A Short Guide To Filming Nature and Wildlife

The following article is a brief Guide to filming nature, and its aim is to help a filmmaker to be prepared. When shooting video in natural settings, there are several things that should be kept in mind. First, a person should make sure to be physically prepared. Make sure to carry a map and compass if you will be going to an unfamiliar area, especially if you plan to go off of the main trail. Make sure you have clothing for bad weather, because weather can often change suddenly. A wilderness survival kit might also be a good idea. It is also smart to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Make sure to have proper footwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, etcetera. It can be dangerous to go into the wilderness unprepared, and it could even end up costing you your life.

Next, make sure you have all the gear you need to take good video. When filming nature and wildlife, it is important to be prepared with everything you might need to get a good shot. A large zoom lens on your video camera will probably be very useful. If you have one of these, you will not have to try to get too close to animals and end up scaring them away. A filmmaker should bring along a variety of camera filters. Different filters may be necessary in order to get the best footage.

When the sky is overcast and the lighting is poor, it will be helpful to have a warm-up filter. These filters can help to brighten up shots that would otherwise turn out dull. Using a polarizing filter can help to add more contrast to your video. These filters work best when light is entering your shot from one side. They can help to remove reflections from your footage, making the video cleaner and sharper. Polarizers that alter the colors of scenes can also be used. Blue-yellow polarizers are popular these days, and they can give video clips a dramatic blue or gold sheen. Another filter that is sometimes used in nature filmmaking is a neutral density (ND) filter. These filters reduce the amount of light that can enter through the lens, which helps to allow for longer exposures. ND filters can help to create a motion blur effect. These filters give an interesting effect to things like blowing leaves and flowing water.

When a filmmaker sets out to film nature, it is important to keep several things in mind. Firstly, it is important to be physically prepared for whatever might happen. Secondly, it is important to pack the right camera equipment. Lastly, it is important to be mentally prepared; nature and wildlife filmmaking can be tedious and many hours may be required to get the desired images. A prepared and patient filmmaker, however, will surely end up with some spectacular footage.

Kevin J Railsback
Filmmaking Naturally

Award-winning filmmaker Kevin J Railsback has traveled as far as Africa to test HD camera for Panasonic. His stunning nature and wildlife footage has appeared in productions on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, etc.

Original article

Finding the Perfect Camera

In order to capture compelling family stories, you'll need a camera. Before you buy, there are a few things to think about to make it work best for you. Ask yourself what you plan to record the most. Is it on-the-go shots of your kids? Or sit-down interviews with the family? What do you want to do with the video afterwards? Answering thoughtfully to these questions will help with the tips below.

1. If handheld, quick shooting is what you want most, make sure the camera has an Easy button feature, with auto-focus, auto-white balance, auto-iris, auto-stabilization. Make sure it also has a decent-sized battery that has a long-life (ideally, at least 4 hours) so you don't miss any critical moments!

QUICK TIP: Keep your battery stored on the charger, so it is always charged and ready to go.

2. If sit-down interviews are your goal, make sure the camera has the option to use a plug-in lavalier microphone that attaches to your subject's shirt. Audio is just as critical as video and having this will increase your production value greatly!

3. For sit-down interviews, buy a tripod. Before you buy, check the weight of your camera and the maximum weight the tripod can bear and make sure your camera weighs less than the tripod's max weight.

4. For either scenario, decide on your recording format and finalization. Though for many years mini DV tape has been the standard, newer models record onto DVD, a hard drive, or digital memory cards. If you plan to do a lot of editing, use mini-DV tape, a hard drive, or memory cards. For this option, make sure you have an easy way to finalize the movie onto a DVD so you can easily watch it on your television. (Macintosh computers make it easy to convert your footage onto a DVD.) Cameras that shoot and record to DVD are great for watching and sharing on a television, but offer the least flexibility for altering your footage in the future.

5. Though on-line purchasing often offers the best pricing ( B&H Photo Video is a great resource), I recommend going to a store first and testing out a few cameras. See how it feels in your hands. See how quickly you are able to find the features that matter most to you. Compare features and decide what is most important to you and your upcoming video projects. CNET is another great resource to do a side-by-side comparison of products.

DMB Pictures is a boutique video production company specializing in producing broadcast-quality personal stories for families, non-profits and small businesses. The company opened its doors in January 2006 led by Debbie Mintz Brodsky, a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with more than 20 years of experience.

Visit us at http://www.dmbpictures.com/

Original article

Watch Your Home Movies: Editing Your Video Footage Into A Film

One of the most important things I do in my job is editing. When people first think about sharing their life story, they are overwhelmed with the volumes of information to relate and recount. It's my job to help them focus, to record and produce a clear, concise and entertaining story.

One of the hardest things to do is edit your own family footage. In your eyes, everything that was filmed feels like it has great significance and meaning. But a larger audience may not feel the same way. This is why you MUST edit down your footage if you plan for others to sit and watch it for any great length of time. You must get to the heart of the story and eliminate all non-essential details.

While there is great skill involved in editing together an amazing film, for the average person, you need not have great skills to make something that's entertaining and watchable. Think of editing film as similar to editing a term paper using your computer's word processing program. You have lots of ideas. You just need to cut out the ones that don't add to your thesis and move the ones that do until they make sense and flow together.

And just like you need to find the right word processing software to edit your term paper, you will need to find the right film editing software that works best with your computer and your skill level.

There are many types of editing software out there for Mac and PC at varying price points. This article shares the top 5 software out there for novices and advanced alike. It's a great summary of the best that's out there and I strongly agree with their recommendations. http://lifehacker.com/5165944/six-best-video-editing-applications

Once you've chosen your software, the first step with editing your film is to CAPTURE all of the footage you shot and get it into your computer.

• If you filmed onto a removable drive, you can hook this up to your computer and find all the clips you shot ready for editing immediately.

• If you filmed onto digital tape, you will need to "digitize" your footage by hooking up your camera to your computer via USB or Firewire and then use editing software to convert the footage into files that can be read by the software.

• If you filmed onto a DVD, you will need to use software that breaks down the DVD into clips that can be used with the editing software. (I like MPEG Streamclip, for Mac or PC. It works well and it's free! http://www.squared5.com/ )

After you've captured your footage, you want to organize it into clips and bins that go with a theme or story, depending on how you decide to organize.

Once you've organized your clips, you will place them onto your software's timeline and start re-arranging them to create your story. Here is where you'll want to cut out all of those extra parts that aren't needed, such as the speakers' many "umms" and "ahhs," or the footage where you forgot to turn off the record button while you were setting up, or the footage from last year's Halloween party that was on the tape but isn't relevant to the story you are editing together about the family reunion. (You get my point.)

What will ultimately "connect the dots" and make your story flow is by using Cutaway Shots. A simple example is using photos or other non-interview footage to cover over the cut points from an interview. (When you edit down someone's interview and chop it into smaller pieces, it will end up being a series of "jump cuts." Cutaway or B-Roll shots cover these jump cuts.) The best cutaways are ones that are relevant to the story and enhance its meaning.

However you manage to edit down your footage, the key is to make it something that's shorter and even more meaningful than the original footage you shot. Your audience will thank you more than you will ever know!

DMB Pictures is a boutique video production company specializing in producing broadcast-quality personal stories for families, non-profits and small businesses. The company opened its doors in January 2006 led by Debbie Mintz Brodsky, a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with more than 20 years of experience.

Visit us at http://www.dmbpictures.com/

Original article

Cape Town - Film Production's Most Versatile Location

What do you do when you're producing a movie on a strict budget that requires multiple, very different locations in the script. Moving cast and crew about continuously is an easy way of using up much needed funds far too quickly. Many savvy producers over the years have solved this problem by choosing Cape Town as a production base.

South Africa's 'Mother City' with its incredibly varied landscapes, including beach, mountain and vineyard before you even leave the city itself, is endlessly versatile. Not only that but its Mediterranean climate and cosmopolitan history, with varied styles of architecture old and new, allows it to double for a wide selection of destinations around the world.

The History Channel filmed many of its historical re-enactments of their epic America The Story of Us around Cape Town in 2009. The city's surrounds yielded locations doubling for the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Great Plains, Utah, the Rocky Mountains and even the bombing of Pearl Harbour. A few hours' drive from the city, the Karoo offers endlessly varied dry landscapes that double excellently for desert landscapes anywhere in the world.

In Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage, Cape Town managed to act the part of more than 50 different locations around the world, from Bolivia to the Middle East and Afghanistan. There are numerous other productions that come to Cape Town, perhaps needing a cityscape with the feel of San Francisco, or New Orleans, or perhaps a simple European fishing village, a busy port or endless beaches, mountains and vineyards.

Local film production companies have a huge portfolio of filming locations at their disposal. So if a production requires dry, desert landscape one day, cool leafy forest the next and slick urban glamour the next, in Cape Town it can be done. As far as urban landscapes go, Cape Town encompasses historical Victorian architecture, the colourful Malay quarter, modern slick glamour, industrial cityscapes and then the grim poverty of the townships, so whether a production needs glitz or grit the right location is only a few streets away.

With the film industry playing a significant role in the South African economy, permits for filming within the city can be processed swiftly and the local production companies have a skilled pool of local crew and technicians to draw upon, as well as first world infrastructure, making productions filmed on location in and around Cape Town run smoothly and professionally. So it's no wonder that Cape Town hosts a multitude of film productions every year, all year round, as more and more producers discover its versatility.

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 and check out a few of their locations in South Africa.

Original article

How to Create Your Own TV Show

In this article I will be discussing the steps and a few challenges you will face in creating your very own TV show. Before you begin there will be a few things you will need. First you will need a video camera of course; you will also need a computer with video editing software installed. Next you will need to find your casts for the TV show and you will also need a crew to help with your filming.

You will need to select what type of genre your TV will fall under then you will need to write a synopsis describing the content of your TV show. You need to make sure your TV shows meaning and goals are clear. Try to make your idea good enough to be able to film multiple seasons if necessary. Once you have your shows meaning and goals established it is a great idea to get your film protected, you can get protection by searching out an outline registry for your TV show concept that will prevent your film from being copyrighted.

You will need to have a casting call to select your characters for your first episode also known as the "pilot episode". Next you will need to write your guidelines for your show, this is known as "the bible" this will describe in detail the content for each episode throughout your shows season. You will need to do this several times, doing this will increase not only your shows popularity but also its value as well.

It can be a very smart idea to partner with a producer who already has experience. They are likely to have resources to help you with filming your TV show. You can also sell your pilot episode to any production network or company and they will create their own production units. Keep in mind you do not need to hire a producer you can keep your film for yourself to broadcast.

Now you can be your own agent and producer but it's not a bad idea to fill these roles by hiring professionals as to this is their job and they know what they're doing. So unless you already have experience in this field this will be of much help when finalizing your film. Once your show is complete submit your TV series in contests and festivals, this can be a great way to expose your film. Remember to have fun and be creative.

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

Many Famous Stars Got Their Starts by Appearing in Short Films

All of the big movie stars that we are so familiar with, did not start out as huge stars, but as extras, playing very tiny parts in short films. Some of these creations are written, filmed, and produced without a budget at all. The people that create these magnificent works of art get their friends and family to act in them, and spend their own money producing the movie.

You certainly do not undertake these types of projects if you do not love what you doing and you are not going to put everything that you can into it to ensure it comes out spectacular. The subjects that these short films cover are as varied as there are stars in the sky. Of course, a few of them try to emulate what we are used to seeing coming out of Hollywood, like action films, love stories, or horror movies.

But, many other ones are about something as simple as the life a mother and daughter share together, or a family pet. In the past when these types of short films were produced very few if any people ever had an opportunity to view them. But now, because of the World Wide Web, that has all changed.

Today, there are a ton of websites where you can watch these short films online for free. Please do not be confused with the types of videos that you would see on a site like YouTube. Most of their videos are shot by amateurs, who are recording a certain period in the life that turns out to be eventful.

The short films that we are discussing here are produced by semiprofessionals, who are trying to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry. They each have a beginning, middle, and an end, as well as some kind of plot. With some of the less sophisticated ones, it might be kind of difficult to uncover the plot, but if you watch one enough times, you will discover it sooner or later.

With the better ones, the plot will be obvious from the minute the movie starts and it will leave you fascinated, craving for more work from its producer. Their running length also varies greatly from only a minute or so, all the way up to an hour.

Some of these films will grow in popularity to such a point that the makers of the movies will be invited to present their short films at one of the world's most prestigious and well known film festivals, like Sundance or Cannes. Of course, this is the type of recognition that the producers were hoping for when they first came up with the idea to create a mini movie.

So, the next time you are on the internet and cannot find anything interesting to read or watch, just type the following term "Short Films Online" into one of the search engines and see what pops up. Who knows, you might find something that you really enjoy watching and you start coming back to the site all of the time seeking more exciting entertainment.

Are you looking for that perfect site to upload short films or view others work online no matter what the genre? Look no further Renderyard has everything you need for filmmakers to get your short films noticed.

Original article

How to Make a Low Budget Movie - Bring Your Screenplay to Life

Feature length movies can be made for ten thousand dollars. However, they are more likely to be turn out better and be a success if you pay about five to ten times as much. There are exceptions of course, and some movies costing only 10 to 20 thousand dollars to make have made millions of dollars. If you want to make a movie on a low budget there are many things to consider besides just getting it made cheaply if you want to be a success. This article explains different ways that movies can be made at low cost, and the pros and cons to the different methods. It is primarily for someone with a screenplay or a movie idea who wants to see their idea come to life.

If you have a movie script or movie idea that you want made into a movie, it can be done, with difficulty, or with relative ease. And it can be completed under budget, or over budget.

To illustrate what I mean, imagine you have a house and you want to add two rooms to it and you have no building experience, but you know what you want. If you have enough money, you can explain what you want to an experienced builder, and have them do it all. If you want to save money, you may think about doing some of the work yourself. You might think, well I have a table saw and I can measure and I can pound nails, so I'll do the framing, and hire someone to finish it. When the finishing crew comes to finish it, they may find the rooms are a bit off square, and not quite level, and for them to finish it it will take lots of extra work because the basics were not done right. The total cost can then be more than if you had hired experts right from the start.

The same applies to making a movie. You have your screenplay, and maybe a camera and some of the equipment, and you know some people who will volunteer, and you have taken some workshops on operating the camera and practiced a bit. You shoot your movie, and then hand it to an editor to finish it. Like with the addition to the house, if the basics were not done right, the editor will have a lot more work to make it presentable, and may in fact not be able to make it totally professional looking because of errors that were made during shooting. It would have been cheaper to get expert help right at the start, and to only concentrate on directing and telling your story.

You might think well, what else can I do? I don't have the money to hire a big professional crew to make it. The answer is to find a very small professional crew, who are expert at shooting low-budget movies to do it. The cost will likely be less than if you tried to "save money" by doing jobs you were not expert at. You can still do a lot of the work yourself, but restrict yourself for the most part to doing the simple no brainer jobs, and let the experts do their thing. You can find filmmakers who have the experience and know how to bring your story to life, and all you have to do is find them. After all, what you really want is a nicely finished, professional looking movie that tells your story. Search, and you will find the people that you need, and be much happier in the long run.

I am expert at making low-budget movies with very small crews. I live in Vancouver, which is sometimes called Hollywood North, and many movies are made here. Movie making tricks are used to make movies shot here look like they were made in New York, Texas, LA, the midwest or many other parts of the world. These tricks are very inexpensive and Vancouver has a lot of low cost talent. I offer complete packages, or partial packages, from $14,000 up, and they are explained on my website:
I offer free consultations with no obligation, by phone or email.

Original article

Screenwriter Options - Getting Your Movie Made

If you have written a screenplay and want to see it made into a movie, you have several options. You can submit it to Hollywood studios. You can also look for independent filmmakers, who may be looking for screenplays. Your final option is to make the movie yourself, learning some of the skills needed, and getting volunteers, or hiring experts to help make your movie. This article will cover the different options open to you as a screenwriter.

You can find the mailing addresses for Hollywood studios, and send your script to them. Unfortunately, they will usually send it back unread, as they do not accept anything which is not submitted by a literary agent. You can then try to get a literary agent to represent you and your screenplay, but it can be very difficult, as they usually want to represent writers with proven track records. You can also seek out independent filmmakers, who are more open to reading scripts by unknown writers. However, independent filmmakers almost always have several of their own movie ideas they are working on, and their own scripts take preference over those submitted by others. Or finally, you can make the movie yourself.

Many writers have turned their own screenplays into movies, and some have made a lot of money with their movies. With the digital video revolution, it is possible to shoot a high quality movie using an inexpensive video camera, and then do the editing on a home computer. Some writers have done this, becoming their own directors and producers, making their movie for under $10,000. But many writers who become first time filmmakers, do not finish their movies because the work involved can be overbearing, or they make a movie which is of low quality which has little chance of success.

I will outline here two low cost options for you as a screenwriter wanting to make your movie yourself. The first option is to learn the skills you will need to make your movie. You can take some workshops and seminars on filmmaking, and buy your own camera and computer with an editing program, and practice with both. You can then get some volunteer actors and crew members and make your movie. However, the best thing to do is to first make several short films, before you tackle your feature length movie. This way, you can learn as you go, making your mistakes on your short films, rather than your feature length movie. It is advisable to make at least 4 or 5 short films, to learn how to produce and direct a movie. If you have a regular job, and spend all of your free time making short films, you will do well to make 4 per year, with 2 or 3 being closer to the average. Short films typically cost one to three thousand dollars, even if volunteers are used.

The other low cost option for a screenwriter is to hire an experienced filmmaker, who is used to making low budget movies, to do most of the work. Such a person may have spent many years working with very small budgets, and knows how to utilize volunteers or low paid help to make a movie. For a writer whose main interest is in getting their movie made, rather than learning a lot of skills that may not interest them, this can be the better option. An experienced low budget filmmaker can likely save you thousands of dollars, and ensure that your movie is saleable.

I am an expert at making low budget movies. I have movie making packages starting at $14,000. You can be the director, or I can direct it for you. You may be able to find two actors who are keen to get the lead roles in a movie, rather than bit parts, who will want to share the cost. I can make your movie where I live, or come to you. If made where I live, your movie can be made to look like it was made somewhere else. This is done all the time, and it is explained on my website: http://www.bushpilotproductions.com/makeamovie.html.

To make your movie at a very low cost, there are script considerations which are also explained on the website. You can keep trying whatever you have been trying, and eventually give up, and then mumble the name of your movie when you are dying. Or, you can get proactive, and make your movie.

Original article

HD Stock Footage - A Video Production Game-Changer

People who produce videos, whether for marketing presentations, indie films, amateur film makers or blockbuster Hollywood films have taken advantage of stock video footage for years. There are lots of ways to utilize stock footage, from direct integration into the video to using it as a background prop. Until recently, the only stock footage producers had access to was standard NTSC type clips but with advances in technology and the increasing popularity and availability of high definition, HD stock footage is becoming the "gold standard" for use in productions large or small.

Granted, standard video footage still has plenty of uses in both presentations and in movies. With the intensity and quality that HD stock footage has, however, those clips have fewer and fewer uses. Since HD has become so popular, most people now have access to widescreen monitors and TV's so putting together video presentations and shows for use on the web has become increasingly popular as well.

Anyone who has compared the video quality of HD versus standard video knows just how dramatic the differences are. Not only do you have the full aspect ratio you'd expect in a movie theater but the video quality is undeniable. By using stock HD footage from a football game, almost every blade of grass on the ball field can be counted, footage of animals in nature are more lifelike than ever before, and the cooking shows are so detailed that you start to drool. That's why incorporating HD video into your productions is so important.

The main point to any video production is to get someone to notice it then to stay put until you've gotten your "story" told. Even sales video presentations have that as their main goal, although their "story" is about the company's products and services. HD footage enables you to put together a very powerful, dramatic production without having to shoot every frame of it and have it edited down into something usable. With the great selection of high definition footage available, you won't have any trouble finding exactly what you need for your production.

Perhaps the best part of using stock footage is the fact that it saves. Not only does it save you time since you don't have to shoot all your own footage but it saves you money as well. Since all you have to do is basically drag and drop the clip into your production software, there are few, if any production modifications that have to be made to it. Reduced labor costs, reduced production costs and amazing footage makes utilizing stock footage in HD a total win-win for your video production.

Using HD video clips can make a world of difference when you are putting together a presentation you want to wow everyone with. Lewis Williamson found a great stock video library he could use anytime he needed a good clip.

Original article

Chinese Video Production Gear

There are several difficult choices to be made when buying gear in 2012. It's expensive, it's confusing and it's ever-changing.

1. It's expensive. At least it was, but it's getting cheaper, but this is bringing other problems as well. I always say if you want to make something cost 3 times as much just write the word 'video' on the side. There are a few things that are helping lower the costs such as competition and foreign production (and I'm not talking about Germany). The specific question here is if being able to get more video production equipment for less is really a good investment if it means that it comes straight from China or a 3rd world country. Think about where the ideas came from for the design, the overall quality level and the chances of being able to replace it if something breaks. There are other considerations, but when it comes to those it is usually pretty obvious that buying Chinese made knockoffs is probably a bad idea. They are cheaper and competentish but also chintzier and rarely make you feel like a pro. Paid video production is often just about looking and conducting yourself like a pro.

2. It's confusing. 'Standards' often mean nothing in the world of film in film and video. Like rules, they are made to be broken. An issue with buying video production equipment from less than stellar companies is that the pieces don't always play nicely with the rest of your gear. Although companies like Red Rock aren't perfect they do offer something that is pretty valuable. They offer complete sets. If you find that the day after you bought a kit you need to modify it to do something a little different you will most likely have a lot of luck on the Red Rock or Zacuto site finding the exact right piece to make your setup work perfectly. It may not be cheap but it will be designed and built for exactly what you need it for. I was on set as a 1st AC once with an ASC DP when we were talking about my RED One camera and its pros (which he found few) and cons (which he found many). A lifelong Panavision user he knew that whatever tiny piece of gear or thing he thought he might possibly need at any point it was only a phone call away. Panavision had it all. It all worked together and it was as he called it "a complete system." RED has come a long way since then but Panavison certainly has a long pedigree of Cinema experience that is hard to beat. What RED has done with the EPIC program and all its modular parts is certainly similar to what Panavision has been doing for decades. In the end, it is nice to be able to talk to a company that knows what you are going through, what you are trying to do on set and advise you accordingly.

3. It's ever-changing. If there's one thing we know about video production it's that there are constantly new products, new improvements, new technology and of course that we want them all. Knowing that you have gear with decent resale value is important. Knowing that it is expandable, durable and made by a company that will most likely be around in a few years is also something you will feel good about long after the gear has paid for itself. One other thing to keep in mind is 'The Frankenstein Effect.' No one likes to show up on set with video equipment that looks like it was cobbled together from a bunch of yard sales and metal shops. Even if it works great it's not always the best for a professional appearance or the confidence that comes from using video production equipment that you really love.

When it's all said and done it's most likely a money issue. And the best way to sum up that question is with a simple maxim. Pay now or pay later. Few people would rather own a generic knock-off than a real Port-a-brace case. The same is definitely true for matte boxes, tripods, lights, Steadi/Glide cams etc... If you're a pro then it makes sense to buy pro gear and leave the knockoffs to hobbyists and amateurs.

Original article

The Sony AX2000 Video Camera Is The Wave Of The Future

When looking for an HD model camcorder, look no further than the all new Sony AX2000. It is an impressive consumer level camcorder and it is cutting edge and top of the line. The camera can capture either Standard Def or High Def video in MPEG-2 formats, and records with a tapeless camera onto a memory stick. The camera is ideal when it comes to recording on to a blue ray format since the code is extremely compatible with blue ray players.

As with other cameras in this category, the Sony AX2000 is a three chip camera that produces better clarity and color which uses Exmor sensors that are less expensive than other alternatives. This is much less expensive to manufacture and they use considerably less battery power.

The camera has a lens that is a long telephoto, which is not very wide, but allows for better shooting in even the smallest of rooms. While most videographers will use a wide-angle to shoot, the telephoto is a convenient alternative to a different approach to filming, and can be attached to a tripod for more stable shooting. The inputs are extremely handy and they help you by letting you forget about the power needs of the microphone.

The control of the lens allows for greater operator control and professional film makers will appreciate the more precise controls and manual adjustment options. The Sony AX2000 knows intuitively which of the three control rings contains the image adjustments that need to be made, making for simpler ease of use. Some of the other display modes and handy tools that come standard with the Sony AX2000 are:

• Zebra Display - this allows the user to add a striped pattern to brighter areas of video images

• Histogram Display - an images brightness distribution appears with this option, giving you objective determination and allowing for adjusting the cameras brightness

• Manual gain adjust

• Faster shutter speed

• Greater white balance

The Sony AX2000 can either record or take still images, either of which are taken with the highest clarity available on the market today. When looking for a camera that offers the most control, options, and ease of use for a photographer or videographer, the Sony Ax2000 is the only camera that one will need. In order to create spectacular and breathtaking images and video, having the best equipment will help to achieve the desired goal and results. The AX2000 is at the top of the list when it comes to usability, comfort, technical advantages, and this camera will not disappoint amateur or professional film buffs. When it comes to creating the best product possible, the use of the AX2000 will help to get where you need to be.

Stan Roderbel loves to write about the latest electronic gadgets, gismos and anything related to cutting edge technology. Stan ventures into the fields of cameras, video and cell phones to find out the newest product and bring that product to his readers. You will enjoy this article about the Sony AX2000 Camcorder even more if you go to the Sony AX2000 website. While there read the article about the Sony HVRZ7U video recorder and it's many fine features.

Original article

Learn About the Great Features and Benefits of the Sony HDR-XR150 Video Camera

At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, the Sony HDR-XR150 was introduced to the electronics market, and is one of the latest HD video cameras to be launched by one of the big brands in the business. The Sony HDR-XR150 is actually the successor of the Sony XR100 video cameras from 2009, and not only are they smaller than their precursor but they are also cheaper.

This new Sony HD video camera is equipped with 25x optical zooms, and it also has a hard drive with a space capacity of 120GB. Just as with many of the other video cameras that are made by Sony, this camera has a wide array of innovative features such as: Smooth Slow Record Mode, Intelligent Auto, Child Priority Tool, Steady Shot, Smile Shutter, Face Detection and Spot Focus.

In regards to the specifications of the Sony HDR-XR150 there are some similarities to other Sony digital cameras such as the Sony XR100; however, there are also some improvements. One such improvement is the expanded 25x optical zooms of the HDR-XR150, which is considered to be rather impressive for such a small video camera as other camcorders made by the brand has 15x optical zoom lens or even less. Additionally, this Sony Camera features SDHC/SD memory card support, as well as the Sony Memory Stick format. Therefore, you will always have approximately three recording formats that you can take advantage of.

The Sony HDR-XR150 is also considered to be one of the most compact HD video cameras that are currently available on the market. Although this digital camcorder is equipped with a hard drive of 120GB, it measures 57mm x 67mm x 114mm and it weighs approximately 300g. It you compare this model to other models of Sony video cameras such as the HDR-SR12E, you will feel as though the camcorder has shrunk significantly. As such, it is not very difficult to carry around for your convenience.

Not only does this HD camcorder feature the popular Sony BIONZ processing chip, but it also features the redesigned version of the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens. In the AVCHD format, other models of Sony video cameras could only record 1080p videos at approximately 16Mbps; however, this camera is able to do the same type of recording at approximately 24Mbps.

When recording videos in the LP mode, the hard drive of the HDR-XR150 is able to store approximately 50 hours and 30 minutes of HD video; on the other hand, when the recording is done at its highest quality, this video camera can only store approximately 11 hours and 20 minutes of video. Furthermore, if you choose to, you can use standard definition to record your videos.

Stan Roderbel loves to write about the latest electronic gadgets, gismos and anything related to cutting edge technology. Stan ventures into the fields of cameras, video and cell phones to find out the newest product and bring that product to his readers. You will enjoy this article about the Sony HDR-XR150 Video Camera even more if you go to the Sony HDR-XR150 website.

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Video Production Gear for DSLR Shoots

The majority of dSLR shooters require a light gear load as we usually do not have the luxury of a full crew to help carry our stuff. We also might move to several locations in a single day, and more equipment means slower set ups and breakdowns which can make a tight video production schedule even tighter. There are, however, a few things that I recommend even one-man-band shooters to carry around due to their light weight, small size and tremendous utility.

Zoom H4N or TASCAM DR-100

These little devices are indispensable as video production field recorders, thanks to their low $300 price tags and stunning stereo sound quality. You can use the onboard mics, which do a great job on their own, or attach external microphones, each of which can be recorded onto its own separate track in 4-Channel recording mode on the H4N. The sound quality of these affordable devices adds a tremendous amount of production value to a low-budget dSLR shoot, as dSLR onboard mics sound pretty terrible. Even if you have a higher-end field recorder and mics for your main capture, the H4N can be used to capture ambient sounds to layer in during post or do quick ADR sessions while your actors are on set. Have an assistant take your actors to a quiet area and re-record all their lines while you continue shooting. These takes can then be used to replace any garbled lines recorded by your main unit. One note: the units lack Time Code generators, meaning all syncing has to be done visually using waveforms.


Having a lightweight, collapsible monopod tucked into my gear bag has come in extremely handy when I least expected it on dSLR video productions. A decent monopod costs around 20 bucks and is way lighter than any tripod. In addition to allowing me to shoot smooth pans with my dSLR with a much smaller footprint than a tripod, I have also used my monopod as a boom pole which I attach my H4N to directly. For shoots in nature, I have used my monopod as a walking stick. A bonus is the security felt by having a six-foot pole with which to potentially beat off wild animals! In a festive mood? Instant limbo-stick! Seriously though, it's a very versatile tool which can even be used as a stabilization device as I explain in this other ShutterDown article on Cheap or Free Stabilization/Steadicam Tricks.

18% Grey Card

Setting proper exposure is best done with a professional light meter. If you find yourself without one (they can be a bit pricey), then another solution for setting exposure quickly in the field is an 18% gray card. This is a card with a neutral color cast that contains 18% black (on a scale where 0% is pure white and 100% is pure black). You can use the card to set the exposure on your dSLR and avoid blowing out your whites. A secondary use of the card is to set your white balance. For most dSLRs it works just as well as a white card without having to carry something else in your gear kit. For even more accurate color correction in post, invest in a three-card set containing pure white, 18% gray and pure black. After you frame your shot and set exposure, shoot a few seconds of the cards and use this footage in post to adjust your white, grey and black levels in your color corrector using the eye-dropper tool. Need a free card? Wilsonart will send you FREE samples of their laminate which will come in handy in a pinch. I ordered a black, white and grey card from them in 3 x 5 sizes (choose "matte" finish for low reflectivity), and used a brass binder to hold them all together. The gray is quite close to a pro gray card, close enough to neutral to do the trick for most shooters on a budget.

Collapsible Reflector

When on a dSLR shoot, I like to travel as lightly as possible. For this reason, I prefer collapsible reflectors as opposed to carrying Styrofoam boards around. In addition to being inconvenient, large boards have a tendency to act like sails when not in use and fly around, potentially whacking your actors or your gear. The collapsible reflector I use shrinks to 12" when folded and put in its case, making it much less of a hazard and easy to carry around. It's great to bounce a little fill on an actor's face or to reduce harsh light by acting as a shade.

Extra Media Cards

Media cards, such as SD or P2 cards, can die at the worst possible moment. This unfortunate event happened to me once while setting up to shoot a live theater performance. I had tested the camera earlier and all was well. For some inexplicable reason, however, when I turned the camera on to start recording, my camera reported an SD card error. Thankfully, I had a spare, which I quickly formatted and used to record the show without further problems. What would I have done without this extra card? I shudder to think of the disappointing conversation with my clients that would have occurred had I not had that spare little card in my gear bag. p.s. While buying an extra media card, pick up at least one spare battery for your camera as well.

Blake Barnett
Production Manager
Video Production

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Careers in Sound Design

Recording careers don't only involve working with temperamental divas and disorganized rock bands. The skills and knowledge required in the recording industry can lead to numerous career opportunities in Sound Design and Production.

Sound Designers are most usually employed in the film and television industry, where they provide sounds to accompany screen action. The work they produce is essential to the filmmaking process, as sound elements give film a sense of location or period, or a particular mood. These elements can be any sort of recorded sound, from field recordings to music and special effects. There is, as you can imagine, quite a bit of versatility required, as designers can work alone to produce entire soundtracks and effects, or in a team involving a production mixer, sound supervisor, editor and director. People in this line of work, therefore, must be good communicators, and willing to accept direction and work with others. They must also have a thorough understanding of acoustics and both analog and digital recording and editing equipment and techniques.

In film and TV production, sound effects are added during the editing process. This means that most sound designers have to be experienced sound editors, comfortable with the editing process, software and equipment.

Sound design, however, is not limited to just television and film productions. With numerous media platforms now competing with movie and TV screens, including the Internet, advertising and computer games, the demand for quality, high-trained sound designers is at an all-time high.

Sound designers may be employed by a host of production and media companies, however, many work on a freelance basis, with their own audio workstations and recording equipment. This flexibility gives the opportunity to work on a number of different projects, across a variety of different platforms and formats.

As you can see, now is a great time to start a sound design career training program. The best training programs offer a mix of classroom theoretical instruction and hands-on practical training. Graduates from these programs are highly sought after in the industry, as this varied training approach has numerous benefits: it introduces students to the essentials of the profession, providing an overview of the skills and techniques needed to create recorded sounds, music and special effects; while also providing a golden opportunity to gain experience and confidence with the necessary tools and software needed in the trade.

Get started with a sound design training program today.

Contact the Trebas Institute for more information on their Sound Design and Production program.

Percey Evans is a freelance writer who works for Higher Education Marketing, a leading Web marketing firm specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Mobile SMS Alerts, Social Media Marketing and Pay Per Click Marketing, among other Web marketing services and tools.

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So You Want To Be A Filmmaker

Film can be a very powerful medium, it combines both audio and visual, to tell a story. Watching movies can provide escape as well as excitement, while making a film yourself can be challenging, exciting and magical.Films have the power to affect emotions, they can make you see things from a different perspective, and discover new ideas, or simply create escape or fantasy. Film can make you laugh or cry and each film should have a purpose, whether it is to entertain or inform.

The important thing to remember about making a successful film is simple, it should tell a story.The best way to tell a story is with pictures. Film-making when broken into the components, is visual storytelling, in the shots that make up the scenes, and the scenes put together, make up the complete film.

There are so many different types of film and each serves it purpose.

Studio films are backed by film studios and usually have a hefty budget, averaging $70 million and as high as $300 million. Usually a major star will be featured. On the other end of the spectrum, are the independent films, which are often low-budget, because the money is raised by the filmmaker, without studio financing. Somewhere in between, there are independent divisions of the studio which is really a boutique, operating on smaller budgets but with backing of the studio.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both types. As an independent filmmaker, you have total control, and your film can be created exactly as you envision it, however you have no operating budget. A studio picture, with larger financial backing, and highly paid actors is determined by the studio for the best commercial success and creativity normally takes a back seat.

Your movie can be shot in many different formats. Filmmakers appreciate that the medium on which the story is set can elicit different audience reactions.Multiple choices include analog or digital video or high definition. The choice of film camera can go from super-8 which is an affordable format for beginners to 16mm which produces picture quality that may be adequate for television, or with studio production of 35mm motion picture quality, which is used for most television and feature films.

High definition usher in a new experience, with much sharper pictures, and in some instances it may seem closer to being live.

Great films are seldom made without a good story, and choosing the right material can be more important than anything else.Good ideas for films can come from almost anywhere, once allowed to germinate and blossom, a once nascent idea can develop into a full blown screenplay.

Short film making is a good way to get beginners started in the area of film making because they are easier to produce. You can learn more about the business by visiting http://film-making.biz/
Learn film making to show your creative side using a very powerful medium by visiting http://film-making.biz/

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Enroll in a Film and Television Production Program and Become a Movie Maker

To movie lovers, creating one's own film is often a dream come true. While some famous filmmakers started off with their parents' camcorder and taught themselves everything, an arguably faster and more formal way to break into the field is to enroll in a Film & Television Production program.

Film & Television Production programs are designed to teach students everything they need to know about making, producing, and writing films, internet movies, and marketing videos. Instruction is usually full time, and the entire program lasts approximately one year. Ideally, prospective students should look for schools that employ industry veterans with strong reputations as teachers (look for a "bio" or "about" page on a school's website to see what kind of experience teachers bring to the table). At the end of the program, graduates can begin exciting careers as scriptwriters, filmmakers, producers, music video filmmakers, video marketers, etc, either for established companies, or independently.

Because they are designed to bring students from a base of zero knowledge to a complete understanding of the industry, most Film & Television Production programs cover all the critical areas of film and television, including editing, filmmaking business management, scriptwriting, audio and online video, and movie production. Typical course loads for a program would include the following:

· Editing

· Production management

· Special effects design

· History of film

· Distribution and marketing

· Delivering a "pitch"

· Scriptwriting

· Audio for film and video

· Intro to digital audio

· Intro to DAWS

· Intro to audio post design

· Audio-post workshop

· Online video

· Film and television production

· Producing and directing

· Cinematography

The comprehensive nature of Film & Television Production programs ensures that graduates will have all the knowledge they need to break into the business after finishing their studies. Furthermore, class instruction is very hands-on, and students have the opportunity to use the industry's standard software packages, including "Final Cut", "AVID", and "After Effects." Of course, students also have the opportunity to create films and videos using the latest film equipment on a school's premises, and by the end of a program, graduates are extremely familiar and comfortable with all the tools of the trade. The net result of this all-around training is a graduate who is confident, competent, and ready to hit the ground running in the film industry.

So if you love movies, or film, or videos, and you've a spectator who has always wanted to be a creator, consider enrolling in a Film & Television Production program. It just may be the career that helps you realize your ambitions.

Contact the Trebas Institute for more information on their Film & Television Production program.

Percey Evans is a freelance writer who works for Higher Education Marketing, a leading Web marketing firm specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Mobile SMS Alerts, Social Media Marketing and Pay Per Click Marketing, among other Web marketing services and tools.

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What Makes a Great Video Camera?

Let's start with the cold, hard facts. Not all cameras are created equal. In this modern world where everything is already technology driven, you must have the best video camera to capture moments and memories. You must now be aware that in order for you to capture those moments with perfection, you must also look for the "close-to-perfect" camera. Here is a list of some things you need to make sure of when buying video cameras.

1. Storage- I put this one first because most video cameras nowadays store data in memory cards or hard drives. In case you have different needs, there are still cameras that store data on tapes or discs.

2. Resolution- Digital video recording is all about pixels. Simply put, the more pixels there are, the more detailed your recordings will be. But make sure you check the "true resolution" because there are some companies that put other types of resolution values that have nothing to do with the quality of the videos.

3. Low Light performance- If you plan on using your video cam indoors, it's best if you look for a video camera with good low light performance. This is to ensure that your recordings will be good enough even in poorly lighted conditions like inside the house where most stuff happen.

4. Zoom- Take note that in camera lingo, there are two types of zoom - optical and digital. Make sure you focus on optical zoom because it retains clarity.

5. Image Stability- Aside from image quality, one of the most common problems with video recording are shaky pictures. Make sure you are very comfortable with the camera. While in the store, try holding the camera up and imagine operating it. Check if the weight distribution is fine and also check if you can easily reach for the controls while operating the device.

6. Interconnectivity- Simply, make sure you can connect your camera to devices you want to connect them to. USB ports and HDMI ports are pretty common and may be all you need in your video camera.

7. Sound quality- Sometimes, people forget that half of a video recording is the sound. Unfortunately, built-in microphones on most digital camcorders fail to filter out noise. Try to check if your camera has a port for an external microphone if ever you need to boost the sound reception.

8. Research- Use all available resources so you can have a better idea of what camera is best for you. You can also check personal reviews from people who actually own certain cameras. This way, you can get first hand information about the device, its capabilities and its faults.

For more great tips on digital video cameras please come and visit our website at http://www.palm-store.com/, you won't be disappointed.

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10 Guiding Principles for Aspiring Film Makers

I have always been obsessed with creating excellence in everything I do. In my quest for excellence as a film maker, I have traveled the world learning the tools and techniques as a result of being on the 'front line', filming in countless different environments in almost every continent (I never got to Antarctica!). However, no matter where and what I was filming, the approach in each and every case was fundamentally the same.

There are some guiding principles that drive what I do. I thought I would share 10 of the main ones here with you today. Then, in future posts, we'll move onto the specifics of increasing your film making confidence and knowledge as rapidly as possible.

So here are my 10 guiding principles for success as a film maker. I'll be coming back to each of these in detail in the weeks and months ahead:

1) Most aspiring film makers are not confident enough to go out and shoot for money. It's only the lack of knowledge that prevents their confidence from brimming. I remember my first ever shoot for the BBC, I was petrified I'd mess it up, sweating nervously. Just simply because of a lack of experience and knowledge (at that time). There's no short cut here, but I can accelerate this for you.

2) If you're not out shooting projects, you'll never get over the confidence hurdle. Experience comes from making lots of mistakes, but learning fast! I have got literally dozens of stories of screwing up on location, yet I was always working. The secret is knowing how to fix a problem, always have a Plan B.

3) What defines a film maker anyway? And who has the right to say you can't be one? You don't need to spend huge sums on all the gadgets or the very latest kit AND it DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT prevent you from creating great work. But knowing how to do it on a budget, there's the magic formula! Buying 'stuff' is really easy.... making stuff takes some effort.

4) You have 8 seconds to make an impact on a new visitor to your website. If you don't get them in the first 8 seconds, they'll move on to the next site, so if you want them to watch your film, better make the opening shot count! Try this next time your 'browsing the web', ask yourself "what's interesting for me?", "what am I looking for?

5) Execution is the greatest tool available for film making success. Becoming great at realising your vision and 'making it happen' will make you a confident and great film maker. There's only so much theory you can consume before you have to apply yourself.

6) If you shoot for money, your prices are almost certainly too low. But if you don't have the confidence to charge more, perhaps this is holding you back. There's a commonality amongst creatives and it's about money, have you ever felt that it's almost 'frowned upon' to charge 'too much?'. Let me tell you something, those people who frown only do so because they're envious. Be proud of your prices. If you truly believe that you give your clients exceptional service and value and that they benefit, then you are providing huge value, just make sure you reflect this in your pricing. Think about it, when do you ever buy anything that's so important and look for the 'cheapest'?

7) Being a Film maker can be tough, but just being a spectator is much, much worse. You've made the right decision (or maybe you're about to make the right decision). Film making is one of the most rewarding vocations ever and there has never before been so many platforms on which to showcase your work. But more exciting are the number of businesses you can approach to create compelling films that will not only be creative wonders but also help the client promote their product, service or widget. Make films and get paid? Imagine!

Everyone can learn to be a great film maker, it's a choice. Nobody will tell you this but becoming a confident and successful film maker is actually fairly straightforward. Study and duplicate success. It's (almost) as simple as that.

9) The most important factor in creating film making success is your mindset and thinking. That's why a significant proportion of my work is focused on building your confidence and teaching you how to follow a process when shooting. Once you master this, you will be amazed at how easy it is to replicate in ANY situation.

10) Nothing I tell you will ever be theory. I can now go into any situation, light it, shoot it and know with absolute certainty that it will edit together well and look fantastic but getting there was not always easy. All my skills and experience were developed in 'the trenches'. If I can save you from some of the hurdles I had to jump over, I will have done a good job.

Den Lennie is an award winning veteran of a 17 year career in television production with credits as Lighting Cameraman, DOP, Producer and Director. He's worked with broadcasters, production companies and top film-makers from all over the world, filming in nearly 50 countries. The list of people Den has personally lit and filmed reads like a Who's Who of celebrities from the world of cinema and music: Ewan McGregor, U2, Bon Jovi, Liam Neeson, Kylie Minogue, Mel Gibson, Noel Gallagher, Robbie Williams, Christina Aguilera, Tom Cruise and Naomi Campbell are just a few of the names Den has captured on film or video. He's worked at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo, the MTV and Mobo awards ceremonies and at London Fashion Week. Den's career has also taken him into the field of news and documentaries, of property and travel programmes - winning Royal 2 x Television Society awards in the UK.

He now dedicates all of his time when not filming to http://www.fstopacademy.com/ an alternative film making education resource offering Online Film Making Courses, Practical Training, Mentoring and Hands on Workshops for Aspiring Film Makers Who Don't have the time or desire to go to film school.

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Why Short Films Sink Like the Titanic

Any movie under forty-minutes classified as a short film. An audience attention span however at film festivals tested if shorts run over twenty minutes. Why do so many shorts miss the mark? Two reasons, the first bad audio. You should not strain to hear the actors speak. The second reason lies with the story itself or lack thereof. The very crux of why short films sink like the Titanic.

Narrator's Voice Over

If you watch a short with a narrator's voice over, this called a "cheat." This device tells the story instead of allowing the plot to develop. Directors untrained in the craft of screenwriting who write their own short film scripts often take this route. The burden of the story then falls on the narrator. That leaves trite exchange of dialogue between characters.

Untrained Actors

Line reciting runs amuck in short films. Untrained actors deliver stifled performances. Without organic delivery of lines, the dialogue sounds shallow. Directors complain they cannot find good talent where they live. Excuses however do not cover the fact the film looks and sounds amateurish.

Poor Dialogue

Even a trained actor can muddle through a poorly written short film script. However, mix bad acting with poor dialogue equals disaster. A good story reveals conflict through dialogue and character's actions. Many shorts however full of exposition within the actor's lines.

Poor Pacing

Short do not have the luxury of time. If a short takes a minute to establish shots and roll opening credits, that time floundered. The audience yawns with boredom. Establish the main character's motive within the first two minutes. Establish the conflict within the first three minutes. That will catapult the story into the second act by the fourth minute. Time is of the essence.


End of world stories, teenagers-in-woods horror or someone dies in a drama. Ideas for short films must conceptualize a new angle. End of world story where only women survive. Replace teenagers in the woods with characters who have environmental degrees. Replace near death dramas set in a world where death does not exist. Think outside-of-the-box.


Shorts must grab your attention that first minute. Good storytelling reveals character. Quick pace, solid interaction of characters and a cohesive point makes for a good film. Aspiring filmmakers crank out shorts like a game instead of a craft. As an audience member, you must sift through the chaff to find the wheat. However, the good grain of short films rare indeed.

Chuck G. is a freelance writer and blogger. She's written hundreds of articles on a variety of subjects. Expert researcher, creative writer, screenwriter, filmmaker and poet. Resume

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