January 1, 2013

No Film School's Top 10 Posts of 2012

You might still be celebrating the new year where you live (or recovering from the effects), but right now we'd like to take this opportunity and look back at some of the most popular posts from 2012. It was the best year No Film School has ever had traffic-wise, and it included a few new writers to assist Mr. Ryan Koo, the man responsible for making this site what it is today. Even though they still continue to perform well, the DSLR Cinematography and Hackintosh guides were not written in 2012, and will not be counted in the totals. Click through to see which posts made it into the top 10.

Here is the list in order, from most views all the way down:

1. BlackMagic Design's Cinema Camera is a 2.5K RAW Shooter with Built-in Monitor and Recorder for $3K -- This was really the biggest announcement of the year as far as cameras were concerned. 2.5K RAW with ProRes/DNxHD onto off-the-shelf SSDs for $3,000 -- where do I sign up? Many did, and unfortunately while we've seen the incredible performance, and some are in the wild, they still aren't quite shipping just yet.

2. 5D Mark III/D800 Hands-On Part 4: Mark II vs. Mark III vs. D800 - Candlelight -- Take your pick: the inexpensive Mark II, low-light performance and no moire with the Mark III, or resolution and dynamic range with the D800. I re-edited this test to compensate for the slightly different ways in which Nikon and Canon produce their ISO numbers.

3. 5 Reasons Why the Canon 5D Mark III is $3500 and Why It's Worth It -- Do I regret this one? Maybe slightly, but I was also not operating off the full information available, as it seemed like Canon had improved the resolution (when in reality they had not). The other additions certainly made it a far more usable camera than the Mark II, like the headphone jack and the higher resolution HDMI output. With a price drop to $3,000, and clean HDMI coming in April, I think this camera now looks like a much better value if you want full-frame and great low-light performance.

4. Blackmagic Cinema Camera Shows the Canon 5D Mark III Who's Boss -- The test performed by Marco Solorio generated a lot of heat, but the images speak for themselves. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera gave a nice roundhouse kick to the Canon 5D Mark III, and I can attest to the power of the awkwardly shaped BMCC after having now used it. Blackmagic isn't kidding about the dynamic range, either -- there's a lot of it.

5. RED Cuts EPIC Price in Half: EPIC-X Now $19,000, SCARLET Under $8K, RED ONE Goes 4.5K for $4K -- RED may have wanted to ship a 3K camera for $3,000, but they did one better by shipping a 4.5K camera for $4,000 late in 2012. At a little over $20K for a brand new 120fps 5K-shooting EPIC camera, unheard of camera power is now within reach for a much wider audience than ever before.

6. Audio Recorder Roundup: Zoom H4n vs. Tascam DR-100mkII vs Tascam DR-40 -- Audio should probably get more attention than it does, but if you're in the market for a budget audio recorder, there are more options than there have ever been. The Zoom H4n is probably the most well-known budget recorder at this point for DSLR filmmakers, but in the test the Tascam DR-100mkII and Tascam DR-40 certainly give it a run for its money in quality or in price.

7. Canon 5D Mark III/X Confirmed at 22MP and $3500, Announcement February 28th -- We now know the camera as the Canon 5D Mark III, and it was indeed 22MP, but the date was a little off, as the official announcement wouldn't come until March 1st. This was the one many of you were waiting for, and while some are disappointed, there is no question plenty are satisfied by the photo and video quality in this camera -- with more features than ever before thanks to Magic Lantern -- and more coming soon from Canon themselves.

8. Blackmagic Design's Cinema Camera Now Available for Pre-order - What Will the Barebones Cost You? -- The camera will of course be more expensive than just the sticker price, but it will all depend on your gear. We took a look at the options out there for lenses and rigging, and figured that you should be able to put together a base shooting package around $4,500 - $5,000. I still think this is accurate, and the price may certainly be lower depending on what you already own.

9. Charlie Kaufman Gives 70-Minute Screenwriting Lecture -- The films that Charlie Kaufman writes are often a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, but he's also got some very practical thoughts on screenwriting: you shouldn't let anyone tell you what a story can or should be, he can't tell anyone how to write a screenplay, and failure is a badge of honor.

10. Magic Lantern Unified: Clean, Uncompressed HDMI May be Coming to Most Canon DSLRs -- This was referring to the full 1080p output instead of the slightly cropped output currently available. This may very well happen sometime in the future, but for now, at least, you can either crop into the image a bit on most Canon DSLRs, or wait for April when Canon finally makes the clean HDMI available for the Mark III.

11. Peter Jackson Shows Off 10 Minutes of 'The Hobbit,' 48FPS Isn't Looking Good -- Yes, it goes to eleven...No Film School had the best year yet, so why not give 10 + 1? Since this film is now out, many more of you have your own opinions about 48fps, and I have noticed that some of your comments recently have echoed those from the folks who got a chance to see early footage of the film. We don't know if 48fps will become a standard, but we do know that there are those out there who will try to make it one. I don't think we'll be able to make a final verdict right now, but it's very possible 50 years from now that 24fps will look to people a bit like silent films from the early 20th century currently look to most of us.

So there you have it, the posts with the most traffic from 2012. As the most successful year in the history of No Film School has come and gone, we look forward to making 2013 bigger and better than ever, with more varied coverage from more writers than ever before. We've got a new site design on the way that will make all of the latest and greatest news and tutorials even easier to find, and hopefully make this a more inclusive community of filmmakers and video amateurs and professionals alike.

Thanks to all of you, the No Film School readers, for making 2012 such a success!

What were your favorite posts from 2012? What were some of the biggest announcements that affected you the most? How have you grown in 2012 as a creative individual, and where do you hope to be in 2013? Feel free to share whatever you'd like in the comments below -- especially those of you who have resisted commenting in the past. Let's make this a constructive and supportive conversation to help ring in the new year.

Your Comment


Funny only one post is a post about a cam like the RED... even though sometimes it feels every 2nd post you can find on here lately is about the RED... maybe people just don't care that much, after all it's still not something average "no film school" guys can afford...

January 1, 2013 at 11:31AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I agree completely. It's not really surprising that only one post about actual film learning (9th) makes it to the list. I came to nofilmschool because of the awesome posts about technique and theory and the cinematography guide, but it became slowly a site about gear. Which is not bad, posts are still helpful in that sense. But reading about rumours o gears to be released is not helpful, at least to me. Now that the stats are shown, I can't blame anything on the blog writers as people have been showing them what is that interest them the most.

January 1, 2013 at 12:24PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


It's cool to be up with the know, but nearly completely redundant as I know I won't likely touch one of them in my life.

January 1, 2013 at 2:47PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Wheres the like button?

January 1, 2013 at 1:17PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


There's a lot of noteworthy news coming from RED lately. The Dragon sensor could end up being the best digital sensor to date...that's pretty big stuff. If NFS didn't report it they wouldn't be doing their job.

January 1, 2013 at 2:13PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Right now, on the NFS frontpage, the RED dragon post is the one with the most comments, except for a 7D2 rumour post that's been there 7 days (vs 1 for the RED post). Lots of cash-strapped filmmaker wannabes around, but I'd say there's a lot of interest on high-end stuff too (at least because you just have to know about it)

January 2, 2013 at 6:02AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


These guys are making the big bucks now, they just go out, buy the most expensive cam they can afford and then wait for the rest of us to catch up.

January 3, 2013 at 7:38PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I so remember the day you first posted about the BMCC. I recall checking to make sure it wasn't April Fools Day because the specs were so incredible at that price point.

Thanks to all bloggers at NFS for running such a useful, easy to read site. Happy 2013!

January 1, 2013 at 1:22PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

claude riban

Bmc all the way. Mine is shipping now. Bhphoto just emailed me preorded august if anyone cares.

January 1, 2013 at 5:48PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I care! Thanks for sharing

January 1, 2013 at 10:49PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I care as well since I also pre-ordered from B&H in August. Thanks.

January 2, 2013 at 12:14AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Wont be long for you then. My preorder date was august 02.


January 2, 2013 at 9:30AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I've really only regularly been following NFS since December, so I missed a lot of these. My favorite article overall has to be the Jamcopter. It was one of few moments I actually got excited about DIY film or indie film production. (I guess I'm jaded ;) )

January 2, 2013 at 11:06AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Please don't think of this as a hater comment cause that is not it's intent. I remember when this site had a lot more posts regarding techniques, DIY tools, tutorials and everything else you cant just look up on the new gear sites. I'm not saying I completely hate looking at new gear I cannot afford, or which ten thousand dollar camera I'm going to dream about for the next couple weeks. I found that the more gear I look at the more I felt discouraged to just be content with what I already own. It got so bad at times during 2012 that I had to stop visiting NFS all together and focus on hunting down good YouTube tutorials to learn the ways of film making. I've been coming here for over a year now and I really like the creative and tutorial posts you guys have. Keep them coming along with all the gear posts. That's all I'm gonna say about that. Thank you NFS.

January 3, 2013 at 1:47AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

Ryan Farner

I think NFS does post a good amount of very informative and motivational articles about techniques etc. together with a lot of camera/gear posts. What caught my eye with this list is that out of 11, 9 of the most viewed posts where about cameras/gear. I may be wrong, but I feel that a lot of people prioritise 'what camera to use' over 'how do I make my story the best is can be'. Of course choosing the right camera for the job is important, but that should always play second to story.

Looking forward to NFS in 2013!

Happy New Year


January 3, 2013 at 5:21AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


First of all Happy New Year to NFS, et al! Wishing you many more!

While it's true many articles and posts do include gear or even segue from the topic towards gear, lets face it most guys love gear! And nowadays even more with tech changing daily. Add to that equation the innumerable new camera/gear offerings each week and you could run a site solely devoted to new-film-gear.

I like reading about the gear and users opinions for varied reasons. Many, many times I read and I think about my gear, [that 5DMk2 over there in it's box] and most days I can think of something I don't know near enough about regarding it's behavior/ability. Or often from reading user comments, I think of some test to perform, or some other way to test or treat a given scene, to see if it works better. Which overall means I gain each time I read. For a bit there, say up until early 2012 I was almost convinced I needed a new cam. But each time after researching further, I realized I couldn't justify it. and besides what I have works well for me, And , I am always pushing it to perform better, or me better with it.

Yes Story is uber important, but so is the gear. And I only say that due to a Movie I recently watched that had dismal sound. I mean these folks actually printed that darned thing with crappy sound. Also Sunlight. The Sun is free and yes, I know you know it, but how many times have you answered a newbies question regarding light and they had no idea how to control that most wonderful of free sources? Gear!

I've grown the most just by hearing others, reading their posts or blogs and then looking in the mirror at the plastic I have to work with. Plastic; as in a meld-able substance.

Actually all of my favorite posts were the damn insane amount of new gear, over and over. It became sheer entertainment.
My least favorite post was a misnamed title, a loss leader, hyperbole. I cannot remember it but when I clicked on the link, the story wasn't near what the title led me to believe I would find in the article. That's crap!

Thanks and wish everyone a prosperous 2013

January 3, 2013 at 4:53PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I've enjoyed reading technical detail and comments on the Canon and Nikon camera performances as a supplement to the professional news found in "American Cinematographer"

January 4, 2013 at 2:36PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM