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“Do short films have monetary value?” Filmmaker Robin Schmidt, who after many short films and music videos recently completed his first feature film, digs in and offers some intriguing observations in the guest post below, as well as his idea for a solution with the help of Vimeo. After reading the post, we’d also like to know what you think. Do short films have monetary value? If so, what solutions can you come up with that will allow filmmakers to monetize their shorts?

This is a guest post by filmmaker Robin Schmidt. More »

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Joe Rubinstein

Joe Rubinstein and his team at Digital Bolex have been developing a new, fully digital version of the most sought after 16mm camera brand in the world, the Bolex. After some lively debates on their forums, Joe decided to address a topic that he found to be particularly engaging with both fans and naysayers alike: is 4K worth it? Joe delves into what 4K is all about after the jump.

This is a guest post by Joe Rubinstein, founder of Digital Bolex. More »

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Director's Chair

If you’re a director gearing up to go into production on a film, you’re probably fine-tuning the script, selecting your crew, and carefully drawing up a shot list. As a director, it’s easy to let your mind become fully centered on your artistic vision for your project, but LA-based film consultant Seth Hymes reminds us not to forget the managerial side of your directorial responsibilities.

This is a guest post by Seth Hymes. More »

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Conflict vs Resolution

If you’ve ever gone through your 1st, 2nd, or even final draft of your screenplay and felt like it was just falling flat, you’re not alone. Many (all) screenwriters struggle with giving their stories and characters dimension and substance, but much of the time the cause of a stale script is lack of conflict. Independent filmmaker Dylan Tuccillo shares the importance of conflict as well as resolution, and how the two occupy their own very important place in narratives.

This is a guest post by writer and filmmaker Dylan Tuccillo. More »

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Nicolas Alcala board

Independent film has grown and blossomed over the last few decades. Production costs are low and spirits are high, but the question on every indie filmmaker’s mind after wrap is, “How do I get my film out there?” Independent director Nicolás Alcalá and his team at Riot Cinema has rewritten the book on how movies are experienced and distributed with their film The Cosmonautand Alcalá was kind enough to share his thoughts on distribution in contemporary cinema.

This is a guest post by Director Nicolás Alcalá. More »

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This is a guest post by Director, Writer, and Cinematographer Oden Roberts.

Mantra: Grant writing is not filmmaking. Once again: Grant writing is not filmmaking. It’s scholarly, tedious and political. Repeat mantra.

A few years back I began the arduous process of submitting my feature script A Fighting Season to the San Francisco Film Society for their prestigious KRF narrative production grant. The process, in a nutshell, parallels the scholarly disciplines guided by the Little, Brown Handbook than the craft I’ve been become familiar with known as “Indie” filmmaking. More »

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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 »