Film Making

I studied cinema theory in school. I didn’t have the grades to go to Uni for film production, but I did have enough to take a liberal arts education in the philosophy of it. This was key in introducing me to a number of thinkers like Althusser, Deleuze, Bataille, Brecht, Zizek, Fanon, etc. etc. But my true passion remained film making.

At the time we developed a low-tech film company, primarily working in, I guess what you’d call pro-sd film making. Our repertoire was a Canon GL2 with a improvised 35mm mount. I was very proud of that kit at the time. We did a number of shorts, which fostered my interest in sound design/music. We shot wedding videos on the side to make up the cost of then expensive equipment.

HD came in and we were dead in the water. I think we tried to jump on the DSLR, then GoPro, then iPhone, Mirrorless trends. My partner completed their first feature with a mirrorless rig. But it was all a bit much and life and rent intruded into the process and the dream evaporated.

But now, I’ve just read about Moondog Labs and my mind is fucking blown. An animorphic lens that can be mounted to a GoPro, Mirrorless, Cell phone etc. And it’s under 500.00?? And then bearing in mind the ubiqutous nature of gimbles now, which in my day where either born of immense wealth or eldritch engineering. The film making itch is creeping back.

I’m just curious about where the lines community has intersected with the film making community. Obviously scoring is such an integral part of that process. But technology webs together all of these things. And I am sure there are members who dip their toes in both streams.

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Thank you for starting this conversation! I am a filmmaker, I work in the film industry (professionally, in a mostly non-creative capacity). Got started at my high school in the “heart of screenland” lol, did not go to film school, but have been making films and working on films/videos ever since. Very interested in theory as well, and like you I pursued more of that in my formal schooling.

I have one of the moondog labs lenses (I dread the day when I can no longer get old iphone 5s on ebay and it will no longer be useable :frowning: ) and I really love it, although I really shot anything professional with it to share. I picked it up after seeing Tangerine which was shot with it and really blew me away. (Nowadays there’s other companies doing anamorphic lenses for iphones, if you’re in the market “Moment” might be worth looking into, but I don’t really know enough about the relevant benefits/drawbacks between them).

I am in love with film and did my short on 16mm: https://vimeo.com/231801456 I don’t mean to start any film vs digital beef because I think that’s pretty much settled—digital can and does look incredible. For low budget filmmaking I felt at the time that I made this that there was a point on the cost-benefit curve where I was getting a lot more “bang for my buck” by shooting on 16mm. With only a little bit of color correction (I shot on color 16 so that I would have control over the grade of black and white) it comes out more “done” where in my experience digital requires more work in post… Or, put another way, getting a digital camera of what I would consider sufficiently equivalent quality was an order of magnitude more expensive than the 16mm camera and few rolls of film, and when taking into account processing cost was at least on par in terms of cost. Taking into account I’m in Los Angeles (where film processing is more affordable and accessible than other places), there’s only a specific budget window where I think film can actually be considered more affordable than digital and it’s a window that may be continuing to shrink… Sorry if this is a bit long winded, figured it might be interesting to somebody.

The past couple years I’ve been getting back into DV cams (Sony PD-150), and my next film will be shot in that format I believe. In a (perhaps ironically) similar way to film, I like the character it imparts and want to use that. Otherwise, I carry my faithful moondog everywhere I go :slight_smile:

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I really enjoyed your short. Best of luck with the next one! Please share it in this thread when it’s completed.

Part of my job involves shooting stuff, though it’s mostly talking head stuff… and since lockdown, and even before that, it’s only been a small part of my job.

I did have a project that ultimately got cancelled last year, shooting some short docs with musicians talking about mental health related stuff. I got a couple friends to let me bother them with the camera and some questions. I was only in LA for a little less than 48 hours so I could only shoot a few hours in studios and put the rest together with b-roll. If I’d had more time, I probably wouldn’t have cut these with basically superficial b-roll.

and

https://vimeo.com/280831203/38c6acafcc

I was disappointed this project didn’t go forward as it would have been a lot of fun and it’s a topic that is important to me.

I’m saving money to make a film right now. I wrote a feature screenplay that I’ve gotten good feedback on, but it’s too big to make this one myself on any kind of budget that I could pull together, and I don’t really know what to do with the screenplay at this point. I haven’t sent it out anywhere other than to share it with writer friends. So, I’m trying to adapt some other things that I’ve been working on to a more realistic budget range.

I’ve wanted to make films since I was a kid. It turned out that I got kind of lucky with some breaks in music a dozen years ago and that kind of threw me off for a while… now that I’m not doing music stuff as a career, I really want to get back to movies.

Will be glad to follow this thread.

edit: not sure how to stop that vimeo link from embedding, but you can watch it by going there.

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Thanks for posting both of your work! I enjoyed them both immensely. I don’t have a preference as far as film versus digital. I think they both have their strengths. I get very nervous working with film. I did a couple of jobs as assistant camera with 35mm when I was in school, and my hands would shake like crazy whenever I handled the cine lenses and canisters. I also helped a friend shoot with his arri-16mm which was built like a soviet tank. You can’t really beat the dynamic range of a nice 16mm filmstock compared to digital.

I like the look of DV, I fell in love with my GL2, and I don’t know if I had the time and inclination might even shoot with it again some day. It has a janky ccd sensor where the greens pop like crazy. Always fun shooting with it near trees or forest especially with a 35mm adapter. Canon XL1 is maybe still my dream camea. 28 Days Later was a huge inspriation to me in my early days. I’m old enough to remember the days before prosumer camera equipment. That first wave of pro-sd video cameras were a revalation to me.

I first read about the Moondog animorphic lenses on Terry Barensten’s channel yesterday. In the video below he has it mounted to a gimble and a Sony RX0. I’ve seen a lot of those box shaped mirrorless rigs recently. What’s that format called? It’s like not quite a mirrorless but also not an action camera. Also @renegog I had no idea Tangerine was filmed with these lenses. Beautiful Movie.

I won’t post my earlier work, I’m a bit self conscious about it. I do light film making still on and off, my instagram is probably where I practice the most. I’m a bit annoyed my most viewed video is this dumb meme youtube, I made while bored on a lunch break at work

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film making was my first passion. i decided i wanted to make films when i was 12 :slight_smile: it wasn’t long after that i discovered music. they’ve both been a huge part of my life.

the majority of my film making output has been through the studio i started with some good pals, back around 2006. it’s called encyclopedia pictura. i’ve done doc stuff, music vids, narrative shorts, abstract experimental and animation. we’re all waaaay into special effects and a lot of our collective work combines practical stuff (prosthetics, models, stop-mo, etc) with digital techniques. over the last 5 years i’ve worked a lot more in 3d computer animation.

cinematography is how i got my start (camera assisting) - but, to be honest, i haven’t worked with as much actual film as i would like to. digital was coming up just as i was, and has always been more accessible. i do like to shoot film stills though - especially medium format.

on the camera nerd tip - back in 2007 i was obsessed with stereoscopic 3D and wanted to shoot a music video in 3d. at the time, the only rental options were super niche and waaaay out of our league, so i decided to build my own 3d camera system with some obscure 2k imaging sensors (with 35mm adapters) and a whole bunch of extruded aluminum.


(yes, these photos are in 3d)

it was crazy big and heavy and required a giant high-grade custom made 50/50 mirror beamsplitter (that i was terrified of breaking mid-production)… also each imaging sensor had to be tethered to its own capture pc on a nearby cart lol. fortunately everything was shot on a stage, so the bulk wasn’t much of a hinderance.

i also built a live preview monitor that allowed us to check the 3D image with polarized glasses. it was pretty exciting the first time we got it all working :slight_smile:

imo 3d is magic. it is written off as a gimmick/marketing trick - but i tend to think of it in the way i think of stereo audio recordings: sure it’s not essential, but - wow - it’s so much cooler. it expands the palette and creates an opportunity rediscover the transportive power of composition.

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I’ve been a fan of your/EP’s for aaaaages. The Bjork video blew my mind when it came out. I was friends with a guy in Grizzly Bear and was really stoked when you did a video for them as well… The Panda Bear video is beautiful like a Miyazaki film. My (4 and 7 year old) kids and I watch it on repeat, along with DIY stuff. Thanks for all the inspiring stuff you’ve put out into the world.

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oh wow! thank you :slight_smile:

This is super cool. If you were going to film in 3D now what would be your gear of choice? Especially on a prosumer budget, but I’m curious about options for a shoot with a budget/rental too. I’m curious how much the tech has come since 2007. Quarantine isolation has made me very curious about individual-centric media like VR headsets, binaural audio, etc.

If you told me 15 years ago when I was a teenager re-watching The Making of Star Wars for the millionth time that my home computer would be powerful enough to do CGI/animation/editing, I’d have a video camera in my pocket at all times that could shoot at a comparable resolution to 35mm film and I could run a virtual modular synthesizer on my computer to copy the droid sounds they made on an ARP 2600 my mind would have been blown. :exploding_head:

I love this topic. While I haven’t done anything recently, I minored in film in college and really enjoyed it. Some stuff I made included a short film shot over a long weekend by a skeleton crew of me plus two friends, a multimedia photo essay about another student’s garage-based longboard manufacturing business, and a video tour of the recording studio I interned at.

Lately I’ve been itching to get back into filmmaking, probably short-form documentary or music videos. It would be nice find other folks in the greater Boston area to collaborate with since my circle of film nerd friends is dispersed around the country now.

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Film is my day job.

I studied corporate finance at university (long story).

I worked on 2 films back to back with the same DP in 2018 — one shot on film and one shot digitally. People genuinely can’t seem to figure out which is which. Which I guess is a testament to current advancements in technology?

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Big fan of Noe and I absolutely loved Climax.Bravo!

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Fun fact — I saw you screen your 3D video at the Freemason lodge in Culver City.

Distinctly remember you guys explaining how you built your own rig to shoot it.

Always stuck with me. . .

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I’m a DP, director, editor, and colorist by day. I hesitate to call myself a filmmaker because I practice these disciplines mostly in the commercial space, but maybe that’s splitting hairs.

In my dreams, where I have enough time to pursue film and music simultaneously (and where that pursuit pays a living wage), I’d love to make documentary films myself and DP meaningful narrative work. One day!

The agency where I work announced in October that they were being acquired. The deal fell through recently, but during that process I had to put together a brief reel of meaningful images from the past couple years of work.

Figured I’d post it here rather than letting it sit on the shelf (though, for the record, I dislike reels. They have a hard time proving anything other than baseline competence IMO). The music is a track called “Unresting” that I composed following the murder of George Floyd. It was released as part of this single series, which benefits @afrorack

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I happily worked in the NZ FiIm Industry for 25 years, starting as a sound effects editor and slowly evolving to become sound designer and/or supervising sound editor, working on projects with budgets from $0 through to us$30mill. Happy to offer any advice on what is such an important aspect of film making (preaching to the choir, I know) but two of the most important decisions I made in my entire career was (1) attending Film School and (2) saying no to three years of work on LOTR. No regretsy :slight_smile:

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my people! i edit for a living. it’s a bizarre career which i do not super understand. even basic aspects––‘how much time will this edit take to get together’, ‘what is my creative role in this project’, 'how do oscars voters know which movie had the best editing?’, 'where does the money come from?’––remain a mystery to me, despite “making it” as a “full time professional” several years ago now.

i went to college for journalism and didn’t get much out of it, but visiting a friend’s fancy (in retrospect actually pretty predatory and not good!) film school and helping out on a short film they shot on a bolex got the gears turning in my head.

i came out to LA and started editing low budget, unsalvageable scripted stuff and hated it, leading me to non-scripted content. i discovered i had a knack for that, started doing it full time, and about three months after that point was totally burned out on it. through that i started doing promos, first for our show, then for a few shows, then trailers for indie movies.

i hate watching trailers outside of work (a trait i share with every trailer editor i’ve met or heard interviewed), but the process to condense narrative information, evoke a mood, and take people on a little 2 minute ride, is a real creative rush. in short form, the importance of musicality/rhythm in the craft moves from “somewhat abstract” to “basically the only thing that matters.” almost anything could work, as long as you can get the right people to sign off. the best trailer i can think illustrating this, always an inspiration:

i think part of the reason i had a knack for editing in the beginning was my experience with writing electronic music. but now, it feels the other way around. the number of rhythmic considerations in a trailer are almost incomprehensible. cut on the beat? slightly after, so the door opens on the downbeat?, slightly before, so the foot stepping out of the door after it opens lands on the chord change? if i extend it that much, how does that affect the transition that happens 30 seconds from now? does one of these feel more right, or does it feel wrong in a way that draws attention to something important?

i love all those considerations and thought i would be doing it forever. so naturally the next big thing for me was a feature length documentary film that took me right back to doing journalism, and it was by far the most fulfilling work i’ve done yet. shameless plug if you have an HBO subscription already:

i’ll admit part of the reason i’ve avoided this thread is because i feel relatively alienated from much of the discourse going on in “the industry” by other editors. apparently, there is a certain way of editing, a fixed set of tasks which defines what editing is, what tools editors use, etc. people whose jobs are _____ editing, who consequently can never do ______ editing, because they’re different worlds.

i just can’t relate to most of these apparent truths. these days i am about 50/50 between “sizzle reels” (the definition of a sizzle reel varies so much from project to project it basically doesn’t mean anything other than “short mood piece”) and longer form nonfiction. for almost every piece of dogma i follow in my work now, at some point i was doing almost the complete opposite.

this has created a mindset where, when i try to take a long view of my career, it leads to either a), questioning whether “editing” is really what i am doing or if i should be trying to somehow “move up” to…something? or b) that i could just wake up suddenly and realize that i don’t actually have a career because i’m doing a job that doesn’t actually exist.


oh, this is the filmmaking thread? not the ‘my inner psychosis’ thread? i will throw out one technical hot take:

we cut the above film in FCPX. it has some compatibility limitations (exporting AAFs, EDLs require paid third party plugins that basically doubles the price of the app) but in my view it is far and away the best video editing software. i have cut in every major NLE, and for both trailers and longform nonfiction nothing else comes close. i’ve seen how emmy winning editors organize their stuff, i know i’m not doing it wrong. the flexibility/speed/versatility from keyword collections in the FCP browser is absolutely unparalleled. even scrubbing alone, the amount of ideas i’ve gotten simply by mousing over one thing on the way to a completely different thing…

if you’re assigning text labels to individual moments, stringing those moments out into timelines, collecting the timelines and putting them in other broader category bins, you have a duty to yourself to try it out! there is a better way! :joy:

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For whatever it’s worth I’m a software engineer and feel the same way. Luckily a big part of the skill set required in my field is learning and figuring stuff out as you go. I definitely see the parallels you’re talking about between video editing and music. I’ve noticed that a lot of good programmers are musicians also. Maybe at the root of it they are both problem solving? Just different points on the continuum from logical to creative.

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Could you unpack this some more? I used FCP7 for a bit but jumped ship to Premiere when X first came out since I was already using the rest of the CC at the time. I haven’t used either in a couple years. Now that I’m thinking about getting back into it as a hobby I’m curious about DaVinci Resolve, mostly because it runs on Linux and I’m probably out of the macOS game whenever my current laptop dies as I don’t love where Apple has been headed.

i hate how much i’m about to write, sorry about this…but of course!

resolve is great––we finished that feature and did exports in resolve. it’s extremely capable on its own, works better than expected with all the software i’ve needed it to, and has gotten significantly less buggy in the last couple of years. the paid version is a lifetime license with free upgrades for the price of half a year of an adobe CC subscription… (probably not a coincidence that the NLEs with the best price:performance ratio are both from hardware companies who happen to also have software, these tools are undoubtably priced significantly below development costs…)

and don’t get me wrong, the fewer hours you spend per day staring at one of these programs, the more marginal the various ideological differences between them become.

my personal drift from NLE-agnosticism towards my current FCPX evangelist stance unfolded over years of staring at all these programs for 8+ hours a day.


i did a full rough cut of the documentary in avid with scriptsync, etc––avid is insanely quick for editing. i really flew, stringing out an entire movie from nothing but transcripts in a month or two. but the cut was 3.5 hours long and it got totally shredded by the director for being boring as hell.

i had to go back to the drawing board and i only had a few weeks to show a polished recut of the first 10-20 minutes of the movie. this is where avid (and other software using the avid paradigm, eg premiere, resolve, etc) starts to fall a bit short, for me.

in avid, you have to be extremely rigorous when setting up your project. for longform nonfiction, bin for interviews, a bin for archival, bin for script syncs, sub folders for various categories of each.

that’s not enough organization, so, commonly you might further break down footage into ‘selects reels’, basically a timeline where you dump a bunch of content that struck you as being a good bit about some topic. you might place markers noting which clips could go with what, or whatever. repeat for every conceivable topic.

there are a couple different routes to take with this, but i have not found one that doesn’t involve:

  • placing too many things in a bin or sequence, making it difficult to find any one thing
  • having too many bins or sequences and not being able to quickly navigate through them
  • thinking something belongs in one category but during editing, realizing it is more closely connected to different category. (you can either live with it or stop working, open up the selects reel, match frame to the original file, delete from the current selects reel, open up the destination reel, insert it at the end…actually maybe the dialogue speaks to one topic but the imagery works better with another topic, what about if we…)

and no matter how thorough you are in that process, invariably there will come a time when you have an idea that calls for a piece of footage that is not in any selects reel. at that point, your options are basically to give up or to spend hours clicking on and scrubbing through clips in search of the thing you know you saw (hopefully what you’re looking for is the thing you believe it is (or else you just spent 4 hours combing through the NBC archival looking for something in the CBS broadcast bin)).


nothing about this makes any sense. these are all just bits of digital content, but this process treats them as if they are physical pieces of media. i assume, when these GUIs were first designed, there was an expectation that the digital representation had to be stored and managed just as the physical piece of media it was representing: very carefully, and only moving when you place your hand on it and move it from one space to another. of all the major pieces of software in this space, FCP is the only one to have been totally rewritten at a moment after this was no longer the case.

when i say “avid is insanely quick for editing”, this is the paradigm that i’m referring to. if you’ve got an assistant editor, a story producer, or some intern to go through transcripts, if your project is set up and organized perfectly and you know where everything is, it’s hard to improve on avid with scriptsync. it’s just that personally i’ve literally never worked on a project where this was the case.

in FCPX, you can tag any subset of any footage with any number of keywords. each keyword automatically becomes what is in effect a ‘selects reel’. and you can do this as you’re watching the footage for the first time, in real time. it’s easy to merge, rename, delete keyword collections at any point, so you don’t have to be too precious about this at all. the entire project panel becomes a selects reel.

it leads to a kind of paradox where you can get organized more quickly, but also you spend more time organizing––because the organization itself is more useful, and you don’t have to do it all before you start editing. you can quickly task-switch depending on what the priority is.

and it’s not just organization, similar workflow improvements can be found throughout the editing process. here’s the video that got me to try FCPX a few years after it’s legendarily problematic launch (skipped to ~8 minutes in where he gets into NLE comparisons):

(to close my rough cut story, i had transcripts for the interviews, but not for the archival video. so i had been using FCPX basically as an organization tool to handle archival footage, and i threw together an achival-driven intro directly with FCPX just to get a fresh thing for the director to look at. when he saw how i was using it, we wound up moving everything over to it and doing the film in FCPX.)

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I really enjoy “Team Deakins” chats/podcasts - the Thomas Newman episode is great

Any other film-specific podcasts/channels worth checking out?

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Took delivery of a Blackmagic pocket 6K yesterday. After a decade of Canon, Arri, and RED, was a little nervous branching out for my personal camera. Very happy with the results and workflow so far, albeit on a very small scale with tons of control.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKO8Pm1hYJH/?igshid=cmhfja0t6biz

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