Archive for the ‘Production’ Category

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.

Free Film School via the Vimeo Community

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Their moniker is “Vimeo: People connecting through video.” This includes many filmmakers who are sharing their knowledge – creative & technical. Within Vimeo’s 28,000+ channels, lives several micro groups dedicated to the filmmaking process.

Here are a few good ones:

  • ­SHOOT FOR THE EDITThis channel is for sharing editing and shooting techniques for beginning and advanced video producers.

  • ZACUTO USACreator of FilmFellas, a Webisodic series devoted to getting to the heart of the indie film movement.

  • FILMCAST Live! Channel A Channel Dedicated to the craft of Cinematography and Motion Picture Camera Operation.

I’m sure I missed some so check it out for yourself at

Film Racing Coming to a City Near You

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Film Racing is a great creative concept that’s like “Mission Impossible” meets “The Amazing Race” in a marathon filmmaking competition.  Filmmakers form teams in each participating city and have 24 hours to complete an original short film (no longer than 4 minutes) based on an assigned theme and surprise element. Each team receives an e-mail on Friday night with a theme (like “revenge”) and a surprise element (like a prop – “toothbrush” or action – “slap”). The plot of your film will need to incorporate the assigned theme and element. The completed films are then due back at the film drop-off location by 10PM on Saturday night.

Since 2007, Film Racing has given out over $120,000 in cash and prizes to the winning filmmakers to aid them in their future projects. The winning films from each city compete for thousands of great prizes and one team will walk away with the “Best Film of 2009” title. [from official site]

Anyone can enter this “race” and each team is responsible for providing their own equipment and crew. See if your city is in the race by clicking here.

Best Practices for “Green” Filmmaking

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

A new Code of Best Practices for Sustainable Filmmaking was just released by the American University School of Communication’s Center for Social Media and Center for Environmental Filmmaking.

…filmmakers create carbon debt with our work. However, as in other industry sectors, we can take action immediately to reduce consumption and waste in our profession; to educate peers, employees and interns; and to support policies that register the true environmental costs of production.” [from]

This initiative also includes tools such as Checklists (actions needed to create a sustainability plan), Carbon trackers (track production activities that use energy and produce carbon emission) and some relevant web resource links. Check out the “downloads” below:


Create an Animated Film with Moviestorm (Free Software)

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Moviestorm provides a complete animation movie-making package useful for the novice to the professional animator. It uses video-game-like Machinima 3-D animation technology first made famous by underground community of gamers. I see its minimal use for filmmakers as a free alternative to buying Frame Forge storyboarding software (retail costs: $100-400). You can create your scenes in a 3-D storyboard; save time & money in virtual test sets and get an idea if certain scenes will work on your actual shoot.

Moviestorm’s parent company is UK based Short Fuze – game design production consultancy house that produced the Machinima short demo film, titled, No Licence.  Here’s how they describe their movie-making tool:

Moviestorm is a fully integrated complete solution that takes the user all the way from initial concept to finished, distributed movies. Its ease of use makes it accessible for first time movie-makers, while its advanced features and compatibility with existing tools make it suitable for pro-am users. It allows individuals and groups to create many different types of movies; from comedies, music videos, video blogs, soaps, drama and documentaries, through to high-quality complex movies that traditionally have only been affordable to fully funded film-makers. Our goal is to make Moviestorm the ubiquitous platform of choice for animated movie production. ” [from Shortfuze]

They have basic tutorials to help you get started. The initial software suite is free and they constantly update their content packs – giving users new sets, characters and themes. More premium sets are also available for a fee.

Here’s a sample clip from one of its users:


DV Cameras Comparison Guides

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Are you trying to decide what DV camera to use/buy/rent on your next film? Check out these valuable sources which sort numerous options for you.

+ Slash Cam has 83 models in a database with sort able filters for you to compare different camera models. It has every conceivable category for you to choose from.

+ HD Cinema: HD and Digital Cinema Camera Blog has another CHART. This is a straight up list from cameraman, Ben Cain which includes some of the higher end DV cameras like the VariCams, The Red One and the Genesis. He also adds another list from Fletcher Camera (PDF file).

And last but not least… Zacuto, the Chicago based camera house has a great ‘comparison’ video (via Vimeo) that compares all of the new HD cameras on the market to each other in a same scene, same lighting set-up comparison test. Check it out (below):

+ “Zacuto’s Great Camera Shootout ’08”


Documentary Filmmaking Tutorials from ‘FourDocs’

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

FourDocs is the online documentary channel from Britain’s – Channel 4. Fourdocs also offers a unique opportunity for filmmakers to get exposure making short docs for their “3Minute Wonder.” – which is “the only site that selects online films and puts them directly in a primetime terrestrial broadcast slot,” says Kate Vogel of 3MW. Because of this, they have a top notch documentary filmmaking tutorial guides on their site. It covers everything you need to know from start to finish:

+ Pre-Production – “Get Planning”

+ Production – “Get Shooting”

+ Post Production – “Get Editing”

And everything in between. Check ‘em all out here.

Special thanks to Make Better Media where I found this info.

The Super 16 Digital Alternative – Ikonoskop A-cam dII

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

The digital revolution in filmmaking started several years ago, but it wasn’t until the Red One camera came along that a true comparable alternative to 35mm film was introduced to the filmmaking community. Now, another camera is jumping in the fold. What the Red One is attempting to do to replace the 35mm film market – the Swedish company, Ikonoskop is taking a similar course for the Super 16. The new Ikonoskop digital motion picture camera: A-cam dII is shaping to take that market segment for under $10k – semi-affordable for the indie filmmaker.

Like digital Super-16 — A-cam dII’s Super-16 sized sensor opens up for the use of Super-16 mm lenses. This enables you to use the best cine and prime lenses available. Our sensor and the technology around A-cam dII is built on the knowledge and experience from our much acclaimed A-cam SP-16 motion picture camera.” [Excerpt from ]

The camera records in 1920 x 1080 pixels on to an 80 GB memory cartridge which has a capacity of 15 minutes of footage, audio and metadata. Its compact size is ideal for documentary filmmaking. Check out all the specs on Ikonoskop’s official website.


Filmmaking Tricks – Using a Rubber Band for a Smooth Pan Shot

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Here’s another simple low-budget trick with a rubber band that stabilizes your tripod for a smooth panning effect. I found this (again) via brusspup’s Channel on Metacafé.

Check it out…

CNN Launches iReport Film Festival

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

CNN is launching its first user-generated short film competition covering the 2008 U.S. presidential election: iReport Film Festival. Contestants are asked to submit/upload an original short film (8 minutes or less), documenting their perspective during the presidential campaign. Deadline for submissions is October 12, 2008 and the winner will be announced on November 13 on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

Here’s more info from iReport:

The best films will vie for Grand Jury and CNN Audience Awards, and as with all iReports, may be featured on CNN. Award winners will receive a trip to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of the next president of the United States and a top-of-the-line HD camera. [excerpt from]

You can upload your film HERE.