Judges Hints & Tips
Friday, January 15, 2010
We asked our judges to give their top tips for producing an award winning Sleek Geek Science Euerka Prize short film. Here are their suggestions.
For inspiration seek out a video/ad/doco that you thought was good. Maybe it's a David Attenborough documentary, something you saw on YouTube or even an entry from last year's competition - do not under-estimate the professionalism and imagination of primary school or high school entries. What made these pieces good? Re-watch programs for inspiration and try to
incorporate elements that worked well in your filming or presentation style.
Use Your Time Wisely
Really think about the one most important message you want to get across, rather than trying to pack a zillion bits of information into the 3 minutes. Remember you have 3 minutes (so use it wisely) but if you can make your point in 2 minutes (difficult) then do that.
Take time to plan, script, scope locations and collect the right equipment. Rush jobs are REALLY obvious to the judges and rarely do justice to the concept you are trying to communicate.
Try to choose a topic that will stand out - remember this is a competition which attracts a lot of entries and entries have 3 minutes to make an impression that lasts - part of this is originality. For example, if we get lots of entries about Newton's Third Law, then an entry about solar cells might score higher on originality because fewer entries used this topic. In addition, a new take on a popular topic can also be effective.
Get Your Mates Involved
Your team doesn't just have to be made up of science students. If you have friends who with media production skills for example, ask them to give you a hand. They might have access to the equipment you need and be able to give you tips on how to make you film stand out.
It is About the Science
The purpose of the Sleek Geek Eureka Science Prize is to get you to explain a scientific concept in an entertaining way - so there needs to be real science content and it must to be explained. No matter how professional your entry, if the science content is slim or not explained, it won't be judged highly.
Use A Test Audience
Show your entry to your friends, family and neighbours (this is called a "test screening" in the movie business). Watch your audience's reaction and ask for their feedback - the Sleek Geek's talent lies in explaining scientific concepts in an accurate manner (for the scientists) and so that anyone can understand the concept (the lay person). Make changes where necessary.
Audio and Visual Quality is REALLY Important
OK, so not everyone's audiovisual quality will be perfect and we do want to emphasise that production value is not the be all and end all - however - the quality of the sound and picture needs to be good enough for judges to be able to see and hear the entry clearly enough to make a fair assessment. In the past, the quality of sound recording - especially of voices - has sometimes made judging difficult.
Here are some tips to achieve the best possible sound quality:
• Minimise background noise by filming somewhere quiet and out of the wind
• Consider using a voice-over
• Use a microphone if you have access to one. It will improve the sound quality dramatically
• Don't put music over voices so they are drowned out
• Always check your audio quality before sending your entry
• The following websites have some great tips on basic video production:
www.current.tv/make/training , www.channel4.com/fourdocs/guides/index.html and