START HERE: How To Best Use

By Noam Kroll

This blog has grown substantially over the 5 years that I’ve been running it, and the weekly content I put out continues to increase in scope and overall reach. One thing that hasn’t changed however, is my intention for the site:

To share valuable and actionable content with like-minded filmmakers who want to tell important stories within their own means.

In the beginning, I started out by writing mostly about gear. At the time, understanding the technical aspects of the craft was huge for me, and that was very much reflected in the content I put out. But over the years as I grew as a filmmaker, I started broadening my horizons and sharing articles about directing, screenwriting, producing, color grading, and basically anything else I thought was critical for filmmakers… Especially those that share my hands on, DIY approach to filmmaking, as all of my articles and content are viewed through that lens.

But it wasn’t just the topics that broadened over the years of running this blog, it was the content streams too. What started out as just a personal blog, has truly grown into a thriving filmmaking community that has allowed me to connect with so many of you, not just through my articles but also through my podcast, newsletter, and other tools, products, and assets that I have made available through these platforms.

In lieu of all of the growth over the years, I thought it was about time to write a “Start Here” post. Just a few words for those who are new to the site, or perhaps those that are re-discovering it and want to get the most value from it possible.

So let’s look at the type of content you can expect, and when you can expect it –


Every week, my goal is to → continue…

From:: Noam Kroll

14 Famous Movie Scenes Directly Influenced By Paintings

By Alan Harrison

Every artist is apt to dip into the well of poetry and prose for inspiration, but sometimes a direct visual reference is desired; a pastiche of the masters that came before. As great filmmakers have inspired modern painters, so to have great painters influenced the mise en scène of directors and cinematographers throughout the history of cinema.

Paintings are often recreated as a brief on-screen homage, but these static works of art have also informed the structures and themes of entire scenes, and in some cases, complete films. The following list compares scenes from thirteen films with the paintings that directly inspired them.

1. Dreams (1990), Akira Kurosawa | Wheat Field With Crows (1890), Vincent Van Gogh

The fifth vignette in Kurosawa’s film has fellow director Martin Scorcese refining his Queens accent to portray Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. We experience this segment through the daydream of an aspiring artist who finds the great painter sketching at his easel in a wheat field. After explaining how he came to lose his ear, Van Gogh tells of his urgent need to paint as much as possible before the daylight fades.

Kurosawa, 80 years old at the time, makes a clear metaphor here in relation to his own artistic ambitions – he went on to make two more films after this. The sequence transitions to the aforementioned dreamer literally walking through several other Van Gogh paintings before coming back to the wheat field, where a flock of crows scatter into the azure sky.

2. Shirley: Visions of Reality (2013), Gustav Deutsch | New York Movie (1939), Edward Hopper

Spanning three decades in the life of the eponymous character, viewers are presented with a feature length homage to Edward → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema

Microsoft’s new AI unleashes its inner artist

By (Adrian Pennington)

An AI with an imagination? Science fiction is now reality

A new AI system by Microsoft is taking things to a new level by introducing ‘imagination’ and the ability to draw pictures of objects from scratch. Intriguing stuff!

  • AI
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Microsoft

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    From:: RedShark News

    Eight tips for photographing your first hot air balloon festival

    This article was originally published on Elliot Nahm’s website, and is being republished in full here on DPReview with express permission from Elliot.

    Ah, you’ve just received your first camera over the holiday season, and you’re itching to use it. Or, perhaps you’re just looking for something new to photograph this year. Well, allow me to make a suggestion: You should go photograph a hot air balloon festival!

    Why hot air balloons? I personally enjoy their vibrant colors against the sky; it’s a pleasure for me to meet the pilots, and their crew; and, last but certainly not least, it’s fun to fly in them!

    Some of you may be surprised that these festivals have already been happening in the winter. It should come as no surprise, though, that the number of events ramp up as the weather gets warmer. Check out for information of any events near you.

    To be frank, I’m no master of photography, and there are bigger names photographing hot air balloons. However, these tips should still help make your first hot air balloon festival a more photographically enjoyable experience.

    Note: these tips apply more for festivals based in the United States. I understand that other countries do some things differently, but many of the tips should still apply.

    More days, better chances

    I’m going to start with the most important tip of all. Try attending as many days as possible for the best chances of getting great photos. Hot air balloon festivals typically happen for at least two days, usually over a weekend. Larger events can span the entire week. Understandably, this can be difficult to budget time for, but the time isn’t just for photos, it’s also to account for weather.

    To → continue…

    From:: DPreview

    Kodak says over 40,000 investors are interested in its cryptocurrency

    In a statement released today, Kodak said more than 40,000 potential investors are interested in the company’s recently announced KODAKCoin Initial Coin Offering (ICO). The cryptocurrency was introduced in early January alongside the company’s new KODAKOne blockchain-based image rights platform for photographers.

    Of course, it’s not really Kodak’s cryptocurrency, just cryptocurrency with the Kodak name attached, but you can read about all that below before moving on.

    Kodak didn’t get into cryptocurrency and bitcoin mining, “Kodak” did

    Ready to move on? Okay.

    The company explains that it is beginning an “accredited investor” phase for KODAKCoin that will verify the status of the investors who have expressed interest in Kodak’s cryptocurrency. This won’t be a rapid process, though, and Kodak expects the verification phase to take several weeks.

    The company explains that an accredited investor status is dependent on the potential investor’s income, requiring an individual or couple to have a net worth greater than $1 million or requiring a minimum 2-year history of income exceeding $200k a year ($300k for couples). The ICO will also be available to “select non-US persons.”

    In short: if you thought (or hoped) this whole Kodak Cryptocurrency thing was just a marketing stunt to help juice the stock and get people talking, it doesn’t look that way.

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    From:: DPreview

    Dick Wolf’s Kind of Town

    By Paul Tenebrini

    Local film and media production in Chicago have yet again reached record levels in 2017. For more information, please check depts/dca/provdrs/chicago_film_office/ news/2018/january/2017_film.html

    The post Dick Wolf’s Kind of Town appeared first on Below the Line.

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    From:: BLT News

    Arsenalcreative Names Mike Wynd Vfx Supervisor

    By Staff

    ArsenalCreative has announced an expansion of its VFX team with the addition of award-winning VFX Supervisor Mike Wynd. He comes to Arsenal from MPC, where he spent 8 years as a VFX Supervisor. Regarding Wynd joining the company, Cortney Haile, ArsenalCreative Partner and Executive Producer, said, “We’re so excited to have someone with Mike’s level […]

    The post Arsenalcreative Names Mike Wynd Vfx Supervisor appeared first on Below the Line.

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    From:: BLT News

    Production News Weekly January 31, 2018

    By Paul Tenebrini

    Production News Weekly 01/31/2018 On-Location Production Has Another Incredible Year On-location filming in the Greater Los Angeles region achieved its second best year on record in 2017, according to data released by FilmL.A., Inc. Last year on-location filming decreased 3.4 percent (from 39,627 Shoot Days to 38,284 Shoot Days) for a second-place annual finish compared […]

    The post Production News Weekly January 31, 2018 appeared first on Below the Line.

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    From:: BLT News

    Filmmaker Matt K. Turner & Eleven Mixer/Sound Designer Jordan Meltzer Create a Soundscape for “RFLKTR”; Short Film Premieres at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival

    By ColleenHype

    Santa Monica, CA

    Eleven Mixer/Sound Designer Jordan Meltzer celebrates the official selection of “RFLKTR,” a new short film from Writer/Director Matt K. Turner. The film premieres at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, beginning on January 31,…

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    From:: Shoot OnLine

    Growing Range of Risks Challenge Live Event Community To Be Better Prepared in 2018

    By Admin

    Laguna Hills, CA

    Following a year that witnessed the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in American history at a live music festival on the Las Vegas strip, the live event production community begins a new year facing an expanding range of risks that challenge event organizers, venue owner/operators,…

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    From:: Shoot OnLine

    PolarPro unveils collection of filters and accessories for the DJI Mavic Air

    Accessories manufacturer PolarPro has introduced new versions of its Cinema filter series for those ordering the DJI Mavic Air drone. The filters are designed to give photographers control over the shutter speed of their footage, as well as polarizing reflected light to improve color saturation.

    The company has also announced it will make two cases for the drone, as well as a customizable mount for filming with the drone hand-held.


    Users will be able to choose from a pack of ND filters in ND4, ND8 and ND16 strengths, or to have the filters combined with a polarizer to intensify color as well as reduce the amount of light reaching the lens.

    For especially bright conditions a further pack of NDs is available in ND32 and ND64 strengths both with and without a polarizer.

    The filter packs will cost $80 for the three-packs of ND and ND/PL units, and $150 for all six together. The Limited Collection of extra dense filters will be $100. For more details see the PolarPro website.


    Both cases on offer have soft exteriors, with the Minimalist ($30) designed to be as compact as possible, and the Rugged ($50) designed to provide the most protection.

    DJI Mavic Air Soft Case – Rugged DJI Mavic Air Soft Case – Minimalist

    Katana ‘Tray’ System

    Finally, the Katana Pro Tray system allows used to clamp the Mavic Air into a set of handles so that it can be used to film at ground level and in places where drones aren’t allowed to fly. Depending on your preferred filming orientation, you can go with the standard DJI Mavic Air Tray ($50) or purchase the Air Tray/T-Grip Combo ($80) for one-handed operation and low-angle → continue…

    From:: DPreview

    SXSW Film Festival Announces 2018 Lineup

    By Filmmaker Staff

    The lineup for this year’s SXSW Film Festival (March 9-18), and there’s a lot to dig through. Some quickly noted highlights among the world premieres: The Last O.G., Jordan Peele’s less-than-a-year-later follow-up to Get Out, with Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish; Jinn, the feature debut from last year’s 25 New Face Nijla Mu’min; Jim Cummings’ feature-length adaptation of his Sundance-winning short Thunder Road (he documented his festival experience in a series of video diaries starting here); Wild Nights with Emily, a comedy starring Molly Shannon as Emily Dickinson from Madeline Olnek (The Foxy Merkins). The full line-up is below; the opening night film is John […] → continue…

    From:: Filmmaker Magazine

    Video: The ultimate Godox studio flash guide

    If you are confused by the massive range of flash heads produced by Chinese manufacturer Godox, you’re in luck. Professional photographer Robert Hall has produced a very useful video that aims to explain the differences (and similarities) between them all.

    In the video, Hall goes through the functions of five ranges of heads, points out who they are designed for, and then talks about each of the 17 models Godox produces in all, covering the features each of the heads do and don’t have. He includes an amazing amount of detail and specification, making clear what you get with each model. He even provides a spreadsheet that lists prices, output, recycle times and flash duration, as well as other features and physical characteristics.

    The video has information on the DP, SK, QS, GS and QT studio and portable heads, and if you can’t take all the information in quickly enough Hall has written a lot of it in the video’s description.

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    From:: DPreview

    Filmmakers Global Network Community | New Video Post: Rachel Avonne, “Louisiana Sunday Afternoon”

    By Posted by Jody Michelle Solis, Editor

    Here’s a quick news byte for you before I step out for a fast lunch break! I shared this video in the Filmmakers Global Network Community and Filmmakers Forums. I did a small edit and removed the DJ / Audio tech from the video. Singer has a beautiful voice! Enjoy watching!

    Rachel Avonne, “Louisiana Sunday Afternoon” with Mike Nicosia and James Giononni.

    Watch the video on Youtube:

    To learn more about the artist, visit Rachel Avonne’s website:

    Vocalist – Pianist – Songwriter ….What Sets Her Apart Is SOUL

    “When I first heard Rachel perform, I was immediately struck by her voice, a warm caressing alto with echoes of Rosemary Clooney or Morganna King. Maybe somewhat in the vein of Dianna Krall, but a bit more passionate. I was seduced by her repertoire, a gently nostalgic collection of Great Americal Songs. She delivers those songs straight with taste and feeling. wait until you hear the richly evocative interplay of voice and piano. Close your eyes and be captivated by Rachel’s passion as she bares her soul while entrenched in her performance: her notes and overtones mingling with the air around them.”
    – Paul Parchment, GM Dallas Petroleum Club

    “Over the years I have had the incredible privilege to meet, know and/or work with great talent. Many are major stars whos names are known by everyone. A select few of the unknowns are also destined to join that group already headlining around the globe. One such artist is Rachel Avonne. With a style that is mesmerizing, playful and so good it is almost criminal, she reminds of the likes of Janice Joplin, Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday. I was so impressed the first time I heard her perform, I made it → continue…

    From:: Student Filmmakers

    Zion National Park clarifies controversial tripod restrictions

    Photo by Jeremy Bishop

    A few weeks ago, Zion National Park published its 2018 Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) for photography workshops, and found in its “Unauthorized Use” section on public use obstruction was a troubling note: The use of tripods on trails is prohibited by permittees or clients (monopods are authorized).

    Restricting such a vital piece of gear would be fatal to most photography workshops operating in the park, and operators were quick to criticize the decision.

    Speaking anonymously to DPReview, one photography workshop operator and permit holder explained how such a restriction would impact their workshop, saying, “I will be forced to cease all commercial workshops in Zion National Park … [by] enforcing this rule, they are essentially saying that they don’t want commercial photography workshops in their park.”

    In light of the criticism, Zion National Park officials reassessed the tripod restriction and have since issued a clarification to workshop operators via an email sent Monday. In the email, officials said that “misleading information” had been spread earlier this month on social media about the matter, and that commercial photography workshops aren’t entirely banned from using tripods.

    Rather, according to a copy of the email published by Fstoppers, commercial photography workshop participants are allowed to use tripods on road-side pullouts and in other designated park areas. Tripod usage is restricted on park trails, however, due to the size of these groups and the potential safety issues, trail congestion, and environmental effects they pose.

    The email states, in part:

    Large groups concentrated in one place can result in trampling of vegetation, soil erosion, widening of formal trails, and impact other visitors’ experience of the natural views and soundscapes along these trails.

    In order to reduce roadway safety concerns for all photographers on the Canyon Junction Road Bridge, the → continue…

    From:: DPreview