Thursday, August 22, 2013

TTTOW - A unique film festival

TTTOW or Taxi Takes on The World is a unique film festival where anyone across the world can participate. All you need is a camcorder (a smartphone will do!), a taxi ride and the ensuing conversation with the taxi driver - recorded and sent to the organizers. 

Yes, its as simple as that. But what exactly is this film festival about? 

The Taxi Takes on the World is a crowd sourced interactive documentary about conversations between drivers and passengers from inside taxis all around the globe. This user generated project aims to harness honest grassroots interactions and present the world’s ‘video takes’ on matters that affect us all. 

“Talks inside taxis are usually between people of diverse backgrounds and so offer a variety of perspectives. These ‘takes’ have the power to blur boundaries and bridge cultures. The Taxi Takes on the World will showcase crowd sourced video stories that mainstream media ignores about times when people find common ground and break stereotypes about the ‘other’. Mobile technology allows a democratization of media which aligns with my work’s vision for how new media will shape our future. This film festival will be part of a traveling film festival and offers a great opportunity to showcase citizens’ stories of brotherhood” - Vandana Sood - Giddings, Creator, Founder, Executive Director.

Date & Venues

The film festival will be held from The 21ST of September 2013 to the 2nd of October 2013 in Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi, Punjab and Manipur. Kashmir and Manipur are both conflict states of India. 

This film festival is a partnership between The Taxi Takes on the World project and Standing Together to Enable Peace, Trust (STEP) a non-profit organization established in New Delhi in 2009.


The film festival will focus on certain broad themes:

  • Religious and ethnic conflict
  • War and terror
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Class
  • Culture

Each of these broad global topics has regional nuances that the mainstream media often overlooks. Through the prism of the taxi, where every day people from often widely disparate backgrounds meet, this film festival will tell a story about how, given the right space, we all can understand each other and speak a common language.

Where & How to

Need guidance on how to go about it? Check out this short prezi that suggests the kind of questions you can ask to begin a conversation and start your take. Find the application procedure, rules & regulations all on the TTOW submissions page.

Hurry, the submissions deadline is September 10, 2013!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

10 Free Video Editing Software for Filmmakers

Money is, by definition, 
always a difficult issue for the low budget filmmaker.  The challenge is in getting as much of your meagre budget up on the screen as possible. Luckily, by the wonders of open source development, just about every $800 software package has its freebie equivalent.

1. Lightworks

PC ( LINUX public beta released early 2013, MAC TBA)
An incredibly powerful editing package that is head and shoulders above all other freebie editing packages.  Just take a look at their website to see some of the high profile projects that have used Lightworks.  Lightworks has features that even some of the big packages don’t have without the addition of expensive plugins.  With a strong community supporting it, this is only going to get better.
Get Lightworks here

2. HyperEngine-AV – Equivalent to Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro

A decent editing package.  A step up from the likes of imovie though still not up to the professional standards of the pricey packages.  For simple edits though, you could do a lot worse.
Get HyperEngine-AV here

3. Avidemux

One of the best free editing packages out there.  Avidemux allows you to do basic cutting, apply filters and work with a wide variety of different file types.  It gets better with each release.
Get Avidemux here

4. Windows movie maker, pinnacle videospin

These lightweight freebie editors should not be overlooked entirely.  For quick edits and changes there’s no need for the big guns.
Get Windows Movie Maker
Get Pinnacle Videospin

5. Avid Free DV

This was a great idea but has sadly been discontinued by Avid.  Avid Free DV is a free version of their high end editing software, preserving the interface but removing many of the advanced features.  Great for simple editing whilst also learning your way around Avid.  Copies are still floating around online, though now it’s unsupported it is just going to get more out of date with time.  Get it while it’s still useful.
Get Avid Free DV here

6. MPEG Streamclip

Another powerful, professional encoding and conversion tool.  It accepts even the most obscure video formats and can even download YouTube videos. It is widely used as a simple tool for transcoding unwieldly DSLR footage.
Get MPEG Streamclip here

7. ffmpeg

A powerful encoding tool that can read and convert just about any video file format.
Get ffmpeg here

8. DCP Builder – Equivalent to taking your project to an expensive post house

Want to screen your film at the utmost quality?  Modern digital projectors require something called a DCP (Digital Cinema Package).  Most post houses will charge you several thousands for the privilege, even for a short.  DCP Builder is free.
Get DCP Builder here

9. Open DCP

Another DCP package.  Personally I’ve had better results with this one than with DCP Builder.  But hey, they’re both free so give them both a shot and see what works best for you.
Get Open DCP here

10. Black Magic DaVinci Resolve Lite

A good colour correcting job can make your budget movie look a million dollars.  Black Magic now offer a lite version of their powerful colour correcting tool absolutely free!
Please feel free to add your own favourite free software that give an edge to the filmmaker.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Free stock footage, music from Video Blocks

Got an email yesterday about an upcoming company called Video Blocks that's offering free stock footage from their collection of over 50,000 video, motion backgrounds and production music - if you sign up for a 7-day trial.

The offer seemed really tempting so I did some research on Video Blocks and realized they were featured on TechCrunch too:

Anyhow, I still have to check them out. The 7-day trial offer is really tempting, the only catch is that they require your credit card info to complete the trial sign-up. This is so that if you forget to cancel your trial in 7 days you will be charged at their regular monthly fee of $79 per month. But this kind of marketing tactic is not new at all...many big and small retailers, including Netflix have used a similar model of internet marketing to generate leads.

In any case, if you're into video editing or post production this offer is really attractive. Even the monthly cost of $79 is quite a decent deal for the amount of stock footage and clips that Video Blocks have on offer. But if you think you're not at the stage where you can afford a recurring cost, just take up their 7-day free trial and remember to cancel before it ends!