Ahhhhh! Where in the Wilhelm Did the Wilhelm Scream Come From?

Seems like such a complex origin story for one tiny sound effect. Even if you didn't know that it had an actual name, you most definitely knew the Wilhelm Scream, when you heard it. This iconic sound effect has shown up in countless films, from 1954 sci-fi monster movie Them! to the recently released Deadpool 2, but aside from knowing that it's everywhere and hilarious, how much do you really know about one the most famous sound effects of all time? Where did it come from and how did it become so popular? Fandor takes Continue reading "Ahhhhh! Where in the Wilhelm Did the Wilhelm Scream Come From?"

Cuts 101: Here Are 9 of the Most Essential Transitions in Editing

Want to take your editing game to the next level? Then you'll definitely need to know about these important transitions. One of the first edits you'll ever make is what? A simple cut, right? It's incredibly straightforward; just find a juicy spot in your clip, cut that thing in two like it's a friggin' pastrami on rye, and then slide another clip right next to it. Boom! You're done. But if you want to be an editor that can add flair and functionality to your edits, you'll want to know about all of the cool Continue reading "Cuts 101: Here Are 9 of the Most Essential Transitions in Editing"

6 Things Legendary DP Roger Deakins Wants You to Know About Cinematography

There's so much to learn from Oscar-winning DP Roger Deakins' illustrious career. Roger Deakins is one of the most admired, respected, and talented DPs working today, so when he speaks, we'd all be wise to listen. Over the course of his nearly fifty-year career of telling stories with light and composition, he has shared a wealth of knowledge about the craft of cinematography. Lucky for us, the team over at StudioBinder has culled through the many interviews Deakins has given over the years to come up with six essential pieces of advice from the Master Continue reading "6 Things Legendary DP Roger Deakins Wants You to Know About Cinematography"

If You Don’t like Wet Cleaning Your Sensor, You Might Want to Try This Method

Some folks may not be into all the sprays and solutions that come with wet cleaning a camera sensor. If that's you, this dry method might be right up your alley. Sensor cleaning is no picnic, but someone has to do it. If you send it away to your camera's manufacturer, great! You'll have to fork over some bills and wait a while to get your gear back, but you can rest easy knowing that your camera is in good hands—and if it's not, you won't be responsible for paying for the damages. However, for Continue reading "If You Don’t like Wet Cleaning Your Sensor, You Might Want to Try This Method"

What’s Tone? It’s Basically the Difference Between 1978 Superman and 2013 Superman

We know it when we see it, but what is "tone" exactly and how do we use it to tell better stories? How many times have your parents told you to watch your tone? If you were as boneheaded as I was when I was an adolescent troublemaker, 1.) it was probably a lot, and 2.) you probably quizzically replied, "What do you mean by "tone," even though you absolutely knew what they meant. In terms of filmmaking, tone is oftentimes easier to point out than it is to create. For instance, you Continue reading "What’s Tone? It’s Basically the Difference Between 1978 Superman and 2013 Superman"

Lemonading the Sun: Because You Shouldn’t Have to Stop Shooting Because It’s Bright Outside

What's worse? Looking blown out or shady? No one loves light more than filmmakers, man. I mean, we love light like Yoncé loves Hova, but like Hova, light, especially sunlight, can do things that make loving really, really hard. The sun and the sky and the clouds do their thing regardless of whether you've got a bunch of b-roll to shoot, which is why it's so important to know a few cinematic techniques that will help you take advantage of not-so-great lighting situations in times when you can't take control of them. In this video, Continue reading "Lemonading the Sun: Because You Shouldn’t Have to Stop Shooting Because It’s Bright Outside"

4 Nifty Techniques for Hiding Lav Mics on Your Subjects

As a filmmaker, knowing how to hide a lav on a subject is an absolute must. In many cases, having a boom operator follow your actors around with a mic is an excellent way to pick up dialogue, but if for some reason a boom won't work (like, if you want to record audio in a wide shot), a lav mic most likely will. The tricky thing about that, though, is while boom mics are kept out of the frame, lavs infiltrate the cinematic stage, so concealing them becomes a top priority. If you're not Continue reading "4 Nifty Techniques for Hiding Lav Mics on Your Subjects"

5 Weird Beginner Mistakes That You Will Probably Want to Avoid Making

Mistakes are common when you're first starting out, but not all of them have to be. Ah...first-year filmmaking, or as I like to call it "Making mistakes nonstop until you somehow poop out a movie." As beginners, we were all a little extra, weren't we? We thought too much about unimportant stuff and thought too little about important stuff, leaving behind a stinky trail of misfortune and poorly planned creativity as we clutched our super shitty but super finished film in our trembling paw. And it was glorious! However, if we had to Continue reading "5 Weird Beginner Mistakes That You Will Probably Want to Avoid Making"

Traveling with Batteries? Don’t Fly Without Knowing the TSA Restrictions First

Not being knowledgeable about the TSA's rules on flying with batteries could lead to some real trouble. Look at you, you little travelin' filmmaker, with your gear packed up all nice and tight and your eyes beaming with excitement! It'd be a shame if you got to airport security and had to ditch your expensive batteries because you didn't know the TSA's restrictions and regulations regarding lithium ion. In this helpful video, Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens shares a few tips on flying with batteries commonly used by filmmakers like yourself, including which Continue reading "Traveling with Batteries? Don’t Fly Without Knowing the TSA Restrictions First"

Pretty as a Picture: A Study of the Mesmerizing Visual Style of DP Bradford Young

From "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" to "Arrival", DP Bradford Young has shown the world what cinematic beauty is all about. Despite him being a talented, seasoned, Oscar-nominated DP, some might call Bradford Young a cinematography star on the rise. He has worked with some of today's most exciting directors, including David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints), Ava DuVernay (Selma), and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), and even lensed Ron Howard's much-hyped Star Wars spin-off, Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is set to hit theaters in the next few days. Continue reading "Pretty as a Picture: A Study of the Mesmerizing Visual Style of DP Bradford Young"

3 Ways to Diffuse Light Without Breaking the Bank

Learn how to diffuse light cheaply and effectively. Knowing how to diffuse light is an important skill to master when shooting a film because it allows you to soften hard shadows to give your subjects a nice, even spread of light. However, many new filmmakers 1.) don't know how, 2.) think they know how, but didn't learn correct information, and 3.) think that diffusers are well outside of their price range. To help with all three of those issues, Todd Blankenship of Shutterstock Tutorials shares a few tips on working with diffusers, Continue reading "3 Ways to Diffuse Light Without Breaking the Bank"

Learn How to Use Magnets, Gear Ties, and Suction Cups to Create This DIY Car Mount

Today's magic word is "triangulation." Car mounts for your camera rig aren't always expensive—you can usually buy a single suction cup system for, like, 20 bucks. The problem with them, though, is that, while they take care of the issue of actually mounting a camera to your car, they don't take care of the issue of making your footage as stable as possible. This is where triangulation comes in. More expensive car mounts use additional rods to add support to your camera rig on multiple sides so it doesn't sway, a formation that looks like, Continue reading "Learn How to Use Magnets, Gear Ties, and Suction Cups to Create This DIY Car Mount"

Do the First and Final Lines of Famous Films Can Teach Us a Lot about Good Screenwriting?

How do screenwriters bookend the first and final lines of dialogue? By now, we should all be very familiar with Jacob T. Swinney's popular "First and Final Frames," a video essay series that explores how filmmakers visually bookend their films and how some even use the opportunity to say something deeper about the story or characters. Video essayist Daniel Whidden takes Swinney's idea and rewrites it with screenwriters in mind, comparing the first and final lines of the top 50 films on IMDb to see if there is any connection between the words spoken in Continue reading "Do the First and Final Lines of Famous Films Can Teach Us a Lot about Good Screenwriting?"

5 Ways to Creatively Use Shutter Speed in Your Film

Shutter speed may not be the sexiest setting in your camera, but...wait...or is it? When it comes to "the film look," shutter speed ranks high on the list of essential elements. This is because when your shutter speed is set at double the inverse of your frame rate, which is often the cinema standard 24fps, a very natural looking motion blur is produced, one that most movie-goers are used to seeing in the vast majority of films. But even though there are good reasons to follow this rule of thumb, there are also Continue reading "5 Ways to Creatively Use Shutter Speed in Your Film"

C-Stands 101: How to Use ‘Em and How Not to Use ‘Em

Learn how to use one of the most essential pieces of filmmaking gear like a pro. C-stands, or "Century stands" as they were called back in the 1920s, may not look like much, but they're actually one of the most useful and versatile weapons in a filmmaker's arsenal. Employed across several different departments, C-stands can be used to mount and fly just about anything, from heavy studio lights to shotgun microphones. In this video, filmmaker Todd Blankenship of Shutterstock Tutorials gives you a quick overview of not only where C-stands originated but also the many Continue reading "C-Stands 101: How to Use ‘Em and How Not to Use ‘Em"

Can You Hear Me? How to Get the Volume of Your Film’s Audio Under Control

Whether they're watching your film on a laptop with headphones or a TV with surround sound, your audience shouldn't have to reach for the remote a bunch of times to adjust the volume. Sound and audio can be a really difficult thing to get right on a film, and that's largely due to the fact that most of us no-budget filmmakers are not professional audio engineers. We do our best to make our audio mixes sound good (or good enough), but one problem that we tend to have, myself included, at some point or another Continue reading "Can You Hear Me? How to Get the Volume of Your Film’s Audio Under Control"

A Few Things You Should Know About Shooting with ND Filters

There's a reason why these tools are considered a must-have in every filmmaker's gear bag. Neutral Density filters, or ND filters, are an essential piece of gear for filmmakers shooting outdoors. These things act as "sunglasses for your lens," blocking out the light that would otherwise enter your lens, all without (ideally) affecting the color of your image (that's where the "neutral" bit comes from), which allows you to shoot in a variety of situations that, without them, would leave your images overexposed. If you're a beginner who has never heard Continue reading "A Few Things You Should Know About Shooting with ND Filters"

Watch: How Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ Has Influenced Cinema

Explore the incredible impact Hitchcock's "Vertigo" had on the art of filmmaking. Alfred Hitchcock has perhaps one of the most renowned filmographies in cinematic history, but the film that is often dubbed his masterpiece, as well as the greatest film of all time, is his 1958 psycho-thriller Vertigo. But in its day, it wasn't considered to be anything special; with what some critics called a "slow and boring" first half, the film broke even at the box office and earned significantly less than his other works. Even Hitchcock himself had doubts about the film, believing Continue reading "Watch: How Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ Has Influenced Cinema"

5″ Monitor Shootout: Which Displays Offer More Bang for Your Buck?

Take a look at which 5" monitors give you the most bang for your buck. When it comes to 5" monitors, there are many, many different brands that offer a variety of desirable features at decent prices, but the units that usually gets the most attention come from Atomos and SmallHD. There's nothing wrong with that; these two manufacturers make some of the best monitors on the market, but what are some other options for those who may be looking for features or lower prices that popular models don't have? In this gear shootout, Caleb Continue reading "5″ Monitor Shootout: Which Displays Offer More Bang for Your Buck?"