Archive for the ‘DIY Filmmaking’ Category

Matte Box and Filters – An Intro

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

It’s a few days old, but B&H Photo/Video has a nice introduction to Controlling and manipulating the light (that enters the lens of your camera). The article describes the functions of a follow focus, mattebox and filters.

If you’re convinced you need these tools after reading the article, you might check out DV Magazine’s Matte Box Roundup and Follow Focus Shootout, two fine articles by FresHDV’s Kendal Miller and Matthew Jeppsen.

Making a Fullscreen Video Loop for an Installation (or Kiosk) Using Automator

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

UPDATE: Spring 2013.  SRF reader Jessica Barr corresponded with me in 2012 about how users of more recent versions of the Mac OS (10.6 and higher) might have issues with the Automator script below because QuickTime 7 is no longer the default movie Mac OS movie player. Jessica kindly revised the automator script and offered it to me so I could share it with you.

Download it here: Revised Automator QT Movie Loop script

(By the way, from my limited testing, it appears you still need QT Pro 7 — which is still sold as of May 2013 — to run this script. Quicktime X, or whatever it’s called, can loop, but you can’t save a movie as one that loops. And Automator’s loop instruction in its “play movie” actions don’t work reliably. )

Read on for the full instructions…..

Original Post from 2008:

Apologies for the long post title. This is to help anyone searching for such a thing on the internet.

This post will explain how to create a video that plays full-screen and loops repeatedly on a Mac. Looping full screen video is useful for, among other things, kiosks and video installations. If you want to cut to the chase and learn how to do this, skip down. Otherwise, I’ll offer a few words explaining the reasoning behind what I did.

Ashley Maynor and I recently put up a small video installation near the offices of the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge. The installation was done as a gratis piece of temporary public art, so we needed to keep the budget as small as possible.

In our case, this was a three channel installation — that is, we had three different videos playing simultaneously on three different screens. The screens were going to sit next to each other, so we wanted some uniformity in presentation. Video projection wasn’t an option — the space was too tiny for projection. (It’s basically an empty downtown shopwindow.) So we needed televisions or computer screens.

We didn’t have three identical televisions, but I did have three identical old semi-working iMacs sitting in a “junk” closet at Virginia Tech. So I borrowed those.

Regardless of whether you use a television with a DVD player, or a computer and its video monitor, for this sort of thing you might burn a DVD that loops. That’s a perfectly fine solution, but the DVD player on one of the iMacs was broken. Also, there might be solutions out there for having a DVD player and television power up and down automatically, but I know it can be done (and know how to do it) with a computer.

So how to do it?

I decided to create a simple Automator application that could be used to automatically screen a QuickTime movie in full screen mode when the computer was booted. I also automated the startup and shutdown of the computers so that the installation runs during prime hours downtown, saving power in the wee small hours of the morning. Details on how to do this after the jump.

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DIY: MiniCrane

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Here’s a link I missed promoting because I was off the grid when it was posted back in May: Stu “DV Rebel” Maschwitz shares a link about a “mini-crane you already own.” This isn’t exactly DIY as it’s normally defined (i.e., building stuff for cheaper than it can be bought). But it’s still pretty darn inventive.

The Conversation… with Scott Kirsner

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Though this website is a direct result of my belief that new technologies are reshaping filmmaking, as well as the relationships that filmmakers have with their audience, I rarely write about the intersections between cinema, the web, gaming, and business. One the reason I don’t is because there’s already someone that does that much better than I could. His name is Scott Kirsner.

A journalist by trade, Kirsner is the author of “The Future of Web Video: Opportunities for Producers, Entrepreneurs, Media Companies and Advertisers”, the editor of CinemaTech (his must-read blog) and a contributor to publications as diverse as has also contributed to Variety, Wired, Salon.com, and BusinessWeek, among others.

Recently, Kirsner announced a new event to be held this fall in Berkeley, called The Conversation.

The Conversation

 

Billed as “a gathering… intended to explore the new business and creative opportunities emerging in 2008,” The Conversation is “targeted to media-makers and technologists who want to understand and help shape the future of the entertainment industry.”

If the list of organizers and “conversation leaders” is any indication, The Conversation will be well worth sitting in on.

In anticipation of the event, Kirsner and I exchanged a couple of Q+A emails. I thought I’d share this (lowercase “c”) conversation with you:

**

Your journalism has covered motion pictures, new technologies, the internet, and the intersections of all of these overlapping worlds. But I’ve, at least, always thought of you as a journalist — someone that reports, someone that analyzes. With The Conversation you’re an instigator, a participant.

I’m really interested in innovation, and how new ideas get introduced to the world. It’s fun to write about that, but it’s also fun to bring together people whom I’ve met in my journalistic travels, and get them talking to each other — in person. All kinds of cool sparks fly. That’s what we aim to do with The Conversation. I’ll be there to ask questions and instigate, sure, but I also expect that our participants will do a lot of that, too.

How did The Conversation got started (no pun intended)?

There were two dynamics, really, that led to its creation. One is that a lot of times at film festivals, the discussions about new technologies, new tools, and new business models wind up as a side-show to the main event, which is watching movies. We wanted to do something where mapping out the future and getting up to speed with what other creators are doing would be the central purpose. The second dynamic was that there used to be this great event that happened twice in Montreal, called Digimart. Lance Weiler, Peter Broderick, Tiffany Shlain and I all spoke at the second Digimart a few years ago. It was a great gathering… but it didn’t continue after 2006, and we wanted to keep its spirit alive and take it to a new geography.

One of the things the website says is that The Conversation is “definitely not a conference.” Why make the distinction?

Conferences, to me, are about listening passively. They’re often sold out to sponsors, which means they don’t serve the participants very well. They tend to feature the same old speakers delivering the same old PowerPoint presentations. We’re trying to avoid all that, and simply host a high-energy conversation among people creating change in the entertainment industry.

If you could only ask one question to all the people that will be attending — the presenters and the registered attendees — what would it be?

How is your relationship with your audience changing? That’s a topic I’m obsessed with right now — I think that some of the biggest changes over the next 10 years in TV, film, video, and games are going to revolve around that relationship between creator and audience.

 

**

The Conversation unfolds October 17-18 in Berkeley, California. Visit the website for more information and to register.

iPhone WebApps for Filmmakers

Friday, July 11th, 2008

iPhone 3G is being released today. If you are submitting to the mania, or already have a (non 3G) iPhone, these web apps are for you. I’ll do a version of apps from the iPhone apps store at some point. Until then, enjoy these web apps on the set or off…

All descriptions are pulled from Apple’s iPhone web apps site.

ON THE SET

Power Load Calculator
Allows you to calculate the load on a particular circuit when certain devices are plugged in. For example, you can calculate whether or not the circuit breakers in a location can handle the lights you want to use and if not, the size of the generator that needs to be hired. This sort of thing is better discovered during pre-production and not on the day of shooting, so this calculator is very useful in that regard.

Depth of Field Calculator
This tool will calculate the depth of field for a given sensor or film type, aperture, focal length, and subject distance (the distance from the camera to the person or object you are focusing on). A lower number means that a large proportion of the background will remain in sharp focus and a higher number means that a smaller proportion (if any) will be in focus.

Footage Calculator
Enables you to calculate the amount of disk space required for various video codecs at varying frame rates. It offers an easy-to-use interface that allows you to quickly and easily view the required information whilst on the move – perfect for those awkward on-the-spot questions from clients.

Film Rate Calculator
Calculates the relationship between film reels and shooting time. Use this calculator to work out how many rolls of film are required for a certain shooting ratio, or alternatively calculate how many minutes have been shot for a certain number of rolls. This is a useful tool for any script supervisor or producer.

Red Footage Calculator
For Red users. You select your resolution, frame rate, Redcode, aspect ratio, and amount of footage. The calculator tells you how much disk space is needed. Cool.

Weather Underground
The Weather Underground, now on your iPhone. View current conditions, animated radar, forecasts, and severe weather alerts. [Note: Not to be confused with the radical leftist organization of the 1960s-70s or the Sam Green documentary of the same name.]

Sunrise & Sunset
This applications helps to calculate the sunrise and sunset times for each location in the world on each day of the year. Enjoy planning your next holiday, trip or photo session where ever and when ever you want to go. Just click on the location, choose date and timezone and optionally add 1 hour daylight saving.

The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel for iPhone delivers current conditions, hourly and 10-day forecasts, severe weather and maps in a fully interactive environment. [Note: I prefer the Weather Underground web app’s interface to this one from the Weather Channel, but some will prefer this one.]

Stormchaser Cloud Reference Chart
An on-the-go webguide to common cloud shapes and patterns and what they mean to the stormchaser or weather buff who wants to predict the coming weather via cloud formations.

OFF THE SET

IMDb iPhone Client
Web interface with support for looking up actors, characters and movies. The client also helps you find trailers that are suitable for viewing on the iPhone and view additional information such as: Goofs, Soundtracks, Trivia, Quotes, and Crazy Credits.

Fandango Movie Showtimes and Tickets
Buy movie tickets on the go with Fandango. Access showtimes, read movie details and reviews, find theater info, and get maps – all on your iPhone or iPod touch!

Moviefone for iPhone
Give us your Zip Code and we’ll give you the world — of movies. Find Movies and Showtimes near you, as well as Upcoming Releases, our Top 20 Movies list, and Top iPhone Trailers.

iNetflix
An iPhone Netflix client. It will let you see your queue, whats at home, recommendations and new releases.

The Cut List
The Cut List displays a list of movies from the top 100 DVDs to new releases from your favorite online movie rental store.

EDIT (7/11/08 @ 12:30): iPhone App Store is open