Archive for November, 2007


Showcase: Cristo

November 28, 2007

Here’s quite a nicely done short film by indie film and game composer Justin R. Durban titled Cristo.  (By the way, if you ever need some fantastic music for free for your non-profit film endeavor, check out his site, it’s loaded with great stuff!)  It’s a nice blend of drama and sci-fi, and though I don’t particularly like the acting all that much, there are some strong parts in the visuals (including a nice crane shot and even an underwater scene) and of course, great music.  I’d like to go into depths about what I think worked and didn’t work in this, but I think it’s best to watch and decide for yourself.  Take a peek, he’s a wonderful composer, and a pretty nice guy from the little I’ve talked with him online, so check out his film below, and leave comments (here or there) on the piece as you see it.

I should also actually mention a project he’s also doing the music for, since they had a very nice preview video on their site that got me pretty interested in the project.  It’s a 45-minute Machinima video called Sands of Fire and it looks quite impressive.  I don’t really know anymore than that, but their website for it is a blog (over here). and it’s worth taking a peek at.  Take a peek at the trailer below:




November 20, 2007

This is one awesomely ambitious and incredibly useful resource for no-budget filmmakers everywhere.  I can’t wait to get to start using this, and if it works as well as it does in the promo video on their site (which, aside from the Apple videos, is one of the best promo videos I’ve seen in a while), then this could take the no-budget world by storm.  It looks awesome.  Basically, where Celtx makes global networking possible for people in a given project and is most useful for pre-production and even production (with its powerful scheduling features), SpinXpress is its equal in the post-production arena.  This program gives you the ability to communicate with people involved in your project all over the world, giving you a built-in Wiki, message board, file sharing and then after you’re done you can publish your work right to the Internet Archives or right from the program.  Their promo video blew me away and got me super excited to start working with it on a project… only problem now is I need to find some people to work on the project with.  This won’t be necessary if you can afford to have everybody in one place (writer, producer, key players that don’t need to be on set), but if you’re like me and hopefully most of my readers, it’s going to come in handy hugely when you’re working on projects with people in completely different states or countries to have a program of such capabilities that you’re not relying on emails anymore, and you can communicate, share files, and even create a Wiki site for your project with all kinds of information about the project so it straightens and clears up communication and collaboration on a project for your long-distance filmmaking endeavors.  It looks awesome, but I haven’t used it as of this writing, so any user testimonials will be greatly appreciated.  Oh, and did I mention it’s got a searchable database of Creative Commons licensed works for your video projects?  And you can remotely access your project’s account via the website as well, if you’re on a machine that doesn’t have SpinXpress installed on it already.  And yea, it’s free.  Holy #$@#!!  Yea, that’s what I thought.  Enjoy! 😉



Conversion & DIY Gear

November 12, 2007

That’s right, I stumbled upon a free media conversion app today (both for Windows and Mac) due to the monthly newsletter from Studio Daily.  It’s a great newsletter that’s always got some interesting articles and videos, reviews, etc.

But this time, I noticed a link to an eternal website full of DIY rigs and gear by small-time filmmakers like you and me.  This was wonderful.  The site’s slogan itself is “linking filmmakers to helpful resources,” which in effect is what I try to do, but they’ve obviously made the jump to bigger promotional venues (like Studio Daily).  However, their list was quite good, with links to other sites with tips and tutorials and even a video tutorial on making a jib/crane made by the fellows over at IndyMogul.  I’ve seen most of the tutorials that they linked to before, but it was an admirable effort and a great thing to do for low-budget filmmakers.  It’s like the tutorial version of, another good resource for, at the very least, inspirational photos of rigs from all different angles and some test footage with said rigs made by amateurs.

It was a great pair of discoveries to make today, and something definitely worth blogging about.  I am in the midst of a research project on self-promotion and distribution for super-small-time filmmakers like myself and will hopefully come out at the end with a 10-12 page research paper on the subject, which will most likely be slimmed down for internet use.  I’ll post it here when it’s completed and advertise it as many places as I can think of.  Enjoy the links, and happy filmmaking!



Showcase: The Jack

November 7, 2007

Ever come across an old home video that made you laugh but nobody else would get it because they simply weren’t there?  Ever wished you could show them what it felt like to be there?  This video, found after perusing ElizaAnne‘s videos due to her addictive accent (I love accents, and Aussie accents are my favorite) on YouTube, does just that.  It’s a simple mockumentary about the Jack, a rare and wild creature who apparently inhabits her backyard.  She’s doing both the camerawork and the narration, and they come together with music from none other than Lord of the Rings to create a very nice, playful piece that appeals to even me, a complete stranger.  It’s a simple video, just shots cut together with music placed over them.  She even did the voiceover while shooting, which obviously eliminates any post needs to record voiceover audio and worry about technical issues since it’s right in-camera.  And this was such a simple video that they didn’t need to worry about taking her mix-ups out, since they just cut the shots together and that was the most complex part of the video.  Actually, I’d bet getting it onto YouTube was the most complex, or maybe it’s just me that’s had much trouble with it.  The point of showing this video is not only to post again and showcase someone’s work, but to showcase the beauty that comes in simplicity, the ease of creating a truly adorable and somehow magical home video that is no more work than shooting, editing and uploading – with a few minor technical steps in between.  When commenting on the video, I said that “there is something adorable and beautiful about this… The loving laugh, goofy rolling around and ending of the music all at the same time were a perfect ending to just an old home video, but it was great even for me, a complete stranger.”  All she says about the project is this “This is a really old video. August 2006 to be exact. Made a LONG time ago. I look really bad, but it’s a good video project that my little brother and I worked on.”  But you know what, she’s right.

I recently was shooting some video in my room and noticed that I was almost completely blacked out because of the lights on either side of me.  So I took my one little work light and placed it at an angle, with a sheet of cardboard covered in tinfoil opposite it on the other side of the room, acting as a reflector.  I turned the light on, stood in place and presto.  It was great-looking footage with nice lighting and a cool sense of “where the hell is that light coming from?  It looks great!”  That’s what it made me think, anyway.  The point here is to get out and just shoot something.  Take a camera and get some cool looking angles, play with a light and something reflective and shoot some thoughtful postures of yourself, then splice everything together with some cool music and maybe a poem or something and you’ve got cool-looking poetry-in-motion.  Hah, get it?  Yea… anyway, point stated, showcase showcased, I have a small announcement and you can get out there and shoot.  The Waiting Room is nearing completion.  It’s got music by Ben of YouTube, and I need to shoot some last scenes of myself, edit them into the final cut and tighten it up, get the rest of the music and it should be good to go.  I’d say total, it’s about halfway through post now.  But that still only feels like the beginning.  Once the cameraperson and other crew agree to a date, we can shoot and I’ll be all set with footage, then comes the final touches and the scoring sessions and it’s done as well.  More updates as that progresses and it will no doubt be on YouTube once it’s done.  LATENT(CY), the feature I made last year, is also on YouTube (in 7 parts) in my video collection on my profile page, so check that out too.  For now, though, take a lesson from ElizaAnne and go shoot some video!

Be sure to check out ElizaAnne’s other videos too (like the one above), as some of them contain some fairly talented singing as well.  Thanks for the video, best wishes and best of luck to all you filmmakers out there reading.  Happy filmmaking.



Showcase: The Armchair Chronicles

November 2, 2007

Sorry there hasn’t been an update in quite a while, though IndyMogul, IzzyVideo and Video Copilot have all come out with some new videos that are pretty cool.  This update, however is not only a showcase of new work but of new work by a member of AnimiVirtus Productions.  Elliot, a co-founder of the group, has begun a blog about comic arts and his in-development series titled “The Armchair Chronicles.”  It’s essentially an artistic endeavor into the battle of good and evil that permeates… well, everything.  There’s only one post for now, but it’s an interesting peek at what’s to come, as well as the process of the creative mind behind the series.  Check out his post here and learn more him and the blog as the post count increases.