A Special Effects Masterclass with Douglas Trumbull

Douglas Trumbull, the industry pioneer behind the special effects of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Blade Runner joins post-secondary students and faculty to discuss his remarkable career in visual effects and his own directorial projects.This Higher Learning event was held on December 9, 2010 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Douglas Trumbull

How to Get ‘Clinique’ Style Product Shots

Learn how to shoot product photos as good as those that you see in the website & brochures of Clinique. In this tutorial, master trainer Andrew Boey teaches you how to use the ‘Zebra Flag’ & ‘M Flag’ to get such amazing photos. You will also learn how to make a new type of flag: the ‘Zebra M Flag’. This flag will give you beautiful product photos like those shot by international commercial product photographers

Via PetaPixel


Scientists Discovered the Egyptian Secret to Moving Huge Pyramid Stones

The question has baffled archaeologists for a century – but now we have a better guess of how the Ancient Egyptians were able to drag huge blocks of stone across the desert – an important piece of knowledge should you need to story set in the time of the Pharaohs


The question of just how an ancient civilization—without the help of modern technology—moved the 2.5 ton stones that made up their famed pyramids has long plagued Egyptologists and mechanical engineers alike. But now, a team from the University of Amsterdam believes they’ve figured it out, even though the solution was staring them in the face all along.

It all comes down to friction. See, the ancient Egyptians would transport their rocky cargo across the desert sands, from quarry to monument site with large sleds. Pretty basic sleds, basically just large slabs with upturned edges. Now, when you try to pull a large slab with upturned edges carrying a 2.5 ton load, it tends to dig into the sand ahead of it, building up a sand berm that must then be regularly cleared before it can become an even bigger obstacle.

Wet sand, however, doesn’t do this. In sand with just the right amount of dampness, capillary bridges—essentially microdroplets of water that bind grains of sand to one another through capillary action—form across the grains, which doubles the material’s relative stiffness. This prevents the sand from berming in front of the sled and cuts the force required to drag the sled in half. In half.

Gizmodo | Read the Full Article

Creating the Iconic Title Sequence of “The Sopranos”

A discussion with The Sopranos creator DAVID CHASE and logotype designer BRETT WICKENS.


When did you start to think about the title sequence for the show?

DC: I guess after HBO said they were going to make a series out of the pilot, which would have been 1998. I always had the idea for the journey from New York to New Jersey.

Where did that idea come from? Did you look at older films, especially Mafia-based films? Those tend to focus on simple typography, but The Sopranos title sequence seems different, in terms of showing locations and the journey.

DC: I guess I mostly wanted to show that we were in the New York metropolitan area but specifically New Jersey. A lot of people had told me that nobody’s going to care that the show is in New Jersey or even notice it. But I wanted to be sure that [the location] was imprinted. That we were not dealing with Rome, we were dealing with one of the provinces.

I came up with the idea, we all discussed it, and I went on a scout in the scout van with Allen Coulter and Phil Abraham and everybody. I showed them the places I wanted to shoot. I said, just close this whole thing down here — and they did. I was not involved with the live action shooting. I had to go back and do some post-production work on the pilot and then our editor, Sidney Wolinsky, put it together.

Did you have any other concepts aside from the final with Tony driving from New York to New Jersey?

DC: There were no other concepts.

Bernie Brillstein and Brad Grey were founders of production company Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, which packaged programming and managed talent, and with whom David Chase had signed a development deal for The Sopranos.

Well, there were no alternate concepts, but for a long time HBO and Brillstein didn’t get it that we didn’t show the regulars. We didn’t show anybody else from the show so they made us do a bunch of shots where we drove past the pork store and you saw Christopher and Dr. Melfi getting out of a car and some other nonsense. They wanted us to include that in the sequence and we all looked at it and said, “No. It’s not going to happen.”

Art of the Title | Read The Full Article

Movie Industry Money Terms Explained

Entertainment Lawyer Christopher Schiller dives into common money terms in filmmaking contracts and what they mean for screenwriters.


Typically studios, producers or anyone else funding movies don’t work with piles of bills lying around in a vault, ready to fund movies. There are numerous schemes that are used to shift funds when needed into the right places to keep the checks from bouncing. There are terms that mean a filmmaker’s money is “somewhere” and is essentially available when needed.

Line-of-Credit – is when a studio or production entity is able to secure what is in essence a pre-approved loan limit prior to asking for any funds. The funds are “available” but not really theirs. There’s usually a pre-arranged percentage rate for the loan, but no interest is accrued until the money is actually borrowed. It is not uncommon for a studio to have a $300 million plus line of credit at their disposal for a period of time.

What the writer needs to know – Even when working with a studio, the difference between a green light and just keen interest in a project is that going ahead will incur a financial risk and prevent the studio from moving forward with other projects. So if a studio says, “Can you make it for less?” there’s likely a financial reason behind the request.

Negative Pickup – is an older term meaning that you get bupkiss right now for production funds to make the film, but, if you manage to deliver a completed film (an old school, actual negative) ready for distribution then you get the promised funds. A filmmaker can take that promise to another entity and borrow against it (for a percentage) in order to have actual cash to make the film to be delivered.

What the writer/director needs to know – typically the borrowing against the negative pickup will be at a severe discount. You’ll need to make up the difference somewhere in order to pay the costs of getting that distribution ready product. But, if you deliver, you’ll be able to pay everything back. | Read the Full Article

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