» Posts Tagged ‘design’

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Movie Title Saul BassTitle sequences are usually the first things we see when we watch a movie, setting the tone for what’s to come. I’m a huge sucker for a good title sequence — Lars von Trier’s films have some awesomely weird ones. But, I’ve always been drawn to those from the 50s and 60s for their playful, jazzy, minimalist aesthetic — come to find out that many of those title sequences were made by “movie title master” Saul Bass, who frequently worked with filmmaking legends, like Hitchcock and Scorsese. Check out this 55-minute documentary entitled Title Champ, which explores the art, the filmmakers, and the world inside a world that Bass came to know so well. More »

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Behold our new logo! While our complete site redesign is still a ways off, we’re premiering this new logo, very cleanly designed by David Ceraso, right away on our present site. We are also no longer “NoFilmSchool” or “No Film School” — henceforth we are simply “nofilmschool,” which is how I wrote it when I originally launched the site anyway. We will thus save ourselves (and you) the trouble of hitting the space or shift keys. We hope you like the new logo (and if you’re lazy how could you not like the new capitalization, or lack thereof?). Read on for some further pontification, as well as some news on our coverage of this year’s installment of the world’s largest film/video tradeshow, NAB. More »

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As some of you may know — and as others may be glad to hear — we are redesigning this site from the ground up. Some of you may also know about a recently-launched, already-popular tech site by the name of The Verge. As we set out to redesign our own web experience, The Verge has similarly been expanding with a sister site about video games, Polygon — which just launched today — and they decided to document the process thoroughly with a web series. That series, entitled Press Reset, is reminiscent in tone of the great Indie Game: The Movie, and I recommend it if you’re interested in what goes into designing and launching a web site. I’ve embedded several episodes after the jump, and I’ll do my best to relate them to filmmaking as well as our own little fledgling web redesign. We also talk to Senior Producer Stephen Greenwood about the production of the show. More »

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One of the most crucial pieces to a great documentary is the interview. In post production you will ground your edit around a transcription of what these people have to say about your subject. When you are performing the interview, you obviously want the subject looking straight at you to achieve a human connection and better result. But what if you want to connect your subject to the audience more… how would you go about making the connection with the subject while getting a first-person angle on them? Enter the Interrotron, a favorite device used by Oscar winner Errol Morris. Check out these clips from Fog of War, his Oscar winner that used the device: More »

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The very notion might be preposterous for many individuals. Cameras are tools, why should it matter what they look like? Does one choose a particular hammer over another because of its aesthetics? Not usually, often with any tool, style gives way to performance. For the longest time, personal computers were nothing more than grey boxes. Apple was a big part of the movement away from boring, grey boxes. Not to give them all of the credit, however, since there is a large modding community in the computer world that feels the same way — and they’ve been creating beautiful PC cases for years. But what about cameras, specifically the digital cinema kind? The Yolk Y2 Digital Cinema Camera aims to address that pesky function over form notion, and truly design a camera that is aesthetically pleasing and functional. More »

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Since launching my effort to make my first feature film, I started running a thin horizontal banner at the top of the site to let visitors know that my campaign is ongoing. A lot of filmmakers have blogs these days (present company included, obviously), and so I thought I might post about how to add an announcement bar to your own website. Typically you’ll want to run an announcement bar when something special is happening for a limited time: you might be doing a fundraising campaign of your own, you might have a newly released DVD, or you might be running a discount on a product you’re selling. If you’re curious about how to add a similar bar to your own blog, website, or portfolio, here are a couple of good ways of doing so. More »

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Some have pointed out that many of Final Cut Pro X’s much-lauded new features are not really that “new.” This backlash seems to happen with every Apple product, perhaps out of response to the rapturous reception with which Apple fanboys greet the superlative-laced presentations. In the case of FCP X, the criticism is that FCP X’s list of new features (seen on video) have been around for a while in other editing applications (notably Premiere and Vegas). But a list of features does not an editing program make. It’s not what features you include in a piece of software, it’s how you design them. Read on for some thoughts on intuitive design and a few full resolution screenshots of the new Final Cut Pro X. More »

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You may notice things look a little different around here today (if everything looks the same, you might have to hold Shift and click your “refresh” button). Note there are no major aesthetic changes — I switched the titling and typography (I was always more of a sans-serif kind of guy, whatever that means), and there are now Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon badges on single posts. I’ve also created a NoFilmSchool Facebook Page, which now has a home in the sidebar. Many of these changes have been driven by a look inside the analytics of this site, so let’s look at NoFilmSchool’s recent stats: More »

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How I lied my way into MTV

05.7.10 @ 5:12PM Tags : , ,

Up until now I’ve never really told the truth about my career as a graphic designer — namely, that it was a complete sham. Sure, I’d dabbled in Photoshop once or twice in college and a few times as a corporate video producer after graduating. But everyone dabbles in Photoshop — I’d certainly never had a job as any kind of designer. In 2005 my main goal was to start a film career in New York — by any means necessary. It’s a long story, but thanks to starting this blog I ended up going from unemployed in NC, living with my parents, to having my own place in Manhattan and working as a graphic designer at MTV. How? MTV was hiring graphic designers, so that’s what I said I did. Now that I don’t work there anymore, I can confess it was a total lie! I created a fake portfolio for the interview, and after I was hired I did Photoshop training on my laptop on the train every day to and from work using Lynda.com. I figured as long as they didn’t give me anything hard in the first two weeks, they’d never know. A year later when I was designing a bunch of high-end web applications as a Senior Designer, no one was the wiser. Suckers!

Just wanted to share how I got myself to New York. Back to your regularly-scheduled content!

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For creatives who get their hands on an iPad, the first thought is often, “what kind of app can I develop for this?” I toyed with an iPad at Apple’s 5th Avenue store yesterday and, watching people eagerly touching the screen one after the other, had a different idea.1 However, for those of you who have a concept for a mobile app, the easiest way to mock-up an application is to grab the free iPad PSD; all of the buttons, text, and other elements are separated out into Photoshop layers for you. There’s also a freely available iPhone PSD, which I used for a quick design job for Diversion Media last week. One note of caution: if you’re designing for clients or publicly presenting your app concept, change the time. As you can see, the designer who put together these helpful photoshop files had a little fun with the clock by setting it to the universal stoner time of 4:20. It’s much more subtle in the iPhone version, and I didn’t notice it until the client brought it up on the conference call; oops.

Finally, if you want to create an icon for your theoretical app, here’s the icon PSD; Apple’s design elements are also available as a vector kit.

  1. Obviously, I didn’t actually do it or I’d be in jail. My first thought was actually to make a joke about anthrax, but wasn’t entirely sure of the current status of habeas corpus. []
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One of the most important things I learned on the job as a Senior Designer at MTV was: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. As a graphic designer, assembling a toolkit of brushes, textures, templates, and other elements is a crucial step to maximizing your design capabilities and efficiency. The other thing I learned was: you don’t really have to know what you’re doing! Thanks to thousands of readily available tutorials on the ‘net, if you’re not sure how to achieve a particular look or effect, all you have to do is google it. My favorite resource at the moment for tutorials and resources (including helpful posts like 50 Free UI and Web Design Wireframing Kits, Adobe Illustrator Tutorials – Best Of, and 40+ Excellent Freefonts For Professional Design) is Smashing Magazine. If you’re a graphic designer you probably already know about Smashing, but if you’re a filmmaker who also does some design — and a lot of us do, these days — check out the site (they also have a book).

Link: Smashing Magazine.

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One of the main arguments for going to film school is to give you time and separation to focus on the medium during your formative years, as opposed to spending much of your youthful energy on a possibly-unrelated day job. And while my job successfully moved me from North Carolina to New York (a necessary step in this site’s “starts a film career in New York” storyline), it didn’t do so for free: although it paid me monetarily, there’s a cost associated with working a job as opposed to going to school… and that cost is time. More »