Visually striking and often overused: Here's the story of how the Dutch Angle came to be.
Also known as the "Dutch tilt," "canted" or "oblique" angle, the Dutch Angle is one of the most emotionally impactful camera angles in the cinematic toolkit. Its tilted horizon line creates an immediate disorientation with the natural world, making it a prime tool for creating feelings of unease, disorientation, confusion, and distrust in viewers. And despite misuse and overuse by many contemporary filmmakers, the Dutch Angle has existed almost as long as cinema itself and has been employed by the world's greatest filmmakers to create some of the most iconic moments in cinematic history.
In this video essay, Jack Nugent of Now You See It explores the history of the Dutch Angle, from its use in the films of pioneering Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov to those of Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins.
One of the easiest DIY builds may turn out to be one of the most useful.
Okay, you want to shoot a scene using a green screen. Sounds simple enough. You go grab some "chroma green" fabric at your local fabric store, bring it home, but aren't sure how to hang it up. You can always tack it up on a wall, but that means having to move your scene to that exact location. Bummer. Is there a way to make your green screen more portable? There totally is! In this video, Dave Knop (a.k.a. knoptop) shows you how to build a super easy frame out of PVC pipe that will not only make a great home for your green screen but also any DIY light modifier you can imagine. Check it out below:
If it can't be fixed with gaff tape, you're not using enough gaff tape.
Though it hasn't yet been used to make a prom dress (though, if filmmakers had a prom just for them, I'm sure it would be), gaff tape is one of the most useful items you can have on set. It's used to secure wires to the floor, create marks for actors, and about a million other things that you might've never thought of. In this video, filmmaker Robbie Janney of Shutterstock gives you a quick rundown of how you can put gaff tape to good use on your project. Check it out below:
In all honesty, it'd probably be faster to tell you all the things that can't be done or fixed using gaff tape. Traditionally, gaff tape is used to secure cables, whether that means taping them down to the floor or against a stand, to create markers, or attach stuff to stuff, but it's such a multifaceted tool that it's used constantly to do pretty much everything, from spiking tripods to making a DIY follow focus.
It's so easy to get distracted while writing a screenplay, but these apps might help you stay on track.
I'm never more productive than when I'm writing a screenplay. Of course, my productivity is spent doing everything but writing my screenplay, like laundry, my taxes, and tackling that ginormous 50,000-piece Lisa Frank rainbow unicorn puzzle. That's the rub of writing, isn't it? It's wanting to do something but having to force yourself to do it. Well, there are several ways you can get over this—whatever it is—malaise, ennui, or lack of motivation, like going for a jog, listening to music, or wearing super comfy clothes, but The Film Look lists a handful of really helpful apps that can solve many of the problems screenwriters face when trying to buckle down and work.
There are so many great apps out there that can help you become a more efficient, motivated, and less distracted screenwriter, but here are the ones the Film Look team talks about in their video:
If we had to sum up Adobe's approach to the future of its post-production video tools in a single word it would be "integration."
Adobe has added a ton of interesting and powerful features to its collection of post-production applications, but the individual tweaks are not as exciting as its large-scale approach to the future of those applications. From Premiere Pro to Audition, you'll be able to accomplish multiple tasks within a single program, like color grading or auto-ducking right inside of Premiere Pro. So, instead of having to move your work from Premiere Pro to Audition or SpeedGrade to get your audio or color grade to where you want it to be, Adobe has included those powerful tools right inside of Premiere Pro. (In fact, Adobe has simply combined Premiere Pro and SpeedGrade into one program.)
The new tools and workflows that Adobe has added to Premiere Pro are designed specifically to be robust but also approachable, meaning that it'll appeal to users of all experience levels.
No more joystick! DJI's Master Wheels gives Ronin users a new (to them) way to control their gimbals.
For users who want more accuracy when controlling the Ronin 2, DJI has come out with Master Wheels, a new control system that utilizes wheels, which many seasoned filmmakers are more familiar with, while also adding a little sophistication to the design and functionality to allow for wireless operation.
It features buttons and dials for recording, speed control, smoothing, and recentering, as well as a modular, 3-axis design, which lets operators assemble it in a way that makes operation more comfortable. You can even go from 3-axis control to 2-axis control if you want.
Master Wheels will be shipping in June. You're looking at a price of $8000 for the 3-axis version (with Pelican case) and $6000 for the 2-axis version with an option to upgrade.
No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2018 is brought to you by Adorama, My RØDE Reel, and Blackmagic Design.
How can you use light to bring out the most dynamic features of your subject?
For cinematographers, light has many purposes. Of course, its primary role is to illuminate a subject so that it may be properly exposed by a camera, but it can also be used to capture a subject's most dynamic, beautiful, and unique qualities, including its texture, color, and shape. In this video, National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting goes over several different kinds of light and how you can take advantage of each one to highlight unique qualities of your subject. Check it out below:
Alfred Hitchcock managed to turn an empty cornfield into a white-knuckled death trap. How did you do it?
As one of the most celebrated filmmakers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock's work has been examined and studied extensively for almost 100 years. (100 years!? I surprised myself when I wrote that just now.) However, one of the most famous aspects of his brand of filmmaking is his impeccable ability to create tension on screen in the most creatively economic way possible, and one scene that truly demonstrates that ability is the "crop duster" scene from his 1959 mystery thriller, North by Northwest.
In this video essay, Tyler Knudson of CinemaTyler goes over the many different elements at play in the scene, including the sparse setting, Cary Grant's wardrobe, and the minimal use of sound, in order to explain how tension can be created in ways that don't always necessitate the use of common genre tropes.
If you don't mind looking a little strange, this DIY head mount will help you capture some great POV shots.
POV shots are great for many different cinematic situations. You can use them to get your audience closer to a beautiful landscape for a documentary, make your narrative feature more immersive, or ramp up the tension in your thriller or horror film. If you're shooting your project on a smartphone, Dave Knop, also known as knoptop on YouTube, shows you how to put together a DIY head mount for capturing POV shots with your smartphone using nothing more than a baseball cap and a mobile tripod mount clip. Check it out below:
Assuming that most of you have a hat with a bill lying around somewhere, the only thing you'll really need to get your hands on is a tripod mount clip, which usually sells for $4-$10. All you have to do is put your smartphone in the clip and stick that thing on the end of your bill. Boom! You're done.
If you're shooting a music video, or any kind of project for that matter, here are a few mistakes you'll want to avoid.
As a beginner, aside from films and videos, you're going to be making tons of mistakes. You're going to forget to take your lens cap off before you hit record. You're going to overexpose and underexpose your shots. You're going to wear your fashionable new chukkas instead of dorky but very comfortable tennis shoes. Knowing that there are countless missteps that you're bound to make as a burgeoning filmmaker, this video from Chrystopher Rhodes of YCImaging talks about five very common ones that could have much more serious consequences than one ruined shot or some sore feet. Check it out below:
Even though Rhodes focuses primarily on shooting music videos, the advice still transfers over well to narrative features, shorts, and even documentaries.