Post 1 of 47
(Edit: Made the topic a 'sticky' topic as suggested below - Craig)
(Edit: Thanks Craig )
There has been an abundance of threads latley with useful links. I decided to take all of these (and some of my own ) and combine them into 1 giant thread. - Enjoi
Chroma Keying (blue screening)
http://visualeffects.net/effectsguide/tutorial/Compositing.html - What it is, how to light a blue screen etc.
http://www.techtv.com/interact/netcamnetwork/story/0,23350,2230116,00.html - Blue screen tutorial for MGI VideoWave II,
http://www.studiocreations.com/howto/index.html - How to make star wars costumes and weapons.
http://www.ebay.com - If you're looking for cheap props.
http://www.jedi-academy.com/lightsabermain.html - How to make lightsabre handles.
http://www.jedi-academy.com/ep1_kenobi_tips.html Obi Wan Replica Costumes.
http://www.theforce.net/theater/preproduction/costuming/costumes_amber.shtml -Jedi Garbs
http://www.clevelandfx.com/props.htm - Buy Replica Guns
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/yellowbox/bigyellowbox/index.htm -Tons of Lightsaber Handle Tutorials
http://www.geocities.com/droidboy - Thanks MMT
http://www.wilcoxusa.net/saber/ - Saber Construction
http://www.airsoft.com/ - Tons of Airsoft Guns
http://www.replicgun.com - And more Guns
http://www.iar-arms.com/ -BLANK FIRING and NON-FIRING gun reproductions, swords, knives, and accessories
http://www.battleorders.co.uk - Sell Guns, Knives, the whole shabang
http://www.exposure.co.uk/eejit/blood/index.html - Blood & Bullets for No-Budget movies
http://www.exposure.co.uk/eejit/blood/blood.html - How to make fake blood.
http://www.nccinema.ch/esfx11.html - How to do that matrix move that everyone wants
http://www.bctv.net/telcom/tel40text/sugarglass.html - How to make sugarglass
http://flashpages.prodigy.net/danlogan/Movies/bullettime.html - Step by step how to do bullet time.
http://www.crewoftwo.com/making/effects/hologram/index.html -Hologram Tutorial
http://www.theforce.net/theater/postproduction/lucaslogo/logo.html -Your own Luca Films Logo
http://www.stormahead.com/opening.html -Opening SW Crawl Tutorial
http://www.findsounds.com - Sounds search engine
http://www.digitalwav.net - Mostly tv/film sounds but some sound effects too.
http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/soundfx - Massive list of sound FX
http://theforce.net/theater/postproduction/soundfx/ - Star wars sounds
http://www.sounddogs.com - More Sounds.
http://www.littlemusicclub.com/ - More Sounds.
http://www.soundamerica.com- Tons of free sound effects!
http://www.scriptwritingsecrets.com/contents.htm - Script Writing Tutorial
http://www.cyberfilmschool.com/columns/deemer_2.htm - Script Writing Tutorial
http://www.wordplayer.com/ - Script Writing Tips
http://www.filmmaker.com/files/ - Script Writing Software
http://www.tmpgenc.net/ - The best (and free) mpg1 and mpg2 encoder.
http://www.virtualdub.org - Fre program to let you recompress clips, combine and split video and audio streams, that sort of thing.
http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/article_converting_ntsc_pal.htm - Easy conversion from NTSC to Pal
http://www.filmfestivals.com/index.shtml - Big list of film festivals.
http://www.guygraphics.com - easy to upload, film chart, sell all sorts of video gear.
http://www.getoutthere.bt.com ( win prizes for best films, huge viewer base).
http://www.apocprod.com/Pages/tutorials/staged.htm - Choreography Tips on Lightsaber Duels
http://www.theforce.net/theater/general/jacetaran/index.shtml- Guide to StarWars Filmmaking
http://www.neato.com/neato_product1.asp?mscsid=SA1UAJRL50WG8GVCMEE888TMP0S8ED65&class%5Fid=%5FVIDEOSLEEVE -Make your Own Video Sleeves
http://www.theforce.net/theater/tutorials.shtml - a huge list of tutorials
http://www.angelfire.com/movies/nobudgetsfx/nobudgetsfx.html -Awesome site with lots of SFX to do for No Budgets films
Building your Own Dolly's/Steady Cams
http://www.3dcafe.com -Tons of 3D models, sounds, images and more models, sounds, images and more
http://www.modmed.com - Free 3D models, textures and images
http://avalon.viewpoint.com -3D models public library. Great!
http://www.3dbuzz.com - Tons of great models and tutorials
http://www.3dgamers.com/3daction/team47goman/ -Go there and take the 3ds.zip file if you want textured and animated mech models!
http://www.pcplus.co.uk/article.asp?id=8556- Truespace 1.0. A good 3d modeler to make your own 3d objects for 3D Rad. It is FREEWARE!!
http://www.anim8or.com - ANIM8OR, a freeware 3d modeler to make your own 3d objects for 3D Rad
www.amabilis.com (http://www.amabilis.com) - 3D Canvas, a nice freeware 3d modeler. Only version 3.32 directly exports to .x file format. You can get it HERE (search for 3dcanvas).
http://www.swissquake.ch/chumbalum-soft/ms3d/download.html -Another good 3d modeler named Milkshape. It's not free, but it is definitely CHEAP!
http://www.geocities.com/hamapatch/program/index.html - Freeware spline-based 3d modeling program. Nice!
http://ftp.gigabell.net/pub/3dfiles/utility/3dexplor.exe- 3D Exploration, the best 3d file converter around! It supports nearly ALL formats and converts textures and animations as well! This beta version 1.4 is unlimited trialware. An even better (commercial) version is available HERE
http://www.3drad.com/download/winconv3ds.zip- WinConv3ds converts 3D models from .3ds to .x format (including texture information, hierachy and animation!). Windows interface wrapping the Microsoft Conv3ds freeware utility.
http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/dx-exp/8.1/W982KMeXP/EN-US/DX81SDK_extras_Direct3D.exe - The set of converters from Microsoft. Includes 3D Studio Max and Maya exporters (plug-in).
http://www.europa.com/~keithr/crossroads/ - Freeware utility to convert 3D models between formats
http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~qs7e-kmy/urconv/index-e.html -A small utility to convert from .lwo (Lightwave file format) to .x
http://hem3.passagen.se/sardonyx/ -Guru 3D-Converter is a shareware (cheap!) program that converts 3D Studio's 3DS files to Direct X 3D object file format.
http://www.geocities.com/lithunwrap -Free uv -mapper and file converter. Add/change uv-information to .3ds and .x models. Also, convert among many formats, including popular games formats.
http://www.3dark.com/ -Excellent 3D site. Full of great advice, models, etc.
http://www.ulead.com/cool3d/free.htm -Got Cool 3D? Well, get these plugins and triple the productivity
http://www.3dcafe.com/asp/freestuff.asp -Free 3D models, plugins and related stuff
http://www.greatbuildings.com/types/models/models.html -Free 3D models of famous or great buildings
http://www.amazing3d.com/free/free.html -More free 3D models. I like the shotgun and videotape.
http://home.planet.nl/~nab00004/ -This guy makes his own WWII vehicle 3D models. You can have them free
http://www.help3d.com/ -3D help and free stuff. Good motion capture section
http://www.3dmodelz.com/Free/Sci-fi/Star%20Wars/starwars-fr.htm -Not brilliant, but free SW models.
http://www.iitvr.com/meshes.html -Brilliant list of free models sites. You MUST visit here.
http://scifi.about.com/cs/cgi/ -Lovely bunch of Babylon 5 models
http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?query=wireless+mic&newu=1 - Perhaps the greatest store of all
http://www.lectrosonics.com/wireless/wireless.htm - Wireless Mic Systems
http://www.videoguys.com/azden.htm - Azden Wireless Mics
http://www.pimall.com/nais/vhfwm.html -VHF High Performance Wireless Mic
-3D Studio Max
-Paint Shop Pro
http://www.3dcafe.com/ (under lightwave in tutorials section)
http://sedergraphics.com/ (Free Interfaces)
http://www.guistuff.com/ (Free Interfaces)
Designs By Mark
Blue Sky Heart Graphics
Rusted Faith Design
The Photoshop Guru's handbook
What You Need:
Note: This recipe is extremely messy. Be careful around furniture and carpets!
Equal amounts of white glue and liquid laundry starch ( it's by the laundry products in the store). Start with about 1/2 cup of each.
How To Make It:
Measure equal amounts of the glue and liquid starch, about 1/2 cup to start, into a bowl.
Let rest 5 minutes.
Knead it with your hands, until it comes together. Just when you think it is ruined, it suddenly turns into a wonderful long-stranded glob! And your done, Woo woo!
What you need:
1/2 cup of Elmer's All Purpose Glue
1/4 cup Limit Liquid Starch (laundry aisle)
Liquid Food Coloing
How to make it:
Pour glue into a container, add food coloring and 1 tablespoon of the liquid starch. Mix thoroughly to get an even texture. continue adding starch 1 tablespoon at a time and working into a smooth putty with your fingers.
Goop - It's .. goop!
What you will need:
Mixture 1: 1/4 cup of Cornstarch. 4oz. white glue
Mixture 2: 1/2 tsp Barox 1/4 cup of Warm Water, Liquid Food Coloring
How to make it: Sift cornstarch into bowl. Add glue. Mix well. In second bowl, mix water and food coloring and borax untill dissolved. Pour mixture 2 into mixture 1. Stir constantly for 2 minutes, even after goop forms.
What you will need:
Mixture 1:3/4 cups Warm Water, 1 Cup Elmers glue, Food Coloring
Mixture 2: 2tsp Borax, 1/2 cup Warm Water
How to make it: Stir mixture 1 in a bowl. Mixture 2 in another. Make sure both are mixed well. Pour mixture 1 into 2. No need to stir, just reach in and pull out a glob of flubber! Work it for 2-3 minutes.
1 part microcrystalline wax
1 part petrolium jelly (vaseline)
face powder slightly lighter then needed
mix in a double boiler and melt together, add powder and stir, pour into a container
Question: I need a video camera. What should I get? My budget for a camera is X.
Quick Answer: MiniDV is going to have the best quality picture. MiniDV cameras with Firewire support are the easiest to import onto a computer for editing. (Your computer must have a firewire port.) Get the best that you can afford.
Long Answer: The three brand names that I've seen mentioned the most on this site are. 1) Canon 2) Sony 3) JVC
What to look for? Well, lets start with the most expensive and high quality type of camera. 3CCD type. These type of cameras have a seperate CCD for each color. Red/Blue/Green. This allows for amazing color and clarity. The Most expensive 3CCD MiniDV camera I could find in my 30second search of Yahoo.com was the JVC GY-DV550 $6,695.00. Here is a link See product & Price
The most talked about and owned 3CCD camera may be the Canon XL1 which is $2,949.95See product & price
There's the Sony DCR-VX2000 $2,694.00 See product & price
And another Canon 3CCD camera would be a much cheaper GL1 $1,989.00 See product & price
The cheapest 3CCD camcorder I could find is the Panasonic PV-DV951 for $1,569.95. See product & price
I haven't heard great things about Panasonic camcorders though. So for 1.5K I'd stay away from it and save for the GL1.
Now lets move on to single CCD type cameras. (1CCD). There are quite a few different ones I've seen mentioned on this site over and over. The thing I'd like to mention is that the higher Pixel CCD you have, the better the picture quality. Lets start on the cheap side and work our way up.
Regarding the Canon ZR series. I've seen a lot of mention about them. Seems the quick response to a "which camera to get" question is Get the Canon ZR10 or ZR20. What I have seen is that from the ZR10 to the ZR40, they can all be found for about $450.00 new. That is a great deal on a full featured MiniDV camera. So my recommendation is to get the latest model of the ZR series that you can find for under $500.00. In this case it is the Canon ZR40. The CCD is 460000 Pixels of all the ZR models. See product & price
The next price category I would say is between $600 - $900.
In this case we have to do some research.
At the $600.00 mark we have the latest Canon ZR series the ZR50 (460000 Pixel CCD)
The Sony DCRTRV-18 can be found for a measly $660.00 and has 680000 Pixel CCD. You can find it for the price mentioned See product & price
In the $750.00 range is the Sony DCRTRV-17. Why is this model about $100.00 more expensive than the -18? The only difference I can tell is that the -17 model has a 3.5 inch LCD instead of the 2.5 inch that the -18 has.
And my personal favorite (after being browbeat over my stupid choices in the past) is the Sony DCRTRV-27. This camera rocks! It has over 1 megapixel CCD which translates to 550 Horizontal lines. It has a 3.5 inch LCD. After doing a lot of research and making some very bad decisions, I finally woke up to the fact that for under $1,000.00 I wasn't going to do any better than this camera.
Coming in just under the bar of $1000.00 is a camera I've seen mentioned a time or two on this site. It is the:
Canon Optura Pi. This camera is actually a very nice camera but it is outdated. It has been discontinued but you can still find a lot of places to buy it. This model is my sob story since I bought one on e-bay and it turned out to have problems.
What is great about this camera is that it is a cheap (under 1K) camera that offers Progressive Scan mode. Many cameras have Progressive mode listed under their features, but what they don't say is that it is for still photo's only. With the Canon Optura Pi it is actually for the video recording aspect too. Unfortunately, the draw back with this camera is that its CCD is a measly 360000 Pixels. That is very low. It was pointed out to me that the progressive mode just doesn't make up for it.
So what is Progressive mode? Here is a quote I borrowed from a website.
"Progressive scan cameras generate images by scanning successive rows of pixels from the top of the sensor to the bottom while traditional "interlaced scanning" cameras scan every other row of pixels, twice, to create a full image from two interlaced fields.
The interlaced scan design is a throw back to a period when video monitors and television sets were too slow to reproduce the image. By displaying two fields, separated in time, with half the number of rows, a complete image can be generated.
Progressive scan cameras are the choice for most precision imaging applications. The continuous scan method and square pixels that are typical of this type of camera create a sharper images with higher contrast."
In the 1000.00 - 1,500.00 range I run into a little bit of a problem.
For that $500.00 difference I find myself either thinking 1) I am spending too much, I should just get the awesome Sony TRV27, or I should save a little more and get the Canon GL1. If anyone else has thoughts on this, please reply.
A quick note before I sum up. Cameras are sold world wide in two basic formats. NTSC & PAL. Click here to see which countries have which.
NTSC (National Television Standards Committee)
525 horizontal lines of resolution
30 frames per second (60 interlaced)
15750 horizontal lines per second
PAL (Phase Alternating Line)
625 horizontal lines of resolution
25 frames per second (50 interlaced)
15625 horizontal lines per second
As one can see, PAL has more lines of resolution per frame, but NTSC displays more frames per second. The resulting lines per second are similar.
Make sure you get a format that is compatible with your equipment. Rule of thumb: North America=NTSC, Europe=PAL
So to sum up:
1. Get the best camera you can afford. Remember, you'll most likely want to immediately run out and get different lenses, filters, camera bag, tripod, lens cleaners, lights, microphones, etc.. It is going to get expensive really quick. So just because you have $X in your pocket, don't think you'll be 100% covered with that ammount. You'll need to hold back some for those accessories.
2. 3CCD w/ Progressive mode is best. Followed by 1 Megapixel CCD with Progressive mode, then 1 Megapixel CCD without Progressive mode, then Sub megapixel's. Like I mentioned before, the Optura Pi kinda falls in a weird category. It has progressive mode, but the CCD is crap. Just ignore it and you'll be happier.
3. MiniDV is the ONLY way to fly. It has the highest quality video for both playback and editing, as well as the fact that it is the easiest to transfer to & from your computer.
what makes some lights more suitable for certain shots than others.
E.G, If I have a 'blonde', what is the best place to use it. Why not a 'Redhead'.
A Blonde and a Redhead are just model names for a certain brand of light (can't remember which brand). A Blonde is a 2000 watt tungsten lamp with a yellow casing (hence blonde). A Redhead is a 1000 watt tungsten lamp with a (you guessed it) red casing. I don't use (read can't afford) these lights so I could be a little off on their specs.
The basic "color" breakdown goes like this:
- Every type of light has a "color" temperature. The standard color temperature indoors is 3200 degrees kelvin and outdoors is 5500 degrees kelvin (it varies throughout the day). Thats why when filming on video your camera needs to know if its filming indoors or outdoors so it can adjust appropriately to give you the correct color picture. When using actual film its much more important because movie film cameras don't automatically adjust. You have to use a particular type of film or filter to compensate for indoor and outdoor color changes.
Here are the different kinds of lights I can think of:
- Flourescent lighting is the worst. It casts a horrible green tint when using video or film. Avoid it at all costs. If you have no other choice where you are shooting, it is possible to get sheets of magenta colored plastic (called gel) to correct the color. Or you can get a magenta filter for your camera. It is also usually possible to overpower the flourescent lights in a room by using correctly colored lights to light whatever you're filming. I prefer to light the entire room with my own lights and just turn off the flourescent ceiling lights.
- Incandescent lights (including house bulbs and halogen bulbs) are ok to use for film and video although they are not ideal for many reasons. Depending on the wattage of your house light bulb you can get a color temperature between 2600-2900 degrees kelvin (less than the ideal 3200 so it will give your shot a reddish or orangish tint). Halogen lights are brighter and hit closer to the 3200. I started out by using 500 watt halogen work lights you can find at the hardware store for $20-$40. They work great but give you pretty limited options. Those 150-250 watt halogen torchieres that people use in their homes will also do in a pinch.
- Tungsten lights are the kind of lights you are supposed to use when filming indoors. They are usually balanced around 3200 degrees kelvin and come in a huge variety of wattages. These kind of professional lights will have a variety of controls and accessories to help you get the best lighting for your scene. Flaps on the front (called barn doors) that help direct the light. A knob to adjust it to spot or flood. Clips and attachments to let you use gels to color the light or diffusers to dim the light. They usually come with light weight tripods and sometimes reflective umbrellas to bounce the light (to make it softer). The best value in professional tungsten lighting kits is (in my opinion) Lowell. They are expensive compared to most fan film budgets but are really durable, reliable, portable and incredibly cheap compared to the alternatives. A full kit complete with tripods and accessories can cost between $800-2000 for a basic set up and much much more for the fancy stuff.
- HMI lights are used outdoors. They are balanced for daylight (5500 degrees kelvin) and come in huge wattages (5000-20000+) in order to cover a large area at night or to compete with the sun during the day. These lights are astronomically expensive so I won't waste anytime talking about them. A single light for an exterior night scene can cost $15,000 or more and that doesn't include the generator required to power it. Most people rent but even that can run you over $1000 a day. So stick to daytime exterior shots or shoot day-for-night. In daytime use reflectors to bounce sunlight into the shadows or to highlight your characters. A reflective sunshade (the kind for your car windshield) works almost as well as the professional reflectors. Also a big piece of white posterboard (the foam core kind is best but more expensive) from an arts and crafts store will work good.
One last bit of advice. Cameras need a lot of light to get a good picture. Even the best camera will give you a grainy or low resolution picture if you don't light your scene well. For a shot of two people sitting at a table in a dining room talking it is common to use 3 or more 500+ watt lights. The chips in miniDV cameras especially thrive on this much light. If you ever watch a behind the scenes feature of a movie you will see this. On a studio film, a shot of 2 people talking in a car at night can be lit by over 5000 watts easy. Then after they get the highest quality picture they manipulate it in post production to look like night again. Always use a decent amount of light and tone it down in post. It is difficult to do but easy enough to practice till you get it right. I shot a night scene on film last weekend of two people outdoors on a bench talking and we used about 5 lights totalling around 4000 watts.
Recording Your Own Sound FX
RECORDING YOUR OWN
Recording you own sounds can be very satisfying, (or frustrating), depending own your interests. As with anything, be prepared to go through LOTS of practice before you're able to consistently get the results that you are after.
As a very interesting tangent, take a look at this page <http://hem.passagen.se/filmljud/starwars.htm> that details how Ben Burtt collected and created the many sounds of Star Wars.
Before you even make a sound, let alone record it, make sure to try and get the best environment possible. Basically what you’re after is a place with little, to no, ambient or outside noise (there is little that kills the illusion of a galaxy far, far away than the sound of a passing airplane, air-conditioner vent or the sound of the nightly news coming from the next room.) This is the really the most difficult thing to control. There is very little besides distance and/or concrete that actually blocks out sound. (Basements are a good place to start.)
The next thing to watch out for is reverb or echo. Obviously, something like a bathroom will have lots, but there is almost always some echo in most rooms, especially of all the walls and floor are hard. (mmm, sounds like the basement again) We are so used to this sound day to day, you may not notice the echo, but it will stand out if you composite your actor's conversation into an outdoor setting. Ideally, you would put acoustic foam <http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/sid=020520190232151197204232979635/g=rec/search/c=5220> on the wall to deaden the echo, but it can get expensive fast. For fanfilming, you can always start with some carpeting and hanging cloth or blankets on the walls.
There is as much variety in audio and recording equipment as there is in video. To qualify the information below, you should know that I'm not an expert. Until some one comes in here knowing audio gear the way ExFilms knows lights, this little summary will have to do.
Now, I was a musician well before getting into fan films, and have been into audio recording for as long as I can remember. Like many musicians, (especially keyboardists like me), I built my own recording studio along the way, including a couple 16 channel mixers, multitrack digital recorders, a pile of microphones and a rack load of outboard effects gear. Even with all this at my disposal, almost all of the audio for my own film has been recorded using the mics built into a ZR25 miniDV camcorder.
You can simply use the mics on your camera. When you do, you generally get stereo sound, pre-synced to your action, on the same media as your video. If you're just starting out, this is a great option. It's very easy to work with, and there is no extra setup. There are a few drawbacks, though.
- Camera sounds: Tape drive and zoom motor sounds can sometimes get picked up by the camera mic.
- Distance from mic: If your camera is set too far away from a conversation, the mics won't be able to pick up the lines clearly.
- Frequency Range: Many camera mics do not have the range to pick up extremely hi or low frequencies the way that specialized mics do.
To overcome these issues, keep your camera as close as possible to your subjects and do everything you can to eliminate all background noise and echoes. This is critical when you're recording conversations. You’re likely to still have some ambient noise or even camera sounds, but these can be easily masked with the musical score and background noises such as engine hums and computers.
If you choose to add any piece of audio equipment, get a condens er mic (http://www03.bhphotovideo.com/default.sph/FrameWork.class?FNC=CatalogActivator__Acatalog_html___CatID=1456) (also called "shotgun" microphone) These have a wide dynamic range and are generally good at filtering out ambient noises by collecting sound from a focused area in front of the microphone. These come in mono, and stereo models. You can usually connect these directly to your camera's mic input, but you may need an adapter. Pro audio gear usually uses an XLR audio connection rather than the 1/8" port you find on most consumer cameras. Don’t forget to check with your camera manufacturer to see if they make any condenser mic specifically designed for your camera.
Finally, there is the question of additional outboard gear and recorders. (i.e. not in the camera)
On a pro set, there is generally a crew dedicated to sound and running separate audio recorders. Even a small interview crew usually includes an audio tech. If you have access to that kind of personnel, go for it. Having even one person totally focused on the sound quality is a big step forward vs. the camera guy thinking about both sound and photography. You must be careful to coordinate between the video and audio recording otherwise putting the two back together again will be a nightmare. If you are getting outboard gear, in addition to a mic, good headphones and the recorder of your choice, there is one additional unit that should be included on your list:
A Compressor/Limiter (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/sid=020520190232151197204232979635/g=rec/search/c=4634): These things can be a life saver. This device will automatically adjust the level of you signal from the mic depending on how loud the incoming sound is. ("compressing" the dynamic range). When your character whispers, the compressor adds gain. When your character shouts, the compressor will reduce the volume to limit swings in your sound level. Very cool stuff.
Most video editors have basic sound handling abilities, but they often lack the controls needed to sweeten your sound, such as EQ, compression. There are several programs available, but one of the best is available for FREE!! (do you get the idea that I like free stuff?)
Digidesign has a full line of pro hardware and software for the multimedia industry. The demo version of their ProTools software is loaded with features. It's limited to 8 tracks, which is plenty for fanfilm use.
To download the demo, go to the Protools Free (http://www.digidesign.com/ptfree/main.html) page.
This list covers video editors and effects software..
NOTE: Desiding what is the "Best" software is a very personal choice. You
need to select the program that is most suited to your needs based on your
own personal experience, learning skills and preferences. Almost all of
these programs have free demos available from their web sites. Before
investing in anything, take each program for a test run and select the best
fit for you.
Non-linear Editing (NLE) Software
This class of software is designed to collect and edit video.
These programs are ideal for capturing and editing video, adding transition
effects, and applying filtering effects.
NLE's are optimized for handling numerous video and audio tracks, managing
effects, and adding titles
Virtually all have at least basic compositing functions, but are generally
not designed for complex color key work.
This is a free, beta version of what is now MainVision.
There is no support, but there are a number of web resourses and tutorials
available if you search for them.
The program can be downloaded from
BlenderWars Download Page (http://www.blenderwars.com/downloads.html)
Adobe Premiere (http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/main.html)
Platforms: Mac & PC
Street Price: $550 (Free Trial Available)
Included in Bundles:
Pinnacle DV200 Firewire Card - $300
Pinnacle DV500 Plus Firewire Card - $500
ADS PYRO PlatinumDV - $300
Ulead Media Studio Pro (http://www.ulead.com/msp/features.htm)
Platforms: PC Only
Street Price: $475 (Free Trail Available)
Note: Inlcudes Rotoscoping and Audio editing software.
Included in Bundles:
ADS PYRO ProDV - $160
Speed Razor (http://www.in-sync.com/public/store/product.cfm?productid=5EDEE3D0-3472-11D6-88C0004005431DAD)
Plaforms: WinNT / 2000 Only
Street Price: $1000 (Free Trial Available)
Vegas Video (http://www.sonicfoundry.com/PRODUCTS/NewShowProduct.asp?PID=612)
Platforms: PC Only
Street Price: $330 (Free Demo Available)
Final Cut Pro (http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/)
Platforms: Mac only
Street Price: $1000
Special Effects Software
This class of software is specifically designed for applying special effects to digital video. They tend of have very limited or no abillity to edit video clips into a completed film, however, they provide the most power available towards applying compositing effects, adding laser, glows and lightning, and much much more.
Adobe After Effects (http://www.adobe.com/products/aftereffects/main.html)
Platforms: PC and Mac
Street Price: $650
Commotion Pro (http://www.commotionpro.com/)
Platforms: PC and Mac
Street Price: $900
2D Photo Editors
Never underestimate the power of a solid 2D Photo Editor. These invaluable tools allow you to optimize background images, set up static mattes, and breath life into textures for 3D models. Photo editors have specialized tools for manipulating and enhancing individual images. Their output is targeted a still photography, which is extremely demanding when it comes to image quality. In some cases, you can also use a photo editor to handle rotoscoping work.
Gimp for Windows (http://www.gimp.org/~tml/gimp/win32/index.html)
Platforms: PC (ported from Linux version <http://www.gimp.org>.)
Adobe Photoshop (http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/main.html)
Platforms: PC and Mac
Street Price: $610 (Free v6 trial version available)
Note: The hands down industry standard.
Unless you plan on building your own sets, solid models and have a camera motion control system like ILM, it's 3D animation software that will provide the space ships, fantastic cityscapes and even virtual movie sets. If you've never used this kind of software before, be patient and prepare for a fairly steep learning curve in many cases. Once you get up to speed on the software of your choice though, there are few limits to what you can create.
Platforms: PC only
Street Price: Free Download
3D Toolkit (http://www.dvgarage.com/market/product/product.php?prod=3dtk)
Platforms: PC and Mac
Street Price: $200 (Free 30 day trial available)
3DS Max (http://www.discreet.com/products/3dsmax/)
Street Price: $3500
Platform: PC and Mac
Street Price: $1250
Platform: PC and Mac
Street Price: $2000 (Free "Learning" edition available)
Platform: PC and Mac
Street Price: $310 (Free demo available)
Vue d'Esprit 4.0 (http://www.e-onsoftware.com/Products/vue4/index.php)
Platform: PC and Mac
Street Price: $190
Platform: PC and Mac
Street Price: $300
Most video editors have very limited audio processing abilities. To refine and sweeten the sound of your film, you need a dedicated audio processing package. These will allow you to not only mix the sound, (combine several sounds and adjust how loud they are), but also modify the sounds through effects like reverb/echo, equalization and more.
Platforms: PC and Mac
Sound Fordge (http://www.sonicfoundry.com/PRODUCTS/NewShowProduct.asp?PID=668)
Platforms: PC Only
Street Price: $300 (free demo available)
The following information was submitted by Codabar.
I was impressed by the release form that was posted. Nice one.
But people are asking all kinds of legal questions and the answers that
have been suggested are plain wrong.
The first rule of law is:
Never, ever take legal advice from anyone that isn't your solicitor, lawyer
or barrister. If things go wrong and you end up in court, then it will cut no
ice with the judge if your defence is "but my mate said..."
I've had over a hundred court apperances (mainly prosecuting) and I've
never lost a case. I am not a solictor, lawyer or any other kind of legal
professional, although I did used to be a Justice of the Peace (same as a
magistrate in England). So this is for your information, but you are advised
to get a professional opinion on this.
1. Release forms.
In the UK, you do NOT need to get anyone's consent before filming them.
In the US, you usually do. If someone appears in your film and their
character is not an intrinsic (ie essential) part of the movie, you don't
need a release. For instance, if your hero is walking down a busy street,
you may need a release for the hero, but not for everyone else in shot.
Due to the Data Protection Act (1984), it is advisable to display a
prominent notice informing members of the public that may happen into
shot that filming is taking place. Sometimes if you go to a theatre, you
may see a sign saying "Tonight's performance is being taped"; this is
displayed for the reasons I outlined. Wherever you see a private (there
are certain exemptions for police and government) CCTV system being
used, you'll find a notice somewhere telling you that they are filming
and telling you who is doing this.
Now, this isn't to say that you should use release forms. In fact, it's best
to make sure that everyone signs one before you shoot, or immediately
afterwards. You don't need to pay them (in fact if you do, then you're
opening another can of worms). But if you do pay them, then it is indeed
the case that should should make this for at least a pound. This is the
minimum in most legal situations.
2. Professional liability.
You may try to get your actors to sign a form saying that if they get hurt,
then it isn't your fault. This is known as a disclaimer (you are trying to
disclaim legal responsibility). You cannot do this. It is not legal. In fact,
by trying to get them to sign something like this, you are probably
committing an offence right there by trying to violate their statutary rights.
For an extreme example:
You get an actor to sign a contract saying that if they get hurt on your
movie, then it isn't your fault. You play around with blank firing guns
and they get a wound to the head. This is your fault. Despite the contract.
Do you think you could get someone killed and get away with it because
of a piece of paper? Obviously not.
Anyway, what you need is Public Liability Insurance (PLI) and Employer's
Liability Insurance (ELI). If you've signed a contract with an actor and
you're paying them, then legally you're probably employing them (see
previous mention of can of worms), so you need ELI. This means that if
they get hurt, although it may be your fault, your insurance will
compensate them and you're off the hook.
The same goes for PLI. If you're on a shoot and something goes wrong
and you blow up somebody else's house, then your insurance will cover
you. Usually on a film, you'll want about £10million of PLI at least. That
sounds a lot, but imagine if you're doing a boat scene and you
accidentally sink someone else's oil tanker when you bump into it.
Now, you might imagine that all this is expensive, but it isn't. I have an
insurance package from AXA (you've heard of them, yes). It includes:
£20 million Public Liability Insurance
£10 million Employer's Liability Insurance
Loss or damage of tapes (you get money to reshoot stuff if footage is lost)
Errors and omissions (only if you're selling the movie)
Loss and damage of equipment (£20K's worth in my case)
Cover for up to 20 employees
And all this costs me £1000 a year. Now, most of this, you don't need.
I've been running a media company year round. You probably only
need insurance for a few shooting days, so you can probably pick it up
for a few tens of pounds. You may well get away without it (and I did
this for my first couple of films), but if thirty quid stops you going to
jail potentially, then it's worth it
As the law stands. If there is a danger on a film set that you knew about
(or even, SHOULD have known about, but didn't) then, you are liable.
I had a shoot on an extinct volcano involving five hundred people. There
was a pulic road running up the side. If any of my actors had been hurt
or run over, then it was my fault as producer. If any of the public watching
had been hurt, then it was my fault as producer and they'd have been
straight on the phone to Claims Direct. Oh, and I'd be in court on charges
of professional negligence or even manslaughter (if they'd died) and
I didn't even have to be within a hundred miles of the shoot and it would
still be my fault.
3. Whose fault is it?
In pretty much all cases, liability rests with the producer NOT the director.
In effect, it is the producer that owns the movie. It is the producer that
should sign all the contracts. The director works for the producer, not the
other way around. So if something goes wrong, it is the producer that gets
arrested and ends up in court. Be careful.
4. Soundtrack rights
These are a pain in the arse. If you want to sell your movie (or even show
it publicly at all) then you need to "clear" the rights to all the music you
use. This applies to even an amateur film that you show to five mates.
Now, the reality is that unless you're selling your film or have a distribution
deal, then it doesn't matter. Nobody's going to have a go at you.
If you use a bit of Eminem on your soundtrack, then someone needs
paid. And you'd be amazed at how much. It's usually in the tens of
thousands. Every bit of music is copyright of its author unless the rights
have been sold to someone else. If you're making an amateur film, then
it's worth getting in touch with the record company (or whoever) to see
if they'll let you use it for free. They probably will in most cases. And
you'll feel pretty chuffed when Polydor send you a letter saying you CAN
use Dr Dre on your soundtrack.
If you have any queries, get in touch with the Performing Rights Society
or the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society. These are the people that
pay royalties to Oasis and the like when their stuff gets played.
You may notice that the TV companies and the like use chart music all the
time in trailers and things. They have an outright license to do so that they
pay the Performing Rights Society for every year. It rilly costs a lot, but
when they do that, then they can use anything they like.
The Copyright Act (1989) now incorporates international copyright laws
and European parliamentary directives. Basically, it says that copyright
exists on anything until 70 years after the author's death. So classical
music is fair game. But the actual recording is probably copyright of
whoever did it. So if you use Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (like on the
Old Spice advert) then you owe Carl Orff no money (he's been safely
dead for a long time), but you may owe the London Symphony Orchestra
some money. But if you use a MIDI file of it, then you owe nobody.
So the best way of doing your soundtrack is to ask local bands and
musicians for some of their stuff. Pick what you like and pay them
nothing. They'll be chuffed that anyone's asked them at all. Get them
to sign a release form similar to the actors.
How can you check if a bit of music is copyright? Well, ask the above
societies or take a trip to your local library. They probably have a music
section that can help you.
Some of the most suprising music is copyright. Things that you would
never imagine that someone owns. For instance, we wanted to use
"Happy Birthday" in a film. So as producer, I had to check the rights and
discovered that Michael Jackson has bought it. And his company wanted
£7,500 to use it. So we used something else.
Small tip. Due to legal precedent in cases of sampling, it is perfectly
permissable under UK law to use up to eight seconds of anything for
any purpose. You can call this a sample and you're in the clear.
If you sell your movie to Hollywood (unlikely I know), then they will want
to know that you have "cleared the rights" to the music. Getting a few
folk to sign a few bits of paper several months back can save your life
here. If you haven't cleared the rights, then you've just lost your movie
deal. If you lie about this, then later on the musician will sure you for
thousands of times what it would have cost you to do it honestly. And then
your film distributor will sue the hell out of you for loss of profit and a
dozen other things that will lose you your house.
Sorry to be so heavy on you guys, but you don't normally know anything
about the legal side of things until it's all gone wrong and you're
standing in a police station or on the wrong end of a summons.
Bear in mind what I've said. You can get out of most legal situations
by getting people to sign a few contracts before you've begun. You can
pick up some insurance for a few pounds. It is worth it. Also, remember
what I said about taking legal advice! All this may sound pretty complete,
but again, no judge will let you off because "some guy on a website said.."
If you can say, "but my barrister said..." then you CAN get off
(sometimes) or at least sue your barrister for millions.
There are a great set of contracts for pretty much all situations in
The Guerilla Film-maker's Handbook. This is a fab book with contracts
and plenty of other stuff on CD-ROM and ton of great film advice in
general. Learn about how the makers of "Hardware" ended up in
Hollywood making "The Island of Dr Moreau" with Val Kilmer and how they
got kicked off set after two weeks and replaced.
A brilliant site on legal film issues is http://www.medialawyer.com
Harris Tulchin may be a yankee, but most of his advice holds true for you.
UK Censorship (Provided by Codabar)
It's a bit of a myth that they are a bunch of nasty censors that are out
to cut anything exciting out of your films. I've found them to be a really
decent bunch of helpful people.
If you intend to show your film in public AT ALL, then you need a BBFC
certification of your film. Now let's be reasonable; they aren't going to care
too much if you just show it a couple of times in a local hall or something.
But if you do manage to get it on in even a single cinema, you really ought
to get yourself a certification.
It costs money. Oh yes it does. For a 90 minute film it works out as
£825.00 + VAT. It seems like a lot, but they charge about £10 a minute
and they don't care how many times they have to re-watch it. So really,
it's quite cheap. After your movie's been through this, you'll get your
18 logo or whatever to put on it, which makes you look a lot more
If you want to get in touch with them, call 020 7440 1570. I would ask
for an information pack if I was you. They send you a lovely free info pack
with examples of all their logos which you can scan in and use without
asking them for free (disclaimer: I didn't just say that, oh no).
Anyone interested in film at any level and in any country (you may want
a UK release eventually) should look at their excellent website on
I would especially recommend looking at the FAQ which explains some
common decisions and the like. You may be interested to see that
Star Wars: Episode II was actually cut for the UK cinema.
Anyone thinking of whining about censorship should realise that the BBFC
impose cuts only where absolutely necessary and they explain all their
decisions fully. And in an 18, you can get away with just about anything.
You may also like to bear in mind that I had to edit this article a lot to
be able to post it on AlamDV, as they have an auto-censoring filter. So,
the forum you're currently on is more censored and restrictive than the
film censors (and you probably didn't notice).
Finally, the information below explains the criteria for all the different
classifications. The information is culled from the BBFC site.
There are more categories that you might think:
Uc - Universal but especially suited to pre-school children. This is a video
only category. See the rules for U films.
U - Universal, suitable for all. A 'U' film should be suitable for audiences
aged four and over. If it's aimed at children, it should be set within
a positive moral framework and should offer reassuring
counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror, in other words -
a happy ending where the bad guy gets his comeupance.
Infrequent use only of very mild bad language.
Occasional natural nudity, with no sexual context.
Mild sexual behaviour (e.g., kissing) and references only (e.g.,
to 'making love').
Mild violence only.
Occasional mild threat or menace only.
No emphasis on realistic weapons.
Horror effects should be mild and brief.
No references to illegal drugs or drug use.
PG - Parental Guidance. General viewing, but some scenes may be
unsuitable for some children. Unaccompanied children of any age
may watch. A 'PG' film should not disturb a child aged around eight
More serious issues may be featured, eg crime, domestic violence,
racism (providing nothing in their treatment condones them).
Mild bad language only.
Natural nudity, with no sexual context.
Sexual activity may be implied, but should be discreet
and infrequent. Mild sexual references and innuendo only.
Moderate violence, without detail, may be allowed - if justified by
its setting (eg historic, comedy or fantasy).
No glamorisation of realistic, contemporary weapons. No detail of
fighting or other dangerous techniques.
Frightening sequences should not be prolonged or intense.
Fantasy settings may be a mitigating factor.
No references to illegal drugs or drug use unless entirely innocuous.
12 - You've got to be 12 or over to watch. This is still quite a new
category. Mature themes are acceptable, but their treatment must be
suitable for young teenagers.
The use of strong language should be rare and must be
justified by context.
Nudity is allowed, but in a sexual context will be brief and discreet.
Sexual activity may be implied.
Violence must not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on
injuries or blood. Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly
indicated and without physical detail.
Dangerous techniques (examples include: combat, hanging, suicides)
should contain no imitable detail. Realistic and contemporary
weapons should not be glamorised.
Sustained threat and menace is permitted. Occasional gory
Brief and occasional references to, and sight of, 'soft' drug-taking
(eg cannabis) are allowed, but must be justified by context and
should indicate the dangers. No instructional elements are permitted.
15 - No-one younger than 15 may see a '15' film in a cinema or rent or
buy a '15' rated video. No theme is prohibited, provided the
treatment is appropriate to 15 year olds.
There may be frequent use of strong language; the strongest terms
are only rarely acceptable. Continued aggressive use of strong
language and sexual abuse is unacceptable.
There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational
Sexual activity and nudity may be portrayed but without strong
detail. The depiction of casual sex should be handled responsibly.
Violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain,
and of injuries. Scenes of sexual violence must be discreet and brief.
Dangerous combat techniques such as ear claps (this inclusion came
after the Tango adverts would you believe?), head-butts and
blows to the neck are unlikely to be acceptable. There may be no
emphasis on the use of easily accessible lethal weapons (in
Sustained or detailed infliction of pain or injury is unacceptable.
Drug taking may be shown but clear instructive detail is
unacceptable. The film as a whole must not promote or encourage
18 - No-one younger than 18 may see an '18' film in a cinema or rent or
buy an '18' rated video. The BBFC respects the right of adults
to choose their own entertainment, within the law. It will therefore
expect to intervene only rarely in relation to '18' rated cinema films.
In the case of videos, which are more accessible to younger viewers,
intervention may be more frequent.
There are no constraints at this level on theme, language, nudity or
horror. The Board may, however, cut or reject the following content:
- Any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts which is likely to promote the activity. This includes also instructive detail of illegal drug use
the more explicit images of sexual activity - unless they can be exceptionally justified by context
Where sex material genuinely seeks to inform and educate in
matters such as human sexuality, safe sex and health, exceptions to
the normal constraints on explicit images may be made in the public
interest. Such explicit detail must be kept to the minimum necessary
to illustrate the educational or instructional points being made.
Material which appears to be simulated is generally passed '18', while
images of real sex are confined to the 'R18' category.
R18 - Restricted 18. To be supplied only in licensed sex shops to adults of
not less than 18 years. The 'R18' category is a special and legally
restricted classification primarily for explicit videos of consenting
sex between adults. Such videos may be supplied to adults only in
licensed sex shops, of which there are currently about 90 in the
UK. 'R18' videos may not be supplied by mail order.
The following content is not acceptable:
- any material which is in breach of the criminal law
- material likely to encourage an interest in abusive
sexual activity (eg paedophilia, incest) which may include depictions
involving adults role-playing as non-adults
- the portrayal of any sexual activity, whether real or simulated, which
involves lack of consent
- the infliction of pain or physical harm, real or (in a sexual context)
simulated. Some allowance may be made for mild consensual activity
- any sexual threats or humiliation which do not form part of a clearly
consenting role-playing game
- the use of any form of physical restraint which prevents participants
from withdrawing consent, for example, ball gags
- penetration by any object likely to cause actual harm or associated with
- activity which is degrading or dehumanising (examples include the
portrayal of bestiality, necrophilia, defecation, urolagnia)
The following content, subject to the above, may be permitted:
- aroused genitalia
- oral-genital contact including kissing, licking and sucking
- penetration by finger, penis, tongue, vibrator or dildo
- non-harmful fetish material
- group sexual activity
- ejaculation and semen
These guidelines make no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual activity