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Character arc: cool examples from famous movies

Character arc is the term used to refer to a change undergone by a character in a movie. We call it character arc because the change is not a quick one: it goes from the beginning of the movie to the end, although there is usually a fairly obvious point at which the character realises […]

Film networking: a reality check

Film networking is one of the filmmaking topics that is most replete with fantasy, wishful thinking and downright nonsense. In this post I will share my experience of film networking and make a distinction between what works and what doesn’t, based on my own experiences. Film networking: the fantasy When people mention film networking, they […]

The Movie Making Process: from Development Hell to the Shark Pool of Distribution

Contents 1.0 Development 1.1 Story development / treatment / scriptment / plot points / structure 1.2 Writing the screenplay 1.3 Re-writing the screenplay 1.4 Financing the movie 2.0 Pre-production 2.1 Casting 2.2 Locations 2.3 Shot list 2.4 Script breakdown 2.5 Tech scout 2.6 Scheduling by the 1st AD 2.7 Production design 3.0 Production 3.1 Principal […]

Screenplay basics: simple but absolutely essential principles

What is a screenplay? A screenplay is a document that tells the film production team what they need to film. It may sound like a simple description, but do not be deceived – its full significance will become clear by the end of this article. I will provide a concise description of what a screenplay […]

Film and video competitions: a warning for independent filmmakers

The purpose of this post is to warn independent filmmakers – particularly the newbies – about the true nature of many film and video competitions, in the hope that you will be in a stronger position to make the best decision for yourself and avoid costly mistakes. In the final analysis, it should not be […]

Steven Spielberg film techniques – With pretty pictures!

I have been admiring and studying Steven Spielberg’s filmmaking techniques for some years now and in this post I will share some of my findings. No written description can ever do justice to an artist of Steven Spielberg’s magnitude, but I do hope that you will find this post inspiring and instructive. 1. Track-in shots […]

11 Essential Camera Techniques in Filmmaking – With Animated Images

Following my filmmaking tips and my post on how to direct, this post will look at some nitty-gritty film techniques that every filmmaker needs to have in the toolbox. Some of these techniques are very basic and others are more advanced, but you should always bear in mind that, as James Cameron once said, “there […]

Independent Film Distribution Tips: a Guide for Indie Filmmakers

If you think shooting your film was tough, just wait until Film Distributors get their hands on you. Key points 1. Distributors are in the game to profit from films that are easy to sell, not to nurture filmmakers. 2. An independent film will languish on the shelf indefinitely if it is not marketable. 3. […]

Cobra Crane II review

I had the pleasure of using the Cobra Crane II on a film I shot a few years ago and I was extremely impressed and thoroughly addicted to using it. First things first: the Cobra Crane II is a crane that produces extremely smooth and impressive crane shots with cameras up to 25 pounds in […]

Digital Cinematography Tips: Making Digital Formats Look as Film-Like as Possible

In making digital video resemble the look of film, the art of cinematic lighting is perhaps the most important issue. Much of how movies work relies on mood and perception, and lighting is at the core of this. Film lighting relies on contrast, modeling, shadows, dappling, and generally eliciting mood (warmth, beauty, danger, or whatever […]

How to convert video to the QuickTime format: AVI to mov

The most popular video format on the Internet is QuickTime; the video quality is excellent and all users have to do to watch QuickTime videos is download and install the QuickTime player, which is free. With the ever-increasing speed of Internet connections and the efficiency of video compression, we are enjoying unprecedented opportunities to showcase […]

F-stops, T-stops, focal length and lens aperture

The focal length of a lens is the distance between the optical center of the lens and the film plane (for film cameras) or CCD (for camcorders). The longer the focal length, the more it “magnifies” the subject. f-stops are a measure of the aperture of a lens. In other words, f-stops tell us how […]

Learn Sharp Camera Skills with these Practical Exercises for Aspiring Filmmakers

Get hold of a camcorder One of the things that distinguishes outstanding film and video makers from mediocre ones is an intimate knowledge of what different camera lenses do – specifically, the different looks produced by different focal lengths. A real filmmaker knows exactly what things look like when framed through a given type of […]

Sound recording tips: how to record location sound in film and video production

The importance of recording quality sound By far the biggest technical shortcoming of many videos and independent films is the sound. The dialogue recorded on location, which in most cases is the project’s only source of dialogue in post-production, is not always recorded with correct technique, which results in poor audio quality. Location sound recording […]

How to optimize your computer for video editing

This article deals with optimizing your computer for digital video editing. Editing digital video places very high demands on your computer’s RAM and processing power. It therefore needs all the help you can give it in terms of freeing up resources. You can do this by tweaking your hardware and software configuration in such a […]

Videography and Digital video tips

Some videography tips to improve your digital productions (you should also check out some YouTube video ideas): 1. Use manual focus All cameras have automatic focus, but you should avoid using it if possible, because you will inevitably get “focus hunting”, with the camera constantly switching focus from one plane to another. So, switch the […]

How to Make a Music Video: Planning, Shooting and Editing

Shooting the music video 1. Record the track that you are playing back on set as you shoot. This scratch track will help you synchronize the shots with the clean track in post-production. 2. Instruct the singer to sing properly – no half-hearted singing or, worse, miming. If they mumble or mime, it will not […]