Last week I took a look at a pair of recent episodes from Film Riot–the Revision3 series known for simple filmmaking tips delivered in a fast-paced style. Those two episodes (113 & 114) focused on how to recreate Harry Potter-style special effects. After one more movie-related effects episode (115, which we’ll get to below), the show is back to its more traditional video production topics like camera techniques and coverage.

Film Riot Tutorial: Camera Techniques

Film Riot Episode 116 (August 1) is all about camera techniques, simple camera angles and moves that a novice filmmaker might take for granted.  Connolly shows all the different shots and angles, but what is most important in this tutorial is the reasoning behind each of these techniques.

  • Do you want to emphasize what your character is saying more, or less? Decide if you want to use a close-up, or a medium shot.
  • Do you want to give your character the feeling of being trapped? Frame the scene where it looks like the character has nowhere to go.
  • What perspective are you giving your audience? Connolly talks up the final scene of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, a bird’s eye view of the aftermath of a violent sequence, and how that plays to the viewer.

Film Riot Tutorial: What Is Coverage?

Episode 116 follows nicely after Episode 112, just before the show went on that string of visual effects episodes.  Episode 112 was about coverage.  What is coverage and why do you need it?  In this very informative episode, the show takes a simple scene of two characters talking to each other and explains how to break the scene up in order to make it more interesting.

Master Shot

The first part of coverage is shooting a master shot with the two characters both in frame, and shooting the entire scene with that one shot.  But you don’t want to make that the only shot in the presentation because it can be boring, unless you have a really good reason to do otherwise (Connolly even explains when using one shot might actually be a better technique).

Single Shots

So the next part of it is shooting individual characters in a single shot, and again having them do the entire scene.  So in a scene where two people are talking, you have a master shot and a single shot of each character, and the editor can choose which shot he wants and make the scene flow better.


The next part of coverage the show talks about is inserts, where certain important actions are given their own shot.  In both instances here, one character is passing an object to the other, emphasizing the action and making the story clearer to the viewer.  Another type of shot that breaks up the action and possibly makes your scene more interesting is the cutaway, where something off screen gets its own shot and is inserted into the story to add texture to the overall presentation.

Film Riot Special Effects Tutorial: Cowboys & Aliens Effects

A day before Universal Pictures’ Cowboys and Aliens came out, Revision3’s Film Riot took a stab at creating Daniel Craig’s wrist weapon from the movie. Episode 115 (which aired July 28) shows how to create the alien holographic display just before the weapon fires, and the firing of the weapon itself.

In this episode, host Ryan Connolly talks about creating three different images using Photoshop, and then taking those images into After Effects to enhance them. It’s a pretty neat, cheaply-done effect Ever the accessible show that Film Riot is, they give the effect away for free, making the images available for download with a link they provide.

Those are simple tips for someone trying to make videos for the first time, and together with the other episodes they’ve created, shooting a simple movie or video becomes easier.   It’s always good to know where to start, rather than just standing around and trying to figure out what you might need in the editing room later.  It’s impressive the knowledge and resources Film Riot doles out on a twice-weekly basis, all done with humor and humility.