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setscouter set location scout appLocation scouting can be a lot of fun when you’re spending time imagining the potential production value of a place you’re visiting for the first time. It’s very rewarding to report it all back to the production department heads, introducing the exciting visions of “what if?” for ground zero of principal photography. However, unless you’re an experienced, local scout with a laundry list of locations and contacts, you’re also going to spend a lot of time searching, driving, cold-calling, and negotiating to find that perfect fit for the project. If only there were a platform to make this entire process easier, especially for indie filmmakers. But there’s not, so I better end the article here – kidding! Say hello to Set Scouter, which Anila Gill of Tribeca says “hopes to be the AirBnb of  location scouting.” More »

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Lila
There are short films, really good short films, which within hours of opening their online doors flit from inboxes, to tweets to posts to blogs racking up 100s of 1000s of views as they reach meme velocity, and while that’s a status any of us would be happy to achieve, there are those truly great shorts such as Carlos Lascano’s A Short Love Story In Stop Motion which are so popular they become instantly recognisable by anyone who’s even flirted with the idea of watching a short film. In what surly must be an unfair monopolization of the collective consciousness, Carlos looks set to once again have a film which will remain a topic of conversation for years to come with his latest short Lila. We interview Carlos about closing out his unofficial trilogy of viral hits and his move from animation back to live action filmmaking. More »

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BTS VideoBTS videos and films can be many things. Sometimes they’re just that, a brief glimpse behind the scenes of your favorite films. Other times, they’re a harrowing account of productions that, by all standards, should never have succeeded, much like the fantastic Fitzcarraldo documentary Burden of Dreams, or the always-popular Hearts of Darkness. And then there are BTS pieces that are meant to inform, videos that provide insight into the filmmaking process. Last but not least, there are BTS pieces that are just downright entertaining to watch. And once every blue moon, a BTS video comes along that serves all of these purposes. A recent video from the Australian production company Graetzmedia falls into the latter category, and it might even be the most entertaining, informative, and inspiring BTS video that you’ve ever laid eyes upon. More »

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Menthol on Vimeo on Demand

Now that Menthol was finally released online last week, let’s check in with the release status and watch the 3rd part of our interview series with the makers of the film. This post will complete my 6-part series on releasing the film with a $0 marketing budget. With direct distribution I’ve learned that what appears to be the end of a long road usually leads to be the beginning of a new one, but for this post I’ve selected some big takeaways and put them together in a Direct-Distribution Lesson Roundup. Read on. More »

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nfs-topics-relaunch-preview

“What do you want to see in the next version of this website?” We asked in 2011. We asked again in 2012. We heard you loud and clear, and we were hoping to launch the new version in 2013. We could’ve simply added a few things — a better search function, improved commenting – but it turned out, as with everything I do, “good enough” was not, in fact, good enough. It had to be great. More »

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Rody PolisIf your film work consists of a lot of wedding, music, or experimental videos, you probably include a good amount of stylistic light leaks and lens flares to add a little more panache to match the emotional nature of your material. However, if you or your clients are like the Chotchkie’s Manager from Office Space and want just a little more flair, RodyPolis has a collection of over 100 HD leaks and flare overlays called Lens FX Prism that are not only organic, but reasonably priced. More »

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Sony a5100 FrontSony’s track record of introducing small, light, and higher-megapixel mirrorless cameras is pretty solid and consistent at this point. While the a7S is probably the biggest step up in terms of video quality we’ve seen with these cameras, some other interesting features are making it into lower-end models. Just introduced today, the new APS-C a5100, in addition to uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 HDMI up to 60fps, has added an interesting option for a consumer-level camera: a “broadcast-ready” 50mbps codec. More »

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PitchIf a great pitch is all that stands between you and thousands of dollars in film equipment and software, you’d probably want to get really good at pitching, right? As you might know, The Music Bed is offering just such a handsome booty to the filmmaker who sends in the best film idea to their contest Project Film Supply (of which we’re also a sponsor). In other words, the best pitch wins. But, how can you ensure that yours is a $50K pitch? Here are a few thoughts from The Music Bed on what they think about when scouring submissions, and what makes a pitch really stand out. More »

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Making Sense of CENTS Lessons Learned on Set of My First Feature Film 1
Here at No Film School, my posts focus on screenwriting. I can honestly say searching for lessons from professional screenwriters, sharing those lessons with NFS readers and adding my own take on those lessons has made me a better screenwriter since I started writing for this site back in May 2012. But, by far, my biggest learning experience as a screenwriter to date happened this summer when I had the privilege of shooting my first feature film, thanks in no small part to many NFS readers who supported our CENTS Kickstarter campaign. Now that principal photography is complete and we’re heading into post production, I’m excited to get back to NFS to share with you 5 lessons I learned on the set of my first feature film as writer, director and one of the producers. More »

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standard-gauge-still-2When I was nine or ten years old, and not busy seeing movies I was far too young to be seeing (thanks, indulgent parenting!), I haunted the film section at any available bookstore, buying scripts, biographies of my favorite directors, books on technique and craft — it didn’t really matter, so long as it was film related. Sometime in the mid-90s, this indiscriminate process resulted in my discovery of the classic, Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices. The author, Rick Schmidt, had written it several years before, and its premise was that for the average cost of a used car (around $6,000), it was eminently possible to make a feature film. Recently, I reread the book, and there’s no time like the present to catch up with the past, so put on your jodhpurs, grab a megaphone, and let’s make a movie, what say? More »

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Disney Automatic EditingWe all know that editing is an incredibly complex craft, one that requires not only an immaculate sense of timing, but also an in-depth knowledge of narrative structure. The edit is, after all, the final re-writing of the script. With that said, editing can also be, well, a pain in the ass, with hours on end spent making minuscule changes. But what if an edit, or at least a competent rough cut, could be done with an algorithm designed to choose the best shots and string them together with continuity? Well, a group of engineers with Disney Research have done just that, and they’ve put together a brief video explanation of how it all works. More »

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TruffautHitchcockIn 1962, French filmmaker, critic, and so-called “Father of the New Wave,” François Truffaut, carried out a series of interviews with Alfred Hitchcock at the latter’s Universal Studios’ office. At the time, The Birds was in post-production, and Truffaut, who had kick-started the French New Wave movement with his debut feature The 400 Blows, had just directed his third film, Jules et Jim. A key founder and proponent of the so-called auteur theory, which stated, very roughly, that the best films could be viewed as the work of one sensibility, Truffaut saw Hitchcock as a prime example of this theory in action. Their approximately 12 hours of discussions served as the basis of his influential study of the director, HitchcockNow you can listen to their conversations for free online, as well as peruse the book, with its hundreds of amazing stills and transcripts of their discussions.  More »

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House of Cards - Kevin Spacey - Text MessageFor the past 15 years, filmmakers have been attempting to tackle a serious problem: how to visually portray the screens that permeate every aspect of modern life. From computers to smart phones, screens — and more importantly, the information on those screens — have become instrumental components of the contemporary human experience. As such, filmmakers have an inherent need to find ways to incorporate this experience and information into their visual stories. The only problem? Pointing a camera at a cell phone or computer often doesn’t look great, and it can be difficult to absorb the required information. Some filmmakers, however, have found ways to make it interesting. More »

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ARRI AMIRANFL Films, the production company that has dazzled our eyes and ears with beautiful 16mm footage and slow motion aerials of the National Football League, will stop shooting its regular season and postseason games on film. For 2014, they are now moving to the ARRI AMIRA as their main production camera, with likely a number of other supporting cameras that have already been in use. While film got a shot in the arm thanks to the news that Hollywood will continue buying Kodak stock, this is certainly a setback. More »

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Hot Docs Documentary Impact Report TitleDo documentaries that focus on pressing issues of our time have any quantifiable impact on those issues? On one side of the debate, you have those who think the sole purpose of documentary should be to affect change. On the other, there are those who think advocacy docs are more propaganda than art. And then there’s everyone in between. Hot Docs, one of the largest documentary film festivals in the world, just released their 2014 Report on the issue titled Documentary Impact: Social Change Through Storytelling entailing their findings. What do you think? More »

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Paul Thomas Anderson on Why He Dropped Out of Film SchoolPaul Thomas Anderson is one of the more famous and successful film school dropouts, but the circumstances surrounding the way he left are pretty interesting. While he didn’t have much interest going to school in the first place, and didn’t have great grades in high school, he did eventually get into NYU, but with one foot already out the door by the time he got there, he came up with an interesting way to reassure himself that college was a complete waste of time. More »

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usb 3 3.0 3.1 10gbps interface bus protocol standard device connectivity digital computerGenerally speaking, it isn’t too difficult to plug something in correctly. That is to say, the relationship between a plug and its matching receptacle is often pretty self-explanatory. And yet, somehow, I still find myself trying to plug USB cables into USB ports the wrong way. USB is everywhere, and that’s not something that is likely to change anytime soon. What will change, however, is the ease of plugging things into it. That’s because USB specs have finalized the new Type-C reversible connector design announced earlier. The connector/cable type promises the 10Gb/s speeds and 100W power provided by USB 3.1, and yes, the physical incapability of being plugged in wrong. More »

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Robert RodriguezWe all know Robert Rodriguez. Not only did he make his first feature for less than $8,000 and share every step of that process in his book Rebel Without A Crew, but he’s gone on to shoot countless other features and even found his own television network. For anybody wanting to make their first film, but is not sure where to start and what steps to take, a video of one of Rodriguez’s famous 10-minute film schools has been making its way around the web, and it has the answers that you’re looking for in a way that only Rodriguez can provide. So if you’ve got a few minutes, here’s Robert Rodriguez, the man himself, to tell you exactly how to make your first film. More »

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EditReady

Earlier in the summer, Divergent Media, a software company whose tools need no introduction in the video production world, released EditReady, a Mac transcoding app with a tremendous claim, that it was supposedly the world’s fastest transcoder for Quicktime conversion. In a market that is fairly saturated with transcoding solutions for filmmakers, that is definitely a bold claim, to say the least. However, after reading about what sets EditReady apart from its competitors, then testing the app for myself, I’m ready to say that the claim is indeed a valid one. I also talked briefly with Mike Woodworth, the CEO of Divergent Media, who’s also the lead developer of EditReady, and learned more about how the software was designed, what it can and cannot do, and where it is headed in the future. More »

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Robin Williams - Multiple ExposuresIt’s hard to sum up the value of a single person who has contributed so much happiness to the collective consciousness that their own unhappiness is eclipsed by it. As you all probably know, the great actor, voice actor, comedian, and all-around-human-being Robin Williams died very recently. There isn’t much to say about it that others haven’t said already or won’t say in the days and weeks to come, for better or for worse — but in respect to the greatness all of us have just lost, we’ll let that greatness speak for itself. More »