-- Production

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The Digital Art Department – Interview with Alex McDowell

by Michael Rizzo

Merged Media Merged media converging in the new and improved art department is blurring titles, rewriting job descriptions, and re-establishing it as the crucible of all cinematic imagery. What was once done in optical houses after the fact is now performed as a matter of course by using pre-vis techniques at our work stations. Pre-vis…

Cinematography

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Data Management & Procedure Best Practices

by Blain Brown

Data Management In principle, data management sounds simple: you download the camera media, put it on a hard drive and back it up. In reality, it is a process fraught with danger and rife with chances to mess up badly. Handling the recorded media is an enormous responsibility; a single click can erase an entire…

Directing

“Hitchcock’s rule” in Wright’s Atonement . The size of the letter in the frame reflects its importance in the scene.

Directing – Shot Size and Selection

by Michael Rabiger

COMMON SHOT SIZES A creative variable crucial to the director’s visual vocabulary and storytelling toolbox is shot size, which refers to the size of the subject in your frame. You can alter it in two ways: by changing the proximity of the camera to your subject (moving closer or farther) or through optics (changing the…

Post Production

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Avid Smart Tool Functions

by Steve Hullfish

Avid editors have certainly used the Timeline for decades, but Avid has always been much more conducive to keyboard editing. Final Cut Pro editors—and I realize that I’m generalizing—are often much more comfortable moving and trimming their sequences using the arrow tool and the Timeline trimming functions to drag segments and transitions quickly and efficiently…

Screenwriting

Photo by Dyanna

Screenwriting Tip #100: The Three Acts of Writing a First Draft

by Xander Bennett

Screenwriting Tip #100: The point of a first draft is just to exist. Nobody should ever spend more than three months on a first draft unless they’re hand-chiseling it on a stone tablet. The psychological process of writing the first draft follows a predictable arc. At first it feels like love in the springtime –…

The Film Business

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Art Departments and the Importance of Research in Pre-Production

by Michael Rizzo

Gathering visual research is a powerful way to define the visual concept. Within the first several weeks of pre-production, the walls of the art department quickly become plastered as a repository of photocopied and color printed images: icons, indexes, symbols, and metaphors of the visual concept for the film. We surround ourselves with these images…

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MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Focal Press authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.