How To Use the Invisible Split Screen Effect To Add Drama To Your Films


Timing is a huge component of successful filmmaking.  So is framing.  And director David Fincher has a good handle on both.

There are a variety of reasons to use invisible split-screen composites in filmmaking, from honing the timing of shots to multiplying your actors on small-budget projects.  When properly applied, this technique can be used as a tool to craft a dynamically powerful scene and is a trick that Fincher admits to implementing countless times throughout each of his films.

In this tutorial, Ben Gill gives us a breakdown of the technique, how masters like Fincher apply it, and how you can create it yourself.

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High School Student Gets Famous Peruvian Actor to Star In His Film


Kids these days often leave me scratching my head.  However, in what I would describe as making my entire scholastic career look like an extended daycare session, 17-year-old Alex Fischman created La Vieja Quinta.

Fischman, a student at Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Lima, Peru, created the short film for a high school project. It is an impressive film for someone of any age, let alone a high schooler, and is unlike any other I’ve seen produced from students in a similar age bracket. With elements of humor and a look at human connection, it carries with it a deep sense of emotion.

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Tell a More Dramatic Story With This Simple Video Editing Technique


At its heart, filmmaking has always been about telling a story.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a 30-second commercial, a short documentary for the local festival, or a blockbuster hit, the purpose is to communicate some form of narrative to the audience (perhaps with the exception of blockbuster hits…they’re simply about money).  The problem sometimes lies in knowing how to communicate that story and aligning all the pieces of the puzzle for maximum impact.

In one of the installments to his instructional series Inside the Edit, filmmaker Paddy Bird gives us a look at “dramatic sync tempo decompression” and how to use this simple editing technique to make the most of your next film project, includes interviews or narrative stories.

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Seamless Follow Focus Ring From Cinegear Provides Uninhibited 360-Degree Rotation

One hassle with dSLR video is having to attach follow focus rings to your lenses, often with a clunky bracket or closure to hold them in place.  From my experience, these brackets frequently get in the way or have to be adjusted around the lens as your change focusing distance significantly.  Now, perhaps inconvenience is your thing, but, personally, I find it annoying.

Cinegears, the Canadian purveyors of remote lens control systems, created a seamless focus ring that can be sized to fit your lens, without all the clunkiness we previously discussed.

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PocketSkater2 – The 1lb Camera Dolly That Fits In Your Pocket

I am a naturally skeptical person.  So, it was only natural that, when I first saw the PocketSkater2, I was a wee bit skeptical.  There are numerous mini dolly hacks with subpar performance out there, so I wasn’t expecting much from a device claiming to be small enough to “fit in your pocket.”  But, I was surprised.

Edelkrone, the same guys who brought us the Wing railless slider concept last year, have done, in my most humble estimation, a great job on this project.

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Video Production: how to properly slate and what to avoid

You see it all the time in quirky behind-the-scenes videos and outtake reels, but slating, the practice of slapping down the arm on that cool little clapper thing at the beginning of a video shot, is more of an art form that most people realize. And, when I say art form, I mean this in the same way that driving a vehicle without running over pedestrians like Grand Theft Auto Gone Wild is a fine-honed skill. Slating is what video editors go by in post production to match video shots with the correct audio tracks and synchronize them so it doesn’t end up looking like a re-dubbed foreign film.

Tomm Jacobson, who bears a striking resemblance to Jimmi Simpson, gives us the lowdown on how you should and shouldn’t slate.

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Oblivion: The Cinematography of Claudio Miranda


Out of the top ten highest-grossing films of 2014, nine were either sequels or reboots for franchises already long-established – the remaining film was Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. With the current film industry an unarguable golden age for comic book adaptations, it’s become customary for most studios to play it safe and rely on audience familiarity to sell their productions. And it’s unfortunate – original stories like Edge of Tomorrow end up suffering in sales as a result while at the same time gaining critical acclaim (Edge of Tomorrow was even retitled Live Die Repeat around the time of its home video release in an attempt to re-market the film).

Given the criticisms warranted towards Interstellar (Oh man, that dialogue…), it was still refreshing to see a new, original, and all-around good science fiction film become a box-office blockbuster in the middle of Oscar season. For directors not as well-known as Nolan, making a film like that is a particular risk when taking sales into account; back in 2013, Director Joseph Kosinski took that exact risk with the release of his second film. After his debut with Tron: Legacy, Kosinski brought the cinematographer Claudio Miranda on board once more for a story he’d been working on since 2005. The result was a film released eight years later, titled Oblivion.

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What Christmas Morning Would Look Like If M. Night Shyamalan, Tarantino, & Charlie Chaplin Directed It


The holidays are the time of year we all like to relax and spend time with our friends, family, our favorite filmmakers. Well, sorta anyways…Last year, when Foreground Films released the first version of “The Auteurs of Christmas”, it saw widespread popularity, quickly going viral. The team brought back the theme this year with “The Auteurs of Christmas 2″ in what we are all hoping has officially begun a new holiday tradition.

The short film features the creators interpretation of a scene as though some very well known filmmakers were directing it. It’s impressive how on point they were able to get. The real film buffs out there will marvel in the attention to detail that went into making the shots truly match their individual directors style and quirk. For example, you can look for appropriate screen ratios, foley arts and sound effects, color grading, cinematography, even Godard’s take on color theory was so accurately executed you can’t help but to grin at the perfect silliness of it all.

In part two of The Auteurs we’re treated to the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Charlie Chaplin, Terrence Malick, Christopher Nolan, Alfred Hitchcock, Morgan Spurlock, David Lynch, M. Night Shyamalan, Michael Bay, & Jean-Luc Godard. [Read more…]