» Author Archive

Description image

Every once in a while I am reminded that I live in an age with an eerie yet delightful attribute: I can ask why isn’t there a device or piece of software that does a certain thing, and then usually within 6 months the thing I wanted becomes a reality. Case in point: I was wondering how a friend of mine went about keeping track of a bunch of major film festival deadlines. The most obvious answer was that he probably spends time on Withoutabox and enters in deadlines into some calendar software. Still, I couldn’t help but ask myself “why isn’t there an all-in-one app that helps filmmakers keep track of film festivals?” As if on cue, a few days later iFilmfest popped up on my digital radar. More »

Description image

Dead Can Dance has been making their particular kind of mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful music ever since I was but a tot. After disbanding for about 7 years, they reunited in 2005 for a world tour, and last year they released their first studio album in 16 years, Anastasis. Now the band is teaming up with Genero and reaching out to filmmakers everywhere to create a music video for the opening track of the album – Children of the Sun -- and compete for a chance to win £3,000 ($4,740). More »

Description image

If you thought Video Copilot’s Adobe After Effects plug-in Element 3D couldn’t get any better, then check out the new features the free 1.5 update is sporting: support for importing animated 3D sequences, real-time glow, new particle ordering and repeating options, ambient occlusion improvements, layer grid mode, and more. Feast your eyes on Andrew Kramer’s video below for a complete tour of what’s new in Element 3D: More »

Description image

LED studio lights keep making leaps and bounds in technological advancement, but the price of such lights has tended to remain relatively high. However the Fiilex P360 and the P200 FlexJet are two LED studio lights touting a high CRI at all color temperatures (and the ability to smoothly tune between them), an option to run on broadcast batteries, and a light/compact form factor, each costing less than $1000. The P200 also features a lighting tool you’re not likely to find in other studio lights: fiber optics. More »

Description image

We’ve all seen it: mismatched subject and background lighting, dancing edge pixels, and color spill; some of the hallmarks of a bad green screen composite. There are multiple factors to consider for a chroma key shot in preproduction, on set, and in post, and in the following videos Richard Harrington will take you through those factors and show you how to pull a good key and produce a believable composite. More »

Description image

Last year, 86 teams competed in the first annual Louisiana Film Prize, and one lucky team walked away with $50,000. Now, the 2013 iteration of the LAFP has just kicked off, and once again they’re offering a cool $50,000 for the best short film shot in the northwestern section of the Bayou State, as well as $500 prizes for each of the 20 finalists. Here’s the details on the competition’s rules and how to enter: More »

Description image

When you hear the term “bullet time,” you probably can’t help but think of The Matrix. And if you’ve taken a gander at the behind the scenes footage from that film or similar productions, then you know that’s it’s an effect usually done in large warehouse studios, with a multitude of cameras on a huge rig, and run by a sizable crew, which all adds up to being quite expensive. Even renting a bullet time rig will more than likely be cost prohibitive, but with some elbow grease you can put together your own portable rig at a more indie friendly price: More »

Description image

One of the great features in Adobe After Effects CS6 is its built-in 3D camera tracker, which helps realistically integrate CG elements into footage that have a fair amount of camera or subject movement. But what if you want to do a 3D match move shot, and you can’t afford a copy of After Effects? Not a problem. Andrew Price of Blender Guru has a great hour-long video to get you started with 3D tracking and compositing CG elements in the free open source 3D program, Blender: More »

Description image

You’ve seen the test videos and the first short film made with the prototype models, but now the production models of the Panasonic GH3 have been around for almost a month. Those filmmakers who decided to take the early adoption plunge have been out there kicking the GH3‘s figurative tires and uploading their resulting videos. Here I’ve picked out those videos that should answer lingering questions about moire, ISO, the wireless app, overall image quality, and how the GH3 compares to the GH2 (and popular DSLR’s). I’ll also chime in occasionally with my thoughts on the brief hands-on experience I had with the camera: More »

Description image

There are a good deal of relatively inexpensive rigs out there that can help you achieve a nice dolly shot. For small-scale dollying you might use Cineskates, or for shots that require a greater amount of movement with larger subjects, you might go with Rigwheels. But there might be times when the size of your subject might make these tools — and even a full dolly track setup — inadequate for the job. But with a DSLR, some planning, and a little post work, you can put together a beautiful dolly shot of a tall building: More »

Description image

4/3 Rumors has been a neverending resource on all the official and unofficial news in the Micro 4/3 world, including information on price drops and sales on cameras and lenses. Now Ale -the site’s creator- has started a new venture called Slidoo; a website with a simple and slick interface that helps you find the filmmaking equipment (or pretty much anything else) you need at the price you want. Click through to check out how the site works and what it can do for you. More »

Description image

Over the past few years I’ve been doing a lot of work on other people’s video projects, and this past spring I quit my day job and started freelancing. While this has all been great for my reel, my resume, learning new skills, and cementing already learned knowledge through hands on experience, it meant I had to put my own film projects on the back burner. But eventually I reached a point where I felt it had been far too long since I worked on one of my own films. It was time to utilize the abundant knowledge and resources on NoFilmSchool and other filmmaking sites and to collaborate with my talented friends. It was time for a project that would force me to stretch myself and grow as a filmmaker. It was time to make Fugue, a project I’m running a Kickstarter for. Here’s what I learned from the process that started with preproduction and culminated with the first shoot earlier this month: More »

Description image

If you’ve been enjoying Luke Neumann’s weekly music freebies and the daily free music he released this past July, here’s a chance to add even more free tunes to your collection. This time the sonic goodness is coming from Josh Molen of The Tune Peddler. Each week in December he will be giving away his entire library of 130 pieces of royalty free music to a lucky winner. All it takes to enter is the click of a tweet button. Here are the details on entering, as well as streaming samples of some additional free Christmas music Molen is releasing: More »

Description image

Some of us have been waiting for this since the camera stat rumors in September, and others since the GH2 was hacked. Despite earlier news of a slightly delayed release date, it looks like Panasonic has officially begun shipping the GH3. If you’re just now learning about the GH3, be sure to check out the camera’s stats and past videos. However, if you’ve been following the news, jump in and check out the latest test videos: More »

Description image

This past summer I wrote about the release and initial tutorials for Video Copilot’s awesome Adobe After Effects plug-in, Element 3D. Andrew Kramer has been slowly but surely releasing new tutorials for the plug-in that show off more aspects of its functionality and practical applications in After Effects projects. His three latest Element 3D tutorials delve into image based lighting, using video clips as textures to create screen animations, and making a field of random rocks as a part of a set extension. As an extra bonus, I’ve included some tutorials for the free open-source 3D modeling and animation program Blender, to get you started making your own objects for Element 3D. More »

Description image

Being an independent filmmaker usually requires one to wear a lot of different hats — not only during the production process — but also in the arenas of promotion and marketing. It’s hard work to build your audience from the ground up, and NoFilmSchool has covered this topic in multiple posts that will hopefully make this process somewhat easier and more understandable. But while we have explored audience building on YouTube quite a bit, we haven’t really gone into using social networking sites as much. However, in his recent webinar Richard Harrington talked to Scott Bourne — one of the most followed photographers on Twitter and Editor of PhotoFocus.com — about the best methods to use for audience building on Twitter. More »

Description image

As artists, we know that to some extent all our creative ventures are based on what has come before. Although, much like the biological evolution, the utilization of creativity recombines and mutates what has been established, ultimately resulting in work that is uniquely yours. The same can be said about the wisdom of veteran filmmakers. It’s helpful to have a framework on how to approach the filmmaking process based on years of collective experience to build on and incorporate into your own approach to filmmaking. Here I’ve put together a list of videos from 10 well-known directors to help you do just that: More »

Description image

As some of you might be aware, the Panasonic GH3‘s release date has been changed from November 30th to December 13th. B&H currently lists an earlier date, but the 13th is the official Panasonic release date — though that could still change as the camera nears release. This slight delay is probably so that Panasonic can make needed improvements to the camera before it’s released. You can see some of those improvements in new test footage shot on cameras with the 0.5 firmware, though as you might expect there are still some lingering issues. In addition, more in-depth reviews of the preproduction cameras are coming in, and we get to take a look at the structure of the menu interface: More »

Description image

When I first saw the announcement this morning I thought I had misread it, as this is something I believe neither I, nor most M43 users expected, but it is indeed true: Panasonic will be releasing an update to their AF100 line, the AF100A (technically AF105A since its initial release will be in Japan only), on November 15th. With a new camera model, this does seem to indicate that they are committed to the AF100 series of cameras for some time. Here’s what we can expect from the new addition to Panasonic’s line of M43 cameras: More »

Description image

There’s a lot in the way of Micro 4/3 news that’s been coming down the pike, mainly due to the upcoming release of the Panasonic GH3 and the passive MFT version of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera coming at the end of the year. On the GH3 side of things, there’s a hands on video of the GH3 smartphone app, new test videos, an official release date, and the first rumblings from the hacker community. There’s also a test video of SLR Magic’s new 35mm T0.95 and T1.4 lenses, as well as rumors of an active Micro 4/3 mount Blackmagic Cinema Camera: More »