Reviews

 

The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap (Book Review)

TV Showrunner Cover

In The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap, Mr. Landau brings his television and teaching experience together to walk us through 21 tips and tools an effective showrunner would need. But these tips are useful not just for showrunners, but also anyone working in television or multimedia, such as we’ve seen with the proliferation of new Indie YouTube networks like the Nerdist and Geek & Sundry. Writers…

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Video Studio Pro X7 (Software Review)

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A few years back I was pleasantly surprised to review Corel Video Studio X5 and was taken aback by the amount of features packed into such a low cost editing software. Since then, it’s been my recommendation to all budding video editors out there – or just anyone who wants to turn some of their GoPro skateboarding videos into a YouTube epic with a Dead Kennedy’s soundtrack.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (Camera Review)

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Thumb

I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (which I will refer to as the BMPCC) and review it. I’m a guy and I like for things to be user friendly, easy to figure out with little to no explanation. So, despite the fact that I’m a filmmaker that’s shot with a lot of cameras (most comparably: the t2i and Hero3), I decided the best way to begin…

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RX3 (Software Review)

RX3 Cover

The winner of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development, RX3 operates on both Windows and Mac platforms and is compatible with all major audio and video programs (Pro Tools, GarageBand, Logic, Final Cut Pro and Premiere – just to name a few). Users can choose from a myriad of repair tools within the plug-in like Declip, Declick, Remove Hum, and Denoise. In addition…

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Orion DVC210 Crane (Equipment Review)

DVC210 Cover

ProAm USA has been working to make reliable cranes that are so cost-effective you couldn’t even dream of trying to make them yourself for what they charge. And, quite frankly, they’ve been doing a pretty great job with this strategy. In today’s review, we look at the Orion 210, which is an 8′ crane (as far as actual length goes) but can potentially move a 10 pound camera over a range of 10′, so lo

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Flashpoint 620M Wedding Portrait Monolight Kit (Equipment Review)

For $230 more than the core kit, you can get one with two batteries. (FP620MPPWK)

Through the years, here at MFM, we’ve dealt with a number of lighting manufacturers from venerable giants like ARRI to major companies transitioning into lighting like Rosco to lesser known companies like Smith-Victor. Flashpoint (a house brand for photographic giant, Adorama) has been making lighting systems and DSLR accessories that’ve been impressing us of late.

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ProAm Taurus Jr. Crane (Equipment Review)

The Tripod attachment gives you more options for interesting shots.

Over the past decade there has been an incredible increase in camera, software and gear options for filmmakers working with limited funds. Every so often a company comes out of the woodwork spouting that they have the “latest and greatest” for an insanely low price point. In my experience, most of these claims turn out to be nothing more than promotional hype, obviously hoping to lure in unsuspecting filmmakers who have just the right amount of cash available. Over the past few years, I have been building up my own little arsenal of gear and I was always on the lookout for a small crane or jib that could get the job done without breaking the bank. In my search I eventually found a company called ProAm USA, my first experience with them was a positive one and I have been using their products ever since. When the opportunity to check out the brand new ProAm Taurus Jr presented itself, I couldn’t say no.

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ProAnimator 7 (Review)

ProAnimator 7

Zaxwerks has long been a denizen of the Adobe After Effects environs. They’ve chosen a very specific niche that has brought them success in the world of television bumpers and titling. The release of ProAnimator 7 offers some capabilities worth looking at that may be attractive to the microfilmmaker. The new features bring a significant level of simplicity to doing complex, 3D/CG lighting that resembles stages or ‘Events’ where bright lights, high activity and visual excitement is the rule. Tucked along with this significant new ability is a revisited level of texture/material controls that make creating CG environments…

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Padcaster 2 (Equipment Review)

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When I first used the iPad to film clips of my most recent child’s post-birth cooing, I realized that there was an interesting advantage to shooting with the somewhat unwieldy device: it forced you to hold your arms apart, more like you were holding a Fig Rig, which in turn meant your footage was much more stable than it would’ve been shooting with a smaller device (like your iPhone). Plus, the super huge viewing screen made focus issues virtually a thing of…

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All-Inclusive DSLR/DV Cinema Bundle (Equipment Review)

FDSLR Cover Image

Recently, Adorama has decided to launch their internal DSLR brand, Flashpoint, which makes products for DSLR users in both the still and cinema market. And because it’s being designed by a company that’s one of the most renowned photo/video sellers already, they have the ability to focus on features customers have requested, find a pricepoint that isn’t being served, and offer new innovations in a way that’s readily…

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Adobe Creative Cloud (Software Review)

Creative Cloud Cover

Here we go again; Adobe is unleashing its latest product line for creative types and some of the new features are going to blow your mind. HOWEVER, you have to conform to Adobe’s new content delivery standards. Gone are the days when you could purchase a software license to use as you please, for years to come if need be. Now we have gone from “buying” a license to “renting” one. Creative Cloud offers an online account that features Adobe’s vast collection of products. Subscribing allows access for a lower price than buying software outright used to be. But the option of buying the software outright is now gone…

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Photoshop CC (Software Review)

Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop is the Gold standard in photo editing software and over the last 15 or so years it’s also become a much more accessible program. When first introduced it probably seemed like dark magic voodoo, with the ability to bring back the old days of “yellow journalism.” What started off as simple photo manipulation has since evolved into complex tinkering with seemingly endless options. The newest version—Photoshop CC—requires…

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Make Your Story Really Stinkin’ Big (Book Review)

Make Your Story Really Stinkin' Big

Houston Howard’s book challenges screenwriters/authors to take their simple story and turn it into a complex world. The focus of Mr. Howard’s book is to incorporate a concept entitled “360 Degree StoryWeaving,” where the author of said story looks not only at the core story they want to write but looks far beyond it. These concepts not only include the past/present/future of the story being told, but to the entire universe it exists inside of. (As such, this framework can easily help you bridge into other platforms such as computer games…

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John Badham on Directing (Book Review)

John Badham on Cover

In my experience, the mantra that states “you can’t teach directing” is true. Directing can be a painful process of learning by trial and error. While nobody can “teach you” how to have a unique vision, there are people that can give you valuable information that can help you execute it. There are plenty of books written by accomplished and very respectable directors that serve this purpose. Iʼve read several of them and among the ones that have helped me the most as a beginner director have been written by John…

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Impackt (Software Review)

Impackt Product Shot

As microfilmmakers, we are used to making fast cuts and thoughtful fades between scenes and camera angles. However, if your story telling demands something more evocative and lyrical, then Luca Visual FX Impackt transitions is worth a look. Just so everything is up-front, this plug in is part of the Noise Industries, FactoryFX plug-in management system and is only for Mac Final Cut Pro 10 in conjunction with FactoryFX v4 or later…

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