Archive for the ‘Movie Making’ Category

cicadas on PBS in New York, OR: How to Write a Press Release

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Because of this website, I receive press releases on a daily basis from a multitude of PR firms. It’s clear with many of them that the sender hasn’t spent more than 5 seconds thinking about the audience for this website. Some of these are pretty unintentionally funny: My favorite media alert is probably the one about a re-recording of a jingle for canned beans by a Country music recording artist. But I digress.

The point is, few notices get my attention. And even fewer do I end up writing about. When I receive a notice like the one quoted verbatim below, though, I try to act on it.

Why? Four reasons:

1) The thing being promoted sounds interesting.

2) The people that read this website might be interested in it too.

3) The thing being promoted sounds as if it could use my help as far as promotion goes. I tend to favor humble affairs, not stuff with a big advertising budget. (In case you hadn’t noticed by now.)

4) The release sounds like it was written by an actual human being. You’d be surprised at how rare this is. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

Oh yes, I’m sure Kat Candler’s email breaks all sorts of “rules” about writing press releases. But I have noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between points #1-3 and point #4. In the end, the result is that, Candler’s email not only makes me want to see this movie — it makes me want to tell others about it.

And in my book that’s a press release that works.


cicadas 

cicadas
Screening on PBS in New York
Saturday, 7/19, 11:55pm
Sunday, 7/20, 4:25am
WNET, Reel 13
http://www.bside.com/films/cicadas

Long ago, I made this feature film called, cicadas. We shot it over the summer of 1999 in a tiny, tiny town called Bertram (population 835). We shot the film on a Canon XL1 back when mini-DV was brand spankin’ new. Over 6 weeks, Thursdays through Sundays a cast and crew trucked out to the middle of nowhere Texas to make a story loosely based on a crush I had at age 16 on a skater punk kid.

The summer of 1999 was one of the best summers of my life. We had no expectations, no grandiose ideas of making it big … we just wanted to make a feature film just to learn how to do it. And what came out of that little film was a family of friends, a super fun summer and a little movie that could.

The film went on to win some audience awards at festivals, get picked up for distribution and then dropped by distribution. And then picked up again for distribution.

If you have friends in New York who like to stay up crazy late or can record stuff to their VHS or DVD players, pass this along. It’s fun to share your heart with people. Even if it’s super rough around the edges and frayed along the hem line.

***

One other thing to note about press releases. For me, whether or not I write about something is also a matter of timing. Some days and weeks I’m slammed. Some days, a notice will come in and, if I’ve got a few spare minutes, I’ll throw something up on the web. People that are paid to blog full time probably work differently, but that’s how I roll.

As always, thanks for reading. And if you’re a filmmaker, don’t be afraid to see if I can cover your film. Just don’t be hurt if I don’t.

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.


The(ir) Sky Is Falling.

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Brian Newman of the Tribeca Film Institute has the best response I’ve seen to Mark Gill’s “The Sky is Falling” speech, the one that has the (film-centric) internets all abuzz. An excerpt from Newman’s post, which summarizes much of what I was thinking when I read Gill’s speech:

[N]either I nor the people making the music I like are in this game to make a lot of money….Same with most of the filmmakers I know – they are passionate about making films, want an audience and would like to just make enough to live on. The suits are in it for the major profit, and for them the sky is falling – it actually fell a long time ago, but all that dumb money kept the eyes glazed enough not to notice it. So, from the rest of us to all of you just joining us – welcome to our party, it’s not making us any money, but some of us are still finding what we want and having fun.

Click here for the whole thing.

Red One – Information Page

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

I’ve read a lot of stuff on the web in my efforts to educate myself about the Red One digital cinema camera’s new approach to motion picture image capture and its workflow. Below are some of the better resources I’ve encountered. If I’ve left off something helpful, let me know in the comments.

***

COMPANY WEBSITE

    Red Digital Cinema Camera Company

RED DISCUSSION FORUMS

    Reduser.net
    The Red company-sponsored site.

    Creative Cow Red Forum
    Mostly oriented around Red post-production workflow.

    Cinematography.com Red Forum
    Lots of skepticism and passionate disagreement about the Red here.

    DV Info.net Red Forum
    Infrequent posting; lots of overlap with reduser.

WIKIS

    Redhax.net: a wiki for Red users. Very incomplete, but useful in spots.

    Wikipedia:Red Digital Camera Company entry

RED: BASICS

    Octamas.com: Red One user menu guides

    FresHDV: “All Things Red” – another links listing

    Creative Cow: Dress for Success with RED

    Creative Cow: Shooting with RED: Testing, testing…

SHOOTING RAW:

    ProLost: Exposing to the Left vs. Exposing to the Right

    Pro Lost: Digital Cinema Dynamic Range — an epic post

    Pro Lost: Digital Cinema Dynamic Range [abbreviated version]

    Reduser.net: Thread on Working with RAW

    Bealecorner: John Beale’s camera tests

WORKFLOW:

    American Cinema Editors: Podcast discussion for A.C.E. members about the workflow for Red with Avid and Final Cut Pro.

    RedHax Wiki: Footage Protocol on Set

    RedHax Wiki: Footage Conversion

    Editors Lounge: Handling Red One in Post-Production [link to page with pdf file]

    Coremelt: Red Camera 10-bit Color Online Workflow with FCP 6.0.2

    PVC: Working with Red Footage

    DV Magazine: Posting RED

    Scott Simmons’ Editblog: posts tagged “red”

    Indie4k: Red Workflow posts 1 and 2

    Pro8mm: Red & Super-8 Telecine (!)

ONLINE TUTORIAL/DEMO VIDEOS

    Wonderhowto: Learn All About the Red One Camera – 12 videos!

    Studio Daily: Shooting Red

    Studio Daily: What You Can Do with Red Alert

    Studio Daily: Final Cut Pro – Red Workflow

    Studio Daily: Edit RED Footage in Avid Media Composer

    Studio Daily: RED / Avid Workflow

    Studio Daily: Maintaining Red Metadata to Avid

    Studio Daily: Assimilate Scratch / Red Workflow

    FX Guide TV: Workflow with Red Episodes 1 and 2

Official REDCINE Training Videos

    Interface Overview
    Project Settings
    Shot Settings
    Color Settings
    Output Settings
    Library

FOOTAGE

    Red Relay
    Repository of Red One footage.

PODCASTS

    RedCentre @ FX Guide
    Weekly podcast on all things Red from FXGuide.

RED 3rd-PARTY SOFTWARE

    Crimson Workflow
    FCP round tripping application.

    RedTrip
    Essentially an early, free version of Crimson Workflow.

    Red Portal
    Allows you to double-click R3D files to open in RedAlert!

    AliasRDC
    Helps with footage conversion (see http://www.redhax.net/wiki/Footage_Conversion).

    MetaCheater
    Allows MetaData use in Avid.

    Spotlight Plugin for R3D Files
    Lets you easily find and identify r3d-files on your computer.

3rd PARTY ACCESSORIES

    Element Technica

    Sim Video

***

Some might ask why this site is posting about Red, considering it is, for many readers, a high-ticket item (especially when you add in the cost of lenses, support, etc.). My answer is that this is a site that’s devoted to all forms of maverick filmmaking, including the invention of maverick filmmaking tools. By this standard, Red certainly qualifies.