Teal & Orange: The Blockbuster Look

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I have stumbled across a couple of articles that I’d like to reblog here, as I feel they pertain to an important trend in mainstream cinema right now and that trend has made its way into the indie film sector. As a program adviser for several film festivals and because I write about the current and future state of film for several publications, I end up receiving a lot of films, often sent to my by filmmakers or press agents. More than sixty percent of the indie films I’ve seen since January are “guilty” of the color grade practice discussed in these articles. Please give them a gander and then let me know your thoughts.

Into The Abyss: Teal & Orange – Hollywood, Please Stop the Madness

Those of you who watch a lot of Hollywood movies may have noticed a certain trend that has consumed the industry in the last few years.  It is one of the most insidious and heinous practices that has ever overwhelmed the industry.  Am I talking about the lack of good scripts?  Do I speak of the dependency of a few mega-blockbuster hits to save the studios each year, or of the endless sequels and television retreads?  No, I am talking about something much more dangerous, much deadlier to the health of cinema.   [read more at Blogspot]

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Digital Cinema Foundry: Why the So-Called “Blockbuster” Look (Color Grading Explained)

Note: This article provides a tutorial on how to achieve the “Teal & Orange” look.

It seems that artists are beginning to notice the trend of the so called “Blockbuster” look that’s becoming more and more popular in feature films and in personal projects with the advent of plugins like Red Giants Magic Bullet Looks & Mojo. For those who are just discovering the look, are plastering it all over their creative projects and those discovering the trend in feature films are beginning to bemoan its overuse. But nobody (to my knowledge) has explained yet why the look is popular. [read more at Digital Cinema Foundry]

-E

Lighting for Film Noir (Sam Julian)

Key Largo (1948)
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Lighting for Film Noir – Guest Blogger: Sam Julian

Film noir is a style of filmmaking produced between 1940 and 1959. It was a style invented out of necessity as filmmakers were strapped for finances for projects that would have otherwise been better off with appropriate budgets. The style was mainly used in the production of crime dramas and as Wikipedia puts it: “particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.” Today I wanted to share with you a video from the FIlmmakerIQ YouTube Channel, where the team breaks down the elements of lighting for Film Noir in their DIY video.

Titles I recommend if you want to study Film Noir:

The Big Sleep (1946), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Citizen Kane (1941), Key Largo (1948)

Guest Contributer: SAM JULIAN

Help Out Your Fellow Filmmakers!

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WTH Website HeaderToday, after coming back from a location scout for THE SPACESHIP, I dove into a relatively painful research project. Simple to some, I suppose, but learning how to correctly author a dual-layered dvd, playable on other machines, isn’t an easy feat for me.  In fact, I was sweating bullets on the first test burn because the blank discs are so expensive (a pack of 5 is $18.99 at Best Buy here in the city).

I used Mark Blackman’s film WELCOME TO HARLEM as the mechanism to navigate this learning curve.  Blackman is in need of a master disc to create duplicates off of, so he can distribute them at his festival screenings.  I think it’s important to help out other filmmakers where they may need it because they will in turn help you when you need their support for projects. Being a huge fan of Welcome to Harlem and in complete appreciation for what Blackman’s Block Productions had done in creating an indie musical comedy, it just made perfect sense to help them out this way.  This day and age so many filmmakers see one-another as rivals and not peers and my mission in the past couple of years has been to set an example in an attempt to change that.

Shaking off that mentality has given me an opportunity to pick up knowledge and networking opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been available had I subscribed to the usual mentality   With that said, the first test burn of the WELCOME TO HARLEM dvd has been a success and I’m stoked! Now for the challenge of integrating special features. Yikes!!!!!

For those in need of learning how to burn DL discs, check out these two websites that I found enormously helpful:

http://www.larryjordan.biz/technique-creating-a-dual-layer-dvd/

http://www.geniusdv.com/news_and_tutorials/2009/04/dual_layer_breakpoint_in_dvd_studio_pro.php

Of course it’s for DVD Studio Pro, so if you are using a different program some light research may be needed.

-E

How To: Identify Your Shooting Style

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King of BGuest Blogger: Lamont Jack Pearley

How To: Identify Your Shooting Style

For a good fraction of us, we as independent filmmakers can identify our shooting style early, do to the fact that we “write it, shoot it, and work it” ourselves in many cases. That being said, with full creative control and a very small budget, your thought process should be: how could I tell a compelling visual story with little to know resources… well I’ll tell you. I’ll start with giving you an example of how I shot my independent film KING OF B. There is a scene where my main character has an altercation with Harrison Ford and I don’t know Harrison Ford, nor can I afford Harrison Ford. So my dilemma was, how do I shoot a scene with someone who I don’t have access to and have it play out reasonably enough? Okay, if you’re a true filmmaker you know that production is really nothing more than problem solving, quick problem solving, thinking on your feet, thinking on your glutes, not allowing a situation to disrupt the creation of the project and finding ways out of problems that go beyond dumping money into them.

King of BSo I had to think fast, I had to be creative or I could lose my audience.  Then it came to me, my movie is a fictional dark comedy about the fictional Kevin Schmitz, an aspiring actor, who takes his craft seriously and believes he is his idol Kurt Russell. Losing all sense of reality, Kevin ends up in a psychiatric facility. In this facility it’s discovered that Kevin has Grandiose Delusional Disorder.  Since this is a dark comedy, I made the decision to have my character look directly into the camera and have it out with Harrison Ford, from Ford’s point of view.  To do something like this more than once is either a mistake or poor compensation for not having a budget. We don’t make mistakes and we don’t compensate, we create. Now I had to re-think the rest of my film visually. I made that the story style of my film. All the players pretty much had moments where they spoke directly into the camera. This made it a style, a good style that served the story and the characters.

King of BKeep one thing in mind, no matter what you do visually, the basic is and always will be telling a good story, but if you need to alter how you tell the story based on a lack of funding or support from certain individuals (like crew with gear or A-list actors), this can be extremely fun and you can find a shooting technique that you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

Contributed exclusively for Film Anthropology by LAMONT JACK PEARLEY | Filmmaker

King of B

The Digital Era

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Internet_map_1024Guest Blogger: Lamont Jack Pearley

FILMMAKER TUTORIALS: The Digital Era

If you haven’t heard already, a new way of film making has emerged. Where at one time, the power was divided between the big five and those blessed with wealth, now a great deal of that power finally lies in the hands and visions of the filmmaker, which places him or her in more of an Entrepreneurial role, able to compete with people they previously stood little to no chance at competing with. Using the basic essentials, which are a great story, understanding how to tell that story visually, a few ready willing and able crew members, an HD camera, and Final Cut Pro or whatever video editing program you prefer, she is literally in business and it’s time to go into production.

So what do you do with your film after it’s shot?  Remember, most indie filmmakers’ only option used to be the film festival circuit, but now, to the new generation of filmmakers, options are completely limitless. There is everything from straight to DVD, to Movie On Demand, to self-distribution on the Internet proving once again, the digital era plays a big roll in the generation of new filmmakers.  Digital video, as young as it is, has already been replaced with things such as the eight gig chip, via cameras such as the Canon 7D which takes professional still pictures and shoots professional grade HD video on a sensor similar in size to a 35mm frame of film. No more losing tapes, or carrying ten extra bags during a long shoot, just a camera, tripod, a couple of lenses and a laptop. Now the topic of discussion is: will this digital era put a dent in the film industry the way the internet brought down the music business? Though that’s still out for the jury, in a time where most people’s attention span is under 5 minutes  and everyone wants more control over their free time, the digital era makes life much more convenient for the creative and the consumers alike.

Written By Lamont Jack Pearley for Film Anthropology

— EDITOR’S NOTE —

Film Anthropology editors will be attending the FUTURE OF FILM SUMMIT in Los Angeles on December 5th, where this topic and many other discussions relating to the future of film will take place. Check back to Film Anthropology for live updates on these and other topics.

Turn Your Computer Into A Production Company

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Celtx Graphic - Courtesy of CELTXGuest Blogger: Lamont Jack Pearley

FILMMAKING TUTORIALS: Turn your home computer into a production and post-production suite.

For the all around filmmaker, you can turn your personal computer into a production suite, where you can create, write and produce your film and once shot, edit your footage, all with a virtual production office and editing suite.  All you need is a couple of key programs, the will and determination, along with a few trust worthy hard working industry professionals. Letʼs start with a program I hold dear to my heart: Celtx. This program takes the filmmaker, filmmaking team and filmmaking process to the next level because itʼs an all-in-one media pre-production program. Being able to produce documents for any type of visual media: film, tv and even theater.  Celtx is great for the entire production process from script writing to story boarding scenes and sequences, sketch setups, character development, breakdown & tag elements, production scheduling and cast/crew reports. This takes a huge financial strain off of the production because you donʼt have to rent a physical office, but work, inform and interact with your team from anywhere at any time.

As we know, nothing worth having is free, however, I must say with a starting price of $4.99/month for 1 – 5 users, the Celtx Studio screams “Write it, Shoot it, Work it”. This is also very powerful because it saves time and the confusion of emails and phone calls and reduces the need for costly meetings and courier services. You are actually able to give live direction and feedback during project development and perform re-writes and tweaks in a collaborative screenplay in real time.

FCP - Courtesy of Apple!We must also discuss the late and great Final Cut Pro, the full studio suite, which will allow you to edit high quality high definition footage, color grade, audio clean up and sound design and mix/master your project to completion.  Similar to Celtx, Final Cut Pro includes built-in tools that make it easy to work collaboratively, whether youʼre in the same building or on the other side of the world. By sending your video to the iChat theater everyone involved can see the same footage while you view dailies, select shots, and make edits. You can instantly switch the iChat view between clips and sequences as you talk and turn on a time code overlay to help identify specific frames. Again, can we say “Write it, Shoot it, Work it”.

Out of the main two programs you would need to make your computer production studio,  Final Cut Pro would be the most expensive, however, once again we eliminate the cost of courier services and the like. Not to mention you wouldnʼt have to wait 24-72 hours to receive, digitize and make changes

To close out, I would also make sure to own an external drive of at least 2 terabytes and connect that to your computer for any projects youʼre working on.  With all this in place, you now have a production studio all on your computer! Now go “Write it, Shoot it, Work it”!

Written By Lamont Jack Pearley for Film Anthropology