» Archive for the ‘Featured Content’ Category
This is part of our behind-the-scenes series on a slow-motion, live-burn fire shoot shot on a Phantom Flex4K.
If there’s one indelible image from 1991′s firefighting actioner Backdraft, it’s the sight of flames licking out menacingly from underneath a door. It may be that the folks on Backdraft staged and filmed the effect as it happened for real, but on the short Phantom Flex4K promo Let Me Know When You See Fire, director Brendan Bellomo and DP Greg Wilson came up with a creative way of achieving the same effect without actually setting a room on fire — or being in a room at all. Check out this ingenious way of achieving the effect: More »
Director Ryan Lightbourn dropped out of film school and decided to strike out on his own, making films and music videos with gear he bought himself. Having just recently finished his first feature film Sleepwalkers, Ryan decided to let us behind the scenes, explaining his process as he made his film using an array of different types of gear, including the RED SCARLET, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and the 5D Mark III.
Recently, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) organized a meeting to review the standardization for Ultra High-Definition Television (UHDTV). The need for standards is especially important since shipments of ultra high-def TV sets are expected to reach four million units by 2017. More »
Here at No Film School, we’re massive fans of the fine folks over at Stillmotion. Day in and day out, they’re not only doing what they love (and doing it well) in order to make a living, but they’re also sharing everything they learn along the way on their blog and through their numerous workshops. For the past year or so, Stillmotion has been in the process of producing their first feature-length independent documentary, entitled #standwithme. Not only does the documentary itself look fantastic, but the way that it was funded, produced, and (will be) distributed breaks the mold, and it may very well set a new precedent for how independent films are made in the future. More »
Directors Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart have just released Medora, a documentary about a winless high school basketball team from a small town in Indiana. The filmmakers moved to the town for 9 months to document the lives of 6 teenagers, and the result is the most quintessentially American film I’ve seen this year. Read on for our interview with Andrew Cohn about the importance of committing to a project, the relationship of a filmmaker to their subject and their strategy for the release of the film. More »
When you’re recording 16GB a second — yes, I said sixteen gigabytes — you’re only going to be able to capture a few sections of action at a time. This is the price we pay for having amazing cameras like the Phantom Flex4K, which shoots 1,000 FPS at full 4K resolution. You’d better get your staging, choreography, and framing right at these data rates! More »
Hot on the heels of a long overdue update about my feature MANCHILD, I’m happy to share that the production company I co-founded with Zack Lieberman, EXIT STRATEGY, is one of eight companies selected for the inaugural class of the Dogfish Accelerator program (that’s our ridiculous team photo at left). Dogfish Accelerator is the first seed accelerator for film production companies, modeled on startup incubators like TechStars, and is co-founded by producer James Belfer (Like Crazy, Compliance, Prince Avalanche). We publicized the program here on No Film School, as that is one of our missions with this site — to share opportunities that may be potentially career-changing for filmmakers — and Zack and I felt it represented such an opportunity for us and our long-germinating interactive project, 3RD RAIL. This post is long overdue, as we’re already two months into the three-month accelerator, but that’s what happens when you juggle projects and responsibilities — something that is a must in the film industry. Ridley Scott, for example, currently has 11 projects announced, in pre-production, filming, or in post-production. This is a good opportunity to talk about Dogfish and how MANCHILD and 3RD RAIL relate to the art of stacking projects, otherwise known as having an answer to the question every filmmaker is asked when a project garners recognition: “what’s next?” More »
Canadian filmmakers Ryan Glover and Krista Dzialoszynski talked to No Film School earlier this year about making their micro-budget feature film Hills Green. With the film’s release on iTunes today, I decided to bring them back to briefly talk about their festival expectations, distribution strategies and their long road to releasing on iTunes. More »
“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?
Film festival programmers — those enigmatic figures in a dark screening room who decide the fate of so many films with one push of the eject button. Ever wonder who they are, and how they decide what films to program? Ben Fowlie, the Executive Director and Head Programmer of Camden International Film Festival was cool enough to sit down with NFS over Skype and give us a rare glimpse into the inner workings of his film festival. Continue on to check out our video interview. More »
Here at NFS, we’ve covered experimental films from time to time, sharing details on how they’re made and things of that nature. Last month we even shared a delightful, albeit brief, history of experimental cinema that touched on a few of the core concepts and definitive filmmakers of the genre. Despite these brief forays into the avant-garde, however, we’ve never actually talked about making experimental films. Until now, that is. In our new series, “Experimental Filmmaking for Dummies”, we’ll explore not only the multitude of reasons why every filmmaker can benefit from experimental filmmaking, but also how to get started with making shorts in all of the most popular experimental sub-genres. Stick with us on this one. It’ll be a fun ride. More »
Drugs and music go hand-in-hand arguably as well as independent filmmaking and direct distribution, and I can’t think of a better way to exemplify the parallel than the Barnes Brothers‘ latest “hypothetical documentary” East Nashville Tonight. The film follows songwriters Todd Snider and Elizabeth Cook (among others) in an honest and refreshing portrayal of the musician’s predicament. Hit the jump for NFS’ interview with the filmmakers and Bond360 front-man Marc Schiller as we discuss the film’s marketing and distribution strategies. More »
The last time I posted about my MANCHILD prequel AMATEUR, I was asking for help and releasing a teaser trailer to help the short get picked up by sports and film websites. By releasing a short film directly online instead of waiting to get into festivals, I was accelerating the release schedule and — at least in theory — finding an audience everywhere, instead of just in a few select theaters. I’m glad to say that AMATEUR has now been featured on a lot of prominent websites and has enjoyed a lot of festival play as well — despite being free online. Let’s take a look at how we achieved this, the lessons I learned, and the status and schedule of the long-delayed but better-than-ever feature MANCHILD. More »
Doin’ It In the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC is an unabashed success story for first-time feature directors Bobbito García and Kevin Couliau, who filmed basketball on 180 courts across New York City’s five boroughs. They shot the feature on the Godfather of DSLR cinematography, the Canon 5D Mark II, and took advantage of being a mobile production unit by biking to the majority of their locations. Following a theatrical tour the world over and a successful direct digital release using VHX, DIITP is available today on iTunes, Amazon.com, VUDU, Google Play, PlayStation, Xbox, and cable VOD everywhere. As a basketball player who’s spent plenty of time on outdoor NYC courts, and as a Kickstarter backer of the project, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit down with the filmmakers to ask them how they did it. More »
Writer/director/actress, and one of the most influential proponents of LGBT cinema, Guinevere Turner, sat down with NFS to talk about her work as a screenwriter for such films as Go Fish, American Psycho, and The Notorious Bettie Page. While sharing about how she got started, her process, and techniques that made her a better writer (yes, including writing bad scenes,) she also discusses her feature directorial debut for her upcoming project Creeps. More »
Cinematography is the art of making informed visual decisions in the pursuit of telling a story. After breaking down your script for emotionality, subtext, and character arcs, you can begin making informed visual decisions in the process of building what I call the “cinematographic visual concept”. This document (or series of documents) lays out, in specific terms, your plan for conveying the subtextual and emotional overtones of the story, using the cinematographic tools of lighting and camera. In today’s post, we’ll talk about how to take subtext and turn it into an informed strategy for using the camera to its full storytelling potential: More »
Can you imagine filming moments of a stranger’s life for years on end? From Hoop Dreams to The Up Series, filmmakers occasionally piece together remarkable stories from this kind of unparalleled documentation. Are they brave, genius, or completely mad? Susan Motamed, who has worked with filmmakers from Alex Gibney to Martin Scorsese, and produced a slew of docs including Oscar Nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, answers with her experiences on filming this way with Girl, Adopted — which is currently streaming for free. More »
This is part three of a 3-part series on the evolving role and responsibilities of the contemporary Digital Imaging Technician. Nofilmschool interviewed 4 working DITs from New York and L.A. to help contextualize the role they play and offer insights into the business. Part 1 went into misconceptions about DITs, part 2 offers information about getting hired — now this one is for the gear-head in all of us. Read on for a look into some tools and practices behind the job. More »
With all the recent talk about new forms of distribution, producers sometimes forget the tried and true alternative distributors that have been making money for independent filmmakers (and collecting data, no less) for decades. New Day Films is a veteran distribution company that has been operating as a filmmaker-run collective since 1971. With decades of results to showcase their success, New Day is less of a gamble for producers whose projects are selected to join the elite roster of social issue films. “Member-owners” put more time into personally marketing their films through New Day, but their efforts are more effective than some third-party distributors because of that personalization. Steering committee chair Ellen Frankenstein gave NFS the lowdown on member-owner marketing, the benefits of a collective knowledge-base and the differences between New Day and traditional distribution. More »
Most people know what the cinematographer does on a set. However, have you ever wondered what exactly cinematographers do during the pre-production process? What about what they do once the production has wrapped? Over the course of the next few months, nofilmschool will put out a series of articles that describe in detail the various steps that a cinematographer and his team must complete in order to take a project from a script to a finely tuned finished product. Today’s post: taking a script and breaking it down for technical, subtextual, and character concerns. More »