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Short film on the Vietnam War


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#1 Julia Gers

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 12:22 AM

I'm a junior in high school and my history class made this movie. It is supposed to try and answer the question "Why Vietnam?" The whole time through we kept saying it wasn't an anti war movie, but it turns out being at least somewhat anti war. My scene sucks. I'm terrible at acting. It's the scene in the car. It's supposed to be two pilots flying an airplane, but we didn't really know what to do for an airplane, so we just used a car. It looks absolutly nothing like an airplane. At one point I almost fell into this little pond thing trying to get a shot. Post production took 12 hours straight...doing editing, audio, then more editing. I wish I could say I helped a lot on the post production, but I really didn't. I just sat there watching other people work on it because there wasn't really anything I could do. I also still have a bruised bone from falling up the stairs (yes UP the stairs) at one point during post production.

and the link to the movie http://www.veoh.com/...v504435RdKqFATd
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 02:57 AM

I'm a junior in high school and my history class made this movie....My scene sucks....I'm terrible at acting...It's supposed to be two pilots flying an airplane, but we didn't really know what to do for an airplane, so we just used a car. It looks absolutely nothing like an airplane....I wish I could say I helped a lot on the post production, but I really didn't. I just sat there watching other people work on it because there wasn't really anything I could do. I also still have a bruised bone from falling up the stairs (yes UP the stairs) at one point during post production.


Julia, don't worry about all the small things you didn't do well, you have done the IMPOSSIBLE! You managed to somehow actually BREAK THE LAWS OF GRAVITY! Even the guys at NASA can't do that! If you ask me, that's quite an accomplishment and all I can say is CONGRADULATIONS!!! Also wlecome the the wonderfully wacky world of independent film. If this is the worst day you ever have as a filmmaker.....I was going to say consider yourself lucky but there is NO WAY this is going to be the worst day you ever have as a filmmaker so just hang tough and keep trying. Believe me, things will, on SOME occations, get MUCH worse, BUT when it's done and it's good, everything you go through will be SO worth it, you really can't imagine. B)

BTW, Matthew Buick (a member of this forum) is in high school as well. I think he's a Sophmore or Junior in England and his posts often sound a lot like this one, you should PM him and trade war stories.

You know, maybe there ought to be a teen filmmaker section here where making films with NO cash, NO equipment except maybe a super8 camera or the parents camcorder, NO real supervision and NO working knowlage of filmmaking what so ever are discussed and the experts here can give the most basic of information, advice and creative ideas on making movies over a weekend with limited talent and technique, after all, the childern are our future and you guys could be miles ahead of the game by the time you get to collage. Something to think about, maybe call it Schoolyard Cinema or something.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 18 May 2007 - 03:02 AM.

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#3 Julia Gers

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 11:09 AM

You know, maybe there ought to be a teen filmmaker section here where making films with NO cash, NO equipment except maybe a super8 camera or the parents camcorder, NO real supervision and NO working knowlage of filmmaking what so ever are discussed and the experts here can give the most basic of information, advice and creative ideas on making movies over a weekend with limited talent and technique, after all, the childern are our future and you guys could be miles ahead of the game by the time you get to collage. Something to think about, maybe call it Schoolyard Cinema or something.


That sounds like a good idea.
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#4 David Sweetman

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 03:42 PM

Something to think about, maybe call it Schoolyard Cinema or something.

it's already provided for in First-Time Filmmakers, and I wouldn't have been able to stand posting in something called "schoolyard cinema" when I was in high school.

Making a video is always a good way to get out of a project, I made a WWII video junior year, though mine was mostly action supplemented with narration. I think this film would have been better if it was a straight documentary, taking everyone's opinion as their own opinion, not someone else's - I mean if you're not going to try even a little bit with wardrobe/location then why even hold to a narrative?
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:15 PM

Well, how about a sub-section then, I'm sure there are a lot of kids out there that feel intimidated about asking question they think people might requard as "stupid" and they would feel more comfortable with thier own section that JUST for them that address issues unique to thier situation like not having a job or any way to make money to pay for filmmaking. Dealing with their insecurities about the quaity of there work. Baisic disaplines they will have to master in order to get even the most basic 3 minute short done. You undersandably seen a bit annoyed at the lack a trying to achieve the most basic of production values in this girl's film which it true and I'm not saying it is, is totally understandable, however in the Schoolyard cinema section, I feel the standards is something that would have to be considered in the context of these kid's circumstances. Costumes may not be an option, so what modern clothing that they might have in their closets could have been substituted. Perhaps they need to be told "hey, you have to were clothing the is appropiate to the piriod if you intend to make us believe it is set IN that piriod. Things that you or I would just take for granted, these kids may not have thought of. If you cut to a close up, as someone is turning around, the turn have to match the master shot. What a Mastershot and close up are. INCREADIBLE basic information for people that have no real clue yet as to what they're doing. A very remedial information section. The First Time Filmmaker's section as it stands now, though it's pretty basic, still may be too advanced for people who are unsure of what questions to even ask and that's why I recommend having a section just for highschool students that are considering careers in film. I think it would actually help and be less frustraiting for the porfessionals here if because when they answer question there of view a clip, they are expecting them to be from people who know ablsolutely nothing. The other like yourself at that age who feel they know the questions they need to ask could always still post in the first time section so really we would have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I don't reall see a down side, do you? B)
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#6 Julia Gers

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:24 PM

I have to say, I agree with James. There's really nothing to lose. I'm sure in the future I'll have questions. As of right now, I really don't know what to ask. I'll be honest and say that when I look at the home page of this forum and see things talking about different kinds of cameras, lights, so on and so forth, this and that, I really don't have a clue what almost all of it is. I know there are people here who do and I'm thinking someday I will too.
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 03:42 AM

If you want to ask smething but are unsure or don't quite know what to ask and don't want to risk being embaressed PM me, I'll be happy to help you if I can. Remember, there are are no stupid questions........well, unless someone has already given you the answer 15 or more times. B)
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#8 Julia Gers

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 02:11 PM

The only question I think I have is either not a question at all or is just tons of questions all sorta in one. If anyone would like to explain the different kinds of film, lights, and cameras, and also the difference between them all and all that good stuff, that'd be great. This might be really far out there, as I'm sure no one wants or has the time to explain all of that to anyone in one sitting. And I also think that's what things like film school are for lol. Also, I've got my dad and his many friends/aquantances(sp?) who are in the bussiness who I'm sure would explain specific stuff if I asked. Like, tomorrow I'm going with my dad to a shoot at the zoo here (mentioned it in a post in the lighting part of the forum) and am hoping to learn some stuff then.
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#9 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 01:52 AM

WEEELLLL, let's just whittle that down a little bit. There are 5 basic formats for motion pictures shot on film an 2 basic formats for video films. The Motion picture formats are super 8mm, 16mm (along with Super 16 which is meant to be blown up to a 35mm print because it is not a projectable format), 35mm and 65mm (70mm) of which S16, 35 and 65 (70) are really considered the professional formats thought S8 and 16 have been used proffesionally. 35mm is the industry standard so it's the one you will be dealing with on a professional movie set more than likely. There are 2 manufacturers of motion picture color film, Kodak and Fugi, woth Kodak being the most widely used. The industy workhorse currently is Kodak 5218 so for now, that's the only stock you need to worry about, the different filmstocks have different contrast, grain, color properties, ect. when processed and the choice of stock depends a lot on the look you're tring to achieve and the conditions under whgich you are shooting and that is as you say far too complicated a question to answer in a single post, I would suggest doing a seach here using "stock" as your key work and read the posts, you'll learn a lot as to what film was used on what movie and what stock sould work for what look.


There are about 7 different makes of film cameras that are commonly used in 35mm format, Panavision (which can only be rented, the company does not sell them) Arriflex (Arri), Eclair, Moviecam, Mitchells Konvas and Kinor 35H. Arris are the most commanly used independent production cameras, The most common seen models are the Arri BL 1 and 2, higher end productions will use BL 3 and 4s. The other model are the Arri II a, b and c MOS (not used for filming as sound is also being recorded) camera which can be fitted with a sound blimp, flatbase sync motor and used as sound sync cameras. Panavision are what pretty much what all major productions and TV shows are shot on because thier lenses are state of the art. Eclair is a good though somewhat delicate older MOS camera. Moviecam is an excellent older camera that was bought out by Arri I believe in the 90s, Konvas is a Soviet re-engineered copy of the Eclair and a marvalous tough, reliable little camera that is widely used in the west also MOS. The Kinor 35H is a Soviet re-engineered copy of the Moviecam Superamerica and is a good quality sound sync camera, though some consider it a little noisy for sound sync work and often use a Barney with it. The Mitchell was the indusrty standard during the age of the big studio control, up till the mid to late 60s. They are heavy for the most part and not used as much anymore, though some people swear by them.

There are about 6 major lens manufacturers, Ziess, Cooke, Panavision, Arri, Baltar and Lomo, though there ARE other manufactures, these are the most common. Ziess and Cooke are the most common lenses for independent production and PL mount is currently the most common mount type. Pahavision lenses are for, you guessed it Panavision cameras, Arri are for the earlier generations of Arri camera that have not been converted to PL mount yet. Baltars are older lenses for Mitchells and Lomo are for the Russian cameras but are comperable to Ziess and Cookes of the same era so are routinly converted to PL mount an easy modification as the Russian OCT-19 mount is the Soviet version of a PL mount.

As for lights, the basic lights are PARs, Fresnel, HMI and Soft. They come in various sizes defined by the watts they use, 600w 2K (2000 watt) 5K ect. Again, too much to go into right now but do a search and read the posts, you'll get an idea of what they do and where they're used.

NOW what YOU will probably start with is video formats. There are really only 3 viable ones left sence the digital revolution, MiniDV, HDV and HD. YOU will eather shoot MiniDV or HDV the "home version" of HD, MOSTLIKELY it will be MiniDV because thats the cheapest right now. The good news is there's nothing wrong with DV (shortened from MiniDV). It's miles ahead of many older video formats and a few independent features of some note worthyness were shot on it, so it's a good way to learn the very basics, framing, composition, camera movement, editiong ect. IF you want to go with a more challanging format try super * of 16mm film. They are more expensive and more trouble to deal with but they are closer to what you will see and deal with on a professional set. S8 cameras are dirt cheap. The most expensiive one I ever saw was 2 grand but many "pro" ones are around 500 bucks and consumer ones are under a hundred. FILM however is expensive, but for a 3 minute short it shouldn't be that bad.

So what else you want to know? B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 24 May 2007 - 01:55 AM.

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#10 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 02:20 AM

Oh I forgot Aaton in the 35mm cameras. Don't know much about em except I seem to remember they were also somewhat delicate. B)
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#11 David Sweetman

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 02:23 AM

...as I'm sure no one wants or has the time to explain all of that to anyone in one sitting.

Actually many people do, but when they do they put it in a book. David Elkins' Camera Assistant's Manual is what really introduced me to the things you mentioned, he also wrote a book called "Camera Terms and Concepts." Definitely worth reading. The concepts are clearly-worded, though several passages regarding technical things like f-stops I had to read over a few times because it all seems abstract the first time you encounter it.

Edited by David Sweetman, 24 May 2007 - 02:24 AM.

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#12 Julia Gers

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 06:46 PM

Whoa! Thanks James! I guess it's the film cameras that I really know least about. I once watched a show that was on either MTV or VH1 (I can't remember which...or it could have even been on Fuse) and it was a "making of" show and it was of the making of the videos for Green Day's American Idiot album. The director (I think his name is Sam Bayer or something like that) filmed one of the videos (I think BLVD. of Broken Dreams...yea sorry...I'm kinda a huge Green Day fan here ^^') with a film camera and to give it a sort of eerie and old timey look (watch the video if you want to know what I mean...I'm sure there's a technical term for it, but to me calling it "a bit of crackle (visually)" seems ok) he took a cigarete and on some of the film (after having filmed the video) he burnt parts of the film with the cigarette and I've always wanted to try that and see how it looks
...but all I know how to use are digital. I've got my own digital DV camera (and also a digital photo camera that also does video and sound recording and the like). Today at the shoot at the zoo we were using an HD camera, though, which was pretty cool.
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#13 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 07:41 PM

Well, just for the heck of it, buy a little super 8 camera on ebay, a couple of cartriges of film and something to veiw it on, a projector or editor. They're cheap, I bet you won't spend a hundred bucks total. Get a camera first a little AA powered Kodak is fine for your purposes right now, that's about 10 or 20 bucks max. the projector is gonna be about 25 to 40 bucks and film maybe 20. Do it over a period of time as your allowance allows and give it a shot. Film has a different look and feel to it and you should be famillure with it. Your little DV camera will work great for you to learn how to frame, compose the shot and shoot with editing in mind. The great thing about video is if you don't like what you've done, you can rewind the tape and shoot it again, but FILM teaches you disapline. Once you shoot an image, it's on that negative for as long as that negative exists, so you HAVE to be careful in composing your shots, making sure your lighting and F-stop is right and your camera movement is precise because otherwise you waste film and that gets expensive REAL fast. You can learn a lot from S8. This last movie you did was a good learning expirence for you. You learned what works what doesn't and what really sticks out. Look at your film and also look at what you guys did right as well as the negitives you saw.

IF you can get ahold of a 16mm camera even better BUT your expenses go up geometrically. If you can up grade, great, if not, wait till you can afford it. If your dad will let you run the HD camera take the oportunity to do so. HD is also a professional format and one you should be familure with, however, unless your parents are REALLY rich and you have a trustfund, there is no way you can afford to buy it and all the support equipment need to produce a film with one. 25 to 100K for the camera 25 to 50K for the deck, 8 to 10K for a computer cabable of editing HD (4:4:4 pulldown, NOT HDV) 3K software, ect. so don't fall in love with it :D Just out of curiousity, why was your dad shooting HD at the zoo? What does he do? What kind of miniDV do you have? B)
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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 11:40 PM

Here's kinda a cool one:

ebay Item number: 220115270860
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#15 Julia Gers

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 11:54 PM

Maybe I'll get an S8 later this summer or next school year. I don't even know when I'd have the time for it this summer, though. I've got almost no time for anything this summer other than what I've already got planned.

ohh yea...so can't afford all that stuff for HD :blink:. We don't even have HD tv in the first place lol. I don't even really know what HD tv really is. When I first saw the previews for the show Planet Earth and they said it was shot in HD I was upset because I thought I wouldn't be able to watch it because we don't have HD tv. But then we did get that show anyways and I felt sorta stupid.

Ok, I finally have a "this might be a stupid question" moment. This might be a stupid question, but what's an F-stop?

My dad is an editor and an engineer. I think his official job title is television engineer. He does a lot of work for local production companies with mostly local things and commercials and some (most likely not very well known) national tv shows (I dunno what ones he's worked on though). He does a lot of work with computers (a total computer genius lol). The thing we were shooting at the zoo was for an intro to the 3D dinosaur movie that they have in their main building. I'm not quite sure why it was being done in HD. Maybe because any live action stuff in the dinosaur movie was done in HD...I have no idea. I don't know if there even is any live action in the movie because, for all the time I've spent at the zoo (used to work there), I've never seen the movie. I'll probably go see it once it gets this intro added. We had a high speed memory card (forget what it was specifically called but I'm sure someone here will recognize what I'm talking about and know what it is) that holds only 8 minutes of footage and then had to be copied onto a computer before shooting another 8 minutes. My dad had to completely clean and put windows XP on the directors laptop for this. They're also supposed to be comming out with two more of these memory cards that have more time on them.

My DV's a Canon (then it also says on the side: ntsc Elura 70 ...if that has any significance...). Whoa...I just now noticed that the DV camera is less mega pixels than my digital photo camera. What's up with that? The DV camera can do video and take stills and my digital camera can do stills and take video, but of course, the DV is made for video, and the photo camera is made for stills. Is the amount of mega pixels for video or for stills? If it's for stills, then I guess it makes sense that a video camera would have less mega pix than a stills camera.
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#16 David Sweetman

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 04:12 AM

Ok, I finally have a "this might be a stupid question" moment. This might be a stupid question, but what's an F-stop?

The f-stop measures the aperture opening in the lens, which controls the amount of light that passes through the lens. If you are using less light you will need to open up the aperture to let more light through and obtain proper exposure, conversely if you are using more light you will need to stop down the apeture to let less light through.

As you "open up" the aperture, the hole gets bigger while the f/numbers get smaller. This seems to be an inverse relationship until you understand it as a fraction - as in f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4 ... f/22 (with f/1.4 being wide open and f/4 being closed down three stops). Theoretically these numbers go on for infinity in both directions. As you open up, each stop lets in twice the ammount light as the one before it. Then as you close down, each stop lets in half the amount of light as the previous stop.

This is why light meters are required when shooting with film, they are used to measure the light in order to know where to put the aperture. You input the film speed (iso/asa) and the frame rate (usually 24 fps), and it indicates in f/stop what the proper exposure is for a given area.

Many - I believe most, but I may be mistaken - motion picture lenses are measured in t/stops. The t/stop looks exactly like the f/stop, only it accounts for the amount of light that is lost while traveling through the elements of a particular lens. So an f/1.8 lens might actually be a T/2.0 lens (letting through slightly less light).

Another thing is that f/stop affects depth of field. A shallow depth of field will allow you to throw the background out of focus, so only a particular object is in focus. The larger (more open, i.e. f/1.3) the stop, the shallower the depth of field. As you stop down (i.e. towards f/22) the depth of field will get longer and longer, allowing you to put more things in focus within depth in the same frame.

But like I said, it's all in Elkins' book, and he explains it a lot better than me, or you can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-stop
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#17 Julia Gers

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 12:12 PM

Thanks! :)
I'll probably pick up that book to read this summer. (will have lots of time in planes and cars <_< )
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#18 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 03:17 PM

Maybe I'll get an S8 later this summer or next school year. I don't even know when I'd have the time for it this summer, though. I've got almost no time for anything this summer other than what I've already got planned.

ohh yea...so can't afford all that stuff for HD :blink:. We don't even have HD tv in the first place lol. I don't even really know what HD tv really is. When I first saw the previews for the show Planet Earth and they said it was shot in HD I was upset because I thought I wouldn't be able to watch it because we don't have HD tv. But then we did get that show anyways and I felt sorta stupid.

Ok, I finally have a "this might be a stupid question" moment. This might be a stupid question, but what's an F-stop?

My dad is an editor and an engineer. I think his official job title is television engineer. He does a lot of work for local production companies with mostly local things and commercials and some (most likely not very well known) national tv shows (I dunno what ones he's worked on though). He does a lot of work with computers (a total computer genius lol). The thing we were shooting at the zoo was for an intro to the 3D dinosaur movie that they have in their main building. I'm not quite sure why it was being done in HD. Maybe because any live action stuff in the dinosaur movie was done in HD...I have no idea. I don't know if there even is any live action in the movie because, for all the time I've spent at the zoo (used to work there), I've never seen the movie. I'll probably go see it once it gets this intro added. We had a high speed memory card (forget what it was specifically called but I'm sure someone here will recognize what I'm talking about and know what it is) that holds only 8 minutes of footage and then had to be copied onto a computer before shooting another 8 minutes. My dad had to completely clean and put windows XP on the directors laptop for this. They're also supposed to be comming out with two more of these memory cards that have more time on them.

My DV's a Canon (then it also says on the side: ntsc Elura 70 ...if that has any significance...). Whoa...I just now noticed that the DV camera is less mega pixels than my digital photo camera. What's up with that? The DV camera can do video and take stills and my digital camera can do stills and take video, but of course, the DV is made for video, and the photo camera is made for stills. Is the amount of mega pixels for video or for stills? If it's for stills, then I guess it makes sense that a video camera would have less mega pix than a stills camera.


Don't feel bad, I can't affprd an HD camera either. I doubt if they have any live action video od a dinosaur, I would imagine it's all CGI (computer graphic image) but that's just a guess. If you have a lot of time on your hands while your traveling, take a look at the recommended reading section here and see what strikes your fancy, you can learn a LOT about the things you are unclear about this summer and come back ready to shoot your masterpiece! Don't worry about the mega-pixels right now, you already own the cameras and the technology is changing all the time in video, the number of pixels is essentally the resolution the camera is capible of producing, the more pixel the clearer the image but you still camera and you video camera are probably so close, it's not that big a deal. By the time you get ready to buy a new one the'll be something better that both anyway so just read the industry mags and you see the comparisons and figure out what you want to buy OR you'll go to film and it will be academic. The Elura is a great little camera and one of the best single chip DV availible in my opinion. What's great about it is it's so small but the images are very good. You can shoot a studend film with this easily. Sense your dad is an editor, get him to show what he does, why he make the cuts he does and how he matches camera angle while he's editing. This is VITALLY important to a director, because when you shoot, you have to shoot with how your film will be edited in mind and I'm sure your dad can give you a LOT of good advice on what to do and what NOT to do when filming a project. NTSC stands for National Television Standards Committee which set the standard for current American television technical color broadcast systems in the early 50's which is 29.97 interlaced fps (frames per second), with 525 lines of resolution....as opposed to PAL (the western European standard) and Secam (the eastern European standard) Pal is actually used a lot on video taps (a small video camera mounted on the optical viewfinder portion of a motion picture camera so that the viewfinder image can be seen on a monitor) because it has a 25 FPS rate that is closer to to the 24 or 25 FPS of a movie camera shooting sound sync. As for what'san f-stop, what David said. B) OH BTW, speaking of industy mag, you can get Vidography for free by going to Videography.com and filling out the form also you may be able to still get Showreal for free. just do a search and it has the info to email in and ask for it.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 25 May 2007 - 03:21 PM.

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#19 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 May 2007 - 03:29 PM

This was the thread in the "general disscussion" section for Showreel magazine:

www.cinematography.com/forum2004/index.php?showtopic=13158&hl=showreel

It's not a bad publication, definately worth a look.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 25 May 2007 - 03:30 PM.

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#20 Julia Gers

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:20 AM

When we did the Vietnam movie we didn't think about editing at all. We had such a short time frame to finish it in. That posed a lot of problems when we edited it. The scene where the mom knocks on the door and says "eric" had a couple of takes to it. In one of them all the other people behind camera were talking, but other than that it was probably the best scene. We wanted to use one quiet part from that take and put it with one of the others, but the camera angle was ever so slightly different that it just didn't look right (don't have a tripod or anything to keep it in one place). So that scene took a while to get right in editing.

I'm pretty sure we already get videography. I havn't heard of the other one though. My dad gets 2 or 3 different magazines like that. I don't remember what the others are but I think one of them is videography.
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Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

CineTape

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Technodolly

Opal

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC