Simple, elegant screenwriting.

  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz

Entries in Filmmaking (178)


Cinefex Classic on Kickstarter

Cinefex needs your help to make something great.

The first issue of Cinefex I bought had Robocop on the cover. It was bagged and boarded at Dreamhaven Books in Minneapolis, and I remember thinking it was expensive, and really fancy. I read it cover-to-cover, not understanding much of anything I was reading. When I got to the end, I read it again.

The Robocop article still stands out as one of my favorites. I went back and read it several more times, and with subsequent issues providing context, each new reading brought new understandings. It’s not only where I learned about zirc hits and methylcellulose, but also where I learned about Paul Verhoeven’s philosophy about violence in movies, and how an MPAA-ordered cut-down of the film’s more violent scenes had the unintended effect of transforming satirical, intentionally over-the-top violence into just plain violence. This wasn’t just an article about how some visual effects were accomplished. This was a juicy, practical essay on the filmmaking process.

Cinefex is still great, but nothing they’ve printed in recent years matches the infectious, inspirational glory of the back catalog. Here are some tidbits I remember to this day:

  • The elevator shaft that McClane throws the explosives down in Die Hard is a miniature, built in forced-perspective. This was, in part, to allow the model to be smaller—but the real, ingenious reason for the perspective trick was to make the explosion seem to accelerate up toward the camera.
  • When filming the motion-control miniature of the flying Delorean landing in the rain for Back to the Future II, the model was covered in vaseline, which was smoothed and re-stippled with a toothbrush on every frame, to simulate the wet car being pelted by raindrops.
  • Speaking of crazy stop-motion, in Robocop, ED–209’s machine-gun fire was animated by hand, as an in-camera effect. On each frame with gunfire, Tippet’s crew would shut off the set lighting and the rear projection, insert a tiny light bulb into the miniature gun barrel, hand-sculpt a cotton muzzle flash over the bulb, and re-expose the frame.

The deceptively minimal writing in these articles made these ideas and techniques seem not only understandable, but downright doable. Every issue would light a fire in my brain that could only be doused in my backyard, with a Super 8 camera, a cable release, and probably some unsafe household chemicals.

This was my education in visual effects. Cinefex is the reason I didn’t sound like an idiot when applying for film school, and for my first job.

When I landed my dream job at ILM, I thought maybe I’d “made it.” It was when I was first interviewed for a Cinefex article that I knew it was true.

Cinefex launched a great iPad version of their magazine last year, and each time I launch it, I see that floating wall of covers, and wish that I could have my dog-eared, worn-away back issues in this searchable, slick format.

And that’s exactly what they’re going to do—but they need our help.

Cinefex Classic is a Kickstarter campaign to bring the Cinefex back catalog to the iPad. There are ten days to go in the campaign, and they are close. Let’s get them to their goal so we can all have access to this amazing archive.


BulletProof Is Here!

Red Giant BulletProof is live!

Major congrats to the entire team at Red Giant. It’s truly been inspirational to watch them build this amazing app.

We made BulletProof because we needed it. It’s a filmmaker’s tool built by filmmakers. For real.

You’re on set. You’re shooting like crazy. Everyone’s asking you a hundred questions. You need to know that you got the shot. You review it. It’s perfect! But the first half of take one is the best, as is the second half of take three. You make some quick notes. Boost the contrast and warm up the shot. Pop in a few quick in and out points and check continuity instantly in a playlist. Circle that take. Rate it five stars for good measure. Copy/paste that warm, contrasty look to every clip.

All in seconds, all on your laptop, all using an interface that works the way your brain does and gives you confidence that your shots will make it home safe—as will your creative take on them.

The footage is checksum-verified and redundantly backed up. The clips you export drop right into your editor’s NLE with all those keywords, notes, and markers intact.

Where has this been all our lives?

BulletProof is available on its own, or as part of the new Shooter Suite, which also contains PluralEyes. Looks, Colorista, and the other Magic Bullet color correction tools are now bundled together as the Color Suite. If you have questions about how all this works, check out the helpful blog post over at Red Giant.


BulletProof Public Beta 2

Huge, awesome updates in this second free public beta release. I would totally use this one in production.

This may be my favorite thing we’ve ever made at Red Giant.

For a little while longer, you can try it out for free, and participate in making it even better.


BulletProof Free Public Beta

BulletProof, which Red Giant revealed at NAB, is now availble for download as a free public beta.

You’ve got a great camera, you’ve got a great editor — how do you manage everything between them? BulletProof is a complete media prep solution that bridges the gap, with a workflow that simplifies how you handle footage every day. Offload, backup, organize, review, color, deliver: BulletProof has your back at every step. Whether you shoot with DSLR or a GoPro, BulletProof lets you focus on your story and get to the editor fast.

Get it now, and join us on the forum to report bugs, suggest features, and help us make it great!

The public beta is Mac only for now. The Windows version (which was also demoed at NAB) will be released later as a free update.

Ready for more detail on how BulletProof works? Check out this Getting Started video from Simon Walker: