There are five Golden Rules that if followed in the production process will avoid summary rejection of any submission. The failure to follow these outlines account for 95% of rejections of all submissions by students and new producers studying to make or provide Landscape films around the world:
Do not shoot outside without sunlight because if you do your video production will be dull and look like an amateur production which will not stand up to scrutiny when shown alongside productions made by video professionals. Sunlight ads colour, it darkens the black and imitates film in a video environment, where post production can make it look brilliant. Many of the worlds greatest videographers now shoot directly to video and obtain stunning film effect because they use the sun and/or lights to make sure their production looks right. Shoot your production outside without sun and you will almost certainly get rejected. Inside make sure you use the right colour balance to match the available light.
Do not shoot one day in full sun and another with high cloud and think you can marry the two days together. Unless you are an expert or have learned the art of colour balancing the viewer will know the production has not taken place in the order you show it. At that stage you lose your audience so do not do it. If you lose your audience you lose your job. One shoot at one time to get it all is the objective and due to the short running time of Landscape productions every Landscape production should be completed in one day's shoot maximum, or make sure the sun or lights are the same consistency throughout every day.
Pop Music video makers and television documentary video makers cut their films to the dialogue or beat. It is extremely rare for them to use any other form of transition. Landscape as a general rule always uses 2 second cross-fade transitions between subclips except in exceptional circumstances. This is because the cross-fade does not demand the viewer to change attention and retains the attention from one sub-clip to the next through the crossfade without the audience being aware they are being manipulated from one image to another - thus retaining continuity throughout the clip. Cuts are only usually used to emphasise key music transitions or musical emphasis. This technique retains the relaxing flow of a Landscape Channel production and has been proven to work for most types of music we work with.
Landscape is working in a different medium of music from the pop world as it speaks to the audience through the film. Most Landscape music is one sequence broken into not very many subsections and the art of synchronisation is to change the film image at the time the music demands it should change - in other words the production process is being led by the music and not how most films are made. This might be through a musical key change, addition of subtraction of a particular instrument, sequence of notes that gets repeated (such as a refrain which is mimicked by the subject of the film) or the peak or trough of a musical movement.
The art of synchronisation is created by presenting the image that suits the film so that when the music is getting louder or softer the camera is following this feel. It may be that this is visualised by the camera rising up the subject in a tilt or down as fits the feel. It could be that something is happening in shot such as whereby water is dripping and exactly at the point where the droplet falls a keyboard note is heard to coincide with five that fall one after the other. Synchronisation should bring the image into line exactly with the music (not half a second off either way) but one where the ebb and flow of the music is reflected by the tight visual interpretation. This is the art of synchronisation and it is something that we look for in our productions. It is not haphazard and reflects the feel of the music. If you play your production to an audience and they look away because the production has passed their attention span the synchronisation is not right. The synchronisation should hold the audience attention until the very last frame and is the most important element of all Landscape films.
JERKS AND BUMPS
The second largest rejection of student films is not the quality of filming but the failure to understand that the broadcast industry does not usually work without a camera mounting or tripod. Neither does it show pans, tilts or pulls that include jerks or bumps where the image loses frames or jumps around. Similarly television and film does not work with hand-held cameras so if you do work off mounting your work is probably going to go no-where in the production process. Always work with a tripod or specialist mount if the camera is moving.
The best camera mounts available to students are fluid head tripods that can be bought quite cheaply or hired. However it can still be difficult to get a very smooth slow pan or tilt like commonly used in Landscape productions. One trick with a cheaper quality fluid head tripod is to place your hands on the top of the tripod just below the camera body and use your thumbs to push the body of the camera to the left or right without using the extension control arm. It gives greater control of the movement and less chance of a jerk for very slow movement. Always shoot more than one from the same position to ensure post production can recover the shot if you need it. Always repeat shots at least once to ensure you get what you intended and because we shoot in High Definition always look carefully at what is happening in the whole frame not just where the subject is.