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Tips/Techniques

Mixing Color in Lighting– An Example

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Lighting For Video and Film Production A Study In this picture, it’s a simple, standing interview.  A first glance, it might seem like it’s what we call “news style” interviewing.  This technique is where you catch somebody in their environment, maybe a single light coming from atop the camera.  This technique is used for quick, “man on the street” type interviews where you need it and don’t have time to light it. But this is actually more the “documentary style” lighting.  And this is a rare case where the subject is standing rather sitting.  It’s preferable to sit because a person tends to shift and sway.  It’s also why it’s best not to put them in a swivel chair if seated.  I chose this location for the lines– I really liked the long throw which added to the depth of…

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Lighting Color Temperature

Lighting Color Temperature

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A Primer on Light Color Temperature for Film and Video In film and video production, a common mistake for amateurs is to ignore the color temperatures of various light sources.  I had a filmmaker show me his film, asking for input.  The opening scene was a night time exterior with one instrument and shot wide.  The next was a daytime scene shot inside the back seat of a car.  The director of photography lit them with an incandescent.  The result was a very yellow look. Light is not necessarily “white.”  Light changes color when it burns at different degrees.  Our sun provides light that is burning at 5600 kelvins.  A tungsten light bulb in your house might be at 3200 kelvins.  In the old days, this was pretty much it– either your light sources were 3200 or 5600.  If you…

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Children & Teen Actors

Children & Teen Actors

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As a working film director, I’ve had lots of opportunities to work with children and teen actors.  And it seems to me that most of the training is actor to actor– so here’s some information to children and teen actors and their parents from a director to actor.  I’ll be teaching a class in Fort Worth on January 21 on this subject.  You can register at the store.  There’s a morning session and an afternoon– you just need to pick one– they’re identical. First of all, the child actor needs to look and play younger.  The younger the better.  This goes against what almost every child is seeking– to be grown up.  So as you shoot headshots, assemble demo footage, go to auditions– keep that in mind.  You want to look and play younger. Why?  Two simple reasons.  The more…

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BBB Spam Email

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The spammers/virus spreaders/frauders keep getting better.  I *almost* clicked on the newest one yesterday.  I had an email from the Better Business Bureau telling me I had a customer complaint.  I didn’t click and here’s why. If I get an email that reads a non-personal “dear valued customer” or “to business owner” a flag gets raised immediately.  If the BBB has a complaint against me, they know my name.  Same goes with all these spam/virus emails.  And as always, remember, do not click anything suspicious. Next up, I hovered my mouse over the “click here” to check out the address of the link where they wanted to send me.  It was a numbered IP address. Another flag.  A legitimate link would have sent me back to the BBB website.  And watch out for the spoofers (seen a lot in the banking fraud…

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Audition in NYC for Rising Stars

Audition Tips from a Working Film Director

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In addition to our corporate video productions we do in the Dallas, Fort Worth area, SFilms has made five feature films over the years starring Adam Baldwin, Mimi Rogers, Lou Diamond Phillips and others.  In today’s post, we talk to actors about quick tips to instantly impact their auditions and give a better chance for landing that role. The Dilemma for Local Actors When I was casting for Rising Stars in New York City, the producer that hired me (as well as most producers in LA and NYC) had a bias against local actors.  They were fine for bit parts and dayplayer roles, but not for principles or leads.  And as we auditioned back at home for these roles, I thought about this dilemma and why the local actors are handicapped right out of the gate. So how can a local actor…

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Sean Patrick Flanery and Dan Millican

How to Land Name Actors for Your Film

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So you want to make a feature film.  You might have even heard that the biggest factor, bar none, for the distribution success of your movie is to cast name actors.  But how do you do it? The Name Actor’s 4 Factors First, you need to know the four factors that weigh in a name actor’s decision to be in your movie. A director they want to work with A script they want to do A producer or producing team they can trust The money I’ve had people go into this process thinking that they can land anyone for a price and it’s just not true.  I’ve had name actors turn down large amounts and I’ve had bigger name actors take a lot less.  So money is not the only factor.  And if you’re a first time director and you’re…

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What Camera Should I Buy?

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I get asked this by friends and family and the answer depends on what they want it for and how manual/automatic they want it.  But I was asked this by someone in the industry.  They are ready to upgrade to new technology and liked the setup I have for corporate video production. Camera for Corporate Video First, more often than not, I use a DSLR for my corporate work.  But occasionally I need something to record long form– like a seminar or meeting.  So what follows is what I recommend for corporate film– like interviews and sales videos, or marketing videos.  If you’re recording a board meeting, the DSLR is not the best choice. Camera–  I have the DSLR Canon 7D.  My DP Ron Gonzalez has a 5D (both shown in the picture on the right).  A Partner of mine…

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On the film Rising Stars

Two Camera Shooting in Film and Video Production

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Two Cameras in Feature Films & TV When it comes to the number of cameras on a film set, traditionally, movies are shot with one, while television shows are shot with four or five. Now that doesn’t mean movies aren’t shot with more cameras– I think at one point, Cameron had five or six on Titanic and for special effects and stunts, there might be ten or more.  And more recently, Peter Jackson had something like 37 Red Epics on “Hobbit.”  But he’s also shooting 3D, and for the sake of discussion, I’m not talking about 3D here, because in that case, two cameras really mean four and we’re not going there. Film Style But when someone says “shooting film style” that means that it’s primarily going to be shot with one camera. The difference is a film shoot utilizes…

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Dallas Video Production Drives Corporate Filmmaking

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The Corporate Video Meets the Movie At Serendipitous Films, we have a long track record of award-winning corporate video experience.  But one skillset that is being utilized more and more in corporate video is our experienced in feature films.  It’s not enough to train, motivate and sell through talking heads for some corporations.  So we’re being asked to create exciting canvasses to communicate the client’s content. Case in point– over the years, our most awarded and successful training video was a spoof of Forest Gump.  Today, that continues with a Fortune 500 company calling on us to create little “movies” with their employees to train on program and service features.  Another client is asking for a promotional video in the form of a movie trailer.  This generation is the YouTube Generation.  Videos need to be quick, funny, sincere, sensational.  And…

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Tips for Auditions

Acting Tips for the Audition

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Hey Actors! December 9 we are shooting actor demos.  These are original scenes, shot on high def and made to look like it’s taken right from an indie film.  For more information, check out the Seminars page. Tips to Actors from a Director As a director of five feature films, I’ve sat through a lot of auditions.  We’ve cast in LA and NYC and of course local.  And what I want to do here is give some advice, some cheat codes that can quickly make an impact for you as an actor going in to an audition. First– if you’re given the sides, have them beyond memorized.  What I mean by this is that if you work until you’ve finally get through it once from memory, that’s not near enough.  The crucible that is the audition room will pressure your…

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