Though related, sound editing and mixing are very different and very important art forms.
In film, the world of sound has many heroes. You've got sound designers, foley artists, composers— the list goes on and on. However, there are two positions that are closely related, so much so that they often get lumped together (like at the Oscars), but are uniquely integral to the filmmaking process: sound editors and sound mixers.
In this video essay, Fandor's Jacob T. Swinney explains the many differences between the two post-production artists, including what they are, what they do to, and how their contributions affect a film project. Check it out below:
I'm not the most knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the Sound Department, (I don't think my experience wrangling cables qualifies me for much), so I'll admit, I definitely wasn't 100% clear on the differences between sound editors and sound mixers. In fact, I was asked about the difference during last year's Oscars and had to sit there and fumble through a poorly executed and uninformed response. But Swinney does a great job of explaining it once and for all.
This tutorial takes you through some of the most essential lighting setups step-by-step.
Lighting is one of the most complicated and confusing aspects of cinematography, but even the most inexperienced filmmakers can manage to create the lighting setups most commonly used in film—with a little guidance, of course. In this tutorial, Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens walks you through five different lighting setups step-by-step, including daylight, moonlight, day-for-night, afternoon light, as well as a unique stylized look that you can play around with on your own project. Check it out below:
Morgan does a great job (as always) of explaining the why's behind the how's. Why would you need to stick a light next to a window to mimic the light coming through a window? Isn't that redundant? No! That extra light helps you avoid blowing out the highlights, friend. And many times, it doesn't dawn on new filmmakers to replace the bulbs in practical lights with more powerful ones, but that technique allows you to use practicals in a more dynamic, advantageous way.
You only have two hands, so how are you supposed to focus your camera when both of them are operating a gimbal?
Gimbal stabilizers are an essential piece of gear for filmmakers, but even though they offer silky smooth camera movement, they also make focusing a hell of a chore. When both of your hands are busy handling your gimbal, how are you supposed to manage your camera's focus? You could always hire a focus puller, but those cost money that you may not have. You could buy a follow focus, but good luck operating two pieces of high-maintenance equipment simultaneously.
What if you're out there shooting solo and need to move your camera and keep your subjects in focus? Well, in this video, Chrystopher Rhodes of YCImaging shows you a few hands-free ways to keep your shots clear and crispy. Check it out below:
Statistics on the homogeneity of many Hollywood films continue to be lousy.
Filmmaker J. Rick Castañeda creates worlds on screen that accurately represent historically underrepresented people, while still keeping features to a finite budget. One big piece of that puzzle for him? Casting, casting, casting!
This USC Annenberg study points out that out of 900 popular films in 2016, just 3.1% of characters with lines were Hispanic. Ouch! Castañeda decided that on his second feature film, a surreal office workplace born out of his experience temping in Hollywood, he would continue a few tricks he learned on his first feature and would represent more people from more places (and more countries). On some sets, getting out of your comfort zone to create diversity can be a challenge. But other times, it's as easy as keeping the camera populated by actual members of your community.
A $10K sci-fi short film competition that wants to prove that "no bond is stronger than family."
Throughout the year, we feature a number of short film competitions that are on the search for awesome entries, finding that the more focused and specific the competitions are, the more beneficial it is to the applying filmmaker. This latest one, KIN X DUST $10,000 Sci-Fi Short Film Competition, is quite specific indeed, looking for a narrative short (between one and 15-minutes long) that equally shares family and otherworldly values.
A division of the distribution company Gunpowder & Sky, DUST is teaming up with Lionsgate for this initiative, offering a $10,000 cash prize to a short film that, inspired by DUST's latest upcoming release—Jonathan and Josh Baker's Kin—is birthed from the tagline "no bond is stronger than family." If you can create a nifty sci-short that uses familial (and perhaps extraterrestrial) themes appropriately, The Baker Brothers, DUST, and Lionsgate may just choose you to receive the grant and subsequently meet The Baker Brothers and have your film premiere on WatchDust.com.
Fujifilm has announced an expansion for its X series cameras with lenses filmmakers will appreciate.
Fujifilm mirrorless cameras are best known for two main factors, their pleasing color reproduction and their excellent lenses. While they don't have the amazing low light abilities of the Sony A7 line, and they aren't the documentary powerhouses with the 10-bit internal of the GH5, they have found a solid position for themselves in the market for photographers—and increasingly filmmakers—who are focused on accurate skintones and sharp but pleasing lenses.
These filmmakers know how to get a film made quickly.
A collective of filmmakers was presented with a challenge: make a film around a particular topic to present at an upcoming showcase. While they had a number of months to pull projects together—it was no 24-hour film festival—a looming deadline drove these folks towards a final cut. Filmshop, based in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Orleans, is a collective of over 100 independent filmmakers who meet weekly by season to workshop projects, offer constructive critiques, and incubate new ideas. Some of these creators have been developing projects for years, so having a limited time frame is a motivation to just make something. While the igniting topic for this season's showcase—"Unfinished Business"—was known months out, as you can imagine, a number of projects came together rather last minute for the July 21st event.
Is the obsessive need to use a camera another addiction in our culture of narcissism and excess?
In her new film Generation Wealth, director Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles) takes a look at the growing obsession with wealth around the world, and it’s like 1905 up in here. By that, I mean that the worldwide concentration of wealth by the very stinking rich has reached the levels of early 1900s America. Are regular people fed up with materialism? Are the Super-Rich finally happy?
Greenfield is no stranger to the world of this story. In the film, she returns to the expensive private school in Santa Monica where she first picked up a camera to document her schoolmates’ obsession with money. Since then, she’s spent nearly 25 years as an “insider-outsider” to the world of the wealthy, taking nearly half a million photographs. In the film, she follows up with many of the people in those photographs to find out where our culture is headed.
Filters—one of the most essential tools in a filmmaker's gear bag.
The most common problems you'll see in the work of new filmmakers have something to do with exposure, whether it's underexposing foregrounds or overexposing skies. And it makes sense—shooting situations that have vastly different light intensities can be really tricky for beginners because, hello, which part of the frame do you expose for? Typically, newbies will expose for their subject and sacrifice details in the sky or windows, allowing them to blow out and be big white blobs in the frame, which is not visually appetizing.
That's why all beginners need a good ol' fashioned primer on different types of filters that explains what they are, what they do, and how they can be used to make your footage look a thousand times better. In this video, Peter McKinnon gives it to 'em. Check it out below:
Whether your footage needs fixing or you just want to give it a little makeover, these techniques might be just what you're looking for.
Despite our sincerest attempts at shooting what we need, sometimes we're still left with footage that is still lacking that special something. However, doing a little work in post can be a great way of adding a little style and texture to your clips when reshoots aren't an option. In this video, Josh Noel of Sonduck Film goes over four creative techniques you can use to give your footage a little pizazz, from adding film grain to even faking depth-of-field. Check it out below:
Let me just set the record straight: whenever possible, always, always, always try to capture whichever effects, characteristics, and elements you want your footage to have in-camera during your shoot. It's your best chance of ensuring that your footage ends up looking the way you want it to, and assuming that you can always "fix it in post" means leaving it up to chance.