Tim Hetherington – Master Transjournalist

Tim, a master of many mediums—audio, film, video, photography—was not interested in being labeled. He was neither a filmmaker nor a photographer. He was, as he often said, working at “transjournalism”—a term he used to describe his multidisciplinary approach.

via Michael Kambers tribute to his fallen friend and colleague, Tim Hetherington — The Good Men Project Magazine.

One of the best pieces I’ve read about transjournalist and Restrepo director Tim Hetherington. With transmedia taking off, it’s no surprise that there’d be transjournalists, I had just never thought about it.

Flickchart – Finding the Best Movies

Flickchart aims to answer one long plaguing question – if so many movies are rated five stars, which one’s the best?

Yes, AFI tried to answer that question. But Citizen Kane? Really? It was his stupid sled.

Flickchart’s method is painfully simple. Two movies shown side by side. Pick the one you prefer. Move on.

If you haven’t seen one, or both, just press the button and a new movie pops up. Based on which movie you prefer, Flickchart adjusts your ranking to create your very own Top 20 list.

Of course there’s a Top 20 based on all the users. This is a list I could agree with.

Each film has its own page, based on the data from users and it’s ranking over time.

And you can discuss and debate comparisons.

Though some really are no contest.

It’s simple, addicting, and a fun little site. Of course, there are a few things I wish it had. It is beta, so these could be on the white board.

  • Ability to import ratings from other sites. Yes, I do like the way Flickchart rates movies. But I’ve spent a considerable amount of time rating stuff on IMDb and Netflix. So it’d be cool if there was some sort of conversion to import those ratings.
  • More random comparison. I know this is beta, so I’ll cut some slack here. But how many times do I have to compare The Last Samurai?
  • Profile options. Again, beta. But just in case, there should be more profile options other than photo, change password, and delete ratings. Location and About Me are good places to start.

That’s it. I’m sure most (at least the last two) will come in updates.

I could see their system being something that’s bought and implemented in Netflix or Amazon.

But for now, it’s a fun site to check out. I think some beta invites might be coming my way, so stay tuned.

Contests, Permits, Lego Vault, et al [Coffee Break]


Cinema Prosprite – $35,000 in Prizes Awarded to Top Videos Profiling Entrepreneurs

Riding on the waves of micro-loans, this short doc contest is for films profiling an entrepreneur (they don’t explicitly say, but it seems they want entrepreneurs that live in a poor society, not the next .com start-up). Films only need to be 2-5 minutes for YouTube posting for a shot at the grand prize of $20k.

Digital Filmmaking Blog – Various Competitions

Collection of three competitions, including a UK contest, screenwriting contest, and 24 short contest.

Coffee Break

The High-Wire Act of Getting Photo Permits by Scott Kelby

Good primer on photo permits, which has a lot of similarities to video/film. Hand held is generally fine but things get more complicated when you start putting stuff on the ground. Scott’s post also covers what’s fair game to film from public property, which goes for both stills and moving images. Especially with documentary work, it’s good to keep up on the rules when some rent-a-cop tries to kick you off a sidewalk.

25 Beautiful Fantasy Photoshop Tutorials

Even if you don’t like the final image, Photoshop tutorials are good for picking up techniques. This selection covers a lot of different styles, so the odds of finding something useful is in your favor.

Film of the Month Club

Film of the Month

Kind of like a book club, but with movies! Each week someone picks a film and then the other members post their reactions. Cool idea.

iPresentee Keynote Objects

Nice collection of free icons. They advertise it as being for iWork and iLife products, but it’s just a collection of PNG images, so you can use them anywhere.


Cinemacuteo Film School on Vimeo

DoF Demystified from Videopia on Vimeo.

This is a Film School group on Vimeo that offers a lot of video tutorials covering filmmaking, lighting, special effects, etc.

Entertainment Weekly’s The New Classics: Tech

EW offers their take on the 25 gadgets and innovations that have had the biggest effect on pop culture since 1983. At the top is the DVD Player, Napster, and TiVo.

Game Boy is 20, below Avid and Body Motion Capture. Shouldn’t that be higher? Doesn’t every kid have a hand held video game? Last I checked they weren’t walking around in green spandex surrounded by 20 cameras, cutting their film non-linearly.


Lego Secret Vault: Contains All Sets In History

I’d need two of these – one to build and one to store. I’d also need a crash mat because I’d have fainted.

Can You Guess the 20 Soundtracks?

It helps if you’ve seen the shows/movies.

Strobist and World Press Photo – Photography Coffee-Break

Here’s a collection of links I’ve been hording relating to still photography. Some things to gain from photography: mastering composition, lighting, quick shooting, and using what’s available. Enjoy!

Strobist Preliminaries – Gear and Jargon Basics [Pduncan]

This video finally made all the off camera lighting options click and lead to my purchase of the Nikon SB-800 flash. Scott Kelby’s Lighting Gear Week was also a great resource and motivation to open my wallet.

World Press Photo – The Award Interviews [A Photo Editor]

This is an amazingly designed site featuring photographers talking about their award winning images. Most importantly, as you can see above, the photo takes center frame.

Indy Returns – Annie Leibovitz Photo Shoot

George Lucas, Harrison Ford, and Steven Spielberg on the set of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

So the movie didn’t live up to my hopes, but Annie Leibovitz always does. Short little video covering the shooting of the Vanity Fair photos (though not the epic one above. Nor these Leibovitz photos).

The day before… [PhotoWalkPro]

Very clever photo campaign illustrating how the world can change in a day, so catch your in-depth news. I wonder how truthful those dates are.

Movie Directors and the Means of Production

Nice little collection of 100 photos of famous filmmakers on set in the golden age, back when HD was the start of ‘How Do You Do?’

79 80 Years of Best Picture Winner Posters

They showed them briefly during the Academy Awards. Enjoy to your content all 80 posters of the (mostly) greatest films from the past 80 years.

Indiana Jones in Lego

Klocki has been having a cool Indian Jones conest to illustrate memorable scenes. These are some of the best. I think these are the rest.

WWII, Blood Production Design, and Star Wars – Mid-Week Coffee Break

Richard Hammond Presents Bloody Omaha [Indy Mogul] – Really awesome video featuring the power of compositing. 3 actors + After Effects = Saving Private Ryan. It features Richard Hammond, one of the hosts of Top Gear, which is a show you should check out if you haven’t. I’m not a big car fan and I still love it.

If You Need a Past, He’s the Guy to Build It – NY Times article on Jack Fisk, production designer for There Will Be Blood. After reading this I was rooting for him for the Oscar. Sadly he didn’t.

Besides building and dressing sets — to help the actors stay in character, every room of every building was fully outfitted — it also fell to the film’s art department to devise a credible stand-in for oil. Mr. Fisk combined food coloring with methylcellulose, a thickener
sometimes used as a food additive. It is an ingredient in a McDonald’s McFlurry dessert, he said. “You can buy it by the trainload.”

On “There Will Be Blood,” in an intriguing corollary to Mr. Day-Lewis’s method acting, Mr. Fisk and his team often practiced a kind of method building. These modest structures were built as they might have been in a small frontier town, starting with the use of salvage lumber. To build the ranch house, “I got together about five carpenters,” he said. “I didn’t have any plans, and I told them not to bring levels. We just marked the space and started laying the foundation. I figured that’s the way they would have done it then.”

Lost Star Wars Scene [The Editblog]

5 Retro Commercials Companies Would Like You to Forget – Number 3 should look familiar. Here’s Number 1:

Directors Edition Digital Alarm Clock [FreshDV] – Get your directing on in your sleep.

200 Docs to See Before You Die, Become an Expert Interviewer, and More – New Year Coffee Break

It’s been a while since the last Coffee Break, so I’ve got a nice little stash built up for some New Years reading.

200 Documentaries You Must See Before You Die eBook

Tf 3.Samllcover

True Films sister site, Cool Tools, has released a free eBook with the the top 200 films True Films has reviewed. This is a great list of films that will definitely build up my Netflix queue. Not just restricted to features, it has TV series including Mythbusters, Project Runway, and Project Greenlight Season 1, though I’m a fan of Season 3, after Bravo took over.

This is definitely worth a browse, I guarantee you’ll discover something new.

The PDF can be found here. And True Films, and Cool Tools, are good sites worth adding to your reader.

Become an Expert Interviewer – Fast – Great list of tips to come up with killer questions and keep the dialog engaging during an interview.

As part of your preparation, search out previous interviews the guest has done. Look for topics “the guest really likes to talk about,” advises Miller, and the topics that “fall flat.” The goal: To find a balance between what your audience wants to hear and also what the guest wants to talk about.

The list was derived from a PDF with even more tips, which can be found here.

A Little Light Painting


Here’s a video about the making of the photo above. Yeah, it’s still photography, but the ideas behind compositing can be taken over to the film world. And it’s a really awesome photo.

Digital Media Locator – Lots of libraries now offer eBooks and movies/docs online, for free, as part of your library service. Check this site to see what’s available at your library.

The Afterlife is Expensive for Digital Movies – Celluloid is still king…for archiving at least. This is a really fascinating article from the NY Times about the high costs of storing movies in the digital age, an age that does not do so well against time.

The problem became public, but just barely, last month, when the science and technology council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the results of a yearlong study of digital archiving in the movie business…Industry types largely missed the report’s startling bottom line: To store a digital master record of a movie costs about $12,514 a year, versus the $1,059 it costs to keep a conventional film master.

Much worse, to keep the enormous swarm of data produced when a picture is “born digital” — that is, produced using all-electronic processes, rather than relying wholly or partially on film — pushes the cost of preservation to $208,569 a year, vastly higher than the $486 it costs to toss the equivalent camera negatives, audio recordings, on-set photographs and annotated scripts of an all-film production into the cold-storage vault.

To begin with, the hardware and storage media — magnetic tapes, disks, whatever — on which a film is encoded are much less enduring than good old film. If not operated occasionally, a hard drive will freeze up in as little as two years. Similarly, DVDs tend to degrade…only half of a collection of disks can be expected to last for 15 years…Digital audiotape…tends to hit a “brick wall” when it degrades. While conventional tape becomes scratchy, the digital variety becomes unreadable.

Now I have to check all those old hard drives for those classic middle school films, not that much of the world would care if they never reach a screen again.

Full Frame: Garrett Scott Grant – I’ve said it many times before, Full Frame is a great festival. And now for first time filmmakers, there’s a chance to experience it for free.

What: This grant funds first time documentary makers for travel and accommodations at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, April 3-6, 2008. For four days, grant recipients will be given access to films, participate in master classes and be mentored by experienced filmmakers. TWO filmmakers will be chosen for the grant in its second year.

Deadline is January 28th.

The Most Expensive Drink at Starbucks – This will keep you going through the night. A 13 shot venti soy hazelnut vanilla cinnamon white mocha with extra white mocha and caramel, all for only $13.76.

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