Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Recording Audio for a Feature Film

Here are a few tips for recording audio for movies using a directional mic:

Where to point the microphone
  • Imagine that the microphone is a flashlight, with a beam projecting straight out from it.
  • Aim the imaginary beam directly at the mouth of the person who is speaking (not at their chest, not at their forehead).
  • If the mic is close to the actor you may need to adjust the angle slightly. For example, if you’re getting plosives or sybilants, adjust it upward or downward slightly... such as, angling up slightly past the mouth (toward the philtrum) or toward the chin. (If possible, aim it from in front of the actor, from above or below his or her mouth. So the mic will be pointing at the actor’s mouth, but he or she won’t be speaking directly into it. If you come in too much from the side, or miss the mouth, it may sound okay to you, but be missing some frequencies and sound tinny in the movie. If the actor is speaking directly into it, or is too close to the microphone, some consonant sounds like “s” and “p” phonetics may be distorted.)
Generally speaking, the microphone should be held as close to the actor as possible without being visible in the frame. It’s also important that the mic’s SHADOW not be in frame.

If you hear anything other than crystal clear audio during a take, let the director know. (That means, buzzing or hissing, vehicles going by, footsteps or creaking sounds when the actors are speaking, distant voices in the house, etc.) The mic picks them all up, at much higher sensitivity than the human ear, and they can make a shot unusable.

If you hear any buzzing, let the director know about it. Usually buzzing is caused by electrical interference. Make sure that if the if the microphone’s cable is near any cord with current running through it, that it crosses it at a 90 degree angle, rather than lying along side it.

Have fun making movies! The attention you pay to audio will make a big difference in the quality of your finished movie.

Nils Osmar is a Filmmaking Instructor who has worked as a fine and commercial artist, book and magazine illustrator, portraitist and cartoonist. His artwork has been published in the United States and Europe, and featured in several national magazines. In addition to his work as a visual artist, Nils has been active in Seattle's theater scene as an actor, director and playwright.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tribeca announces filmmaking grants

The Tribeca Film Institute announced Wednesday its submission period for grants is now open. TFI will award more than $500,000 in filmmaker support through 2011 and more than $100,000 through its new TFI Documentary Fund, presented by HBO.

The Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund provides finishing grants totaling $100,000 to feature-length documentaries that highlight and humanize topics of social significance. The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund will award up to $140,000 to support compelling narrative filmmaking that explores scientific, mathematic and technological themes.

The Tribeca All Access Program will continue cultivating relationships between filmmakers from traditionally underrepresented communities and film industry executives, and provide each 2011 participant with $10,000. And, the TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund will support film and video artists working in narrative or documentary film and living in Mexico, Central and South America.

“We are excited to expand the reach and depth of our programming to support individual artists in the field,”
 said TFI artistic director Beth Janson.

The early submission deadline is Nov. 8; final deadline is Dec. 8. More info: tribecafilminstitute.org.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Taiwan's Tsai Liang is Asian Filmmaker of the Year

South Korea's most prestigious film festival said Wednesday it has chosen Taiwanese director Tsai Ming Liang as its Asian Filmmaker of the Year.

The Pusan International Film Festival praised Tsai's work over the past three decades for pioneering unexplored areas that overcome the limitations of the art film industry.

"His 30-year-long devotion to filmmaking has greatly influenced Asian cinema and made considerable contributions to enhance the global status of Asian cinema," it said in a statement.

"He is renowned for seeking fresh ways of communicating with his audience... We can find the root of his endless spirit of challenging himself and the borderlines of art in his earlier works in the 1990s."

Malaysian-born Tsai is best known for "Vive L'Amour" that won the Golden Lion (best picture) award at the Venice Film Festival in 1994, and "The River" that won the Silver Bear/Special Jury Prize at the 1997 Berlin International Film Festival.

The 52-year-old has also won numerous awards with other films.

He is considered a leading exponent of the "Second New Wave" -- a group of Taiwanese directors in the 1990s who produced films with realistic and sympathetic portrayals of life rather than melodramas or action pictures.

The festival, held in the southern port city of Busan since 1996, will be staged from October 7-15 this year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Latest Web startups for filmmakers

As the author of the Digital Filmmaking Blog I often get emails about the launch of a new film camera or filmmaking scholarhip or film training program requesting to get featured on this blog. Often I find those things overtly promotional and commercial and decide to ignore them. But I would like to list a few good web startups for filmmakers:

1. Tyro TV: tyrotv.com is a website that's intended for emerging television and filmmakers. They are sponsoring a new kind of online film festival/contest. According to the site owner,

We give young filmmakers a topic and everything they need to create their own movie -- video, music, and sound effects. Then let them create the best short film they can using these materials. Because everyone's using the same "building blocks," contestants will be judged not by their budget but on their creativity and storytelling abilities.

Their first competition is called "The Marijuana Mash-Up." For this contest, they are asking contestants to “mash up” (that is, creatively condense and re-edit) an hour’s worth of hilariously dated drug education films from the 50s and 60s to create a short campaign commercial that convinces people to vote for or against legalizing marijuana. The contest is motivated by the California initiative that'll be on the ballot this fall, but young filmmakers across the country have passionate views on this issue, to say the least! Finalists will be named late in the summer and a winner just before the election.

2. Fleetflicks: FleetFlicks.com is trying to revive the short film as both art and entertainment. It's a place for filmmakers to expose their work to an international audience. The site hopes to spread the word to a diverse viewership and combat the stigma that the short film is only for crotch-punch and cat videos. The site has been up for a few months and has gathered a lot of followers, many of whom have uploaded their short films on the site.

3. Student Film Makers of India: SFMI is a site for student film from India where they can upload their films, make their profile and network with other film makers. The website has a decent design and has got quite a few members already who have uploaded their short films and animations there.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jumpstart Your Film and Television Career: 5 powerful TIPS on how to land more tv film jobs than you can handle

This is a guest post by Ian Agard of ianagard.com. Ian is a Toronto based writer/director/film producer who loves to entertain and inspire people through his movies and his filmmaking blog.

As you probably know, one of the most desirable yet challenging industries to make a living from is in the film and television industry.

By far, the most commonly asked question I receive from people throughout my six years working as actor, screenwriter, director and film producer is...how do you get into the industry and make a living?

As a film producer; I have interviewed, hired and worked with several casts and crews while making my films. It becomes quite easy to notice the difference between individuals who struggle to find film/tv work and those who make a comfortable living.

Is it about luck?


Who you know?

I would like to share with you 5 POWERFUL TIPS that will help you jumpstart your film/tv career and get you on the road towards landing more paying industry work than you can handle.

TIP Number One: Be Willing To Work For Free

I know, you probably didn’t want to hear that but it’s imperative that you are willing to either work for free or very low pay. It’s a sacrifice that many in the entertainment industry must do when starting out, however, you’ll have the opportunity to meet others in the business as well as learn on the job. Taking “free” jobs quickly leads to full time careers.

TIP Number Two: Attitude Is Everything

This is one of the most important tips regarding developing a successful film/tv industry career. More important than your talent, your experience or your education; your attitude will determine how far you will rise within your career.
It will determine if people will refer job opportunities to you or hire you again for future projects. You must be a flexible, professional, team oriented person who is committed to “serving” the story/project to the best of your ability.

Production sets are full of egos, there’s no need for one more.

TIP Number Three: Recognize and seizure opportunity

You’ve probably heard the old saying luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I like to believe in a slightly different statement, luck = opportunity + willingness.
A certain film/tv industry work opportunity might present itself to you; you’re prepared...but are you willing to maybe work for free, work for low pay, work 12 hour days, be team-oriented, be flexible and agreeable or go the extra mile to help the project succeed.

TIP Number Four: Network and be visible

The reality of the film/TV industry is that most production jobs are never advertised. Those positions are usually filled through word of mouth and pre-established relationships. That’s why it is extremely important for you to always be committed to meeting new like-minded people.
The best places to meet and connect with people who share your zeal and passion are:

1) Onset while shooting a movie or television show
2) Through industry specific classes
3) At film festivals

TIP Number Five: Always be learning

As humans, we are learning machines. We are most alive and functioning closest to our potential when we are learning, adapting, adjusting and finding new ways, approaches and techniques to improve our lives (and our careers)in some way.

No matter how many years working experience you might have within the film/TV industry it would be hugely important for you to maintain a beginner’s mindset. A beginner looks constantly for one new tibit, one or more ways to expand on their current expertise.

To learn more valuable tips and in-depth advice, listen to my MP3 60 minute audio interview with film and television expert and veteran Stephen Dranitsaris at: www.ianagard.com/tv-film-jobs

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tribeca film festival changes the rules

As best as Jane Rosenthal can describe it, the Tribeca Film Festival, which she co-founded with Robert De Niro in 2002, is "cultural whiplash."

Tribeca Film Festival, New York
The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal & Craig Hatkoff as a rejoinder to the attacks on the World Trade Center. It was initiated to promote the economic and cultural revitalization of Lower Manhattan via a yearly celebration of film, music and culture. The Festival's mission is to uphold New York City as a major filmmaking center and allow its filmmakers to reach the broadest possible audience.

44 World Premiere Feature Films & nearly 500 film screenings will be hosted at the 9th Annual Tribeca Film Festival starting Wednesday, Aprill 22.

In an effort to help films find audiences, movies won't just be screening in downtown Manhattan.

A new distribution company, Tribeca Film, founded by the festival's parent company, Tribeca Enterprises, will make a dozen movies — including Whitecross' directorial debut "sex & drugs & rock & roll" — accessible on TV via video-on-demand in some 40 million homes. A "virtual festival" will also stream eight movies and 18 short films online for viewers willing to shell out $45.

One of those films, The Birth of Big Air, was co-produced by Johnny Knoxville. It features BMX stunt biker Mat Hoffman, whom Knoxville describes as "the Evel Knievel of our time." At the same time that audiences at the festival watch it at an outdoor screening (BMX riders, including Hoffman, will be doing tricks on a half-pipe), audiences at home can watch it in their living rooms.

The Sundance Film Festival and the South By Southwest Film Festival have tried similar initiatives, though Tribeca's foray is the boldest yet. The very nature of the film festival is changing, festival organizers say.

Many of the 85 feature films at Tribeca will still arrive with the mission to look for distribution. But some producers increasingly view that possibility as quixotic, in an industry where independent film and documentary distributors are rapidly disappearing.

Seven of the ten films released by Tribeca Film will be screened day-and-date, which means that the same time moviegoers are flocking to a New York theatre, TV viewers across the country will be able to watch on VOD. Deals with Comcast, Verizon FiOS and Cablevision helped make that achievable.

Even movies that find distribution at film festivals typically aren't released for months, even years. By shrinking that window, Tribeca Film hopes to capitalize on buzz from the festival and support of festival sponsors.

Sources: AP, USA Today, NY Daily News

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Latest Filmmaking Jobs

Some latest job openings for filmmakers and film professionals are as follows:

1. USA - Job Opportunity: Executive Director, St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival
Timeframe: 52 weeks, commencing May 1, 2010
Salary: $45,000

The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival is currently accepting applications for a one-year maternity leave Executive Director position starting May 1st, 2010 (52 weeks, F/T contract position).

Application Deadline: April 9, 2010

Please send your C.V., a cover letter and three references to info@womensfilmfestival.com (subject heading: Executive Director Hiring Committee) or mail/deliver to:
Executive Director Hiring Committee
St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival
P.O. Box 984, Stn. C, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5M3 (mail)
28 Cochrane Street, Suite 101, St. John’s, NL, A1C 3L3 (courier)

2. UK - Professor of Film
Kingston University, London - Faculty/Dept Arts and Social Sciences School/Section Performance and Screen Studies
Vacancy Number: 10/088
Salary: £51,459 - 66,794 pa
Grade: Senior Staff Band C
Hours: 37 hours a week
Closing Date: 12 Noon on 29th April 2010

Interviews: Between 29th June and 15th July

As part of London’s leading new university the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Kingston University, is the largest such faculty in the capital, consisting of an exciting and diverse body of dynamic disciplines and staff. The Faculty aspires to have all subject areas recognised in the top quartile in the UK for teaching and research by 2020.

For further information and to apply online, please visit www.kingston.ac.uk/jobs.Alternatively you can email recruitment@kingston.ac.uk for an application pack,

3. Production Jobs > India
Vacancy: Freelance Video Producers
Employer: Howcast.com
Location: India
Duration: Ongoing, starts Immediatlely

Payment is on a lo/no/deferred basis.

Make creative short how-to videos for Howcast and pick up some extra money. Now, in the tiered Emerging Filmmakers Program, the more creative spots you produce, the more you can earn. (Please note, this is an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers, not a call for established filmmakers seeking freelance rates.)

• Tell a story and test out new techniques with scripts like 'How To Stop Being Shy' and 'How To Ride a Mountain Bike'
• Build or diversify your reel and see your videos distributed across the web (on AOL, Hulu, etc.) and beyond (to iPhone, TiVo, etc.).
• Challenge yourself to move up to Level 4 where you may be selected to produce special projects
• Shoot on your own schedule and get started right away
You'll need a 3-chip DV camera or an HD camera, and editing software. Howcast provides a script, VO, graphics, and access to a royalty-free music library.
Every accepted video receives a stipend and accepted directors may go on to produce more videos, move up to new levels, and earn higher payments. To learn more visit: http://www.howcastfilmmakers.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hong Kong Film Festival Honours Bollywood Legends

The prestigious 34th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF), from March 21 to April 6, will pay special tribute to India’s late actor-director-producer-writer Guru Dutt, whom it calls "Bollywood Guru".

Festival will showcase his Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959, with Waheeda Rehman), Mr. & Mrs. 55 (1955, with Madhubala), Sahib Bibi aur Gulam (1962, with Meena Kumari and Waheeda Rahman), and Pyaasa (1957, with Mala Sinha and Waheeda Rehman) films. While Sahib Bibi aur Gulam was directed by Abrar Alvi, rest were all directed by Filmfare Award winner Guru Dutt himself.

Meanwhile, Bollywood actor and legend Amitabh Bachhan is set to add another feather to his cap with the lifetime achievement award at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival

The Hong Kong's Asian Film Festival now wishes to honour me before the end of the month. And so soon after I leave the picturesque shores of Oman, I should be heading further east to receive what I believe, not so much a personal recognition, but one that comes to me as a member of the film industry of India and indeed India itself,

the 67-year-old posted on his blog.

Bachchan has appeared in more than 100 movies in a career spanning four decades. His recent credits include "The Last Lear," "Sarkar Raj" and "Paa."

Friday, January 15, 2010

What would a filmmaker buy

... If he had an unlimited loan, a good big amount that lets you buy anything you want? Emergency loans are not easy to come by, and you really only get what you need, not what you want. Here's a list of ten things I would want to buy if I had an unlimited loan with a decent payback interest rate:

1. ARRI 35mm camera - the latest one!

2. Stock film - at least 10 hours- for the above camera so I can shoot/get the movie shot by a professional DP. My first 35 mm film.

3. AVID Media Composer (latest version) - the best suite yet for editing films, what else.

4. Apple iMac with the latest Final Cut Pro bundle. Best for editing digital video.

5. Final Draft software - for help in formatting scripts and screenplays!

6. Filmmaking books - a list of my recommended filmmaking books is already there on this blog's sidebar (on the right).

7. Adobe Production premium - to have Adobe's brilliant editing, compositing and image editing software on my laptop .

8. Adobe Dreamweaver software with tutorial pack to help design my own proper website.

9. Various 35mm Lenses and filters for the camera mentioned in pont no. 1

10. A studio cabin where I can fit in most of this stuff!!

Thats all folks, tell me your top 10 list.