How To Beef Up Your Camcorder To Get Professional Results

You might own a camcorder, and started dabbling with home movies or perhaps your own short movies. If you are at that point, you might have started to notice your camcorder has some limitations. This is normal, since most people don't have a lot of experience with camcorders as much as say, digital cameras. You want to keep making video, but you don't want to spend thousands on a professional camcorder.

Some common improvements you can make with most off the shelf consumer camcorders are:

1. Improve Bad Audio- This is a number one complaint, probably because most camcorders just have a built-in microphone, this is a problem because people viewing your video expect good audio. They might tolerate bad video, but most people cannot stand poor audio quality.

This is tricky to improve, unless you have a camcorder with an external microphone input. The problem is most camcorders you buy (at a reasonable cost) do not have this feature anymore. If your camcorder does have a microphone input, you can simply plug in a microphone to do a better job of capturing the audio.

Most camcorder microphone inputs are 1/8 inch jacks. If you want to beef your audio up even more, you can add an adapter that plugs into the jack, to allow the use of 2 or more XLR microphones. These microphones are higher quality and offer a broad range of choices to use. You could capture more sound from two sources- or more.

If your camcorder does not have a microphone input jack, make sure your video is recorded with a minimum of background noise, and try to avoid capturing voice audio from a distance if you are using the zoom feature on your camcorder.

2. Improve Stability- A true sign of an amateur video is a shaky picture. Luckily, there are a great number of options you can use to improve this problem. A good tripod is the obvious choice. My recommendation is if you know you are going to use a tripod a lot, purchase a quality one. This can eliminate jerky, even shaky panning on your video. You want smooth, even motion.

A favorite of mine is the monopod. You can hold a monopod in many positions, and hold it very steady, you can also pan easily and smoothly.

If you are on the move and cannot use either the tripod or the monopod, you can attach hand brackets to your camcorder to stabilize your videos as well as use the bracket to mount audio and lighting.

3. Improve Lighting- This is another area you can beef up easily, there are a good number of low cost lights you can mount on your camcorder shoe, or below the camera, or on a hand bracket I described above. When you light up your subject matter, you can improve the quality of your videos very easily. You could also purchase some inexpensive back lights to eliminate shadows or create a different atmosphere to your video.

These are a few ideas you can use with your existing camcorder or a low cost camcorder. You don't have to spend a fortune to get quality video results.

For our low cost camcorder recommendation as well as more information on improving your videos, visit our site at: Camcorder With External Mic Jack

Original article

How To Direct Actors

So the word is it can be very difficult working with actors, and that can be true at times. In this article I will explain a few steps that will make the daunting task as fun as it should be. To be a director you need to be very confident in yourself, you will constantly be criticized and you will need to expect this. A few things you will need are a good script and also a hard working and dedicated cast. Once you have your script get feedback from some individuals who work in the same business you can't produce a good movie without a decent script.

Ok so you find a legitimate script now you need to fill your characters roles. A huge role is finding actors that are going to take you and your film serious. Everyone will jump at the chance to be in a movie so you need to search for the right candidates. You want someone dedicated to you and your film and you must feel that you can count on them to deliver. Now we can't produce anything without our entire team on the same page so it's your job to bring your crew together and just meet and familiarize everyone with each other. Explain to your team your dreams for this film try to have them envision their roles and how they need to perform to perfect these demands.

You will hold weeks of rehearsal and in this time you will need to make your ideas for each scene very clear for each of your actors. They need to know what you expect from there roles as to how there emotions and characters actions unfold, If your actors aren't on the same page as you this can come out negatively in your scene. Also if you feel a negative vibe or can just tell from the beginning an actor is going to be difficult to work with don't hesitate to replace them. They may bring a crowd by their popularity but there are many more who are jumping for the chance to fill those shoes.

One big issue you will face is time. Directing films doesn't happen over night and you need to make it clear that you expect everyone participating in this film to give everything they have. This will include getting to the studio on time also you need to explain the importance of all your actors remembering their lines in the scripts. Your success as a director lies in the hands of this team you hired so you need to be tough but you must show respect to gain it. One of the most important rules is to just have fun and be the best you can be.

Hello my name is Steve Bean. I work with Octo Interactive. We are an Orlando FL Video Production Company that specializes in Web Video Production (321) 338 - 2962.

Original article

What Is the Best Video Editing Software

It's already common for video editors to ask if what is the best video editing software. I've been asking the same question also before but I already stopped doing so when I already found the best one for me.

If you ask professional video editors if what is the best video editing software, chances are they have different answers. This is because each one has his or her own preferences. This means that this question has no definite answer. It really depends upon your opinion.

Rather than telling you directly if what is the best video editing software, let me just help you choose the one that works for you by giving you the following different situations.

1. Are you a professional video editor?

If you are a professional video editor then I really recommend having a professional software as well. When we say professional software, it must have the capability of doing the task that a professional video editing can accomplish. To mention a few, it must be able to import different kinds of video formats (specially the latest ones). It must also have the effects that you wanted to achieve. There are really many features of a professional video editing software and I'm sure you know them. If you think a software can have almost everything that you need, then that might be the right one for you.

2. Are you a home video editor?

If you are still a home video editor, then you don't have to acquire a luxurious software for now. This is because you might not need yet those features that an expensive one has anyway. You can just choose a simpler program that you can use so long as it has the basic features that you need.

3. Are you an online video editor?

There might be situations where in you just wanted to edit your videos online. If this is the case, you don't have to grab a program really. You can just go to any online editing sites out there and edit your videos through their tools.

In knowing what is the best video editing software, you check your self if where are you in the situations I mentioned above. My advice is that, you really don't have to spend so much time in knowing what is the best video editing software. Just check out on anything and learn how to use it. Once you mastered one, then that's already the best for you. At the end of the day, viewers don't really care if what software you used to edit your video. They just care about the video you made.

Chamberlane Altatis

Choose your software for video editing

Original article

Storyboard Software Explained

Recently, I was required to create lots of storyboards and previs, so carried out a bit of investigating into the available packages -

Storyboards are sometimes called previsualization or previs and can be any process that tries to visualize scenes within a movie before filming kicks off.

The benefit of previsualization is that it facilitates directors to realize distinctive staging and art direction options with no need to bear the fees of day to day production.

Storyboards might include music, sound files and dialogue to thoroughly previs the feel of edited sequences, and so are often useful for complicated or tricky scenes that involve stunts and special effects.

My investigation revealed that Previs software is roughly split between 3 areas:

2D, 3D and character/environment style and design.

The 2D products can be considered like a digital version of old fashioned storyboarding -they don't offer up camera passes or character motions inside the time line.

All of the 3D selections have the 2D traditional storyboard choice but also allow manipulation of characters in time and space: camera passes can be designed and changed.

Many of the 3D applications are meant to operate in real time (just about) to ensure that a director/operator could make changes on the fly with very small rendering lag time. These packages come up with characters and environments that typically lack intricate detail and textures, nevertheless this is rapidly improving.

The 3rd group is focused on environment and character style and design. Even with their capability to render time-line animation and camera movement, it is very unlikely these particular programs would eventually be utilized for on-set storyboard previs due to their render engines actually being intended for high quality output, on the other hand they may be very, very useful for complete detail figure development, costumes, and environments due to extremely high resolution renders.

I'm going to make an effort to categorize a handful of of the most renowned programs that you can buy at the time of writing.

Storyboard Quick

'Storyboard Quick can be considered a regular storyboard system, as it doesn't take advantage of 3d images. Due to this it's easy to understand and the interface is not difficult. You could import any location photos, which often might possibly be better than the rather 'childlike' clip art work provided.

Google SketchUp

'Google SketchUp' doesn't possess timeline animation although the pro choice does feature dynamic properties or limited animation within a scene, in spite of this it is an impressive piece of free software that has a large service community and absolutely free models. It's great, entertaining and fun plus the user interface is fairly simple to negotiate.

Toon Boom Storyboard Pro

'Story Board Pro' from Toon Boom is a very different program from the other 2D storyboard software listed in this doc. Instead of utilising clip art plus imported textures Storyboard Pro is an amazing illustrating application well suited for using a pen tablet program - so for those who can't draw it is better to stay clear. If you can draw then the program is outstanding, encouraging extremely quick paint and brush options,

Storyboard Artist

I believe the name of this particular software is a touch inaccurate as it is allot more than a 2D, old fashioned, storyboard interface. This program will allow for 3-d animatics, oral sync animation and seems to have excellent 3D clip art and models currently built in.

Frameforge previs studio

'FrameForge Previz' studio has fairly quickly, become the main industry standard, on-set produce,t for directors to shape 3D storyboards in (practically) real time it will output accurate timeline animation and mix several camera moves.

E frontier poser

'Poser' is a really unique program that enables fast and simple character development employing a vast number of three dimensional templates and open source contributions. It makes it possible for a developer to quickly integrate three dimensional characters into any kind of animation, animatic or still frame.


Vue is an extremely significant, niche piece of software that employs templates to create environments which can be used for full-res matte paintings. It's been recently used on Avatar and Indiana Jones 4 to create jungle panoramas.

Hitchcock Storyboard Composer for iPhone/iPod touch platform

Just creeping in on the end of my previs exploration is Cinemeks 'Hitchcock storyboard composer' for iPhone/iPod touch (needs camera).

You simply collect scene images within the camera and make use of the technology to control the framing, order and timing of the shots in your storyboard.

Despite the small interface the reviews are favorable, however, if I was paying actors to aid me with a photographic storyboard I would almost certainly employ a more effective stills camera which would enable depth of field and lighting options. Never the less, I'm sure a lot of people will find it a particularly useful tool.

The Previsualization Society

Last but not least it is worth taking a look at the newly formed Previsualization Society for much more in-depth info. They endorse the utilization of previs in numerous groups around the world by promoting effective applications and a knowledge of the abilities of previsualization as a collaborative tool and interaction method.

The Author, Michael Barnes runs a video production Cardiff company and the main website can be found here.

Original article

AE Projects - Solutions for Filmmakers

Adobe After Effects projects are becoming increasingly popular for filmmakers. Because of the competitive nature of the film industry, businesses, broadcasters and entertainment companies will go to great lengths to achieve an advantage in the marketplace. This competition only intensifies over time as companies fight for the awareness of consumers. Because of this drive, business has boomed whether it is on the big screen, independent movies and productions, broadcasting and news channels or on the internet and even the marketing programs of businesses, everything has become more interactive using highly developed multimedia formats.

There are many benefits that AE projects provide filmmakers and broadcasters. They can produce the best results right through the spectrum from multimedia giants to small businesses that are trying to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace via interactive marketing programmes. After Effects software is in fact rather complex and it usually needs the expertise of a skilled motion graphics designer who understands the software completely.

However, After Effects templates make this process significantly easier for big and small filmmakers alike. They are pre-formatted visual presentations, intros, teasers and motion graphic displays which are incredibly easy to use for experts and beginners alike. Some productions are available in high definition format and simply need the addition of images, videos and brand messages to finish the production. After Effects projects allow anybody to make visually amazing productions that can be communicated in a multitude of ways, especially in the film and broadcast industries.

You can very easily customise AE project title sequence packages to your specifications. When purchasing After Effects title sequence packages for films the project animations generally have sound included. They are very simple to use and you can alter the text on the file by yourself as well as adding your own graphic or logo. What you decide to purchase is normally priced in terms of the requirements such as the length of the music, the bit-rate and the dimensions for the video.

If you buy an AE project for film or broadcast you can look forward to receiving a very flexible promo package in which you can alter to your wishes. The colour and font choices are unlimited so you will not be held back. Each package will contain an amount of animations such as title cards, intros, transitions, wipes, baseline graphics, lower thirds, end credits, and bumpers through to effects and full backgrounds. Video tutorials often accompany the packages so you will have no trouble finding a solution. If you purchase a title sequence package through After Effects projects you can be sure your project will stand out from the rest.

Template Digital is a community driven motion graphics marketplace which allows buying and selling of fully customizable, royalty-free stock motion graphics for production, film, and television network professionals. This provides post-production developers a new way to reach hundreds, if not thousands of potential motion graphics customers and get their work into video productions, and saves time and money for video productions. It also includes a developing community of post-production professionals for discussing the latest techniques with After Effects and other motion graphics software programs.
View our customizable AE projects and motion graphic packages for broadcast, film and general production.

Original article

How To Pitch Your Documentary Idea and Write an Effective Documentary Proposal To Get Funding

So you have a wonderful documentary idea and you just need some cash to get it going. Where do you go? How do you find funds?

One of the first things you'll need to do is write a Documentary Proposal. A proposal not only helps explain the project to potential funders and supporters, it's a great exercise to get YOU the filmmaker thinking through all the details. Basically, a Documentary Proposal is your film's business plan.

Here are the key elements you'll need to include in a documentary proposal: synopsis, project overview, treatment, style/tone of project, production schedule, interview subjects, crew bios, advisors/experts, partnerships, target audience, budget, fundraising plan and distribution strategy.

There is often a lot of overlap when describing the synopsis, project description and treatment. There is no right or wrong answer. One way to think about it is to say that the synopsis is a short 1-2 paragraph summary of your project. The overview is a longer synopsis that goes into more detail about the project, perhaps 1-2 pages in length. And the treatment is more like a script, describing specific scenes and quotes. A treatment is often difficult to write at the beginning of a project since the nature of a documentary is that it can't be "written" until after it's been shot, so I would say including a treatment in your proposal is optional unless specifically requested.

An effective documentary proposal will answer the following questions:
Why this documentary, why now?Why is this documentary different from any other film ever made?Why are YOU the one to make this documentary?What gives you and your team the credibility to be trusted with donated money (experience, partnerships, advisory board, fiscal sponsor, letters of support, etc)What unique access or connections do you have for making the film?

The big picture goal for a documentary pitch or documentary proposal is to build CREDIBILITY. You do that by putting together a well-written proposal, having an experienced team (if not you, that can be crew, advisors or partners), having a compelling film concept, a well-thought out plan and a realistic budget.

Once you have your proposal together, now it's time to start making your pitch. If you are a new filmmaker, my best advice is to avoid the big foundations and grants and go after the "low hanging fruit." Find people who are already passionate about the subject matter of your film and see what connections they have. Basically, you want to go through the "back door" to find your funding. Maybe a friend's uncle is the CEO of a local million dollar company. Or perhaps your favorite college professor is friends with the executor of a small family foundation. Leave no rock left unturned.

The last thing you want to do is say, hey, who's the richest guy in town and let's go after him. Does the guy already have a proven interest in the subject of your film or in art/film projects? Do you know someone with a personal connection to the guy who can pitch the project on your behalf? If no, then don't waste your time or theirs.

Find natural connections to people who are already pre-sold on the theme of your documentary project and send them your proposal. They already know the subject matter of the film is important, now all you have to do is convince them that YOU know how to get the job done.

Faith Fuller is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of, an online resource guide for documentary filmmakers. To learn more about putting together Documentary Treatments, Proposals and Budgets, visit

Original article

How to Make a Movie

In this article I will be talking about the many roles and challenges you face in making your own movie. We will talk about everything from how to write your own script and directing your film, to producing and finding the cost to finance your video. Each of these are all important roles when it comes to making your own movie.

First I would like to talk about writing your script. I feel this is your foundation; everything is built around your story. You want to brainstorm lots of ideas create the purpose of your story. What is the goal or plot of my story, how are your main characters involved in this. It helps to create an outline and lay out how your events will unfold on paper. You want to include details like your setting, the time of day, and your characters actions. Don't be afraid to show your work to someone who's had writing experience let them critique it and remember it's just their opinion.

Before we can talk about producing and directing your film you need to figure out how you will finance it. Now if you have an unlimited budget then you have little to worry about but if you're like the rest of us this could and can be a huge factor in creating your own movie. There are typically four methods for financing the production of a film, I will discuss two of them; government grants and tax schemes. Many governments run programs to subsidize the cost of production. Some states provide a tax credit that can cover part or all of the film cost that are filmed in the state. Governments provide these in hope it will attract individuals into their area and raise employment levels. Many countries introduced legislation that enhanced tax deductions for owners or producers of films. Governments are realizing these tax deductions are an inefficient way of supporting the film industry.

Now we can get into your production. You already have your script so your next step is hiring your cast and crew. So once you have your casting call you decide your actors and give out their roles. You may negotiate salary but most will work for scale (actor's minimum wage). Sit back and let your crew begin shooting your film. You will have tons of footage to go through as you begin your post-production editing, but this is mostly done by your editor. Once you have your final cut your best chance is distributing your movie to a prestigious film festival. Studios send there reps to seek new films.

There are many roles and responsibilities a director has and it can be very difficult. There's tons of behind the scenes work involved with directing a film. You need to be on top of everything as everyone is looking up to you. You will be creating all the aspects of the movie as you draw out each scene and break down the script into sections. Track your characters emotions and express each of these elements with your actors, tell them what you expect from them. You're there to observe and give notes on every scene give direction to your actors keep there characters on role. Spend time on rehearsal and preproduction and just keep a main over view on your team of actors. Now after reading this it won't guide you to creating your own blockbuster hit but I hope it helps you to understand the roles in making your own video.

Hello my name is Steve Bean. I work with Octo Interactive. We are an Orlando Fl Video Production Company that specializes in Web Video Production (321) 338 - 2962

Original article

Tips and Tricks to Effective Promo Writing and Producing

As a long form producer, producing 30, 15 and 10-second promos used to seem like a chore. But I've learned some tricks to help make effective promos while having a little fun.

• Choose your best sound bites. These sound bites do not have to be a complete thought but should carry a lot of feeling or action in a matter of seconds. They can even be exclamations like "wow!" The shorter the better.

• Choose your best shots, the "money shots" so to speak. Like the sound bites, these shots should quickly convey a sense of emotion or action. Think about your footage and then ask yourself "what is most fun?" "What is most gripping?"

• Choose some driving music that matches the theme of your program, video or promo. For sports themed promos, consider youthful music like rock or hip hop. They offer a lot of hard beats to cut the visuals to. If it is a comedy, try something fun or kitschy. If your piece is serious or emotional, you may want something a little slower. I must admit, choosing music is not my favorite thing to do. Most music libraries ask you to input key words like "solemn" or "funky" which may mean something different to me than it does to the person who developed the program. Because I want music with a good sting at the end, I sometimes listen to the end first. If the sting is weak, I quickly move on to the next selection.

• String-out the bites, visuals and music to try to create a through-line. Edgar Allen Poe said a that short story should be about one feeling and one feeling only. He often went for fear. Similarly, the promo should be about one theme or emotion. Do you want to highlight the drama, the fun, the poignancy? Don't worry about the length of the string-out at this point. Just see what's working. Ask yourself, "what is missing?" "What does a narrator need to say to connect the dots?"

• Start writing the narration. The narration should be brief and leave room to insert the bites. This is a time to really have fun and use over the top language. For action packed promos, it is hard to go over the top with symbolism and clichés. Pack them in! I even look up clichés on the internet to get some scripting ideas. For quieter pieces, you may want to dial it back a bit but you still want to get the audience's attention. Also, write two or three different scripts to see what works best.

• Scratch out (record draft narration) the narration and then see what works with the bites, "money shots" and music. Sometimes the theory seems like a good one in your head or on paper but when put altogether it doesn't work so well. Don't worry, use what works and build from there.

• Watch promos on television and online. We often tune out when promos come on. But, pay attention to what you think works or doesn't work. Listen to the music and the pacing. What would you change? Are there promos that you would like to emulate?

Sometimes you cannot string out bites and "money shots" before writing the promo because of the workflow or lack of time. Don't worry. There are many paths to a good promo. Find what works best for you and the project. And, by all means, try to have fun!

Visit for more production tips and to learn more about the author, Sydnye White. Sydnye White is a National Emmy Nominated Producer who's credits include the series Home Made Simple for TLC and Moneywise with Kelvin Boston for PBS. Her documentaries include Great Books: The Autobiography of Malcolm X for The Learning Channel and the Discovery Channel's Detroit SWAT.

Original article

Short Film Making Tips

Short movies are becoming more popular nowadays. In the side of film makers, these kind of film are great since it is easier to make them and the production cost is also cheaper. Having said that, let me then share some short film making tips for you.

But before going into the short film making tips, let us first define it. When we say short film, we are referring to the movies that are relatively shorter than the normal two-hour movie. It can be 30 minutes or even one minute. While it is short, it must still have a complete story. That means it must still have an introduction, body, and conclusion.

My Short Film Making Tips

1. Make a simple story

Since you will be making a short movie, just create a simple story. Don't make a novel because the time might not contain it. Just focus on a single idea and let the story revolve around it.

2. Make anticipations

Don't show everything from the beginning immediately. It's good to place some suspense to let your audience anticipate on what will happen in the end. This will capture your viewers' attention until the story reaches the climax.

3. Use few characters

I watched some short movies that are not so effective due to having so many characters. It makes the story not so focused.

Don't be afraid to use few characters. if you can even make a story that has only one character then that will be great. There's a short film I watched where in they only used two characters but it was very nice. Having few characters not only make your life as a film maker easier. It will also easily drive the audience to focus on few elements of the film.

4. Complete the story

As I said above, a short film must still have a complete story. I'm not really a fan of those short movies that just end abruptly without any conclusion.

I understand that there's another way of ending a story which is the open-ended one. In doing this however, you must still bring your audience somewhere. Do not just cut the story and that's it. So what's the point of ending the story if you only showed an introduction?

6. Gain inspirations

It's actually challenging to create a very nice story that you can use for your short movie. To gain some ideas, I recommend watching a lot of short films. You will surely be able to come up with your own idea when you see what others have made.

So that's all for my short film making tips. I hope you learned something from those short film making tips I gave that you can apply in your own.

Chamberlane Altatis

I'm a film maker. Let me share to you how to make a film.

Original article

How To "Read" A Movie Trailer

Below, you will find a literal "worksheet" for use in watching, analyzing and understanding movie trailers. It presumes some basic understanding of film artistry, but should be mostly self-explanatory for the regular movie goer and trailer consumer. I'm not saying that learning how to "read a trailer" will make you want to see the films they promote, but the technique should help you appreciate how much thought and labor and creativity goes into the manufacture of its preview and "sample." Enjoy!



(Directions: Watch the trailer repeatedly, noting what you see, hear and understand. Use the worksheet to capture "data." Use the data to articulate an interpretation or a reading of it.)

Name _____________Year_______________Length _________ Exhibition Medium__________

1. Formal Properties: # of acts/parts? ___________ # of Music Cues? _____________ Describe? Editing speed (cuts/second) ___________ Shot types (close, med, long, pan, still, motion, zoom in/out, etc.) ________________ Transition types (wipe, dissolve, fade, smash, etc.) ____________ Use of graphic elements?_________ If yes, describe. Use of words on screen?________ If yes, describe and transcribe. Use of voice over?_______If yes, describe and transcribe. (Diegetic or extra-diegetic?) Is there an onscreen host? __________ If so, describe.

Is there a cast run? _________________(Is there mention of Producer, Director, Writer?) Describe the title sequence.___________ What KIND of trailer is it? ___________(Featurette? TV Spot, Internet? Mobile Phone; Long Trailer; re-release; DVD, Standard theatrical; teaser, sequel; special shoot, etc?) Story Presentation: _____________ (Linear? Non-Linear?)

2. By content: What is the story? (as far as you can tell). What diegetic appeals does it make?_______(Stars? Spectacle? Genre? Story? Technology?)

3. What extra diegetic (outside the film text) appeals does it make to an audience?_________ (Provenance, Critical Reception, Audience response/box office figures, technology)

4. What film craft/specialized skills are most salient? Editing___________________ Copywriting_________ Music Librarian__________Graphic design__________ Market Research_________Sound design____________ Acting/Directing/Cinematography/FX (of film itself)_________

5. Marketing Issues: Who ARE the audiences presumed by the trailer makers?__________ What is the relationship of the trailer to the film it markets? (Descriptive? Impressionistic? Accurate? Deceptive? Concealing? Tell All? Etc.) ____________ What appears to be the "marketing brief" that produced this trailer? ___________ Is this trailer effective? If so, why? __________________ In what ways does this trailer miss the mark?_____________

6. Exhibition Technology: Aspect ratio and destined exhibition venue_______ (wide screen? Letterbox? & Mobile/Ipod? Ipad? TV, Screen?) ________

7. Music and Sound Design What are the music cues? How do they help structure the trailer? What information do they convey? (Rhythm, mood, lyrical content?) Consider the sound design and sound effects. What do they tell you about structure and mood?

8. Miscellaneous: What do you know about the film's reception? (Box Office results? Context? Critical response?) What is the tone or attitude of the trailer? ______________ What do you like (or dislike) about this trailer? _________ Why?________________

I am a trailer and movie poster copywriter who holds a recurring appointment at UCLA's film school, where I teach a graduate seminar on movie trailers. In 2006, I researched, wrote and co-produced the first feature length documentary on the subject of the history and contemporary practice of audio-visual movie marketing, collaborating with the UCLA Archive and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

I blog on movie trailers at

Original article

Video Production Tips: Getting Started As a Producer

Video, video, is everywhere, but do you know how to produce it like a pro? Should you know? Should you even care?

In this new media world, there are plenty of so-called experts that do a great job explaining why video is so great, and why you should produce video content for your website or blog. It's no secret that online video can help you build relationships with potential customers. It can help you become branded as an expert, or help you dominate your SEO, and the list goes on.

There is no doubt that video is among the most effective mediums for educating, persuading, and informing... and it's in everyone's hands. Literally. The power of video, which was once reserved for video production companies and broadcast news operations is not only more affordable than ever, but thanks to mobile devices especially the iPhone, you can get amazing quality for next to nothing.

Let's throw the Internet into the mix. Social video sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and of course Facebook make it easier than ever to share video with our friends, family, or business associates. If people start sharing your content, you've hit digital gold!

So, why aren't you producing quality videos regularly? Have you tried to do it by yourself? How were the results? Was the video a bit, no very shaky, poorly framed, or was the audio poor? After you reviewed it, did you say to yourself, "This sucks!?"

There are three steps that you should always take during the video production process. These simple steps probably apply to other creative ventures as well, and once you understand and master each step, you will be unstoppable. You may even be able to start your own video production business.

Your goal should always be to produce a video that is as professional as possible with the tools that are available. That doesn't mean you need to buy the most expensive HD camera either. Video quality isn't determined by the quantity that you spend, but the techniques you use. People know a good video when they see it, and a poorly produced video could actually be bad for your brand (unless you happen to capture something so amazing that it doesn't matter).

Here are three elements that every video that you produce should have: 1) Great visuals 2) great audio, and 3) a clear message, or story. It's as simple as that, but those aren't the steps that were referred to earlier.

If you're a pro, a lot of the information here will be fundamental, but if you're not, and have tried to produce a video on your own, or if you're thinking about it, this is invaluable information. The tips being shared were learned through years of producing stories and video projects for the news, networks, corporate clients, and online channels.

So, back to the three production steps that will help guarantee that your end product is something that you'll be proud of. This is the same process that every professional video producer follows. Are you ready?

1) Pre-production (planning): This is the most important step. During pre-production, you should write out everything related to your video. The goals, message, location, props, talent, camera equipment, script, and how you will get it edited. It should all be spelled out.

2) Production (the shoot): If you completed step 1, step 2 should be a breeze, and your shoot should go off without a hitch. Of course Murphy's Law rules video production, so be ready for some unexpected challenges.

3) Post-production (the edit): Once you have everything shot or captured, it's time to make some video magic. You should follow your script or outline, add some music, and graphics, and by the time your done editing, you should have something to be proud of. If not, just create another video. Each time you do it, you'll learn something that will help you become a better producer.

The success of your video depends on your ability to plan, execute, and create. It isn't hard to learn or master, and once you learn the basic steps, there are numerous short cuts and tricks that will speed up the process. But you should learn how to walk before you run.

Amani Channel, MA
Learn how to make great videos and multimedia projects at our
video production tutorial site Web Video Chefs.

Original article

Film Production In Cape Town

A favorite location for advertising and commercial shoots for many years, Cape Town is now looking set for the big-time. With the new Cape Town Film Studios fully operational and attracting high-profile projects, we are now seeing more international movies being made in South Africa and more top stars discovering the delights of Cape Town's cosmopolitan but laid-back lifestyle.

So what does Cape Town have to offer that has finally convinced Hollywood that it is a serious film production destination?

Cape Town Film Studios
Completed in 2010, the new film studio complex offers brand-new state of the art production facilities with four sound stages, set production warehouses and all the rest. The first big-budget movie to take advantage of the studios has been Judge Dredd, the comic book reboot, that has been made as a 3-D action movie, due for release in 2012. There are very few places in the world with the facilities to handle this kind of movie, 3-D action being more complex than just 3-D animation, and Cape Town Film Studios is on a par with any of them, according to co-producer Andrew MacDonald.

Experienced production companies, casts and crews
Cape Town has a well-developed infrastructure of production companies, post-production facilities as well as local cast and crew that have gained extensive experience of all aspects of film production over the many years that South Africa has been a top location for advertising and commercial filming and stills shoots. With South African made District 9 becoming an international blockbuster, the world has finally seen the home-grown talent on offer in South Africa.

Cost -effective
With the dollar-rand and pound-rand exchange rate so favorable, movie makers can make first class film productions for far less that they would cost in Hollywood or Pinewood. Much of the savings come from using local crew and casts, but there is also the sweetener of government rebate of 15% of production costs spent in South Africa to foreign film-makers using local production facilities. Even higher rebates are on offer to films made as co-productions with a local company.

One of Cape Town's top draw-cards has always been the sheer variety of the locations available either in, or within a few hours' drive of, the city. Beaches, mountains, wild dry semi-desert landscapes, verdant vineyards, forest, urban cityscapes, townships, farmland make it quite easy to find all the different locations you need for a movie without creating a logistical nightmare. Shooting permits have become quicker and easier to obtain than previously and all is in place for a smooth-running shoot.

Prinz Productions offers premier stills and film production services based in Cape Town, South Africa. Specialising in South Africa, Portugal and Mauritius, they also offer production services worldwide. Find out more about their film production service in South Africa.

Original article

Confessions of a Gizmoholic

In this installment of Free Film School, we're going to discuss a subject that Independent Filmmakers will often wax rhapsodic about when given half the chance. And most of us would rather fight than switch. It's sort of similar to a boozer expounding on the virtues of Single Malt Scotch to Anejo Tequila. We're talking about Video Equipment Addiction. Yes, that's right. Cameras are our technological drug of choice, and receiving a delivery from the FEDEX man is like the Big Score. I get the shakes, just thinking about it. Some Gizmoholics even go so far as to film "Unboxing Videos". They film themselves unwrapping the newly delivered camera and trying it out. Then, they post the video on YouTube for all the world to see. Ah, the sweet smell of polystyrene packing peanuts in the morning! There is nothing that sets us all a-twitter like unpacking a new camera or filmmaking accessory! Sick, huh?

Of course, some of us are just recreational users. Maybe we just browse the internet camera shops only on the weekends. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, right? Sure, sure, except that's exactly how all full-blown addictions start! And let me tell you, some of us slide quickly onto that rather slippery slope of trying to make our addiction self-supporting. When we do that, it's all down-hill from there.

And, it's a sad fact that some of us will invest more money into our video equipment than we will ever make with it. Why? Because buying new equipment is so much darned fun, it truly is addictive! Once the equipment-geek-bug bites you, you've got a monkey on your back the size of King Kong! See, it starts out slow and gradual. First, you start researching what kind of equipment is the best value, for what you need. You're in the experimental phase. Maybe you're just trying it out, you know, for kicks. In my case, I knew that I wanted to make a documentary. I knew that I wanted a shoulder-mount camera so I could go mobile and still achieve a steady shot, at the same time. Plus, they look really cool and professional!

I also had a specific budget in mind. I only wanted to spend a couple of grand. You see, I had already made this amount from my first DVD sales, and I really wanted to grow my little side-line videography business organically, rather than spending money earned from my day job. The money from my day job, I give to my wife to pay all the household bills. That money is like MC Hammer, Can't Touch This! The money to support my habit, I make from my habit. Sounds cool, huh? Yeah, but it can turn into a viscious cycle. Can you dig it?

I started picking the brain of my filmmaking buddy Eric, and he turned me on to a very popular on-line photography store, which shall remain un-named. This is like the kid in high school who gave me my first funny-smelling hand-rolled cigarette, after I asked him "What's all this stuff about Mary Jane, who's she?". Innocent, right? Let me warn you. Once you become addicted to camera equipment shopping, this New York based photography store is like the drug dealer in the movie "Pulp Fiction". You know, they guy in the bathrobe named Lance? Well, just like Lance, this photography store always has the best stuff in town. In short they are my gizmo pusher. A very orthodox-observant (their website closes on Jewish holidays and the Sabbath) camera gizmo pusher. Let me tell you, if you're looking for a gizmo fix, they've got everything you need, baby!

Once you start browsing around for camera equipment, it can be bewildering. But, the good folks at this photography store have a good deal of technical info on their website, including video tutorials. They will take you by the hand, tie the proverbial rubber cord around your arm, and line you right up for that first fix. They even have a buy now, pay later option. It's almost too easy.

One of the reasons that the camera suppliers of the world will always be guaranteed a steady flow of hooked customers, insatiably craving another high, is the complicated and changing nature of video technology itself. The learning curve is not only steep; it curves back around on itself, like a Mobius strip. This is because videography equipment is always evolving. Once you learn about one thing like, oh say, 3 CCD HDV Video Cameras, BAM! They come out with CMOS Sensors, or the super large DSLR type chips that are all the rage right now. First you're learning about 1080p and you think you sort of understand that, then, BING! You've got to learn about 3D anaglyph stereoscopic imagery. Soon, you're drooling over words you can hardly pronounce. You find yourself chasing after that newest thrill; after all, you've got to keep up with the Jones', or James', or Camerons.

Well, anyway. My first purchase was a 1000U, HDV shoulder mount camera. This was a pretty decent camera (for the money) to start off with. To the uninitiated, it looks very professional. It's huge. This might not be a very good criterion for judging what is or is not professional, but that's the way the world is. Walk into a shoot with a big-booty camera on your shoulder and you da man! For my purposes, it worked just fine. It records to mini DV tape which is an inexpensive recording media (roughly about two or three bucks a 60 minute tape). It captures in High Definition 1080i (which means 1080 interlaced lines as opposed to 1080p or progressive lines of video).

I bought this camera as a package from my gizmo-pusher store. It came with a good bag, an extra large battery, some tapes, and a lens filter. I figured that I might as well start trying to drum up some business right away, so I advertised on a classified ad site as Videographer for Hire, before it was even delivered. My camera was still in transit on UPS when I got a call right away from someone in need of my "services". He was shooting a segment for a TV pilot in Waikiki on Halloween night. His cameraman had flaked out and he desperately needed someone to fill in at the last moment. I explained to him that I didn't even have a camera yet, and in fact, had never actually operated one yet. He was so desperate, he said "no problem", he had a camera, he just needed me to hold the camera and monitor sound. He would show me all I needed to know to operate it. How cool is that? He paid me $90 bucks cash to teach me how to use a camera for three hours! Not bad, huh?

Well, anyway, back to the 1000U. When it finally arrived, I was as happy as a swine in fecal matter. I started shooting everything with it. My wife, my dog, our cats... whatever or whoever would let me, I shot 'em.

I wasted lots of tape too. Some of it was horrible. Shaky, poorly framed, poorly lit, grainy, poor sound, lot's of bad stuff. But, some of it was ok. As I continued reading the owner's manual and looking up tutorials on YouTube, I became more proficient. Over time, I used that prosumer (not really consumer, not really professional) camera to get paying wedding gigs, commercials, and... I shot two feature-length documentaries with it. These two docs; "Olomana Gardens Permaculture & Aquaponics" and "Lono's Bounty", actually went on to win several film awards and sold very well on DVD.

So, back to my compulsive camera equipment purchasing addiction; during the course of my learning to use the 1000u, I discovered that I needed an on-board video light. So, I bought one. The microphone that comes with the 1000u is pretty good, but it's not an XLR Professional mike. Then I learned that there was a gizmo called an XLR Adapter which could fix that. So, I bought one. Now I needed a pro microphone. I bought it! I needed XLR cables. I bought two. I wanted to film some underwater footage and surf footage, so I bought a mini underwater camera with all the bells and whistles. The postal delivery man and I were really getting to know each other! I needed a boom-pole, but they looked pretty pricey, for what it is. I found a tutorial on how to make a DIY (do-it-yourself) boom-pole with a long painter's handle. So I bought a painter's pole and made one. (Note: DIY Camera Equipment addiction is one of the final steps past the point of no return. If you've started to make your own equipment, please get professional counseling NOW!)

Well, it's been almost four years now since my addiction began. I would say that I'm a functional addict. I'm not stealing money from my wife's piggy bank, or begging money on the street,...yet. But I do get a little itchy when my videography trade industry magazines arrive every month. I finally sold my old shoulder mount camera through an internt classified ad site for $500 bucks less than what I paid for it, but only after it had made some pretty good money for me. I'm proud of the fact that the products that I made with it, those first DVDs, are still making money for me.

With the money from selling the 1000U, I turned around and bought two smaller cameras (HV40s) so that I could do two camera shoots. Yep, I finally got over my Freudian "larger equipment envy", and went with two smaller rigs that can shoot in variable frame rates. The low light capability on these little cameras is pretty decent too. These little work-horses, although technically "consumer" cameras, have been widely adopted by the Independent Film community because of their ability to shoot at 24P (24 frames per second, progressive). This is the frame rate that actual film is recorded at and it gives a beautiful cinematic look to footage. Due to the evolving nature of video technology, this little camera can do much more than my huge 1000U could do, at half the price.

I must admit that I've had to accessorize...just a little. I've added a couple of stabilizer rigs, more microphones, field recorder, lens hoods, tripods, lenses, hard shell carrying case, backpack, monopod, long life batteries, professional three-point lighting kit, clapper board, wireless mikes, underwater housing, beefed up desktop computer for editing, enhanced graphics cards, dual monitors, external hard-drives, the newest version of professional editing software, with special effect plug-ins, soundwave synch plug-in, tons of royalty free production music, special effects clips, stock footage, a new DSLR camera with battery grip, fill light, etcetera, etcetera... Whew!

The delivery man and I are on a first name basis.

Now, I think I'm all set. No, really. I'm all good. Don't think I will need to buy anything for a long time!

Well...., there is the possibility that I might need to go tapeless at some point, but for now, I'm convincing myself that Mini DV Tapes are good for archival purposes. If something works, you stick with it, right? Plus, I'm still researching the newer AVCHD compression vs MP2. Maybe check back with me in another year. I've kind of got my eye on this new tapeless video camera with a super large image sensor and an eight bladed iris for incredible bokeh. Man, a couple of those would be sweeeeet! That is, until I can afford one of those new.....

Albert J. Cloutier has won high praise and recognition for his contribution to the independent film industry. Some of his achievements include being nominated for best documentary at The Bare Bones Film Festival, Winner at The Honolulu Film Award, Mulitiple wins at The Accolade Awards, Winner at The Indie Fest, Green Apple Award Winner at the Green Lifestyle Film Festival, and many other kudos too numerous to mention.

Founder of World Class Productions LLC, a complete digital production company head-quartered in Honolulu, Albert, along with his wife Jayne, produce Commercials, Viral Media, Music Videos, and Independent Films. Together they over-see every aspect of pre-production, production, and post.

As Writer, Director, Cinematographer, and Editor, Albert says he is really just indulging his penchant for spinning yarns and telling stories, a trait he blames on boyhood camping trips around the campfire. Or maybe to getting caught too many times sneaking out of class without a hall-pass at high school...

Albert was born and raised in New Hampshire. He spent 20 years in Texas, kayak fishing in the Gulf of Mexico quite successfully, and riding horses very poorly. Thankfully, he no longer uses a cane and seldom smells like dead fish.

Original article

How To Direct A Movie

In this article I will go over what it takes to direct a movie. Directing a movie may seem easy being the boss calling all the shots but it can be very difficult and there is a lot of behind the scenes work that can be time consuming. Some directors prefer to write there own script, but that is more challenging as to searching for a script that has been written for you. Once you have your script you want to break it into sections, go over your script time after time. You want to be able to envision each scene as it would unfold in your film and write out how you want your characters roles and how you want them to express there emotions, share this with your actors. It can help to take some acting classes because you will be directing your actors and it will give you a better understanding as if you were in there shoes.

There are many software programs you can use to help you with drawing out your storyboards which can be very efficient as to saving you valuable time. Make sure you write how you want each set to look and how you will shoot each scene, also any special effects you feel you will be using. Remember to share all these aspects with your film crew you want your entire team onboard with you. They need to know exactly how you want each shot and it's your job to fill them in with your vision of this film. Get your crew together and lay everything on the table, make sure everyone is on the same page.

Before you jump into filming grab your main actors and sit down with them and read the script out loud. This will give you the chance to explain how you want your film to play out, and you can get good feedback from your actors as they see it. As you get your sets together do some "on set rehearsal" this will allow you to show your actors what specific actions you expect from them. Respect your actors but call out there mistakes let them know what you envision for this film. As Director you need to set the bar for your crew, show up early on days you're shooting make sure everything is in its correct place.

Keep a schedule for each day this will help you to know which scenes will be shot and in the order there in. Observe your actors and take notes on how they can improve there roles. Go over each scene once before you shoot and refresh your actor's memories on how you want there characters emotions and actions to play out. Give notes to your actors on how they can improve there roles and how you want you expect from there character. Don't try to control every aspect of your film, keep in mind you hired professionals so sit back and let them do there job. Over all you want to be firm with your crew but you also want them to respect you and that will make a huge difference to creating a good movie.

Hello my name is Steve Bean. I work with Octo Interactive. We are an Orlando FL Video Production Company that specializes in Web Video Production (321) 338 - 2962.

Original article

Camera Stabilizers - The Key to Production Footage

Ever wondered how the pros produce high quality production film time and time again while you struggle with shaky playback and amateur looking film? I am willing to bet it is because you are not using some type of camera stabilizer system while using your camera.

If you are new to the world of camera stabilizing, you will quickly see that there are many different types of camera stabilizers. Each stabilizer has its own advantages and disadvantages and each one can alter your production quality. Therefore, in order to choose the one that will work best for you, it would be wise to first decide what type of footage you aim to record and/or produce.

For instance, are you shooting events, documentaries, news, or something similar? If you are then you should be looking at a rig type camera stabilizer, as they are meant for capturing moments and not meant to be held for more than 30 min at a time. Do you plan to shoot a movie, reality series, and something that involves hours of footage. Then you should look at a shoulder mount rig stabilizer as they are meant for hours on end filming. Shoulder mount rigs, when used correctly, will look just as good as a tripod, producing production type footage and are quite easy to keep stable.

If you plan to shoot through hallways, up and down stairs, and through any type of terrain you will be in need of a dolly type rig. Although dolly rigs can be on pricey side, you can get the same effect a with a handheld type stabilizer such as a Steadicam or gimbal type of device. Handhelds are relatively affordable, but can get quite heavy overtime. Most of them also take some time to learn, but once mastered, they can be an overall great way to stabilize your footage. Handheld stabilizers are also a great way to shoot footage for "being in the film" effect and help to instill a sense of action.

Nevertheless, once you have your footage and it's roughly stabilized, you can even add more stabilizing effects and up the production value by using certain types of software. For instance, two of the most popular ones are: Final Cut Pro and Adobe Aftereffects, both of which will help remove excess up-down motion as well as left-right tipping which many amateur film makers struggle with. However, before you starting spending money one expensive software, it would be wise to first invest in a camera stabilizer, as software can only do so much.

You may be surprised at how much more professional your footage will look simply by adding some type of stabilizer system, especially if your just getting started. If your also hurting for cash, do a quick Google search and see how easy it is to build your own! Good Luck and Happy Shooting.

Want to learn more about the best camera stabilizers for you and your footage needs? Then be sure to stop by our blog at @

Original article

Make Cool Videos

You might love watching films so now you also wanted to learn how to make one yourself. I wanted to tell you that it's actually easy to make cool videos. Let me show you how.

A long time ago, they keep on saying that you need to go to a film school for you to be able to learn how to make cool videos. Nowadays, you don't have to do that. You can just buy your own equipment and learn how to make cool videos by yourself. Of course you also need to know few theories but you don't have to earn a degree in school for you to learn those things.

Steps on How to Make Cool Videos:

1. Make an interesting content

You need to think of an interesting topic as a content of your video. People will not watch a boring video so you must make it fun and lively. Check out the news and the current things that is going on around. You might be able to pick a topic that you can use as your story.

2. Write your story

Even if you have a good memory, it is still better to write a script for your video. Things have more chance to happen if they are written in a piece of paper. This also makes things organized for you and your production team.

3. Take various shots

During the production, you must take various shots of the scenes. Don't just take one angle and one long shot because that will be boring. You must make a lot of variations to make the video really look great.

It is also good for you to learn the basic types of shot and angles applied in photography. In this way you can apply those things as well in your video shooting.

4. Edit the video well

Video editing is the final touch in the video production. You can use effects to make your video more cool but don't overdo it. It's good to place those effects in the video introduction but minimize them in the body. You must let the audience understand the story you wanted to show so don't distract them with too much video effects.

5. Review the video well

When you're done editing, spend some time to review the video well. Many times you thought you did everything right but once you review it again, you'll realize that you need to fix something. It doesn't hurt giving a bit of your time to evaluate your video well to make it really the way you wanted it to be.

It's just like that! It's really so much fun to make cool videos. Just continue to learn video production and you'll improve your skills as days go by!

Chamberlane Altatis
Film Maker
Video Production Tutorial

Original article

After Effects Templates - Catering for Production Agencies

There is a huge demand for a quality standard of motion graphics and this is increasing all the time. After Effects templates cater perfectly for this high standard. After Effects templates give the clients a visually effective presentation that has a professional appearance. It allows those seeking the projects to gain from all the enhancements without having to pay for the initial costs of such images. AE templates are perfect for production agencies, as the amount of work that production agencies undertake from film and television studios can be huge, time-consuming and complicated. These templates give the production agencies quality projects that can impress corporate clients. It also saves them time and money because the time taken to develop the templates is no longer needed. There is an extensive range of AE templates that production agencies can choose from and clients will always be satisfied as their expectations and requirements will be met properly.

There are a huge amount of benefits the AE templates provide production agencies. They can produce excellent results right through the spectrum of the media industry from multimedia giants to small businesses that are trying to gather a competitive edge in the marketplace via interactive marketing programmes. The After Effects software can be a rather complex program and it usually needs the expertise of an experienced motion graphics designer who understands the software completely. Therefore using AE templates is a great option for production agencies because they can use the templates and create visually stunning graphics that impress the clients and project the desired message across to the audience. These templates are pre-formatted visual presentations, intros, teasers and motion graphic displays which are very easy to use for either expert or beginner alike.

Ultimately, AE templates break down the barrier between the good and the bad motion graphic presentations - with the bad being created by those who cannot expertly use the software. It allows for a wider use of high quality graphics. You can purchase most packages in high definition format - adding in your own brand images, logos and/or videos.

After Effects templates allow anybody, especially production agencies to create and offer visually fantastic productions that can be communicated in a range of ways. It also allows you to work with your clients in a simple and straightforward way to get the desired result without getting caught up in complicated and time consuming tasks such as re-rendering and re-editing after you have reached the desired product.

Template Digital is a community driven motion graphics marketplace which allows buying and selling of fully customizable, royalty-free stock motion graphics for production, film, and television network professionals. This provides post-production developers a new way to reach hundreds, if not thousands of potential motion graphics customers and get their work into video productions, and saves time and money for video productions. It also includes a developing community of post-production professionals for discussing the latest techniques with After Effects and other motion graphics software programs. Check out our After Effects Templates for Production Agencies here. Template Digital can be found at

Original article

HD DSLR Film Making Basics - Understanding Aperture, Speed, and ISO Relationship - Part 1 - Aperture

I started doing videography using Sony PD-170 and VX-2100 DV system, it was back 6 years ago. Now, I use all DSLR equipments to shoot my videography. The image quality is really astonishing, as now we are able to achieve Cinematic look and feeling in less than $20,000-$30,000 equipments. But the downside is DSLR is designed originally for photography, the video is the extra feature, not the other way around. So in order to operate DSLR for film making, we need to know the basics of photography itself. Which I think, most videographer that used to with the DVCAM or HDVCAM equipments will have a challenge.

Lucky for me, my background is visual graphic design and photography. Even with that, I still met a lot of challenges with DSLR. One of them is the Manual Focus, which I will discuss more details in my next articles. This time, I will discuss the basics of DSLR, from photography to videography.

As we all know, photography is one of the major breakthrough in the 19th century. The principal is very simple, it's basically a black box with a small hole ( terms: camera obscura ), which allow the light pass and projecting image to the back of the box, and the image exposed is captured using chemical reaction to a media. Nowadays with the advancement of technology, this simple principle becomes more elaborate in pursuit of producing better and better image.

Let's take a look at the box. The box is the camera. The small hole is the aperture. Now the aperture is controlled by the lens, which in term the quality of the lens is crucial to get the sharpest, distinct image that allows the light to pass to the media. Most of the time a good lens price will cost more than the camera itself. Another factor is, the camera technology is advancing so fast like the computer, every year we see newer model coming up, with better feature and the price went down very fast for older model. By contrast, a good lens will be used at all time no matter what kind of body camera we use.

Aperture, is "the size of that small hole". Aperture is measured by 1/x. the x is 1.2, 1.4, 1.8, 2.8, 3.5, 4, 5.6 and so on. The smaller the "x" number, the Bigger the "hole". Lens price normally will commensurate with "Bigger" aperture. so if you see 35 mm f/1.2 normally the price will be more expensive than 35 mm f/2.8.

Now, you might wonder why is that?

There is several factors that I can think of. First, the technical difficulty might be more challenging in producing lens with bigger aperture. Second, the demand for this lens is less than other type of lenses ( ex: zoom lenses ). It's just economic, less demand, difficult to make means higher prices. Well I might be wrong, but this is just my take on this.

Now, you might also wonder, why the demand is less? it took really nice image right?

Yes it is. but it also needs someone with at least intermediate-advance level, to shoot a good picture with it. Trust me, artistic looks doesn't mean it translate to more appreciation with general public. If you don't believe me, just go to your local camera store and ask them which lens is their best seller? So the market is less for this type of lenses.

Ok, so why do we need big aperture lens for video?

I can only think of 2 reasons. First, we need it in lower light situation. The bigger the aperture, means more light comes in. Second, the "Bokeh" ( terms for that blurry background around the focused subject ) the bigger the aperture the more "Bokeh" you got. It is making the subject far more interesting and artistic than the whole frame focus.

How big of aperture do we need for video?

Again, this is more of an artistic taste of each video / cinematographer. For myself after using the DSLR for half a dozen weddings, I realized I can live with f/2.8. Because I mainly shoot for events, the pace is fast and there is no take 2 or take 3 or more. It's only take one - and you can't ask the bride to walk in the aisle again just for you to shoot the video. Bigger aperture can mean out of focus easily, since the 3" screen is so small, sometimes is really took some experiences to develop "the feeling" to get the right focus.

I do use the bigger aperture like 1.4 for the scripted featurette, such as the pre-wedding featurette or short film or just for interviewing ( the talking heads ). So I have one or two lens in handy.

That's my take on the HD DSLR film making basic - Part 1 - Aperture

You can follow Fond productions DSLR education blog at

Fond productions is an independent wedding, events and commercial video / cinematographer based in Los Angeles.

Original article