Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cannes preparation...

It's been a while since my last post... i've been enjoying the amazing weather over the Easter break and also working hard on the preparation for our Cannes trip.

As i covered last year, Cannes is a fantastic festival and there's a lot to be gained by going, but you can't just roll up and expect to get the most out of it.

We've been filming a 'pitch' film featuring the cast of 'Their Law' to launch on the website the day that Cannes opens, as well as preparing a full colour investment brochure and some postcards to hand out. These kind of things make it easier to capitalise on Cannes.

We've gone for an A5 sized brochure as we noticed last year that a lot of the A4 sized paperwork that people brought to meetings just got left on tables later in the evening. A5 will fit in a jacket pocket or bag...and that means it's got a better chance of making it home. There's a lot of drinking and partying..and that means people get a little careless and even though they might fully intend to call you next week...they can't if they've lost your details. So... it's a multi-sized approach. Brochures...then postcards (full of information and some nice artwork...great for leaving on tables etc) and then the ubiquitous business card. Always carry business cards... it's a must.

The view from The Grand in Cannes. Where we'll be most of the time...
So what else? Well, when i meet people in situations like Cannes.. i like to do a little checking up to make sure they are who they say... i Google them. So make sure your website is up to date. Google yourself and see what comes up... then make sure it's not going to make you look like a dick. If you're pitching a film..make sure it's got a current website and that you are on there somewhere. If you've got the time and funds to put a little taster video on the website...even better.

We're hoping to make contact with other film makers in a similar position to us while we're there, so we'll be frequenting the British and American Pavilions during the day, as well as the usual trawling of the Palais. It's definitely a game of 2 halves in Cannes. Daytimes for seeing the stands and sensible meetings that you've pre-arranged and then nights for socialising/networking/partying. It's the late night networking that seems to work best for making new contacts.  Early evening is when everyone is either at screenings or having dinner, so it's not really worth hitting the Croisette before 10pm... but then you need to stay until the very early hours to get the most out of it. 

If anyone wants to meet up with us over there, we'll be there from the 16th to the drop us an email. It's good to chat to other film makers over a beer.

Here's a sneak preview of the poster and brochure cover for 'Their Law',  which we are pitching in Cannes this year.

See you there...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Final Cut Pro X... coming in June...and it's only $299!!

Wow... i gotta admit, although i did think it might be an app store download, i didn't think they'd drop the price so much. Ok, i know there's not the whole 'Studio' bundle in there... but, it does now incorporate 'Colour' and 'Soundtrack' into the main application. I never liked all those separate apps anyway...way too much moving around.

So what's new? Well, here's a few of the features:

  • 64 bit (at last)
  • Unlimited longer stuck at 4GB
  • Resolution up to 4K
  • No more transcoding - can use multiple codecs on the timeline natively
  • Renders on the fly in the background
  • Non-destructive color balance on import
  • Stabilisation on import
  • Audio clean-up on import
  • Single keystroke nesting
  • Clip sync via audio. Similar to Plural Eyes.
  • Pitch corrected audio scrubbing
  • Single click to match color between clips
  • Advanced color correction
The biggest news has to be the price... $299 and as a download from the App Store? Fantastic.

Now, a lot of people are already moaning about it. "It looks like iMovie"... or "it's been dumbed down"..... or even "It's dreadful...look at it!".

Stop for a moment. Anyone here ever use Logic before version 8? Logic is the former Emagic pro audio app that the music industry relies on. Apple bought it and things changed....for the better.

First, they bundled all the separate apps into one. Then they dropped the £300 from £700. Then, in version 8, they did what Apple have just done to FCP... they re-coded it and changed the GUI.

Users were up in arms. They said it looked like Garageband... they said it dumbed down a great app. They were wrong. Logic is now easier and quicker to use than it ever was before. The GUI helps this process. It's better, faster and far more professional than the old dog of app we had before.

Just think of all the idiosyncratic ways we have to use FCP now... ridiculous left-over code from version 1.0.  It's well over-due an update and i think this will be a great new start for people with open minds everywhere. Old skool grumpy editors can move over to Premiere... good luck with that.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Hardcore Indie... a great project

As lots of indie film makers find out, getting a project off the ground can be a nightmare. From finding like-minded individuals to help you to finding the funding for the production...there are obstacles every step of the way.  It's very easy to talk a good game.... there's plenty of people on the net who are happy to tell you about their next project and how it's all going to work, but very few of them see it through and lot of them never even get started.

David Baker is someone i have been chatting to on and off for a while now on Twitter. He's an indie film maker from Scotland. He's made one film from within the industry with full funding etc and another he made himself with a tiny budget. He's seen both sides of the fence and he's ready to make another movie. David has hooked up with American film maker Oklahoma Ward and actress Nicole Alonso and they have some big plans. They want to make 2 features, side by side.... David's 'Screen' and Oklahoma's 'Crawl'....both horror in genre and both great concepts. Their plan is to set-up a new indie film studio and make it a long term project. So, to get things moving they are planning a documentary covering the making of these two films and all the behind the scenes trails and tribulations that will occur. The doc is called 'Hardcore Indie'.  If you're interested in film making, supporting their project could bring many benefits, not the least of which is benefiting from their experience and the regular video diaries and updates on the project they are planning.

Please go and check out their KickStarter page... there's only 6 days left for you to get involved. I'm sure they'd appreciate any kind of donation at all.... and you'll get plenty in return.

 Click here>

Shut up moaning!!!

It's been an interesting few weeks with the leaks of what's coming at NAB over in the US this week. There's also been lots of talk about the new Sony FS100 and how it compares to the Panasonic AF101. But...the thing that's winding me right up is the amount of moaning about the features these cams have...or don't in some cases. Everyone's got their pants in a twist about the lack of ND filters and an HD-SDi output. Why? There are solid reasons for omitting these features. Firstly, price point... you want the camera cheap as possible right? It's designed for indie film go and buy a MatteBox then all the filters you buy from now on (ND filters included) will fit any camera you have in the future... much nicer than using some half-arsed ND filter built into the camera. As for the SDi output... you've got a clean HDMI output instead... that's fine! If you really want SDi, go and buy a more expensive camera...

A lot of people on the forums are saying: Why can't Sony just give us everything we want? Twin SD slots, ND filters, SDi, 50MB...  You already know why.. because if they build the perfect camera, they won't sell any others in their range...and you won't upgrade for years. They are running a BUSINESS...they need to sell cameras regularly.  It's the same with Panny and Canon...  Of course Canon could bring out an industry winning DSLR-meets-Video Camera winner with 5Dmk2 image quality but with RAW support, no nasty H.264 and a clean HDMI output...they could even make it shoot great stills too.... but why would they? They'd be killing too many of the other markets they sell in.

Look on the bright side... we've got so much choice now. You want shallow DoF shots? You are no longer limited to a DSLR or a F35 or RED camera. You now have these new large sensor video cameras for affordable money... ok, not DSLR affordable, but not far off.  Why is that bad? Why are people so angry with the manufacturers? Embrace what you've got... worry less about the technology and more about what you are shooting.