February 2012 - S-Films
Dan Millican shooting Commercial

Elements for Corporate Video Production

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Corporate Video is an Art Corporate video productions, in spite of all the technology and advancements in computers and cameras, is still first and foremost an artform and demands an artist.  The best artist is the one that can convey a message effectively through a medium, like painting, sculpture, or performance. The corporate video production or media project is the same way– the effective ones send a message through the medium of video delivered on the canvas of a television screen or a computer screen.  So when we look around Dallas Fort Worth to build a team for any given media project or event, we look for the artists and we look for those who leave ego behind and can work as a team. Sure, we use the most cutting edge tools and techniques– it’s what keeps us as artists at the top of our game.  And facilities– we have studios and access to whatever facilities we need.  But what we bring to the table first is an artistry and the ability to see it…

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Is Screenfighting Workshop for Children Actors?

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I’ve been surprised at how many people have asked this.  For background– we’re offering a one of a kind workshop on March 24-25 where Day 1 has two classes on handling weapons as an actor and Day 2 is about how to fight and work around special effects.  4 classes– 2 days.  To register, go to the SFilms store. Can my child attend this workshop? For ages under pre-teen, I don’t think Day One (Weapon Handling) is a good idea.  What we’re talking about is learning skills for upcoming auditions and roles, that will give you an edge as an actor.  There just aren’t that many roles for a gun-wielding 8 year old.  (I could be wrong, but there you go.)  For teens, especially older teens, yeah maybe.  It’s a skill and you can add it to your headshot/resume. I do think Day Two, with the fighting and SFX classes, that it’s fine for children.  It will certainly be a lot of activity and won’t be hard to keep their attention.  And learning to fight…

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Screenfighting Instructors

Pizza Mondays

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New Seminar Classes! Starting in the spring, we’re having a series of evening seminars covering filmmaking, writing, directing, acting and more.  These will be held on Monday evenings at Serendipitous Films in Fort Worth and will include dinner.  They all start at 6pm and go to 8:30 or 9pm.  All classes are $39.  Seating is going to be limited and also there will be a 5 person minimum.  If class doesn’t make, full amount will be refunded.  Once class is full, we will stop registrations on it.  Register at the SFilms store. Monday March 26 Greenlight Yourself This evening session will cover some basics about how to make your own feature film.  Emphasis will be placed on exact steps to get started, fundraising and the end game– distribution.  We’ll also cover topics like how to get name talent and short cuts and insider tips from a filmmaker who’s made five feature films. Monday April 2 Directing Film We’ll cover the necessary tips and techniques for people wishing to learn how to direct.  The emphasis here…

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shooting corporate interviews

Editing the Corporate or Documentary-style Interview

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Telling the Corporate Story Many corporate videos today are built around the interview.  Clients, employees, spokespeople are recorded talking about the product or service.  It’s a quick and effective way to tell your corporate story.  This usually involves the video production of shooting an interview (discussed Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).  What we’re discussing today is the mechanics behind the editing of the corporate interview. How We Shoot Interviews in Dallas First, we like to shoot interviews with two cameras.  Lately, the majority of these interviews are with DSLR’s– they give a very nice, rich look, shallow depth of field and with the speed of the lenses, we don’t need a lot of light to make it beautiful. So after shooting, I will have two different sets of clips and a totally separated audio file.  I use Final Cut Pro to edit and I build a timeline with one camera on video layer 1 and the other camera on video layer 2.  I also separate out the audio tracks so that the clips…

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Business Plan

How To Start A Feature Film

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First Steps to Making Your Own Feature Film How do I get started? One of the questions I get asked by new filmmakers is exactly how to get started.  They want to know what their next step is.  Here is an extremely practical, where the rubber meets the road answer to that question. What’s my First Step towards making my feature film? I usually start the answer by asking a couple of clarifying questions.  Do you have a screenplay written?  (If no, then that’s your next step).  It doesn’t have to be polished and locked for production, but needs to be complete.  Do you have any funding?  Usually the answer is no.  Have you set up the entity?  Usually, the answer is a look of confusion. So here goes.  First,you need to have some development money ready and able to be spent.  $5K would be good, $10K would be better, and $20K would be great.  Now here’s where one of many Catch-22’s are encountered– you need money to go to the second step, and you…

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dallas video production company

Screenfighting Workshop now March 24-25

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Due to several factors, we’ve moved the Screenfighting Workshop to March 24-25 (after spring break for most people).  Doug Williams will be teaching weapons on Saturday March 24 and Steve Krieger will be teaching the fighting and special effects on Sunday March 25. If you’d like to register, go to the SFilms store by clicking here.  If you plan on coming, please do register as soon as possible.  At this workshop, you will learn how to handle weapons like a professional, adding value to your performance on the set.  You’ll also learn some fight basics and learn to perform in the midst of special effects– what can be costly and how to be safe. You can take one class or all four over the two days.  And if you’d like to experience a squib hit at the end of the SFX class Sunday afternoon, you can add that for $35.  Each class is $49 and all four is a discounted $155.  Hope to see you there!

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Music Video Production

Music Video Production

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I Want a Music Video Shot One of the services we provide is music video production.  Artists will contact us looking for production services.  The problem comes in trying to determine a quick cost estimate, because music videos can cost as little or as much as you want, depending on how much production value you want.  It’s like asking… How long is a piece of string? Well it depends.  For music videos, how many locations?  How many days of shooting will be required?  What about other performers?  Dancers, extras?  If you want it to look like a concert setting for some of it, now we’re talking about staging and lighting and potentially hundreds of extras.  (Like in this music video from “Rising Stars”)   Production Value Matters Or it’s a concept video, with a variety of locations and actors.  So the price can vary greatly.  As a general rule, most professional music videos out of Nashville start in the $15K range and move up from there.  Because we own all our own equipment, our prices…

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OnSite Editing

On Site Editing

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Old Days of Onsite Video Editing I remember in 1997, we offered our big client the ability to do live onsite editing for playback right then at their closing event in the hotel ballroom.  Sure, we had done some betacam editing, linear style in a few rare instances, but this time, we’d be playing back on our relatively new non-linear editing computer.  We had a crew of 8 or so and felt we could do it.  It was scary– the computer had a propensity to crash or to fail and we would not have time to output to tape.  But it all worked that night. In 2000, it had become even more simple.  I took a laptop to a clients event and ingested the tape footage and played back a video– all as a one man crew. On Site Video Editing Today Today, on site editing has become a mainstay for many corporate clients who hold tradeshows, conferences, or sales meetings.  Technology has made it quick and reliable.  I’m on the floor at the Heli…

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Serendipitous Films

Screenfighting Workshop – Saving Time on the Set

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(We’ve got a workshop for screenfighting coming March 24-25.  Register at the SFilms Store). Experienced & Trained Actors Save Time & Money Early in my directing career, I was casting a day player speaking role on one of my films.  I auditioned the part with some sides that included her lines.  I looked at whether she could pull off the part as an actor.  But I made a mistake.  On the day of the shoot, it was required that she get roughed up a bit– not really a stunt situation– but needed to move a bit and the actor I cast was extremely stiff.  It showed.  It was not pretty. The lesson I took moving forward was not to be so tunneled-vision in the audition. If the part requires the person to take a punch, I might want to see how they move in the audition room.  It matters. This is one reason we’re teaching screenfighting basics on Sunday morning.  It’s not about becoming a stunt person, but about being a better actor for film and…

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Movement Towards Realism in Acting – Weapons

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This is one of the topics we’ll cover in the Screenfighting Workshop on March 24-25.  This material will be covered in class 1 on Feb 18 “Weapons 1.”  If you want to register, go to the store. Bad Guys From Above The Hollywood cliche of the cop turning the corner with the pistol pointed up in the air is disappearing.  The “tea-cup” grip is rightfully becoming rare.  Not as rare are the bottomless magazines, but many filmmakers are spending more time to make their weapons sequence more closely resemble real life.  The Hollywood types are hiring real life consultants to make sure it’s done the way it really would be done. Real Law Enforcement officers and military don’t point their weapon in the air unless there’s a threat from up there.  Why?  Because it has been proven (many years ago) that you can bring your weapon on target faster by moving up, not moving down.  Your vision isn’t obscured.  Your fine motor skills react more efficiently.  So a real Law Enforcement type has been trained…

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