Archive for the ‘Basics’ Category

Self-Reliant Film Survey

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I’m conducting a brief reader survey for all of you that read this website. Taking the survey could take as little as 30 seconds of your time. (Most of the questions are optional; you get to choose if you want to reply in depth to anything.)

The only requirement, in fact, is that you provide your city and state. This will help me decide what sorts of screenings I do and don’t discuss on the site.

I appreciate your input.


Click Here to take survey

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

©opy®ight: A Few Helpful Links

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Some helpful links:

U.S. Copyright Office
Copyright is a kind of intellectual property monopoly. And if it was intellectual property Monopoly, this site would be “Go.” Translation: Start here.

How to Register a Work
This site takes you to eCO, where you can file a copyright registration for your work through the Copyright Office online system.

Public Domain(?):

Stanford Copyright Renewal Database
Lets you search for whether a work is still under copyright or not.

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States
A chart to help you understand the labyrinthine laws regarding when a work will fall into the public domain. The chart is available as a PDF.

Fair Use:

Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use
If you are a documentary maker you should know this up and down.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video
Like the Documentary Best Practices, this is something to know and learn.

Center for Social Media: Fair Use FAQ
A must.

Creative Commons:

Creative Commons. Where to go if you want to give it away, legally speaking.

Resource pages and other links:

Stanford University Libraries: Copyright & Fair Use: Charts and Tools: A great page of links.

Cornell University Copyright Information Center: More great links.

EDIT (7/9/08): This post was accidentally deleted. I think I’ve restored it pretty completely, and added some more links in the process.

EDIT (9/29/16): Fixed some broken links.


Robert Bresson – A Bibliography

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Jane Sloan, Shmuel Ben-Gad, and Frank Blaakmeer at Masters of Cinema have compiled what appears to be the most comprehensive (complete?) Robert Bresson bibliography in the world. As someone whose passion for Bresson’s work led him to trying to read Notes on Cinematography in the original French back when the English translation was out of print, well, it pleases me deeply to see the hard work that these scholars have produced.

Here’s a quote from one of the 2000+ sources listed, J. Hoberman’s “States of Grace” (Village Voice, September 27, 2005):

Do this job long enough and you learn to accept certain realities. Some people will laugh at Written on the Wind and cry over Sleepless in Seattle –instead of vice versa. There are reviewers who find Godard boring and think Lukas Moodysson is a genius. And although it is tiresome to hear two-buck chuck extolled as Chateau Lafite Rothschild, you realize that hey, this is America — everyone’s got an opinion, and if it weren’t for bad taste, many folks would have no taste at all. But I reach the edge of my tolerance in the case of Robert Bresson.

Bluntly put, to not get Bresson is to not get the idea of motion pictures — it’s to have missed that train the Lumiere brothers filmed arriving at Lyon station 110 years ago.

Celtx 1.0

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Celtx, the free screenwriting/pre-production software, just launched its 1.0 version.

According to the press release, new features include: 

    1. Adapt To – a single click now converts a fully formatted script of one type into a fully formatted script of another – for example a Stageplay to a Screenplay – displaying instantly the multi-media potential of your work.

    2.  Comic Book – a new editor to write properly formatted Comic Books, and a common framework for collaboration between writer and artist.

    3.  iPhone – now view your Celtx projects from just about anywhere with a display optimized for your iPhone.

    4.  Catalogs – a new organization and searchable dashboard view of all your story’s elements and production items.

    5.  Sidebar – annotate and break down each scene with notes, media (images, audio, and video clips), and production items through an easy to manage, thoroughly upgraded new sidebar.

    6.  Project Scheduling – has been vastly upgraded to fully integrate with the script breakdown and provide a Call Sheet and a host of new shooting reports.

    7.  Storyboarding – you can now choose from a variety of ways to view and manage your images, create a storyboard outline based on your script, and add shot descriptions to each image.  

I’ll try to dig into this in the next few weeks and give a report. But first, I’ve got about 500 emails to reply to and some bags to unpack from my European travels.