Highland 2 Gets Revision Mode in Its Biggest Update Yet

Finally, Highland 2 gets Revision Mode (and so much more) in Version 2.5 update.

Highland 2.5 has officially been announced and this update adds tools and functionality that will make the task of writing scripts, novels, and even blog posts a lot more intuitive and efficient.

In fact, the John August-led team behind Highland, the Quote-Unquote Company, says that they’ve “added nearly everything” in their app roadmap, including features requested by thousands of users.

What’s new in Version 2.5?

Highland 2.5 has a number of new features that will make your writing experience a little easier and more efficient, including the new Drag-and-Drop Navigator that lets you quickly re-organize assets, Customizable Themes for those who want to personalize their interface, and Word Analysis, which will allow you to avoid word repetition.

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Want to Improve Your Photography? Try This Simple Challenge

Want to Improve Your Photography? Try This Simple Challenge

If you want to learn to take better pictures (who doesn’t?), this is the tutorial for you. Try this simple challenge to improve your compositional eye and expand your creativity.

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The Marvelous Style of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

After the austerity of the 1940’s war years, the 1950’s were “one of the most important periods in women couture clothes,” maintained The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel costume designer, Donna Zakowska. “This was such an exciting moment for clothing.” Books and magazines, like Vogue and French Vogue, formed the basis of the research into New York […]

The post The Marvelous Style of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel appeared first on Below the Line.

Into the Wild With the Reindeer of Norway and Sami Culture

Into the Wild With the Reindeer of Norway and Sami Culture

I, like many, enjoy traveling a little off the beaten track; far enough that I experience the unique, but not so far that I end up eating berries in a hollowed-out bus. Enter the reindeer of Røros.

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Critique the Community Male Fitness

Male Fitness

Submit your best male fitness image for your chance to win a free Fstoppers tutorial.

Lee was recently challenged by Pye Jirsa from SLR Lounge to do a male fitness photography competition. Although the results of that shoot have not been published yet, this week’s Critique the Community was inspired by their images. Are your male fitness photos up to professional standards?

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BMPCC 4K Modification Adds Tilting Mechanism to Screen

Do you miss an articulating screen with the BMPCC 4K? There now is a possibility to have the camera’s screen modified in China and get a tilting screen. The modification is non-destructive (reversible) and also adds a USB-C port at the back, between the backside of the camera and the screen.

BMPCC 4K Screen Modification. Source: power_cheung

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (further only BMPCC 4K) has been a popular camera amongst (not only) indie filmmakers since its announcement. It offers great image quality for a really low price. If you want to know more about the BMPCC 4K, make sure to check out Nino’s hands-on review.

Aside from great image quality with high-bitrate codecs, this camera also introduced an unusually large screen. It features a 5-inch touchscreen with 1080p resolution. However, one of the downsides of the screen is that it is fixed on the back of the camera. No tilting, no flipping out, nothing. It seems like there is an unofficial solution for this downside now.

BMPCC 4K Tilting Screen Hack

BMPCC 4K Screen Modification – First Prototype. Source: power_cheung

A user named power_cheung modified his BMPCC 4K screen by adding a tilting mechanism and posted a couple of photos on a Chinese filmmaking forum, filmaker.cn. In fact, he posted photos of the first prototype already in May 2019. That first prototype seemed to be working, but the design wasn’t so neat. That’s how it is with prototypes.

BMPCC 4K Screen Modification. Source: power_cheung

Now it seems like he managed to improve the mechanics and design of the modification. He posted new photos of the latest version, which actually looks pretty good. The important fact about this modification, as power_cheung claims, is that it is non-destructive. This means that, if needed, the BMPCC 4K can be assembled back to its original shape with the built-in screen.

BMPCC 4K Screen Modification. Source: power_cheung

His solution looks very interesting. The screen can be tilted 180° up and serve as a selfie screen for vloggers. The only downside of this is that the image cannot be flipped. There is no such option in the menu, as Blackmagic never counted on using the camera upside down. The screen can also be tilted to face down up to 90°. This certainly makes shooting from very low or very high perspectives much easier, as there is no need for an external monitor. The GH-style flip-out mechanism would have probably been better, but I guess it would have led to a more problematic cable management.

BMPCC 4K Screen Modification. Source: power_cheung

Another advantage of this modification is that there is now additional space available between the backside of the camera and the screen. Power_cheung even put one USB-C connector to this space to connect an SSD for high-speed recording. From what I understood, he will offer the special chassis for the SSD to fit perfectly in that space.

BMPCC 4K Screen Modification with USB-C port for SSD. Source: power_cheung

Price and Availability

The price of the BMPCC 4K tilting screen modification is between ¥ 1500 and 2050 (chinese juan), depending on the version. This translates to roughly $220 to $300. The two versions are both with an SSD box with an M.2 slot, either with SATA or NVMe protocol. The modification can be purchased here on taobao.com. After purchasing, users need to send their BMPCC 4K to China and let the store perform the modification. They claim the modding will take up to three business days.

For non-Chinese residents, there are certain risks of sending the camera to China, for sure – the shipping alone is kind of risky. I don’t know if there is any kind of warranty provided by the modders. They do offer a free replacement service for the life of the flexible cable though.

I also believe that such a modification will probably lead to a warranty void with Blackmagic (I don’t know if there is a way to tell the camera has been modified, even after being assembled back to its original shape). Considering the relatively low price of the camera, I think it would still be interesting to have it modded.

What do you think about this modification? Do you miss an articulating screen with the BMPCC 4K? Would you consider having something like this done? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

The post BMPCC 4K Modification Adds Tilting Mechanism to Screen appeared first on cinema5D.

Kodak Announces Ektachrome E100 120 Medium Format Film Beta Trial for July

Kodak Announces Ektachrome E100 120 Medium Format Film Beta Trial for July

Are you a fan of shooting medium format film? Get ready, for Kodak has finally shed some light on the upcoming release of its Ektachrome 100 in 120 medium format.

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Edelkrone Announces Its First FlexTILT Tripod Head That Can Be 3D-Printed At Home

Edelkrone Announces Its First FlexTILT Tripod Head That Can Be 3D-Printed At Home

Edelkrone, cutting-edge maker of motion-control systems for filmmaking, has announced an innovative new tripod head aimed at keeping costs low and quality high.

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No, Brendan van Son Is Not Giving His Photos to Starbucks for Free

No, Brendan van Son Is Not Giving His Photos to Starbucks for Free

Last week Fstoppers published my opinion piece on photographer Brendan van Son’s suggestion that he would give his images to Starbucks for free. Van Son has just produced a very classy response to the article in this short video and looks into the complexities of how images are shared on Instagram.

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Capture One Releases 12.1 and Capture One Studio

Capture One Releases 12.1 and Capture One Studio

Capture One has evolved over the past few years to become the powerhouse it is now. With its newest release, it turns into even more efficient software, thanks to the addition of Capture One Studio.

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Best Screenwriting Software

Best Screenwriting Software

At the dawn of screenwriting, screenplays were typed the old fashioned way: on a typewriter. Back then, a Screenwriter had to really know the specific screenplay format for the script to be considered professionally written. Typewriters eventually evolved into word processors and those gave life to the modern home computer. Now, we all have the benefit and convenience of crafting our screenplays on our laptops and desktop computers with the aid of some advanced and user-friendly screenwriting software programs that allow us to worry less about format and focus more on story. Here are some examples of screenwriting software packages that can help bring your next screenplay to life and even teach you how to write a screenplay.

Our picks for the best screenwriting software include:

  1. Final Draft
  2. Movie Magic Screenwriter
  3. Fade In
  4. Celtx
  5. Writer Duet
  6. Slugline
  7. Montage
  8. Free screenwriting software

Final Draft

Still considered the industry standard, Final Draft has a long history as the go-to screenplay writing software package and it is probably still the most used screenwriting tool in film and television. Its history dates back to 1990 when it was founded by Marc Madnick and Ben Cahan and has even been awarded a Primetime Emmy Engineering Award in 2013. In 2016, it was acquired by Cast & Crew Entertainment Services and it offers the submission-standard formatting structure for studios, the Writer’s Guild of America, and world-wide screenplay contests.

Final Draft is simple, efficient, and powerful and allows the Screenwriter to quickly and effectively navigate screenplay structure while meeting the rigid requirements of screenplay format. One of its best features is that the built-in SmartType component remembers the names of characters and locations and automatically “learns” them so that even when you type the first letter it will give you a drop-down list of options, cutting the time you need to type each item.

Final Draft claims that it is used by 95% of film and TV professionals and it also offers the opportunity to not only write your screenplay, but it also allows you to seamlessly create beat boards, story maps, location, and character lists, is great with colored revisions, and offers a collaboration mode so you can create a script with a partner.

COST: $249

Here’s what you need to note about submitting screenplays to competitions, studios, the WGA, or class assignments: they will either be emailed in the universal PDF format or handed in on paper and the software used to create the screenplay will be inconsequential at that point. So don’t fret about using what’s considered the industry standard. Just find software you can afford and that gets the job done.

Movie Magic Screenwriter

In a very close 2nd place to Final Draft is Movie Magic Screenwriter, which not only allows you to more easily write a screenplay, but also has built-in formats for stage plays, teleplays, musicals, comic books, novels, and short stories. It is also officially endorsed by the Writer’s Guild of American East. Its import option is spectacular, allowing you to import screenplays started or fully written in Microsoft Word, PDF, or Rich Text Documents with very little re-formatting required.

It’s almost impossible to tell the difference between Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter and both are considered “the big two” when it comes to first choices in screenplay software. They are also the most expensive and when updated versions are released, those upgrades usually cost the owner about $99 more to upgrade to the latest version. You have to remember that screenplays were originally typed on typewriters and screenplay writers memorized the format. So, any software that makes your life easier should do so not because it’s expensive or a standard, but because it allows you to focus more on the writing and less on the structure.

COST: $249

Fade In

At a more affordable price tag, Fade In is becoming a competitive and reliable alternative to Final Draft and more and more Writers are using it. Here’s what you need to note about submitting screenplays to competitions, studios, the WGA, or class assignments: they will either be emailed in the universal PDF format or handed in on paper and the software used to create the screenplay will be inconsequential at that point. So don’t fret about using what’s considered the industry standard. Just find software you can afford and that gets the job done.

Fade In gets the job done. It offers extensive formatting options including industry standard layout format, autocomplete typing that fills in characters and locations, a collaboration mode so you can partner with other writers, image support so you can add a vibrant and impactful image to your title page, colored revisions, breakdown reports, and it can go mobile on your phone or tablet.

COST: $79

Celtx

Whereas Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, and Fade In offer one-time purchasing options, Celtx is a monthly subscription, online screenwriting software package that offers screenplay writing essentials including a comprehensive script editor, standard screenplay formats, standard stage play formats, 2-column Audio/Video formats used in television and commercials, storyboarding options, colored revision tracking, and email and online support.

The benefit of Celtx is that if you can write your screenplay in a month, you can save a lot of money compared to the previously mentioned software packages and Celtx is becoming another industry standard. I highly recommend it for film students and Screenwriters working on a budget.

Another interesting option is that Celtx offers progress reports for writers working professionally with an Agent, Manager, or studio exec. As you make advancements on your work, the software can update those folks and keep them abreast of your progress.

COST: $20 monthly
($180 if you pay for the yearly subscription)

Writer Duet

Writer Duet is offered completely online, but also offers off-line writing options. The best thing about it is that you can write your first 3 scripts completely free online with their cloud-based writing software. There is no page limit, no time limit, and no limit on exporting or importing your work. It is a great option that offers many of the screenwriting choices offered by Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, or Fade In.

It is also compatible with Final Draft, Celtx, PDF, Word, HTML, Adobe, and Rich Text. It offers really visual and intuitive index card options that allow you to move around scenes, action, and dialogue as if using a virtual office cork board. It will color specific revisions within the script and it prides itself on its ability to allow collaboration between multiple Writers online.

I personally used Writer Duet for some professional jobs as an Assistant Director, allowing me to break down a script and schedule certain locations and it worked really well. I recommend it as a much cheaper alternative to some of the larger screenplay software packages mentioned above.

COST: $11.99/month

Firstly, learn screenplay format without using any software -– learning how to write a script is imperative. Think of yourself as a Pilot. Sure, automatic pilot exists, but don’t you want your Pilot to really know how to fly a plane? You should understand screenplay format until it’s intuitive and software should make your life easier as a Writer.

Slugline

Designed exclusively for Mac, Slugline is affordable and clean. The developers of Slugline claim that it is the best-reviewed screenwriting software in the Mac App Store and its mission is to take formatting completely out of the Writer’s way, allowing the Writer to focus on story. It works very well on the iPhone and iPad and its Outline Navigator updates your script live as you write. It offers a cool night mode for writing at night next to your partner while he or she tries to sleep when you just have to make a deadline. It offers touchscreen editing on your phone or tablet. It’s very modern, fast, and affordable.

COST: $39.99 for desktop
($19.99 for iPhone and iPad)

Montage

Now we’re starting to get into the lesser known screenplay packages that may not be as fluid or well-designed as some of the industry standards. However, don’t write off a software package like Montage just because of its lower cost. Its best asset is that it allows long-time Final Draft users to easily import Final Draft formatted scripts with little to no re-formatting. That is a huge benefit for Writers looking to keep writing in an industry standard while saving a few bucks. No one wants to re-write a script and Montage allows you to pick up where you left off while no longer having to use Final Draft. The copy of FD you have may be on disk and perhaps you can’t afford the cost of new FD downloads. That’s where Montage can step in.

COST: $29.95

Free Screenwriting Software

Here is what you have to remember when writing a screenplay: it’s not what you write with, but how you write. Firstly, learn screenplay format without using any software -– learning how to write a script is imperative. Think of yourself as a Pilot. Sure, automatic pilot exists, but don’t you want your Pilot to really know how to fly a plane? You should understand screenplay format until it’s intuitive and software should make your life easier as a Writer. It can’t, however, do the work for you. You can even still write on a typewriter — George Lucas and Quentin Tarantino still write with pen and pencil. So, no matter which screenplay software you choose, it’s all about the story!

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Shooting Landscapes in Bad Weather

Shooting Landscapes in Bad Weather

Do you ever go out photographing landscapes when the weather isn’t that great? I think most photographers prefer a sunset with intense colors and playful clouds. But perhaps you should try bad weather for a change.

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Hong Kong photojournalists attend press conference in riot gear following protests

Yesterday, the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) witnessed an unusual sight as they held a press conference following a series of city-wide protests regarding a controversial extradition bill. Photographers and journalists who attended the meeting were clad in various riot and protest gear, including high-visibility vests, helmets, gas masks and more following a request from the Hong Kong Journalist Association as a means of meta-protesting the HKPF’s treatment of citizens and journalists throughout the month-long protests taking place in the city.

The bill, officially called the ‘Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill’ was first published by the Government of Hong Kong on March 29. Immediately, the bill faced backlash, as Hong Kong residents, civil rights organizations, journalist organizations and foreign governments fear the bill will require the city and its residents to abide by Chinese law and subsequently subject them to a China’s court system if suspected of a crime, even if the individual has never stepped foot on Chinese territory.

Protests have been ongoing since the bill was first revealed, but on June 9, hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong to object to the bill and call for for the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. In the days following, the Hong Kong Free Press has reported the HKPF has used excessive force on photojournalists, journalists and protestors, including the use of more than 150 rounds of tear gas and multiple instances of firing bean bags at protestors.

The solidarity to show up to the press conference covered in riot gear came after the Hong Kong Journalist Association called upon the media to show up in protective gear, according to a report (tweet embedded above) from the Hong Kong Free Press.

This Software Can Undistort Faces at the Edges of Wide-Angle Photos

If you’ve ever found yourself at the edges of a group photo captured with a wide-angle lens, you may have noticed some strange stretching, squishing, and/or skewing that distort your face. Researchers have now created software that can automatically fix these wide-angle face distortions without affecting other parts of the photo.

In a paper titled “Distortion-Free Wide-Angle Portraits on Camera Phones,” a group of researchers at Google and MIT led by YiChang Shih introduce a new algorithm they created that allows for, as the name states, distortion-free wide-angle portraits shot using camera phones.

“In spite of the rapid proliferation of wide-angle cameras on mobile phones, a wider field-of-view (FOV) introduces a stronger perspective distortion,” the paper’s abstract states. “Correcting such distortions requires professional editing skills, as trivial manipulations can introduce other kinds of distortions.”

The researchers’ solution to this problem is an algorithm that, when given a photo, creates a content-aware warping mesh that works on the areas of the frame where faces are detected. It then corrects for the faces without adversely impacting the non-facial areas of the photo.

Promising results were obtained on photos with a wide field-of-view ranging from 70° to 120°, and the automatic correction is fast enough to be done “at an interactive rate” on a smartphone.

Here are some before (on left) and after (on right) examples of portraits corrected by the algorithm:

Here’s a 2.5-minute video introducing the new algorithm and explaining how it works:

Given that all the researchers behind this project are employed by Google, we could presumably see some form of this technology show up on a future Pixel smartphone.

(via YiChang Shih via Gizmodo)

Watch Thousands of FREE Tutorials All Organized in One Place

Is this too good to be true?

Reddit user u/kinkare90 has in his own words, “created a site that makes it easier to discover and watch free tutorials”, and at first glance, he’s not exaggerating.

2uts appears to have countless tutorials organized by sub-category, with topics that include AD & Animation, Web Development, Design and Illustration, and of course of great interest to us Video and VFX.

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Women’s Film Preservation Fund Film Program

Since 1996 the Women’s Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) of New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) has preserved a number of significant experimental and animated works, many of which reflect pioneering approaches and unique voices. This year’s series will showcase a selection of these works, many of which have been preserved in collaboration with […]

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Toy Story 4: Woody and Buzz Embrace the Gig Economy

A few weeks ago, Apple dropped a staggering ill-advised promoted tweet into my timeline: “With the longest battery life in an iPhone ever, you’ll lose power before your iPhone XR will.” I enjoy thinking about death even less than the average person, so my first reaction was that I’m not particularly cheered by a poorly worded suggestion that I’ll probably exit before my technology. My next thought was that Apple had inadvertently provided a solid metaphor for the eternal franchise era: assuming all goes as planned, it is not inconceivable that there will be Star Wars movies coming out after my […]