Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Digital Film Updates and my Ebook

Digital Film Updates and my Ebook

This will be a quick post to update you guys on a few campaigns , upcoming topics and my newly released ebook.

First we are going to take a quick look at a new crowd funding campaign for the sequel to The Joker Rising. The film maker sent me the trailer a few days ago and I am sorry it took a while to get it up online.
For those of you who have not seen it, The Joker Rising is not only one of the best fan films ever made, it is one of the best micro budget films ever made. I am going to include the finished film at the end of this post. Check it out and see what you can produce with hard work and less than five thousand dollars.

This is short film that caught my attention and I hope to get and interview with the film maker for a future post.

Arrowhead: Signal from Arrowhead: The Movie on Vimeo.

It is a shameless plug time. I have published a new ebook. It is a collection of interviews about and basic lesson on digital film making. It is a great little book and would make a nice xmas present for the aspiring film maker. The title is On Low Budget Filmmaking, Digital Film Making Interviews. You can find the ebook version at Amazon and B&N right now. The paperback will be available on Amazon in December. You can buy it at amazon by clicking here.  Or clicking here.

One more bit of business if you are a sci fi fan you are aware of the fact that this week will concluded with the 50th anniversary of the series Doctor Who. I a a huge fan of the original version of the series. I have seen every episode of the first seven doctors. Doctor # 3's episode Inferno may be the best pure sci fi episode of any tv series ever done. Okay I would like to post this doctor who short done by the producer of the series, his way of prepping every fan for what is coming Saturday. Its a really good little film, if he had gotten rid of the sonic screwdriver it could have been perfect.

Okay that will be it for today. I have posted the complete version of The Joker Rising below. If any of you have a topic you would like me to cover please contact me by leaving a comment of joining me on google plus. I received the request for a steam punk post to be included in the upcoming sci fi series of post and I am working on it.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Clandestine, And Sci-fi Film Making

After seeing the fantastic short sci-fi film Clandestine and seeing the great behind the scene video that film maker Aron J. Anderson shot I wanted to interview him. This interview begins what will be a series of post on the subject of sci-fi film making.

So many film makers have been told that sci-fi is out of reach because you need millions of dollars to make an impressive film. Those who say it and those who believe it do not truly understand what great sci-fi involves. If you believe that the remake of Total Recall or the over blown retooling of the Star Trek Franchise is great science fiction then you need to go back to the starting point and read some of the early masters of the genre. Science fiction is about speculation about technology and how it affects our existence. If you want to see great sci-fi I would suggest a film like Forbidden Planet which has state of art effect for its day, but is about humanity and what took much tech too quickly developed can do to a race like the human race.

Okay that is my rant on science fiction. Time to get to my interview with Aron J Anderson.

Thanks to today’s technology we are seeing a revolution taking place at the low to micro budget film level. What I have notice during the last year is that film makers have begun to move away from shooting quickly comedies and found footage horror and have turned their sights on sci-fi.

Clandestine from Aron J Anderson on Vimeo.

Q)The first question I hear from indie film makers is usually what camera did you shoot it with so I have to ask about the Panasonic Gh3. It is relatively new and I have to ask how well did it perform and would you use it on future projects?

A)I have had many cameras in the last 5 years, Panasonic AG-DVX100B, Canon T2i,Canon 60d, Sony 5n, Sony VG 20, I used the Canon 5d MarkII, and Canon 7d, Panasonic GH2 (hacked), and the Gh3 is by far the quickest and most enjoyable camera I have ever used. It also has the best detail in the image then all but the Panasonic GH2 hacked (Very close). I would defiantly use the GH3 camera on my next projects.

Q)It looks like this camera handled natural light very well. I see from the behind the scenes footage that you used work lights for a few shots. Many low budget film makers consider work lights as a last resort because of of the harsh light that they produce. Did you have any problems with them?

A)The GH3 has pretty good dynamic range for a DSLR. The only time I use work lights is if the location we are filming in is large or there is a lot of bright back lit scenes. In the case of Clandestine we were going to use the work lights to light the actors during the fight scene because you can see that the sun was very bright outside behind the actors and I did not want to have the background blow all the way out. But our generator died and we ended up not using the work lights. So I had to use a still image of the back ground and tracked and composited it back in the scene so it wouldn't be all blown out in the back ground. So I just exposed for the actors and let the background blow out and composited it in post.

Q)Dslr cameras and sound recording are like oil and water. What did you use to record sound?

A)This was the biggest problem for me. We only had 3 months to finish this film for a contest and I couldn't find a dedicated sound guy so I had to just record audio in the GH3 and had a friend hold the boom. So I was teaching my small crew as we went. The sound recording of the GH3 is pretty good but the location we filmed in were noise and I had to use post to really clean the audio up and that is what made the audio disappointing to me. I used the Rode video mic pro on a boom.

Q)There are a lot of special FX in this short film. Who did the visual effects work and what type of software was involved?

A)I did all the FX in the film actually I did everything in the film except the music score, I did however mix the score with all the other audio FX. For 3d I used Blender, 3D studio Max to make the 3D models or manipulate ones already made by other artist. I also heavily used After Effects with Element 3d. For Making all the audio Effects I used the Zoom H1 to capture audio then I used Audacity to creat the audio FX I needed.

Q)Watching the making of video I noticed you checking story boards. When planning a film that requires a great deal of CGI how important are the story boards?

A)Story boarding is so important. I know lots of people who film with out them and they say they don't need them, but if you want to make really good films you need to storyboards specially if you do CG or other complex camera moves.

Q)From the behind the scenes footage it looks as if you work with a very small crew. Are you comfortable wearing many hats on the set? Are you most comfortable with the camera in your hands?

A)The crew That helped me were great however they were friends of mine and they don't have much experience in making films. So I had to wear all the hats. I had to learn all aspects of filmmaking because when I started out I wanted to do so much in a film, but knew no one who knew how to do it, so I had to learn it for my self. I am defiantly most comfortable with the camera in my hands because I am DP first, then everything after that.

Q)Film makers who develop a strong following tend to specialize in one particular genre. Is sci-fi your genre?

A)I think so just because I love all the gadgets and stuff. But defiantly will film other genre.

Q)The first teacher that every film maker has is the film maker that inspired him or her to pick up a camera for the first time. Who was that film maker?

A)That's a tough one for me because when I was 16 I wanted to take pictures of beautiful California while I went mountain biking. So I was self motivated to by a Minolta SLR stills camera and learn photography. It wasn't till years later when the Pastor of my church need someone to buy and work a camera to film the Sunday service. So while I was searching the internet about video cameras I came across Phillip Bloom using lens adapter to fit on camcorders to get shallow death of field. So I guess I would have to say Phillip Bloom.

Q)After watching Clandestine one gets the feeling that it is part of a larger story. Are there other short films in the future based upon these characters and situations or perhaps a feature planned?

A)Yes it is a big story and I planed on making a part two, but then I decided just to re due Clandestine the way it should be, but I need a bigger budget. So I'm going to see if I can get funded for a feature film, if not then I will just make a part two in the same low budget way I did the first one.

Clandestine Behind The Scenes from Aron J Anderson on Vimeo.

Q)Every film maker who spends any time looking at what is happening at the low budget level usually comes away with a wish or two. As in Tarantino wishes that film makers would do melodrama like they did in the 1950’s. I have a boat load of wishes. I wish that we could bring the Western back. What do you believe is missing from the film making landscape?

A)What we don't need is more alien movies. I would love to see more historical drama action movies like Last of The Samurai.

Q)What is your next project?

A)I do lots of filming for other companies for documentary and corporate work and I'm always filming personal videos of nature and the world around me but as far as short film I have Clandestine 2 and two more movies that I'm writing now neither are sci fi.

If you would like to follow Aron’s work you can visit his website by clicking here.

On Facebook by clicking here. and on twitter by clicking here..

Again I would like to thank Aron for doing this interview and you can find more examples of his work and some great DIY tutorials by him at Vimeo.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Digital Filmmaking, A Few Notes

Digital Filmmaking, A Few Notes

I thought that I would do a quick post on a few subject that I have been meaning to touch upon.

I am working on a pair of interviews concerning sci-fi on a micro budget. So many of us have thought that sci-fi on a feature length scale has been beyond us so that we instead do horror films. I am learning that the same technology that gives us the ability to shoot digital films on a low budget that visually can stand side by side with the studio productions also offers the opportunity to produce sci-fi. I do not believe that it is yet possible to produce a Star Wars or Alien on a micro budget because unless you are going to green screen everything down to the sets themselves you are going to spend some money. Also being a fan of practical effects when possible would inflate a budget. That said, how many of us have watched a recent big budget sci-fi film and thought that we could shoot the exact same film on 1/100 of the budget.

So I will be looking for sci-fi film makers to talk to during the coming months. Okay I have a crowdfunding campaign that I was asked to post. The filmmaker is shooting this film using a Canon T3i. I hope to get an interview with them when their campaign is over.


 I would like to also remind you guys that Angel Dust is still in the middle of a campaign and if you cannot donate money you can share the project with a friend. Embed it on your facebook page or use your twitter to share it. The Angel Dust post has been extremely popular, but so far it has not translated into support.   

  Next bit of business, the official international trailer for the now finished Canon hv20 shot feature film Throwback is ready and it looks great. When watching this trailer keep in mind that the movie was shot with a camera that can be purchased for about two hundred dollars.



 I suppose that will be it for today. I am right now in the middle of editing a an ebook featuring some of the interviews that have been published here with a lot of great new content mixed in. I hope to have it published before the end of this year. Thank you for visiting. Please take a moment to share this post and good luck with your projects.