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COW Blogs : indie film
A few of my favorite 2008 movies
By: Tim Wilson on Jan 18, 2009 at 11:13:45 am

I like award season, year-end lists and all that. There's so much that goes on in the year, much of it frankly much more important than entertainment, that it's easy to forget some of the great stuff we've seen, heard, and read. And in the scheme of things, there's not that much that's THAT much more important than entertainment, is there? :-) I hope to get around to other categories, but I've been thinking about movies. Oscar nominations get announced this week, and as I've mentioned before, the Oscars are as close to a holiday as my wife and I celebrate,...


Paso Robles Digital Film Festival, November 20-25
By: Benford Standley on Oct 9, 2008 at 4:52:02 pm

PASO ROBLES DIGITAL FILM FESTIVAL UNCORKS IN WINE COUNTRY NOVEMBER 20-25 WITH HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDING A TRIBUTE TO CLINT EASTWOOD, MUSIC FROM THE BACON BROTHERS, THE KYLE EASTWOOD BAND, RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOTT AND MORE Paso Robles, CA, October 9, 2008 In the heart of Central California’s “Cowboy Wine Country,” the inaugural Paso Robles Digital Film Festival ( ) will take place Thursday, November 20 through Tuesday, November 25. The theme for year one of what will be an annual festival examining the film industry in the digital age is “Music In Film.” Headlining music acts include The Bacon Brothers (actor...

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BCM color grades "Keepsake" for Stormcatcher Films
By: walter biscardi on Oct 7, 2008 at 2:52:40 am

BCM has completed all color grading for the feature film, Keepsake from Stormcatcher Films. Shot on location in Virginia, the film was Directed by Paul Moore and shot over a 24 day period. D.P. Todd Gilpin did an incredible job with setting up the look of the film. He created a very rich canvas from which Colorist Walter Biscardi, Jr. was able to create an incredible palette of color. Biscardi worked closely with Moore, Gilpin and Producer Scott Tanner to bring out the gritty details and haunting images of the fight for survival. Keepsake is the first feature film project...


Creating BluRays on a budget - Part 2 (DoStudio)
By: walter biscardi on Sep 17, 2008 at 3:35:09 am

Well, we've got our HP workstation up and running with DoStudio's Trial Version now installed.  The Trial version is the complete application with only the commercial replication features turned off. First impressions are this thing is definitely NOT DVD Studio Pro or Encore.  This is a very serious tool along the lines of Apple's Color compared to the 3 Way Color Correction filter in Final Cut Pro.  There is a learning curve as a lot of programming is manually done rather than simple drag and drop type of operations.   This feels more like a professional authoring tool and less...


Footastic Theatre - A Study in Web Video Production
By: Jacki Schklar on Aug 30, 2008 at 1:57:07 pm Above is the link for the first two episodes in my weird little new web series, Footastic Theatre. This is a study in producing for web as opposed to producing for video and encoding down to share. The premise is really short amusing engaging scenerios. Video crack. Watch one and you need more and you want to see them over and over. That s what I m working toward. We are showing only the feet of the talent. Why? Web video is best with close-ups and all headshots are not that exciting to me. It was rediculously easy to...


Creating Commercially Replicatable BluRays on a budget - Step 1
By: walter biscardi on Aug 25, 2008 at 4:33:18 pm

So many of you have read of our failings with Adobe Encore trying to create BluRay discs.  Today we start a new chapter in BluRay authoring by transferring all our needs to NetBlender's "DoStudio."   NetBlender has instituted a really neat month to month licensing option that's approx. $250 per month to use the software.  This is truly a month to month deal.  So I can activate it for September for $250 and then sign up again in December.  There's no extra fees, nothing.   They have several plans for 6 months, 12 months or you can outright purchase the...


BluRay launches 3 documentaries for 2009
By: walter biscardi on Jul 24, 2008 at 8:23:43 am

I'm really happy to report publicly for the first time that we'll be providing all post production for 3 feature length documentaries that are currently destined for major film festivals and network HD broadcast in 2009 and 2010.   We can trace at least part of this announcement to our investment in BluRay and in-house self-publishing of the high definition discs. Yesterday a sample 9 minute version of the first of the three proposed documentaries was presented to the Carter Center here in Atlanta.   Among the people present were both hollywood executives and an executive of an international television...


Royalty Free Footage - Do your research, get the samples
By: walter biscardi on Jul 17, 2008 at 4:35:58 pm

We re working on a corporate documentary type of project that involves teenagers who lived through Hurricane Katrina. The project is all shot in high definition and of course, the producer was in the market for some news footage of the hurricane and its aftermath to help craft the story. Looking around the web we found with the most reasonably priced footage, about $450 for 19 minutes of the aftermath rescues and such. The description of the reel describes pretty much exactly what we were looking for with military personnel helping people, flooded streets, the mayor walking around, etc.......


Festival Laurels for your award-winning movie
By: Noah Kadner on Jun 27, 2008 at 2:08:39 pm

Ok so first you have to win some festival awards or at least be an official selection. Then you have to be on Windows. That said here's a very cool application that will make the creation of festival laurels for your movie's poster, DVD box, etc very simple. ...


Breaking the Speed Limit -- Editing Phantom High-Speed Footage in Final Cut Pro: Part 1 of 2
By: Noah Kadner on Apr 25, 2008 at 6:44:35 pm

I wrote two articles for the Final Cut Pro User's Group Supermeet at NAB. They appeared in the SuperMag magazine. Here's part one of the second article looking at Simplemente's work with the Phantom HD camera: ...

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Tips and Tricks for production stills
By: Noah Kadner on Apr 18, 2008 at 5:32:10 pm

I mentioned this briefly in my series on how to get your film distributed and I wanted to expand on it just a little. I cannot emphasize this enough, get photos of your movie as you're making it. Now there are two basic types of photos you need and both are important: behind the scenes and production stills. Behind the scenes photography are the photos where you can see the movie crew and the gear being used to make the movie. Now of course you'll be tempted to photograph your cool crane that you managed to borrow or steal for a...

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Your Own Business, Part 3; Running & Building Your Business
By: walter biscardi on Mar 24, 2008 at 8:29:18 pm

In Part 2 of this series, I gave you some thoughts on setting up your shop. If you missed that part or Part 1, links are at the bottom of this article. Now that the doors are open, the furniture and equipment is in, we need to get the word out so you can really get your company running and building. Just because you’re open, doesn’t mean people are just going to find you. Congratulations! Hopefully by now you’ve finished off that bottle of champagne, grape juice, coffee, or whatever it was you used to toast your new company. The...


Your Own Business, Part 1: Are You Ready?
By: walter biscardi on Mar 20, 2008 at 4:43:38 am

This is Part 1 of a 4 Part series on Starting and Running your own business in the creative industry. We start out this week by asking, Are You Ready? Are you really ready to step out on your own and become your own boss? Before you say yes, consider these thoughts. Recently I posted a blog entry detailing the wonderful experience we had upgrading our facility with fellow Creative COW leader Bob Zelin. An unexpected response to that entry was someone who found the setup of our facility somewhat overwhelming. He was questioning what would he need to start...


Call for Submissions - SFMUG Short Movie Festival - Great Prizes totaling over $2800
By: Giuseppe Quinn on Mar 18, 2008 at 10:13:42 pm

Call for Entries - 2nd Annual SFMUG Short Movie Festival ...


By: Shane Ross on Mar 11, 2008 at 9:57:51 pm

IFC , the Independent Film Channel, is having a film contest. To promote this contest they have made a GREAT promo video... IFC PROMO What makes me like it more is the fact that I WORK in broascast TV, and must adhere to those rigid standards. Frankly, it can be a bit tiring. I mean, make the colors look good, make it not look to hot, but when I get a show kicked back because I am .02 above 100IRE...that pisses me off! What about my content? Oh, yeah, the networks have hacked that to death with their notes and...


By: Shane Ross on Mar 6, 2008 at 11:22:20 pm

Last December I was asked to edit a trailer for a documentary.  This trailer would be used to solicit finishing funds.  And while they couldn t pay much, they could pay.  Since I wasn t doing anything in January and halfway thru Febuary, I took the job.  The client asked how they should deal with the payment  I said that I would like half up front, and half when I deliver the final.  That sounded fine to them, so I received half the payment and the tapes to begin editing.I worked on the project for about 3 weeks, and delivered...


By: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:54:16 am

A couple posts ago I pointed out the great PSA Indie Fever that Scott Simmons of the EditBlog made.In what seems like perfect timing, I found myself watching a great short documentary on IFC on Monday called Failure . I stumbled on this by accident. My wife and I always watch the Henry Rollins Show and before I could change the channel, I saw the lead in to this documentary. I watched it...and it was hilarious. It was a documentary all about this guys attempt to make an independent film. In short, it was a disaster...and from the scenes he...


By: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:47:40 am

Do you feel driven to making Independant Films? Do you watch art house films...and actually LIKE them? Then you might have INDIE FEVER. Indie Fever is a crippling addiction that effects people nationwide...heck, GLOBALLY. But don t worry, there is help. The first step is to admit you have a problem. Once you do that, then please visit the Indie Fever website to find out how you can get help.And you better not miss the Indie Fever PSA. Please spare yourself and your loved ones from further pain and misery from your independent filmmaking addiction.(Thanks to Scott Simmons of the...


Oscar and us
By: Tim Wilson on Feb 23, 2008 at 8:50:26 pm

As I write this, it's Oscar eve. Just like Christmas eve, only more exciting. At least to my wife Nora and me. In fact, our primary celebration of Christmas is going to the movies, preferably a movie where things blow up. A festival of bright lights if you will. It's not really the contest aspect of the thing. Most years we see a significant number of the nominated films. This year, we haven't seen a single one of the movies nominated for a major award. A lot of the movies look wonderful, especially Juno, but we just haven't gotten around...


Using a camera jib
By: tj mccormick on Feb 7, 2008 at 8:02:50 am

Okay, CC bloggers, I just got a new EZ FX jib for my Z1U. Having never used one before, I thought that a blog exploring how to use a jib would make a useful addition to the blogs. So, any ideas on how to best use the thing? I also have the pedestal option, and man it s a beast! I m using it for the first time this morning, so talk now!! I m stoked but a little bit out of my league as far as skill on using this thing, so any suggestions would be very welcome. TJ...


The iPod as a timecode slate
By: Scott Simmons on Jan 16, 2008 at 10:48:28 am

Originally posted on The Editblog . I recently got suckered into a low budget music video. How low budget? The decision was made not to hire an audio person for playback. Without that audio person it meant there would be no audio master made for the song and no timecode slate for syncing later in post. What was the solution? Use an iPod with video and make our own timecode slate! We dropped the audio into a timeline and then applied a timecode generator to a slug for one version of the song and color bars to another. This was...


HEY APPLE! I love Media Manager
By: David Battistella on Jan 16, 2008 at 10:47:07 am

OK. I am going out on a limb, but I am going to say it out loud and on the World Wide Web. I love MEDIA MANGER IN FCP. I am sure that you are all hearing the sounds of people hitting the floor, but it is true: I think that the Media Manager in FCP rocks. I am a bit sick of people bitching about the MM in FCP but I have to say that I have become a student of it and I have been using it to my advantage. I think that the biggest problem with MM...


Clockwork: Bass Ackwards Workflow?
By: Sterling Glass on Jan 16, 2008 at 10:41:55 am

This portion of my three-part catch-up blogs focuses on the audio portion of my music video project. I have read many tutorials and seen just about every podcast on how to lip-sync animation to audio in After Effects. Alas, after much trial and error, none of those methods worked. It wasn t until I got a response on Adobe s Audition forums , that I was given a somewhat workable solution. What I wanted to do is have the main beat to the song be the rhythm to the video. And to be over-literal, have a clock ticking to the...

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Capturing HDV as ProRes...via Firewire
By: Shane Ross on Jan 12, 2008 at 9:41:37 am

Before I go into this, if you haven t read Chris Poisson s article here at the Cow on how to capture HDV as ProRes 422 via firewire please do so now. I ll wait. ght, let s talk about what I am doing now.I have been hired to edit a 5-10 min Teaser for a documentary...a teaser that will be used as a fund raising tool to solicit more money to finish shooting and editing this documentary. This documentary was shot on HDV at 1080i 29.97 using the Sony VU1 HDV camera...with another one as b-camera, and at one...


Art for Art's Sake?
By: Julia Camenisch on Jul 17, 2007 at 12:47:56 pm

Talking to a fellow media professional recently, and they commented that the type of art they prefer to do now is simply for artistic expression rather than for communication. And that got me thinking about what the role of art in our (often) very utilitarian profession is and should be. I guess I default towards art only being a worthwhile investment when it clearly communicates. And yet I m beginning to feel that there may be value to self-expression that doesn t have as its primary goal communication. Exploring and discoveirng - that s how our craft is honed, and...


Great rights resources
By: Tim Wilson on May 13, 2007 at 5:58:59 am

Since the issues surrounding rights and fair use come up at The COW all the dang time, from various perspectives, here are some of my very favorite web resources. The Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center has a heavily scholarly orientation, maybe moreso than you ll find useful. But the coverage here is certainly exhaustive.One of the coolest things about it is a free, digitized version of Stanford s Lawrence Lessig, called Free Culture. He s been a pioneer on rights in the electronic age from pretty much the beginning, and has fought vigorously against the rapidly diminishing rights that...


Quicktime Player now reads Timecode
By: walter biscardi on May 1, 2007 at 3:57:15 pm

As Chi-Ho Lee noted on the Final Cut Pro forum today, Quicktime 7.1.6 has been released in anticipation of Final Cut Studio 2 and you can now read timecode in the Quicktime Player. Wow! Finally! Not sure why it took so long, but here s the proof. If you click on the running time you now get a drop down box which gives you three choices of the Standard Running Time, Timecode and Frame Number. Here s the clip now showing the original timecode off the camera tape. VERY cool and now anyone with Quicktime Player can accurately see timecodes...

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Storytelling with Real Life
By: Julia Camenisch on May 1, 2007 at 12:29:26 pm

Life is stranger than fiction, or so they say. And even though my day to day existence doesn't contain much fodder for prize winning television, there are many true stories out there that make for riveting viewing. If the term "documentary" makes you yawn, you might need to shed your preconceived notions of picture slideshows. This genre is full of creativity and artistic expression. In fact, I'd say that watching documentaries is one of the best ways to learn the elusive art of storytelling. So before you go to Blockbuster for yet another Hollywood crafted fable, take a few minutes...


What NOT to do & other bits of advice
By: Julia Camenisch on Apr 23, 2007 at 10:46:33 am

I m sure you ve read it, but it s so good (at least IMHO) that it bears repeating. Mike Curtis over at HD for Indies , has compiled a list of 10 don t do rules for indie filmmakers, based off his experience as a consultant. Since he wrote these as a frustrated rant, it s a bit long-winded, but here s a quick summary of 9 of those rules. Two of them are so similar I didn t bother repeating: 1. Don t use Cineframe mode on Sony HDV cameras - looks bad and isn t true 24p....


By: David Battistella on Apr 20, 2007 at 8:18:50 pm

Well. I might have bought Logic for no reason (thank god I make music too), But i was relieved to see that they finally got the OMF imtegrated in this version of soundtrack.  How many times have I wanted to export an OMF from my FCP timeline into another app (other than Protools) on my mac to do the final mix on some of my projects.   I can tell you that there was a huge sign of relief when I saw that the new version of the software was going to make it really easy to import OMF.  For those...

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NAB_From a Distance
By: David Battistella on Apr 19, 2007 at 2:15:23 pm

It s a relief because the speculation has ended and we can focus on how we are going to use these creative tools in our everyday lives.  In my case it s as a film maker and I have to say that I am thrilled.  I like to think of myself as a complete film maker.  My background is as an editor and everytime I see a release like this, I can t help but think about how much I wish it was all coming sooner.  I mean, I m not getting any younger and these are all of the...


Can YouTube make YouRich?
By: Julia Camenisch on Apr 19, 2007 at 12:32:07 pm

+Here s a bit of news+ from Ars Technica about the unfolding opportunity to make money from YouTube. It ll be interesting to see what the terms of the deal are - I m sure the ad revenues won t be enough to allow you to quit your day job...unless of course you can come up with a really, really good video. When I get my current doc project finished, I might post to see if I can make any pocket change....


Clockwork: An Introduction
By: Sterling Glass on Apr 18, 2007 at 5:55:45 pm

[Verified for enough clarity]  When does awesome become a nightmare? So, there I was. Just over a year left to graduate with a Bachelor s in Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Most of my friends knew that I was really into the film classes and artist video classes I was/had taken. A friend and his bandmates asked me if I d be willing make a music video for them. Quick background info: at the time, I just turned 29; the youngest guy in the band was in his mid-30s; and, none of them had ever seen my...

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Clockwork: Procrastination (ironically) pays off ...
By: Sterling Glass on Apr 18, 2007 at 5:11:20 pm

... at least for this project. While tweaking the markers I had set up in Audition of the demo version of the song, Audition crashed. Like a first-time user, I just glanced at the screen and thought that my changes before the crash were still there and saved the file instead of Save As... . I was using the Spectral Display in Audition to see where the kick drum hit in the audio since I want to make my animation sync with the music. When I looked at the Spectral Display of the audio, nothing was there. So, I reinstalled...

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