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VICE News C300Canon cameras might not get a whole lot of love these days (especially in the comments on our site), but the truth is that the C300 (which is now cheaper than ever) might just be one of the best documentary-style cameras around because of its tremendous versatility and low-light ability. Nowhere is this versatility more apparent than in the hands of the cinematographers of VICE News, one of the more engaging journalistic outfits around today. Their travels, and dare I say adventures, have taken them twice the world over as they’ve captured footage from every major international conflict in recent memory. In a recent collaboration with Canon, VICE DPs Jake Burghart and Jerry Ricciotti shared the standard VICE camera package, as well as their unique camera rigs that allow them to be ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. More »

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Sony a7S at NAB 2014While the full-frame 1080p/4K A7S from Sony is proving to be an absolute beast in low-light situations, it’s far more than just a night-shooting camera. Besides resolving what looks like a very solid 1080p image (an external recorder is required for 4K), it’s also got some pretty fantastic dynamic range. How good? Well the folks over at cinema5D took the camera for a spin, and measured it at over 14 stops, right next to the ARRI AMIRA, which uses the same sensor as the even higher-end ALEXA, which is being used on tons of Hollywood and indie features. More »

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SOTLWhen it was released in 1991, director Jonathan Demme’s adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs, starring Jodie Foster and featuring an unforgettable performance by Anthony Hopkins, changed the rules of how horror could be presented in mainstream film; the Oscar-winning classic’s reverberations continue today, while the Hannibal Lecter money train keeps on rolling. This 90-minute documentary on the inside story of the Silence of the Lambs shows just how all the right elements came together to create a modern classic. More »

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Taking Flight Creative LiveIn the past two years, the aerial cinematography industry has really taken off (get it?). What was once only an option for people with sky-high budgets (okay, I’ll stop) now has a delightful low-cost for entry-level equipment. With that said, piloting drones and snapping off great shots is far more complicated than owning the right gear. In fact, there’s a veritable plethora of information that you should know before your drone ever leaves the ground. Luckily, our friends over at CreativeLive have you covered. In their upcoming course, Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video, Jeff Foster will teach you everything you need to know in order to get started with aerial cinematography. More »

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Adam EpsteinThe Saturday Night Live Film Unit is responsible for the short films (like this Wes Anderson horror parody) that get broadcast every Saturday night. Many are written, shot, and edited in 4 days or less, which makes for a very condensed and hectic production and post schedule. Last month, we interviewed Adam Epstein, the staff editor for the SNL Film Unit, and he not only provided technical information about how he works, but also some insight into how to be creative and effective on extremely tight deadlines. But that’s not where the great info stops, because Adam is now gearing up to hit the road for his Cutting Edge Tour, in which he’ll teach you everything you need to know in order to go from an empty timeline to an effective broadcast-ready piece. More »

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Mac-App-Store-Explore-Your-Creativity-Screenwriting-Promotion-croppedApple is running an Explore Your Creativity promotion in the Mac App Store. That means for a limited time, you can buy several screenwriting apps at 50% off their regular prices. If you’re looking for more minimalist screenwriting tools, now would be the time to check out Highland or Slugline. If you’ve wanted to pick up Final Draft 9, but stayed away because of the sticker shock, 50% off may be the right price for you. You can even pick up Scrivener at half off. The Explore Your Creativity promotion in the Mac App Store is only for a limited time, though, and Apple is playing coy with the deadline. More »

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DaVinci Resolve 11 Beta 2Blackmagic has pushed the DaVinci Resolve 11 color grading suite even closer to being a full-fledged editor, but the company, at the least for the moment, does not have any interest taking editing jobs away from the big names like Final Cut, Premiere, and Avid. While the program is still in Beta form, it’s far closer to a finished product than lots of other Beta software, and they are releasing new updates all the time. The newest Beta 2 includes support for Apple’s new ProRes 4444 XQ codec, Final Cut Pro X XML 10.1.2, and a number of other new features. More »

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Creativity BundleWith technology advancing so quickly, and with the internet’s supreme dominion over our entire lives, distribution doesn’t look anything like it did in the past. In this day and age, independent filmmakers have to find creative ways to not just get their work out there into the ether, but to find an audience somewhere within it. Using VOD platform VHX, film strategy company Bond/360 is now experimenting with a “distribution and filmmaker collaboration” that offers award-winning films in a bundle and allows moviegoers to pick the price they want to pay for it. The directors of Indie Game: The MovieSign Painters, and Beauty is Embarrassing weigh in on their experience. More »

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ro11020201_02_nexfs100uk_nmPrice cuts seem to be in the air this month. First it was the Canon C300 dropping to $12,000, then it was the 7D hitting a grand, followed by a big cut on the DJI Ronin gimbal, and then a pretty insane 50% reduction for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Now we’ve got another significant cut on Sony’s budget large sensor video camera, the FS100, which is currently running body-only for just $2,500. More »

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Tatia Pilieva Undress MeBack in March, filmmaker Tatia Pilieva took the internet by storm with her video First Kiss, which paired complete strangers together, and as the title suggests, had them kiss on camera for the first time. The viral hit, which was used as a promo for women’s clothing company WREN, had a bit of backlash from those who considered the video a hoax because there were actors and models used, but Pilieva’s goal was not about using anyone off the street, but about the interactions between strangers doing something intimate. Now she’s back again with another “stranger” video, this time it’s a more diverse group of people who’ve never met taking each other’s clothes off. More »

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screencraftToday, ScreenCraft announced that they are now taking entries into the 2014 Action & Thriller Script Contest, which will feature cash prizes (that they’ve doubled since last year), as well as a venerable panel of top industry judges, including executives from Paramount, Fox, Warner Brothers, and more. So, if you have a script that fits into the action/thriller genre and you want to compete for the chance to get it in front of some real movers and shakers, then we’ve got the details on how to enter. More »

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Excell +1 BMPCCLast week, Fotodiox Pro released the Excell+1, a product that had many of us extremely excited because it seemed to be a far less expensive counterpart to the popular Metabones Speed Booster. Cut to one week later. Many of the new units have made their way into the hands of eager filmmakers, and a few have put the Excell+1 up against the Speed Booster, only to find that the Fotodiox has some major focusing and sharpness issues at apertures wider than f/2.8. The folks at Fotodiox have released a few new videos in an attempt to explain more about what the Excell+1 can and cannot do, and to offer people who were expecting Speed Booster performance a full refund for their purchase. More »

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Jack Plotnik at Outfest 2014To follow-up from last week’s 2014 Outfest kickoff, the festival has released a few more interviews from their Meet the Filmmakers series. Outfest asked me to conduct some interviews with some of this year’s filmmakers, allowing a glimpse into the minds of some really interesting directors working today. Including interviews with Marina Rice Bader, Jack Plotnick and Desiree Akhavan, and a compilation video of all their advice for other independent filmmakers. More »

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Anomaly Kickstarter w jts

Here at No Film School, we focus a whole lot on the process of making feature films. However, long-form storytelling like television narratives and web series are entering a golden age in which in-depth character development is key and content and structure can be as creative as ever. For independent and low-budget filmmakers looking to take advantage of the creative freedoms of long-form storytelling, while simultaneously working on honing their craft, web series are definitely a great way to go (just ask our fearless leader, Ryan Koo, whose series The West Side won critical acclaim). But how does one go about getting started with creating a dramatic web series? It’s certainly not easy, but today’s interviewee, Terrell Lamont, has some answers. More »

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Ingmar BergmanIngmar Bergman is one of the giants of cinema, to the point that some images from his films have become so iconic as to make up a visual shorthand, possessing an allusive quality (the Knight playing chess with Death comes to mind.) The Swedish filmmaker directed over 40 narrative features and documentaries, both for film and TV, in his 61-year career, and was also a prolific theater director. In 1975, he sat down with students from the American Film Institute, and now a 40-minute audio recording of their conversation is available online. It’s a remarkably open and candid talk from a master director, and required listening for any fan, student of cinema, or lover of movies. More »

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project greenlightSurely many of us were bummed when we learned that the reality TV show Project Greenlight was being canceled back in 2005. (It seems unfair that audiences would rather keep up with the Kardashians than today’s burgeoning cinematic talent, but whatever.) However, you might’ve heard that the Ben Affleck/Matt Damon-produced series that puts first-time filmmakers head-to-head to compete for a chance to make a feature film is finally back for Season 4, this time on HBO, and are now looking for the next batch of short film submissions. More »

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Blackmagic Camera Firmware Update 1_8_2 with ProResThere was just an incredible price drop on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and now the company is increasing the value of the entire line. Blackmagic said updates would come faster thanks to the significant 1.7 firmware, and three weeks later we’ve got another major addition. While the Cinema Camera, Pocket Cinema Camera, and Production Camera 4K are all capable of recording to the high-quality ProRes HQ codec, for plenty of shooting situations, HQ can be overkill. In the 1.8.2 firmware update, Blackmagic has added the more highly-compressed ProRes 422, ProRes LT, and ProRes Proxy codecs, which will mean longer recording times for projects that don’t necessarily need the highest fidelity possible, and less data storage for normal recordings. More »

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DJI_RoninWe’ve had our eye on DJI’s 3-axis gimbal stabilizer, the Ronin, since it made its mark at NAB. It comes with some exciting features not found in other gimbals within the same price range (even in the impressive but expensive MōVI), like its 3 operational modes; “Upright”, “Underslug”, and “Briefcase”. If you thought the Ronin was out of your price range, you might want to jump at the chance to snag it at a seriously discounted price while you can. More »

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CropperCapture[70]The App Store and Google Play Store are rife with apps aimed at providing helpful tools for filmmakers. Some of these apps are truly useful — apps like Shot Designer and pCAM and Cine Meter II – while others really aren’t. For users of RED cameras, there has never really been an app specifically designed to aid with the operating of these cameras. Until now, that is. Last week, RED released their REDTools App for the iOS platform, and it includes a number of tools for RED cinematographers, including depth of field calculation, recording time calculation, crop factor calculation, and more. More »

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema CameraOf the myriad cinema-style cameras that have hit the market over the past year, none are as inexpensive or have as tiny of a form-factor as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Add to that the camera’s 13 stops of dynamic range and internal ProRes/CinemaDNG recording, and it seems like one hell of a bargain at $995. As most of you know, Blackmagic has a distinct history of reducing prices on their cinema cameras, and they’ve done it once again — at least for the time being — with the BMPCC. For the next month and a half, you’ll be able to snag one of these little cameras for only $495. More »