Step up your Filmmaking : Setting The Tone (EASY GUIDE)

What’s up everybody? The Dukes Movie here and today it’s a beautiful day outside, but we’re talking about setting the tone. It’s the second video in our ongoing series of stepping up your filmmaking and, ooh, I am excited, happy that you’re here, happy that I’m here, and happy that it’s a beautiful day outside.

Pete, you might be asking, what do you mean by “set the tone?” Well, I mean this, essentially setting the tone is your first impression. When someone goes to a theater, when they watch something on the internet, on Netflix, on TV, the first couple scenes, the first couple minutes, even seconds of that piece are going to set the groundwork and set the tone for how your viewer is going to feel emotionally, connection they have to it, the mood, all of those things are portrayed in the very first moments of watching anything online, or in the theater or on TV. So we want to make sure that we set the tone to accurately depict what it is that we want portrayed through the screen. Frame rates, sound, music, color, light, all of these things are what we need to take into consideration, to keep in mind, to plan beforehand so that we know exactly what we wanna get, how to capture it and how to convey that. And I want to take a quick minute to thank today’s sponsor for this episode, Squarespace, if you need a website, a blog, a store, essentially if you need an online presence, these are the guys to go to. It’s an all-in-one platform where everything is done for you, you don’t have to worry about things like patching, updating, installing, none of that. It’s all taken care of. Lots of beautiful award-winning designer templates to choose from to best suit whatever it is that you do, domains made easy, award-winning 24/7 customer service so you’re never gonna be left hanging. If you wanna make that jump, head over to Squarespace.com/mckinnon enter code MCKINNON at checkout and save 10% off your first purchase. Okay, let’s talk frame rates.

How does a frame rate set the tone? How does it create a tone? How does it make someone feel something different just by changing the frame rate? I’m gonna show you a sequence of clips that was shot at 120 frames a second, and then I’m gonna show you that same sequence at 24 frames a second. I want you to visually see, without audio, without any music, what the difference is, how it makes you feel. Think about those things, okay. Here is the 24 frames a second clip. Okay, say nothing, keep those thoughts. Here’s 120 frames per second. Okay so you’ve seen both frame rates now. How do they make you feel? 24 frames a second and the 120 frames a second. The 120 frames a second feels a little more cinematic, as we’ve talked about before, it’s a little more slow, methodical. The 24 frames a second feels a little more like okay, something’s gonna happen and something’s gonna happen quickly. Like this is going somewhere faster. Whereas the 120 one you’re like “eh this is slow” might be a bit boring, there’s no audio, there’s no music, what are we trying to say? So just already by you watching the same thing in a different frame rate, it’s already communicated to you a different feeling. So when you’re shooting something, you’re thinking “I want something to be really intense “and I wanna catch people’s attention right away.” Well, chances are you’re gonna want to shoot at 24 frames a second to do that, now that you’ve experienced both clips. If you really want to convey stress or speed or intensity, you’re gonna shoot at something like 24 frames a second because you want it to be fast, you want those cuts to be quick, you want those clips to come in and come out, and not give people time to really understand what’s going on. You want to use that shaky cam technique and you want to run with the camera. You don’t need it to be as stabilized because you want it to feel raw and gritty. All of these things come in to play.

Here’s an example of my friend running from one end of the bridge to the other and grabbing his backpack. And we just shot this at 24 frames a second, I just ran holding my camera, no stabilizer, but you’ll see how that shaky camera conveys a very stressful, intense situation. Okay, so let’s talk about sound. How does sound affect the tone? Now sound is very interesting. Your brain actually processes the audio before the visuals. I think I’ve told you guys that before, so that’s why you hear a lot of people say sometimes “oh audio’s more important” because even though you’re seeing something, if you’re not hearing what you’re seeing, there’s a disconnect, there’s a miscommunication between your eyes and your ears, hearing and seeing. They need to work in tandem. So if we just hear the footsteps and then we hear the wind blowing and cars honking and just the overall atmosphere, that just helps inherently, subconsciously, fill in the gaps and tell a better story, which also helps set the tone. Music is a huge contributor to the tone. We can take that slow-mo clip, play it with some sad music. We can play it with some epic music, we could play it with some hip-hop and you’re gonna feel three different things and we’re gonna set three different tones straight off. Here’s an example of that.

Pretty sad, kinda lonely, the sad music goes with the slow-mo. It’s kinda sleepy and you’re like “oh, all right.” Let’s change it up a bit. Ugh, totally different. It’s like epic and way more substantial. Those clips, each clip means something different when that music is building. We’ve set a completely different tone and made a completely different mood change. People are gonna feel totally different things when they watch that versus that. Okay, remember that clip of my friend running through the bridge with that shaky camera? Now let’s try that with some intense music to pair that shaky, intense camera shot with some intense music. (tense rock music) Okay, I’m gonna stop it right there. Let’s add some sound into this clip, maybe some sirens and a police scanner. Can you see now how the layers are adding and it’s become more and more and more, right? So we shot at this intentional 24 frames a second. We intentionally ran to make that camera shaky and add that stress. To match that stress, we put in some stressful, intense music that has a very high beats per minute. Now we put in some sound effects, some sirens to go with that stress like someone’s being chased. We put in the police scanner sound effects. All of these things have now created this clip that really does set the tone so much better than it did before we had any of those things, and that’s because we thought about the different aspects. We thought about those things before we shot them and we went out and got exactly what we needed to get. Point number three, how does light affect the tone? Well, take a look at the scene we’re in right now. I’m in the living room, it’s nice and bright, white and clean and happy, but if I do this, now I’m in a cold room. How different does this look? How different does this feel? Now we’re surrounded by concrete, it’s way more lifeless, it’s way colder. It’s a completely different vibe, it’s a completely different tone. If this whole episode started like this. What’s up guys, Peter McKinnon here and today we’re talking about how to set the tone. Different things in your videos that you can do to pull up different emotions from your viewers.

Hope you guys enjoy it. Ugh, horrible! It’s so boring and uninterested and depressing. Look where I am, such a stark difference, just in my inflections, just in where I’m standing, how I’m lit, you go back at watch the intro from the beginning. What’s up everybody, Peter McKinnon here and today, it’s a beautiful day outside, but we’re talking about setting the tones. It’s the second video in our ongoing series of stepping up your filmmaking and ooh, I am excited. We’ve set the tone completely different. This is gonna be a fun video, I might learn something here. Opposed to what that was. You’re gonna be like “how long is this video? “nope, not sticking around.” Okay, point number four, we’re gonna talk about color. How does color affect the tone? Well that kinda comes in the color gradient. It’s very cold outside when we shot that B roll, so in turn, I kind of dropped those cool temperatures a little bit more towards the blue side to really get through that it feels and it looks like it’s cold outside. Look at this footage I shot the other day at the beginning of my Q&A;. I was out in the middle of a frozen lake, it was windy, super snowy and frozen. It looks super cold in this footage. It’s also a little bit blue.

Now, let’s just crank that temperature to the right, make it way warmer and just see what that does. It does not look as cold at all. If you’re watching this footage you’re like “yeah, it’s snowing, cool it’s slow-mo.” You don’t feel cold while you’re watching it. Now if we drop that temperature back down, this looks more like winter, this looks colder. You physically feel like ooh, that looks cold. You don’t have that thought when you’re watching it with a warmer tone. Same thing with the shots over Toronto. The warm tone adds more life to the city, the cold tone takes more life away from the city. If you’re looking at me right now I snap my fingers, now I’m a little more warm. The scene feels different, opposed to me being a little more cold. Maybe I wanna up that contrast a little bit. All of these little color adjustments are gonna change how you feel while you’re watching me speak. So point number five is that you need to think about all of these things before you shoot something. What is my goal in telling this story? Am I trying to drive home a point that I’m really passionate about? That I think needs to be addressed in a very intense matter, then that is how you need to set the tone. You need to take the proper steps to set that tone. Maybe your video is just a thank you video, you want it to be loose and fun, so you’re gonna say “I’m gonna shoot it nice and wide” a big wide-open space with nice light, it’s gonna be happy music, it’s not gonna be colored too warm or too cold. I just want it to be neutral and relaxed, and that’s exactly the mood that’s gonna be conveyed while people are watching that. So you need to know what you want before you start shooting.

You’re gonna get the best results if you know what you want and you set out to do it by setting that tone. When someone watches something and there’s intentionality behind it, it makes you feel good, like you know thought was put into something. You know they shot that for a reason. You feel something for a reason. All of these things are subconsciously communicated to your audience and they feel better for it. It’s gonna make people feel, and that’s what we’re trying to do, that’s the goal. And that’s where I’m gonna end it today, guys. Thank you so much for watching this video. I hope you learned something, and I hope you’re inspired to go out there and think a little bit differently about all those different layers and how they can help you make better videos. Okay, so hit that like button, don’t forget to follow us if you aren’t already, and, and I’ll see you guys in the next articles.

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