« Previous | Main | Next »

Lights, camera... what?

Post categories:

Will Will | 15:49 UK time, Thursday, 26 May 2011

Hi Lito and everyone else -

Yesterday I had an interesting experience that some people reading this might have had before. I went out in London to shoot two short films.

My background is radio, not TV, so it was a new experience for me. We only had a small crew but everything was a lot more inconvenient and took a lot longer than recording a radio programme!

The reason is that it is very easy to edit audio but it is difficult to edit video without causing continuity errors. That's why when you make a film you often have to retake scenes from a different angle or from further away or closer up. If you are making a documentary you also have to take a lot of cutaway shots. It all makes the editing easier!

A BBC film crew

A BBC film crew (not my film crew!)

The videos will appear soon on the bbclearningenglish site. Do any of you like making films? Or do you prefer to just watch them?! For all you cinephiles, I have created a cinema quiz at the end of today's entry.


Lito, I enjoyed finding out about your hobby of going to fish markets. The fish market in London is called Billingsgate. I have intended to go there at 5.30 am for a long time but I am much lazier than you! But I did once visit the massive Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. I ate sushi for breakfast - it was very fresh!

If you feel that you've been ripped-off by them in getting fish that you bought in high price, I must say no you haven't, because its worth it.

This is a great use of that phrase to rip someone off / to be ripped off. If you are ripped off it means that you have paid too much for something. Your preposition here is wrong though - we should say 'at a high price'.

Here in the city where I live, person like me that loves eating seafoods are gathering every friday at fish market not buying a ice preserved fish but a live and fresh one.

There are a few little mistakes in this sentence that probably tell us what some problem areas are for you: plurals, present tenses and verb forms. Compare it to these sentences:

Here in the city where I live, people like me who love eating seafood gather every Friday at a fish market. We don't go there to buy ice-preserved fish but fresh, live ones.

Notice that I have turned your sentence into two sentences... In written English, it's best not to try to fit too much information into one sentence.

Lito, what I want to know is: what happens next? Do you have any good fish recipes?


Well done to everyone who tried last week's homework, because I think everyone got it right!

1. cold = chilly
2. cloudy = overcast
3. changing all the time = changeable
4. a hot day / period of time = a scorcher
5. light rain = drizzle
6. rains heavily = it chucks it down
7. humid = muggy

I was pleased to see that some of you had tried to make sentences using last week's weather words. However, let's just take a look at how to use that word scorcher. Iva wrote:

To be honest, I would rather enjoy some SCORCHER days on the beach in Varna, Bulgaria, but for the time being I have to pass my time in MUGGY Amsterdam.

... and vn_nghia wrote:

I'm from the southern of VietNam that the weather is almost SCORCHER and not CHANGEABLE.

These sentences aren't quite right because scorcher is a noun and not an adjective. Take a look at these two example sentences:

This summer is going to be an absolute scorcher.
It was a scorching (hot) summer day.


I thought I would continue the theme of filming with a cinema quiz! This will test your knowledge of English and also film trivia. Enjoy.

  1. Cinema is sometimes called the WHAT screen? a) bronze b) silver c) golden
  2. Which country has the world's biggest filmmaking industry? a) USA b) Nigeria c) India
  3. What is the missing word? "Lights, camera, _______!" a) action b) cut c) act
  4. In what country was Catherine Zeta-Jones born?
  5. Where did Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn go on holiday in 1953?


To shoot - to film
A crew - the people who shoot a film (not the actors but the technical staff)
To edit something - to create a sequence in a film, TV or radio programme by putting together different parts of a recording
A continuity error - A mistake in a film or TV sequence. For example, someone might open a door but in the next shot we see that the door is closed.
To retake - to film another time
A cutaway shot - A short piece of film that is not of the main subject that can be used to help edit a sequence.
A cinephile - someone who loves movies.
Trivia - this is a non-count noun which describes knowledge which is useful in quizzes but not in everyday life. E.g. You must invite Martin to the pub quiz. He knows so much football trivia!


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Will and everyone else,
    I really have not yet had the experience for making the films. Practically, I prefer to record the clips on some trips or special events: the wedding day, Lunar new year by my mini video camera.I like this because I would like to keep everything truthfully: the sight, color, sound, emotion. I think afterward these will be good memory. So I always save these clips carefully.
    Below is answers to this week's homework:
    1. b) Cinema is sometimes called the silver screen
    2. a) USA has the world's biggest filmmaking industry
    3. a) The missing word is action
    4. She was born in Wales
    5. No idea
    Thanks for your reading and feedback.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Will and everyone else,
    Here is my answer:
    1- Silver cinema
    2- USA
    3- Action (I'm not sure between Action and Act which is an abreviation)
    4- Wales
    5- Rome (for the movie 'Roman Holiday')

    Thanks for all your tips in grammar and vocabulary.
    See you soon!

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Will and everyone,

    How's the weather where you are? It started rainy season from yesterday here in Tokyo. As you may guess, it's raining:(

    Here are my answer to this week's homework:
    1. silver
    2. India
    3. action
    4. UK??
    5. Rome

    Speaking of making films, as I am just an office worker, so I don't have much those kinds of experiences. But I have been in a film once, as an extra!! I remember they shooting a lot for one scene.

    Bye for now

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Will and everybody!

    Thank you for your post, Will! It's really interesting. I cannot say that I'm a film fan. It means that I cannot spend the whole day watching films, but I like going to the cinema. And, although, I haven't shot any films so far, I'm sure it's exciting! You're lucky! Anyway, here are my answers to your questions:
    1. Cinema is sometimes called the silver screen.
    2. India has the world's biggest filmmaking industry.
    3. "Lights, camera, action!"
    4. Catherine Zeta-Jones was born in the UK, Wales.
    5. Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn went to Rome (in Roman Holiday).

    And, yes, it would be nice to learn some good fish recipes!

    Everyone, have a nice Sunday! :)

  • Comment number 5.

    Hello Will and hello everybody.
    I am Lukshi and new here on bbc.I live in Vienna. But I am thai. My english is not so good because I have no opportunity to use it in Vienna just sometimes. In Vienna we speak german,that why I need to practise my english now. For what do I need english? Because I love this language and when I was young(in Thailand), I always dreamed,that one day I will speak perfect english. But I know that it´s impossible. And now I would like only to understand some . By the way I wont like making films but I like to watch them.Will! Every time that I read your topics I like it very much ! nice to know you. And also nice to know everybody!



  • Comment number 6.

    Hi there,
    Thanks a lot for another wonderful post. Do I like making films..can't answer this questions as I've never made any film in my life. I think, If I got a chance to make one I would like it. What I am definitely sure of is that I like watching films a lot. The last one I have seen recently is the 4th part of Pirates of the Caribbean which was as good as the previous ones.
    Thank you so much for giving us new vocabulary.
    Looking forward to reading your next post.

    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Will and the rest of the group,

    As always very interesting your blog (topic, vocabulary, homework) Thanks a lot!
    I love watching films but I prefer going to the cinema to watching them at home. I thing there is magic in the cine but I sometimes enjoy a lot the view of an old, classic film on TV.

    My answers: 1) silver screen
    2) India
    3) action
    4) Swansea- Wales
    5) Rome - I was 13 years old in 1953 and I fell deeply in love with Gregory Peck at that moment. A nice memory the film and the actor and actress.
    The best for you and looking forward to your news. Beatriz-

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry people, I made a mistake:
    In 1953 I was 15 not 13, now I´m 73, a lot!

  • Comment number 9.

    Hello Will....

    I like to watch movies . If it is good film I do not look other where. But I like most edit movie. I am good in editing . But it is difficult for me to edit audio and video together. These type of movies are available in Asia specially in Bollywood . Hero and heroin are singing and dancing. Very rare those scene in Hollywood movie.

  • Comment number 10.

    hello william
    i am fresher here
    i have question but i dont know where i should ask it
    so if i am asking in the wrong place i apologize in advance
    in the part of word in the news in this site i saw this sentences:
    "it may look like"
    why it is not
    'it may looks like"?
    tnx william

  • Comment number 11.


    Cinema is sometimes called the silver screen. There are two other colour expressions that come to mind: the black and white films, and blue films.
    Here's a BBC link to explain what the blue movie is about
    I think the world's biggest film-making industry is in India. I once shared a flat in the UK with two Indian girls and learnt about Bollywood and the film industry in India. Although there was a TV set in our house, my mates soon brought Indian videos and watched them rather than BBC TV programmes. As I didn't understand the language of the films I didn't find them very funny, but my mates were hilarious about them. - I think it's Lights, Camera, Action. Catherine Zeta-Jones was born in Wales. - Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn went on holiday To Rome in 1953, in a film.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.