Monday, November 21, 2011

DV Filmmaking--The Internet Is God

This last week I read DV Filmmaking From Start to Finish by Ian David Aronson.

Up to this point, all of the books I've been reading have been decidedly from making movies with film perspective.  I wanted to read more about the digital aspect of filmmaking.

This book goes into that, most definitely.  It talks all about all sorts of aspects of production and post production, though it really just glosses over pre and post-post.  By post-post production, I mean what you do with the film once it is made.  How do you sell it?  The author doesn't give this subject much coverage and mostly mentions self-distribution and doesn't talk about internet distribution very much at all, but rather more about going to festivals and pestering theater owners into showing your work and bringing copies of your film with you.

But I didn't mind that so much.  I've just read three or four books that go into distribution fairly thoroughly, even if they were more overall primers than about the specifics.  I have an idea, at least, how distribution works. 

I only bring up that he glosses over pre and post because the subtitle of the book is From Start to Finish.  And you aren't really getting that.  In addition to that, there is one more caveat.  This book was published in 2006.  In the world of digital, that's forever ago.  So much has changed since then that I'm not sure how accurate the directions he gives for the Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Photoshop programs really are.  Newer versions have come out of those programs already.

That all said, this is the first book I've found so far that actually gives directions on what to do in the actual editing programs for compositing, rendering your work, making stuff in Photoshop, animating still photos, creating the title sequences and adding them to your work (the other books recommended farming that work out to companies specializing in titles and credits), color correcting, layering and replacing audio, refining sound, adding music, making a release print, creating a broadcast master, striking a film print, outputting audio, and mastering a DVD.

His directions in each of these areas are good, though they left me wanting to go see if I could find a Final Cut Pro primer on the net, as well as primers for the other programs to see if his directions even work anymore.

A quick search of the web and I found these:

FCPX Master


Final Cut King

Each of the above offer free training videos, though some have a time limit before you have to pay for lessons.  

This reminds me of a very valuable lesson I received from a schoolmate of mine.  He volunteered to be one of the editors for Portland State University's TV station and I asked if I could come in and help so that I might learn, since I didn't know what I was doing at all.  He said that would be fine.  The school uses Final Cut Pro.  Much to my surprise, his knowledge base wasn't much bigger than mine.  In fact, he was learning as he went along.  The school had a two monitor system.  On one monitor he would be doing the editing, and every time something new that he wanted to do came up, like put in subtitles, he used the other monitor to go on the internet and look up free tutorials on Youtube and where ever else he might find them.  Then he adapted the information gleaned for his own use.  I thought he was fucking brilliant, because for whatever reason, that idea had never once popped into my teeny tiny mind.

The internet is God.  If you want to learn something about filmmaking (or anything else, for that matter), somewhere on it you will find the answer.  I think when it comes to digital filmmaking, the answers gleaned from the internet are probably going to be more in-depth and also more up to date than anything I can find in a book.  I suggest if you want to learn editing or sound design or any of that post-production stuff, you head to the internet to do your research first--that is, if you don't have a friend who knows this stuff that you can pester first.