Archive for the ‘General Resources’ Category

Free Filmmaking Course Offer – “Fundamentals of Video: Cameras and Shooting”

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

The good folks at are offering a limited time (July 28 – Aug. 10), no charge opportunity for everyone to experience one of their great filmmaking courses:  Fundamentals of Video: Cameras and Shooting. The course is taught by veteran filmmaker, Anthony Q. Artis – the author of the “Shut Up and Shoot…” filmmaking guides and an instructor at NYU Film School.  The length of the course runs just shy of 3 hours (2:58:00) and is appropriate for all skill levels of filmmakers. All you have to do to get this free access is go to their Facebook tab [highlight]here[/highlight] and “Like” them.

[notice]Please note that the comp offer only runs from July 28 – August 10, 2012[/notice]

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Here’s the synopsis of the course from
Embark on the very first steps in the process of creating moving images. In this course, author Anthony Q. Artis, a veteran of the film and television industry, introduces the core ideas behind how video cameras capture moving images. The course covers foundational concepts of lighting, such as why light is important, what kinds of lights to look for, and where to put lights relative to a subject. In addition, Anthony discusses sounds, an often-misunderstood aspect of video, and shows how to properly set up mics and adjust audio levels on a shoot.

Topics include:
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  • Exploring the different types of video cameras
  • Understanding how to focus
  • Shooting with shallow depth of field
  • Understanding exposure
  • Using ND filters to correct overexposure
  • Using gain to brighten an underexposed shot
  • Choosing the right shutter speed
  • White-balancing a shot
  • Working with a tripod
  • Shooting handheld
  • Using a boom microphone
  • Setting up a 4-point lighting scene
  • Using corrective gels

You can watch the course’s introduction video here (00:03:04).

Make Your Own Animated Movies with Source Filmmaker

Friday, July 27th, 2012

The Source Filmmaker (SFM) is a software moviemaking tool built by Valve – the video game makers of Portal & Portal 2, Team Fortress 2 and “Meet the…” short films.  SFM gives users the ability to make animated movies by repurposing the video game world (the base game assets from Team Fortress 2 and “Meet the Team” short films) into a virtual movie studio.

This is not for the novice user – but if you have experience in video editing and/or 3D animation you will hit the ground running with this incredible tool.  There’s a Youtube channel full of tutorials that can be found here.  Oh… did I mention that it’s FREE!  All you need is a Steam account (also free) – then you can download SFM here.

Check out their introduction video that will explain it all (below):


Vyclone – A New iPhone App that Merges Footage from Multiple Cameras

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Vyclone, a cool new filmmaking app just launched.  It’s a free mobile app that let’s users co-create, sync and edit multiple videos of a shared event.  The result can be made into a single movie that incorporates multiple camera angles.  It reminded me of how the late Adam Yauch (a.k.a. Nathanial Hörnblowér, a.k.a. MCA) directed Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That! (IMDB) – where camcorders were given to 50 audience members of a sold out Beastie Boys concert in 2004.  Cut to 2012 where everyone has a camera on their phone – making this type of collaborative filmmaking a much easier task.  That is what Vyclone’s co-founder noticed…

Working as a musician for years, I noticed that people were always taking video of their favorite moments of each concert, but there was no way for them to share their different viewpoints with each other,” said co-founder and chief creative officer Joe Sumner. “We created Vyclone to solve that problem and the result is something that goes far beyond concerts to finding a new medium for expression.”

Here are the list of features listed from
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  • Ability to film from four different camera angles in a variety of filters including black & white and sepia
  • Simple video editing tools including one-tap and multi-camera editing
  • Option to share videos privately, with friends or the Vyclone community
  • One-tap sharing to Facebook and Twitter or to the camera roll on iPhone or iPod touch to share anywhere
  • Discover featured, new, and popular content from Vyclone’s active community
  • Ability to tag friends and events, comment on videos, like videos, and follow other Vyclone users

Currently, it’s only available for the iPhone and iPod Touch (iTunes Store link) – and it’s FREE!  Check it out.

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Filmlinker Redesign Update

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Filmlinker is going through a redesign.  It’s the first change since the site’s initial launch back in 2007.  This has been a long time coming – so here’s the basic updates:

    • New logo – I thought the old one was very stale and needed an update.
    • New WordPress Theme – minimalistic & more flexible with the latest WP versions.
    • New Links Directory – biggest change of all.  You can now submit your own links!


That’s all for now.  There’s still some minor bugs that need to be fixed – so I’d greatly appreciate any feedback you can contribute.




Thursday, June 28th, 2012

A much needed New York City indie film blog called, INDIEWOOD/HOLLYWOODN’T recently launched.  Believe it or not, New York independent films are rarely covered in the NYC local press (online or otherwise) unless there’s a “name” actor or director attached to the project.  Indiewood/Hollywoodn’t is now servicing that hole in the biggest media market – targeting filmmakers, industry pros and all-around movie enthusiasts.

“Our team of bloggers are out and about on the streets of New York digging up the latest scoop in indie news, reviews and festival coverage.  We understand filmmakers because we’re filmmakers ourselves – writers, directors, producers and editors with a passion for filmmaking and a love of independent cinema. Most other indie film related sites cover events on a widespread global scale. What makes us unique is our concentrated focus on New York City. I mean, who better to cover New York City events than native New Yorkers, right?” –  Stephen Reilly. Editor-in-chief @ Indiewood/Hollywoodn’t [official press release – pdf]

If you’ve got an indie film you would like them to feature on their site, contact ‘em at:

This Year’s Roy W. Dean Summer Grant Deadline is Approaching

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The deadline for applications for The Roy W. Dean Summer Grant is June 30, 2012.  It is set up for documentaries, shorts and low budget features. The grant award is $1,000 cash and over $30K in donations for music, website creation, editing & post-production services – plus a lot more resources that are essential for you to make your film.  “We want films that are unique and make a contribution to society,” explains Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions – which manages the grants.  “We have been giving grants for 20 years and are proud of the films sponsored by us who have been shown on Discovery, Court TV, TLC and PBS.”  Full information on applying for grants and prior winners can be found here:

Carole Dean is also the author of The Art of Film Funding.  Her book is full of financing information along with guidance on music rights, legal requirements, fair use and other pitfalls that often cost filmmakers.  When you enter the grant you get a free 15 minute consultation with Carole Dean to improve your paperwork or discuss funding ideas.

Dean’s From the Heart Productions (a 501c3 non-profit) recently partnered with Indiegogo to support films that are fiscally sponsored by the organization.  Fiscal sponsorship is an ideal approach for financing documentary films.  This is a way for artists to apply for funding through a company that has a 501 (c ) (3) nonprofit status, which can make donations tax deductable.  Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo campaigns do not have to reach their full goals to receive the contributions.  So far, From the Heart Prod. has successfully helped filmmakers raise over $150,000 through Indiegogo.


Blackmagic Cinema Camera Wows at the NAB

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

It’s NAB week, where 90,000+ media and entertainment professionals gather in Las Vegas – so it’s the ideal place to showcase the latest cameras for filmmakers. One standout is the Blackmagic Cinema Camera – priced at $2,995. With its 2.5K image sensor and wide dynamic rage, it claims to offer the sought after “feature film look from a true digital film camera.”

The back has a 5″ touchscreen that lets you see the shot and playback your sequence. You can also enter the shot info and metadata – which gets stored in the files & can be accessed by non-linear editing software (compatible with Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve). Their camera housing can also take Canon and Zeiss mount lenses.

Here’s the official press release.

Other reviews of this camera: Gizmag, DP Review.

Amazon Studios Wants Your Movie or Screenplay

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Amazon (yes – that Amazon) is getting into the movie biz. Amazon Studios was just launched as a place where budding filmmakers and screenwriters can submit their work for cash and prizes. A combined $2.7 million in monthly and annual awards will be doled out in this program’s inaugural year.

Amazon Studios will also partner up with a major Hollywood studio. Here’s the gist:

Amazon Studios has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, which means we’ll be presenting our top projects to Hollywood’s biggest studio for consideration as theatrical feature films. And winners of the Amazon Studios Annual Awards won’t just get money—they’ll also get a meeting with Warner Bros. development executives. [from Amazon Studios home page]

Deadline for submission is January 31, 2011. Click here to get started. You should first read their FAQ’s – especially your rights. (fyi…you’ll be entering into an 18 month, exclusive development agreement with Amazon Studios – but you’ll get paid!)

The 1st Annual Vimeo Festival and Awards

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

There are two weeks left to enter your videos into the first-ever Vimeo Festival and Awards. If your video premiered online within the past two years, you should head over to and submit it ASAP! The grand prize includes a $25,000 grant to produce your next film/video. These awards are open to ALL videos online, not just videos on Vimeo. Judges include David Lynch (Blue Velvet ) and Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me).

Film4Prizes Highlights Top Film/Video Contests That Pay

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Film4Prizes is a cool site that maintains a database of several online film & video contests which include many with cash prizes. Here are a few interesting contests that they list:

“HP You On You Contest” – top prize is $40,000.

“Nobody’s Gonna Lay a Finger on My Butterfinger” Video Contest – top prize is $25,000.

The Reason Project video contest – $10,000 top prize.

Their database is sort able, so you can choose which contest suits you best. Definitely worth checking out.