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Ted Hope

The film industry has changed dramatically over the past decade, and trying to make a living from movies is getting more difficult as independent films (and films in general) fight for a smaller piece of the viewership pie. That’s where people like Ted Hope come in. He has been working tirelessly to make sustainable filmmaking careers a reality, and he’s written a tremendous post that should be an eye-opener for anyone trying to survive as a filmmaker.

This is a guest post by Producer Ted Hope. More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.

After many years of owning a wide range of camera systems, including a RED ONE and an EPIC, I decided to sell it all and rent. So for the past three years I have been exclusively renting cameras on a per project basis, that is, until recently when I made the plunge and bought the Canon C100. Little did I know how many eyebrows and questions it would raise when I posted a picture on Facebook. Here is why I chose a 1080p, 4:2:0 camera over a 4k RAW camera. More »

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Great aerial footage seems simple enough to capture in theory, but there is often a team of people or years of experience backing up the terrific shots. In the post below, we have Andrew Wonder to take us through his process of capturing aerial footage of a female rugby team on the Sony F55.

This is a guest post by Director/Cinematographer Andrew Wonder.

If you were at NAB, then you already know that 2013 was the year of the drone. You could barely walk around the convention floor without the risk of getting a haircut by someone’s spin on the aerial rig. Though they look like toys, it’s easy to forget that operating a drone is an art that should be carried out by professionals. Like a Steadicam, you can’t just pick one up and expect cinematic results. Understanding how to balance and control these crafts is the difference between that perfect shot and ending up in the river. More »

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This is a guest post by filmmaker Jeremy Engle.

Many filmmakers are weary of casting real teenagers, particularly non-professional ones, in their movies. And for good reason: You can’t shoot long hours, if you film during the school year, you need to get them tutors, and there’s tons of extra paperwork. And I haven’t even mentioned the parents. For many, teenage actors just add up to too many headaches. More »

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This is a guest post by Alyssa Bolsey.

First things first, you want to make a movie and you need a camera, right? The options are endless and it feels like there is a new camera coming out every couple of months! What to do? After you’ve done all your research, you either buy one, rent one, or most likely (as in my case) you beg until someone will let you borrow theirs for a few days. Ahhh… Such is the life of an indie filmmaker. Now, imagine a time when there wasn’t an affordable camera to buy, borrow or rent because independent filmmaking didn’t exist and therefore, a camera for the independent filmmaker didn’t exist. This is Beyond the Bolex, the story of the man responsible for the beginning of independent filmmaking and the inventor of the Bolex motion picture film camera, Jacques Bolsey. More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.

Welcome to Part 03 of Some Like It RAW, where I am comparing the Arri AlexaBlackmagic Cinema Camera, and the RED EPIC. My goal for these tests is to explore how each of these cameras handle real world shooting environments. Part 01 explored how these cameras handle IR pollution. In Part 02, I tested underexposure. And here in Part 03, I’m exploring the world of overexposure and diffusion filtration. Continue on to watch the 10 minute video, read my summary, and get the downloadable RAW frames from each camera. More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.

Welcome to Part 02 of Some Like It RAW, where I am comparing the Arri AlexaBlackmagic Cinema Camera, and the RED EPIC. My goal for these tests is to explore how each of these cameras handles real world shooting environments. Part 01 explored how these cameras handle IR pollution. In Part 02, I test the limits of low light levels, or underexposure. Continue on to watch the 11 minute video, read my summary, and get the downloadable RAW frames from each camera. More »

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If you’ve been using a newer large sensor digital cinema camera, you may have noticed that your image takes on more reddish tones when using increased neutral density filtration. This is related to the way many of these ND filters block visible light, but let in more infrared light which can pollute the image. We’ve seen a few examples showing what IR pollution can do, and today, we have a video comparing RAW cameras, specifically the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Arri Alexa, and RED EPIC, and how each of them handles black cloth when using IR cut filters of different strengths along with increased ND filtration.

This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters. More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.

So, you’ve decided to quit your day job and venture into the exciting world of freelance work, where you get every day off, you set your own hours, and life is always enjoyable? At least that is how it feels as you sit behind your desk finishing out the remainder of your two-week notice. It is true, there are many perks to living life in the freelance world. However, it is not for the faint of heart, as it brings with it a whole new set of struggles. In what follows, I’m going to give you seven tips on how to succeed in the world of freelance, so that those struggles will be fewer and easier to bear. More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.

With the rise of popularity and accessibility of film schools since the 1960′s & 1970′s, aspiring film professionals have had the difficult task of choosing where to begin their career path. Is it best to go to school to get formal training, or jump right in and start working? Today with the plethora of free online resources, it makes the choice of formal schooling less appealing. But what is the right choice, and the best way to prepare yourself for a career in the film industry? Let’s take a look at what you have to gain, and what you have to lose by following either path. More »

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Saving Lincoln - Historical Photographs - Civil WarEver seen a period film shot entirely with backgrounds made from historical photographs? No? Well, me neither, but Salvador Litvak has done just that for his film Saving Lincoln, and he’s now looking to distribute this independent film with the help of Kickstarter. He’s taken to the crowdfunding website to sell the movie and help take it on a theatrical release, and today we’ve got a post explaining exactly what’s so special about Saving Lincoln and the process his team went through to accomplish this monumental task.

This is a guest post from Salvador Litvak. More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.

One of the most challenging aspects with any creative endeavor is trying to figure out how to price and charge for your services. This is especially true when you are first starting out. Price yourself too low and you will not have a sustainable business model, and price yourself too high and people may laugh at the rate you are charging in comparison to your experience level and skill. The good news is that as you progress in your experience, you will get a more accurate sense of what it takes to render your services, and how to charge for them. But where and how do you begin? That’s what I want to help you figure out… More »

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Light meters may seem like relics of a different era, but they are still consistently used by filmmakers working with digital cameras. We’ve shared a fantastic guide about using light meters from Ryan E. Walters before, and now we’ve got a great post on why light meters are still relevant and how they can help you light and expose your shot, and get a far more precise image overall.

This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters. More »

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Things are moving fast in the world of digital cinema. Just a few years ago DSLRs were about the only affordable way to get a cinema quality image, but now we’ve got plenty of camera options under $20,000 that would have cost well over $100,000 just five years ago. We’ve already shared with you a rather comprehensive RED buying guide, and now we have a wonderful digital cinema buying guide from Ryan E. Walters. He covers everything you need to know about putting together a camera package, and gives personal experience about the package he is planning to put together.

This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters. More »

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We’ve talked about a number of success stories involving self-distribution on this site, from Louie C.K. to Aziz Ansari (who both also happen to already be famous and successful). What if you’re not famous, however, and your name isn’t already plastered on billboards? That’s exactly the case with a film we’ve featured on this site before, Indie Game: The Movie. The filmmakers, Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, self-distributed their film and chronicled their success in a case study (part of which we’re featuring below), wherein they discuss what it takes to get yourself and your movie out there.

This is a guest post from Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, the Directors/Producers of the film. More »

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It’s no secret that Apple has neglected to update the Mac Pro line in any significant way since 2010. In fact, both the iMac and the Macbook Pro have gotten a few major revisions just in that time span, and many have turned to building Hackintoshes to satisfy the growing need for professional equipment (and to save a few bucks). We’re getting word from CEO Tim Cook that one should be coming in 2013, but the details have been vague. A Facebook page was started by Lou Borella, a freelance editor/animator, to bring together professionals looking for Apple to address this growing issue. Now that the new Apple philosophy is becoming more clear, Lou has addressed the state of Apple and the Mac Pro line, and what he thinks will be coming in the next version.

This is a guest post from Lou Borella. More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.


I’ll be the first to admit nothing replaces a professionally built sound stage or studio. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot on a wide variety of stages and I appreciate what they bring to a production. However, I have also needed a space where I could shoot some of my stock footage, as well as record my training videos. And I need that space to be affordable and accessible to me at any time. So I converted my garage into a mini “studio.” To learn how I got this done for under $500, continue reading … More »

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This is a guest post by Till Schauder (with Sara Nodjoumi).

I’m married to an Iranian woman. She’s smart, beautiful, and tough as nails. (I may be a little biased, though not much…)

In 2007 a friend of ours – actually the fellow who married us – sent me an article about a handful of Americans who play professional basketball in Iran. At that time we were high at war with Iraq and Afghanistan and it looked like Iran – or “I-ran” – would be next on the list, just as it does again now. In the absence of diplomatic relations (we haven’t had an embassy in Tehran since 1979), I was inspired by these athletes, who arguably do more for dialogue between Iranians and Americans than any politician on either side. More »

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This is a guest post by Whitney Adams.

There are literally thousands of apps on the iOS and Android platforms, and plenty of them are actually useful for filmmakers. Having some of these apps is like having an entire production office or studio in your pocket. App developers have created tools for all different skill levels, so whether you are just starting your career or have been at it for a while, there is an app for you. Here are 5 that just might make your filmmaking experience more productive: More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.

As Moore’s Law continues to make technology more accessible to the masses, it is time to start exploring what it takes to build your own grading suite at home or in your office. Before reading the rest of this post, I recommend that you check out How To Get The Most Out Of CS6, DaVinci, & Your Mac Pro, as this article continues to build on what I’ve outlined. So let’s get started shall we? More »