would rather dio especially somebody who knows what they're doing especially shots like this going to be really difficult because j k is just focusing on nailing that framing because you know it's a difficult move making sure all the framing stays from one to the next and walter are king slayer is working on just nailing that focus so everybody just has their job and that's you know when you're operating at your best when you have a bunch of people that that's what they're there to dio and they're there to nail it on, it works out much better that way and again focus pulling is very difficult there's an art to it but at some level like we're doing here today you could really have anyone just practise it for a little bit and they'll be able to handle it for you. All right, one more from zach goodwin what if you want the feet in the shot? How do you establish a shot from the feet, a zara's marking and everything else if you want to feed in the shot yeah, you wouldn't do marks you would just rehearse it with the actors and they'll figure out their own marks. Josh does this all the time. If you look at it like the floor here or wherever you are, it's not one solid flat surface with no differences, we have marks all over the place. So if they can figure out a way to where maybe he's approaching her for a second, he looks down and then looks back up. You figure out a way to add that into the performance nobody's going to like, oh, he's looking to hit his mark, you know, it's going to be part of the part of performance report and some actors, I mean, I can see that this marcus right here so you could somewhat hit that, and then the follow focus might not be your marks for, for the focus might not be perfect, but focus puller is going to be able to be up for a bit shy that go back and you'll now so you're not going to put marks on the floor, but you can do in different ways, you know, I'm directly in line with this tripod that's my mark.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

1080p Screen Insert
2.40 Aspect Wide Screen Template
Rule of Thirds
Storyboard Template
Storyboard Template
Class Footage - 1
Class Footage - 2
Class Footage - 3
Class Keynotes
Stark Assets
Guerilla Filmmaking Outline
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Samuel Befekadu

I bet this class will be awesome. the course is given by Ryan Connolly!! I have been watching this guy for more that 5 years. I just wasn't serous about film making then. but now since i love film making why not try to be one of them by learning form the best in the field like Rayn. he has been inspiration for a lot of film maker from his YouTube channel Film Riot. his way of teaching so funny and entertaining . I bought this course to learn Ryan Connolly's killer skill. Thanks creative live and Ryan Connolly!

Will Green

Great class! It starts at a very simplistic level and covers the full spectrum of filmmaking. I would not necessarily buy this course for advanced film students, however it is an amazing review for beginner students to intermediate students. I would love to see a BTS of a short film from start to finish. I've seen all of Ryan's BTS shorts and I would greatly enjoy a much more intricate play by play of the short. THAT"S SOMETHING I WOULD PAY A LOT TO SEE. An 18 hour compilation of prepro - post of a short would be awesome.

Jonathan Beresford

Love Ryan and everyone at Film Riot. Excellent course of the excellent quality I've come to expect from them. I just wIsh he'd act more. So funny.

Student Work