Turn an Entire Room into a Camera Obscura with Nothing but a Toilet Paper Roll

Good for party tricks, science experiments, and super nerdy but completely awesome wedding proposals.

Filmmaking nerds love expressing their nerdery in the most grandiose of ways, and what is more grandiose (and nerdy and filmy) than turning an entire room into a walk-in camera obscura? The answer is "nothing." But how do you perform such a feat? Well, it's actually really, really easy, requiring something you most likely already (hopefully) have at home.

In this quick 1-minute tutorial, the Koldunov Brothers show you how to do just that with nothing more than a toilet paper roll (okay, and some clippies). Check it out below:

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Use This Super Easy, Super Clever Trick to Create More Dramatic Audio

If the stock music you're working with just isn't cutting it, try this super easy trick in Premiere Pro.

We're not all sound engineers, okay? Nor are we all musicians. This can be a drag when editing the music and audio for our films because we're kind of at the mercy of whichever stock assets we can get our hands on. Which, don't get me wrong, isn't always bad—there are a ton of sites out there that offer really great songs and sound effects for filmmakers—but knowing a few easy tricks to give your audio the qualities you want is something I think we can all agree is a major plus.

In this video, filmmaker Zach Ramelan offers up a step-by-step tutorial on how to pull off one particularly nifty trick in Premiere Pro that will make your audio sound more dramatic and trippy. Check it out below:

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Watch: The Case for Hiring Robots as Film Colorists​

Colorist Dado Velentic reveals his AI-reliant method to perfect the art of color grading.

In addition to being a colorist himself, Dado Velentic has been working to develop tools to help other colorists (and really, all filmmakers) manage their finishing workflows. And at a recent talk at BSC Expo in the United Kingdom, Velentic has gone even further, sharing his current work that looks to bring AI and Machine Learning into the color suite.

Watch Velentic's entire talk below or read on for our takeaways.

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Watch: Everything You Need to Know About Horror Films at the Oscars in Five Minutes

Here's why horror films demand to be taken seriously by the Academy.

[Editor's Note: This video essay is part of our "Everything You Need to Know" series created exclusively for No Film School by Senior Post.]

In looking over the film awards season of the past few months, it isn't too much of a stretch to deem Jordan Peele's socially-conscious horror filmGet Out, as one of the biggest surprise success stories of the year. From a completely objective standpoint, a politically(nail)biting horror movie like this—nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Original Screenplay—isn't supposed to be nominated for an Oscar! It's a horror movie with extremely dark humor, and those usually don't fly too well with the older members of the Academy.

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How the ‘MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A.’ Editor Crafted 700 Hours of Footage into a Fest Favorite Doc

Editor Marina Katz had the huge task of distilling the story of a global pop phenomenon from 20 years worth of video footage.

As a documentarian, I am fascinated when the subject of a film spends time behind his or her own camera. It is a joy when a documentarian has a treasure trove of footage with which to build backstories, enabling directors and editors to use the passage of time to let characters become so much more complete. Even if it only took a year to make a film, home video adds so many layers to any story.

The new documentary MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A., which premiered globally at Sundance last month and made its European premiere at the Berlinale, about the groundbreaking singer M.I.A. (born Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam) takes this to a whole new level. We learn in the film that, before she was a bona fide music star, Arulpragasam was an aspiring documentarian herself. Thus, this film shares tons of stories of her youth from the mundane (joking around with her sister while drinking alcohol) to her stint as the official documentarian of ‘90s rockstar Justine Frischmann from the band Elastica.

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KitSplit Raises Two Million Dollars to Expand to Los Angeles

Gear rental and sharing platform KitSplit receives a $2.1 million raise, a big indicator of investor belief in the market's future.

The New York-based gear-rental platform KitSplit has completed a $2 million seed round from an investor pool including HeartLab, 3311 Ventures, NYU Innovation, and Mike Krieger (the co-founder of Instagram). This multi-million dollar raise—a substantial sum indicating that KitSplit has very serious ambitions—expands the company's pool of investors. KitSplit plans to put the capital to use by vigorously pursuing North America's other major media market (Los Angeles) and hiring a rental manager there.

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4 Vital Producing Tips from Ridley Scott, Judd Apatow, Amy Pascal and More

The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Producer Roundtable collects advice from some of the greats.

When you bring together some of today’s greatest film producers, you’re bound to learn something. The Hollywood Reporter recently sat down with Ridley Scott, Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Amy Pascal, Jason Blum, and Eric Fellner, to pick their brains on today’s ever-changing, politically-charged cinematic landscape. And while their perspectives vary widely, everyone agreed on one thing: this is hard. Watch the entire conversation here, or read our top takeaways below.

“The budget is as much a creative decision as anything else.”

1. Don’t wait for the money

"No one wanted to make it," said Apatow on his breakout hit Superbad, which was written by Rogen. "The funniest part about it is that for a while there was a producer working with us, and he said ‘yeah let me try to get it made,’ and he couldn’t. Then he got a job as the head of a studio and we said ‘Oh, I guess well make it now!’ And he said: No.”

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Watch: What You Need to Achieve That Sweet, Sweet Bokeh

Take control of your bokeh! Learn how to craft it from scratch.

Bokeh, or the blurry part of an image, seems like an aspect of cinematography that is kind of a no-brainer, right? I mean, didn't we all go a little nuts with our first cameras, capturing all of our images in shallow focus and thinking that, hell yeah, we're talented AF? Chances are, though, that we didn't really know exactly why we were getting shallow depth of field; all we knew was that zooming + close object = dope ass blur.

And that's fine, I guess, but if you want to be able to not only achieve beautiful bokeh but also control the way it looks, you'll need to know which factors are at play here. In this video, Matti Haapoja of TravelFeels, along with his brother Teppo, explain what these factors are and how you can use them to be a true bokeh master.

Without going into the complicated math, mostly because I don't understand it, there are three factors that determined depth of field: aperture, focal length, and the distance between your lens and your subject, and each one of Haapoja's tips address each of these factors.

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5 Ways to Utilize a Monopod in Your Cinematography

Tripods are an easy go-to camera stabilizer, but what about the monopod?

Stabilizing your footage is an easy way to increase your film's production value, but while tripods, gimbals, and shoulder rigs are often the popular choice among filmmakers, monopods also have a lot to offer. In this video from MasMash Films, learn five practical ways you can take advantage of a monopod's lightweight, compact design during your shoot. Check it out below:

Like any other stabilizer (or any other filmmaking tool for that matter), monopods are not going to do everything you might want it to. Every unit has its own unique, desirable features that may help in certain shooting situations but may not in others. So, it's important to understand both the benefits and limitations of a monopod.

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