Archive for the ‘TV Production’ Category

In Case You’ve Misplaced Your Heartstrings   Leave a comment

Browsing Reddit today, I found this video, watched it five times in a row, then realized I had to share with you all, stat. That is all.

And also, Here’s a great article by Drew McWeeny for HitFlix about Jim Henson, the production world, and pretty much how to make the most of your dreams.

Love, kisses, and cookies,

~C

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Funny Commercial   1 comment

Every now and then a funny commercial comes along. I haven’t seen one in a while, but John sent this one to me yesterday and I just had to share….

 

Posted July 1, 2011 by Elfawin in TV Production

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24 Hour Film Festival: The Quick And Dirty   1 comment

Knoxville 24-Hour FIlm Festival Logo

The Knoxville 24-Hour Film Festival is about to begin! At 7pm tonight film makers will gather at the Relix Variety Theater to hear the rules, find out the three secret film components that every team must include (a character, a prop, and a line of dialog), and then race off to figure out how the bloody hell they’re going to come up with the props, a script, and a location, all in 24 hours.

FILM FEST RULE #1: Before racing off, take five minutes to formulate a plan of action! Make sure your camera operator knows how to use the camera. And unless you’re shooting a silent film, you’re gonna need to pay attention to your audio quality, too.

If you’re out and about on the streets of Knoxville tonight and you happen to catch some odd guerrilla filming going on, chances are it’s a film fest team. Last year none of the films used the same location: Knoxville has a pretty diverse landscape for shooting all kinds of genres.

FILM FEST RULE #2: Make sure you shoot in non-restricted areas! Keep it legal, kids!

Teams only have 24 hours to complete the scripting, shooting, composing, editing, and finalizing of their film. Most team members will find themselves up all night stressing out, juggling fits of creativity with bouts of zombie-like tiredness. Some teams resort to no-doze or Red Bull to stay awake and in the game. Other teams prefer a drink of the adult persuasion. Hey, whatever gets the job done, right?

FILM FEST RULE #3: Buy craft services for the cast and crew! An army on the move runs best when it’s well fed and watered.

Hopefully when the sun wakes up, most teams will be close to being finished with shooting, or at least half way through, with an end in sight: A good script has a beginning, middle, and end. Each film can only be four-minutes long, MAX. That’s not a very long script, is it. Well, unless you’re going for Gilmore Girl’s-type dialog. #Shudder.

FILM FEST RULE #4: Wrap up shooting QUICKLY! Editing takes longer than you think! You have to factor in time for computer edit crashes, rerendering unrendered clips, fixing audio problems, learning how to use the editing software, and a final quality review.

By 7pm on Saturday, May 28th, hopefully all of this year’s teams will successfully turn in a QuickTime on DVD to the film fest organizers. Last year a few teams didn’t turn in DVDs in time and they got DQ’d. 😦

FILM FEST RULE #5: Turning in something is better than turning in nothing. Unless the film is just really, really bad. #judgementcall.

So there you have it. My quick-and-dirty guide to the 2011 Knoxville 24-Hour Film Festival.

Last year I helped out my buds on team Reply All, who were last year’s winners of the coveted Best Film category (#hatersgonnahate). For their awesome Rhyme Slaya video, I channeled my inner Mariska Hargitay and played a no-nonsense detective. This time around I’m giving up the acting gig and donning my sewing machine, threads, pins, and other random costume supplies in whatever capacity the wardrobe dept. needs me. It should be a fun ride! Mostly I’m just excited because my #mad sewing skillz will not be needed all night long, so I can come home and get some sleep like a normal person.

zOMG, only 14 minutes to go before the film fest starts! May the best team win!

And Now You Know: Green Screens Revealed   Leave a comment

In between finalizing three different final projects for my UT classes this weekend, I took a much needed break and ventured out to the edge of my favorite Internet black hole o’ procrastination – reddit. Within seconds, I found this fantastic YouTube video (below) that will blow your mind.

Before you watch it, take a second to reflect on the television shows or movies that you watch. Got a mental list going? Okay, now you’re ready to watch the video…

Some of the above editing effects are pretty easy to spot, like the cruise ship from Grey’s Anatomy at 1:05, or the window-dangling action scene at 2:53 (extra points if you can figure out what show/movie it’s from), but would you necessarily have noticed the other scenes? I’m going to bet that you wouldn’t have. I worked in cable television production for six years, and I can’t figure out half of these shots.

Green screens are a funny little invention, and they make the movie and television worlds we know and love come to life in exceptional detail. After watching the above video, do you feel cheated by the production industry?

So how does it work?

The quick and dirty explanation: Once a green screen is in place, a scene is shot like it normally would be. Attention to lighting detail is really important. Shooting outside on a sunny day is perfect, because the sun distributes light evenly and naturally over all objects. High quality lighting kits are wicked expensive, so shooting outdoors is a cheaper, albeit highly weather-dependent alternative.

Once the footage magically appears* in the edit bay, the editor applies a Chroma Key color transition to each green screen shot. A Chroma Key is an editing software feature that basically allows two images to be sandwiched together. The color of one image is removed (the lime green around the subject), and is replaced by the desired image (the action or location surrounding the subject). The lime green of a green screen makes it a perfect color to use as a backdrop, because very few things in this world are naturally lime green. Editors don’t have to worry about the Chroma Key removing objects other than the green screen. Does that make sense? If not, think of what you would look like if you were wearing a lime green top infront of a green screen. In the edit bay, once the Chroma Key is implemented, all that would be left of you is your head and arms.

Good editing results in seamless scenes that make it essentially impossible for viewers to discern where a green screen is located. If you pay close attention the next time you watch a documentary or reality show, you might notice a weird glow around a person’s hair, fingers, or oddly shaped accessories (I’m thinking Carmen Miranda, who are you thinking?). Rest assured, you’re not seeing their natural aura. Items such as hair, fingers, and accessories can be unusually shaped and are difficult to key out perfectly, especially when a subject moves their hands fast, or runs their fingers through their hair.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the above video. The next time you notice a poorly edited or obvious green screen scene while watching TV or a movie, award yourself the Badge for Chroma Key Awareness!** You deserve it.

*Thousands of editors and media workflow specialists around the world just cringed simultaneously.

**Chroma Key Awareness badge is not a real badge and can only be unlocked/obtained by your imagination.

Film Festival Fun   1 comment

It’s that time of the year again. The film festival time of the year! Next month Knoxville will be hosting the annual 24-Hour Film Festival, which is a frenetic, high speed, no sleep, creative explosion of digital videos. Entered teams are given specific instructions on a Friday afternoon at 7pm. By the next day – Saturday at 7pm – each team must turn in a fully edited, completely original short film submission on DVD. Teams that don’t hand in a DVD on time are automatically disqualified from prize consideration.

Last year I was delighted to be part of the entry that won the prestigious prize for best film. It’s called “Rhyme Slaya” and it was written, produced, shot, and edited in 24 hours by the talented folks of team “Reply All.” The specific requirements for the 24-hr film fest. were that the video had to contain a dictionary as a prop, and the words “Try to be incognito when you meet them” had to occur in the dialogue. This video ended up being a music video called “Rhyma Slaya.” It’s an awesome example of what can be accomplished in 24 hours if enough creative, enthusiastic, sleep-deprived people help out. Check it out below (I’m the female detective).

(Protip: Expand these to full screen size. They are high quality videos and look far more delicious in HD!)

Following the success of Rhyma Slaya, team Reply All entered the Secret City Film Festival in Oak Ridge. The category this round was horror. The required prop was a foreign coin and the required line of dialogue was “I’ll have what she is having.” Reply All’s resulting video, “The Sound of Slaughter,” took home multiple awards including best film (again!). Take a look below. It’s not too scary I promise.

Good luck to the Reply All team for the 2011 film festival season!

~C

Ways To Be Shameless   Leave a comment

My Shamelss Cake

I am a huge fan of the new show, Shameless, on Showtime. Well, it’s not actually a new show. It’s a USA remake of a British show by the same name. Lots of shows that air in the USA are remakes of British shows (Top Gear, Life on Mars, The Office, Dancing With The Stars, Queer As Folk, Supernanny, Friends). Shameless is one of them, and it’s awesome.

Not being particularly suitable for children, Shameless airs every Sunday night at 10pm. Normally I like to be heading to bed by this time on a Sunday. But for this show, I make a dedicated exception.

The series revolves around the Gallagher family who live in a dingy Chicago suburb. Frank, the father, is a barely-functioning alcoholic with seven children. His oldest daughter, Fiona, does pretty much all the work to keep the family functioning. There’s always something crazy going on, but Fiona and her siblings always figure out a way to keep moving on with life.

This weekend I decided to make a red velvet cake with strawberry frosting. I wish you could smell it through your screen, because it smells uh-may-zing! It’s taking all of my will power to not  stop typing and go eat a slice right now. Fresh. Hot. Cake. In. My. Kitchen. NOM! I’m calling it my Shameless Cake, because I’m looking forward to eating it shamelessly, while watching Shameless.

So what are you doing tonight? Will you be watching Shameless on Showtime while eating some good dessert? Or will you be in bed playing Angry Birds? If you’re going to be looking at a screen and you have cable, check out Shameless.

~C

Posted March 6, 2011 by Elfawin in TV Production

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Aussie Slang Word of The Day   1 comment

“Mozzy”

Pronunciation: moh-zee

Meaning: Mosquito

Usage example: “The mozzies are heaps bad this time of year”

One of my favorite mozzies is the one in the title sequence of Dexter on Showtime. Is anyone else an avid Dexter fan like me? The title sequence goes through the motions of a normal morning routine, but with close up images and exquisitely dark undertones that suggest bloody murder. So subtle. The color treatment is just beautiful.

Another title sequence that I can’t peel my eyes away from? True Blood. Disturbingly beautiful, it leaves you wanting more. Here’s a video of the making of that title sequence by the geniuses over at HBO. The interviewee tells the story best (WARNING: Video contains brief nudity):

~C

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