How We Hacked Production to Make a Full-Scale Spy Thriller for $100K

These non-traditional production techniques could benefit a shoot of any sized budget. [Editor's Note: No Film School asked Joshua Caldwell to share the story behind his film 'Negative', available now on Digital HD and OnDemand.] After making my first feature film Layover for $6000, I went on to direct a series for Hulu and my second feature film for Paramount and Studio 71. While both projects were step up from Layover budget-wise, I found myself surprisingly constricted. Even though I had 150x the budget I did on Layover, I was Continue reading "How We Hacked Production to Make a Full-Scale Spy Thriller for $100K"

On Land and Sea: How Aquatic and Grounded DPs Seamlessly Collaborated on Simon Baker’s ‘Breath’

Established actor Simon Baker relied on collaborations with two experienced shooters for his feature directorial debut. One director, two DPs, and a beautiful film. Breath is an adaptation of Tim Winton’s award-winning and internationally bestselling novel, a bildungsroman about two young surfers on the Australian coastline, set in the mid 70’s. It’s not just a great surf movie; it’s a compelling, visually radiant story with deeply realized characters. Breath premiered to critical acclaim at TIFF 2017 last week. Even if you aren’t familiar with Simon Baker–the Australian, Golden Globe-nominated actor-turned-director who Continue reading "On Land and Sea: How Aquatic and Grounded DPs Seamlessly Collaborated on Simon Baker’s ‘Breath’"

Sony Z90 Brings A9 Autofocus To Video for the First Time

Sony has taken the spectacular phase detection autofocus from the A9 and put it in a video camera, the Z90. Integrated lens video cameras don't get a lot of love when compared to their integrated lens brethren, but they offer a lot of value for money and, on certain productions, are undoubtedly the right tool for the job. With the new PXW-Z90, Sony is has put together a very attractive package for filmmakers who want an all in one tool for under $3,000, with a target price point of $2799. Continue reading "Sony Z90 Brings A9 Autofocus To Video for the First Time"

Louis C.K. Whips Out the Story Behind His Polarizing, DIY Film ‘I Love You Daddy’

Louis C.K. shares his own words on the movie everyone is talking about. I Love You, Daddy would be a controversial film no matter how it came about. The story of a successful TV writer whose teenage daughter is seduced by a legendary filmmaker is edgy enough on its own, but given that the self-financed, black and white film was directed (and edited) in secret by one of the most famous and controversial comedians around, it's no wonder everyone is looking to talk to Louie, including the TIFF Long Take podcast. Here's a few Continue reading "Louis C.K. Whips Out the Story Behind His Polarizing, DIY Film ‘I Love You Daddy’"

SmallHD Doubles nits on 17″ Production Monitor

SmallHD looks to rival OLED displays with the updated 17" 1703-P3X production monitor. When we first met the creators behind SmallHD, it was at a tiny Cine Gear Expo booth nearly a decade ago. Now, they've blossomed into a brand bought out by Vitec Group which owns the likes of Anton/Bauer, Autoscript, Litepanels, Teradek and dozens of others. With that kind of support, SmallHD has been rapidly growing its product line for filmmakers. Known for on-camera monitors, SmallHD has been adding to its line of production monitors in 13", 17", 24" Continue reading "SmallHD Doubles nits on 17″ Production Monitor"

Silent Battle Cry: How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Speaks Volumes Through Visuals

When words fail visuals speak. In the dystopian world of Gilead, where a totalitarian theonomy has enslaved fertile women to turn them into child-bearing servants of the state, civil disobedience is subtle and revolutionaries keep their battle cries under their tongues. Being "under His eye" not only sets rigid restrictions on what the citizens of the former United States are permitted to do or say, but it turns one's mind into a place that serves as both Promised Land for free thought and war room to plot resistance. Cinematically this gives Continue reading "Silent Battle Cry: How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Speaks Volumes Through Visuals"

What ‘The Limehouse Golem’ Production Designer Does Every Single Day for Design Inspiration

'The Limehouse Golem' and 'Peaky Blinders' production designer Grant Montgomery reveals how he creates grisly, cinematic worlds. The Limehouse Golem, Juan Carlos Medina's latest film, is a well-executed period piece, taking place in 19th-century London. At times, the film feels like a dinner-theater melodrama gone fascinatingly awry. As i opens, Lizzie Cree (Olivia Cooke) is accused of killing her husband; nothing seems further from possible. She is a well-loved, semi-bawdy stage performer, a member of London's theatrical demimonde. A series of outrageous murders by a mysterious figure christened the "Limehouse Golem" is filling the Continue reading "What ‘The Limehouse Golem’ Production Designer Does Every Single Day for Design Inspiration"

ARRI, Sony, and iPhones Dominate TIFF 2017 Cameras

"Like somebody said: give a shoe to Roger Deakins and he makes a beautiful picture." An ARRI used by Ingmar Bergman, an iPhone 7 with a DJI Osmo Mobile, and 10,000 hours of public surveillance footage. What do they have common? They were all ways that this year's TIFF filmmakers told their stories. Take a look at the diverse assortment of cameras used in this year's films, along with reasons from their directors, cinematographers, and producers on why each was the perfect tool for the job. Read More

Atomos Announces Affordable Sumo 19M Production Monitor

Atomos launches a slimmed down version of its Sumo19 monitor for filmmakers. The Sumo19 was shown off at NAB this year and now Atomos has released a monitor-only variant dubbed Sumo19M, ideal for professional shooters looking for an affordable solution on set. Priced at just $1,995, the Sumo19M monitor has many of the same features as its counterpart but lacks the ability to record. The 19" HDR monitor touts a 1920 x 1080 resolution with 1200 nit brightness and wide viewing angle capable of displaying 4K and Continue reading "Atomos Announces Affordable Sumo 19M Production Monitor"

8 Steps to the Making of a Career-Launching Short

We dug into the process behind award-winning Short of the Week debut, 'Hi-Glow Retro'. Making a successful, festival-winning short is practically a prerequisite for any career in film. For good reason: it’s a great way to showcase your voice and your competence—and it may even serve as proof-of-concept for potential investors, if you decide to pitch it as a feature. Yes, it’s a jungle out there, but if you can execute a story well on a small scale… maybe, just maybe, there’s hope. Twenty-six-year-old writer/director Alex Morsanutto is counting on it. Continue reading "8 Steps to the Making of a Career-Launching Short"

See For Yourself: Panasonic Debuts First Official EVA1 Footage

Does this EVA1 footage live up to the hype? We first heard rumors about Panasonic's new digital video camera leading up to NAB 2017, and when we finally saw the original specs at the Cine Gear Expo, we declared that it might be the ultimate indie cinema camera. The EVA1 features dual native ISO, 5.7K (5720 x 3016) resolution on a Super 35 CMOS sensor, a 10-bit 4:2:2 internal codec for 4K and full HD and internal data rates up to 400 Mbps all for under $8,000. Continue reading "See For Yourself: Panasonic Debuts First Official EVA1 Footage"

How To Keep Your Production Running Smoothly Across Every Medium [PODCAST]

In just 11 days, this group of theater makers took a Shakespeare play and adapted it into both a feature film and a VR piece. Why do theater when you can do film? Why do film when you can do theater? Why do one when you can do both? Why do both when you can do VR? Director Dan Hasse and director/actor Taylor Myers are an ambitious pair of artists based in New York City who grappled with these pressing questions at length before finally coming to a conclusion. The answer? Continue reading "How To Keep Your Production Running Smoothly Across Every Medium [PODCAST]"

A Complete List of Winners of the 69th Annual Emmy Awards

Who's taking home an Emmy tonight? We've got the full list right here. Tonight at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, host of The Late Show and quite possibly the funniest man on the planet Stephen Colbert is hosting the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. It's set to be an exciting night of television. HBO nabbed the most nominations of any network with 46, the two streaming behemoths Netflix and Hulu are proving to be worthy adversaries with their superb original programming, including The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu), House of Cards (Netflix), and Stranger Things (Netflix). Continue reading "A Complete List of Winners of the 69th Annual Emmy Awards"

How to Avoid Some of the Most Common Mistakes in Composition

If you want to capture better images you have to understand good composition. "My camera is such a piece of shit." That's what I told myself after spending an entire day shooting less than thrilling images for a class. I'd go home, offload my media, and gasp in horror at just how amateurish it all looked. "That's f**king it. I'm buying a new camera." But the problem wasn't with my camera; it was with my ability to compose dynamic and beautiful images that told stories. This is an issue many filmmakers struggle with Continue reading "How to Avoid Some of the Most Common Mistakes in Composition"

Watch: Dave Bautista Has Something to Hide in New ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Prequel Short

Don't let the glasses fool you. Dave Bautista is one bad mother... We're three weeks away from the return of dystopian Los Angeles where Atari still looms large and replicants may be on the loose in Blade Runner 2049. To bridge the gap between the original Ridley Scott film and the sequel which takes place 30 years later, Warner Bros. is releasing three prequel short films directed by Luke Scott, Ridley's son. The second installment, 2048: Nowhere to Run, brings us up almost to the current film, introducing Sapper Morton Continue reading "Watch: Dave Bautista Has Something to Hide in New ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Prequel Short"

7 Things You Wish You Knew Before Directing Your First Feature

Though your first film may not be your best film, it could quite possibly be your best teacher. You're going to make mistakes on every film you make, but your first project is unique in that you're probably making all of them within the same project. Those who have already experienced it know the struggle all too well. But learning about the countless errors other directors have made in their first films can help you avoid the ones you could make on your own, which is why you should definitely check out this video from Continue reading "7 Things You Wish You Knew Before Directing Your First Feature"

The Art of the Edit: 6 Lessons on Making the Cut as an Editor

Sit in on Adobe's micro-session between some of Hollywood's most talented editors as they discuss the ins and outs of the craft. The Toronto International Film Festival held a special "MICROSESSION" at this year's event called "The Art of the Edit" which allowed attendees to pick the brains of some of the most exciting editors in the industry. Hosted by Adobe, the panel, which included editors Billy Fox (Only the Brave, Straight Outta Compton, Footloose, Band of Brothers), Tyler Nelson (Mindhunter, Gone Girl, The Social Network), and Simone Smith (Never Continue reading "The Art of the Edit: 6 Lessons on Making the Cut as an Editor"

Exploring ‘The Most Dangerous, Exciting, Edgy Place’ With the Brilliant Jane Campion

We could listen this filmmaking icon talk forever. Jane Campion has never had a retrospective. Jane Campion, arguably the most successful female director—the only woman in possession of a Palme d’Or, the second of four female Oscar-winning directors, and the creator of one of the most popular indie films of all time—has never had a retrospective. Until now. In honor of the premiere of Top of the Lake: China Girl, the second season in Campion’s award-winning detective drama, The Film Society of Lincoln Center is running a week-long exhibition of Continue reading "Exploring ‘The Most Dangerous, Exciting, Edgy Place’ With the Brilliant Jane Campion"

‘These Girls Were Disposable’: 3 Lessons from ‘Alias Grace’ Director Mary Harron’s TIFF Master Class

The maverick director of American Psycho delves into why her provocative stories work so well. Canadian director Mary Harron has brought her distinctive, indie sensibilities to five feature films. With the premiere of the first two episodes of Alias Grace, Harron's new miniseries for CBC and Netflix, adapted from the novel by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale), the director sat down at TIFF on Wednesday for a master class, in which she discussed everything from punk rock to feminism and her approach to casting and directing. Here Continue reading "‘These Girls Were Disposable’: 3 Lessons from ‘Alias Grace’ Director Mary Harron’s TIFF Master Class"

Francis Ford Coppola Wants to Read Your Screenplay

Just make sure your screenplay is an offer he can't refuse. American Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola's production company, has extended the final deadline for its 15th annual screenplay contest to October 1, 2017, 11:59:59 PT. American Zoetrope promotes its competition as a way to find and promote new, innovative voices in cinema. A group of professional readers read each script, and the final winner is chosen by Francis Ford Coppola himself. The grand prize winner receives a $5,000 prize. When asked what the readers are looking for in the scripts, Zoetrope Continue reading "Francis Ford Coppola Wants to Read Your Screenplay"