Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Film Preservation Manual

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Chris Cagle over at Category D recently posted information about a film — as in 16mm, 35mm, etc. — preservation manual he found online. For me, this is perfect timing. Just this week some librarians at Virginia Tech asked Stephen Prince and me to look at our 16mm collection to assess what should be kept and what should be thrown out.

The guide, authored by the University of Washington, is clearly geared to librarians (one chapter title: “I Found Motion Picture Film in My Collection — Now What?”), but it’s a useful (and free!) resource for anyone that has (or has access to) film prints.

You can download it here.

MacHeist: Indy Mac Software + Good Cause = Insane Deal

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

If you use a Mac, you absolutely must check out the insane deal that MacHeist — an alliance of independent Mac software developers — is offering.

For $49.95, MacHeist is selling $428 worth of fully-featured (i.e., not demo mode) Mac software. And to make the offer that much sweeter, a good chunk of the proceeds go to charity. As of this writing, $227,000+ has been raised so far.

Plus, the software is good. I would recommend all three of the twelve titles that I’ve previously used:

SnapzProX – a screencapture utility that’s GREAT for creating screencasts
iStopMotion – a great program for shooting stop motion animation
1Password – a browser extension that saves all your passwords in one place, and generates secure passwords

I’m an especially big fan of SnapzProX. Last fall I used it (in demo mode) to create a screencast for some of my students. I found it to be the best application of its kind on the Mac. It normally sells for $69, but for the next four days people can get it, plus 11 other applications, for $20 less. And it goes to charity. So I’m getting out my credit card now.

As for the charities represented, according to the MacHeist wiki:

Purchasers can choose from the following list of ten charities, or opt to split the donation from their purchase evenly among the choices.

* Action Against Hunger
* AIDS Research Alliance
* Alliance for Climate Protection
* Direct Relief International
* Humane Society International
* The Nature Conservancy
* Save the Children
* Save Darfur
* Prevent Cancer Foundation
* World Wildlife Fund

Panasonic HVX-200 for sale…

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I’m selling my venerable Panasonic HVX-200 and its 8GB P2 card. No, I’m not giving up filmmaking; I just don’t need the camera. I was looking to rent an HVX this summer for a few weeks to do some shooting in Knoxville and Roanoke. For the few weeks I needed it, a rental wasn’t really cost-effective, so I just bit the bullet and bought the camera. Now that we’ve got a few HVX’s at Virginia Tech, I don’t need to hang on to this one. As many people who read this blog would probably testify, it is an awesome camera. The DVCPro HD codec at 24P is totally impressive.

Anyway, if you’re interested, email me personally [ pharrill AT you-know-what DOT com ]. You can ask me all about it and I can let you know all the details, accessories, etc. I’d rather sell it to a reader of SRF than put it up on Ebay, so I’ll entertain any reasonable, sincere offer.

UPDATE: Looks like it’s sold folks. Thanks for your interest!

From Here to Awesome

Friday, January 11th, 2008

For filmmakers it is the best of times and worst of times. The tools are more accessible but the market has become saturated….From Here to Awesome is an attempt to answer some of the largest issues facing filmmakers today – discovery, distribution and sustainability.

– From Here to Awesome festival co-founder Lance Weiler

From Here to Awesome is a “new” film festival — both in the sense that it has just launched and in its aims and approach. I encourage all filmmakers using film festivals as a gateway to larger distribution efforts (theatrical, DVD release, etc) to check it out.

Billed as a discovery and distribution festival, FHTA has been dreamt up by three filmmakers with unassailable DIY credibility: Lance Weiler (Head Trauma, The Last Broadcast), Arin Crumley (Four-Eyed Monsters) and M dot Strange (We Are the Strange). Their ethos and aesthetic run through the festival, from the way that they plan to use existing web community portals (YouTube, MySpace, etc) to conduct the submission and selection process, to the festival’s filmmaker-friendly guidelines (e.g., no entry fee, all rights remain with filmmakers, etc).

Submissions are open (as of yesterday); the deadline for submissions is March 7.

In all, it’s an ambitious undertaking, one that seems to be nothing less than a reinvention of the film festival. Here’s wishing them — and the filmmakers that submit — the best of luck.

Check it out for yourself.

HD-DVD Burning with an “SD” Mac

Friday, December 14th, 2007

This may be old news to some of you, but it was news to me: You can burn HD-DVDs (not Blu-Ray) on a Mac using a standard DVD burner, Final Cut Pro, Compressor, and DVD Studio Pro. I tried it last night. It works.

The limitations?

– Standard single-layer DVD media storage limits mean that you’re limited to burning shorter projects (under 60 min).
– The article states you can’t play these on an HD-DVD player. I don’t have an HD-DVD player, so I haven’t verified this. You can, however, play them on a Mac.

Hooking up my MacBook Pro to a television and screening the DVD played flawlessly. And it looked a lot better than a standard definition DVD.

The trade-off? As anyone who’s done it before can tell you, encoding a project to H.264 takes a long, long time.