Posts Tagged 'Film'

CinemaTech In Jerusalem and a new Facebook Group about Cinema and Technology

On Tuesday, 10th of July, I will attend the first cinema and technology conference in Jerusalem. The event, part of Jerusalem Film Festival, will cover issues such as the effect of the web on filmmakers, how the Internet is changing viewers habits, and  new technologies in this field.

I am participating in a panel discussing opportunities for filmmakers in the cyberspace, with Nir Ofir from BlogTV and several other prominent Israeli figures (starting at 1030). At 1200 my friend Jeff Pulver will talk about monetization models for filmmakers.

The entrance is free- just email elad@jff.org.il and ask to add your name to the list.

On the same note – I’ve noticed that there are no major Facebook groups for cinema and technology. As the Internet TV group has already 140 members in just two weeks, I took the liberty of opening one on this exciting topic. You can find it here.

See you in Jerusalem.

A Surprise in Paris

Last weekend I walked down the streets of Paris, near Place de la Concorde, and bumped into a Nazi soldier

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At first I was shocked – either I drank too much, or it was possible to travel through time and space, or Europe has gone crazy again…
Much to my relief (I am Jewish after all…) I found myself standing in the middle of a historical movie set, taking place in occupied France. All around me were WWII cars, news stands, and people dressed in long coats and hats. It was surreal to see old army tracks and buses full of extras dressed up in 40’s fashion, only to get distracted by a modern day cars passing by.

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I was also amazed to see the amount of equipment and staff that were on set, besides the actors. The scene was simple – two women meet at the entrance to a Metro station, and two sinister SS detectives follow them (nothing like long leather rain coats to get you typecasted)…
I counted 5 tracks of equipment, at least 30 people around the set, 2 cameras, projectors and loads of audio equipment. It made me think about how crazy all of us are, trying to create content on the cheap, as we are up against these huge productions.

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For me it was an amazing experience – step into a different period in time, and see how much effort is invested in each film we see.
One of the extras told me it is the set of a film “The Lady in The Dark”. I didn’t find any info on it online – but it might be that there is only information in French, or that it is a working title. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

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Video Games/Story MashUp

Recently I wrote a post about the importance of a good story, mentioning the amazing book by Robert Mckee with the same title.

Not long after that, Lance Weiler, an independent film producer, director and distributor, who directed movies such as Head Trauma and The Last Broadcast, published a great post about the relation between video games and movie scripts, discussing the same McKee book.

The post, written by M.Strange, and published at the Workbook Project blog, was a real eye opener, and simplified a lot of the concepts in the original book.

Here is a small example, comparing the idea of gradual increase in tension, with difficulty levels of Bosses in most video games:

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I wanted to write about Lance for some time, as he is a multidisciplinary person with strong understanding of the power of social networks and online promotion. The Workbook project, one of zillion websites, is a great source for DYI filmmaking and thought leadership.

Lance, if you are reading this post – drop me a line, I’d love to e-mail interview you for my humble blog!

Here’s the song from M.Strange first movie, “We Are The Strange“:

What Old Media Can Learn from New Media Creators

The guys behind Something To Be Desired (STBD), Galacticast, and other great shows have one thing in common – they know how to create high quality content on the cheap. Most of them are not making a dime of their work. This is not their fault – it is a market that needs to mature. But still, they create great content in micro budgets.

How can STBD make a show for fraction of the cost of a regular TV show?

First of all they have one camera. Unbelievable, right? With smart editing they manage to make it look as if there are at least two cameras on set. Second, all their actors are volunteers. So, right, it is harder to do it for a long period with professional actors, but it is a creative way to do things. Third, they don’t have separate guys for editing, directing, sound, lighting, and overall production responsibility. It is all the same guy with the T-shirt. And fourth, their actors are involved in the script writing. Now compare that with the set of Studio 60….

As we all know, the world of television is changing. It is harder to get high rating for shows that are not event based. This viewership fragmentation reduces the economic value of single productions, and in time force old media producers to cut their budgets. So if there is one thing the old media guys can learn from these new energetic creators is how, with some creativity, to do things much cheaper than in the regular let’s-have-a-battalion-of-people-on-the-set-cause-everyone-does-one-thing approach.

This is not new. Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi for 7000$, using the same concepts. Did it change the movie industry? No. but I am certain that when gross revenues will drop, the Hollywood guys will wake up. TV industry can do it now.

Somehow, I don’t believe it will happen…

When Poor – Write a Good Story

One thing we all agree about is that independent media creators don’t have a lot of money. We wish it was different, but it is the case. Most of us are working without external financing, and don’t see a lot of money from our work. So we are using one camera, editing on our home computers, trying to cut costs in every way possible. We cannot match the money and crew invested in traditional media productions.

But there is one thing that the big guys and us can do exactly the same – write a good story.

I had the pleasure of attending the Story seminar of Robert McKee. If you have the chance to attend it – it is an amazing experience. If not, you can buy his book Story, an equally eloquent source for his vision. Robert teaches how to write a good story, with a focus on screenwriting. There are tons of books about how to write a script, but this one is different – not only it is written by a real life scriptwriter’s Guru, it is also clear, direct, and with no bullshit approach. In his seminar, Robert stated that a good script is a seller’s market. There are tons of scripts out there – but not good ones.

We, unlike the film industry, don’t have a gatekeeper. We have a bigger problem – clutter, noise, tons of shows out there. It is still a major challenge to tackle, differentiate from more than 500 shows out there, and get people to watch ours. But no one can stop us from putting our content out there. Couple that with a good story, and you have a rival for big media. We have the ability to be brave. We can experiment, as we don’t invest the huge amount of money the big guys are throwing in their productions.
It is true that lighting, sounds, image quality, are all important factors of production value. But a story, telling an interesting tale, is impossible to beat.


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Continue reading ‘When Poor – Write a Good Story’

300 DIY Style

If you didn’t see 300 yet – go and see ASAP. Not much of a plot (Persians want to rule the Spartans, some naked girl is mumbling, and from that point onward – dead Persians, dead Persians, dead Persian horses, dead Persians, dead elephants, and some dead Greeks), but if you watch the film as an artistic venture, it is very impressive. Not only the colors are amazing, but also some special effects create a whole new experience. They make it look like Alexander on Crack (as Deb use to say)
I came across Dan Masquelier’s blog the other day, and saw something pretty neat – he remade some of the action and color effects in 300 on his own.
here is an example:

His site has longer portions of this clip, as well as other cool DIY effects.

Dan used affordable editing and effects software (Adobe After Effect and Sony Vegas), and got an amazing look and effect. This is another aspect of democratization of content creation, where the only thing stopping people from creating quality content is their talent….


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