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The Ludvico TechniqueStory is, at its core, a metaphor for how to live. We live vicariously through the characters we see on the page or the screen. So it follows that if you’re creating characters, they should be as real as possible. That is, of course, easier said than done, and a weak or unbelievable character can kill a screenplay or movie regardless of the plot (experimental film excepted). So what can be done? For writers, an understanding of psychology and human nature are vital in order to see people as they are, making it possible to make up people who are more like people than like characters. More »

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CropperCapture[77]There are many jobs in the filmmaking process. It all starts with a script, a story waiting to be told. Then there’s the director, the visionary, the person with the plan. But we all know that filmmaking is highly collaborative, so a team begins to emerge, with a group of like-minded artists all striving towards the same goal. You’ve got your art directors and production designers, and new worlds are created. You’ve got your editors, who lovingly craft the footage into the final piece of art. You’ve got your makeup artists and VFX artists and loads of other craftspeople who ultimately shape the film in some unique way. And then there’s the cinematographer, the person behind the lens. But what exactly does a cinematographer do, and what does it mean to be a cinematographer? The following short video from the EFTI School of Cinematography in Spain has the answer. More »

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frame io logoA week ago we were introduced to a brand new collaborative video workflow platform called Frame.io that aims to “pick up where Vimeo left off.” While Vimeo has some client review features, and there are a number of companies out there that offer similar services, Frame.io is attempting to be more seamless, faster, and eliminate headaches that are often associated with the process. There was a huge response to Frame.io, and many, many questions. Co-founder Emery Wells will be sending out a newsletter answering these questions, but they’ve given No Film School an early look at the text that will be going out later today. More »

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Michael Bay - BayhemWhile his films are incredibly successful financially, director Michael Bay is one of the more polarizing filmmakers working today. Many consider his style the downfall of entertainment as we know it, while others love the non-stop action that oozes from nearly every frame. If fewer people watched his films, they may still be interesting visual specimens, but the fact that his movies have grossed billions and earned him two Criterion Collections makes him a different case entirely. Tony Zhou has put together a video exploring “Bayhem,” a visual style that is rather unique to Michael Bay and his brand of storytelling. More »

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The ShiningStanley Kubrick’s films are some of the most analyzed pieces of cinema, especially his horror masterpiece The Shining. Brimming with intrigue, clues, and hidden messages, Kubrick’s 1980 film has been given the royal treatment when it comes to analysis, even becoming the subject of the documentary Room 237 that digs deep into the possible meanings behind the director’s cinematic choices, and Darren Foley of Must See Films offers up another engaging video essay, this time on Kubrick’s enigmatic work, that explores some intriguing theories on the possible theme of “history repeating itself.” More »

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SuspectsAh, the 90s. Rollerblades. Bill Clinton. A time when moguls like Harvey Weinstein jetted out to Sundance and handed out fat distribution/production deals to filmmakers who were  barely able to legally buy beer. One of these lucky young tyros was Bryan Singer, whose 1988 short, Lion’s Den, led to a feature that went to Sundance, and that led to The Usual Suspects, which led to everyone losing their mind in 1995. Check out this behind the scenes documentary on that classic crime film, and see how story and filmmaking can trump budget. More »

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Shooting something entirely from a first person POV may not be new, but every once in a while an exceptionally well-done shot or scene (or even an entire short) makes you step back and appreciate what can be done with the technique and how difficult it is to pull off, especially when you need to cleverly hide cuts. That’s the case with Random Stop, a short film based on the tragic real-life shooting of Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Dinkheller after a routine traffic stop. We’ve also got a behind the scenes video that is launching first on No Film School, so be sure to check that out after watching the short. More »

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Sharp AOALast October, Sharp ran a filmmaking contest called the Art of Amazing 4K Film Competition, and now they’re back for another round of ultra high definition goodness. and once again asking filmmakers to submit their best 4K short films. Once again partnering with THX and RED, Sharp will be taking 4K short film entries for the chance to win a host of cool prizes, like a screening of your film at the Mill Valley Film Festival, a private tour of Skywalker Ranch, and more than $65,000 in prizes for filmmakers and fans. More »

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VICE News C300Canon cameras might not get a whole lot of love these days (especially in the comments on our site), but the truth is that the C300 (which is now cheaper than ever) might just be one of the best documentary-style cameras around because of its tremendous versatility and low-light ability. Nowhere is this versatility more apparent than in the hands of the cinematographers of VICE News, one of the more engaging journalistic outfits around today. Their travels, and dare I say adventures, have taken them twice the world over as they’ve captured footage from every major international conflict in recent memory. In a recent collaboration with Canon, VICE DPs Jake Burghart and Jerry Ricciotti shared the standard VICE camera package, as well as their unique camera rigs that allow them to be ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. More »

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Sony a7S at NAB 2014While the full-frame 1080p/4K A7S from Sony is proving to be an absolute beast in low-light situations, it’s far more than just a night-shooting camera. Besides resolving what looks like a very solid 1080p image (an external recorder is required for 4K), it’s also got some pretty fantastic dynamic range. How good? Well the folks over at cinema5D took the camera for a spin, and measured it at over 14 stops, right next to the ARRI AMIRA, which uses the same sensor as the even higher-end ALEXA, which is being used on tons of Hollywood and indie features. More »

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SOTLWhen it was released in 1991, director Jonathan Demme’s adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs, starring Jodie Foster and featuring an unforgettable performance by Anthony Hopkins, changed the rules of how horror could be presented in mainstream film; the Oscar-winning classic’s reverberations continue today, while the Hannibal Lecter money train keeps on rolling. This 90-minute documentary on the inside story of the Silence of the Lambs shows just how all the right elements came together to create a modern classic. More »

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Taking Flight Creative LiveIn the past two years, the aerial cinematography industry has really taken off (get it?). What was once only an option for people with sky-high budgets (okay, I’ll stop) now has a delightful low-cost for entry-level equipment. With that said, piloting drones and snapping off great shots is far more complicated than owning the right gear. In fact, there’s a veritable plethora of information that you should know before your drone ever leaves the ground. Luckily, our friends over at CreativeLive have you covered. In their upcoming course, Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video, Jeff Foster will teach you everything you need to know in order to get started with aerial cinematography. More »

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Adam EpsteinThe Saturday Night Live Film Unit is responsible for the short films (like this Wes Anderson horror parody) that get broadcast every Saturday night. Many are written, shot, and edited in 4 days or less, which makes for a very condensed and hectic production and post schedule. Last month, we interviewed Adam Epstein, the staff editor for the SNL Film Unit, and he not only provided technical information about how he works, but also some insight into how to be creative and effective on extremely tight deadlines. But that’s not where the great info stops, because Adam is now gearing up to hit the road for his Cutting Edge Tour, in which he’ll teach you everything you need to know in order to go from an empty timeline to an effective broadcast-ready piece. More »

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Mac-App-Store-Explore-Your-Creativity-Screenwriting-Promotion-croppedApple is running an Explore Your Creativity promotion in the Mac App Store. That means for a limited time, you can buy several screenwriting apps at 50% off their regular prices. If you’re looking for more minimalist screenwriting tools, now would be the time to check out Highland or Slugline. If you’ve wanted to pick up Final Draft 9, but stayed away because of the sticker shock, 50% off may be the right price for you. You can even pick up Scrivener at half off. The Explore Your Creativity promotion in the Mac App Store is only for a limited time, though, and Apple is playing coy with the deadline. More »

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DaVinci Resolve 11 Beta 2Blackmagic has pushed the DaVinci Resolve 11 color grading suite even closer to being a full-fledged editor, but the company, at the least for the moment, does not have any interest taking editing jobs away from the big names like Final Cut, Premiere, and Avid. While the program is still in Beta form, it’s far closer to a finished product than lots of other Beta software, and they are releasing new updates all the time. The newest Beta 2 includes support for Apple’s new ProRes 4444 XQ codec, Final Cut Pro X XML 10.1.2, and a number of other new features. More »

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Creativity BundleWith technology advancing so quickly, and with the internet’s supreme dominion over our entire lives, distribution doesn’t look anything like it did in the past. In this day and age, independent filmmakers have to find creative ways to not just get their work out there into the ether, but to find an audience somewhere within it. Using VOD platform VHX, film strategy company Bond/360 is now experimenting with a “distribution and filmmaker collaboration” that offers award-winning films in a bundle and allows moviegoers to pick the price they want to pay for it. The directors of Indie Game: The MovieSign Painters, and Beauty is Embarrassing weigh in on their experience. More »

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ro11020201_02_nexfs100uk_nmPrice cuts seem to be in the air this month. First it was the Canon C300 dropping to $12,000, then it was the 7D hitting a grand, followed by a big cut on the DJI Ronin gimbal, and then a pretty insane 50% reduction for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Now we’ve got another significant cut on Sony’s budget large sensor video camera, the FS100, which is currently running body-only for just $2,500. More »

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Tatia Pilieva Undress MeBack in March, filmmaker Tatia Pilieva took the internet by storm with her video First Kiss, which paired complete strangers together, and as the title suggests, had them kiss on camera for the first time. The viral hit, which was used as a promo for women’s clothing company WREN, had a bit of backlash from those who considered the video a hoax because there were actors and models used, but Pilieva’s goal was not about using anyone off the street, but about the interactions between strangers doing something intimate. Now she’s back again with another “stranger” video, this time it’s a more diverse group of people who’ve never met taking each other’s clothes off. More »

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screencraftToday, ScreenCraft announced that they are now taking entries into the 2014 Action & Thriller Script Contest, which will feature cash prizes (that they’ve doubled since last year), as well as a venerable panel of top industry judges, including executives from Paramount, Fox, Warner Brothers, and more. So, if you have a script that fits into the action/thriller genre and you want to compete for the chance to get it in front of some real movers and shakers, then we’ve got the details on how to enter. More »

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Excell +1 BMPCCLast week, Fotodiox Pro released the Excell+1, a product that had many of us extremely excited because it seemed to be a far less expensive counterpart to the popular Metabones Speed Booster. Cut to one week later. Many of the new units have made their way into the hands of eager filmmakers, and a few have put the Excell+1 up against the Speed Booster, only to find that the Fotodiox has some major focusing and sharpness issues at apertures wider than f/2.8. The folks at Fotodiox have released a few new videos in an attempt to explain more about what the Excell+1 can and cannot do, and to offer people who were expecting Speed Booster performance a full refund for their purchase. More »