Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Essential Technology for Digital Filmmaking - FireWire

Digital movie footage is really nothing more than a series of electronic files—extremely large files—and the best way to move those files is over a FireWire cable.

It’s not without good reason that manufacturers of multimedia devices have adopted this high-speed serial data-bus technology. Offering transfer speeds of up to 400Mbps.

Firewire does more than simply connect camcorders to computers

it enables aspiring directors to incorporate myriad bold, new peripherals, such as still cameras, audio mixers, and scanners into the creative process.

FireWire also accelerates the performance of conventional equipment like hard disks and CD burners. As you venture further into digital filmmaking, you will see that the benefits offered by FireWire are monumental: Easy cross-platform implementation, simplified cabling, and hot swapping are just a few.

When FireWire was introduced, it was limited in the cable distances it allowed and its ability to capture footage directly to disk while recording. But today most of those problems have been overcome, and a number of FireWire hubs, cabling systems, DV mixers, and signal converters allow you to use multiple devices and AV inputs for live events and direct Webcasting.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Filmmaking is expensive - Be Cautious, Prevent Uncalled Expenses

Some car chases in movies are so over the top that you might find yourself mentally trying to add up the cost of all the wreckage. Its always better to order a free online car insurance quote, simply because its helpful, and its free!

Now Progressive Direct, a unit of a U.S. auto insurer, will do the math for you. It teamed up with Universal Studios Home Entertainment to insert a running tally of the destruction into the recent HD DVD release of "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift." As cars smack into one another in Tokyo, a display in a small window keeps track: "Roof repair: $209, taillights: $451, fender: $618.' The calculator is labeled "Progressive Direct: Insurance Damage Estimates." This digital gauge is the first in what Universal and other studios hope is a stream of branded interactive features on their new DVDs. Like those released in the rival Blu-ray format by Disney, Fox and other studios, the HD DVD discs issued by Universal, Paramount and Warner Brothers have about six times as much data capacity as standard DVDs. The extra space gives the studios room for not only high- definition video and enhanced audio, but also a bevy of interactive features, including games, picture-in-picture commentaries and Web links. In their constant search for more movie revenue, studios see these interactive features as a new source of money to tap. HD DVD and Blu-ray discs and players are only trickling into the market because consumers have been waiting to see which of the two formats would prevail. As with any new marketing concept, the value of the Progressive damage calculator is difficult to know. And since viewers must choose to turn the calculator on, the number who actually see it could be small

"I can't remember the last time I or anyone I know checked out the ancillary info on these discs"

said Steven Kovsky, an electronics analyst for Current Analysis, a technology research company based in Washington. In fact, little money changed hands in this deal. In return for having its name plastered on the crash calculator, Progressive created a Web site,, and developed contests to promote the movie and the disc. While these kinds of experiments may take time to bear financial fruit, studios and advertisers said they believed they had to find new ways to reach consumers in an age when the entertainment audience was increasingly fragmented.'s online insurance marketplace gives an opportunity to consumers and to insurance companies. They offer the ability to shop for car insurance online.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Shooting for the Web

Shooting video for presentation over the internet is radically different from standard moviemaking. Thus, you must consider several key dynamics when preparing your shot selections. The factors that determine how your movie will appear over the Web are governed by the video compression software used to squeeze your raw DV signal into downloadable or streaming files. The quality of Web-compressed video depends largely on the movement and luminance of your footage. To dramatically improve movies destined for the Web, consider these shooting tips:

  • Keep the action steady. Reduce the amount of fast and extended motion in your movie because high-speed action sequences result in sluggish playback.
  • Use well-lit scenes. Because dark settings present difficulties in compression, you’ll want to avoid videotaping in low-light conditions.
  • Compose for contrast. When creating compositions for the Web, contrast is more important than color because drastic compression leaves little room for color fidelity.
  • Avoid patterns. Keep details to a minimum because they significantly inhibit the compression software from reducing the final file size of your movie. Make sure you shoot against an unchanging background.
  • Use close-ups and silhouettes. Since long-shot compositions struggle to communicate subtle movement, shoot all vital action in close-ups, or silhouette them until they become clearly distinguishable when displayed inside a small window.
  • Avoid Zooming. Zooming in for close-up shots forces the computer to compress the entire frame rather than just subtle changes in facial features. Instead, have actors move closer to the camera, which doesn’t require as much overall compression.

With so many facilities and mediums to showcase your talent, its has become easier for filmmakers (especially independent filmmakers) to earn their bread and buter. Digital filmmaking is changing lifestyles!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Film Editing - III

Alternatives to Cutting
Other techniques can be used at the editing stage to create a seamless unity for the film, whose narrative will usually contain many scenes within the story. If scenes were edited straight up against each other, then the transition from one to another could be confusing. The usual condition is to use a fade to black and a fade from black to end and begin a scene. Fades are introduced during the editing stage. Dissolves and wipes are often used too: one shot gradually gives way to another to indicate a transition, some times from one scene to another, but more often than not this is used to indicate the passing of time.

Discontinuity Editing
If most film editing can be described as continuity editing, then it is equally true that a minority of films use discontinuity editing. As the name implies, there is no smooth flow to the shots that are edited together, there is a disruption between one shot and the next. However, discontinuity editing can be used to good effect. If continuity editing principally supports the meanings residing within the shots that represent the narrative, then discontinuity editing can be regarded as producing meanings from the ways in which the shots are linked together. The shot are not necessarily unified: rather, meaning comes from the way in which the shots interact.

The best known example of discontinuity editing is montage, which was much used by Eisenstein, most famously in Battleship Potemkin (1925) in the Odessa Steps sequence. Here the shots that are edited together do not flow smoothly; instead they clash: they conflict with each other. The sequences switches, in a spatially disorientating way, between views of the Tsar are advancing troops and views of the fleeing citizens. The troops are armed, menacing and inhuman: the citizens are unarmed, vulnerable and all too human. The juxtaposition of meanings between the shots results in new meanings, produced by the viewer on seeing the montage of shots that are pieced together.

The Odessa Steps Sequence from Battleship Potemkin

It is also possible for the pace of editing to create a rhythm which itself produces meaning. In the shower scene in Psycho there is no logical progression to the way in which the stabbing of Marion is visually presented; it is a montage of shots. The shots are short and are filmed from a variety of angles - a rhythm is set up by the editing which emphasizes the frenetic rhythm of the stabbings. The knife comes from different directions and these shots are intercut with short shots of Marion struggling. The effect of the sequence is to create a feeling of confusion, madness, panic. No doubt precisely what Hitchcock wanted.

Graphic Match
Another editing technique that can break continuity is that of linking shots containing similar visual content. The shower scene in Psycho ends with a graphic match when a camera zooms in to a close up on water swirling down the circular drain in the shower and then dissolves to a revolving close up of Marion Crane’s eyes. Shot size, movements, shapes and composition are matched.

Freeze Frame
One final film technique remains to be mentioned that is achieved at the film editing stage. The freeze frame for obvious reasons creates a discontinuity. – the moving image suddenly comes to a standstill. It is not a common technique but can be a useful device in filmmaking. In Jules et Jim (Truffaut, 1962), at one point Catherine is pretending to pose like a model. Truffaut momentarily freeze frames the shots of her poses to create the impression of a photograph.

Silver - My favourite metal

Buying gold has been recognized for centuries as one of the best ways to preserve one's wealth and purchasing power. Gold bullion is a unique investment. From the time of ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to more modern times, man has had an affinity for gold bullion.

However, silver - long considered its poor sibling, is also being considered as a important form of investment. As an investment product, silver is available in coin or ingot form. There may never be a better time for buying silver bullion than right now. World demand for silver now exceeds annual production, and has every year since 1990. One of the reasons why filmmakers and photographers are shifting from celluloid/film to digital filmmaking is that silver is used in the manufacture of celluloid/film raw stock. Above ground stockpiles of silver bullion are low, shrinking rapidly and approaching zero. Silver price has been touching the roof for quite some time now. Since the end of WWII, for example, the U.S. government - once the largest stockpiler of silver on the planet - has dumped billions and billions of ounces of silver bars onto the world market, effectively depressing silver prices. Today, that government silver hoard is gone . . . and now the U.S. government is a silver buyer. For these reasons, silver bars represent an outstanding investment opportunity.

Through Monex Deposit Company (MDC) you can purchase silver, gold or other precious metals and coins for immediate personal delivery or arrange for convenient and safe storage at an independent bank or depository. For over 30 years, the Monex companies have been America's gold, silver and precious metals investment leader - having the best US silver coin prices and programs in the silver coins industry and competetive precious metals prices.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Film Editing - II

Film Editing techniques continued from the previous post:

A short student film trying to follow the 180 degree rule, shooting for
continuity, including cut-away shots.

Eye-line Match
Conversations, and for that matter any interaction between characters, will usually also require an eye-line match in order to maintain continuity between edits. It character A is in a chair looking up at character B who is standing, when we cut to a close up of character A she/he should still be looking up, even if character B is out of shot –and vice versa for a close up of character B. In other words, the direction of a character’s gaze needs to be matched to the position of the object they are looking at.

Match on Action
Another form of edit that provides additional information about an event is a match on action. Here the edit brings together two shots from different angles or shot sizes of the same action being completed. Again this gives us a slightly different perspective on an action and can often provide us with more detail through the use of a close up. We see a hand raise a gun –next we see an extreme close up of a finger pulling the trigger.

Cutaway Shots
A cutaway shot may be edited into a scene. This type of shot is not directly related to the action taking place but it has an indirect link. We may see two people having a conversation in an apartment and, while we still hear their dialogue, for several seconds we may see a shot of the exterior of the apartment before returning to the conversation. The shot cuts away from the action but still retains some connection to the scene.

Cross – cutting
Cross-cutting is an invaluable editing technique and is commonly used for. It consists of editing together shots of events in different locations which are expected eventually to coincide with each other. At the end of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels ( 1998) we are that Tom is desperately trying to get rid of two shotguns which he believer are incriminating evidence. However, we then cut to a pub where his associates have just learned that the guns are worth a fortune. Suspense is built through editing between Tom trying dump the guns into the Thames and his associates desperately trying to phone him to stop him get rid of the guns. In one respect, cross-cutting breaks the film’s continuity by suddenly jumping to another scene; however, the close linking together of the two scenes ensures coherence. action being comt is a match on action. Here the edit brings together two

Lock, Stock and Barrel (1998)

The 180 Degree Rule
There are a couple of important ‘rules’ associated with editing. The 180 degree rule specifies that the camera should not have ‘crossed the line’ of action when two shots are edited together. This is particularly important during a scene where two care interacting with each other in some way. We will have subconsciously noted that one character is on one side of the screen while the other is on the opposite side. The line of action is an imaginary line passing through the two characters. If the camera were to be placed on the other side of the action in the next shot, then the position of the characters would be reversed. It could take the viewer a second or two to realize what had happened and this might interrupt involvement in the film. In reality audiences are fairly adept at quickly ascertaining what has happened in such an edit; indeed, it is increasingly common to see the line crossed. In the cafĂ© scene when Jimmy and Harry meet towards the end of Goodfellas (1990), the camera crosses the line but our involvement is not dramatically disrupted. The two ways of safely crossing the line are to either track across the line in one continuous shot or have an intermediate shot on the line in between the two shots.

A still from Goodfellas (1990)

The 30 Degree Rule
The 30 degree rule indicates that if two shots of the same location or action are edited together, the camera should move position by at least 30 degree or the shot size should radically change. If this does not happen then the effect is a jump cut. The elements within the shot appear to jump slightly producing a disconcerting effect on the viewer.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Film Editing

Editing is the creative force of filmic reality...and the foundation of film art.

V.I. Pudovkin, 1915

After the completion of filming, the final stage is film editing - the selection and piecing together of shots to form the completed film. Just as a range of choices exists for the cinematographer when manipulating light and using a camera, so editing offers many possibilities.

Continuity Editing
One of the key principle is continuity editing. Most films, in one way or another, attempt to have us fully engrossed in what we see. The intention is that we escape into the film for the duration of the screening. The concept of ‘willing suspension of disbelief ‘sums up the experience of much film-going. We know that what we see on the screen isn’t real, in other words, we disbelieve it, but in order to fully engage with the film we willingly suspend that disbelief – we happily ignore our doubts about the authenticity of what we see. We allow ourselves to enter the world (the digenesis) of the film.

In order that we can experience films this way, it is important that we are not reminded that we are watching a film and that we are not confused by an incomprehensible presentation of events in the narrative. Annette Kuhn writes: ‘Continuity editing establishes spatial and temporal relationships between shots in such a way as to permit the spectator to “read” a film without any conscious effort, precisely because the editing is “invisible”, (in Cook and Bernink, 1999, p.40). For this to be possible, it is essential that the shots flow smoothly from one to another and that our attention is not drawn to the edit points. In effect, the shots support each other. One shot logically leads to the next and to a degree we expect the next shot: there is continuity between one shot and the next. A number of techniques help make this possible.

Movement and Speed of Editing
To ensure such ‘transparent’ editing, it is necessary that the locations, props, actors and movement in one shot are consistent with what has gone before. The speed at which some thing happens and the space within which it occurs should be consistent across the relevant shots. In effect, continuity editing supports the meanings produced by the audio/visual interpretations of the narrative.

This principle can be illustrated by reference to a scene mentioned previously, the climactic moment in Cinema Paradiso when Salvatore rescues Alfredo from the fire that has started in the cinema projection room. The pace of editing is fast, people are panicking, events move with speed. Within this scene there is a consistency with regard to time and movement and similarly there is a consistency in the locations and space within which the events unravel. Failure to maintain this consistency would interrupt our involvement in the film and draw attention to the artificial and constructed nature of film.

Shot /Reverse Shot Editing
Film Editing also helps to clarify situations by joining together shots from different angles to provide us with different perspectives, thereby creating a fuller understanding. This is common during conversations where a shot/reverse shot edit is frequently used. The shots themselves are often over the shoulder shots in which we see part of the back of one person’s head and shoulders and the front of the other person talking to them. The editing provides an understanding of the spatial relationship between the characters while also giving information on movement and facial expression..ale is a consistincy a prjectiion the clilmactic moment in Cinema Paradiso when Sayediting establishesents in the narrative. Annette Kuhn writes : 'hing a film and that we are not confused by an incomp

Shot size and Editing
This particular scene also serves to illustrate another common principle behind editing, the use of a variety of shot sizes. On one level a variety of shot sizes helps maintain our interest visually through avoiding repetition, but it also serves another function. We have already noted the various meanings that shot sizes can produce, and through editing a logical progression is created out of shot size. In the scene from the above example we are provided with an extreme long shot of the village and cinema to provide context. The shots are then edited together to eventually take us onto a more personal level as we see Salvatore in extreme close up battling his way through the crowds to Alfredo.

End of post. Film Editing shall be continued in the next one

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Aspects of the Fictional Film

In this post we'll briefly discuss what a narrative is, and then we shall examine major aspects of the fiction film: structure, time and style.


  • A Narrative — in film and in other texts — may be defined as a representation of a series of unified events(represented actions and happenings) that are situated in one or more settings.

  • A narrative may be factual or fictional or a blend of the two. It may be chronological or non-chronological.

    Pulp Fiction (1994); the perfect example of a non-chronological fiction


  • A fictional film is a narrative film including at least one character (imaginary person) and largely or entirely imaginary events its settings may be factual or imaginary.

  • In fictional films, usually the major characters have one or more goals but face problems in trying to reach them.

  • Short fictional films typically have only one or two major characters that do not change much during the film’s brief story time. The major characters of a short have a goal or goals, have obstacles to overcome, and succeed or fail in reaching the goal.

  • Typically, the beginning of a fictional film does not supply much exposition, although it usually establishes where and when the story begins. It also attempts to involve audience in the story.

  • Among other functions, the middle section of a film shows how the central characters deal with problems that impede progress toward their goals and reveals how happenings and the characters actions affect them and others.

  • The ending of a fictional film usually shows the consequences of major previous events. In stories with closure, by the end of the narrative the consequences of previous major events are shown or clearly implied. Most films of classical Hollywood cinema have closure, but many other narrative films do not.

  • A plotline is a brief narrative focused on a few characters or people that could function on its own as a separate (usually very brief) story. Typically, short films have only one plotline, and feature films have multiple plotlines.

  • In feature films, many combinations of plotlines are possible. For example, plotlines can be consecutive but with large gaps of story time between different time periods, or can be chronological and simultaneous and occasionally intersect.
  • Flashforwards are used only occasionally in fictional films, usually to suggest a premonition or inevitability. Flashbacks are often used and can serve many different purposes, such as showing how a character’s past has influenced the character or continues to trouble the character. On rare occasions, fictional films combine present-tense action with flashforwards and flashbacks.

  • A fabula is the mental reconstruction in chronological order of all the events in a non-chronological plot. Although a non-chronological plot contains the same events as its corresponding fabula, the plot creates different emphases and causes different responses in viewers.

  • How much time is represented in a fictional film (story time) is usually unspecified and difficult to determine, but story time nearly always far exceeds the film’s running time.

  • A style is the way that subjects are represented in a text, such as a film. A film may use a style only occasionally or throughout.

  • If viewers know nothing about a film’s style such as black comedy, and cannot figure it out quickly, the film will probably not engage them. If viewers know about the film’s style yet refuse to accept it, they will also likely fail to become engaged by the film.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Use of Sound in Films

During the 1986 Academy Awards ceremony, a clip from Chariots of Fire (1981) was shown of young men running on a beach accompanied by the sounds of feet splashing in water. Although the soundtrack may have been true to life, it was uneventful. Then the same footage was shown with the film's famous title music. The effect was so different that viewers felt as if they were seeing different footage.. The runners gained the grace of dancers, and action became special, more than life. It illustrated the importance of sound to the creation of vibrant cinema.

In movies, sounds usually seem lifelike. However, as with visuals, what seems true to life is an illusion. If you study sound in movies, you will notice that sounds we would normally hear are often omitted or replaced by music In movies, we do not question such sounds. (yet another movie convention). What are a few of the many ways that film sounds are created, how are film sounds often used, and, most important, how do they affect viewers? Lets check out the kinds of sounds used in films and their uses:

Spoken Words
  • In films, spoken words may take the form of dialogs, monologues, or narration.
  • Overlapping dialogue can create or reinforce a sense of nervousness, stress, and isolation.
  • Spoken words, such as those by Darth Vader, may be distorted for effect.
  • Dialogue is invaluable for revealing a character’s ideas, goals, and dreams, though often it does so more concisely, obliquely, and revealingly than conversation in life does.
  • Although spoken words can be extremely expressive, many films and many film scenes rely heavily on visuals and use only limited spoken words.
Sound Effects
  • Sound effects consist of sounds that objects make, sounds that people make other than spoken words, and ambient sound.

  • Some of the many possible uses of sound effects are to help create a sense of location, intensify a mood, enhance a humorous situation, or conceal an action.

  • Sound effects specialists have many options in manipulating sounds, such as playing them backward, playing them faster or slower than they were recorded, constructing them, and blending them in different proportions.

A still from the movie The Sound of Music
  • Film music may serve countless functions, such as to mirror a film’s central conflict, direct viewers’ attention, establish place and time, suggest what a character feels or an animal is like, and cover weak acting.

  • Film music may reference earlier film music. Sometimes the same music is used; other times an approximation is composed and used.

  • In large-budget movies, sometimes the film music is selected with an eye to future recorded music sales.

  • Possible uses of silence in films include during dreams, to suggest dying or death, or to interrupt the regular rhythms of life’s sounds.

  • There are many possible ways to use sound between shots, such as to have the sound of the first shot end as the shot does.

  • Sound transitions between shots are used to reinforce continuity or contribute to discontinuity. and dreams, though often it does so more concisely, obliquely, and revealingly than conversation in life does.

Sounds in narrative films may come from on-screen or offscreen and may derive from a source in the story or outside the story.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


All footage submitted to a film editor must meet three requirements:




The technical elements of a film — such as photographic treatment, lighting, color, exposure, sound, etc. — should be uniform in production quality. No noticeable visual or audio differences should be apparent when the picture is assembled, and a properly timed and balanced release print made. A mis-match or distracting change, unless deliberately inserted for a special effect, may disturb the audience. A poorly recorded stretch of sound, a perceptible change in lighting, unbalanced color; or any other technical discrepancies are unacceptable. Excellent craftsmanship is taken for granted in professionally-produced theatrical films. If serious non-theatrical film makers expect their films to receive proper audience attention, they should strive for professional quality.

No noticeable visual or audio differences should be apparent in a
professional film. Lighting, color, exposure, sound, etc, should be
uniform in production quality in a properly timed and balanced
release print. Technical discrepancies are distracting, and break
the story telling spell.

The assembled picture should unreel in a series of moving images, pleasing to watch and easy to understand, unless the film maker desires – for story purposes- to shock or distract the audience: or otherwise create a violent or unpleasant audience reaction. Scenic compositions, player and camera movements, light effects, choice of colors, camera treatment and other pictorial aspects of settings, costumes, backgrounds and props should all be integrated on the basis of their cumulative result when the scenes are finally edited. The good cameraman strives to produce the most beautiful moving images possible. However it is often better under documentary conditions, to present a realistic rather than a pictorially beautiful picture. This does not imply that beauty and realism cannot be combined; or that non-theatrical films must be photographed in a dull, unimaginative, mechanical style. It simply means that documentary subjects should be representational rather than dressed up for picture purposes. Engineering, military, educational, business, industrial in-plant, and other non-theatrical films should be as beautiful as possible, within realistic confines. Pictorial elements involved should be handled in an esthetically suitable fashion, without stealing the show from the subject. The primary aim of a documentary is to “sell” the subject, not the photography.

Non-theatrical films should be as pictorially beautiful as possible
within realistic confines. This is a shot from the famous documentary
Fahrenheit 9/11

Technically perfect, excellently-composed shots have little or no meaning if the picture is presented in an illogical, uninteresting or incoherent manner. The audience should neither be confused nor have to strain to follow subject themes, unless plot deviations will help for narrative purposes.

Story problems are not the main concern of cameramen shooting from prepared scripts. But the non-theatrical cameraman/director, shooting on his own from an outline, or a few notes, must be sure that his footage can be assembled into a story-telling motion picture. This calls for thorough understanding of story values, audience reaction and editorial requirements. Even the simplest documentary film must capture the audience’s interest and hold its attention as the film unreels. After the theme or plot is introduced and developed, the narrative must build in interest as it progresses. Each shot should make a point. All scenes should be linked together so that their combined effect, rather than their individual contents, produces the desired audience reactions.

Film editors have a motto: "Make them laugh or make them cry, but make them care!"
is introduced and developed, the narrative must b

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Filming Techniques

Filming Techniques can be broadly classified into two types:



A master scene is a continuous take of an entire event occurring in a single setting .It is a complete chronological motion picture- silent or sync sound - of over – all action, from beginning to end.

If filmed with a single camera: portions of the action are later repeated to obtain inter-cutting closer shots.

If filmed with multiple cameras: inter-cutting closer shots are filmed simultaneously.

A scene from the film noir A few Bad Cops


Theatrical films: Generally filmed with a single camera because the action is staged, and may be repeated any number of times ; in order to shoot medium shots, two-shots, over-the-shoulder shots and individual close-ups required for inter-cutting .Closer shots are set up and lighted to portray the players best from that particular angle. Both action and dialogue are overlapped for each shot.

Television films: Dramatic television films are generally filmed in the same manner as theatrical pictures. Situation comedies and similar “stage-front” material—in which actors perform for audience as if on-stage—are filmed with multiple cameras, to record all angles simultaneously.

Non-theatrical films: Controllable action, such as staged scenes, may be filmed in a theatrical manner with a single camera and action repeated for closer shots. Uncontrollable action, such as field tests, may be filmed with multiple cameras, to record all angles simultaneously.

Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace in a shot from Pulp Fiction (1994)


The simplest method for obtaining shot-to-shot continuity, particularly when filming without a script, is by overlapping the action at beginning and ind of each shot. In this filming technique-commonly termed cutting in the camera-the cameraman thinks of three consecutive shots, regardless of the number of scenes being filmed.

Action at the end of the first shot is repeated at the beginning of the second shot; and action at end of second shot is again overlapped at beginning of the third shot. Triple –take technique is very simple in operation. The cameraman need refer only to ending of the previous shot; and repeat a small part of that action, to match beginning of the shot being filmed Then , the end of the present shot id noted: so that its final action may be carried over to beginning of the next shot.

Therefore, it is not the heart of the action during the shot that must be most closely observed; but movements at beginning and at end of each shot which must be matched to bracketing scenes.

Motion pictures are presented in sequences, not shots. While individual shots have their own value, each must be considered a portion of the sequence, serving only to advance the story. A series of shots must be woven into a coherent sequence, without distracting jumps or breaks in the continuity. The audience should be barely aware of changes in camera angle or image size. As in life, the sequences must appear as a continuous flow of movement, from start to finish. While cheating of both time and space during filming and editing is permissible, it should not be apparent to the audience.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Shots, Scenes, Sequences

A shot is an uninterrupted strip of exposed motion-picture film or videotape made up of at least one frame, an individual image on the strip of film or videotape. A shot presents a subject, perhaps even a blank screen, during an uninterrupted segment of time. Typically, a feature film consists of hundreds of shots, sometimes more than a thousand. The original, uncensored version of Battleship Potemkin (1925) owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York—which runs seventy-two minutes when projected at the silent speed of eighteen frames per second-has 1,346 shots. Toy Story (1995), which is 771/2 minutes long, has 1,623 shots (Grignon). At the opposite extreme, some experimental films consist of a single, often very lengthy shot. Andy Warhol’s Empire (1964), which is seemingly a single shot of a view of the Empire State Building and runs for hours, is an example of this sort of film.

Battleship Potemkin

A scene is a section or a narrative film that gives the impression of continuous action taking place during continuous time and in continuous space. A scene seems to have unity, but editors often delete tedious or unnecessary footage in such a way that viewers will not notice. For example, we may not see every step a character presumably takes in moving within a scene. A scene may consist of one shot and usually consists of two or more related shots, but on rare occasions a shot is used to convey multiple scenes, as in the more than eight minute opening shot of The Player (1992). At various times during that shot, the camera moves closer to certain groups of characters so we can see them interact and then moves to different characters elsewhere nearby. In the opening of The Player, as in the famous opening of Touch of Evil(1958), there is not the usual scene consisting of a shot or shots but a shot consisting of scenes.

Sequence lacks a universal meaning: filmmakers, critics, and scholars often assign it different meanings. And comparison of several published outlines of sequences for the same film reveals different “sequences”. It is most useful to think of a sequence as a group of related consecutive scenes, although what unifies the scenes is not universally agreed on.

PS: You guys must be wondering why the hell I've put up celluloid in a digital filmmaking blog! Well to put it simply - I had to. Especially when talking abut shots, scenes and sequences - the best references could have only been got from celluloid films - the traditional medium. Digital filmmaking; being relatively new, did not have much to offer on this subject. Plus, I think too much limitation is not much of a good thing! On that note,dear readers, ciao and take care.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Camcorder Lens Filters

Lens Filters can be incredibly useful for changing the characteristics of light before it hits the camera’s beam splitter. Thousands of filters are marketed and sold through camera shops and video supply houses. Before you purchase a filter, make sure to feel the inside lip of your camcorder lens for threads that accept filters and conversion lens. These threads usually come in preset dimensions (52mm, 40mm.33mm, etc.) to coincide with third-party products. The following are just a few of the more common filters:

  • Neutral-density filters. Chances are, your camcorder already has a neutral – density (ND) coating on its lens. By supplementing this coating with addition ND filters, you can prevent harsh light from washing out subjects, particularly strong sunlit backgrounds that seem to overwhelm foreground objects or actors. There are hundreds of varieties of ND filters, and most result in a balanced exposure without affecting a scene’s colors.

  • Diffusion filters. If you want to smooth textured surfaces and wrinkled faces, use a diffusion filter. They are the staple of cinematographers who master the close-ups of aging beauty queens because they spread light across the lens without preventing the camera from focusing on the edges. Tinted diffusion filters further enhance skin tones by suppressing hard details and adding warmth and softness to images.

  • Polarizing filters. To heighten an image’s color and contrast, try using polarizing filters. These filters enhance colors in two ways: They mute the light that washes out reflective surfaces, and they saturate colors to add drama to scenes, particularly those that need areas of sky, water, and windows deepened.

  • Mist filters. Mist filters create the halo effect so overused in motion pictures, particularly in pastoral landscapes. Unlike diffusers, mist filters (and once again, there are hundreds of types) dull the sharpness and contrast of details by highlighting object edges. Great for heightening mood, they’re often used to convey a dreamlike quality.

  • UV filters. By absorbing ultraviolet light, UV filters drastically reduce excessive blue-which means they’re helpful for shooting outdoors when overcast days have removed the warm look from your scene. Many lenses are coated with a UV protection to guard against the damaging effects of dust and scratches, but you can use additional UV filters (tinted in various hues) to block harsh elements of natural light.

Remember, any changes in the optical properties of your camera will result in better overall image resolution than if those same changes were applied through interpolation or post processing software on a computer.

ncredibly useful for changing the characteristics of light before it hits the camera'

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Getting Superior Shots From DV Cameras

The primary goal of digital filmmaking is digital end-to-end production - keeping all of your movie elements in the realm of the zeros and ones. if you take steps to capture the highest possible image quality and keep your source tapes in pristine condition, your digital footage should last a lifetime. Given below are a few DV shooting tips that may come in handy:

Outdoor shots, colorful with a significant dynamic range.

  • Digital stabilization. Digital cameras naturally correct shaky footage through an interpolation process called stabilization. However, this feature can also decrease image quality. The best way to get stable footage is by using a steady hand or a trusty tripod. Keep your shots firm and fluid –especially during tilting and panning movement – and you’ll prevent the camera’s innate digital technology from overcorrecting your footage.

  • 16:9 format. Many digital cameras include a feature that records images in Hollywood-style letterboxed format—a ratio referred to as 16:9-with black bands across the top and bottom of the video footage. Unfortunately, lower – end cameras achieve this effect by clipping portions of the sensor, recording less pixel inameras achieve this effect by clipping portions of the sensor,recording less pixelinformationd tripod.Keep formation overall. Unless your camera has ‘native’ 16:9 high-definition capability, you should avoid using this feature.

  • Picture effects. Today’s digital cameras are able to instantly convert footage to stylized images: black and white, sepia tone, mosaic patterns, and so on. These picture effects, however, seriously alter the data of your original footage. What’s more, when recorded in this mode, these effects are irreversible. If you intend to colorize or add effects to your footage, do so within computer applications designed for this use and keep your source footage clear and free of these processed effects.

  • Digital Zoom. Digital zoom changes the size of the object in view but degrades overall resolution. This is because once you exceed the range of optical zoom, the digital processor takes over and begins interpolating pixel information-a process that can be detrimental to your final footage, creating blocky and discolored scenes. To protect the clarity and resolution of your images, keep the focus and zoom within the range of the optical lens.

  • Tape speed. Many videotape manufacturers sell tapes that extend recording time by slowing tape speed. This, too, can be detrimental to overall picture quality. To ensure the highest resolution of DV footage , always use the fastest tape speed setting, commonly referred to as standard play (SP).

Although electronics manufacturer's go to great lengths to give you as many creative and technical options as possible, some of your camcorder's automated features can inadvertently remove valuable pixel information. However, by being aware of the above, you should be able to prevent that from happening.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Right Camera for Film Transfer

There are several issues you must weigh when purchasing a camcorder for the purposes of film transfer. 

If, for example, your ultimate goal is to someday have your video projected from celluloid in a movie theater, you’ll need to consider shooting your source footage at 25 frames per second, which will make for a smoother transition to the 24 frames of traditional film stock. To do this, you’ll need a PAL-formatted camcorder (commonly sold in European markets) rather than a camera that shoots at the standard 30 frames per second.

In addition, if you’re interested in widescreen projection, there are some cameras specifically designed for capturing images in the elongated 16:9 aspect ratio. These considerations are critical to your success with video-to-film projects, so carefully examine any prospective camcorder for the appropriate features and consult a film transfer facility to see what they recommend.

It would be smart to create an online backup of your film in case it's lost. It also makes it more convenient to access

Sony HDW-F900 Sony was the first company to manufacture a DV camcorder that recorded images at 24 progressive frames per second - an ideal aspect ratio for video projects that will eventually be transferred to film, because it doesn't necessitate dropping frames when converting formats.

The most direct way to transfer progressive frame video to film stock is using a 24P camera. This camera records one complete image scan for each frame of celluloid. Pioneered by Sony, and now available from several makers, this technology has the ability to record 40 minutes of HD footage on a compact $70 cassette (compared to the $400 for 4-minutes of 35mm motion picture film, with processing costs). The 24 frame progressive camera provides an even higher image quality than standard HD camcorders through increased vertical resolution and the elimination of any interlaced-associate aliasing.

Progressive-Frame Cameras

Typically video cameras record each frame as an interlaced composite of two fields captured 1/60th of a second apart: Each field holds every other line of resolution in a single video frame. Progressive-frame camcorders, in contrast, do not skip lines when recording video: they record each frame as an entire still image , gathering the data on every line on the CCD.

Interlaced video comprises 60 fields of data per second: however, none of those fields holds all of the lines from the CCD at any single moment .By combination the lines of one field with the lines of another, the camera is able to create 30 full frames, which approximate all of the motion captured through the lens. This operation is mainly due to the rate at which television sets are able to play back video. Some manufacturers understand, however, that videophiles may want to achieve a more cinematic effect by approaching film’s standard24 –fps rate. This can be achieved by scanning 30 complete images (not half frames) onto the CCD and duplicating each to create 60 fields. This is how progressive scan images are made.

Some camcorders feature a faux progressive-frame mode (on Canon models it’s called Frame Movie mode). Instead of providing a true progressive scan, these cameras interpolate field lines to achieve a 30-fps effect—which, though impressive, actually reduces resolution slightly, presenting a problem if you intend to transfer to film someday.

True progressive-scan cameras retain all scan lines and vertical resolution for the stated shutter time, and then use this single image to form both fields of the video frame.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

High-Definition Camcorders

Make no mistake: Both one-chip and three-chip cameras offer much better resolution than typical analog equipment-and general consumers looking to create home movies, corporate training videos, or Web content will rarely need to look beyond these cameras to produce professional looking results.

However, if you must deliver your final project for formats that meet today’s television standards-particularly the greater resolutions required for high –definition HD broadcasts-you might consider bumping up to the quality offered by formats such as DigiBeta (Digital Betacam) and DVCPro50. Typically, these camcorders are more expensive and somewhat bulky; however, crews use them to gather footage for TV news and sporting events, which they must often integrate with archival footage originally shot on analog (BetaCam) equipment.Camcorders made for these higher-end formats always use three CCDs, and frequently feature better optics, larger image sensors, and improved data compression to collect a greater range of color information-which ultimately produces a sharper, richer picture.

Sony DSR500 This high-quality DV camcorder can acquire a 700-line resolution in a native 16:9 aspect ratio. The three chip model features revolutionary CCD technology and digital signal processing that corrects color and image balance on the fly. This means you get professional-looking footage but can still connect to your consumer-level editing station - thanks to the inclusion of firewire. At a cost of less than $15,000, this camera will benefit commercial directors, corporate productions, and event videographers making a transition to digital tools.

In an attempt to look like film, some cable television programs have begun shooting episodes in Hi-Def with these high-definition (HD) camcorders. In addition, many documentaries and digital features are being shot with HD cameras to ease the technical difficulties of transferring video images to film stock before release to film festivals or theatrical distributors.

The major electronics manufacturers offer dozens of models of HD camcorders, with prices starting at around $15000. Because demand for these cameras is limited to a smattering of industrial customers worldwide, their prices never seem to drop dramatically. As a result, most filmmakers prefer to rent HD equipment for the duration of their shooting, thus avoiding purchasing a pricey camcorder that could be damaged or destroyed. It’s also important to note that accessories and services for HD cameras are more expensive and harder to find than consumer DV equipment. Thus, if you require a special lens or your camcorder needs repair, you may incur longer waits and bigger bills.l

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Choosing the Right Camera

In selecting your camera, remember to think of it as a function of your entire production cycle, not just the shooting process. Often times, your firewire-enabled camcorder can also serve as a tape deck or converter box; thus, its important to look beyond basic functionality to matters of resolution. connectivity and durability.. And don't assume an inexpensive, lightweight camera isn't serious enough for your project. Some tiny cameras are ideal for shooting extreme sports or live events, where mobility is more important than resolution. In fact, by removing the visceral quality of images, higher end camcorders can actually undermine the gonzo style of some handheld footage.

Hitachi's DZ-MV100 This camcorder is unique in that it stores digital images on re-writable DVD-RAM discs housed in the body of the camera. The DZ-MV 100 uses an optical reader that never touches the recording DVD-RAM media, thus reducing wear and tear on the disc. Instead of rewinding or fast-forwarding to access clips, you can locate footage by icons in the view finder, deleting or overwriting sequences at will. This one chip camcorder records as many as two hours of video (60 minutes on each 1.4GB side of the disc) and employs FireWire interfaces for immediate transfer to your PC.

One –chip camcorders

One chip cameras store all of their color information on a single CCD, making them much less expensive than three-chip models. This also makes them extremely small and ideal for the rigors of handheld videos. What these filmmakers save in cost, however, they sacrifice in color data.These one-chip cameras must gather and interpolate all three primary colors for a each pixel on the same diode at the same time.

This is not to say however, that one-chip cameras cant produce works of substantial weight. Director Thomas Vinterberg, for example, won a prestigious Cannes film festival award for his DV production The Celebration, which was shot entirely on a single chip Sony PC7 using built in microphone and auto settings under available light.

Sony DCR-PC100 This $2000 palm size big brother of the pioneering PC1 is a one-chip-mini-mini-DV handycam that switches from 690,000 pixels in video mode to a whopping 1.07 pixels in still photo mode. The PC100 stores photos on removable memory stick storage media.

Three-Chip Camcorders

Because one chip cameras must reconcile all color information on a single CCD, they tend to show color smearing, bleeding, and artifacting in high contrast footage-distressing if you're used to working with a higher quality camera or higher-end format such as Digital Betacam for your shots. Three-chip cameras, in contrast, typically offer better sharpness and color fidelity, and they mix well with footage from most other video formats.

Canon XL-1
This first big star of the digital filmmaking revolution still reigns among DV camcorders, and for some very good reasons: three chip image quality, a light-weight magnesium alloy body, manual control of focus and white balance, and(most of all) a changeable lens mount that accepts more than a dozen video lenses and extenders.

In three-chip camcorders, a beam splitter separates light into three versions of the same image and sends an RGB channel to its own chip - measuring the intensity of one color only. By capturing these disparate color designations, a three-chip camcorder has less interpolation to perform (that is, it doesn't have to make any "guesses" about color), and true color levels become easy to reproduce and playback.

Sony DSR-PD150P
This successor to Sony's popular three-chip VX1000, the PAL version of the PD150 camcorder, is treasured among digital filmmakers who hope to one day transfer their video to film stock. The DSR-PD150P provides high quality DV acquisition at 25 frames per second (fps), making the transition into film smoother

Three-chip camcorders run the gamut from low cost consumer models to ultra powerful workhorses designed for TV stations. Many three-chip cameras are exorbitantly priced behemoths that serve digital television (DTV) and Hollywood feature-film production.

Introduction to Digital Filmmaking Blog

Independent filmmakers often talk about owning every aspect of production - that is, having total control of a movie. These days, real ownership is a very real prospect. With much of the technology that was once the exclusive domain Hollywood studios and TV stations now packed in affordable camcorders, almost anyone can capture professional-looking image quickly and easily. In so doing, they can sidestep the costs and complexities that have prevented so many creative people from purchasing traditional film or video equipment.

If you're a first time filmmaker, it makes sense both economically and strategically to buy a digital camcorder - your most direct path to making movies. After all, why venture into the antiquated world of analog signals, with its legacy of add-on devices and problematic conversions - when you can keep your production simple and pristine.

In this blog, I am going to write down about a variety of digital filmmaking techniques, tips and tricks - including:
- choosing the right camera,
- creating a film look with digital video,
- effectively shooting "green-screen" effects using digital video,
- previewing and editing projects,
- using still images,
- perform batch captures and log footage - and much more.

You might find some digital filmmaking secrets which you wont find elsewhere, and these will definitely help you in your digital filmmaking career or hobby. You wont need to buy the digital filmmaking handbook series or the 101 budget digital essential filmmaking guide, I assure you.