Low Budget Filmmaking Archives - Blog
When editing any project, there are moments when a visual effect can be applied to help the story be told. These effects can emphasize something to make it more evident, subtly isolate a certain element or blend several assets into one shot. Sometimes these effects are added only as eye candy to add production value to a project. Ideally, you are not adding visual effects to hide mistakes or to cover up deficiencies in the story…but this has been know to happen. (Guilty as charged!)
In 1992 Francis Ford Coppola filmed Bram Stoker’s DRACULA with no CGI or digital VFX. He fired his Visual Effects team that said the shots he wanted could not be accomplished without modern digital technology. He hired his son Roman Coppola (only 24 years old at the time) and together they shot all the visual effects with either in-camera and on practical sets. The relied upon tried and true techniques that went back to the birth of cinema. The results were beautiful, organic and surreal while using every trick from the previous 100 years of filmmaking. What could have been done digitally was instead created practically by skilled craftsmen that are slowly becoming obsolete in Hollywood.
I hope that day never fully arrives.
Here are the practical techniques used to create the visual effects:
We discussed my journey from professional hockey player to editing 11 feature films in Hollywood and the creative process that spans both worlds.
I share how I starting shooting and editing films with a VHS cameras and decks in the 1980’s all the way up to working on: Deadpool, Gone Girl, 6 Below and Sharknado 2 and more.
Here’s the 16-minute video:
I have been editing film and video since the age of 12. Cutting footage, crafting performances and telling stories with VCRs, Steenbecks and NLEs. In 2003, I started expanding my filmmaking skill set and began experimenting with Adobe After Effects 5.5. The first time I opened it up…I expected to see explosion buttons, lightsaber buttons and muzzle flash buttons. Unfortunately not the case at all! This was a brave new world where everything had to be created from scratch so I dove in.
I designed a one-take shot in my apartment so I could practice my non-existent After Effects skills. With a locked off DVX-100 and some amazing acting skills (!) I filmed myself and imported the Mini-DV footage into After Effects. I grabbed some free explosions and sparks from Detonation Films and started compositing.
I present to you GOOD MORNING…a 35-second VFX extravaganza from 2003 for your enjoyment!
The Hateful Eight resurrects the glorious Ultra Panavision 70 format with the uber-wide 2:76 aspect ratio. The 65mm film used to capture the format combined with 1.25x anamorphic lenses creates the final wide image projected at 70mm. Most of us have never and probably will never shoot in the Ultra Panavision 70 format but that doesn’t mean we can’t replicate the aspect ratio.
In honor of the glorious return of the Ultra Panavision 70 aspect ratio…
I’ve packaged the 2:76 templates in all 8 resolutions for your next project.
These PNGs (HD/2K/3K/UHD/4K/5K/6K) will work in any NLE or VFX software.
Just drag and drop above your footage.
Until next time…
Keyboard shortcuts allow the film editor to cut faster and more efficiently. By mapping the most frequently used commands to specific keystrokes…the editor can focus on the storytelling and not waste time mousing all over the screen.
Editing requires repeating actions thousands of times a day so why not make it as easy as possible for yourself? All NLEs come with built in keyboard layouts but each one is different and none of them include ALL the possible commands. Thankfully, my good friend and Emmy-winning editor Dylan Osborn has created two FREE custom Premiere Pro layouts that cover all the bases! Read more…
Sometimes creativity can be triggered by one seemingly irrelevant thing. Sometimes that one thing can be right in front of you…hidden in plain sight. In my case that one thing was a stretch of winding road by my home that has thousands of reflectors on the median. I’ve driven this road hundreds of times. At night, the reflectors whiz by in a frantic blur and it suddenly reminded me of a video game I played as a youth…Atari’s NIGHT DRIVER. Read more…
From sources unnamed and unconfirmed…I have heard semi-coherent rumblings that Steven Soderbergh is coming out of feature film directing retirement to tackle the next SLAP SHOT hockey film. He will also star as the fourth Hanson Brother.
The original SLAP SHOT (1977) starred Paul Newman and he called it his favorite film experience ever. Directed by Oscar winning director George Roy Hill (The Sting) he had previously directed Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969. It goes down in film history as one of the greatest sports films ever. Profane, violent, hilarious and as accurate to a minor league professional sport as has been. As a 10-year veteran of professional hockey I can attest to have seen or lived through every event in the original film.
In SLAP SHOT 4: THE LOST BROTHER…Seven Soderbergh will produce, write, direct, shoot, edit, cater and star as the long lost 4th Hanson Brother.
If the scuttlebutt on the cold ice sheets of Minnesota is correct…Slap Shot 4 will position Steven Soderbergh into the driver’s seat of redefining the hockey film genre. The spectre and stench of Stephen Baldwin’s Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice looms ominously above the 4th iteration of the franchise like an old, wet jockstrap. But Hollywood and hockey fans around the world have faith that Soderbergh can re-invigorate this tale of ice warriors with violence, humor, hijinks and Singani 63.
Guest post by Samson Pojdl. 17-year-old filmmaker & VashiVisuals film intern.
In the words of Steven Spielberg, “When you have a dream, it often doesn’t come at you screaming in your face, ‘This is who you are, this is who you must be for the rest of your life.’ Sometimes a dream almost whispers. And I’ve always said to my kids: the hardest thing to listen to — your instincts, your human personal intuition — always whispers; it never shouts… So you have to, every day of your lives, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear… And if you can listen to the whisper… and it’s something you think you want to do for the rest of your life, then that is going to be what you do for the rest of your life, and we will benefit from everything you do.”
My name is Samson Pojdl and I was born and grew up in London, England. When I was 8-years-old, I moved to Switzerland because of my dad’s work. When I was 12-years-old, I moved to America to better my education. I am now a 17 year-old high school senior in Florida studying film and video. Read more…