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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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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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Dolly HacksCamera movement is one of those aspects of filmmaking that, if done well, can make your film look like a million bucks. If you’re on a tight budget, however, you’re probably not going to be able to drop the necessary cash on pricey sliders, dollies, jibs, etc., but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your footage to look like you did. In yet another excellent video from our buddies at Film Riot, we’re given a bunch of  ideas on how to pull off buttery smooth dolly, tracking, and crane shots using everyday household items. More »

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andrei tarkovskyBack in 1972, world-renowned director Andrei Tarkovsky sat down with film critic Leonid Kozlov around the same time as the release of his 5th feature film Solaris and was asked to share his top ten favorite film. With great intention and thought, the legendary filmmaker jotted down on a piece of paper the films that, sure, he probably enjoyed and learned a lot from, but considering the artist and film philosopher Tarkovsky was, had done more to contribute to the art of cinema as a whole. More »

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The Jazz SingerNew technologies have been, and continue to be, developed for use in cinema since the dawn of the medium. From the invention of the projector to digital filmmaking, these additions have drastically changed the future of the art form, but perhaps none so much as the introduction of sound. In the first lesson of their 6-part course, Filmmaker IQ, in partnership with RØDE, presents the history of the development of sound in the moving pictures, including when, how, and by whom the technology was created, and how it affected the cinematic world. More »

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REMUSJust in time for the best 7 days of the year: Shark Week — some truly incredible footage of a shark attack. A team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were shooting a nature show for the Discovery Channel entitled Jaws Strikes Back. The plan was to pick up some footage of sharks being sharks: swimming, mating, eating. But sharks also attack things from time to time, and this time, a great white decided to try to make a meal out of the team’s shark-tracking camera, fitted with 6 GoPros, resulting in video that allows us all to get up close and personal look at this “man-eater”. More »

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DIY filtersGood lens filters can empty your wallet pretty quickly, but the effects they produce are beautiful (and oftentimes needed). If your name isn’t Rich Uncle Pennybags, or if you’re a DIY enthusiast like most of us here, Film Riot has put a couple of ladies’ unmentionables to the test: traditional black stockings and fishnet stockings to see which replicates the effects of a $100 black pro-mist filter best. And as an added bonus, we’ve shared a few extra DIY filter ideas, from plastic soda bottles to plastic Pringles lids. More »

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Andrew StantonIn filmmaking, there are no hard and fast rules that artists have to abide by, but one axiom always proves to be infallible: story is everything. And even though each and every one of our lives is essentially one great, big story, learning how to tell one isn’t as effortless as our lives seem to be. Here to give you some truly invaluable, practical advice on how to put together a narrative is Pixar writer/director Andrew Stanton (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E), whose 2012 TED Talk not only sheds light on what makes a story great, but what tools you can use to make your story great by inspiring your audience to care. More »

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Blue ValentineOne thing to keep in mind as a filmmaker is that everything tells a story — it’s not just the actual script either, but very prop, every location, the colors of your character’s shirts, the blocking, and editing. This concept is demonstrated masterfully in Derek Cianfrance’s 2010 romantic drama Blue Valentine, which utilizes, both narratively and cinematically, the theme of “duality” to tell a tale of a dying relationship. In yet another excellent video essay from Darren Foley of Must See Films, we not only get to analyze the dual world’s inside the film, but Cianfrance’s compelling approach to capturing authentic emotionally charged moments on film. More »

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Film Festival SchedulerHow many of you can agree that finding the right film festivals to submit your films to is a chore? Sure, we know about the standouts — Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, but wouldn’t it be nice to have, like, a comprehensive list of tons of different festivals that range in popularity, that allowed you to search different criteria, like submission fees, countries, and genre categories, and offered all of this information in the form of a timeline so you could see which ones were coming up in the next few months? Well — you are in luck. More »

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Enrique PachecoTime-lapse photography is definitely not as cut and dry as setting your camera on a tripod and pressing record. It takes careful planning, a few pieces of essential gear, and a little bit of expertise to create those beautifully cinematic shots. If you’re interested in adding this technique to your repertoire, Spanish cinematographer and time-lapse pro Enrique Pacheco shares a bunch of invaluable tips and answers many central questions with you in this helpful Shutterstock video entitled Timelapse Wisdom. More »

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LoglineIn my experience, writing screenplays and loglines is a lot like algebra and geometry: people typically excel at one while struggling with the other. Penning a screenplay is hard enough, but writing loglines can be difficult, because you have to strip your story down to its most essential parts, while still telling it in its entirety — you’re not given the luxury of playing the long game. If you’re like me and struggle with writing up loglines, this Script Lab video explains in simple terms just how to do it. More »

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LouboutinIt’s nothing new when big name directors lend their incredible feature filmmaking abilities to make commercials and advertisements. Martin Scorsese directed a Chanel commercial for their male fragrance Bleu; Wes Anderson directed two commercials for Prada, one staring Blue is the Warmest Color’s Léa Seydoux and one with Jason Schwartzman as a Formula One driver that pays homage to Fellini. This time, David Lynch flexes his avant-garde muscles to create this mind-bending ad for Christian Louboutin’s new line of $50 nail polish. More »

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Blue is the Warmest ColorCinema has had a complicated, on-again, off-again relationship with portrayals of sex and nudity up on the silver screen. And if you’re thinking, “Oh yes, movies have gotten pretty raunchy in the last few decades,” you’re right, but the erotic history of cinema dates all the way back to the first films ever made over a century ago. Fandor has put together an infographic that highlights the pivotal, transgressive films that challenged cinema, penetrated the moral blockade, and changed the rules again, and again, and again. More »

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The Music bedIf you’ve ever made a movie before, you most likely understand how frustrating it can be finding the right music for your project that is not only affordable, but good. That’s what makes The Music Bed so promising. It’s a platform designed to be mutually beneficial for indie filmmakers and indie musicians, where the licenses are reasonably priced, the music is good, and navigating through it all is surprisingly uncomplicated. Now, The Music Bed is making finding the right song a whole lot easier by releasing their free mobile iOS app that makes their entire music library accessible right on your iPhone or iPad. More »

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MetropolisSome pretty exciting things were happening at the Cannes Film Festival in the 80s, but in 1984, Oscar-winning composer and synth disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder revealed his own version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. New edits, sound effects, and colorization weren’t the only changes made to the “Moroder Version” of the 1927 sci-fi classic, but the composer also controversially just so happened to added a synth pop soundtrack featuring music by Freddie Mercury, Pat Benatar, and Loverboy. If that’s not the definition of pure epicness, I don’t know what is, and if you haven’t experienced it, you must — now. More »

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DrillAs indie filmmakers, we’re used to making do with what is easily, readily, and/or inexpensively at our disposal, and many times the locations we need don’t fit within those criteria. However, with a little bit of know-how and a few bucks (about $170), you could construct your own flats (the fake walls used on films and theater sets), which would not only allow you to film in the location you want (a mock version, at least), but it will take the stress away of having to shoot in someone else’s space. Matt Brown is here with a tutorial to show you how to saw, hammer, and drill your way to making flats that’ll be perfect for any project. More »

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Learn Color GradingThere are many factors that go into making a film look cinematic, like lighting, blocking, and camera settings, but creating a good color grade is certainly somewhere near the top. If you’re completely new to color grading, but are looking for an opportunity to really get a firm grasp of it (or even if you just want to learn a few new techniques), this intensive DaVinci Resolve class, which will teach you everything from the basics of the interface to advanced color control, is now 75% off  ($49) on the online learning platform Udemy. More »

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Hulu SFSThere are so many ways to go about learning how to make films, with resources that won’t cost you tens of thousands of dollars or have you sitting in lecture halls for the greater part of your early 20s. One ironclad piece of advice that always seems to be in the mouths and repertoires of great filmmakers is to watch and study films, because they can offer invaluable guidance, inspiration, and even mentorship to those who are looking for it. And if you’ve decided that this summer will be the one in which you buckle down for some serious cinematic cogitation, Hulu’s Summer Film School, which is a series of blog posts that break down the filmmaking techniques of some of history’s greatest films, might be right up your alley. More »

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PolyphonyFilm is often thought of as being a visual medium, but sound (especially sound and visuals together) play a huge role in storytelling. This enlightening video essay from two students from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands breaks down the concept of contrapuntal music in film, a technique used famously by Stanley Kubrick and Quentin Tarantino that arranges independent, yet harmonious musical and filmic parts, expressing a deeper narrative meaning to the tune of Sergei Eisenstein’s theory of the montage. More »