Future Directions at International Film Base

May 29, 2013 by · Comments Off on Future Directions at International Film Base 

Colm O'Murchu

Colm O’Murchu

Today, I have placed two short films on the blog. They belong to the 4 Month Film School in Sydney and Melbourne.

On Saturday, June 1st, I will be Film Instructor on my last Sydney 4 Month Film School. The 4 Month Film School will continue with our new exceptionally gifted Film Instructor, Allan Brady.

I worked out recently that I have been Film Instructor on 171 Student Short Films that include the following film schools.

  • One Week Film School
  • Four Month Film School
  • Advanced Film School (where so many quality Films were made.)

It has been fun over the years.

Please have a look at the Melbourne 4 Month Film School – May 2013 – 11 minutes –  Made by Film Students

Allan Brady, our new teacher will be taking over the teaching position  and will now be the main Film Instructor on our 4 Month Film School in Sydney.

We first started our Film Courses in 1997 and in 2004 moved to the current Hands On Practical based film courses we present today. In the last decade we have trained numerous film makers who are now full time making their living from their own feature films and documentaries or are working in the film industry as film crew.  It is always a pleasure to meet some of my ex film students who are doing so well today.

Over the last decade,  I have managed to make two of my own feature films, The Elixir  and  The Makeover. I was also hired to direct  a third feature film “Dealing with Destiny” a $1 million budgeted Australian Feature Film. I have also worked professionally as DOP on numerous high quality films over the years.

Location Hunt Outback Photo

Location Hunt Outback Photo

I will now focus on my Indie Film Blog http://colmomurchu.com/ and my next Feature Film project,  Absolute Freedom.

Later this year I will once again be on set directing my fourth feature film budgeted close to a million dollars. The Film is called “Absolute Freedom” and will be shot in Los Angeles and the Australian Outback. This will be my main focus for the next year and I believe this film will be an exceptional high quality feature film. I am certain that will this film will be  seen by tens of millions of people around the world.

Location Hunt Outback

Location Hunt Outback

I will be blogging about our progress on this film production over the next year and it should be a fascinating journey. I love independent film making and I see the present as a very exciting time to be involved in independent film making. I believe that you will enjoy the story of making “Absolute Freedom” as I tell it over the next years.

Please have a look at the Four Month Film School films made by the recent Sydney Four Month Film School called   “Deceit” The 4 Month Film School Films  are made by virtually all beginners or highly inexperienced film makers and considering this, they turn out to be commendable films.

If you want to learn professional film making, we have our 4 Month Film Schools starting in Melbourne next week on June 4th and in Sydney on June 29th.

What is Continuity? Why it is so important when making films.

May 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on What is Continuity? Why it is so important when making films. 


Continuity Person on our film set Dealing with Detiny

I am sitting up here in Palm Beach about 40 kms north of Sydney. I am watching the sunset over Kuringai National Park reflecting on a few different shoots that have happened recently on the Four Month Film School.  One of the areas that seems to be an issue time and time again is the thorny issue of Continuity.

Today I would like to outline the three most important aspects of continuity in relation to shooting your film. Continuity is so important. It is one of the areas that the emerging film maker consistently overlooks with negative consequences.

I would like to break continuity down into four areas.

  • Acting continuity
  • Props Continuity
  • Costume Continuity
  • 180 Line

1. Acting Continuity.  

UnknownActors need to do the same action and say the same line in different shots and different takes. I love to demonstrate this  in Film Class.

We get actors to play a scene a certain way in the master shot. The actor may pick up the glass with the right hand and then wave with their left hand. Then we shoot a Close Up  where the actor picks up the glass with the left hand and then waves with the right hand. Then we edit the two shots and see how bad the scene cuts. Now we do this on purpose for demonstration purposes. However, so many film makers make this very mistake with their actors on important film projects with detrimental results to one’s film.

Make sure that your actors are trained or are exceptionally aware of continuity. Motivate the actors by letting them know if their continuity is exceptionally good , its means that their close ups get more screen time.

Have a laugh and look at the continuity error in “Precious”, an Oscar winning film.

Secondly, make sure you hire or recruit an excellent continuity person who watches the video split screen for these errors. A good Continuity Person will pick up when an actor has digressed from important actions or has forgotten key lines in their speech.  They are worth their weight in gold. Good acting continuity differentiates the amateur film maker from the professional film maker.

2. Costumes:

Another area that can be challenging to the emerging film maker is costume continuity. Generally, the wardrobe department will keep tabs and photos of all costumes worn by the actors. However, on a micro budget film, the film maker may not have a wardrobe department.

In this case, you need to keep very good photos of the actor before you shoot the first take in your scene. What this means is that you can refer to this photo as you shoot the scene. If the actor goes to lunch and takes off his tie, it is reasonably easy for the actor to forget to put the tie on for the afternoon shoot. This can cause very bad continuity issues.

Also, when the next scene in screen time follows the previous scene, continuity becomes very important. What if you are not shooting the next scene for a week. Who is going to remember what the actor was wearing?  Often the actor will forget.

However, if you have a photo of what the actor is wearing, the correct costume can be found and the next scene can be shot with the actor in the correct clothes rather than an embarrassing continuity error.

3. Props Continuity

It is a very important to get prop continuity correct. When you start shooting a scene, you may start with the master wide shot. At this point take photos of the whole film set and exactly where everything is.

Later when you are shooting the Close ups, it may be necessary to move the table and the props. Then at a later point you have to shoot another shot that shows the table again in shot. You will have to put the table back exactly where it was with the exact same props. This can be difficult if you have forgotton to take a photo at the start of shooting the scene. This can be another source of continuity errors. So take the photo of the set at the start of shooting the scene.

Also, if there is action such as a fight, props may be moved and then have to be replaced for the next take.

4.  180 Degree Line 

Now what about the 180 Degree Line. This one is always a challenge for the emerging filmmaker. Place the camera on the correct side of the line and you will never make the worst continuity mistake of all continuity mistakes. Please look at this video courtesy of the  New York City Academy. This video explains the 180 Degree line and Continuity.


The micro budget or full budget film maker should have a really good continuity person on their film set who watches continuity like a hawk. They should observe actor continuity, prop continuity and costume continuity. The continuity person should take photographs of the whole set and the actors costumes. If all of this is observed properly, you will have a film that you can cut in the edit suite later. This also ensures that the editor has maximum cutting choices in the edit.

If you are very keen to learn this in practice in a hands on environment on a real film set, please look at our four month film school in either Melbourne or Sydney.