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#1 Danielle

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 02:21 AM

Hello. I am one and a half years away from going off to college and i have been doing a ton of research on film schools in either California (where i live) or New York. I don't have that much money to spend on college, even though i do know i can get help from financial aid, but i don't want to be paying off my debt for the rest of my life. I am determined to study video/film production and become either a DP or a Production Designer. Does anyone know any good film schools for as little money as possible? Or should i ignore the price of schools and get a great education?
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 03:56 PM

Unless you have the means of paying cash for your entire tuition...plan on taking out enough student loans and accumulating enough debt to cover your education.

If you stay focused your entire school career, and actually come out of it with a foot in the door career wise, then it's all worth it.

There are no "cheap" film schools. However, some community colleges have pretty good film programs. City College of San Francisco REALLY impressed me with their program...it's better than SF State's undergrad program, in my opinion.
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 04:54 PM

I made it through school on a telemarketers salary. Believe it or not, I was making more as a TSR than I am now as a photographer, or as I was working childcare or night stocking at best buy. I put less than 20 hours a week and made up to a 1000 a week. Its demanding and it takes a lot of effort to be good, but not much time. Other options include car sales. In general a sales jobs will pay well for little time and are flexible, depending on the orginization. A job will keep those loans down....also ramen. learn to love ramen.
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#4 Luke Chimi

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 04:56 PM

Your gut reaction about not wanting to pay your debt off for the rest of your life is spot on. Have no regrets about making a financial decision when attending college. I know some kids that decided to go to more affordable schools and then felt regretful because they thought they were missing something, and they felt they had restrained themselves. This is an understandable feeling, but have the confidence to trust your decision. Because it is not true that they missed out unless they feel they did. It's like a pair of blue jeans and a pair of GAP Jeans, it's a psychological hurdle.

I went to an extremely expensive school, and only stayed a little over 2 years. My student loan debt is still insane, and I am very happy I left when I did or else it would be baffling in size. It is just barely managable now, and it sure puts a damper on self financing any projects. I have to wait and save money, and wait and save money. What's annoying is that I am doing very well, but my unfinished education is not allowing me to be as aggressive as I would like.

My girlfriend was a film major at a state school which was much more affordable than my private school and her program was great. It was much smaller than mine, but there were still films being made, and kids to talk to about movies (infact it was probably nice not having 700 other film majors around).

Film school has become another way for schools to make money, if I had to do it all over again I would have bypassed film school altogether, bought a stack of books, a bolex and learned that way. Unfortunatley this perspective is shaped by the knowledged I gained going through film school, and at 18 I didn't really consider it as realistic.

The truth about any school you go to is that you will learn as much as you allow yourself to learn by asking questions and READING BOOKS on your own. Plus it is a degree that guarantees you nothing...so putting a lot of financial pressure on yourself is not always the best first step, because when you get out reality will really hit and money will have to be made. Go to a school like NYU and you can see the tension in the air. Everyone is paying like 38,000 to go there and then more on their films and it becomes a very self-interested competitive place (I have heard of personal accounts where kids have sabotaged other kids' projects by deleting them off of their hard drives). At a cheaper school the kids will definitely be more relaxed, you will be able to build confidence, make great friends, and really LEARN and EXPERIMENT which is what school is all about.

I have serious issues with film school and the mentality it breeds in young aspiring filmmakers. Before going you should read Robert Rodriguez's "Rebel Without A Crew." This can give you a great idea of the downside of film school, particularly discouraging Naysayers which you will find around most corners (even professors). But if you have a thick enough skin, and think you can come out of it not feeling discouraged, you will do alright and learn a lot.

But I recommend you save your money for your films and not your education.

I am sure there a thousand state schools in California with film programs. There are a ton out here on the East Coast.

Good luck,

Luke
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#5 Morgan Peline

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 07:59 PM

Hi,

I went to two film schools and also worked as a camera trainee and 3rd and 2nd AC.

There is a very simple solution.

Forget about film school for the moment - for at least a year or two. Start working as a PA or intern on film sets in both camera and design (one film camera, then teh next fil design etc.) and then decide whether you like camera or design department. Whilst you are doing that save whatever money you can from the little they will pay you.

When not working on professional shoots, read alot and make your own films - very easy these days with a cmacorder and a mac. Then a few years down th road you can decide whether its worth going to film school or not. By that time anyway you will probably be connected and not need to go film school. If you don't go, great, you have work available, if you do go, great as well, you have real world experience to help you decide which film school gives you the knowledge you most need. Many professionals think film schools are useless anyway. Most of the people who come out of 'media' courses in this country usually have no idea of what they are doing anyway, they usually have to start from scratch again when they graduate anyway because they didn't learn anything useful where they studied...

Just work for a little while, there is no need to sweat it, you still have time and hundreds of options.
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#6 Jim Keller

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:35 PM

Hello. I am one and a half years away from going off to college and i have been doing a ton of research on film schools in either California (where i live) or New York. I don't have that much money to spend on college, even though i do know i can get help from financial aid, but i don't want to be paying off my debt for the rest of my life. I am determined to study video/film production and become either a DP or a Production Designer. Does anyone know any good film schools for as little money as possible? Or should i ignore the price of schools and get a great education?

I concur that you should consider your local community college. Most put a lot of emphasis on ensuring that their courses will transfer to the Cal State and UC system, and the most important thing you're going to get in film school is experience. And, if you take two years at a junior college and then transfer to a UC or Cal State, people will only know where your ultimate degree is from, not what school you started at. The programs at every California community college I've had dealings with (Pasadena, Santa Monica, Cypress, and Fresno) have been perfectly competent for someone to get started in.

Edited by Jim Keller, 21 February 2007 - 05:35 PM.

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#7 Michael Most

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:32 PM

I am determined to study video/film production and become either a DP or a Production Designer. Does anyone know any good film schools for as little money as possible? Or should i ignore the price of schools and get a great education?


You should get as good an education as you can afford, and you should also understand going in that if you really want to be a Cinematographer or a Production Designer that the education you need has a lot more to do with life and art than it does with the mechanics of shooting film or video.

Sadly, I read far too many posts here that ask the question "what film school should I go to," and far too few on the background really needed to be an artist, which is what a Cinematographer or a Production Designer is. At that level, what you really need is an intimate knowledge of the masters in various artistic crafts - the great painters, photographers, architects - so that you can draw on that knowledge for both basic technique and artistic inspiration. In the real world of production, the works of the masters - as well as other, lesser known artists - are often used as points of reference when a director wants to discuss ideas for visual styles, both in terms of set design and in terms of lighting and the ultimate images that will be created. Without a deep knowledge of the creative world, one is not able to communicate on a level that's expected in the professional end of the industry. What education can bring you is a beginning - in terms of introducing you to all that I'm talking about - and an opportunity to study life and the human condition without having the responsibilties of needing to make a living and/or support a family. That's the real value of a college eduction. Not the ability to learn how to thread an SR3 and mount a lens.

I'm not discouraging you from thinking about a film-oriented school, but keep in mind that exposure to and immersion in all of the arts is the real purpose of higher education. You may not know or understand that now, but eventually you will.
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#8 Mike Bove

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 03:33 PM

I go to Columbia College Chicago which prides itself on being the cheapest private media arts college in the nation...or something like that. The cinematography program here is the strongest and what the school is most known for and I agree with that. There's a lot of hands on stuff, great equipment to experiment and learn with and an overall good technical atmosphere. It's really easy to get on advanced student sets here and while they don't pay, it's good experience nonetheless.

Granted it's not cheap but it's cheaper than most of the 'big name' film schools (USC, UCLA, NYU etc). And yes film school will not guarantee anything but ersonally doing the whole 'starting as a PA' thing and working up from there wasn't for me since I wanted to go to college. While I may be incurring some heavy debt, oh well. I don't think money should be the deciding factor of whether or not you want to get a higher education. That may be a bit naive.
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#9 Vikram

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 01:02 AM

Hi Luke,

I like your idea and completely endorse it. Since you are experienced and i am willing to pay to work with you.

Please let me know if you are in LA and would be interested in this proposal or anyone else i can work as an intern or assistant. So, not only i am willing to work for you plus i am ready to pay you to let me work with you.

Looking forward for your reply.

Regards
Vik











Your gut reaction about not wanting to pay your debt off for the rest of your life is spot on. Have no regrets about making a financial decision when attending college. I know some kids that decided to go to more affordable schools and then felt regretful because they thought they were missing something, and they felt they had restrained themselves. This is an understandable feeling, but have the confidence to trust your decision. Because it is not true that they missed out unless they feel they did. It's like a pair of blue jeans and a pair of GAP Jeans, it's a psychological hurdle.

I went to an extremely expensive school, and only stayed a little over 2 years. My student loan debt is still insane, and I am very happy I left when I did or else it would be baffling in size. It is just barely managable now, and it sure puts a damper on self financing any projects. I have to wait and save money, and wait and save money. What's annoying is that I am doing very well, but my unfinished education is not allowing me to be as aggressive as I would like.

My girlfriend was a film major at a state school which was much more affordable than my private school and her program was great. It was much smaller than mine, but there were still films being made, and kids to talk to about movies (infact it was probably nice not having 700 other film majors around).

Film school has become another way for schools to make money, if I had to do it all over again I would have bypassed film school altogether, bought a stack of books, a bolex and learned that way. Unfortunatley this perspective is shaped by the knowledged I gained going through film school, and at 18 I didn't really consider it as realistic.

The truth about any school you go to is that you will learn as much as you allow yourself to learn by asking questions and READING BOOKS on your own. Plus it is a degree that guarantees you nothing...so putting a lot of financial pressure on yourself is not always the best first step, because when you get out reality will really hit and money will have to be made. Go to a school like NYU and you can see the tension in the air. Everyone is paying like 38,000 to go there and then more on their films and it becomes a very self-interested competitive place (I have heard of personal accounts where kids have sabotaged other kids' projects by deleting them off of their hard drives). At a cheaper school the kids will definitely be more relaxed, you will be able to build confidence, make great friends, and really LEARN and EXPERIMENT which is what school is all about.

I have serious issues with film school and the mentality it breeds in young aspiring filmmakers. Before going you should read Robert Rodriguez's "Rebel Without A Crew." This can give you a great idea of the downside of film school, particularly discouraging Naysayers which you will find around most corners (even professors). But if you have a thick enough skin, and think you can come out of it not feeling discouraged, you will do alright and learn a lot.

But I recommend you save your money for your films and not your education.

I am sure there a thousand state schools in California with film programs. There are a ton out here on the East Coast.

Good luck,

Luke


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#10 Jacqueline Donaldson

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 06:08 AM

Hey Danielle,

You should look into European & Asian film schools. Many of them are cheaper, some have international schools that teach you in English and often all your production costs are included in your tuition fees, and ofcourse you'll be exposed to the european art of filmmaking. I've heard about all the competition Luke is talking about within courses themselves in the US, in the UK we weren't competing with one another for anything - everyone had the right to film their own project & select their own team and everyone came together to make sure that each project was the best it could be - fantastic experience and camraderie that I will never forget. Thanks guys.

Check out the International film school of Paris for example : http://www.filmschoo...ation/index.php

Their undergraduate fees are around US $14.000 a year.

The National Academy of Theatre & Film Arts in Bulgaria has BA, MA & PhD programmes for around US$3500 a year, international students make up about 10% of the current students. I don't know if they teach in English or not. http://natfiz.bitex.com/

The APA here in Hong kong is supposed to be good and they teach in English- they offer BFA course for around US$5,000 a year, and even thought you're not supposed to you can pick up some part-time engish teaching work on the side to give yourself pocket money it's very well paid here averaging around US$30 an hour.
http://www.hkapa.edu...mp;mode=gui#bfa

The Beijing film academy is supposed to have an excellent course in Cinematography, but I can't get onto the English website - I think they have quite a number of foreigners there.

Also think about short intensive courses that will be cheaper and give you that knowledge and confidence and then go out and make films - as Luke said the degree itself is not worth much in this business.
Hope this gives you some ideas as to how many options there are out there for you.
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#11 Matt Read

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 04:52 PM

Check out Montana State University's Media and Theatre Arts Department (http://mta.montana.edu/) in Bozeman, Montana. I am currently a sophomore in the Motion Picture/Video/Theatre program. It's a very good program. All the professors have professional experience and are very knowledgeable. I am an out-of-state student and pay about $14,000 a year for school. We have a very good selection of equipment, including 16mm and Super-16mm cameras, dollies, a jib and over a dozen Final Cut Pro editing stations. Our building also has a medium-sized studio and a sound theatre (for sound mixing and recording), and is shared with Montana PBS, which is a great resource to have. You won't find that kind of stuff in equivalently priced film schools.

I know it's in Montana, but don't let that stop you from looking into it. It's a very good school.
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 03:06 AM

Hello. I am one and a half years away from going off to college and i have been doing a ton of research on film schools in either California (where i live) or New York. I don't have that much money to spend on college, even though i do know i can get help from financial aid, but i don't want to be paying off my debt for the rest of my life. I am determined to study video/film production and become either a DP or a Production Designer. Does anyone know any good film schools for as little money as possible? Or should i ignore the price of schools and get a great education?


You could attend my old Alma Matta the fighting teal and mauve, Fast Phil's Muffler Shop and Skool od Sinemutografy in El Segundo where they don't waste time on the basics and it shows. Graduates of Fast Phil's have won ever AVN award in cinenamatography excluding every one except 1983. Phil's is easy to find, located just 2 vacant lots up from the Wild Kittens topless bar and grill and 3 streets over from the the world famous El Sugundo Methadone Clinic, right next to the Bright orange abandoned oil refinery hazzardous waste storage tank. Phil's expert staff includes the former director and camera man for the wildly popular public access program" What's that Smell" and two former members of Motley Crew. Phil's easy payment plan of all the cash up front before you attend any classes with an "ABSOLITELY NO REFUNDS WHAT SO EVER, THIS MEANS YOU!!!!" policy of financial support makes attending Phil's so easy. Phil scoured to fimest backstreet fleamarkets and illigal pawn shops in both Tiajana and Bakersfield to cobble together the finest Guatamalian filmmaking equipment pesos can buy. The result is a state of the art open air film studio located one vancant lot over from Phil's in the adjecnt vacant lot. Your filmmaking expireance will be second to none...as long as on the registration form next to the line that asks if you have any contagious skin conditions, where it says other film schools attended, you put down none. Here are some testimonials from major newspapers and trade puplications for Fast Phil's:

Never heard of the place-John Warwice, Variety

When did he get out?I THOUGHT it was 5 #@%^& years!!-Linda Cline, The Hollywood Reporter

He actually had the BALLS to install a USED muffler THEN stole all the change and 2 CDs out of the glove box-Ted Dansen, Famous Hollywood Actor.

We can't wait to get our hands on Fast Phil-Lt. Delbert Anderson, The Los Angeles Police Depatment

Ive met a lot of Geat human beings and Fast Phil isn't one of them-Terry Jones, BackStage

If there's a better, more decent man on this Earth than Fast Phil, it's likely to be almost anyone-Harry Greenblat, Los Angeles Times

So call Fast Phil's beeper, leave you phone and credit card numbers and start you journey into the exciting world of Motion Pictures today. You'll be sorry you did and you can take that to the bank...just don't try to cash it til next Thursday. B)
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#13 Tim Terner

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 03:13 AM

You could attend my old Alma Matta the fighting teal and mauve, Fast Phil's Muffler Shop and Skool od Sinemutografy in El Segundo where they don't waste time on the basics and it shows. Graduates of Fast Phil's have won ever AVN award in cinenamatography..........................


Forget that sci-fi you're about to shoot Captain, and go for a comedy !!!!!
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#14 Sam Kim

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 04:41 AM

just figure out what you want film school. listen to all the above posts. they're smart and they know what they're talking about. i'm in film school right now and i'm grauating. was it great? it was good. I'm happy from what i got out of it but what i really want to do now is study art (like what one of the posters put) and be able to draw from that. the masters of photography and painting had it right. they did something that people hundreds of years later are still staring at. i want to be a cinematographer, but i've never really had an art background. i'm playing catch up now to build up the artistic side but you can only do it buy studying it and doing it. if you want to know more about San francisco state universities film program PM me and we can talk. but listen to what people are saying. they have a HUGE HUGE HUGE point.
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#15 chuck colburn

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 01:15 PM

I ran the tech. operations for five years at the University of Childish Little A**holes and I agree with James Steven Beverly. Fast Phils sounds like the school I would recommend! lol
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#16 David Akinde

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 03:00 PM

The technical craft of filmmaking can be learned in a few weeks.
The conceptual and artistic aspects requires an understanding
and familiarity with a lot of thinkers from centuries past to the present time.
This takes a life time of study. Great filmmakers like all other artists have that rare combination of a more developed capacity for critical and abstract thinking. A good solid education formal or informal is indespensable.
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#17 Brandon Rubesh

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 03:36 PM

Hello,
Just wanted to let you know about the film school I am currently attending since I was going through the same thing about a year and a half ago. It's called EICAR and its in Paris. Great practical. Not so much Theoretical. Tuition is a fraction of what most bigger film schools in US are, but probably more expensive than a community college. Its about 9 to 10 thou a year. Plus you would have cost fo living in Paris. so far I've found all this very well worth it. I'm getting loads of experience, learning somthing new every day, and am making some connections as well. I know you were looking for something within the US, but just thought I'd let you know about this also. Paris is a wonderful city...... Oh yeah, and the BFA over here is only 3 years instead of 4.

- Hope you find what you're looking for.
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#18 Kirk Anderson

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 12:25 AM

I checked out MSU bozeman, USC and SFSU. didn't like bozeman, heavily involved PBS station and i already lived in the mountains. USC was too much dough.

So, I left Colorado and took out loans for out of state tuition for San Francsico States cinema program. After one year I became a Cali citizen and my tuition dropped. Five years later I'm almost graduated and I'm only $24,000 in debt. and all those are state subsidized. I don't regret anything. great program, great teachers, people talk trash, but that's because whereever they go is better than the other. I.e. I like SFSU better than city college. Four year college vs Junior College. visit everywhere and make your decision. I visited all three and choose SF, now I own an Arri S and have produced several films headed for film festivals.
all in my own personal opinion.
kirk
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#19 Chris Walters

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 11:59 AM

Hello. I am one and a half years away from going off to college and i have been doing a ton of research on film schools in either California (where i live) or New York. I don't have that much money to spend on college, even though i do know i can get help from financial aid, but i don't want to be paying off my debt for the rest of my life. I am determined to study video/film production and become either a DP or a Production Designer. Does anyone know any good film schools for as little money as possible? Or should i ignore the price of schools and get a great education?


Well since everyone else is promoting their school I figured I promote mine too. I go to Cal State Northridge, which is extremely cheap compared to SC, Chapman, NYU and the like. 1600 a semester compared to 38000. Yeah theres an extra 0 ;)

We are also compared to SC not better but come very close. We put the technical people in the industry more than SC does and we don't come out with snobbish attitudes. No offence to SC grads but thats the reputation from the whole school. and I'm a Bruin fan, but I digress. I think you would enjoy northridge because not only do u get a film education but a normal college education as well. We have great professors and really nice facilities. We have one of the best internship programs in the State if not the country and are better located in the heart of the industry.

The Statement you get what you pay for doesn't really hold true. You get an extremely great hands on film school like CSUN for very cheap with out having to pay the loans of SC for the rest of u're life. MAKE THAT FIRST PAYCHECK COUNT! Good luck with your decision.

Chris Walters
Student Cinematographer
LA

P.S. I like SC people and don't mean to rag on your school, but you are our rivals ;)
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#20 Logan Schneider

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 12:36 PM

Firstly, as an alumni of MSU, I have to mention that Bozeman is amazing. Film school is what you make of it. Not having all the ammenities of LA at your fingertips can teach you to be on your toes and creative. You learn to get things right the first time. I'd put MSU student work up against any other film school. Most of the MSU grads who have gone to LA are working right now. They are generally very well regarded because the film cirriculum is broad and thorough and thus they have depth, which is useful when you need someone to jump in and do sound when there's a noshow.

More than anything, I think going to college in film is more about going to college than it is about film. It's about getting a broad education and learning how to explore the world from your own point of view. If you just want to get into filmmaking, get into filmmaking. Go to LA and get on Craigslist every day until something happens. If you want to be a broader human being and bring that to your film work in the long run, go to college and minor in english or business or history or something.

There are many wonderful DPs who have gone both routes.
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FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam