» Posts Tagged ‘howto’

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Creating a StormSometimes, for a film, you gotta make it rain — unless of course you live in the Pacific Northwest, or somewhere equally as soggy and miserable. And even if you do live in 75%-chance-of-rain perpetuity, natural rain looks nothing like movie rain on-screen. Creating stormy conditions is something that is extremely intentional and labor intensive, but Jason Satterlund, a Portland-based filmmaker and probable rain expert, shares several tips on how to create “sexy movie rain” and dynamic wind effects on a budget. Continue on for the videos. More »

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Ari and EmmaLighting your scenes can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re just starting out, and many times, despite your best laid plans, setting up your lights turns into a learn-as-you-go experience. That’s why it’s supremely helpful to see how other filmmakers created the looks in their own films. DP Nathan Blair shares the versatile lighting setup he used on a comedic short, in which he captures 9 different visual styles with just one shot composition. More »

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GoPro tipWhether you’re shooting on a large cinema camera, DSLR, or even your smartphone, there is no shortage of stabilization tools out there that are built to help you keep your footage steady. If you’re shooting on an action camera, there are a bunch of options for you, too, like the EasyGimbal, STABiLGO, Morpheus, and a host of others, but YouTube user MicBergsma offers a super simple stabilization trick that quite honestly made me say, “Man, why didn’t I think of that?” Continue on to check out the video. More »

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Miss ShockMaking films often rides on being well-connected — knowing someone somewhere who can perform a service that your film needs. Most of the time, finding financial backers, a DP, sound/lighting techs, actors, and editors is fairly easy regardless of who you know or where you live. However, finding a good FX artist is a little bit more tricky (In 6 years, I’ve only met 2 in my hometown), and if you’re unable to find one, you might have to do the next best thing — learn how to do it yourself. And who better to teach you some excellent techniques than Oscar-winning special effects makeup artist Rick Baker. More »

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Young RivalChances are you’ve spent your fair share of precious time looking at (or trying to look at) one of those Magic Eye posters. You know what I’m talking about — those pictures that look like nothing but static until you relax your eyes enough to see the hidden T-Rex or Eiffel Tower pop out in 3D. These random dot autostereograms have been used for over half a century, but it wasn’t until recently that director Jared Raab created the first random dot autostereogram music video for the band Young Rival’s single “Black is Good”. Continue on to see (or try to see) the video and learn how they pulled it off. More »

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DIY Pistol GripOf course we’d all love to get our hands on a gimbal stabilizer to steady our shaky images, but most of us don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on things that aren’t — rent or food. If you’re in desperate need for a stabilizing solution, but finding yourself with either a near-empty bank account or zero easy access to a local professional photography retailer, you’re going to have to l get a little creative. Luckily, Chad Bredahl of Krotoflik shares a tutorial that shows you how to build your own DIY pistol grip out of jump rope handles, something that is not only accessible, but won’t cost you more than a few bucks. More »

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Real Gun TutorialAt one point or another, one of your films is going to call for the use of at least one gun, and unless you’ve already got your own arsenal of real firearms, getting your hands on some is going to be a touchy and expensive undertaking. If you’re more keen on the cheaper alternative, stockpiling plastic toy and airsoft guns, it’s important to make sure that they look realistic on-screen. In this helpful tutorial, filmmaker Tom Antos shows you how to ensure that your shoot ‘em up film doesn’t lose its verisimilitude by applying a weathering technique that is not only used by professional prop makers, but is also less expensive than a couple of cups of coffee. More »

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Forced PerspectiveSpecial and visual effects are great, but unless you’re a skilled SFX artist or post magician, they tend to be pretty spendy. If you’re gearing up to work on a film that calls for characters of varying sizes (or just really into The Lord of the Rings and hobbits), there is an inexpensive alternative to CGI. This tutorial by Ben Lucas of Tuts+ will show you one method the TLOTR filmmakers used to make the towering wizard Gandalf look so much bigger than his little hobbit friend Frodo — a practical effect that uses forced perspective to sell the illusion. More »

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TP Link TL MR3040If you’re unwilling to shell out a fistful of hundred-dollar bills for a wireless monitor, you might want to get your hands on a TP-Link TL-MR3040 wireless router. By installing alternate firmware on this little guy, you can turn it into a Wi-Fi dongle that you can then connect to your Canon or Nikon camera to turn your Android phone or tablet into a wireless monitor/controller for only $30. Check out the following tutorials to get step-by-step instructions on how to turn your Android device into a wireless monitor/controller. More »

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parallaxBack in November, we shared a great video tutorial by Joe Fellows that walked us through how to animate photos in After Effects by using the parallax 2.5D effect. Though the video received a warm response, there were a few questions raised, like how to stylize and texturize elements in the composition for example, which would in turn make the project look all the more profession and downright awesome. Fellows decided to make a follow-up tutorial that answers a few of those questions (some of which came right from NFS readers). Continue on to check out the video! More »

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3D renderIf you work a lot in visual effects you know that creating stunning 3D objects and environments in After Effects and similar VFX programs is no easy task. There are plenty of tutorials out there that break down processes step by step, but Charles Yeager of AE Tuts+ offers some tips on how to get the most out of your renders when using Video Copilot’s Element 3D After Effects plugin by simply changing a few render and output settings. Check out the tutorial after the jump. More »

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DIY BoomAudio, the oft looked over aspect of filmmaking, is indeed a difficult art to master. You can have the best professional in the booth during post, but if you didn’t get a decent capture from the get go, there’s little that can be done. Film Riot has uploaded a video dedicated to the microphone, which not only covers the basics of mic choice, placement, and accessories for beginners, but also gives a link to their video tutorial that shows you how to build your own boom pole for $25! More »

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Single Light With ModifiersLighting is hard. Lighting with limited resources is even harder. Therefore, using a single light to create multiple sources in order to light a subject and the background in one fell swoop should be impossible, right? Wrong. Through a combination of careful light placement and using various types of bounces, mirrors, and other light modifiers, you can create some absolutely stunning results with just a few tools and on a shoestring budget. Here are the fine folks at The Slanted Lens to show you how: More »

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Hollywood Titles tutsNailing the opening title of your film is important for a number of reasons. Usually it’s the first thing your audience sees on-screen that introduces them to your story, which means that it has to capture its tone and prepare your viewers for what is about to unfold. They don’t necessarily have to be intricate undertakings (Lars von Trier’s simple opening title from Antichrist is probably one of my favorites), but if you want to learn techniques that will help you create something epic, Aetuts+ shares some tutorials that break down how to recreate the titles from some big Hollywood movies. More »

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Anamorphic fishing lineWe talk a lot about shooting anamorphic here at NFS. With its unique aesthetic, including horizontal lens flares and oval bokehs, it’s no wonder why so many indie filmmakers are wanting to get their hands on these awesome, albeit expensive lenses and adapters. And because the price tag causes most of us to miss out, we have to get creative to achieve at least a portion of what anamorphic lenses provide. Here’s a DIY tutorial that shows you how to use fishing line to produce horizontal lens flares with a similar look to those made while shooting anamorphic. More »

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DIY JibAs no-budget/independent filmmakers, achieving the look of high production value and not spending a ton of money are always at the forefront of our mind, and finding the optimal point at which those two things meet is our main concern. Often, that means a DIY solution. Chung Dha shares with us his process of constructing an inexpensive DIY jib with a remote tilt, which will give you more versatility and control over your film’s aesthetics, while not causing you to break the bank while doing it. Continue on for his tutorial. More »

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Procedural Fire FXIf you’re a fan of The Hunger Games movies or if you’ve just got a touch of pyromania, this After Effects tutorial might be right up your alley. Inspired by the logo in the second installment of the series, Catching Fire, Michael Park walks us through creating a procedural fire effect in AE using Red Giant’s Trapcode Particular. Though there are quite a few steps to follow, the result is a beautifully stylized, sparkling blaze. Continue on to find out how to get started. More »

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Still MotionOne of the post-production techniques I’ve yearned to know more about was animating still photos. We’ve seen this used in countless film intro sequences, and now motion graphics artist and director Joe Fellows shows us how to achieve this 3D effect in After Effects. By separating the background, mid, and foreground, you can animate your photos creating a parallax effect that will turn your simple 2D still images into moving 3D storytelling devices. Check out the tutorial after the jump. More »

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MidnightCoiterieI’m pretty sure that just as this amusing little trailer satirizing the iconic style of director Wes Anderson was made available to the public, filmmakers were asking, “How did they do that?” Many have tried to replicate Anderson’s aesthetic — and many have failed. So, what did the filmmakers of the SNL spoof trailer, The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intrudersdo in order to capture Anderson’s signature cinematic sensibilities? Alex Buono, SNL’s DP, explains just how they did it. More »

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ParallaxWhen I first started dabbling in After Effects and Flash several years ago, the first videos I made were simple animations (think cave drawings.) Not really knowing anything about layers or expressions made for interesting results when I tried to achieve the parallax effect — the illusion that objects move more quickly or slowly depending on how far away they are. Mikey Borup shares a tutorial that makes parallax scrolling a little bit easier. Continue on to watch the video: More »