What separates the amateurs from the professionals?  It has to be the equipment, right? This is not … [Continue Reading]

How to Frame A Shot

Without a doubt, cinema has changed.  New and old cinemas hardly have many similarities between each … [Continue Reading]

Old Vs. New Movies

Cinematography is the art of motion pictures.  It includes both the technique of shooting and … [Continue Reading]

Intro to Cinematography

How to Frame A Shot

How to Frame A Shot

Photographing Campfire

What separates the amateurs from the professionals?  It has to be the equipment, right?

This is not the case.  It is how one uses equipment that sets them apart from the rest.  Off course, no one is going to ask you to make a professional photo session, if all you have is a cheap disposable camera, but nevertheless, it is important to know that photography has plenty of science to it.

The most basic of principles for photography is called the rule of thirds.  It is the quintessential rule that all budding photographers need to know.  The rule of thirds is an imaginary grid that overlays the screen of the camera.  Now, imagine lines that break up the screen into thirds, both horizontally and vertically.  With this, you get nine equal parts.  It is divided up like a tic-tac-toe game.

This grid gives the photographer the most important part of the photo.  The four points in the middle where the lines intersect are where the human eye naturally goes when first looking at a photograph.   It is of best interest to place points of interest within these intersecting areas.  You then use the lines to guide the eye across the image. Continue reading “How to Frame A Shot” »

Old Vs. New Movies

Old Vs. New Movies

Rick Blaine Makes the Move

Without a doubt, cinema has changed.  New and old cinemas hardly have many similarities between each other in regard to plot and style.

Older film was of course in black and white, due to technological reasons.  It didn’t even have sound until the mid 1920’s; however, this is where the art was cultivated and grown.  Film was experimental and far different from anything anyone had ever seen.  We saw the rise of special effects and the artful stretch of the truth that we love to see; called special effects begin to grow.  The 1927 production Metropolis showed a fantastical world of camera illusion.  It was the first full-length science fiction film.

Films in the older days were much longer than most of today’s features.  Older films were two to three hours long; whereas, newer films are normally right around an hour and a half.

Back in the golden era of Hollywood, roughly between the 1920’s and the 1960’s, film had defined categories.  Some of the biggest genres throughout this time was film noir, musicals, westerns, and political.  Now days, some of the most popular genres are action, romantic comedy, horror, and thriller.

The people in charge of the making most of the older films were the producers or the suits.  Newer films are more controlled by the director (this is also called the auteur theory).

Older films relied heavily on their writing and the competence of the those involved in the production in order to make a great hit; whereas, newer film will use CGI and an over zealous amount of special effects. Continue reading “Old Vs. New Movies” »

Intro to Cinematography

Intro to Cinematography

Cinematography is an Art

Cinematography is the art of motion pictures.  It includes both the technique of shooting and development of film. From the flawless camera shots to the differences of movie styles, cinematography has plenty of components that need to be meshed together in order to make a proper film.

There are four basic elements of cinematography: lighting, movement, film versus digital, and perspective.

Lighting

In many people’s personal opinion, this is the most quintessential element for both photography and cinematography.  After all, without lighting, we would not have not have either of those mediums, but that goes without saying.

Lighting adds depth, tone and mood.  Noir films use low-key lighting to create a mysterious and dark setting to add to the tension that noir films love to build.  A lot of medical T.V. shows, like Scrubs or House, use flat light to convey a very sterile environment.  Sometimes, directors and cinematographers use a very creative light, like in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 production Close Encounters of a Third Kind, to convey something entirely different from out understanding.

The essential elements are Key light, back light, and fill light.  The key light is the main light directed toward the subject.   The fill light is off to the side of the subject; its goal is to soften the edges and to diminish shadows. The backlight is located behind the subject, normally hung above and out of the view of the camera.  Its goal is to create separation from the subject and the background. Continue reading “Intro to Cinematography” »

How To Make Your Characters Stand Out Through Costume Design

How To Make Your Characters Stand Out Through Costume DesignCreative costume design is one of the main elements you need to consider before you start filming – especially if your intended movie is set in a specific time period or location, or if the film falls within the science fiction or fantasy genre’. Costumes create interest in the characters, and help the audience recognize what the character represents; if they are good or bad, exuding sex appeal or are more shy and introverted.

I recently had a chance to peak in a small, independent sci-fi movie that was set in post-apocalyptic time that was shot in an abandoned industrial complex. It was quiet interesting to see how creative some of the costumes were, and how they really set the mood and made you feel like you were really watching something set 100 years or more in a bleak and forbidding future.

I inquired about the costumes and I was told that they were the handiwork of one of the filmmaker’s wives, Susan, who has a knack for sewing.  I chatted with her a while, and found out that after brainstorming with the director and producer, she made a number of sketches to capture some of their ideas, including of course her own creative inputs. She then perused local fabric shops for interesting fabric choices set up her trusty Juki serger sewing machine that she has been using for years.

Watching Susan work, I could tell the machine was like an extension of her, allowing her to create interesting and wearable designs that turned a normal cast member into the hero of the movie, or the dark and evil antagonist.  She said she is a tried-and-true lover of serger sewing machines, because they can be used in all levels of design (from the most simple design to the most complicated) and can handle anything you throw at them.

In a film like this one, the sky is the limit for what kind of creativity a designer chooses to express through their costumes. Sci-fi or fantasy films can give costume designers more freedom because they are creating clothes that are not worn in a real-life setting, so as long as the costumes are in keeping with the overall themes and concepts the filmmakers are going for, then the designer has more freedom when coming up with patterns and forms.

In period pieces set in a specific time or era, a great deal more research is required to make sure the costumes accurately represent what people wore at that time. A film that depicts actual historical events will be less believable if the clothes aren’t authentic to the time period. But some of my favorite costumes come from movies that cross over between fantasy and period pieces. Such movies, like Moulin Rouge, tell a story that is set in a time period, but it is not meant to be truly historically accurate. It’s more about telling a story through song, dance and costumes. These kind of movies also allow for more creativity while also needing to stay within a general genre – and the result can be quite unique and visually interesting!

Whatever your film project is about, it’s important to keep costumes in mind when developing your overall themes and ideas. Costumes are just as important as the set, music and script – they help tell your story and keep audiences watching!

How to Make a Killer Video

How to Make a Killer Video

Don’t kill anyone!

With the right video marketing technique online, you can make your business reach unbelievable heights. A well designed video marketing can help your message reach out to the target audience, grab attention in the related field and build a credibility that you can never imagine with the other marketing methods like sales pages, emails or even blog posts.

But I’ve seen many people shy away from using video marketing for their business promotion. Though if done wrong the whole thing could turn against you, it can be avoided, if you know the right way to make a killer video. Here are some important steps that I’ve found very helpful and they’ve got me some important clients. In fact the work I did for the jiu jitsu gi guide website was so much appreciated that the client gave me a stout grappling dummy.

The idea of making an online video for marketing is to reach out to your target audience easily and more quickly. For this you need the confidence and self-assurance, so you can connect and inspire people to buy what you are selling.  Whatever content you post related to your business, it’s the videos that have the greatest impact.

  • The first thing you need to do is keep in mind that you have an audience watching and listening to you and not just the camera box to which you are talking. Even if it might look bizarre initially, you need to talk to the camera, as if you are conversing or interacting with a person in front of you.
  • The next thing you need to do while talking is distance yourself away from the background. When you are plastered against a wall, it will make you look one dimensional and flat, which is not very appealing. You need to look real and for this you should put some space between you and the wall.
  • Okay, now that we have done away with the preliminaries, now it’s time to focus on the talk. What you tell in the first few seconds should be attention grabbing. Don’t start the video by saying that you want to share something or introduce yourself, which is boring. Begin the video with something that’ll get them listen to you against their will. You need cook up something energetic, motivated and compelling, so they are hooked to you instantly.
  • Let’s get into some technical stuff. You want your face to be visible and bright. For this you need the proper lighting. This doesn’t mean you’ve to invest in costly lighting. All you need to do is have natural or artificial light focused on your face, while you talk. You can take the video outside where you get good light exposure.
  • The last tip on making a killer video is you need to enjoy doing it. Though the content and words matter they do not score with the viewer as strongly as your personality. What you are and how you show yourself on screen will make a greater impact. Lighthearted conversation always makes you look more accessible than vocabulary rich speeches. If you look like you’re enjoying the entire process, those watching it will also get into the spirit of the video and like it more.

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How to Shoot Underwater Video

How to Shoot Underwater Video

Feels kinda awesome

I’ve always been amazed at the underwater videos I used to watch on TV. The vivid colors, beautiful shapes and the clear waters make an enthralling picture that even now I watch these videos for hours on end. Now that I’m an expert myself in photography, the entire thing has become even dearer to me.

Recently I’d gone on a deep sea fishing trip with a few of my friends. We had a great time catching fish. Technology has improved so much in fishing too. We used sonar equipment to catch fish. The catch was quite good and since the equipment made it easy, we had plenty of time to explore the underwater flora and fauna. Since I never venture out without my camera, I decided to shoot a film.

If you’ve not done a video underwater and are afraid to do so, it’s actually easy if you’ve the right equipment. The underwater scenery with the corals, rocks, caves and new species take on a vivid and alluring effect on the video. Here are some basics on making underwater video.

  • To take an underwater video, you need to know scuba diving. Though snorkeling is sufficient to take some underwater shots, close angles and clearer pictures are possible only when you have the proper scuba diving experience. Free diving has benefits like the absence of bubbles that scare sea life, but staying down for longer periods is possible only with scuba diving.
  • You need to have proper protection for your equipment. There are special camera housings that keep your camera protected, while taking shots underwater. There are digital, mechanical or blend of both types. Mechanical housing are better as the parts can be replaces easily, if something gets damaged provided you keep the switches and buttons in good working condition.
  • You need to get acclimatized to the underwater surrounding first. Since you need clear and tranquil waters to take good shots, you should have good underwater balancing skill. You need to take care of your equipment, see where you are moving to and also capture the scenery in front of you. This needs quite a bit of maneuvering.
  • The underwater colors should also be considered. As you go deep, the colors are absorbed by water and you would not get the right color. To prevent this, you can add a colored filter, mostly red, as it is the first color to go. Another way to tackle the color issue is to have underwater lights. Since in deep water you don’t get any sunlight, the lights are needed any way.
  • While choosing the underwater lights for video, look for energy efficient light s like LEDs. Make sure you get stronger lights that spread out the light widely, so you don’t get circles in you video. While professional lights come as a package, so can be fitted easily to the camera, when you get the lights separately you need to think of a mounting for the lights.
  • While taking the shots white balance needs to be adjusted to compensate the light factor. Having a white slate handy will help you for white reference as you may have to do it several times underwater. Manual focus and getting a more horizontal and upward angle for the shots will make them look more natural.

Filming Short Films and Winning Competitions

Filming Short Films and Winning Competitions

Creative Job

There’s a whole lot of difference between making a short film for viewing and shooting a film for a competition. While there are no set rules regarding what makes a short film competition material some people believe that it mostly depends on the rules the exhibitors set. Though this may be vexing, there is still hope for budding film makers as not all exhibitors have the same rules. So what one rejects will be promoted by another.

I myself had experimented on making short movies some time back. I had made a movie on the importance of wearing top crossfit shoes like Nanos 4.0 and apparel. The movie featured crossfit devotees explaining on the various benefits of crossfit wear. The movie was appreciated well and I also managed to earn a few dollars with the motivational movie. The point I’m trying to explain is there is money to be made in short movie making. You can win competitions and also earn some money in the process.

Here are some tips that I’ve gleaned, while I made the movie and from some of the short film experts I’d had the opportunity to meet with. While some are basic tips that you may probably know already, there are others that will help you out in your endeavor.

  • Emphasize on the concept – Since the time span here is very short, you need to be as precise and concise as possible. Don’t bother with the elaborate set up as in a movie; instead, try to have a well-defined narrative.
  • Not too short – Though this may seem contrary to what I’ve said earlier, don’t make the film so short that it does not make sense. You need to look best with what you can come up with in the short span provided for the film and most probably with little or no capital at all.
  • Don’t go overboard on expenses – Since it is a short film, you need to consider practicalities when using hi-fi equipment. The use of expensive equipment is not necessary. A well-portrayed film will attract more attention than all the filmy gimmicks you resort to.
  • Choosing equipment – For shooting on the hoof a Canon 5D or 7D would suffice. The footage you need can be taken with appropriate lighting and without much fuss. Make sure you’ve backup memory cards and fully charged batteries with you. This is more than sufficient for taking shots, while you are moving around. For static shoots, you need Digital cameras like Red or an inexpensive brand along with the right lighting fixtures.
  • Know your limits – You need to factor in the time involved for making the shots as waiting till you get the shot you’ve dreamed of would be a total waste of time. Consider your deadline and try to improvise as much as you can.
  • Conform to the brief –While planning the narrative, make sure the shots convey everything you need to say as it’s the visuals that create the most impact.

Every competition has its own format and rules. Ensure you are aware of all of them and create your film accordingly. Last minute interruptions because of not adhering to a particular rule may spoil the whole thing.

How to Start Filming Wild Nature

How to Start Filming Wild Nature

Beautiful Scenery

There are many ways to make money. You don’t always have to hold a ‘nine to five’ job to satisfy your money needs. I’ve seen many people building a successful life out of their hobbies. This is what I reiterated to my friend who has his own home based plant growing business. He loves growing plants and spends quite a lot of time with them. His interest has increased manifold in the past few years and he has made many improvements to his green business.

State- of- the -art features need not be confined to high profile businesses alone. He uses efficient indoor grow lights to give his plants more nourishments and health. In fact he’s so happy with the growth of his plants that he has started pondering over the idea of photographing his plants and selling the videos. It seems one of his clients who regularly buys plants from him suggested this idea. It has taken root in his mind and since I’m interested in photography he asked for my help.

There are many ways to make your mark in the film making field. While most of these are based more on chance and luck, I know a few that are effective when done in the appropriate and dedicated manner. Here are five things that can guarantee you a head start in film making.

1. Love for nature is a Must

Having an innate passion for nature and its bounties is vital for building a career in wild nature filming. If you don’t possess this the chances of making it big is not possible. Coming back to nature filming, it’s not sufficient if you love nature, you need to have an in depth knowledge about wildlife, preferably a direct experience on the wildlife present worldwide and some basic geographical knowledge too.

2. Television is your classroom

Though this may seem a far-fetched idea, it is actually a highly effective way to hone your wildlife filming skill. Make it a habit of watching channels like National Geographic and Discovery Animal Planet. Record the wildlife shows that are telecast regularly and study all the aspects of the filming from production, sound, script to scientific content, animal characteristics, music etc. other than the photography, of course.

This is in short like attending a photography course for free. You can create your own style, know your preferences, improve on what has been done already and also keep up with the trends.

3. Educate yourself

Internet is an excellent medium for educating you on any topic you want. Browse through the various websites present on wild life film making. Become a member of all the notable filmmakers’ associations.

4. Hone your talent

You need to have basic computer skills like surfing, emailing, using the different software like Adobe Photoshop, video and website editing, desktop publishing etc. Good communication skills and planning your film budget and the production details are some of the other skills you should develop. Camera equipment, sound recording and picture editing skills are important, if you want to do a professional job.

5. Connections are vital

Knowing all the big names in the industry is must to get exposure for your film. Whether you want your name to be known or you are selling any product or trying to land a big opportunity, it helps to network and have the necessary connections. This will tip the scales in your favor mostly.

How Piracy Affects the Future of Movie Industry

How Piracy is Affecting the Future of Movie Industry

The Anonymus

Many of the users on our website love movies. We do consider ourselves movie devotees and cinematic artists after all, so it’s kind of nice how I can talk to pretty much anyone here and usually strike up a good conversation about one bizarre film or another.

These days, our conversations can’t conclude without somebody saying something about piracy, usually with a nasty comment about pirates or a sigh due to the ever-rising cost of movies, on discs and in the theaters. I’m going to tell you the same things I tell those people when they happen to catch me and bring up piracy.

Now, I think it’s important to note that piracy isn’t exactly a bad thing. Yes, stealing is wrong, and taking something without paying its creator for his or her time and effort, that is wrong too. However, thanks to that same piracy, many people who would normally never be able to get their hands on films banned or restricted in their countries can now see those controversial movies.

In addition, many instructional films, or films meant to teach something to viewers, should be freely shared, anyhow. It is my strong opinion that knowledge should be free. Period. There’s no reason to charge someone for something that can teach them a useful skill, or something they need to know to live, like how to cook or clean a wound or do a number of other tasks, just to list a few.

Thanks to user anonymity over the Internet, piracy continues to strive where the actual theft of physical goods would have long ago been put to an end. As long as there are trustworthy data centers like Citrus trafficking information, users won’t need to worry about their requests, downloads and uploads being tracked. Piracy is having many negative effects on the future of the movie industry as well, though.

We all know that it’s costing more and more every year to go to a cramped theater with no leg room and watch a movie while people talk on their phones, babies cry and other nuisance noises fill the air. You know, maybe piracy doesn’t have as much to do with the rise in ticket prices as the media might make you think. All those other things I mentioned are good reasons fewer people are visiting theaters, too. I believe that men and women of intelligence, as well as further improvements in technology, will allow this problem to be solved in the future.

Not too far in the future, either. Many file sharing services and websites are already being targeted for removal, like thepiratebay. And I’m sure you’ve probably heard about Megaupload being taken down, and its executive staff members being imprisoned for so many counts of theft and piracy that they’ll probably never see the light of day again. Like other issues, only time will tell how this will ultimately be resolved. Until then, you can look forward to burgeoning prices for movie tickets, DVDs, Blu Ray discs and other media.