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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 […]

Movie editing techniques – With pretty pictures!

Hone your understanding of film editing until you are dazzlingly brilliant at it. The very best directors have a comprehensive understanding of film editing. They plan and direct shots in such a way that they can be cut together smoothly and coherently. Ambitious filmmakers would therefore be well advised to learn film editing. You should […]

Film Lighting Techniques and Tips: With Pretty Pictures!

Soft front light / hot backlight A popular technique in film lighting is to use a soft (diffuse) light source from the front and a stronger, more directional light from the back, so that your subject has a hot edge. The soft frontal light is known as the fill light; the strong light at the […]

Filmmaking Tips and Advice for Ambitious Filmmakers

“A free online film school summary for aspiring filmmakers” Jump to a section: Screenwriting Lighting Camerawork Camera movement Zooming Sound Casting Continuity Production Design Film editing 1st AD Directing   1. Write or obtain an awesome screenplay Without a dazzlingly awesome screenplay you are dead in the water. Beautiful lighting, creative camerawork and smooth editing […]

How Steven Spielberg started his Hollywood career

Steven Spielberg started making movies as a young child, using Super 8 equipment. He was extremely ambitious from the outset and made his first feature film at the age of seventeen. The film, Firelight, premiered on the 8th March 1964 in Phoenix, Arizona. The film was, of course, low-budget; Spielberg shot it with a good […]

How James Cameron started his Hollywood career

“Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Shoot it on video if you have to. Put your name on it as director. Now you’re a director. Everything after that you’re just negotiating your budget and your fee.” (James Cameron) After moving […]

James Cameron and Steven Spielberg direct the best battle scenes

James Cameron is a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci — a genius in the truest sense of the term. James Cameron and Stephen Spielberg are the only directors on this planet who are able to direct a battle scene that actually makes sense, as opposed to being dull and pointless. Every other director — including one […]

The film industry and the Internet are enemies

As wonderful as it is, the Internet has a number of particularly pernicious traits, including an unfortunate tendency to make people addicted to free content. If the free content happens to be a blog post or a home video, that’s all well and good. However, if the free content in question is a real movie, […]

Is branded content the future of advertising?

Although the concept was developed many years ago, branded content is being mentioned with increasing frequency in advertising circles. Put simply, branded content is a short film or video that blends entertainment with advertising. The model’s rationale is that the content’s entertainment value more than compensates for the fact that virtually every shot features the […]

The “new normal” in TV commercial production

“New normal” is the new hot term in the business vernacular, and the world of TV commercial production is no exception. A producer I know recently gave me an inkling of what this “new normal” might look like. She told me that TV commercial budgets are aggressively being slashed, and of course we are well […]

The first 10 minutes of your indie movie had better be totally amazing

An article in the L.A. Times described how the star of an independent movie entitled “Magic Man” was disheartened to see that most buyers walked out of the screening in Cannes before the first 10 minutes were up. By the end of the movie, there were hardly any buyers left in the room. I feel […]

Panavision struggling to compete with the RED camera

An article in the L.A. Times yesterday described how Panavision is losing business precipitously. There are two reasons for this: production has declined dramatically, and when something does get made, it tends to be shot with a RED camera rather than on celluloid. This is seriously hurting the business of Panavision, which has been supplying […]

The good old days when content was valuable

There used to be a time when content was valuable. If you managed to complete a feature film, provided money was spent judiciously during production, it could be sold for a profit — even if it was junk. The reel of film could be marketed, regardless of its intrinsic merits. I cannot help thinking of […]

Clients to avoid like the plague in video production

When you want to buy something, you have a very clear idea of how much you want to spend on it. You can buy a car for $1000, $50,000 or $500,000 — these options are all legitimate, but they are not equivalent. You are not indifferent to the options: you know exactly which category is […]

Terrence Malick Interview: a fascinating chat with the elusive director

(I wrote this post after attending the interview at the Rome Film Festival on October 24th, 2007.) “Terrence Malick is extremely shy and you must not attempt to make direct contact with him. You must pretend you are eavesdropping on a private conversation.” I am sitting in the middle of the front row in the […]