Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

Small Gauge Madness: Home Movie Day

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

August 12 is Home Movie Day. As part of the festivities, small-gauge film-related events will be held in 27 states and 6 countries this year.

This is the first I’ve heard of it, but apparently Home Movie Day is in its fourth year. Here’s some information from the website:

Home Movie Day was started in 2002 by a group of film archivists concerned about what would happen to all the home movies shot on film during the 20th century….

The Home Movie Day founders envisioned a worldwide celebration of these amateur films, during which people in cities and towns all over would get to meet local film archivists, find out about the long-term benefits of film versus video and digital media, and—most importantly—get to watch those old family films! Because they are local events, Home Movie Day screenings can focus on family and community histories in a meaningful way. They are also an education and outreach opportunity for local archivists, who can share information about proper storage and care for personal films, and how to make plans for their future.

Great stuff. If you happen to go to one of the events, post a comment and let us know how it went. My ladyfriend and I are hoping to attend the one in Richmond.

On a related note, if you’ve got a lot of 8mm or Super-8 movies that you need to have transferred to video, check back tomorrow.

Hello, Dolly

Saturday, August 5th, 2006

Yeah, yeah, even I groaned at the title to this post. But hey, it’s no worse than the title of the article I’m linking to, is it? Studio Daily’s, ahem, “Roll With It” article covers all the means of moving your camera that were announced at NAB this year. If you can move past the puns (sorry, another one!) you’ll find some interesting stuff.

From what I can tell by the photos, my favorite is the Scooter Shooter. It’s an equipment cart that doubles as a dolly once you’ve unloaded it. Great for small crew shoots. The $2600 price tag seems a little much, but it’s about $2000 less than what a Matthews doorway dolly willl set you back. The concept is a 10, though, and I’m sure enterprising DIYers out there could build this thing for about $200. If you do, let me know and I’ll post (or link to) your findings.

In the meantime, if you want to move your camera like Murnau or Resnais, check out the dollies.

[Via DV Guru]

Tom Schroeppel: SRF Interview

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

You won’t find Tom Schroeppel‘s face adorning the cover of Film Comment, Filmmaker, MovieMaker or any other film magazines that champion American cinema, yet, in his own way, Schroeppel has exerted a quiet influence on aspiring filmmakers in film schools across the country for the last twenty-five years. How? As the author of The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video, one of the simplest — and by simplest, I mean best — textbooks to cover the basics of motion picture production.

When you get a copy of Bare Bones in your hands the first thing you realize is that Schroeppel’s not kidding with the title. It starts with the brown (think: “paper bag”) cover and block lettering. Open the book and you find text in double-spaced 12 point Courier font and simple hand-drawn images. The content is standard film/video textbook stuff, only it’s distilled to its most essential, readable essence. It’s like the film textbook equivalent of one of those incredible, out-of-nowhere independent films from the late 70s or early 80s. What it lacks in production values it more than makes up for in content and handmade charm. But don’t take my word for it — no less than Nestor Almendros called it “a marvel of clarity and conciseness.”

In true “self-reliant” fashion, Schroeppel took the DIY route to publishing and distributing the book. What’s unusual, though, are his sales, which are approaching 120,000 copies sold. When you stop to think about the number of student filmmakers that have learned about such basic concepts as “color temperature” or the “rule of thirds” from him, well, that’s what I mean when I say quiet influence.

After I decided to use Bare Bones this fall for the production courses I’m teaching at Virginia Tech, I approached Tom about doing an interview. Happily, he agreed, and over the last few days we emailed back and forth about his 89 page/$8.95 wonder, and its sequel, Video Goals: Getting Results with Pictures and Sound.


Underwater Housing for MiniDV

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

It’s summertime, and that means one thing — swimming at the beach, lake, swimming pool, or even a quarry. Instructables has, er, instructions for something you might want to pack along with your camcorder and your trashy summer reading.

[Via Make]

October Camera Workshop with Bernie O’Doherty

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

In January, I wrote effusively about the private film camera workshop that Bernie O’Doherty led for two friends and me. Now he’s opening them up to the public.

If you can make the trek to Maine, and if you have more than a beginner’s knowledge of shooting with film cameras, I encourage you to check it out.