Posts Tagged ‘Filmmaking’

Ok, so I know this is not a new topic and there are many resources online especially YouTube and Vimeo that go into depth on these subjects. Why might you ask, am I going into it as well? Well I’ve been out a few places and have heard people refer to color grading and color correcting as the same thing. NO it is NOT, NO I SAY AGAIN IT IS NOT!

To put it in layman’s terms if I may, Color Correction is the process by which you fix any white balancing issues that may or may not be there. Increasing the contrast maybe, adjust highlights and even saturation. In most cases, a simple COLOR CORRECTION can help an alright piece of footage look GREAT! Now I’ve just scratched the surface on this portion because I want all of you to go out and check out for yourself what I’m talking about it.

Ok so now on to Color Grading.  Color Grading is done after the primary color correction is completed and can be part of the color correcting process.  Color Grading sets the overal style of your movie.  SinCity had a highly stylized grading that most people remember.  It actually helps to tell the story.  Transformers, Star Trek, Avatar and Lord of The Rings are all examples of movies that used a color grading scenario to convey a feeling or aid in the telling of these stories!

If you are still confused and you say Michael “What the heck” are you blabbering about. Here are some examples from our friends at Film Riot and oh if you didn’t know Emily is BACK! I love Emily…if you don’t know who Emily is the make sure you watch the clips below!

A little back story on some color correcting tools.  In most NLEs (Non Linear Editors) Final Cut, Premiere, Sony Vegas, AVID and the likes, come with a form of color correction, usually a 3 way color wheel of some sort.  Final Cut Studio 3 had the wonderful Color application that to me at first was a little intimidating with its bland opening screen and scary interface.  Then Red Giant came on the scene with Colorista which was so powerful everyone was talking about it.  Then they also came up with Magic Bullet Looks which had a stable of preset looks that you can apply to your project and then tweak if you wanted something more.  For the most part all of these tools can be used.  It’s up to you to choose your weapon!

Now if you are one of those that don’t have the time or the patience to learn yet another thing pertaining to this business, then there are lots of Colorists out there that specialize in this field.  Had the pleasure of meeting a few at the last Atlanta Cutter’s event.

Remember, this is a learn as you go industry.  Even right out of school, different directors and producers go about things differently. Be adaptable to all circumstances if you are able.  Learn as much as you can and when the time is right, ask questions, please not during a take…you’ll be asked to leave the set!

I’ll be talking more about this subject later as it is important!

Happy Coloring!

I’ve just finished work on a pilot by a wonderful Writer/Director named Lonnie Jackson called “UPYRI” (pronounced You PIE Ree) it’s Slovak for Vampire.  The premise is, what if a vampire had the blood of Jesus, would it change him and how? I can’t go too deep but what I was a part of, was amazing.  From the talent to the team.  It epitomized all that I’ve been reading and writing about.  It does still take a family to raise a child and in this case, the child is this wonderfully inspired idea from the mind of Lonnie Jackson.

Mr. Jackson started out with a group prayer, which he requires to keep what he calls the “Good Vibes” going and of course to have every one on the same accord and to dismiss any mishaps that may occur.  Producer and 1st AD Danielle King lead the crew and cast at a steady pace.  Nina Patterson PA/Script Supervisor assisted with some set design and was upbeat. Still photographer and 2nd Camera Cymande Coburn was on deck helping out in any capacity that was needed and had great energy along with Facility coordinator, sound, grip, electrician DreQuan MeDallion who also assisted in every way possible, Writer and wardrobe Geveryl Robinson, Hair and Makeup Iasia Anderson and yours truly as DP/Gaffer.  Cast members Cameron Miller, Darren Radcliff and Barry Piacente rounded out the team.  Their professionalism and performance made the day. Even with some conditions being not so pleasant, the spirit of the entire cast and crew was undaunted and we moved forward eagerly to reach our goal.  It was refreshing to see things move smoothly on set and with convicted direction!  There is no “I” in “TEAM” and this team proved that statement.

Also check them out on http://upyri.tv/

Although this particular footage was not the footage shot, I look forward with painted breath to the final results.

Enjoy

UMMMMM, well I didn’t know Bella was going to be in this movie, I thought it was Kristen Stewart. The movie was a little slow moving for my tastes but I sat thru it, as they introduced the adult version of Snow White played by Kristen Stewart, it reminded me of seeing Bella from Twilight. There was a part of the movie where she says the lords prayer, I was like really!?!?!? In Enchanted Middle Earth? Then the heaving of the chest seems to be her best moments but again they reminded me of scenes out of Twilight. Let’ see, she jumps off a cliff into the ocean, reminiscent of the scene where she jumps off the cliff just to see Edward again. Then there was a scene where she bit into the poison apple and guess what, she dies slow like when she writhing in pain when she was about to be dispatched and Edward had to save her. Ok I guess I’ve done enough Bella bashing but, come on now. She did her thing in Twilight only because they needed an awkward teen and she fit that perfectly. But a princess?, Snow White to be exact, not so much! Do I think that Kristen deserves a chance as an actress to grow…absolutely! But as Snow White, she does not convince me.  I think she is cute in an innocent sort of way and that’s why I admit, I liked her in Twilight, or should I say, I grew to like her.  Remember, like the Harry Potter Kids (as I like to call them), they grew into their roles.  You saw them “becoming”.

 As far as action it was cool. Loved the effects, especially the way they made Ian McShane and Bob Hoskins look like dwarfs. The troll under the bridge scene was climactic but Bella oops I meant Kristen, oops I meant Snow White soothed the savage beast with her eyes. She might have been thinking about Edward and that’s what actually turned the beast away.

 Chris Hemsworth is getting a lot of face time since Star Trek and has been pulling his weight.  I can see him having longevity as an action or fantasy hero.  He seems to own those roles well! Loved him in Thor and the Avengers if you didn’t see it, you must go now, stop reading this post and GO NOW!

Charlize Theron, ok, she’s HOT! I loved her role in Italian Job with Mark Wahlberg, and she was riveting in Devil’s Advocate as the simple wife going crazy after her husband played by Keanu Reeves, lands a great job in NYC as a hot shot lawyer with your boy Al Pacino.  Anyway, I loved her as this character Ravenna, but honestly she is so good, she could have played Snow White and had some unknown play Ravenna (the bad witch) who is seeking to stay beautiful and live forever off of the blood of the young and pure of heart Snow White…Okizay!

For me an actor should be able to pull you into the character he or she is portraying, making you connect with the character.  I remember HATING and I mean HATING Christian Bale as he played a racist guy in Shaft, that if I’d have seen him in person I’d probably would have jumped on him and beat him down myself….but that’s how good he played his role and now I love him as Batman, the DARK Knight, which by the way, to me is the best vision so far of Batman.  Anyway, I digress.  Great effects, visuals were stunning and believable.  We even get a chance to see some fairies.

If you haven’t seen Snow White and the Huntsman, well in my opinion, you can wait for DVD/Blue Ray but if you have nothing to do on Saturday or Sunday at Matinee time..lol, then go check it out! Oh it’s kind of dark, so not for the kiddies!

Ok so we’ve been waiting and waiting and it is finally here.  I know most of you won’t know what I’m talking about but those of us who know the crazy wacky world of Film Riot with Ryan Connolly, family and friends, know what I’m referring to.  The Long awaited short film by Triune Films, TELL, I’m not gonna spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it yet! But, I will say this, I’m usually not predisposed to Horror Thriller movies, not my thing.  I’m more the Star Trek, Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (Yes I’ll admit it here) type, but I loved the story.  Lead Character Taylor, played by Todd Bruno, had me sucked in from the start.  The intensity of his character was evident, yet he was vulnerable, corny sounding but true! Jenny, played by Shana Eva, gave us a nice view of a woman wanting answers from her seemingly inattentive and non communicative boy friend Taylor.  Ray played by Tim Connolly, is the friend of Taylor, who finds out the ugly truth.  Remember I can’t give it away if you haven’t seen it, so yes I’m being evasive…lol…also supporting actress Brigitte Kali Canales  who plays Terra and Adriana Pascual who plays Officer Diaz round off the cast of this well put together piece.  I will say this, Office Diaz took it like a champ and I felt her pain, just glad she was able to….oops, Oh well I guess your gonna have to watch TELL and TELL me what you think.

As a student of Film Riot and yes a student, I’ve grown to love the way they weave their stories and skits.  My favorite out the box short was LOSSES.  I felt like damn, I wanna be like them when I grow up! Check that out if you haven’t seen it but I blogged about it so hopefully you’ve been paying attention.

Let’s continue shall we, ok so Ryan originally had another person that he had mentioned before that was supposed to be doing the score at first but for whatever reason he ends with Hybrid Two a dynamic duo consisting of Daniel James and Aaron Frensley, who in my opinion are phenomenal at what they do. I must have been on their site for about an hour, easy before regaining my senses.

By the time you read this post it will be a few days after the official release date of Wednesday May 23rd, 2012.

Make sure you stop by and TELL ’em HI! Support the independent film maker.  They’ve got DVD/Blue Ray and the sound track available for pre-order.  I pre-ordered MINE!

So while we’ve been waiting for the 5D Mk III and the we’ve been playing with the C300 and the Scarlet by Red, another player has been making a lot of noise in the background! A company named Black Magic Designs have come up with a unit that places a lot of very high end features in a very cost effective package for ALL filmmakers alike.

Please say hello to the Black Magic Cinema Camera

Now this camera impressed me with the stats out of the gate and for such a reasonable price point.  Not to say anything but it’s almost what I expected from the C300 and was hoping for some in the 5D Mk III but that’s another story!

“The Blackmagic Cinema Camera features an amazing 2.5K image sensor with a wide 13 stops of dynamic range for a true digital film camera. You get a built-in SSD recorder, popular open standard uncompressed RAW and compressed file formats, compatibility with quality EF and ZE mount lenses, LCD touchscreen monitoring plus metadata entry, all packed into an exciting hand held design!” This was taken from the site itself.  From what I can tell the industry is a buzz with this new entry into the film world.  It’s compatible with EF lenses and since I’m with Canon already that helps me out.  Although I was planning to get the PL set when I get my Scarlet.  So the only thing I see so far is the lack of more FPS, it goes to 30, there goes my dream of super slow mo’ EFX without using a plugin…but again I digress.

For the money this camera, based on the specs, should produce some very stunning images.  We’ll wait to see the explosion of tests that will undoubtedly start to trickle in as some more people get their hands on this unit.

For more information please see the Blackmagic Designs website for all the juicy tidbits!

From what I can see from the information, it’s gonna be a pretty cool unit that will offer a lot of things to filmmakers! Oh I didn’t mention that it comes with Davinci Resolve and I love the color editing features in that application.  I had to download the light just to see it work!  I’ll tell you more about that later

HAPPY SHOOTING!

Ok, so I know some of you guys are wondering what ever happened to the SOLO video project, our editors are currently away in Venezuela, their jobs take them abroad. So it’s coming!

With that said, we shot a video for a new song called “Big Stupid Liar” off of independent artist, Neysa’s upcoming album called “Out The Box”‘ which will be a diverse musical journey! With the help Mark SQuared, who you should remember from a previous post and some unexpected talent replacements, we were able to have a great shoot and had a lot of fun and pull off Neysa’s vision!

Another spectacular thing was I got to work with my son Jaysen Jae B Stewart of WEARETHEPPL, who was D.o.P. or DP of this project. He, with the aid of the 1st and 2nd AD Dave Evans and DreQuan Medallion, respectively, was able to keep things together and get the shots needed! There was a point where we actually shot a scene both hand held together at the same time!

Now on to the talent, we had some last minute changes and aspiring actress and model Mona mia and Nicole Goolsby and then we have Erika Allen and Katie Aikins and of course NEYSA

Here is a first look behind the scenes of “Big Stupid Liar”|

More to come…

Hey everyone, I have not written in a while and wanted to share my experience in “The Bubble” over the Thanksgiving holiday! The Bubble as it has been affectionately named, is a place in Rodeo New Mexico called “The Painted Pony Resort“! What do you do in a desert, you may ask? Well, absolutely nothing or absolutely anything. It was a brand new experience for me personally. I’ve never seen so much beauty in a place and history as well! Our guide Sky GypsiesBAlvarius welcomed us and during our time there shared his experience and knowledge with us. Fascinating seems to fall short of what it was like to hear the history and certain lore of the area. At night looking up into the sky, reminded me of standing in a planetarium, I don’t think I’ve ever seen stars like I saw there. It was breath taking, during our stay we also witnessed two beautiful rainbows in which could be seen the many colors of the spectrum in detail!

I can go on and tell you how wonderful it is but you’d have to see it yourself to believe it. The colors, the air, the sun, the stars, the dirt, yes even the dirt. Ok so let’s get to the accommodations. 9 Bedrooms total on property between the 3 building, a heated pool and Jacuzzi flat screen TVs and yes even internet. But don’t think for one minute you’ll be connected to the outside world via cell phone, remember I said bubble. Well unless you have Verizon, there is no cellular service in the bubble, well not with out help from a repeater which get’s you a Verizon signal. There is a land line there on property as well. I can go on and on about it but, I’ll post a link to some pictures.  For those filmmakers looking for a place to shoot or writers who need a quiet place to put your thoughts together or y0u just want to unwind, this is the place for you…The Painted Pony Resort in Rodeo New Mexico.

2nd Unit - 3 Bedrooms

The Painted Pony 2nd Unit

Master Suite - 1 Bedroom

The Painted Pony Master Suite

Main Suite - 5 Bedrooms

The Painted Pony Main Suite

I’ll be posting more links to pictures and sights shortly! Enjoy!
My name is Michael Stewart and I approve “The Painted Pony Resort”. 🙂

Ok, so I got bit by the bug. I’m officially working on a project of my own and starting to do some screen tests as I develop the characters. Who would have thought that I would be doing something like this. It is a very interesting process with regards to the writing and I use a free program called Celtx for writing the script. To me it’s easy and very user friendly and best of all for us DIY/Independent Filmmakers, it’s FREE and for some advance features and options you will have to pay a nominal fee but it’s still worth in my opinion. I’ve been involved with several independent projects that has helped me to understand some of the basic fundamentals needed to make a film work and make the process of making a film a little less strenuous as if that is entirely possible.  Watching some of the behind the scenes on some of my favorite movies leads me to believe that even multimillion dollar films have issues that can drive you to drink!

There are lots of areas to cover while doing a film and some things you really can’t skimp on, while others if you do your research right, you’ll be able to come with some surprisingly effective substituions. So planning and planning and oh did I mention PLANNING is the key to making your project successful!  That’s why I chose to take my time and get it right. Sets, wardrobe, actors/actresses, extras you name it. Man, what an undertaking. You’ve got to be crazy for wanting to do a movie. Guess I’m crazy!

I’m eagerly waiting for the November 3rd and Canon’s big announcement so that the rumor mills can stop churning out gossip. Also as I’m getting more acclimated to my own gear I’m able to better get myself ready for upcoming film/video projects. I realize it’s not about how much stuff you have or even how expensive your stuff is, you need to know your stuff to get the best out of it, regardless of what it is.

Well let me stop blabbing and get to the fun! Here is my screen test of one of the characters of my movie…I’m still developing the powers and working it all out in After Effects and here is my first attempt. Also check out my new StewArt Studios film bumper! Enjoy!

First of all, let me start by saying these guys really rock! They have been teaching indie filmmakers, tips and tricks for a while now and they have delivered a wonderful action packed short called “Losses”.  Josh really stretched his acting skills be portraying a killer! It was just so cool to see.  You would expect the normal Film Riot humor that they have been known for and I’ve have so grown to love, but it has a certain Bourne Identity/Jason Statham(ish) feel! I love the color grading and the lighting! The feel was wonderful.  And I know a lot people commented on the shakiness of some of the scenes. Yes maybe in some places it was a little too much but it gave the film movement and almost an urgency. So without further adieu here is “LOSSES” – It is suggested that you watch this FULL SCREEN and choose Original to see it in it’s full 2k glory!