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Recently the idea of a "Film Production" site that would cover all aspects of film production (including things like scripting, planning, casting, costuming, props, etc as well as the actual principal photography and post production) was brought up on Area 51 and it was suggested that such a site would be a duplicate of Video Production.

At first I concurred with this assessment, but when I looked a little closer, I noticed that our current scoping documentation does seem to fall short of covering all aspects of production related to a film or video project and instead seems to only currently cover the technical aspects related to principal photography, post production and distribution.

This seems like an error to me that should be corrected. I don't see why questions about the broader aspects of producing a movie wouldn't be on topic for this site. Similarly, I don't see how a site about the broader aspects of movie making and this site could really co-exist as the amount of overlap would be massive and it would simply split up resources and make it harder to find useful information.

While some experts are very specialized within these fields, independent and commercial film creators have to wear many of the different hats involved in production at the same time. Should the scope of the site be expanded/corrected to more clearly indicate that all aspects of video and film production are on topic at the overall project level.

Update: I'm a bit worried that the level of interest in this question relative to the level of support for the answer I provided may indicate that some people's voices are not being heard. If you do not agree or have some alternate idea for what should or shouldn't be included, please consider making an answer, even if relatively basic, that will allow us to know your feelings.

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    I'd disagree that the pool of experts is the same. I'm a broadcast engineer, I'd rarely answer anything on writing or budgeting. I have a hard enough time trying to wade through the editing and ffmpeg questions. That said, I think expanding the scope might encourage better tagging which would make my filtering easier. Obviously, Stack Overflow covers a lot of ground and their users do just fine. – Michael Liebman Jun 6 '17 at 22:41
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    It certainly varies depending on the part of the industry. In the larger budget side it is super compartmentalized down to the level of almost no interaction. In the flip side, on the independent film side of things, wearing many hats is the norm and you have the same people producing, show running, writing, acting, lighting, filming, editing and marketing. Not all experts cover the whole field but there are a large population that do. – AJ Henderson Jun 6 '17 at 22:47
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    It's sort of irrelevant whether the pool of experts is the same or not. Sites can have more than one pool of experts. Certainly we don't expect everyone on Stack Overflow to be an expert in Java and C++ and Python... Or everyone on Physics to know all of the varying branches of physics... – Catija Jun 7 '17 at 4:07
  • @Catija - true, and in fairness, most independent film people don't cover 100% of the areas either, but it goes towards helping determine how related the topics are and trying to figure out if it is two distinct communities or not. Given that there is a large user base who cover a significant portion of the combined topics, it seems like it's really an overall topic for one site. – AJ Henderson Jun 7 '17 at 4:34
  • Perhaps the upvotes for the question signal what meta upvotes generally signal... agreement with the sentiment. ... so an upvote means "yes, it should"? Perhaps it's less that users disagree with your answer, but that they feel it unnecessary to vote up both the question and answer? I can't see downvotes here... are there any? – Catija Jun 12 '17 at 21:08
  • @Catija no there aren't any. You are probably right, I just get overly worried on major things I guess. – AJ Henderson Jun 12 '17 at 21:33
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As the person who suggested an A51 proposal titled "Filmmaking" two or three years ago, I would love to see this site embrace questions about a broader range of topics. I had a couple of people mention on the proposal that the questions I was trying to attract would be on topic here and I demurred, doubting that was the case for two reasons:

  1. These questions don't seem to exist here.
    In a search for questions about my general expertise, there is no tag. simply doesn't exist. All of the questions containing "casting" are about pushing video from one device to a screen. It seems that many of the topics that I associate with making films are simply not represented here and the best way to know what's in scope on a Stack Exchange site is to look at what questions exist.

  2. The site name doesn't describe what I consider myself to be.
    Part of the reason I titled my proposal "Filmmaking" is that, as far as I was concerned, the process of making a film project from pre-production to distribution was called "filmmaking". I have a degree in "Radio-TV-Film". The word "Video" is nowhere to be found. When I think of "video" I literally think of videotape, which is pretty uncommon in the film world right now. "Video Production" to me sounds like it focuses on post-production. The technical end of things after the film has already been shot. A quick look around the site seems to confirm that, even when it's not about post-production topics, the questions tend to focus on technical camera/production topics.

So, all this said, I would love to have a place to ask questions or answer them about the topics I'm familiar with but the site name here doesn't really seem inviting. If the site wants to broaden their userbase, I think it may be necessary to see if the name of the site can change.

Apparently, when the site was originally proposed, it was "Film & Video Production" - this would be far better. I'm not saying that "Filmmaking" is the ultimate site name... only that "Video Production" doesn't really make me (as someone largely involved with pre-production and production) feel like "This is where I should ask my film making questions".

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I believe that we should update the existing documentation of scope to include topics related to the general production of a film or movie project in addition to the currently covered video production aspects of a live event.

  • I totally agree. It makes no sense to exclude such topics from this SE. – PTS Jun 9 '17 at 12:30
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Script writing is definitely on topic at Writers.SE. I don't really feel like writing itself is part of "production". I'd say once you're only location or starting animation, that's "production", and while writers may be present, the writing of the story and the dialog is a very different art form and wouldn't make sense to include here, especially when there's much more overlap with novel and play writing and so screenwriting seems to "belong" to Writers.SE, IMHO.

Some other areas that you mention seem borderline at best, to me, like costume design. Perhaps a question about problems with certain fabric patterns and how they will show on screen seems much more on-topic than how to create a blind hem or how to let out a seam without enough extra material. Likewise, prop questions don't seem like a perfect fit.

My personal thoughts:

  • Directing the shot, DP stuff: on-topic
  • Directing the actors: borderline - blocking: maybe, emoting: no?
  • Casting: Off-topic
  • Lighting/gaffer: on-topic
  • Camera work/cinematography: on-topic
  • Foley/SFX: tough call - perhaps Sound Design is a better place
  • Soundtrack writing and recording: Off-topic - Music.SE
  • Soundtrack post and surround mixing: Another overlap with Sound Design?
  • Location sound: On-topic. Sound Design doesn't seem like a good fit for boom operation and lav mic stuff, plus location sound has to work closely with the DP and director on making the sonic aspects of the shot match the visual aspects.
  • Acting: Off-topic. Maybe someone will propose Acting & Directing on Area 51 (and casting could go there too).
  • Screenplay writing: Off-topic - Writers.SE
  • All video and audio post - on-topic
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All the questions I've seen recently are about video post-production, not about video production. To a newcomer who is reading the most recent questions, that's what the community's scope will look like: post-production only. That's frustrating for me, because I'd LOVE to offer solutions to people's film/video production challenges - especially homegrown special effects! ("How do I make it look like someone fell off a roof?" "How do I create a crowd if I only have 8 actors?" "What can I use instead of a squib?")

Would it make sense to create communities for pre-production, production, and post-production, regardless of whether the medium is film or video? Would it make also make sense to create a community for practical / low-budget special effects? I'd be a fan, but I'm not sure how much interest there would be.

  • I guess that also probably largely depends on why we aren't getting pre-production and production questions. My guess is that a large portion of our users are engineering types that are more doing post work for their personal needs than more scripted filming or live events. This tends to result in more post production than production questions. This is also something we lost in the split from Sound Design. AVP had more production oriented questions, particularly on the sound side, where as people think less about how to get tricky effects as most of our askers aren't in that segment. – AJ Henderson Jul 6 '17 at 19:53

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