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…


Read the rest of this story...

Padcaster 2 (Equipment Review)

Padcaster 2 Thumb

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…


Read the rest of this story...

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…


Read the rest of this story...

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…


Read the rest of this story...

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…


Read the rest of this story...

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…


Read the rest of this story...

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…


Read the rest of this story...

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…


Read the rest of this story...

Photoshop Lightroom 5 (Software Review)

Lightroom 5 Cover

Most microbudget filmmakers have to wear a ton of different hats. Since the video DSLR revolution, more and more low-budget filmmakers can afford to have an extra one of these cameras on set and, when one isn’t being used for video, it’s grabbing behind-the-scenes images and marketing stills. Having a production-based still image software that’s relatively inexpensive is a great way to capitalize on this…


Read the rest of this story...

CrazyTalk7 Pro (Software Review)

CrazyTalk 7 Pro Cover

When presented with the need to create an original animated show for an affiliate, we delved into CrazyTalk7. The CrazyTalk franchise is designed to simplify animation for “talking-head”-type pieces by having mouth animation interpreted automatically off the syllables and phonemes in an audio track and applied to a mapped picture or drawing. (In past versions, the auto animation was limited mainly to mouth movement with a median level of eye blinking to go with it. In CrazyTalk7, however, the core animation is now much more robust…


Read the rest of this story...

Premiere Pro CC (Software Review)

Premiere Pro CC Cover

As a longtime Premiere Pro user, the first thing I noticed is that there’s been somewhat of an overhaul to the look of your timeline, which goes well beyond what you’d typically see in a “.5” upgrade, although the timing of this release is just a little over one year past when we first saw Premiere Pro CS6. Ultimately a couple of the new features immediately make the program easier to use, while a few left me scratching…


Read the rest of this story...

Canon EOS C300 Camera (Review)

C300

When the EOS 5D Mark II came onto the scene in 2008, I don’t think anyone could have known quite how big an impact it would have. Here we are, over four years later: in an industry that is continually shifting towards smaller cameras; where the standards are set incredibly high for image quality, features, and camera design; where the tools available to feature films in Hollywood are the same tools used by documentarians, independent filmmakers, and students all over the world. Right in the middle of this mix enters the Canon Cinema EOS line, the natural progression of a camera company that once changed the industry so radically. The Canon C300 was the first of this line introduced…


Read the rest of this story...

Corel VideoStudio Pro X6 (Review)

VideoStudio Pro X6

Well, the new version, Corel VideoStudio X6 has just arrived, and it offers up many new bells and whistles including 4K support, a subtitle editor (with voice detection), motion tracking, movie files with alpha layers and more. (And folks who’ve been dismayed to see a well-known competitor go to an all subscription basis will be pleased to note that you can actually own a copy of VideoStudio Pro X6, not just rent it!)


Read the rest of this story...

Sapphire 7 (Review)

Sapphire7-thmb

GenArt’s Sapphire has been one of my go to effects plug-ins for the last few years, and I was eager to see what the new version had to offer. Although the price point is a bit steep, you’ll find tons of effects that prove quality can live alongside quantity quite nicely, more so than many of the other massive FX bundles.


Read the rest of this story...

Trash 2 (Review)

Trash 2 is a rebirth of the classic distortion plugin used by musicians and filmmakers alike!

Nearly 10 years ago, iZotope released a product called Trash, an audio plugin that gave users a wide array of tools to distort and mangle audio. It has been heavily used by bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, and Sigur Ros and has served the music and film industry well over the years. Just a few months ago, iZotope released the rebirth of this classic plugin now called Trash 2, and it’s better than ever. Whether you are a sound designer mangling sound effects or a filmmaker looking to add some grit to some background music in your next short film, Trash 2 has an application for everyone in the music and film industry.


Read the rest of this story...