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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 […]

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 […]

Non-linear digital video editing tips

Video editing was revolutionized by the invention of digital video and FireWire. FireWire is a cable (also known as IEEE 1394) that connects DV cameras to your computer for the purpose of transferring data from the DV tape to your hard disk. The beauty of FireWire is that the data transfer is lossless. This means […]

How 3D Movies Work

3D vision is enabled by the ability to discern which objects in the field of view are close and which ones are further away. 3D vision is possible because we have two eyes. The two eyes are a few inches apart, and therefore view the world from different perspectives. The closer an object is to you, the […]

Film festival tips

Film festivals are massively overrated, but they remain an important avenue through which to showcase your completed film. There are some harsh realities associated with film festivals that you should know about before you submit your film to the festivals – or, even better, before you even make your film. You can increase your film […]

YouTube video ideas & tips

YouTube gives everyone the opportunity to upload their video content and communicate directly with the world. Almost everyone these days has access to some sort of video-recording technology and many people are keen to join in on the action. All you need is an idea! The secret to making an awesome YouTube video is VALUE. […]

RED camera review: my experience with the RED camera

I shot three spec TV commercials with the RED camera and this is my report of the experience. Here are the spots: 1. About the RED camera The RED camera was released in 2007 and satisfied a desperate need for a digital camera that can truly rival the look of 35mm film. It shoots in […]