Saturday, February 6, 2016

No Wrinkle Green Screen Tensioners for Filmmaking - Basic Filmmaker Ep 176



     Some time ago, I made a VERY complete video (see below) on everything green screen.  The idea was to keep it simple, NOT have to go to After Effects, and make pulling a key a 1-click process.

     Well, I forgot to include a very simple and cost effective method of making sure the green screen is smooth - tensioners.

     I call them "tensioners" because that is exactly what they do, and, I didn't want to use the manufacturer's title which is, "Video Studio 8PC Backdrop Background Multi-functional Holder."

     These handy little things are the best and easiest solution I know to keep your green screen wrinkle-free.  Trust me, I've seen it all - duct tape, paper clips, bricks, you name it.

     They are really cheap at about $8 - $9 dollars for eight (8) of them on Amazon.  Click here to check them out.

     Sure, like a bag of clothes pins, you may get one that is broken, so buy two bags - they're cheap, and it's always a good idea to have extras on-hand in case you need them.

     Here is the 23 minute green screen video mentioned above, which should have been titled, "Everything you ever wanted to know about green screens and how to make them work, except for tensioners." :)





     My Best,


     The Basic Filmmaker

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Translate YouTube Titles and Descriptions to Reach A Global Audience - Basic Filmmaker Ep 175

     YouTube spends loads of time and money constantly developing and adding new features.


     Being a YouTube creator myself (among other things), I applaud their efforts.

     Unlike Netflix, television, movies and other visual mediums, YouTube knows it's customer is NOT the end user, but the creators that make video content and draw the users to YouTube.

     
And this is a really, really, really big audience of all races, colors, creeds, religions, ages, and pretty much everyone on Earth.

     I have some history trying to talk to the rest of the world as follows.

  About two years ago, my channel was growing, and I noticed people from non-English speaking countries were starting to watch my videos.  That's why I started close captioning (also known as subtitling) my videos.

     Here was my first attempt to show other YouTube creators how and why to do this:



      Since then, YouTube updated their captioning tool and made it easier.  A few subscribers noted this, so I made an update video showing this new method.



     More recently, a network person I know mentioned checking out the way YouTube handles translations for video titles and descriptions.  

     I took a look at this and thought no one would careMy thought was people from other countries already watch my videos, at which point a red flag shot out of my brain.

     It took me many years to train myself to have a mental red flag shoot out my brain when I do this.  In other words, to NOT think a thought and decide what I thought is now true.  

     This was one of those moments. I decided the only way to see if this has any use was to do it, which I did on my last video.

     Glad that red flag shot out of my brain!

     I got quite a few emails from foreign subscribers telling me how grateful they were to see the video titles and descriptions in their native language.

     
With those results, I decided to share it with other YouTube creators which is why I made this latest video.



     It doesn't take a lot of extra time to subtitle and close caption a video, as long as you take the few minutes to do so.  That way, when foreign language viewers hit that CC icon, they get a pretty reasonable translation of what's being said.

     After seeing the rave response to translating the video title and description of my last video, I highly suggest you look into taking this additional step on your own videos.

     The whole purpose of a filmmaker is to create things that other people enjoy and understand, and these translation features make that all the more likely.

                         My Best,

                         The Basic Filmmaker

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Silhouette Effect Plus Tips and Tricks Using Green Screen - BFM Ep 174

     I saw a video from Curtis Judd over on his sound and lighting YouTube channel.



     As great as this video is, it occurred to me that people who normally use green screen for shooting would have a problem going through the breakdown of their green screen setup, and redoing everything to get this effect.

     I asked Curtis if he was okay with me using his video as a reference, and he was fine with it (nice guy).

 

     So I created this video.



     Although I show how to do this in Premier Pro, it's simple enough to perform in any video editor.

     The steps are simply a.) pull your green out of the shot, b.) add a white background (or any background of your choosing), and c.) yank the luminance setting on your keyer down to zero.



     The "math" here is once you key yourself out of the the layer, you are now the only thing that is emitting light, and by removing all the light (luminance) you now are a silhouette.

     Pretty simple technique, and by tweaking the other settings you can come up with some interesting effects.

                                   My Best,

                                   The Basic Filmmaker

Friday, January 22, 2016

Screenplay Terminology - Can You Sing The Tune?

     There you are with your never-before envisioned fantastically awesome film, ready to write your screenplay...

     ...and you're ready to write your screenplay...[insert hours, days, weeks, months, years]...and you're ready to write your screen play. :)

http://www.simplyscripts.com/WR_glossary.html

     Reading and writing screenplays for the first time is like learning a new language.  Like a song, you can't sing the tune (at least properly) if you don't know the words.  

     Start by learning the words to, "I'm ready to write my screenplay."

     This web page from SimplyScripts shows some common and not-so-common words.

     Awesome!  Now go write that never-before envisioned fantastically awesome screenplay!



                         My Best,

                         The Basic Filmmaker

Sunday, January 17, 2016

TV Host Interview with On-Camera Acting and Voiceover Tips - Basic Filmmaker Ep 173



     This was really a fun episode to make.

     You might not know this, but I get a LOT of comments on my videos, and one of my secret vices is to go check out what the person leaving the comment is up to on their YouTube channel.  

     I don't usually mention this, as then people start leaving comments so I go check out their YouTube channels, and I really don't have the time - I'm already up to my eyeballs answering comments and emails (15,000 and counting).

     That's how I ran into Craig Burnett, as I checked out his channel which then directed me to his website and I found out he was a professional TV Host and voiceover artist of some renown.

     I decided to be bold and brazen and asked him if I could get some on-camera acting tips and information about being a voiceover artist.

     To my surprise, he said, "Yes."  I'm not surprised now, as I found him to be nothing but friendly and a pleasure to work with.

     First, I send him my questions via email, and he answered them with loads of great quality information.  

     I was really excited to share this with my viewers, as I know many of them have their own YouTube channels, and would like to present themselves better on-camera.

     So I shot the episode, but it ended up being me talking away about what he said.  In other words, it was really boring, and I thought it sucked.

     Still excited to present this information, I re-shot the episode and tried to make it better, with some "text-y" things that made it more interesting.

     That pretty much sucked too.

     I decided this episode wouldn't work unless I used Craig's voice with me asking the questions and him giving the answers.  

     So I bit the bullet (I don't like asking people for MORE when they have already been far more accommodating than I expected in the first place), and emailed him asking if he wouldn't mind recording his answers to my questions.

     I received an email back from Craig saying he would video his responses to my questions, and I think it turned out fantastic!

    The bit at the end of the video makes me laugh every time I watch it, and it was really hard for me NOT to thank him profusely at the end of the video, but it would have messed up his outtake "punchline."

     If you are like I was when I started this channel, and stepping out from behind to the front of the camera to be a "host" scares the bejesus out of you, just stay calm, watch this video a few more times, and take comfort in knowing that if you suck as much as I did, there's no where to go but up.

     Just keep learning, practicing, and creating the best you can with what you have.  That's my plan, and I hope that's your plan too.

                                                  My Best,

                                                  The Basic Filmmaker

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Looking for Free Assets? New York Library Digital Assets are now free to use.


http://bit.ly/NYLibraryFreeUse
  
     Well, that's real neighborly.  I haven't checked it out, but free stuff for filmmaking is always cool!

     Just head over here to access more than 180,000 New York Library Digital Assets:

                         My Best,

                         The Basic Filmmaker

Friday, January 8, 2016

3 Years - Filmmaking Channel Review - Good, Bad and Ugly - Basic Filmmaker Ep 172





     I've always wanted to make a video about all the videos I made since I started my YouTube channel, and if you're willing to read through to the end, you might find I didn't make this for any reason you might be thinking about.

     I even put markers in this video every two minutes so if someone gets bored, they can skip to the end.

     This was fun as I get to poke fun at myself and share my thoughts on what I think are useful videos, and the ones I DESPISE.

     I would say “HATE” but was told not to use the word hate as apparently I can say f**k and s**t and a bunch of other words all I want nowadays but I can’t use the word “hate.” So I won’t say “hate” because the word “hate” offends people.  They hate when I use the word hate.

     But I digress.

     Having many years of experience (working away quietly in the background) somehow “allowed” me to be wrangled into helping people in other disciplines such as engineering, software development, robotic design, sales, marketing, music, graphic design, writing, the internet (you thought Al Gore invented it?) and a crap ton of other things I thought I would never be doing as a filmmaker.

     Because of that I have thoroughly disabused myself of the idea that everything you are going to make is going to be great.

     Hell, if you make ONE thing that is GREAT, consider yourself lucky.  I am fortunate in that I am very, very lucky, and mostly due to the great people and groups that I have had the pleasure to work with.

     One day over 3 years ago, I decided to do some giving back. Call it a pay it forward.  Call it payback.  Call it anything you like.  But that’s what I decided to do.

     I entertained starting a film school, or a film college, or a traveling whatever you would call it, or teaching at a university, or any number of things that would help filmmakers, mostly because filmmakers are really cool. :)

     After much research, I decided my skills and abilities would best serve new filmmakers who were trying to figure it all out, and the best vehicle for that would be YouTube.

     I had no desire whatsoever (and still don’t) to “show off my works” or be popular or make money or any of that. I just wanted to help new filmmakers, much like I was helped in almost every endeavor in my life.

     OK, so let’s do this.  I mean, how hard could it be?  I am a very experienced person in a lot of creative endeavors, so this would be a no-brain-drainer, right?

     And since I’m going to make videos for new filmmakers, I am going to only use the simple gear and equipment new filmmakers would use, since that kind of stuff was now available. Cool!

     So I grab a cheap DSLR with a crappy lens as that's what most new filmmakers were using at the time.

     OK, what the [bleep] is this thing? Where’s the fricking aperture ring on the lens? And wait, a 29 minute limit on recording time? The lens aperture starts at a ghastly 4.0 at the low end and MOVES as I zoom? And the sound in these are TERRIBLE!!!

     I decided to stop bitching about not having “real” filmmaking equipment, and just learn as I go.  And oh boy, for someone with a lot of experience, I learned A LOT!

     "Real" filmmaking resembles nothing these new filmmakers are facing.  Sure, the basics are still the same, but seriously?  Six dollar can lights with 60 watt bulbs from Home Depot?  Get the [bleep] out of here!

    Whatever, I'm committed (you can use that term in various ways), so let's rock and roll.

     First video, I walk out from behind the camera and stand in front of it. And I freeze. What the hell is this?? Just watch my first video and you’ll see.  Better yet, don’t, and save yourself some cringing. I always do.

     Even my photographer brother writes me and asks, "What exactly do you think you're doing?"

     I owe him for that by the way, as he walked me through this new world of "crippled" "film" gear.

     Anyway, it’s not that I am hard on myself, it’s just that I’ve created videos I think suck.

     The point is, so what?!

     My respect for actors and people who do well in front of the camera has risen to great heights – it is NOT something that comes easy to most people. It takes hard work and experience.

     I can’t say enough about the respect I now have for people who do YouTube channels mostly on their own. They are everything - producer, camera person, audio engineer, editor, renderer, special effects person, social media coordinator, finance investment person, and to infinity and beyond.

     I mean like – WOW!

     So, maybe this short walk down 3 years of video lane may help someone.  I fully intend to keep helping new filmmakers as long as there are new filmmakers who come to watch my videos.

     I also fully expect that many of these new filmmakers will become not so new filmmakers and "graduate" if you will into a higher level of learning that I don't offer on this channel.

     And that's good, as that means what I am doing is working. As of this date, I have over 15,000 comments and emails from new filmmakers thanking me for helping them in some way, shape or form.

     But really, the true message I didn't put into this video is simple and very personal to me.

     You’re a creative type person, and no matter what you do, there are things that won’t work, or look like hell, or don’t sell, or you don’t know about, or whatever.

     Again, the point is, so what?!

     You’re in the small percentage of people on this spinning dirt ball called Earth who have the guts to actually try and create something, fail, and try to do it again.

     And as far as I’m concerned, that makes you the most special people I know.

                                   My Best,

                                   The Basic Filmmaker


Update: 09 Jan 2016

I want to thank Headline Graphic New York for posting this blog entry to their headlines. http://bit.ly/BFMHeadlineGraphicDesignNY

http://bit.ly/BFMHeadlineGraphicDesignNY
 
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