What is a Timeline – Editing Basics

We all got to start somewhere… The Basic Filmmaker covers the basics of timeline editing – what is a timeline and what does it mean.

Do note that if you are working with a 29.97 fps sequence which is a broadcast and television friendly frame rate (really you should always be using 29.97 if you’re shooting 30 fps and 23.976 if you’re shooting 24p), then the frame after 00;00;59;29 should be 00;01;00;02 because of something called drop frame. This “leap frame” is just the timeline compensative for the extra .03 frames gained every second – after 60 seconds the time code is ahead by 1.8 frames – so two frames are dropped now putting the time code .2 frames ahead. This continues 9 times until the 10th minute when there is no drop frame when 29.97fps and 30fps match perfectly.


Keynote with Mark Duplass from SxSW

Mark Duplass, a director, actor, writer, and producer, discusses the migration of filmmakers to television, to the emergence of VOD and its impact on micro-budget film. Duplass has eight pieces of advice for those who want to start a career in filmmaking. He also talks on the changing models of film and television distribution/production, how those changes affect those in the independent sphere, and why carving out your particular corner of the sandbox is going to be the key to maintaining creative control in the future.

Mark Duplass

No, 360 Video is Not Going to Replace Traditional Filmmaking, but It’s Still Cool as Hell

I’ve gotten several emails at Filmmaker IQ asking if 360 video is going to replace traditional filmmaking techniques. The answer of course is “NO!” -followed by a definitive “HELL NO!” but that doesn’t make 360 video still really cool.

The funny thing is when this video came up in my browser I didn’t even know it was a 360 video. I thought the image was kinda of crappy so I clicked on the YouTube resolution and saw it was playing in 480s - I had never seen that nomenclature before – then I realized I could mouse click and drag my way around. The “s” must stand for spherical.

Spherical Video

The biggest reason why 360 won’t replace traditional filmmaking is it eliminates the director from the filmmaking equation. Shot composition and montage are effectively destroyed – everything is shot from only one focal length (wide) and the user can choose what to look at which can be more distracting than driving the story forward. I’m sure some enterprising director will come along and make a brilliant 360 narrative – and it’s going to be awesome. But it’s not replacing traditional film.

But more importantly, the question raises a bigger problem in the way we discuss the future of film. We tend to treat film as a monolithic endeavor – CGI vs Practical, Widescreen vs Academy ratio, VHS vs Betamax. With the exception of format standards such as the final example, there is very little that is monolithic about film. There’s room for all kinds of films, all kinds of narrative and all kinds of ways to tell that narrative. A 360 narrative film will happen one day, but that doesn’t mean we stop making traditional film when that day comes – there’s room for both.

We can get extremely narrow sighted when it comes to our view of the filmmaking world – it happens even to the best of us (Spielberg and Lucas have heralded an implosion of Hollywood – and it has yet to happen so Spielberg backtracked). I have been critical of the “democratization of filmmaking” because it has led not to good competition but competition with a deluge of crap – BUT the democratization also means there are a lot more demand and a lot more avenues to serve that demand.  In other words – there’s just more variety – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The day you can put on a VR set and enter a horror movie will be a landmark day. If they can figure out the technology to bring a companion with you into that film it will lead to a baby boom a la the Snuggle Theory.

Film Emulation for Digital Video, Explained

This video examines film emulators, reviewing their common features and suggested uses. Film emulation is the process of converting digital footage to appear as if it was shot on film. This process works by matching the color values of digital footage to different film stocks. Film emulation can be achieved through stand-alone software, with plugins, or by using color look-up tables (often called LUTs).

Film Grading

How the “Kiss Cam” Works

We’ve seen kiss cams — but how do they work? Here’s a peek behind the scenes.

It’s easy to be captivated by the occasional kiss cam fail or kiss cam prank. But behind the humor of kiss cam compilations is the hard work of the people who make it happen. Ever wonder if the kiss cam challenge is real, or fake? This is how it happens.

Kiss cam

10 Cloverfield Lane’s Title is its Biggest Spoiler

Through social media I heard that John Goodman’s performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane was something to be marveled. I checked the reviews – most of them had glowing headlines and started off by warning readers that the review would not contain much plot description as that would ruin the experience of the film. Well the same warning goes here as the rest of this piece will contain major spoilers – but I might argue that the biggest one is right there in the title:

10 Cloverfield

I came at this film not having watched the original Cloverfield and knowing pretty much nothing about the film. I didn’t follow the press leading up to it – I even admitted as much to the ticket guy at the movie theater when he asked me if I was excited to see the film. I had no idea what was going to happen except the basic premise… and that it was connected to Cloverfield.

And that, when reflecting on the film, was a problem.

The dramatic tension of the film rests on the question of whether or not John Goodman’s character in the film is lying about what’s going on outside of the bunker. Is Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) being held captive or is she really being kept safe from the terror above. Unfortunately because we know it’s a Cloverfield movie, we know the latter is the truth. John Goodman’s character is still a monster in his own right, but the big finale sequence involving the alien monster doesn’t feel like a shocking twist but rather the payoff we expected from the title.

The film was adapted from an original script titled The Cellar – which I’m guessing was never originally tied to the Cloverfield universe. Judging by the loglines, the truth about what’s going on outside the bunker was meant to be a mystery and a source of dramatic tension. That tension doesn’t exist here.

But of course not being tied to a big name like Cloverfield would probably have scored the film $100 million less in box office sales. So I get why they drew the link. And I also realize that people have been tracking this film in the news as a Cloverfield successor so there’s really no way to hide that fact. But maybe this story wasn’t the right fit for the franchise.

Now reading this far, you might have gotten the impression that I didn’t like 10 Cloverfield Lane and that is far from true. I found it a very well crafted film which moved briskly apart from dialogue scene between Michelle and the Emmitt which I thought was just too slow and expository (I really was ready to nod off on that one which I can’t say about every other scene).

I really enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane, but I can’t help but wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had I not known what would be on the other side of the bunker door. 


Newer Posts
Older Posts