Creating the Original Star Wars Lightsaber Effect, In-Camera

In 1977, quality video effects were expensive and time consuming to have, and more often than not a film relied upon in-camera effects and visual trickery to create their movie magic. One of cinema’s most well known space weapons utilized such a trick when it first debuted on film, and Shanks FX recreated this process in a really fun behind-the-scenes tutorial.

Why Sven Dreesbach Chose to Film an Ocean-Based Robot Koch Music Video Exclusively on iPhone

Sven Dreesbach is a phenomenal filmmaker based in Los Angeles who teamed up with Robot Koch & Delhia de France to create a music video for their acclaimed song ‘Dark Waves’ (which was recently featured in the mid-season finale of How to Get Away with Murder). The music video is full of oceanic-based, dark imagery that goes very well with the tones of the song. “The moody atmosphere for the video was primarily set by the tone of the song. Robert Koch, the artist behind Dark Waves, approached me a while ago and told me about the back story behind how the song came alive in a dream while he was asleep,” Sven told us. “The blurry images he saw in his dream were involving dark mysterious shots of the ocean and also involved the lonesome surfer we follow around in the video. He pulled up one of my previous projects as reference for the overall atmosphere and basically asked me if I would be interested in creating something that feels similar for Dark Waves. I didn’t have to think about it much. Of course I was in for it. Particularly because the song was perfect for these kind of visuals.”

The 7 Month Process of Making of a Stop Motion Film: “The Sea is Blue”

Vincent Peone, originally from the team that started College Humor, came up with the idea for this stop motion short when his sister was in a coma. It’s unusual for him, since he came from a lot of comedy, and the tone of this particular short was very different. He wanted to make something evocative, took its time, and got people thinking. He found himself wondering what his sister was up to when she was in that coma. The film he wanted to make was about appreciating someone when you brush with losing them.

Behind the Scenes Video Illustrates How Time Consuming Stop Motion Can Be

I have never attempted stop motion, but I do appreciate a great stop motion film. One of the reasons I have never attempted it is because I’m deathly afraid of how long it would take and how much patience it would require. Well, after watching this video, which splices a final commercial with behind the scenes footage, I’m more convinced that the medium just isn’t for me.


Read a Detailed “Guide to Slating” Written by a Verified Film Tech

The community over at r/Filmmakers is pretty incredible, with a ton of verified pros (who go through a pretty extensive process to receive that verification) who give their time to helping aspiring filmmakers work on their craft. Sometimes this is done through comments, other times through very detailed posts. This is the latter case, where a verified film industry technician gives a thorough explanation of slating.

Seriously? Slating? Is it that important? Yes. Yes it is.

Full Budget Breakdown of The Village

See the Full $71M Budget Breakdown of “The Village”

Curious what the appropriation of a $71 million dollar film looks like? The full budget was uploaded to Imgur for our viewing pleasure, in case you were curious where each dollar went. This kind of thing could be incredibly useful for those planning a feature film, even if your production is going to be considerably smaller. Heck, it’s interesting even if you’re not planning on making your own film. I’m just surprised by how much (or little) everyone got paid.

Seriously, $13,313 for an extra credited as “15 year old boy on stump?” Dang. $7 million just for the rights to the film. There are a bunch of interesting details in there. Enjoy!

Behind the Scenes of SPECTRE – Capturing The Largest Stunt Explosion Ever Created for a Film

In typical action-blockbuster form, the latest James Bond film is doing things on a bigger scale than has ever been done before. Namely, explosions. The crew is actually aiming to rig and execute a shot with the largest staged explosion for cinema ever, which would get them into the Guinness Book of World Records. The explosion reportedly used 8,418 liters of fuel and 33kg of explosives.

The Art of the “Dissolve,” the Most Often Used Transition in Film and Video

Transitions are everything in storytelling. Moving from one shot to the next can completely affect the way a scene flows, how a joke is received, and the timing of an edit add an incredible amount of impact. A major player in this segue from one image to another are transitions, the most common of which is a “dissolve.” This video explores and breaks down some notable, historical examples of this transition, and beautifully articulates the value in using them.

Behind the Scenes of “Turning Point” & its Successful Implementation of the One-Take Film Concept

There are some truly amazing examples of how to make a great film, and Joe Penna and his writing partner Ryan Morrison (of MysteryGuitarMan) are absolutely killing it with his latest short film “Turning Point,” which is a gut wrenching short that follows a woman infected with a deadly disease who must survive a night alone. The inspiration of the shoot came from the cinematography in “Birdman” which uses the “one shot” look (even though neither this nor Birdman was actually shot in one take). Joe and Ryan just released their behind the scenes video and gave us some great stills from their set while he explained a few things about how and why they chose to shoot this like they did.

Don’t Fuck Up The Budget: What a Producer Actually Does

The title “producer” is oft misinterpreted and misunderstood. In Hollywood, generally the title of Producer doesn’t necessarily mean they do what a real producer in smaller projects or commercial gigs would do. Generally speaking, they just liked a project and dumped some money into it. What does a real producer do? A lot, actually and it’s their responsibility to make sure that the budget doesn’t get broken… among other things. So if you’re given the title of Producer, here is how not to fuck it up.