DitoGear’s VibraFreek Converts Your Car into a Fully Stabilized Filming Vehicle on a Budget

When it comes to portable motion control equipment, DitoGear has long been among the industry leaders, but they never cease to innovate. Aiming to take gimbal stabilization to a new level, DitoGear announced VibraFreek, a supplementary gimbal stabilization system that incorporates the 3-axis gimbals- you already own to convert your car into a fully stabilized automotive cinematography vehicle. Think of it as a Russian Arm only a fraction of the cost. Here's a bit from the press release that explains how it works:

VibraFreek vibration dampening arm effectively reduces both low and high frequency vibrations allowing for smooth and fully safe operation of the mounted gimbal and camera system even at higher speeds. An optional X/Y platform contributes to performance of the system under extreme conditions such as high speeds, wind or rough terrain.

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Win a Film Kit & Screen at Slamdance with the Kodak Super 8 Challenge

Have a hankering to shoot on Super 8, or have some great footage already shot waiting to be turned into a compelling short story? Then check out the Kodak Super 8 Filmmaking Challenge, hosted by the Audience Awards, to incentivize you with some $12,500 dollars worth of prizes and a chance to screen your short at Slamdance! For those of you who've had the chance to shoot film in the days of yore or even post-digital-revolution, the sight of those lovely yellow Kodak boxes of film are left indelibly on the brain. If you haven't had a chance to shoot Super 8mm in particular, now is as great a time as any. Not only can you read this fantastic primer on everything you need to know about shooting Super 8 that Alex Mallis created for No Film School, but you have Continue reading "Win a Film Kit & Screen at Slamdance with the Kodak Super 8 Challenge"

How to Light a Single Take Steadicam Shot of a Rube Goldberg Machine

The good folks at Contra, a UK video production company that specializes in cinematic work for corporate and nonprofit clients, are at it again. This time, they've teamed up with the University of Cambridge to showcase the prestigious university's enterprise program, which helps students and faculty members patent and commercialize their groundbreaking work in the sciences.

After receiving the brief from Cambridge, the Contra art department devised a Rube Goldberg machine to showcase six prominent projects that have received support from the enterprise program. To take it one step further, Contra DP John Ford decided to shoot the film in a single take. Here's the finished project: And here's the BTS video, which shows the work that went into making both the machine and the production run smoothly: Read More

SLR Magic’s New 50mm f/1.1 is a Fast & Cheap Cine Lens for Sony E-Mount

At the Inter BEE show in Japan, SLR Magic showed off their newest cine lens, a super fast E-Mount 50mm f/1.1. At $350, it's one of the fastest and least expensive native cine lenses for Sony cameras (clickless aperture and geared iris/focus), and covers full-frame. While I'm not expecting it to match up against true high-end cinema lenses in performance, SLR Magic has managed to create some fantastic budget lenses that certainly perform better than their price tags. Here's a look at the specs for the lens: Read More

Inside Afghanistan’s Extraordinary DSLR Revolution

Until 2001, taking or having photographs was outlawed in Afghanistan. But after the Taliban lost their stranglehold on the country, what followed was nothing short of a photojournalist uprising. The weapons of choice? DSLR. In their feature documentary Frame by Frame, which can now be requested through Gathr’s Theatrical-On-Demand, Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli follow four brilliant photographers at the helm of Afghanistan visual media transformation. No Film School sat down with Alaxandria and Mo at SXSW for their world premiere to talk about anything from what Afghans are shooting on, using headscarves to block glare on the streets of Kabul, or selling their truck to get halfway across the world. NFS: One of the central themes in the film is how visual images are crucial to either your cultural identity. When you're talking about the Continue reading "Inside Afghanistan’s Extraordinary DSLR Revolution"

The Original iPhone Film Festival is Now Accepting Entries

In the past few years, iPhone filmmaking has grown so much that there's a festival devoted to iPhone shorts and features, and they're calling for entries. From you! In its second year, the Official iPhone Film Festival is now accepting entries in a range of different categories, including Fiction, Non-Fiction, Music Videos, Long Form (10+ minutes), and Features (60+ minutes). OIFF has gathered a great panel of judges to check out submissions and decide on a winner, including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Marcus Nispel and legendary cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (yes -- Zooey's dad). filmmaker Prizes include Apple Watches, iPad Air, Manfrotto Mini LED lights, iStabilizer products, iOgrapher Media Cases, RØDE Smart Lav+ mics, and more. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect. Continue reading "The Original iPhone Film Festival is Now Accepting Entries"

Convergent Design Adds ProRes 4444 & 4444 XQ Support in Odyssey Firmware v2015.11

Convergent Design has continued making improvements to their Odyssey recorders, more specifically to the 7Q and 7Q+. The newest v2015.11 firmware adds a ton of fantastic new features, including support for ProRes 4444 and 4444XQ in 2K/HD resolutions, dual-stream HD monitoring (SDI A + SDI B or HDMI + SDI B) with one stream capable of recording, and 2K High Speed RAW to 2K ProRes for the FS7 and FS700 (100, 120, 200, & 240fps). Dual-Stream recording will come in a future firmware update, but for now, you can at least record one of the streams. Here are just some of the highlights from this firmware update: Read More

Putting the Handheld 4K DJI Osmo to the Test…on Trampolines

When the DJI Osmo came out a little over a month ago, it appeared to be a great option for action cam users wanting to capture high quality, stable images with its 4K camera and integrated 3-axis gimbal system. But as we all know, there are lots of other action cameras out there, as well as little handheld gimbals on which to mount them, namely the GoPro, that are not only cheaper, but have also been vetted by scores of customers. So, to put it to the test, the team over at Lixi Studios took an Osmo to a trampoline park to see how it performed in severely unsteady situations. They follow that up with a short review of its performance in terms of image quality, setup time, and stabilization. Read More

Using a Vintage Soviet Lens with a Tilt Shift Adapter for Breathtaking Bokeh

In the latest installment of Mathieu Stern's Weird Lens Challenge, he went all in to create some of the dreamiest bokeh you've ever seen. If you need a refresher on Stern, he's the Paris-based photographer behind the new web series, Weird Lens Challenge, where he tracks down the strangest, most unique lenses that he can find, shows you how he adapts them to a modern mirrorless camera, then shoots some video with them. The first episode featured a 105 year-old lens from a vintage Eastman Kodak folding camera. Needless to say, it was pretty damn cool, but not particularly practical. Today's episode, however, features a lens that is far more accessible: the hallowed Jupiter-9 85mm f/2, which is widely regarded in the world of vintage lenses as having some of the smoothest bokeh around. When it's paired with an M42 tilt-shift Continue reading "Using a Vintage Soviet Lens with a Tilt Shift Adapter for Breathtaking Bokeh"

Cinematographer Roger Deakins: If the Audience Doesn’t Notice, You’ve Done Your Job

In this great DP/30 interview from David Poland, cinematographer Roger Deakins talks Sicario, when a DP has done their job, working with different directors, and whether 70mm makes sense if the general public won't see it projected that way:

As Deakins says in the interview above, the average person doesn't recognize that they aren't at a real border crossing in Sicario (the border crossing is in a parking lot and the rest was accomplished digitally). When asked by Poland, Deakins agreed that this means the filmmakers have done their job, when a shot is sold and the audience doesn't notice. If you want to see exactly what they are talking about, this BTS footage gives you a look at the set the Sicario team created: Read More

What Was the First Movie That Made You Cry?

< p class="p1"> In this Academy Originals video, a number of acclaimed actors and filmmakers weigh in on the first movies that made them cry:

When you step back and think about it, it's amazing that film as a medium can literally bring people to tears. What we are seeing on screen is a complete fabrication — it's actors playing characters on fake sets with props. Yet if you're doing your job well, you can make people forget they're watching a movie.

I'm not quite sure I remember the first movie, but I know one of the earlier ones is certainly Field of Dreams (mentioned by director Brian Percival in the clip above). Specifically, it's the moment when Ray has this final conversation with his Dad and asks if he'd like to play catch (I would imagine plenty of you get a little choked during this scene as well). It's a beautiful moment Continue reading "What Was the First Movie That Made You Cry?"

Sony Will Stop Making Betamax Tapes in Spring 2016

It's been a long road for the original Beta format, but it will finally come to an end in March 2016. Sony recently announced that they will end production of the original Beta format cassettes that were amazingly still in production in Japan (and apparently only sold there as well). The writing was on the wall for the format, especially as they haven't made a recorder with standard size tapes since 2002, and ended production of the micro format recorders in 2005. Here's more from Sony on the format that's been around since 1975 (translated from Japanese): < p class="indent1"> Sony in March 2016 ※ with a, we will end the shipment of beta video cassette and micro cassette MV.
Beta video cassette is a recording medium of magnetic tape recording method "Betamax format," which was developed towards the video recording applications for the home, Continue reading "Sony Will Stop Making Betamax Tapes in Spring 2016"

New ALEXA Mini 3.0 Firmware Brings Lexar CFast Support & Free 90-Day Beta for 4:3 2.8K ProRes

With the ARRI ALEXA Mini slowly but surely rolling out across the world, the newest firmware updates are doing the same. The SUP 3.0 firmware for the Mini is a big one if you're looking for higher capacity cards, as the Lexar 128GB 3600x, and more importantly the 256GB 3600x are now supported. They've also just announced that a 90-day Beta has been started which will allow anyone to test out the 4:3 2.8K ProRes mode for that time without having to plop down any cash. Here's a look at everything new in SUP 3.0: Read More

Get One New Royalty-Free Song for Your Films Every Single Weekday from Neumann Films

Quality music has the power to make or break the emotional tone of a scene. Quality music can also be restrictively expensive. Luke Neumann is doing his part in the battle to get high-quality royalty free music into the hands of low-budget filmmakers who need it the most. With the "daily freebie" project, Neumann Films is going to be releasing one new song for free every single weekday for the foreseeable future. All you have to do is like the Neumann Films Facebook page and keep your eye out for the new link every day. Before you know it, you'll have built up your own diverse library of royalty-free music that you can use in your films. Here's a sample of some of the tracks that Luke will be releasing as daily freebies: The Continue reading "Get One New Royalty-Free Song for Your Films Every Single Weekday from Neumann Films"

Using a 35mm Adapter on the 4K Canon XC10 to Get a Full-Frame Look

35mm adapters have not gone away for good. You might shudder hearing that statement, but as cameras continue to get even higher resolution, and it becomes harder to differentiate them from each other, there may be opportunities to get an interesting look in the camera by using a tool many of you probably thought was extinct (in this case the Redrock Micro M3): It might seem like a ridiculous setup, and while it defeats the purpose of the 1" sensor, fixed-lens XC10 on its own as a small camera, it does give you a very interesting look — and of course — lets you get the full view out of your 35mm still lenses. You can get 35mm adapters for dirt cheap these days, so it's not quite as ridiculous as it might seem at first, especially if you were already going Continue reading "Using a 35mm Adapter on the 4K Canon XC10 to Get a Full-Frame Look"

What Is ‘Hitchcock’s Rule’ & How Can It Help You Tell Better Visual Stories?

When it comes to visual storytelling, few directors were as precise as Alfred Hitchcock. In fact, many of Hitchcock's filmmaking techniques, some of which have gone on to become essential parts of the cinematic language, are relatively simple, and can even be distilled down into easy-to-remember rules. One such rule has become known simply as "Hitchcock's Rule," and when you apply it to your filmmaking, it can help you frame your shots more intentionally and cut to the correct shots at the correct moments in the editing room. In a quick tutorial from our friends at The Academy of Storytellers, Amina Moreau of Stillmotion describes Hitchcock's Rule and shows you how to apply it in several different filmmaking contexts. Check it out: So, what is Hitchcock's rule? Here's how Amina summarizes it in the Continue reading "What Is ‘Hitchcock’s Rule’ & How Can It Help You Tell Better Visual Stories?"

These Are the 101 Funniest Screenplays According to the Writers Guild of America

After watching a plethora of horror films during October, nothing cleanses the palate quite like comedy. If you're looking to put away the slashers and bust out the funny stuff, the Writers Guild of America West and East held events in both L.A. and New York to decide on a list of 101 of the funniest screenplays ever written, including live-action, animation, silent, and documentary. What tops the list? (I couldn't be happier with this decision!) Woody Allen's Annie Hall. Read More

DaVinci Resolve 12.1 Adds New Editing & Color Improvements, Plus 10-Bit Support in OSX

Today, Blackmagic Design released version 12.1 of DaVinci Resolve, and it's full of new features and improvements for editors and colorists alike. Most notably, Resolve 12.1 added a number of editing improvements, many of which are focused on efficient media management. In the new version, you will be able to filter clips more efficiently, manage media groups of selected timeline clips, sort bins and footage more easily, and create better filters for smart bins. Resolve 12.1 also includes support for native 10-bit viewing in the latest version of OSX. Here's an excerpt from today's press release that explains what this means for editors and colorists using the new iMacs with P3 displays. < p class="indent1"> DaVinci Resolve 12.1 adds support for native display profiles on Mac OS X El Capitan, along with the option to enable Continue reading "DaVinci Resolve 12.1 Adds New Editing & Color Improvements, Plus 10-Bit Support in OSX"

Here’s a Simple Word Game You Can Play to Generate Unique & Creative Ideas in Minutes

What do you do to generate ideas? If you're like me, you sit staring at a blank page and tap your pen until they eventually spill out along with the ink. Unfortunately, the ink rarely ever spills this way. And since we're in a creative medium that is driven by the success of good ideas, this certainly poses a humongous problem. How do we solve the dreaded issue of an arid imagination that refuses to produce creative fruit? In this TEDxTokyo talk from 2013, toy developer Shimpei Takahashi offers a fun solution -- a word game that you can play anywhere to combat your artistic stagnation. The game is called Shiritori and it's a way of generating random words in order to form creative connections -- a game that allows you to develop unique ideas simply by Continue reading "Here’s a Simple Word Game You Can Play to Generate Unique & Creative Ideas in Minutes"