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28 October 2014

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Teachers' Notes - Directing and lighting

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To accompany the website, ICT Advanced Skills Teacher Paul Sibson has written a set of Teacher's Notes.

This section suggests ways to tackle directing and lighting for a 60 Second Shakespeare in the classroom.

Lighting is very important in any video and can make or break the movie. It's important to get students thinking about this vital aspect of filming.

  • Ask the students to think about lighting next time they are watching a movie.
  • Challenge them to question why a director has chosen to light a scene or actor in a particular way.
  • Remind them that all lighting in any movie or TV programme was chosen by the director for a reason.
  • Encourage your students to make decisions about lighting before they begin any filming. Do they want to film outside? Do they want to use extra lights on particular characters, and why?
  • Make use of other rooms in your school where it is possible to black out an area and then light with spotlights.

    If you have access to an Interactive Whiteboard or data projector you could use these to project any image the children want behind their actors. (This can help to set the scene but can cause problems with shadows and cause flickering effects, so take care when filming. It's also worth bearing in mind that you will have to use copyright-free images otherwise the films will not be able to be used on the 60 Second Shakespeare website).

  • Directing the action Some students will not want the pressure of acting in front of a camera or even on audio, and would prefer the role of director. Direction is very important and cannot be taken for granted by students.

    Encourage the groups to select one person to take the role of director so that they can keep their focus on that one very important job. They need to make decisions about where the actors should stand, where the lighting and camera should be placed and try and encourage the actors towards a performance that will tell the story in the way that the group has agreed.

    It is a good idea to get the groups to write down a list of what they want their story to look like, to establish the mood they are trying to convey. This gives the director a set of guidelines and also means that they can refer to it with the actors of there are disagreements.

    Suggestions for warm-ups exercises

  • Forum theatre - Freeze a moment in the play and ask the director to explain to the class why they have placed the actors where they have. Students can then make suggestions about different set ups and positions.
  • Use the whole class as directors of one play. Stop the actors at key points of a play and ask the class to make suggestion about the direction and make decisions and requests of the actors.
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