How to Pull off a Super Simple ‘Water Tunnel’ Effect In-Camera

If you've got a waterproof camera and a faucet, you can do this clever little trick. This is one of those effects that makes you go, "Why didn't I think of that?" YouTube user digi47 shows us how to create a cool "water tunnel" effect by taking a camera, preferably waterproof (unless you're some sort of silk-laden king who cares not the cost of such cinematic finery), lining up the lens with a faucet, and turning the ol' gal on. What happens is pretty sweet and worth experimenting with. Check it out below: Right!? It looks like a trippy, Continue reading "How to Pull off a Super Simple ‘Water Tunnel’ Effect In-Camera"

Watch: 5 Things All Grips Should Know About When Working on Set

If you're a grip, you'll be everyone's best friend on set if you know these five tips. Long hours and strenuous labor can make working on set pretty grueling, but if you can make anyone's life a little easier with the tools at your department's disposal, the entire production will thank you for it. If you're a grip and aren't really sure how you can go above and beyond for your fellow crew members, this video from Film Riot shows you five ways to do just that, including blocking out the sun and making butts Continue reading "Watch: 5 Things All Grips Should Know About When Working on Set"

How Do You Know Whether Your Film is Porn or Art? [PODCAST]

'Flames' co-directors Josephine Decker and Zefrey Throwell 'wade into intimate waters' with Ashley Connor, the DP who filmed them having real-life sex. It’s a good thing that the No Film School podcast has a parental advisory, because this week, we’re going straight into NC-17 territory to discuss a film that opens with close-up shots of a reverse piledriver. (Google it—when you’re not at work.) The film in question isn’t a porn…or is it? We get into that debate with the film’s co-directors, Josephine Decker and Zefrey Throwell, Continue reading "How Do You Know Whether Your Film is Porn or Art? [PODCAST]"

Watch: David Fincher is a Secret Mastermind of Visual Effects

A new video essay looks at some of the incredible (and usually invisible) VFX work in David Fincher's films. David Fincher may not be widely regarded as a visual effects director, but the fact is, he got his start at ILM in the early '80s working on Return of the Jedi. Also, The Social Network has more VFX shots than Godzilla (the one from the '90s, with P. Diddy and Jimmy Page). In a new video essay, Kristian Williams shows how David Fincher puts his visual effects to work in the Continue reading "Watch: David Fincher is a Secret Mastermind of Visual Effects"

‘Loveless’: Andrey Zvyagintsev Reveals How the Anguish of Russia is in All of Us

Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev's 'Loveless' is a bleak window into a vapid society devoid of empathy and meaning. In 2014, Andrey Zvyagintsev made the definitive contemporary Russian film. At once, the ambitious and harrowing Leviathan is a Biblical tragedy, a classic Russian novel (in the vein of Dostoevsky), and a searing indictment of Russia's current political situation. In the film, a poor man from a remote fishing village engages in an uphill battle against eminent domain; in the end, he loses much more than his property to the state. Needless to Continue reading "‘Loveless’: Andrey Zvyagintsev Reveals How the Anguish of Russia is in All of Us"

Here’s How to Make Your Gun Blast Effects Look More Realistic

Find out how to make a gunshot blast effect that looks so real it hurts. If you've got a project you're working on that includes some gunfire, one of your biggest obstacles is making sure that those gunshots look believable. If using squibs and blanks isn't really an option for you, you can always try to sell the effect in post, but you'll want to know a few techniques before you start dropping a bunch of smoke, spark, and blood spatter elements into your timeline. Axel from HitFilm provides a bunch Continue reading "Here’s How to Make Your Gun Blast Effects Look More Realistic"

Watch: 4 Alternative Uses for Mic Stands That Will Come in Handy on Set

Mic stands can do a whole lot more than hold microphones. Typically if you're trying to mount lights or fly modifiers, a C-stand is the piece of equipment you look for. However, these things are expensive, heavy, and difficult to transport, so having another more affordable, less labor intensive option would make any filmmaker's life a little easier. Enter the mic stand. They're cheap, portable, and easy to set up on the fly, and in this video, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter shows you four alternative on-set uses for them, from holding diffusion to Continue reading "Watch: 4 Alternative Uses for Mic Stands That Will Come in Handy on Set"

Get a Major Discount on WriterDuet Screenwriting Software Ahead of App Launch

Next month, all WriterDuet Pro customers will get access to the new iOS/Android app. WriterDuet is often likened to the Google Docs of screenwriting. The software enables live collaboration and provides an extensive toolset for professional screenwriters. But it's expensive: currently, it costs $159 for a lifetime premium license, and on June 1st, the price will increase to $199. However, as a way to promote the upcoming app launch, WriterDuet is now offering the software for $127 for a limited time with promo code WDPRO20 when you buy it here. Continue reading "Get a Major Discount on WriterDuet Screenwriting Software Ahead of App Launch"

Watch: 5 Mistakes You Might Want to Avoid When Editing

If you want your work to look polished and professional, you might want to avoid these common editing mistakes. When you open an NLE for the first time, it's easy to be overwhelmed and excited by all of the tools and functions contained within it. Software like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, Avid, Lightworks, and DaVinci Resolve are chock full of features that can help you turn your raw footage into beautiful pieces of cinematic art—or help you turn it into a shlocky mess. In this video, editor Justin Odisho shows you how to avoid making Continue reading "Watch: 5 Mistakes You Might Want to Avoid When Editing"

Watch: Are Superhero Movies Dying? ‘Logan’ and ‘Deadpool’ Reveal the State of the Genre

Examining the lifecycle of a film genre illuminates Deadpool and Logan's places in the superhero tradition. The release of Logan, the latest film to feature Hugh Jackman as Marvel's Wolverine (whom he has played for 17 years now), marks, as Evan Puschak points out in a new video essay, a signal that the superhero genre is undergoing a new phase in its lifecycle. It's a phase that is familiar to all film genres. As academic John G. Cawelti pointed out in his famous film studies essay from the 1970s, Continue reading "Watch: Are Superhero Movies Dying? ‘Logan’ and ‘Deadpool’ Reveal the State of the Genre"

Kodak Opens Labs in Major Cities to Make Shooting on Film More Accessible Than Ever

Two new labs in London in New York match a growing demand for film development services. Last year, we sat down with Kodak President Steve Bellamy, who told us all about Kodak's plans for the resurgence of film. While we've seen many big-budget productions pick up the mantle on this charge, many of our readers were quick to point out that the only real way to save film would be to have the same amount of labs, telecine facilities, and support services available as there were in the good old days. Continue reading "Kodak Opens Labs in Major Cities to Make Shooting on Film More Accessible Than Ever"

Watch: What the Dolly Zoom Can Do For You

The dolly zoom shot is practically a cliché, but this video essay argues that it has a lot to teach us. The dolly zoom is a famous technique invented by Alfred Hitchcock for his 1958 film Vertigo. The shot is achieved by simultaneously tracking backwards or forwards while zooming in or out (check out our guide on how to pull to pull it off in your own productions, without the aid of a zoom lens.) According to this new essay from Now You See It, the shot usually "requires a smooth Continue reading "Watch: What the Dolly Zoom Can Do For You"

How ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ DP Pulled Off ‘Fast Camera Movement in Challenging Scenarios’

With 'Dead Men Tell No Tales,' Paul Cameron, ASC used imaginative techniques to bring his own visual style to a long-running franchise. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has long been one of Disney’s most profitable and critically acclaimed IPs. Spawned from one of the original rides at Disneyland, the franchise has grossed over $3.5 billion worldwide. The lackluster release of the series’ fourth entry put it on ice for a time, but reception to its newest film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, has been considerably better so far. Continue reading "How ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ DP Pulled Off ‘Fast Camera Movement in Challenging Scenarios’"

Watch: Learn How to Make Your Own Creative Bokeh Backdrop

Creating a stunning backdrop for your project doesn't require a heap of dough (or a whole lot of work, for that matter). If you're looking for a cool idea that'll make your next film or music video a little more stylish, you might want to think about designing your own backdrop. However, if you really want to kick it up a notch, you could turn said backdrop into a modifier to produce some creative lighting effects. In this DIY tutorial, Ukrainian photographer Anya Anti shows you how to design your own custom cookie backdrops that Continue reading "Watch: Learn How to Make Your Own Creative Bokeh Backdrop"

Is Discontentment the Real Driving Force Behind Creativity?

Maybe being a pessimist isn't all bad... Everyone knows the classic tortured artist trope. Feeling alienated, misunderstood, and weathering the torment of trying to function in a world that isn't all too conducive to creative lifestyles are just a few of the obstacles some artists have to overcome (whether those obstacles are actually real or not), so there's no wonder why so many of them (us) are such pessimists. But that may not be such a bad thing. In this video from Simon Cade of DSLRguide, he suggests that maybe that Continue reading "Is Discontentment the Real Driving Force Behind Creativity?"

Watch: Why ‘Arrival’ is a Case Study in Adaptation

Three key elements brought the award-winning short story that inspired Arrival to life on the big screen. Michael Tucker's new video essay examines the 2016 science fiction film Arrival, which started its life as a Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon award-wining short story by writer Ted Chiang called "Story of Your Life." Before it could make it the transition from the world of prose to the universe of cinema, screenwriter Eric Heisserer had to make significant changes to the story. The work Heisserer and the Arrival team did provides many lessons Continue reading "Watch: Why ‘Arrival’ is a Case Study in Adaptation"

What We Learned Shooting 8K in Full-Spectrum Infrared

Using RED’s Epic-W and a third party OLPF, we shot the gorgeous Sierras in a new light.

We have traveled along the Eastern Sierras on Highway 395 many times. It’s the scenic route that we take for jobs in LA from our base in Northern California—a fairly empty landscape surrounded by high desert wilderness, several stretches of which have limited cell service and virtually no services at all.

< p dir="ltr"> This landscape has made for so many amazing videos and photos over the years, so when fellow DP Ryan Southwell and I wanted Continue reading "What We Learned Shooting 8K in Full-Spectrum Infrared"

‘Filmworker’: Meet the Secret Hero Behind Stanley Kubrick’s Movies

After getting to know Stanley Kubrick’s right-hand man Leon Vitali, you'll never look at assistants the same way again. As the saying goes, “Behind every great or successful man, there stands a woman.” Though society views the lightning-in-a-bottle quality of genius as singular, it is, in fact, a team effort; no country is ruled, no invention created, no masterpiece written, and no iconic movie made without the blood, sweat, and tears of a partner in crime (in history, oftentimes a woman). Leo Tolstoy's wife famously copied War and Peace eight times by hand as Continue reading "‘Filmworker’: Meet the Secret Hero Behind Stanley Kubrick’s Movies"