» Posts Tagged ‘filmmaking’

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CropperCapture[77]There are many jobs in the filmmaking process. It all starts with a script, a story waiting to be told. Then there’s the director, the visionary, the person with the plan. But we all know that filmmaking is highly collaborative, so a team begins to emerge, with a group of like-minded artists all striving towards the same goal. You’ve got your art directors and production designers, and new worlds are created. You’ve got your editors, who lovingly craft the footage into the final piece of art. You’ve got your makeup artists and VFX artists and loads of other craftspeople who ultimately shape the film in some unique way. And then there’s the cinematographer, the person behind the lens. But what exactly does a cinematographer do, and what does it mean to be a cinematographer? The following short video from the EFTI School of Cinematography in Spain has the answer. 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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OFOTCNVery few films both capture my imagination and speak to my soul the way One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest does. The story of R.P. McMurphy, written originally by Ken Kesey (who’s an absolute legend in my neck of the drum circle) was adapted for the screen in 1975, went on to win a handful of Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Miloš Forman, and continues to be the embodiment of the rebellious spirit of the 60s. From a filmmaking perspective, though, the production of OFOTCN is a true testament to how Murphy’s Law (McMurphy’s Law? “V, stop.”) can actually be beneficial to your film — how sometimes it’s the mistakes, problems, and dead ends that reveal the true potential of not only your project, but you as a filmmaker. More »

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CropperCapture[30]The basics of the film language are just that, basics. You’ve got your wides and mediums and close-ups, and all sorts of variances in between. You’ve got OTS shots and 2-shots, and of course some cutaways. Then you’ve got the insert, the simple, lowly insert. Usually inserts are used to provide a closer look at some detail in a scene. However, when the insert shot becomes an instrumental part of a film’s individual language, some interesting things can happen. For instance, David Fincher’s masterful and suspenseful thriller Zodiac makes extensive use of the insert shot, and it has a profound and meaningful impact on how the film’s language interacts with and supports the characters and story.  More »

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Film Director

The other day, I overheard someone say that Steve McQueen’s cinematography in 12 Years A Slave was brilliant. As a huge fan of Sean Bobbitt (the actual cinematographer of that film), I wanted to say something, but held my tongue because avoiding the argument that would have ensued seemed like a better option. Despite my inaction, this instance got me thinking about our shared cultural view of film directors, and about whether or not that view needs to change. More »

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no film school summer films grants deadlines screenwriting documentary narrative

Our massive list of grants is back, and for summer it’s bigger than ever — more grants, more markets, and more opportunities for both US-based and International filmmakers to get funding! Looking to finance your next 3D feature? Develop your humanities documentary? Get your script picked up by a top agency? Yup, there’s an app for that. If granting puns don’t get you excited, this list of relevant opportunities with deadlines this summer just might. More »

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Steadicam-FS700-Haiti

Leaving your home to shoot a movie in different country is certainly not for the faint of heart, something cinematographer Richard Patterson knows all too well. When he traveled to Haiti from the U.S. to shoot a short documentary entitled Papa Machete about the slowly vanishing martial art of Haitian Machete Fencing, he was met with many different types of issues concerning gear, media management, you name it. Thankfully, Patterson decided to share what he learned with all of us.

This is a guest post by Richard Patterson. More »

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Edgar-WrightWhat’s the single greatest distinguishing characteristic of comedies? That they’re meant to be funny, right? However, some of you might’ve felt as though the comedies of the last several years have been a bit lacking in laughs, perhaps due to a lethargic approach to comedic filmmaking. No, I’m not talking about the writing. I’m talking about an aspect of filmmaking that seems to be one of the most ignored in comedies: cinematography. Tony Zhou, who brought us that great video on the “Spielberg Oner”, talks all about this in a fun and informative video essay, which not only celebrates the work of director Edgar Wright, but explores how he uses cinematography to take advantage of as many comedic opportunities to as possible. If you’re working on a comedy right now, you’ll definitely want to take a look at this! More »

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Video thumbnail for youtube video Kevin Smith Talks About the Things You Can't Learn in Film School - No Film SchoolWhile this website might be called No Film School, we have always acknowledged that there are positives and negatives for attending or not attending film school. The mission that hasn’t changed since the site was created is to provide as much daily inspiration, knowledge, and news as possible on all sorts of topics related to filmmaking and shooting video, and this next clip is no different. Writer/director Kevin Smith, a film school dropout himself, talked during a Q&A about whether going to film school is worth it, and the skills that really can’t be taught in school. More »

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Fight SceneShooting a high octane, action-packed fight scene can really have an impact on your audience, but really only if it looks realistic and — well — truly painful. Tuts+ offers some excellent tips and tricks on how to achieve a believable brawl between your characters, including which lenses to use, tried and true blocking and choreography, as well as an editing trick that will speed up your strikes, making them more impactful. Check out the video after the jump. More »

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Cheap ThrillsFilmmaking is a lot like being in a serious relationship: it requires all of your time, focus, and love, it requires an insane amount of patience, and you’ll probably spend most of your time pulling your hair out and crying. For those approaching their first films and are looking for a little guidance before jumping headlong into it all, the director of the black comedy Cheap ThrillsE.L. Katz, offers first-time filmmakers 12 pieces of advice in this great article from Indiewire. We’ve shared a few tips from the list, so continue on to check them out! More »

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Catch Light marbleThere are many factors to consider when you’re planning an outdoor shoot, one of the major ones being how you’re going to deal with natural light. One of the issues that’s bound to come up while dealing with that big key light in the sky is how to find out which direction the light is coming from, which is especially important if you’re planning on using it as a catch light. In this video from photographer Frank Donnino, we’re shown how to use an everyday marble to determine where a light source will hit your subjects’ eyes, so you can put them in the position that will give you optimal results. More »

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Thelma SchoonmakerLegendary editor Thelma Schoonmaker has collaborated with Martin Scorsese for essentially the entire length of both of their careers, starting with Scorsese’s feature Who’s That Knocking at My Door?. Needless to say, this 3-time Oscar winner, with nearly a half a century of filmmaking experience, has insight into the craft that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, and fortunately for us, Schoonmaker has shared 8 Golden Rules of filmmaking with MovieMaker Magazine, and we’ve selected a few to share with you. More »

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PrisonersOne of the things I appreciate about cinema is that films are enigmatic. Many times the films we see when we’re kicking back and watching as passive spectators are not the same films we see when we sit up, pen and pad in hand, and unfurl the cinematic message in its entirety. This video essay by Darren of Must See Films attempts to unearth all of the subtle ways director Denis Villeneuve and legendary DP Roger Deakins try to communicate through the film Prisoners. It breaks down many aspects of the film, like the blocking, costuming, and aesthetic choices, as well as its symbolism, motifs, and patterns, offering a richer, more well-rounded understanding of not only the film itself, but of just how complex and intricate visual storytelling actually is. More »

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MomWe say it all the time. “My film is my baby.” It’s true — our films are our babies; conceived by our creativity, gestated in our imagination, and birthed through the months and years of our greatest filmmaking efforts. Though many of you may not be mothers or fathers of human children, you are, or at least hope to one day be, mothers of cinematic ones. So, let’s celebrate this most glorious of Mother’s Days by having some fun and recognize the maternal qualities that help filmmakers nurture their projects. More »

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FilmmakersAs filmmakers, we do quite a bit of research and study. We read a vast number of tutorials, and articles texts; we watch classic films and go to countless first showings. We do so much to fill our brains with all of the information we think will prepare us for making films and seeing our craft from a new perspective. However, sometimes all we need is a simple quote. Tumblr blog A-BitterSweet-Life (which you should religiously follow) has shared a spiffy interactive Prezi presentation that highlights some truly inspiring quotes about filmmaking and style from 12 filmmakers from all different countries and all different eras including Andrei Tarkovsky, Maya Deren, and Steven Soderbergh. More »

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project_greenlight logoProject Greenlight, the television series produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, is getting a second lease on life. The show, which if you’re not familiar, took writing and directing submissions from around the country and chronicled the making of an entire feature film. While the last season aired on Bravo in 2005, the series is going back to its roots and will be getting a brand new season on HBO with Damon and Affleck at the helm. More »

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Godzilla Director Gareth Edwards AdviceGareth Edwards, who you might know from his very DIY film Monsters, is back with another monster film, Godzilla. While he’s got quite a bit more money to spend on this project than the last ($160 million versus Monsters which was made for under $1 million), the basic aspects of filmmaking are no different, and regardless of budget, it still takes the same discipline. Gareth, who has been in VFX most of his career, has been working towards his goal of becoming a director from a very early age, and shares some fantastic advice to all filmmakers: More »

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IdeasFinding which tools will bolster your creativity is not only important for your work, but to also keep things interesting. Maybe you’ve had friends, colleagues, even industry professionals share their secrets for maintaining a creative spirit to ensure the influx of ideas, but what about science? What do scientists consider to be major conductors of creativity? Fast Company shares 6 tools that, according to science, may help you live and work more creatively. More »

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RigWheels PortaRail SystemWe’ve talked about some nifty gear from RigWheels before, but the thing that separates their gear from some other solutions is modularity. You can put together a dolly or camera mount with as little or as much of their gear as you’d like, and most of it can be adapted to other rigs you might already own. This year at NAB, we talked to Lance about the new PortaRail collapsible dolly/slider rail system. This system can fit inside one case and features 40″ long high-grade aluminum pipes that connect together seamlessly with threaded connectors. Check out the interview below: More »