You don’t need a whole lot of bells and whistles to make your film look cinematic.
This is probably one of the most asked questions in the indie/low budget film community: How do you make a film look cinematic? It’s a difficult question to answer, because there are so many important elements that help make a film look that way, like lighting, camera movement, and set design, all of which take years of experience and practice. However, if you’re looking for cheap and easy ways to make your work look more cinematic right now,Armando Ferreira has 5 tips that will help you do just that, here.
SLR Magic recently released its latest product, the Image Enhancer Pro filter that is targeted at cutting light more evenly across the spectral range.
Digital sensors see outside the range of human vision—with especially big problems seeing into the infrared spectrum in ways that humans can’t, resulting in unwanted distortion. While you might want to use this for a specific effect, it’s much more likely that the extra info in the IR spectrum is showing up in your images in unpleasantly lifted blacks, sometimes with a color cast, provided by fabrics that look pleasant on set but reflect more IR than the eye can see. This problem is typically exacerbated by traditional ND filters, which usually lower the visible spectrum more than the IR spectrum, leaving you with even more ND issues.
Aspect ratios are an insanely powerful visual tool, and aspect ratio templates are a great option for spicing up your work quickly and easily.
In one of his best blog posts, prolific editor Vashi Nedomansky shared examples of most every aspect ratio ever used in the history of cinema (there are a lot of them), and shared a link to some free templates that can be overlaid on footage to change the aspect ratio. However, those templates were all designed for HD frame sizes, and this being 2015, seemingly no one gives a shit about HD anymore. So Vashi did us all a favor and updated the templates for our high-resolution present and our even higher-resolution future. His new template pack (which you can download by clicking here) comes with 8 popular widescreen ratios ranging from classics like 1.85:1 and 2.39:1 all the way to the obscenely wide 4.00:1. Each template comes in resolutions ranging from 2K to 6K.
Applying these ratios to your footage is insanely easy. All you’ve got to do is import the template with your aspect ratio of choice into an NLE, drag it onto its own video track atop your edited sequence, and vertically reposition any shots that need recomposing to fit the new ratio. That’s it. That’s all.
Again, you can see examples of all these aspect ratios in action over on Vashi’s blog, and you can download them here.
With Storywriter, Amazon now provides a free screenwriting app with auto-formatting, and a new gateway into Amazon Studios.
Amazon Storywriter is a free cloud-based screenwriting app whose main feature is auto-formatting your screenplay as you type (similar to the Fountain-based Mac app Slugline). Writers can access Storywriter via most computer-based browsers to write and edit their scripts. For offline use, Amazon has created a free Chrome app for Storywriter for both Mac and PC to let writers continue to work without an Internet connection, then sync up later when they are back online. Storywriter also includes conflict resolution safeguards if a script is edited on more than one computer before syncing with the cloud.
Forget using expensive dolly tracks or handheld gimbals to pull off beautiful camera moves. You’ve got a car, right?
Admittedly, using cars to get these shots is kind of an old school technique that indie filmmakers have been using for a long time, especially before handheld 3-axis gimbals came along. (In fact, you can get some amazing shots using a car and a gimbal in tandem.) But since gimbals are becoming more ubiquitous (though still spendy), it seems like now’s as good a time as any to remember one cinematic tool that you might’ve forgotten — or hell, maybe you never knew!
Blackmagic Fusion 8 Public Beta
The public beta of Fusion 8 for Windows and Mac is here.
The compositing and 3D application used by a number of Hollywood films was purchased by Blackmagic about a year ago, and they released version 7 for free, along with a $1,000 studio version containing more advanced features and options. While version 7 was only available on Windows, version 8 is now available for both Windows and OS X, and the $1K studio version will be available for Windows, Mac, and Linux when it’s finally released.
Here’s a general overview of Fusion from Rick Young:
They just released the first Public Beta for Davinci Resolve 12, which you can download here. Resolve 12 brings over eighty new features to the popular color grading tool, with a host of editing, audio, workflow, and of course, color grading improvements.
First, here’s a video from Blackmagic that gives us a great rundown:
(Thanks to Robbie Carman of Amigo Media for the heads-up on Frame.io)
Collaboration is a major part of filmmaking, but sometimes it seems as though technology hasn’t quite caught up with our increasingly mobile and online workflows. That’s why Frame.io is so exciting. This collaboration platform aims to “pick up where Vimeo left off” by allowing users to upload, review, and share videos privately with collaborators anywhere in the world with a single application. And once you check out the workflow, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
What is Frame.io?
Frame.io explains the workflow:
Frame.io acts as a home base for all your creative projects. It replaces the hodgepodge of using Vimeo, Dropbox, and Gmail to work with media files online. We solve cloud storage, client review, transcoding, and light asset management into one seamless app. We have great tools for video like time based comments and annotation so you can draw directly on video frames. We have version control and comparison tools built in so you can see what’s changed over time. Frame.io is social too. Every action performed is tied to an individual user and tracked so you get notifications about what’s going on. It’s built for teams from the ground up so you can create a private workspace for each project you’re working on and decide who has access to what.
Frame.io allows you to create projects, add collaborators to them, and drag and drop files from your computer to share all within the dashboard, which is a real time-saver.
Click here to try Frame.io and to read a lot more on this collaborative tool for video creators.
Nothing makes or breaks an audience’s expectation for a film like a trailer.
On one hand, a well-cut and expertly crafted trailer can stoke an audience’s imagination, giving subtle, yet alluring hints of the film’s plot, style, and overall tone. If the trailer audience likes what they see, they’re a hell of a lot more likely to follow through and watch the film. On the other hand, if the trailer disappoints in some way, if it’s awkwardly cut, includes too much or too little plot, if it confuses audiences or leaves them feeling underwhelmed, well, then you’ve done the marketing equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.
Luckily, just about anything can be learned on the internet these days, including the art of cutting a trailer for your upcoming film. So without any further ado, here’s Ryan Connolly and the Film Riot crew to offer some helpful tips on crafting a trailer: