We’re Stillmotion, a band of filmmakers and storytellers who, as a rule, always let our curiosity get the better of us.
And what kind of band would we be if we didn’t go on tour?!
From September – November 2012, the Stillmotion crew packed all of our gear into an RV and hit the open road. Yep, there we were — a small group of filmmakers cruising across the country with C100s in our hands and a dream in our hearts, spreading our message of storytelling.
The KNOW Tour!
We traveled from coast to coast, offering a one-day intensive seminar to anyone who was as hungry to learn as we were to teach.
“I learned more in 12 hrs than I did all 4 years in college.”
“Stillmotion’s KNOW seminar rocked it.
I now have solid direction with where I want to take my career.”
“All I can say is that this workshop is going to completely change the way I film weddings, events and commercial work. This is a life changing workshop. I only hope that none of my competitors who were with me at the workshop were listening!!”
Why the tour?
Well, we’ve come a long way as a company in seven years…
But we definitely got here the hard way.
We started in weddings, transitioned into commercial work, got connected with the NFL and Showtime, and basically just worked our asses off. We have a ton of documentaries and highlight reels to show for it — you can read our whole story here.
Somewhere along the way, we found our voice — and that’s when things started to change. We started making our wedding films unique by letting go of paradigms, and focusing on what made each couple different.
But we could have got to work doing what we love a lot sooner if we’d found our voice in the beginning, rather than after years of doing projects that we felt little or no personal connection with.
That’s why we made the KNOW tour.
We knew that there were a ton of filimmakers out there getting their start just like we did — caught up with industry standards and “doing things the right way” — instead of the way they really wanted to.
We traveled around North America spreading our message, our story, and our technical know-how. The filmmaking industry can be competitive, yes, but not so much that we can’t share our knowledge with other filmmakers.
Stillmotion doesn’t believe in keeping our techniques a secret, because such a big part of our message is that we stress the importance of staying true to story — and no two stories are the same.
Where’d we go?
The KNOW tour visited 36 cities all across the USA, and we had to make a few stops in the homeland — Canada! It was, in every way, the all-American (well, North American) road trip.
More specifically, we visited…
Salt Lake City
New York City
It was a lot to handle in 2 months, but we saw some incredible sights along the way. Traveling to so many places in such a small amount of time reminded us of something…
There are a crap ton of stories out there!
That’s one of many ways the trip was inspiring for us. We met so many new people — some who were nothing like us — and some who were just like us, starting their film careers, wanting to know how to use a tilt shift…
More importantly, they wanted to know WHY to use a tilt shift and WHEN it’s appropriate.
That’s what KNOW was truly about — finding purpose and meaning behind every choice you make during the filmmaking process, and knowing that the choices you make need to be relevant to your story.
What did we cover?
KNOW was composed of two different seminars that covered all the beautiful stages of filmmmaking: The Filmmaking Seminar and The Editing Seminar.
It went something like this:
Module 1: What is a Story? The first step in being a strong storyteller is being able to identify what a story actually is, as well as what makes for a strong story. How do we then take who we are and use that to tell our stories in a way we connect with? What techniques can we use to discover and develop the stories we want to tell? In this module, we explore a wedding example as well as a commercial example, comparing the two and discussing similarities and differences in the approach to storytelling.
Module 2: Lenses, Composition, and Camera Movement How does your lens choice, how you compose your image, or how you move your camera relate to the story you are trying to tell? What is the difference between telling a story and telling a story effectively?
Module 3: Light and Lighting Understanding the basic properties of light and how to work with it in any situation. Simple-to-advanced interview lighting. Lighting any scene: from a short to a wedding.
Module 4: Audio Understanding lav mics, boom poles, shotgun mics, both on or off camera, and field recorders. Knowing how to capture the audio that you need for your story properly and effectively.
How long do you hold a shot? How long should a sequence live on screen? What emotions can the color cyan evoke when placed in the shadows of an image? How do you balance audio for maximum impact?
The editing seminar is aimed at helping the seasoned professional, photographer, or hobbyist understand the tremendous potential of storytelling in post. Go beyond what you’d “normally do” or what people “expect of you” and edit with a deeper purpose.
Consider the individual elements of the story and how you will complement them through shot length, sequences, seamless transitions, and countless other editing techniques.
Come away with a vast collection of tools to tell deeper, more meaningful stories, while halving your time behind the computer!
Looking to find your voice?
We directly helped filmmakers find their voice on this tour.
In that sense it was an absolute success, because that is what we set out to do with the KNOW tour.
But there are more than 36 cities in this world!
There are thousands of filmmakers still trying to find their voice, and some who haven’t even started looking yet. While the KNOW tour has come and gone, we’re still doing everything we can to help filmmakers who feel they haven’t fully found their voice yet, and want to take their work to the next level.
Just before we set out on our tour, we decided to create some resources. We wrote the KNOW Feild Guide To Filmmaking to act as both a handbook for all things independent filmmaking, and a collection of our own stories and experiences as a studio.
We also created the Deconstructing A Main Feature DVD, where we break down our decision-making process for every step of a wedding feature, as well as the Making the Most of Short-Form Edits DVD, where we discuss, well — how to make the most of short-form edits!
These are incredible resources for any film studio or storyteller, and we are really proud of them! If you have any questions or interest in learning more about our educational resources and future workshops, head to the Stillmotion store and check out the goods.