Flip to flop: the pocket camcorder flash in the pan

Whether it’s the Walkman, Photoshop or the GoPro, every now and again a product comes along that so perfectly epitomizes the form, that its name is taken to represent the entire category of products (whether its maker likes it or not). For a couple of years, the Flip Video pocket camcorder was just such a device. The dead giveaway being that you can probably picture what I mean by ‘Flip Video’ but not by the phrase ‘pocket camcorder.’

In a manner similar to GoPro, the Flip wasn’t necessarily the most technologically innovative product, but it represented a novel arrangement of components in such a way that it heralded a new class of devices. Rather than making you carry around a full-sized camcorder, the Flip squeezed a small sensor, a battery and some memory together in a genuinely pocketable package.

The first units captured VGA resolution, which wasn’t as undesirable as it now sounds, since standard (1950s) definition TV still ruled the world in the mid 2000s. In fact the Flip Video grew out of a device so simple that could only be used once, with the expectation that its output would be transferred to DVD (which, for all their ‘digital quality,’ are essentially ‘widescreen’ standard definition discs).

A video camera, in your pocket!

In the classic ‘it only has to be good enough‘ fashion that Allison highlighted earlier this week, the Flip was a raging success. The first version, launched in 2007, captured a claimed 13% of the total camcorder market within a year of launch and for a while they seemed like the only video devices anyone was buying.

By 2009, though, the Flip Ultra HD brought 1280 x 720 video and, with its 8GB of internal memory, could capture 2 hours → continue…

From:: DPreview

10 Dark Sci-fi Movies You May Have Missed

By Derich Heath

For many, the term ‘sci-fi’ evokes images of giant spaceships and laser beams; the mind races to “Beam me up, Scotty” or, “May the force be with you”. But when sci-fi comes back down to earth, or focuses on elements of human psychology, things can grow rather sinister. Listed below are ten unusually dark science fiction films that deserve your attention.

1. Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

The original Planet of the Apes, based on a novel by Pierre Boulle, was released in 1969 to rave reviews and a tremendous box-office return. A sequel was quickly commissioned and several writers made attempts: Rod Serling pitched an idea that was rejected, and even Boulle himself wrote an entire script that didn’t make the cut.

Eventually the job was handed over to British screenwriter Paul Dehn, who had previously penned Goldfinger; Dehn stated in interviews that the conclusion of the previous film, which hinted at New York City existing under the ground, is what inspired him to make his story a subterranean one.

The star of Planet, Charlton Heston, reluctantly agreed to return in Beneath on three conditions – his salary would be donated to charity, his Taylor character could only appear briefly, and Taylor must die. The producers agreed and hired TV actor James Franciscus to fill the role of Brent, a former associate of Taylor’s who lands on the dreaded planet shortly after the events in the first film.

Brent encounters a race of pasty-faced, humanoid mutants that lives beneath the ground and worships a towering atomic bomb. With apes above and mutants below, it’s only a matter of time before worlds collide and that gigantic nuclear weapon becomes more than just an inanimate object; unfortunately, the → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema

Watch: Tips for Breaking into Cinematography from ‘American Horror Story’ DP Michael Goi

By Liz Nord

Emmy-nominated DP Michael Goi says persistence is key.

Michael Goi, ASC has an impressive slate of TV credits to his name, including popular hits like Glee, The Mentalist, and American Horror Story. His track record is in part what led to his service as President of the American Society of Cinematographers from 2009-2012. But the success didn’t come overnight.

In an ASC Masterclass series, Goi reveals his humble beginnings and what he did to move up. The main key, more than talent and creativity? Persistence.

“When you move to Los Angeles, you’re starting over again at the bottom.”

When he first moved to LA, he recalls, “For six months, I lived on the two hot dogs for 99 cents at the A&P…but I refused to leave and I refused to give up.” And this was after he already had 300 commercials and six features under his DP belt. “When you move to Los Angeles, you’re starting over again at the bottom,” he said.

Read More

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From:: No Film School


By (Tony Costa)


The IMAGO Awards committee and the IMAGO Board are very proud of the Federation’s members that are participating in the 1st IMAGO International Awards for Cinematography.. Overall IMAGO has received 51 features, 18 documentaries and equally 18 TV drama episodes. These films are going to compete as the final 3 nominations in these 3 categories

▪ Best Cinematography for a Feature Film
▪ Best Cinematography for a Television Drama
▪ Best Cinematography for a Documentary Film
The final nominations will be announced shortly in readiness for the Gala Awards ceremony to be held on Saturday, 28th October 2017 at Hanasaari – The Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre in Helsinki, Finland. During the evening the winners will be announced along with 4 additional awards; The IMAGO Young Cinematographer of the Year supported by ARRI, along with the IMAGO Lifetime Achievement Award; IMAGO Extraordinary Contribution to the Art of Cinematography and finally the IMAGO Technical Achievement Award.

The Gala Awards presentation will be a great moment to recognise the Art of Cinematography and cinematographers. These represent in essence Awards from cinematographers to cinematographers, something we are all looking forward to with great enthusiasm. We encourage you to join us in Helsinki for these Awards which represent the very best of the best in the field of Cinematography, from around the globe.

The IMAGO Board and the Awards organising committee would like to thank and congratulate all our member Societies for their support by collecting the films and the respective permissions in order to guarantee the success of these IMAGO Awards for Cinematography.

We also take this opportunity to thank our Awards sponsors for their generosity and their overwhelming support, without them these Awards would not be possible.

logos awards srtip

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From:: Imago News

Spoofdance: Filmmakers revving up their comedy engines

By Posted by Jody Michelle Solis, Editor

In its second year, the Spoofdance film festival is seeking parody TV commercials and TV show parodies to include in its lineup. The event, which takes place online, gives away film gear and training ($2500 total value) to its funniest participants. Submission is free, and the deadline to send in videos is August 31.

Last year’s grand prize winner, Jordan Sovis, is planning to submit again. “I have been brainstorming. Gears have been turning!”

Sovis, a videographer in Owosso, Michigan, is a creative force in his small-town community. His parodies for Home Depot’s Search for a Star, including the award winning “The Magical World of Depot” have gone viral online. Sovis’ recent release, “We’re From Owosso,” involves locals in a full blown musical number, reviving a 1950s song from the town’s historic past.

Watch the video:

Last year, Sovis won Spoofdance’s top prize, a Glidecam HD-2000 camera stabilizer. “I film weddings full time, and the Glidecam has definitely helped be out in getting those ‘buttery’ shots! I love it!!”

Spoofdance entries will be judged by a panel of comedy experts, including the founder of the HBO New Writer’s Program, Steve Kaplan. Kaplan regularly serves as a consultant and script doctor to such companies as Dreamworks, Disney, HBO, Paramount, Touchstone and others. All winners will be featured in the online awards show, and select entries may end up in the feature film comedy “Not From Space.”

See website for Official Rules and specifications.


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From:: Student Filmmakers

Broken Projector: The Answers to All Your Screenwriting Questions

By Film School Rejects This week from the Alan Smithee Memorial Studio, Scott and Geoff cover the basics of screenwriting by answering the most frequently asked questions. Deep breath.

An intro note on methodology and where to learn formatting [0:00 – 4:15] A way to rethink the questions you’re asking [4:15 – 9:10]

“Do I have to move to LA?” [9:10 – 11:28] “How do I get an agent/manager?” [11:28 – 18:10] “Where do I find scripts?” [18:10 – 20:45] “What screenwriting books are the ‘right’ ones?” [20:45 – 24:00] “How do I pitch?” [24:00 – 25:50] “Should I go to film school?” [25:50 – 31:05] “I just finished my first script. What do I do now?” [31:05 – 37:45] “How do I get an actor/actress to read my script?” [37:45 – 44:35] “How do I get a job as a TV writer’s assistant?” [44:35 – 50:05] “How did you get your start?” [50:05 – 54:55] “How do you come up with your ideas?” [54:55 – 59:10] “What are agents/managers/producers looking for?” [59:10 – 61:05] “What genre should I write?” [61:05 – 61:10] “How do you impress a reader?” [61:10 – 63:15] “How do you expose yourself personally in your writing?” [63:15 – 68:45]

Closing thoughts [68:45 – 73:30] → continue…

From:: Sound Cloud

Watch: How David Lynch Masters Stillness in ‘Twin Peaks’

By Jon Fusco

Lynch’s decisions to do nothing at all can end up being the most terrifying.

David Lynch’s use of stillness is certainly not relegated to Twin Peaks, though we’ve seen some excellent examples of this filmmaking strategy throughout the latest season of his hit TV show. Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway and Blue Velvet also owe much of their unbearable tension to stillness.

The director’s trademark hypnotic and surreal style is bolstered by the absence of movement. Perhaps it’s so evident in Twin Peaks because we are living in an era in which audiences have come to expect action behind every twist and turn. The requirement to sit and just watch nothing happen is enough to instill an uneasy feeling in any viewer’s mind.

In Dominick Nero’s latest video essay for Fandor, we dive into just how terrifying this stillness can be.

Read More

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From:: No Film School

Interview with Anthem Studios Regarding Making Life of Bri’ n Chris

By Posted by Jody Michelle Solis, Editor

Continuous effort will always bring substantial results. So does the 3d short animation: Life of Bri’ n Chris. Although with limited human resource and budget, Anthem studios tried their best to solve the tough difficulties and finally released the 8-minutes 3d animation. Great congratulations to them. And thanks Michael Wakelam so much for offering the opportunity for the short interview between Fox Renderfarm and Anthem Studios as below.

Fox Renderfarm: Hi Michael, would you please give a brief introduction about yourself and your studio?

Anthem Studios: My name’s Michael Wakelam and I founded Anthem Studios in 2012 with a vision to bring entertaining stories and new characters to life. We’re based in London and work in a variety of styles using various software.

Fox Renderfarm: So when and how did you get into the CG industry?

Anthem Studios: I started through TV design and then got into motion design and branding. I started to develop more knowledge and interest in visual effects and animation and then as I grew in experience, I really wanted bring my love of stories and characters together with animation.

Fox Renderfarm: Wow, sounds great, then what is your most satisfied work in these years and why?

Anthem Studios: I’m most proud of Life of Bri’ n Chris, because it was so ambitious as a project. Most short films of this length have a huge crew, ours was a core crew of 7 or 8, with a bunch of other people helping out in little ways. We had no budget but had generous support of a few key partners, such as Fox Render Farm, Chaos Group and Adelphoi Music.

Fox Renderfarm: That’s amazing, while since your new short film Life of Bri’ n Chris is going to be online soon, would you please share with us about what’s the story and why you → continue…

From:: Student Filmmakers

Pulling Focus: Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

By Shane Scott-Travis

“A delectable parody of dawn-of-the-Reagan-era teen flicks… a loving and meticulous recreation of the last moment before American youth culture went permanently ironic.”

– Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Season of the kitsch

Director and co-writer David Wain’s Wet Hot American Summer is a film that’s charm, cheek, and capricious good nature, albeit dirty-minded, is too much to resist. Well, perhaps that’s an overstatement as the uptight and on edge are bound to be bewildered by much of the lampoonery on parade. After all, it was an unassuming release back in 2001 that, like so many cult classics before it, took a little tenacity before crowds caught on.

Wet Hot American Summer drinks to youthful schmaltz, seditious misdeeds, and angst-filled adolescent lust as it centralizes on satirizing the teen exploitation films of the late ’70s and early ’80s, and more specifically the sub-genre of summer camp films. Those subpar and second-rate moneymakers like Meatballs (1979), Porky’s (1982), and Spring Break (1983), that were briefly ubiquitous either on cable TV, home video, or at multiplexes all over North America.

Horny juveniles charged with losing their virginity and getting potted while they were at it. Clearly this sort of film had a limited shelf life, Wain and his hilarious co-writer Michael Showalter (who also co-stars in two roles) however, saw that they could fashion an homage much better than the genus deserved, perforating not just oversexed teen staples, but dark horse sports clichés, Vietnam-trauma histrionics, gender politics, and much more.

The irreverent opening credit sequence sets up the tongue-in-cheek film that is to follow perfectly; the somewhat sentimental Cooper font, bubbly in appearance and forever associated with the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds—how’s that for nostalgic?—superimposed over warm-hued footage of rollicking teens around a blazing campfire.

There are freeze-frames and sloppy French kisses in excess while the teens → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema

HBO’s ‘Room 104’: How to Shoot an Ultra Low-Budget Indie TV Show

By Chris O’Falt Cinematographer and director Doug Emmett breaks down the challenges and possibilities of shooting an TV show like a low-budget indie film. → continue…

From:: Indie WIRE Filmmaker Toolkit

Siggraph 2017, Los Angeles | Boris FX Exhibits at Booth 1011

By Posted by Jody Michelle Solis, Editor

Siggraph 2017, Los Angeles, takes place this week, July 30 to August 3. Today is the last day to visit the exhibit booths on the show floor. So make sure to check them out today, 9:30am-3:30pm.

Boris FX’s exhibit is located at booth 1011.

Boris FX & Imagineer Systems are leading developers of visual effects & motion graphics plug-ins for broadcast, film and 360/VR post-production professionals. Flagship products, Continuum Complete, Sapphire and Mocha Pro have made their mark on Hollywood feature films and broadcast TV shows including Rogue One, The Hobbit, The Walking Dead, Mr. Robot and many more. In 2016 Boris FX acquired GenArts and the popular VFX plug-in package, Sapphire. Together Boris & Imagineer software complement industry standard editing & effects software from Adobe, Apple, Avid, Autodesk, Blackmagic, The Foundry and more. At SIGGRAPH 2017 visit the Boris FX booth to preview the new Mocha VR and Sapphire v11. Mocha VR brings Mocha’s Academy Award-winning tracking and VFX tools to an optimized 360 video workflow for cinematic VR post-production. Sapphire 11 is the newest version of flagship VFX plug-in package.

For more information about SIGGRAPH, visit their website at

Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California 90015 USA


South Hall H/J
Tue, 1 Aug, 9:30 am-6 pm
Wed, 2 Aug, 9:30 am-6 pm
Thu, 3 Aug, 9:30 am-3:30 pm

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From:: Student Filmmakers

Avid Media Composer First offers pro-level video editing for free

Most serious DSLR or MSC video shooters use either Adobe Premiere Pro CC or Apple’s Final Cut Pro X to edit their footage. Avid’s Media Composer has long been the editing suite of choice for TV and movie professionals though. Now the company has made a slightly scaled-down version of its pro tool, called Media Composer First, available to download and use for free.

The free version works in most respects in pretty much the same way as it pro cousin and only comes with a few limitations in terms of image resolution and available editing tracks. There are four video and eight audio tracks and exports are limited to Quicktime H.264 or DNxHD file formats at 1080p resolution and a frame rate of 59.94 fps. So if you’re looking to output 4K video Media Composer First is not for you but you can input 4K files if some of your raw footage was recorded at high resolution.

Avid Media Composer First has derived from a pro tool, so might not be as intuitive as more consumer-oriented solutions and could be overkill for your average Youtube clip or home video. However, it offers a very comprehensive feature set and not cost and should be ideal for students or enthusiast who are thinking about making a move into professional film making. More information is available on the Avid website.

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From:: DPreview

Autodesk Highlights Next Generation Storytelling and Collaboration Tools at SIGGRAPH 2017

By Staff

Leading up to SIGGRAPH 2017, Autodesk released a series of updates for its media and entertainment tools, including Autodesk Media & Entertainment Collection, Autodesk Maya, Shotgun, Arnold, Autodesk 3ds Max, and Autodesk Flame. Engineered with the intent of streamlining and accelerating production on films, TV shows, games and immersive experiences, the new releases include enhancements […]

The post Autodesk Highlights Next Generation Storytelling and Collaboration Tools at SIGGRAPH 2017 appeared first on Below the Line.

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From:: BLT News

How to Pitch HBO: 6 Insider Tips for Getting the Green Light from Top Execs

By Dylan Dempsey

HBO’s top-level gatekeepers share the secrets to getting the green light.

If someone asks for your favorite TV show, chances are it’s on HBO. Is it Game of Thrones? Silicon Valley? Last Week Tonight With John Oliver? The Night Of? Or maybe it’s a Vice documentary, a late-night comedy special, or an Andy Samberg cycling mockumentary.

The HBO sizzle reel at Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival demonstrated the massive scope of HBO’s arsenal. A one-minute compilation, it ranged from sardonic Larry David exchanges to epic Night’s Watch battles. It featured an amazingly diverse slew of shows—all big hits, all engaging.

So, how do you get your own million-dollar idea noticed by the premiere cable network in the world? How does the pitch process work for shows like High Maintenance? Insecure? Look no further: two of HBO’s key creative execs are here to provide all the answers.

“People who’ve made a web series definitely stand out. It’s the perfect proof of concept.”

Read More

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From:: No Film School

Pulling Focus: The Lost Boys (1987)

By David Zou

“My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait ’till mom finds out, buddy!”

– Sam Emerson (played by Corey Haim)

The children of the night. What music they make!

The late Norwegian literary historian, mythographer, and professor, A. Asbjørn Jøn notes in his essay “From Nosferatu to Von Carstein: shifts in the portrayal of vampires,” that director Joel Schumacher’s influential teen-focused horror comedy from 1987, The Lost Boys, bolstered pop culture’s delineation of vampires, presenting a youthful glamor to the conventional genre.

This adolescent angle, which allowed the vampires to appear young and seductive, would go on to inspire later fictional works like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both the 1992, and the TV series which ran from 1997–2003), Stephenie Miller’s Twilight Saga, and John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel “Let the Right One In,” which has enjoyed two theatrical adaptations thus far, amongst so many other notable vampiric works.

Certainly The Lost Boys, the title of which is a reference to J. M. Barrie’s Neverland stories featuring the iconic Peter Pan––an archetype of the perpetual child––who, like the mythical vampire, never grows up.

An essential staple of 1980s American pop cinema, particularly to anyone who grew up during that time, The Lost Boys has it all: impeccable production design, a great script that blends laughs with scares, sterling direction, shockingly good cinematography (Oscar-nominated DoP Michael Chapman, who lensed Raging Bull, made his return to cinema after a four-year absence with this film) and a winning cast, all came together to make The Lost Boys something of a societal touchstone. It’s one of those films that a certain cult of fans cherish and preserve, regardless how idiosyncratic or imperfect.

“[The Lost Boys] laughs at the form it embraces, adds a rock-and-roll soundtrack and, if you share its serious-satiric attitude, manages to be very funny.”

– Caryn James, → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema