4 Tips for Learning the Intricacies (and Complexities) of Color Grading

A job this difficult can't just be an issue of black and white. “The colorist is the person who makes your rubbish film turn into something watchable,” moderator Krishan Arora began on a panel on color at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018. Alongside him were Katherine Jamieson, a colorist at the London-based Halo Post (with her recent work including The Real T-Rex with Chris Packham and Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago), Samuel Francois-Steininger of Paris-based Composite Films (a trans-media studio specializing in color, animation, and short films), and Ruhi Hamid ( Continue reading "4 Tips for Learning the Intricacies (and Complexities) of Color Grading"

How Filmmakers Choose Different Venues and Spaces For Their Work

The venue where you screen your work isn't the only thing, but it is one of the most important. One of the great virtues of the BlackStar Film Festival's endlessly engaging program of films is that the selection committee isn't afraid of the avant-garde. There are daring movies of breathtaking formalism situated right next to romantic comedies and science fiction. The work of black avant-garde filmmakers has not been nearly as carefully documented nor examined, but there is much terrific work being done to which national outlets have not provided nearly enough coverage. Continue reading "How Filmmakers Choose Different Venues and Spaces For Their Work"

Pixelvision Dreams: Why Michael Almereyda Used a Children’s Camera to Make Movies

A long-forgotten camera was the culprit for movies worth remembering. While many filmmakers' first brush with production arrived while making movies as children with their parents' camcorder, few adult filmmakers have the experience of using a camera designed for children to make their feature films. Such is the case with a select few, however, including Sadie Benning, Elisabeth Subrin, and Michael Almereyda, each of whom used the long-forgotten PXL 2000—an affordably clunky Fisher Price camera designed for children usage in the late 1980s—to make independent work on the blurry, often pixelated Continue reading "Pixelvision Dreams: Why Michael Almereyda Used a Children’s Camera to Make Movies"

4 Takeaways from Bradford Young on the Daily Grind of Being a Cinematographer

Bradford Young has only been working professionally for a decade and yet he's already a legend in the industry. Bradford Young, the maverick cinematographer, has likely shot one of your new favorite films. His work can be found in projects with as diverse a range of subjects as they are in budgets. He's been linked to directors Ava DuVernay and Dee Rees from the beginning of their careers, shooting their early features, Middle of Nowhere and Pariah, respectively. Young has shot urgent documentaries like Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, Continue reading "4 Takeaways from Bradford Young on the Daily Grind of Being a Cinematographer"

Sigma Ships 14mm, 70mm & 135mm E-Mount Lenses

Sigma delivers more of its Sony E-Mount lenses for filmmakers. In June, Sigma started shipping its 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm Sony E-mount lenses to the masses, leaving us with the 14mm, 70mm MACRO, 105mm, and 135mm still in question. Today, Sigma rolled out the 14mm F1.8 DG HSM, 70mm F2.8 DG MACRO and 135mm F1.8 DG HSM, leaving the 105mm waiting in the wings. The nine lens set is filling out nicely for Sony Alpha shooters since its initial announcement in February 2018. While we haven't Continue reading "Sigma Ships 14mm, 70mm & 135mm E-Mount Lenses"

Watch: Go On Set and BTS with Spike Lee on His ‘BLACKkKLANSMAN’

Featuring quite a lot of New York Knicks apparel Spike Lee's much anticipated narrative feature, BLACKkKLANSMAN, based on the real-life account of Officier Ron Stallworth's 1970s infiltration into the KKK, is set to open in theaters this Friday. Out of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the film was hailed as one of Lee's definitive best, and, debuting in 1,500 theaters, it may also prove to be one of his most successful at the box office. With subject matter that feels all too relevant to today's political climate (and with a Continue reading "Watch: Go On Set and BTS with Spike Lee on His ‘BLACKkKLANSMAN’"

Not a Trick Question: What Do ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Goodfellas’ Have in Common?

Goodfellas and Boogie Nights are more similar than you might think. These videos take a deep dive. Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas and Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights were arguably two of the most stylistically influential Hollywood films of the '90s. Two new videos from Daniel Netzel (AKA Film Radar) and Entertain the Elk examine different aspects of the relationship between the two films. For Scorsese, Goodfellas was considered a triumphant return to form after a decade that started with the triumph of Raging Bull and then meandered through quirky one-offs like After Hours (which is, for Continue reading "Not a Trick Question: What Do ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Goodfellas’ Have in Common?"

How to Perfect Your Script & Why Docs Are the New Blockbusters [PODCAST]

In this episode of Indie Film Weekly, summer box offices have a new superhero. Jon Fusco, Erik Luers, and yours truly, Liz Nord discuss how theatrical documentaries are taking over the summer box office, give a fall festival preview, and mull over a newly announced Oscar category. In gear news, we reveal two new mobile audio solutions and an affordable ultra-wide zoom. Jon answers an Ask No Film School question about how to make sure your film script is properly formatted—and the right length. As always, the Continue reading "How to Perfect Your Script & Why Docs Are the New Blockbusters [PODCAST]"

5 Sweet and Simple In-Camera Effects You Should Try

Want to pepper some sweet effects into your next project? Try one of these. Doesn't it always seem like the cooler the effect, the harder it is to create? Naturally, this is the case because cool effects are more often than not incredibly intricate and complicated, requiring hundreds of adjustments, corrections, and finely tuned tweaks to make them just right. However, there are a few really impressive effects that you can pull off without a whole lot of legwork. In this video, Jordy Vandeput of Cinecom shows you how to create five in-camera effects that Continue reading "5 Sweet and Simple In-Camera Effects You Should Try"

Panasonic Opens Free LUT Library for VariCam and EVA1 Users

Panasonic announces its new, free VariCam and EVA1 LUT Library. Panasonic cinema camera users received a cool gift today with the announcement of the LUT Library, a free source for filmmakers to create looks for the VariCam and EVA1. The company teamed up with Local 600 DITs to produce 35 different 3D LUTs including display conversion LUTs and artistic LUTs. Mitch Gross, Panasonic Cinema Product Manager, says “The VariCam LUT Library is a great communication tool. An enormous variety of looks are possible, and it’s far easier for a producer or Continue reading "Panasonic Opens Free LUT Library for VariCam and EVA1 Users"

‘Screens Are a Beautiful Light Source’: Director Bo Burnham on ‘Eighth Grade’

Bo Burnham's 'Eighth Grade' is the captivatingly honest coming-of-age tale of the moment. Every coming-of-age story is at once personal and universal. Through the eyes of a young protagonist learning the rules of the world—and unlearning the illusions of childhood—the genre offers a unique window into the humanity of a culture in a moment in time. Onscreen, it's hard to get them right. As technological progress hastens, the chasm between the personal and the universal ever widens. Take characters from a coming-of-age film set in 2008 and place them in one Continue reading "‘Screens Are a Beautiful Light Source’: Director Bo Burnham on ‘Eighth Grade’"

Discomfort to Powerful Truth: How DP Daniel B. Levin Shot ‘The Trayvon Martin Story’

From Trayvon to Trump, the unyielding docuseries 'Rest in Power' explores how we got where we are today. On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old, unarmed African American high school student Trayvon Martin, inside The Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28 and head of the neighborhood watch, called the police about a suspicious character walking the streets. That "suspicious character" was Martin, who was returning from a local convenience store carrying Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea. Instead of waiting for Continue reading "Discomfort to Powerful Truth: How DP Daniel B. Levin Shot ‘The Trayvon Martin Story’"

What to Look (and Hear) For When Crafting Your Sound Design

It turns out that film isn't just a visual medium, after all.

At this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest, filmmakers Rana Eid (director and sound designer on Panoptic) and Peter Albrechtsen (sound designer on The Distant Barking of Dogs) discussed the art and craft of sound design on the Craft Summit panel, Sound Design: The Art of Noise, moderated by Krishan Arora and presented by Documentary Campus.

Rather than thinking about sound design as a separate step in the making of their films, both Eid and Albrechtsen like to start the Continue reading "What to Look (and Hear) For When Crafting Your Sound Design"

‘Where We Reigned’: Terence Nance on His HBO Series, ‘Random Acts of Flyness’

Terence Nance hasn't waited for art and criticism to catch up to him. Filmmaker Terence Nance has made short films, features, and now, a TV series that is unapologetically his and rapturously black. There is no mistaking Nance's crystal-clear, richly colorful and meticulously crafted images, which makes Random Acts of Flyness something of a departure. Nance has opened up the door for several collaborators to help shape the show with their own segments and designs. Directors Frances Bodomo, Jamund Washington, Naima Ramos-Chapman, Darius Clark Monroe, and Mariama Diallo have contributed, as Continue reading "‘Where We Reigned’: Terence Nance on His HBO Series, ‘Random Acts of Flyness’"

Why ‘Cameras Are Our Consciousness’ in the Age of Cinematic Docs

Two filmmakers share techniques and tools for getting your meaning across visually. In this burgeoning era for documentaries, visuals of the form have become more important than ever, and many doc filmmakers are breaking the mold of traditional visual storytelling. In a discussion called Focus on Cinematography–New Ways of Seeing, moderator Krishan Arora sat down with two visual artists with documentaries at this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest, and together they delved into both the how and why of some of the cinematic choices made on their recent films. RaMell Ross is Continue reading "Why ‘Cameras Are Our Consciousness’ in the Age of Cinematic Docs"

DJI Releases Its Strangest Drone Yet

If you've always wanted a drone but have been holding off for something more animal-themed, this Spark is for you. While DJI is no stranger to innovation in the drone world, this is something completely new, even by this company's standards. However, don't get too excited gearheads, because it's not really what you might expect. Compared to the standard version, the company's latest Spark drone hasn't changed at all, still possessing a 16-minute flight time and boasting a two-mile range complete with a 2-axis gimbal and 12-megapixel camera. Read More

New York Film Festival Announces New Films from the Coen Brothers, Jean-Luc Godard, and More

New York's preeminent fall film festival, taking place September 28th through October 14th, announces its Main Slate selections. After the announcing of the films screening in this year's Toronto International Film Festival was made two weeks ago, the next prominent chip to fall on the autumn, film "awards season" calendar was the Film Society of Lincoln Center's New York Film Festival. Now in its 56th year, the uptown, Manhattan-based festival has long been one of the most respected, in many cases offering North American audiences their annual first glimpse of the Continue reading "New York Film Festival Announces New Films from the Coen Brothers, Jean-Luc Godard, and More"

Watch: Frame.io Reveals ‘Masters Series’ Highlighting the Personal Stories of Its Users

The popular tech start-up shines a light on the filmmakers who persevered and made their desired careers a reality. Here at No Film School, we've covered the snazzy offerings of Frame.io throughout the tech start-up's three-year existence as a video review and multi-user content management system. The company has proven to be a filmmaker-friendly post-production resource from its very beginning, and throughout its new upgrades and product offerings, we've been there to cover each new company announcement. Frame.io is now taking a moment to cover its own users. Titled Continue reading "Watch: Frame.io Reveals ‘Masters Series’ Highlighting the Personal Stories of Its Users"

Tamron’s New 17-35mm Full-Frame Lens is a Smaller Ultra Wide Zoom

The 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD is the latest from Tamron—and it's half the cost of its counterpart. You might remember Tamron's SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD lens being released in 2015. It is an excellent wide angle lens with good contrast, clarity, and color touting a price tag of around $1,100. The company has now released a new wide-angle zoom full-frame lens, the 17-35mm F/2.8-4 Di OSD, at half the cost. Available in Nikon mount this September and Canon later, it's 3.5" in length and weighs Continue reading "Tamron’s New 17-35mm Full-Frame Lens is a Smaller Ultra Wide Zoom"

Watch: Here’s How the Coen Brothers Use Sound to Strengthen Their Visuals

The Coens have worked with DP Roger Deakins numerous times, but let's take a moment to appreciate their films' sound design. An auteurist trait that often goes unrecognized is the sound design incorporated into a filmmaker's body of work. While film is undoubtedly a visual medium and the distinctions in cinematography, theme, and genre are not to go unnoticed, far too little attention is paid to the recurring aural choices and motifs that envelop a director's series of projects. Neither image nor sound is created in a vacuum, however, and neither is the relationship between Continue reading "Watch: Here’s How the Coen Brothers Use Sound to Strengthen Their Visuals"