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Optimizing Your Computer for Final Cut Pro

by Tom Wolsky

Final Cut Pro Version 10.1 is designed to take advantage of the newest technologies included in Mavericks OS 10.9, particularly it takes advantage of what Apple calls Timer Coalescing and Compressed Memory, which speeds up low-level system events. Timer Coalescing allows these system events to be grouped, to happen in bursts when there is available…

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Production Mic Technique – Which mic should you use?

by Jay Rose

Rose’s Rules: • You can fake almost any other aspect of the track, and undo or change it if you’re not happy with the result. But bad dialog recordings are forever. • You can write, direct, shoot, edit, create graphics, and mix the whole project all by yourself, all in your own sweet time, and…

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Sitcom Structure – Classic 2-act vs. Modern 3-act Structure

by Martie Cook

THE IMPORTANCE OF STORY STRUCTURE Quite simply, structure is one of the most important elements of your script. It is the glue that holds your story together. Think of structure as how you choose to tell your story. What happens in each scene and what is the order in which it happens? Let me warn…

“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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Avoiding Pitfalls in Production that Affect Post

by Scott Arundale and Tashi Trieu

Workflow Best Practices When making critical pre-production decisions about the type of camera and workflow to utilize, a good place to start is determining both your editing format and the eventual exhibition format for the project. For a web or mobile audience, shooting 4K is overkill and will result in an expensive post-production process for…

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 –…

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VIDEO: The Basic Steps of Camera Prep

by David E. Elkins

Using a Panavision Panaflex Gold 35mm camera as the example camera, this video shows many of the steps you should follow when doing a basic camera prep. It is by no means complete, but covers most of the steps you should follow. Please keep in mind that each camera system is different. Cameras such as…

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about MasteringFilm

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.