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Robin Williams - Multiple ExposuresIt’s hard to sum up the value of a single person who has contributed so much happiness to the collective consciousness that their own unhappiness is eclipsed by it. As you all probably know, the great actor, voice actor, comedian, and all-around-human-being Robin Williams died very recently. There isn’t much to say about it that others haven’t said already or won’t say in the days and weeks to come, for better or for worse — but in respect to the greatness all of us have just lost, we’ll let that greatness speak for itself. More »

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lightbulb_headThere is a common fallacy regarding creativity, mostly to be found among those who fancy themselves creative but never seem to complete any work. It goes back all the way to Plato, who said, and I’m really paraphrasing here, that unless you were a little touched in the head, you had no hope of real artistic genius. The idea that one must have a little madness in their soul to be truly creative is, in a sense, true, but if it’s not bulwarked and protected by an effective process, routine, and work ethic, your work is unlikely to live up to its potential. Check out this video, where filmmaker and Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain shares her 10 steps to creativity, and learn how routine can make you more creative. More »

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Dolly Zoom TimelapseThe internet is practically overflowing with timelapse videos. Some of them are good, some are not, and some of them are truly mind-blowing. As we know, modern motorized camera movement equipment has really paved the way for all sorts of inventive movement to be included in the timelapse format. In general, if a camera move has been done in a live-action environment, someone has probably done it in a timelapse. Although I could very well be wrong, until today I had never seen someone perform a dolly zoom during a timelapse. Eric Stemen recently put together a video not only showing how the technique looks (mind-blowing), but also how he pulled it off using traditional hyperlapse techniques and a little ingenuity. 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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acrovid footagestudio 4k video assets media transcode conversion frame rate resolution effects slow motion file filmmaking app utility tool windows pc computerApple’s ProRes family of codecs is integral to the workflow of many a camera these days. Whether you’re offline editing RED RAW footage or working right off Alexa or Blackmagic camera negative, there’s a good chance you’re doing it in ProRes — which in turn means you’re probably doing it in Mac OSX. Enter FootageStudio 4K, a standalone video encoder recently released by Acrovid. Featuring powerful codec support and a variety of frame rate & resolution conversion capabilities, FootageStudio 4K is also one of the few ways you can encode to/from Apple ProRes on the Windows platform. More »

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CompressionAs filmmakers, most of us consider ourselves to be creative people. Having a creative intuition and knowing how to use it is incredibly important in this field, but many of us — especially folks like me who are scientifically and mathematically inept — tend to overlook many of the technical and scientific aspects of modern digital filmmaking. As boring and convoluted as some of it might seem, having a working knowledge of the various engineering concepts that are used in the digital image creation process can make us better filmmakers, because that knowledge can inform the creative decisions that we make. Luckily, there’s no need to go to engineering school for that knowledge, as most of it can be found on YouTube in some form or another. For instance, here’s most everything you need to know about video compression. 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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There are many ways for filmmakers to use their skills to generate income. You can move to a major filmmaking hub like New York, Los Angles, or Atlanta and cut your teeth in the world of features and television. You can shoot commercials and web videos for local businesses. You can shoot and edit weddings. You can even use your own short films and features and generate income through various online distribution outlets. And last but not least, you can sell stock footage. The only problem with the latter option is that most stock footage houses these days aren’t built with filmmakers in mind. Today marks the launch of Story & Heart, a new story-driven stock footage licensing hub and filmmaking community that tackles many of the issues with modern footage licensing head on. The result is a stock footage service that is unlike any other to come before it. 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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Ursa SunriseLast week, we got word that the highly anticipated Blackmagic URSA cinema camera was at last starting to make its way out into the wild. With the camera landing in the hands of some capable cinematographers, it was only a matter of time before footage started to surface. As was the case with the previous Blackmagic cameras, Australian DP John Brawley was among the very first to spend some quality time with the URSA, and now, we finally have some footage to sink our teeth into. More »

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Ryan_Connolly_Guerrila_Filmmaking_WEB_1600x900In the past two months, we’ve covered several courses from the good folks over at CreativeLive, an outstanding online educational resource for creatives of all types. First was Larry Jordan’s comprehensive FCPX masterclass. Then there was an epic 2-day course on aerial photography. This coming Monday, August 11th to be exact, another course is beginning that should definitely be of interest to independent and low-budget filmmakers. It’s called Guerilla Filmmaking, and it’s being taught by Ryan Connolly of Film Riot fame. So, if you’ve got any spare time this coming Monday through Wednesday, tuning into Connolly’s course will provide an educational alternative to the cat videos that you would probably be watching otherwise. More »

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Walt Disney Explaining the Multiplane CameraDisney has almost been synonymous with the term animation since the early 20th century, and they’ve produced some of the most well-known and beloved works in cinema history. Beyond their fantastic ability to tell stories that resonate with people of all different ages, the technical proficiency of Disney’s hand-drawn animations was a step above most of the industry. Part of that was due to the invention of the Multiplane Camera, which literally gave 2D animations a third dimension, and in the process, brought them to life. 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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jaunt second prototypeAs the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset grows in popularity ahead of its late 2014/early 2015 consumer release, it’s already doing some pretty amazing things in beta. Though it’s been designed primarily for 3D gaming VR, it can also do things like controlling aerial camera drones. Clearly in the near future there are going to be some passive film viewing applications for the Oculus — Joe even posed the question here on No Film School earlier this year “will we watch movies like this in the future?” Well, if the company Jaunt VR has anything to say about it, the answer is YES. Jaunt has developed a unique 360 camera system specifically designed to capture footage for use with the Oculus Rift, and they are now in post-production on their own World War II short film The Mission by production company New Deal Studios.
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Film PerforationsLast week, celluloid lovers scored a major victory when a few major studios struck a pact with Kodak to ensure that film would remain a viable capture medium for the foreseeable future. Because film will be sticking around for a while, there is still value in learning the ins and outs of the various film formats available today, especially for cinematographers aspiring to work at the highest levels of the industry. One of the aspects of film that beginning filmmakers often find confusing is that of perforations, or the small holes that line the edges of the stock. In a technical sense, these perforations are what the sprocket catches in order to hold each individual frame in place so that it can be properly exposed. However, perforations are also used to describe the various formats and aspect ratios of film, and that’s where things can get confusing. Luckily, there’s a handy new infographic that explains everything you need to know about film perforations. More »

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Snowpiercer Release Video on Demand RadiusThe world of film distribution is constantly changing. While we’ve seen that the Netflix/Hulu/VOD model is becoming more competitive with the standard theatre date release, we’re not living in the age of theatre model dismissal just yet. However, studios are beginning to experiment with dual releases, and Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, having now earned $3.8 million via VOD, is an incredible example of such a disruptive innovation in releasing films. These videos give a great recap of the Snowpiercer release situation, as well as some of the analysis on why this particular release is unique: More »

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indieflix indiegogo campaign indie independent cinema film filmmaking revenue profit movies viewing streaming web video content monetize seld direct distribution festival service logoIn our direct distribution roundup, we went over IndieFlix as basically the ‘indie version of Netflix.’ Subscribers pay $5 per month or $50 per year to stream an ever-expanding library of films. This may sound familiar, but unlike everybody’s favorite binge-watching enabler, IndieFlix makes earning money for independent filmmakers central to its mission. You can stream on any device with an internet connection, but IndieFlix is still missing a proper mobile app – and that’s where you come in. Though an app is already in the works, IndieFlix has embarked on an Indiegogo campaign to help it reach or surpass its development goals even sooner. More »