TODAY -

Understanding the works of Independent filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar
- Part 3 -

James Khangenbam *

Haobam Paban Kumar addressing a press meet at Russia in 2018
Haobam Paban Kumar addressing a press meet at Russia in 2018



Topic: Difference between Script and Screenplay

Q : What is Script and Screenplay ?

A : In Documentary film or a Drama, we use the term script but when it comes to film it is call Screenplay. In Manipur, many people come from the background of Drama and the word script seem to be more in use than screenplay. There is a process of writing script. From idea comes script.

There is also a process of writing screenplay and from story comes screenplay. A screenplay should be written by somebody who knows Cinema. It is always good when the director writes the screenplay himself, however the story could be written by somebody else.

Screenplay is actually the visualization by the film director. A good director writes their own screenplay or else he will collaborate with someone who knows him very well. In the second case the director works collectively with his collaborator.

While writing script or screenplay one should be very careful as producers are very clever nowadays. Earlier we were told that there should not be any technical word while writing a screenplay as the producer lack knowledge for the same. The writing should be so detail to make the producer understand properly. Even dialogues are omitted and put in the last part of the write up to avoid mental block during a swift read.

Nowadays there is an international format on screenplay where you need to describe a minute of your film in a single A4 size paper. So, if you write the dialogues of your film you occupy lots of space on your paper and you lost the changes of describing your film in detail when you exhaust your paper.

After the script or screenplay, you will start your shot division, then comes shooting script and planning. During shot division cameraperson are also involved, it is a team work.

Q : What is a Script Writing Lab ?

A : Participating in a script writing lab is very good. Chances of winning resources is very high even if you did not win fund, obviously at the end of the lab you will acquire a good script. It is easier to approach producers with a good script in hand.

With a complete script, one can apply for production grant at Rotterdam and many other places. Suppose if you win fund from Rotterdam, chances of your film getting premiere at Rotterdam Film Festival is high.

Even after you complete shooting your film with a production grant you can still apply for post-production fund. The competition is very tough. The tag of attending one or two script writing labs is very helpful.

Suppose if you have attended a script lab for your film at NFDC (National Film Development Corporation) or Berlin and apply a post-production fund at Busan it helps the panelist to distinguish you from the rest of competitors. One needs to explore such labs.

Topic: Sound

Q: Tell me more about the aspect of sound in your film making?

A: Critics responded to Loktak Lairembee as one of the most silent Indian Film. We always try to capture the original voice and to maintain the recording of it the equipment must be very efficient. The importance of sound is often neglected in Manipur. Sync sound or the sound recorded at the time of filming is in trend internationally. The original sound and dubbed sound differ in many ways.

The case may be different for a highly melodramatic film where dialogue plays a major role but for a realistic independent Cinema we need to be very careful about sound. Budget wise sound equipment is cheaper to rent than Camera. Sound adds dimension to the film, we should not neglect it.

Topic: Film Editing

Q: Who is a good Editor?

A: After shooting comes post production where editing of the film will start. For film, it has to be shot at 24 frame rates of 24 fps. The original file in the memory card will be large, it has to be edited at offline which means not the original footage but down converted one which is often term as reference file.

You should work with an editor who knows all the process of post-production not just the editing skill. After editing the file has to be send for colour correction, simultaneously the sound work will also have to be initiated and another file for sound mixing and designing has to be sent. So, the editor has to know all the requirements very clearly.

For an independent film, the editor acts like technical head. Consulting him before actual shooting is required, there are certain things the cameraman does not know.

It is just like coming back of the celluloid era where everything has to be handled delicately. After postproduction, you need to convert the files into DCP format so one has to know all types of files be it audio or video and should not be confused about it.

Colour correction should not be done with sound file and post colour correction you have to merit the video file with the sound file, just like the celluloid days. Sound does not have to be confused with frame rate, you just need to think about the length of the sound file, some people got confused with it.

Sound should not be taken as a different entity. A filmmaker should know all the technical know-how, if there is a problem in the knowledge gap then one should consult a technical person starting from the shooting stage.

If you hire a good camera, an assistant will accompany him to back up the video file. It starts from the process on how to back up. Nowadays there is an assistant who is available on the shooting spot for the backup works.

Recently, I shoot my film with an ALEXA camera, an assistant constantly follows the camera to back up the video files I shoot. While converting to DCP, one has to be very careful. Some people also convert DCP with pirated software. It is not very costly and one should think about it. DCP is your final film and your film needs to be previewed at a theatre with proper projection and sound facility.

See a full photo gallery Part 1 | Part 2


To be continued ..


* James Khangenbam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jameslaphoi(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on December 01 2020 .



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