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Indie Film & Documentary Tutorials

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ARRI
ARRI AMIRA Puts 35mm Sensor in Documentary-Style Package

ARRI AMIRA Puts 35mm Sensor in Documentary-Style Package

Shooters with a need for efficiency and hardiness and a desire for great image quality will want to check out ARRI AMIRA, a new documentary-style camera available in April.

Editorial, Feature
Kylee Wall
Cinematography
Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC Brings Blackmagic to Dallas

Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC Brings Blackmagic to Dallas

Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC is probably best known for his work as cinematographer on the groundbreaking international hit 24. The most recent of his many jobs since then is TNT's Dallas, where he has shot 36 episodes so far, and directed three. Creative COW Contributing Editor Debra Kaufman spoke to Rodney about his work on both sides of the lens, including his use of the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera to complement the production's ARRI Alexas.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
A Distinctive LOOK For 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

A Distinctive LOOK For 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

In his third time working with Wes Anderson, LOOK Effects VFX Supervisor Gabriel Sanchez helped implement the director's singular vision on The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Tim Wilson
Indie Film & Documentary
Ten Tips to Indie Filmmaking

Ten Tips to Indie Filmmaking

We love talking about tools and technologies, but there's a lot more to filmmaking than cameras and computers. Writer/director/producer Rick Castañeda has made over 30 short films, and just wrapped his first feature. Here, he offers hard-won insights into the practical details of making an independent film.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Rick Castañeda
Cinematography
BlackVue SC500 from Pittasoft

BlackVue SC500 from Pittasoft

Filmmaker Douglas Spotted Eagle takes a look at the new BlackVue Sport SC500 HD action POV camera.

Review, Editorial, Feature
Douglas Spotted Eagle
Social Media
How Are You Doing? Really...

How Are You Doing? Really...

In an industry where mental health is hard to come by, Kylee Wall reminds us how important it is to ask ourselves, and our peers, "How are you doing?". When's the last time you answered truthfully?

Editorial, Feature
Kylee Wall
Cinematography
History of the Film Lab

History of the Film Lab

A closer look at the history of film labs shows that business has been getting tougher for quite a while, and offers some insights into the specifics of what's coming soon.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Climbing Mountains to Make Lone Survivor

Climbing Mountains to Make Lone Survivor

"We are going to climb mountains" - that's what director Peter Berg told Petra Holtorf-Stratton before they began work on his movie, Lone Survivor. "And we did," she told us, "literally and figuratively." Petra tells us about making this powerful film based on the true story of a Navy SEAL's ordeal in Afghanistan, and also about her remarkable transition from VFX artist to movie producer.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Petra Holtorf-Stratton
Cinematography
Technology 2014 | Production, Post & Beyond: Part TWO

Technology 2014 | Production, Post & Beyond: Part TWO

What were the big technology trends in media and entertainment over the past year? What's going to be significant in the coming year? Those are questions that many of us are asking, so we went to some of our savviest Creative COW contributors to ask their opinions of where we've been and where we're going. Here in Part 2, our conrtibutors offer in-depth insights. (See Part 1 for a broader industry overview.)

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Cinematography
Technology 2014 | Production, Post & Beyond: Part ONE

Technology 2014 | Production, Post & Beyond: Part ONE

What were the big technology trends in media and entertainment over the past year? What's going to be significant in the coming year? Those are questions that many of us are asking, so we went to some of our savviest Creative COW contributors to ask their opinions of where we've been and where we're going. Here in Part 1, we offer an overview of their perspectives. (See Part 2 for their additional insights.)

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Indie Film & Documentary
With Paul Mazursky, It's All Crap!

With Paul Mazursky, It's All Crap!

When Paul Mazursky decided to create a series of intimate conversations with Mel Brooks, Leonard Nimoy and his many other industry friends, Cinematographer Bill Megalos came on board to produce. In this article, Bill talks about the choices he made with regard to camera, lighting and direction to make compelling interviews with a limited budget.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Bill Megalos
Sony NXCAM
The Sony FDR-AX1 & Your 4K Future

The Sony FDR-AX1 & Your 4K Future

Even though it's not yet a broadcast format, 4K production has been happening every day for years -- delivered as HD. It offers the same advantages that early HD production offered for SD delivery, including beautiful downscaling and a measure of future-proofing. Looking for a flexible, affordable way to jumpstart your 4K future? Join longtime Creative COW leader Douglas Spotted Eagle for a look at Sony's FDR-AX1 camcorder.

Review, Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Douglas Spotted Eagle
Field Production
“Before I forget: don’t wear any underwear.”

“Before I forget: don’t wear any underwear.”

Before coming to Creative COW, before his lives in product marketing and product management at Avid and Boris FX, Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson ran a video production company. In one especially memorable adventure, he found himself quite literally up to his armpits in alligators. He had no idea that this was going to happen when the day began. At the time, he was focused on a brand new fear: getting sliced in half by burning underwear.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Tim Wilson
Cinematography
Behind the Lens: From 7 to 56 UP with George Jesse Turner

Behind the Lens: From 7 to 56 UP with George Jesse Turner

The UP series, directed by Michael Apted, began in 1964 with Seven UP, which interviewed 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England. Every seven years, Apted has returned to these same children to ask about the progression of their lives. The result, the UP Series, is according to critic Roger Ebert, "an inspired, almost noble use of the film medium. Apted penetrates to the central mystery of life." Cinematographer George Jesse Turner has shot all the UP Series films since 21 UP in 1977.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
George Jesse Turner
Cinematography
Behind the Lens: The Summit with Nick Ryan

Behind the Lens: The Summit with Nick Ryan

In August 2008, eleven climbers died on K2, the Himalayan peak nicknamed the Savage Mountain. In The Summit, filmmaker Nick Ryan delves into the mystery of what actually happened that day, in a masterful collage of footage taken by the climbers, stunning aerial shots of K2, interviews and re-enactments. Take a look behind the lens with Nick Ryan as he relates how he respectfully re-captured those tragic moments.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Nick Ryan
Cinematography
Behind the Lens: C.O.G. & Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Behind the Lens: C.O.G. & Kyle Patrick Alvarez

Based on an autobiographical comedy by acclaimed author and NPR contributor David Sedaris, "C.O.G." focuses on a summer of misadventures and growing up one young man named David [as in David Sedaris] encounters on an apple farm in Oregon. This look behind the lens of "C.O.G." with filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez reveals a captivating story on both sides of the camera.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Broadcasting
Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?

Will 2014 Be the Year of 4K?

UltraHD, or 4K, has been making an appearance at trade shows for the last couple of years. At this year's IBC in Amsterdam, the demonstrations and products pushed forward the idea that 4K is a possibility for TV distribution and general production and post. Creative COW takes a look at the offerings and the opportunities.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Storytelling, VFX and the Emotional Medium of Movies

Storytelling, VFX and the Emotional Medium of Movies

It wasn't the effects and it wasn't the cast that made 1933's King Kong the enduring classic that it is (though Fay Wray got a clear shot at immortality). It was the story. The story of a big lug with a soft spot a mile wide. Here's why young filmmakers should sit at Kong's feet.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Stephen Menick
NEWS: People in the News
Remembering Ray Dolby: A Life of Invention

Remembering Ray Dolby: A Life of Invention

Ray Dolby gave his talents and his name to the most significant advances in audio recording, for both the professional film/TV/music industries and consumer products. On the occasion of his death, at age 80, Creative COW tells the story of his life, his engineering achievements and the impact he has had on the creative people in our industry.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Broadcasting
IBC 2013 Wrap Up

IBC 2013 Wrap Up

Broadcast Engineer Ryan Salazar wraps up his perspective on IBC 2013, the premier annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Ryan Salazar
Adobe After Effects
Fans OCCUPY Conan With Self-Produced Parodies

Fans OCCUPY Conan With Self-Produced Parodies

Lead editor Dan Dome and editors Robert Ashe, Jr., Chris Heller and David Grecu all put together OCCUPY Conan, a fan-sourced episode of the popular late night show. It's harder than it sounds, and that's why the Conan Editing Team is now up for an Emmy for Outstanding Multicam Editing for a Comedy Series.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Art of the Edit
Women In Post Join Forces

Women In Post Join Forces

Women in Post is a new HPA (Hollywood Post Alliance) committee formed by and for a decidedly minority group in the world of film/TV high technology. After three meetings -- two of them successful round table discussions, featuring accomplished women in the industry -- the group is expanding its plans to offer networking, mentoring and camaraderie and more.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
A Band Called Death

A Band Called Death

Playing music impossibly ahead of its time, Death is now being credited as the first black punk band (heck...the first punk band!) and its members -- Bobby Hackney, Sr., Dannis Hackney, David Hackney, and Bobbie Duncan -- are finally receiving their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers. Directors Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino speak about the making of this surprising film.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Cinematography
The State of Cinematography: Insights From The Rental Houses

The State of Cinematography: Insights From The Rental Houses

Rental houses, which have existed since the 1920s, have all experienced the evolution from film to video to data. Today, the trends that rental houses experience -- from technology to business practices -- are a lens for understanding what's going on in the bigger ecosystem of the film/TV industry. In Part 1, we look at the challenges facing rental houses in today's production environment.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Film History & Appreciation
Pacific Rim Animated by Industrial Light & Magic

Pacific Rim Animated by Industrial Light & Magic

When director Guillermo Del Toro conceived the battle between the Kaiju monsters and human-controlled Jaeger robots, he knew the best possible VFX facility to bring this vision to reality would be Industrial Light & Magic, the company that pioneered CG creature-creation. In an unusually close collaboration between director and VFX facility, Pacific Rim gets up-close-and-personal with organic and metallic creatures that are both believable and thrilling.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Series


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