Monday, September 08, 2008

New Concept in Digital Filmmaking

The best part of digital filmmaking is that it can be highly innovative, and of course, such innovation lies in the imagination of the beholder! Leapfrogging technologies and the ever expanding internet with its plethora of options has been instrumental in bringing about a seachange in the way films are made.

Today, I am talking about a do-it-yourself collaborative filmmaking website called, where the creative team make a short video clip or "Rootclip" to start the story. Amateur filmmakers watch their video, then shoot their own rendition of what should happen next in less than 2 minutes. The result is an entire short film made by amateur filmmakers.

I think it's pretty exciting. Their last film actually debuted at the Travese City Film Festival. ust say this has got a lot of potential.

Friday, August 29, 2008

CHIEF wins accolodes at LA Short Film Festival

CHIEF - a short film written and directed by Brett Wagner and produced by Dana Satler Hankins, has won "Best Dramatic Short" at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival on August 22nd.

Jurors included actress Sandra Oh, HBO Executive Producer Andrew Reimer, and L.A. Weekly film critic Ernest Hardy. L.A. Shortsfest is an Academy Award accredited film festival whose winners are eligible to be nominated for an Oscar in the short film categories. CHIEF was among thousands of shorts submitted to the fest for consideration.

CHIEF's winning run started in January, when it became the first Hawaiian short film ever to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. IndieWIRE declared it "one of the 10 must-see shorts of the festival."

The film received a British Academy of Film and Television Certificate of Excellence and won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Short at the Maui Film Festival. CHIEF has been recently screened at the Festival of Pacific Arts in American Samoa.

Thanks to a sponsorship from Hawaiian Airlines, Wagner and lead actor Chief Sielu Avea were able to travel to Pago Pago and present the film to enthusiastic audiences at the quadrennial event. CHIEF's Honolulu premiere will take place in October at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

More about the movie - including styills and info available at

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Required - Film Editing Instructor at NYFA

Yours truly was just looking through interesting filmmaking jobs at when one particularly interesting one caught the eye.

The New York Film Academy (NYFA) seems on the lookout for a new film editing instructor. The invite for applications looks something like this:

Vacancy: Editing Instructor
Employer: New York Film Academy
Location: Universal City
Duration: part time, starts ASAP

Los Angeles area film school seeks instructor of Editing. Topics include: basic and advanced editing, color correction, sound editing, compositing, titles and the fundamentals of VFX. All classes are taught on Final Cut Pro. MFA or
equivalent industry experience required. Position is part time and starts immediately.

Apply to: Kristen Abitabile, 100 Universal City Plaza Drive, Building 9128, Suite 179, Universal City, CA 91608

Interested parties should apply directly using the online form at via this link.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Open Source Filmmaking - the new experiment

Once an expensive, difficult and inaccessible profession to break into, filmmaking has now opened up to the masses. With the digital revolution, anyone with a digital video camera and access to basic editing software can make a film.

Along with this accessibility has come a new wave of collaborative, open source filmmaking, where writers, videographers, musicians and producers share their work on a film project -- often entirely in the virtual realm. Sometimes these collaborators know each other, and sometimes they don't.

Solomon Rothman, 27, who runs Solomon Rothman Films, is one of those on the cutting edge of this trend. In 2006, he released a film called "The Boy Who Never Slept," and at the same time he released all of the footage as open source material, so people could tweak, remix and reshape it however they liked. It was used by teachers in video editing classes, made into a music video in Romania and put on Finnish television.

"I still receive e-mails every week [about that film]. People are still playing
with it."

Rothman's latest project, "Jathia's Wager," is an even more thoroughly collaborative project than his first. It began with him posting a seven-page script on his Web site in 2007, calling for people to send in different versions. He now has five versions he's received back that are ready to be shot, and he's hoping to have online, open source casting for the different versions of the films, with people voting on who will play what role. Ultimately, he wants to produce all the versions, using the skills and perspectives of the people who are gathering around the project.

"The entire process is being built by the community. With the digital
revolution, it's all accessible. Filmmaking used to be really expensive and
inaccessible. Now anyone can make a film if they want. Technology has broken
down that wall."

Rothman said he sees open source filmmaking as an extension of the open source software model, which gives people a chance to collaborate in order to improve the creative product.
"People are really creative, when they work together, they can do so much more than they can alone. It's done wonderful things with software, making it more efficient, and of better quality. It's time for that now to go into films."

Rothman thinks of what he's doing with "Jathia's Wager" as being more crowdsourcing than open sourcing, since it's not just releasing footage to be remixed, but harnessing the power of people.

Dominick Del Bosque, owner of the Open Source Film Project in San Francisco, has a similar perspective.

"We don't view the source as the tangible parts, we see the 'source' as the people in a project."

Launched in 2005, the Open Source Film Project's vision is to bring together writers, directors, producers, musicians and financiers for the creation of independent films.

Read the full article at Linux Insider

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Synchronizing Camera Angles by Timecode in FCP

final cut proIn Final Cut Pro, an alternate way to sync clips of a multi-camera production is to use timecode as a reference. When clips share the same timecode, you don't have to set an In point to sync them together. A timecode number in one clip should identify the same action in an event as that same timecode number in a different clip. The method of switching and cutting angles in the multiclip is the same, no matter how the clips are synchronized.

1. In the Browser, Ctrl-click the Sequences bin and choose New Sequence from the shortcut menu. Name this sequence Timecode, and open it in the Timeline.
Each new sequence you create contains the same PAL settings you chose from the Easy Setup window earlier in this lesson.

2. Hide the contents of the Audio Pops bin, and display the contents of the Timecode bin.

3. Double-click the Gilly_cu clip, and play from the beginning of the clip. When Gilly steps up to the mic to start singing, stop the clip and look at the timecode number in the Current Timecode field in the Viewer.
fcp timecode

4. Open a few other clips from the Timecode bin and compare the timecode numbers at the location where Gilly starts to sing.

The same timecode number in all of these clips identifies the same event or clip location. For this group of clips, you can synchronize by timecode, even though they don't all start or stop on the same frame.

5. To make a multiclip of all the clips in the Timecode bin, Ctrl-click the bin and choose Make Multiclip from the shortcut menu.

6. In the Make Multiclip window, click the Synchronize Using pop-up and choose Timecode as the sync option.
fcp timecode

The blue bars of each angle reposition to align the clips by timecode. Notice how the blue bars seem to cover the same relative area. They were taken from the same portion of the song but are not exactly the same length.

7. Click OK. In the Timecode bin, rename the new multiclip Timecode, and double-click to open it in the Viewer.

8. In the Viewer button bar, click the Show Multiclip Overlays button to toggle off the overlays in this multiclip.
multiclip editing

9. In the Viewer, click the View pop-up and choose Multiclip 9-Up from the pop-up menu to see all the multiclip angles. Play this portion of the music video.
fcp camera angles

10. To edit this multiclip, use the same process you used with the Audio Pops multiclip. Start by changing the sync to Video+Audio and selecting the CD Track - Timecode clip. Then change the sync to Video and select the first video angle. Set an In point and an Out point where the angles are all in view, and edit the multiclip to the Timeline.

11. To see the clips play in the Viewer as you play the sequence, click the Playhead Sync pop-up, and choose Open from the menu, or press Shift-Ctrl-O. This will allow you to see the angles as you play and cut in real-time.

At this point, you can edit these clips as you did in previous exercises: either by moving the playhead to an exact edit location and cutting to a new angle, or by cutting live.

If you are using a laptop or slower computer, this nine-clip multiclip may play slowly.
Digital Filmmaking is the way to go...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Various Filmmaking Competitions

Some film-making competitions that are on and looking for participants these days:

  • Boom filmmaking competition: Run by MTV, the Boom Filmmaking Contest is open to filmmakers in UK aged between 16-25-years. It involves a nationwide series of free filmmaking workshops in which young people will learn something on how to make films, video diaries, news bulletins, reports and mini-documentaries. Boom! requires filmmakers to use Apple hardware and iLife software, including iMovie and GarageBand. Finished films are to be uploaded to MTV's website, where it will be voted on by website visitors, the most popular clips may be screened on MTV, and there's a series of awards for the very best candidates.

  • Creative World Awards: Creative World Awards is an annual international screenwriting competition. Entries are now open and run through late July 2008. The 2008 Creative World Awards have also announced the launch of a new online interactive video series debuting this week entitled, "The Business of Storytelling." In this special online video showcase, participants can view insider tips from several leading Hollywood executives, writers, directors and producers. These experts offer informative perspectives on the creative process of screenwriting as well as the business side of the filmmaking industry.

  • Film Racing: Film Racing is a USA based nationwide competition that challenges filmmakers to create original short films under extreme time constraints. Film Racing visited 13 cities on the 2007 Tour, and will be visiting 17 cities on the 2008 Tour challenging filmmakers to create short films in 24 hours. The films premiere on the big screen in theaters across the country and the top films advance to compete for thousands in cash and prizes. Visit for more details.
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Boost for HD Video Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro

MainConcept AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of DivX Inc. and one of the world’s leading providers of video and audio codecs and software development kits (SDK) to the broadcast, film and consumer markets, have announced the release of the updated MainConcept™ MPEG Pro™ HD 3.2 Plug-In for Adobe Pro CS3, providing enhanced support for the editing of high-definition video.

MainConcept’s renowned MPEG Pro HD 3 Plug-In allows the quick and easy editing of MPEG, H.264/AVC, and even native HDV content in the familiar Adobe Premiere Pro workflow without requiring transcoding. The newest MPEG Pro HD 3.2 Plug-In brings frame-accurate, native MPEG editing with smart rendering to Premiere Pro CS3 versions. It includes full support for Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, Dolby Digital, AVC-HD and a wide variety of camcorders, including Sony’s new XDCAM HD 422 series optical disc and XDCAM series solid state camcorder.

“The release of MainConcept MPEG Pro HD 3.2 Plug-In is a significant technology leap for Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 users that adopt Sony’s highly anticipated XDCAM EX and XDCAM HD 422 camcorder,”
said Muzaffer Beygirci, Managing Director and VP sales of MainConcept AG.
“The new plug-in offers high-end features such as MPEG and Dolby Digital support, and will be a must-have for video professionals to import, edit and produce high-quality work using Adobe Premiere Pro.”

The MainConcept MPEG Pro HD 3 plug-in is available for online purchase and instant downloading at the MainConcept website. A free demo version is available for pre-purchase testing.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big Bang Film Festival Awaits Your Entries

The 2008 Big Bang Film Festival promises to be a spectacular affair. Submissions are open for the 5-day event starting October 1.

For those who don't know, here's an introduction to the Big Bang Film Festival:

BBFF is a celebration of exciting and inventive films in the Action, Adventure, Suspense and Asian Action Cinema genres. BBFF also welcomes documentary submissions featuring extreme sports and athletic events, activities and competitions which have contributed some of the most entertaining video of death defying speed, skill and daring. Each year Big Bang Film Festival showcases amazing films, some classics, some classics in the making. Every submission is posted on the BBFF Submissions Page so that all of our filmmakers can link to their listing.

Wondering what's the location for this film festival? Philadelphia it is, and suitably so. In the last 10 years, more than 80 films have been made in Philadelphia including Lady in the Water, Charlotte’s Web and The Woodsman. The BBFF is a perfect fit for this action-packed, filmmaking city.

For more information on the festival, process and special events, zoom onto the Big Bang Film Festival's official website.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

6 Provocative Filmmakers of the World

This is a must read article detailing the work of 6 controversial and provocative filmmakers praticing the craft from various parts of the world. You may find some of their work shocking, vulgar and downright disgusting. Some, would find it daring.

Depends on you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Filmmaking Competetion Cum Reality Show

Animal Planet has announced that it will showcase an eight-part reality series Unearthed: Film School Wild later this year. For this purpose, it has called for entries globally.

Unearthed will follow four contestants on an intensive training course as they learn the essential skills and realities of creating a natural history documentary.

Industry experts and wildlife filmmakers Lyndal Davies and Andrew Barron will guide the contestants though their tasks on the course. The tutors will provide inside knowledge to help the students shoot and edit their own short wildlife film.

The budding filmmakers and animal enthusiasts will carry out their challenges at the Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa in July 2008, competing to ultimately have their film chosen the winner. An international panel of experts will judge the final documentaries at a gala dinner in South Africa, and the winner will have his or her film broadcast on Animal Planet in 160 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

Entries will be accepted from 14 April to 19 May. All applicants will be required to shoot a three-minute personal profile. This must be produced, shot and edited by the applicant with no outside assistance. The film should then be delivered in a DVD format with the application form to the application address.

The competition is open to those over the age of 18.

Full details here ~~ Download contest application form here

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Raindance Film Festival 2008 approaches

Send in your entries!

The Raindance Film Festival is perhaps the most well-known and well-received independent film festival in the UK. London’s annual festival sthe best of new independent work. Raindance showcases features and shorts made by independent filmmakers from all around the world to an audience of film fans, journalists, acquisition executives, actors, producers and directors. The 2008 edition promises to be an exciting event.

Though held in London, Raindance welcomes and encourages international submissions. If you're not already aware, the 16th Raindance Film Festival opened for submissions on 1st January. The laste date for sunmitting your shorts if 6th June'08. Do read the submission guidelines beforehand. It also includes information on prizes and categories.

Raindance has hosted such guests and filmmakers as Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins), Shane Meadows (Dead Man’s Shoes, This Is England), Ken Loach (Kes, Ae Fond Kiss), Marky Ramone (The Ramones), Iggy Pop, Andrea Arnold (Red Road), Quentin Tarantino, and Lou Reed.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dungog Film Festival from May 29

If you didnt know, the Dungog Film Festival is back again from the 29 May - 1 June, and not only that, their 2007 Trailer directed by award winning filmmaker Stavros Kazantzidis has just won GOLD at the Australian Cinematographer Society Awards and you can view it HERE

What is it?:In addition to discovering filmmaking’s newest talent through the
Festival’s program of documentary, dramatic, and short film, Festival attendees experience live music shows, panel discussions with leading filmmakers and industry figures, parties celebrating the Festival community, and more.

The Dungog Film Festival was founded in 2007 to celebrate Australian cinema in a non-competitive environment, to strengthen the bonds within the film community, to create a context for contemporary Australian films by screening heritage films, and to enhance awareness, accessibility and appreciation of Australian film among a broad and diverse film going audience.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jodhak Akbar Movie Review

I have written a comprehensive review of the Bollywood movie Jodha Akbar on my website It was one film that I really enjoyed watching, even though it stretched approximately 4 hours, and so I took my time writing it. Read the Jodha Akbar Review

I also post short films from youtube on that website. Notable ones among them are Black Button and The Window - incidentally, both have been produced by a company called Dark Heart Productions.

10 Basic Avid Tips and tricks

10 Basic Tips and tricks for Avid

1. If you can't play a sequence in Avid, it's often because of corrupt media, so use the binary chop to find where that niggly piece of media is hiding. Mark an in/out on half of your sequence. Press play in-out (usually 6 on most keyboards). If that half plays, then the corrupt media is on the other half. Keep chopping the other half into halves, and you'll very quickly narrow down where the corrupt media is.

2. If you work on a weekly show, where each show is a project, don't use the same bin names in each project, because you'll often want to open bins from one project in another, and Avid won't allow two bins of the same name in each project.

3. If you want to guarantee that bins will follow a particular order in your project window use a number system before the bin name i.e.

4. Chaning Font Size and Type: Straining to read the text in your bin? Would you like to be able to see the timecode above your Source and Record Monitors better? Hate Geneva (the font, not the city)? It's easy to change the font and/or point size of items in the following places:
- Bins – works one bin at a time unfortunately.
- Composer window
- Timeline
- Project window – version 11.x and later only.

Here's how: just make one of the previously mentioned windows active, then go to the EDIT MENU.
Scroll down the menu to SET FONT and play away.

5. Super Spacer Bar / Trimming Trick: Test out mapping the SOLID PLAY button from the Command Palette (in earlier versions of MC you have to move the play that is on the "5" key) to your space bar. Now the bar becomes not just stop, but play as well while in Composer mode. Even cooler, and more useful: now when you are in Trim Mode and have finished a trim, just hit the space bar and it will loop play.

6. People sometimes get a sync drift (a common problem with Avid and Digibeta) all the time. To easily correct your drift, duplicate your sequence just before you re-conform your video and give it a name like Offline Backup. Hi-res your sequence, and then load your Hi-Res sequence in the record monitor and your lo-res sequence in the source monitor. Click the gang button in either monitor. You can now move through your sequence, checking the shots in your record monitor to see if they line up with the source. If they don't, use the slip & slide buttons (usually m,./) to correct it.

7. Adding Comments to Avid Clips in the Timeline: Did you know it's possible to add clip comments directly to clips within the Avid Timeline? This is important for a few reasons.

#1 The comments will stay embedded within the clip, so if you move the clip, the comments will stay with it.

#2 If you edit a title directly from the timeline, the clip name doesn't change. You can add a clip comment to reflect the real-name of the title template, instead of having to deal with a generic name.

To add comments to clips within Avid Xpress or Avid Media Composer follow these steps:

Highlight one or more of your clips within the Avid timeline using segment mode. In this case, red segment arrow has been turned on to select a clip.

Next, navivate to the pull-down menu in the upper right corner of the Composer Window. Choose add clip comments. A clip comment dialog box will appear. Go ahead and type your comment.

To get the comments to appear in the actual Avid timeline, you need to turn them on using the timeline-fast menu which is located in the bottom left corner of the timeline window.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Continuity in non-narrative films

Non-narrative movies demand a very different approach to narrative. They require that you embed continuity as a part of the whole structure of the film, not as an afterthought during filming.

Non-narrative movies such as music videos, abstract movies and multimedia projections used in live concerts are particularly susceptible to looking fragmented. At their most out of control, they look like you are channel surfing, looking at a number of clips of movies by different people. Of the following ideas, the more effective ones are those that are part of the planning and shooting stages rather than those placed over the film in post-production.

Methods of ensuring continuity in non-narrative film
Single filter effect (edit software filters, not camera filters)
If your editing software has special effects that you can use to alter the look of clips – for instance, to make them change colour, stretch or change contrast and tone – you could apply one of these to the whole film, or at regular points. Restrict yourself to one filter only.

A tracking shot – where the camera moves while it shoots, tracking the action – can make a good way of connecting shots. Decide on a constant speed of tracking and stick with it throughout the film. To enhance the effect, keep to one direction in the screen – for example, left to right. For example, you could show a slow, left-to-right movement of the camera along a beach, cutting then to a similar constant shot along a busy street.

360-degree movement
This device is particularly effective in linking shots. Decide on the height of the camera and the speed of the camera as it moves, then shoot everything while moving 360 degrees around the subject, at every location, throughout the film.

Common space
This involves including an object or space in the background that is present in each shot, and could be as simple as a fireside with picture frame. This is commonly used in scenes with dialogue where it is useful to be able to locate two actors within the same space by showing some common space or object in each actor’s frame. In a non-narrative film you could choose a single prop that is present throughout.

At the editing stage, you will need to decide how you cut between scenes. The most common – the straight cut and the cross dissolve – could be developed by trying something a little more noticeable. An example could be to fade fast to white as the picture cuts, suggesting flash photography.

The length of the shot
A style of editing that uses short cuts, with a high turnover of clips, will encourage the viewer to see these clips as linked in some way, even if the subject matter is not. Therefore, we tend to see a montage sequence consisting of a lot of quick images because the diversity of images needs to be balanced by speed of perception. But what is a ‘long cut’ or a ‘short cut’? In this case you could think of a quick cut as half a second or less and a slow cut as anything from three to five seconds, but your subject matter will dictate how fast your cuts will be.


In non-narrative films, a motif can be used with some thought to what kinds of objects or colours add to the overall theme of the movie. For example, in an interpretation of the word ‘anger’, we could justifiably use the colour red as a motif in the film. To stand as a motif you would have to see the object or colour recur often enough to be noticed. Alternatively, you could use images of a clenched fist or a brick hurtling towards a window, letting us see more and more of it as the film proceeds.

Linked imagery
For this idea we could take a look at Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). After a lengthy start where we see ancient pre-human apes, Kubrick needed a way of jumping tens of thousands of years into the future without disrupting the flow of the movie. If ever there was a time to use a continuity device, this was it. His response was to have the camera follow a bone thrown high into the air, and immediately cut to a similar-shaped, bone-like spacecraft, occupying the same space in the frame. This is a daring way of connecting two shots that could not be more dissimilar, visually. While shooting, you could look for parts of the scene that visually resemble a part of another, with the aim of linking the two later.

This is a last resort method of connecting shots and is not the most effective way. A single piece of music is dubbed over the whole film as with a music video. If you want to use sound in this way, try to use a particularly noticeable home-made soundtrack of sounds, rather than music, and one where you have altered the sounds or looped them, producing a repetitive, rhythmic effect.

The Crunch
 In narrative, continuity is crucial
 In non-narrative, broken continuity can be a useful tool
 Get to know the rules of keeping continuity and break them wisely
 Continuity is developed both in the script stage and also while shooting
 In non-narrative movies, beware that the movie doesn’t look fragmented – use continuity devices in editing or shooting.
 Get to know the action line and the 30-degree rule
 Use good quality sound and take care of ambient sound.

Recommended Reading - Narrative in Fiction and Film: An Introduction (links below)
US and North America
UK and Europe

Monday, March 10, 2008

Avid Cuts All the Way

Christopher Rouse (The Bourne Ultimatum) may have walked away with the award for Best Editing at this year’s Oscar ceremony, but Avid Technology is the real winner.

The company, already synonymous with Hollywood editing technology, recently announced that all of the nominated films in eight categories at the 80th annual Academy Awards employed at least one Avid system.

All of the nominees for Best Picture, Directing, Documentary Feature, Original Score, Film Editing, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing used either Avid, Digidesign, Sibelius or Softimage, all Avid-owned companies.

Avid has converted the highest number of broadcasters to digital news workflows in the industry with more than 250 end-to-end news work group installations. Various international broadcasters, such as NBC, Reuters, CBS News, Fox Television, the BBC, NDTV, CNBC, Times Now and DirectTV utilize Avid software for their video editing needs.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

5 Important Video Codecs You Must Know

A video codec is a device or software that enables video compression and/or decompression for digital video. Digital video codecs are found in DVD (MPEG-2), VCD (MPEG-1), in emerging satellite and terrestrial broadcast systems, and on the Internet.

Below are 5 Must Know Video Codecs and their features

1. H.263 – use for video conferencing
This codec is a good choice for the business community. It’s ideal for a video conference where you do not need high-quality pictures and where audio is going to take priority. It is best with low movement films, so a more or less stationary talking head is going to be just perfect. The data rate for thiswould be small, but much quality is lost. Perhaps the only use of this codec is if you wanted to send aquick version of a film for viewing by a co-worker; you may not worry too much about the way it looksas you just want quick feedback.

2. Cinepak – use for CD-ROMs
This is a good, well-established system which works best with small image sizes. This codec is outperformed by many others, even though its small picture size, at 120x90 pixels, is now getting bigger as computers improve. It is better used on low-end machines but is not usually the first option for web film, being more suited to CD-ROMs. A big advantage with this codec is that it allows the sender to customize settings throughout a film, so you can apply heavier compression to places where there is notmuch movement but lighter compression to where you need more detail on screen, perhaps during anaction sequence. This process avoids ‘data spikes’, where sudden increases in data cause a movie to stopplaying on the user’s PC because too much data is needed.

3. RealG2 – good for web work, not for other uses
This codec is widely used on the web. It uses ‘temporal scaleability’, which means that the result forthe user is smoother than others even on a wide range of computers or devices. This means movies encoded with it play at a high frame rate for fast processors and low for slow ones. This codec is hard to beat in terms of the number of users who may have access to it on the web and the ease with which the rest can download it (for free).

4. Sorenson – good all-rounder
This is a really good, high-quality codec and looks better than most at a screen size of 320x240. It’sa good solution for movies that are going to be viewed over broadband connections, but some editions (notably the Developer Edition) cater for the other users by enabling scaleable streaming. One aspect which puts many people off using this codec is the length of time it takes to encode a movie in this way,but it remains the method of choice for most short movies, for the web and CD.

5. Intel Indeo 4 and 5 – good, but mainly for high power
With this method of compression you get a good result with high picture quality, but it is only viablefor high-powered PCs or Macs. Version 5 allows for progressive downloads. Intel’s codec is generally better than Cinepak, but cannot match the picture quality of the Sorenson.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Online Video Using iWeb and Final Cut Pro

If you have a .Mac account you can put a video from Final Cut Pro online with iWeb in a few steps. This is a great way to allow a client to preview a video without much effort. Making the site secure for only the client to be able to view the page is as simple as setting a login and password in iWeb before publishing.

To prepare a video for iWeb with Final Cut Pro, use the Quicktime Conversion Export option in Final Cut Pro. Selecting the iPhone Format option will compress the video to a 480x360 mpeg4 movie. The other preset mpeg4 format option in the Quicktime conversion is the iPod seting, which will output a 640x480 mpeg4 movie. Both of these options will produce an iWeb compatible video.

Starting a New Site with a blank page and dragging the MPEG4 video on the page is essentially all you need to do. It is very typical that you will get a warning saying that the file is too large, but I have yet to not be able to upload a video. There are a few minor options like adding the password protection that you can do, but for the most part all you have to do is publish the site to your .Mac account. If you intend on leaving the page up for a while you can set a domain to point to the .Mac link.

Source: GeniusDV

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Austin Bags Top Spot for Moviemaking

Austin was named No. 1 on the "Top Ten U.S. Cities to Live and Make Movies" by MovieMaker magazine.

"Austin is the prime example of a Texas city that has caught onto a deceptively simple tactic not always employed in many other cities or states or within the film industry in general: cooperation,"
says MovieMaker.

Austin has ranked among the top three cities on the list for seven consecutive years. One reason the state earned the top slot was because of its statewide incentive program that provides rebates for filming in Texas. Additionally, the magazine praised the Austin Film Commission's new "Now Playing: Cast and Crew Bonus Features" discount program, which gives film crews discounts at local businesses.

The magazine also said that the Lone Star State's geography, broad industry infrastructure and film-friendliness also made it a desirable film locale.

"Austin is back on top of the MovieMaker rankings - an award that is well deserved. We have long been considered a film friendly city, and the industry here has worked hard to get the word out," says Gary Bond of the Austin Film Commission. "
The support of city government and local professionals including the Austin Film Festival, Austin Film Society, Austin Studios and South by Southwest are crucial to our success as a film hub. Our golden reputation is furthered by the city's progressive culture, hip reputation and the fact that [Robert] Rodriguez and [Richard] Linklater, along with a few other notable celebrities, call Austin home."

In the past year, Austin has hosted the production of dozens of films and television shows, including "Grind House," "Teeth" and "Friday Night Lights."

Source: BizJournal

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ellen Kuras - A marathon cinematographer

Ellen Kuras is one of the best-known directors of photography in American independent film of the past 20 years. She has won the Sundance Film Festival's cinematography prize three times. To list just a few of her credits, she shot Spike Lee's 4 Little Girls, Bamboozled, He Got Game and Summer of Sam, Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and his new film, Be Kind Rewind, Jonathan Demme's Neil Young: Heart of Gold and Mary Harron's I Shot Andy Warhol.

Before she ever picked up a camera, she started working as a director on her first film about a Laotian family's experiences in the United States. That was 23 years ago and now that film, Nerakhoon (The Betrayal), a gorgeous metaphoric meditation on immigrant displacement and loss, has its premiere at this year's Sundance festival.

Kuras's long-term project represents an extreme but distinct trend in documentary filmmaking toward films that take years. Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore noted at the beginning of the festival that fewer films were coming from the "professional class" of documentary makers and more from people with a personal investigation they were determined to share with the world.

Among the examples are fashion photographer Steve Sebring's Patti Smith: Dream of Life, which took a dozen years, as the director befriended the rock star and poet from the mid-nineties, in the early years of her widowhood to the present. Katrina Browne, a social worker, took nine years to research her family's history as slave traders before completing Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. One of the three Canadian entries in the official documentary competition, The Women of Brukman, by Montreal director Isaac Isitan, follows the women workers who took over a clothing factory after Argentina's economic collapse in 2001 and documents their legal and political battles for the past half-dozen years.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Finding a Good Film School

This one is for the prospective film student. How to find the right film school? Does location matter...Or should you go for the infrastructure (camera/lighting equipment, editing suites, studios)? Reputation does count a lot. In fact, many of the film schools from the old days are still gold...and the plethora of those that have sprung up now, might just confirm your worst fears.

1. Choose your vocation: You might be interested in just the technical side of filmmaking (see video editing, sound editing), or the creative side (set design, scripting) or both (production, direction!). Deciding your vocation in advance will help you decide the course you want to pursue.

2. Grab your course: Once you've decided what you really want to do (and I hope you decide that on the basis of what really interests you, and not what will earn you more)...its time to grab the course. Most film institutes offer dedicated short term courses in cinematography, video editing, sound engineering and acting respectively. If you like a bit of everything and/or are undecided on what you'd really like, then go for the comprehensive filmmaking course.

3. The Location: Will you be placing yourself thousands of miles from the place where you want to film your work? If you ultimately want to work in Hollywood you might want to aim for a California school so you can go ahead and begin building that network. If you want to work in Bollywood, nothing better than FTII at Pune.

4. Equipment and Facilities: decade ago, the equipment that a school could offer mattered a lot, but it’s not a lot to get worked up about today. After all, you can buy an HVX-200, a laptop and Final Cut Studio for a fraction of a year’s tuition at most film schools. You don’t want to go someplace that has crummy equipment, nor do you want to attend a school that lacks enough equipment to serve its students. You need good (film and video) cameras, sound equipment, lights, and editing stations. (Maybe not even the editing stations, if you already own one.) Beyond that, don’t get worked up about facilities and equipment.

5. Length of Program: Most programs are three years; some are two years. There may be a difference between what a school’s literature states and the reality though. Ask current students for the skinny on how long it takes for students to typically finish a program. It can be a positive thing, of course, to stay in school as long as you can.

Action! Every year, tens of thousands of hopefuls apply to film school to start a career behind the camera. If you're of them, you probably dream of one of top five film schools - UCLA, NYU, the American Film Institute, Columbia and USC. (Aren't film students big dreamers, after all?)

Of the five, USC and NYU are considered the top of the heap. USC is, both literally and figuratively, closer to Hollywood. Applicants may need Jedi mind tricks to gain admittance into this alma mater of George Lucas - the school accepts 150 undergrads out of 14,000 applicants annually. NYU, the home base of Miramax and Tribeca Productions, has an "indie" edge, personified by prominent grads like Spike Lee, Ang Lee, and Oliver Stone.