Category: Resources

Top 5 Free NLEs for the Guerrilla Filmmaker

Like a lot of people these days, I have drunk the Adobe CC kool-aid. I love the way Premiere, just works. As far as workflow, the dynamic link library is a godsend: the way you can embed After Effects clips, and jump out to Audition, Speedgrade and Prelude just makes my professional life that much simpler and well worth the price of admission. I do understand that $60 a month is a bit rich for some and there are now some great options if you don’t want to spend a dime/penny.

When I was starting out your choices were pretty limited (I struggled with Microsoft Movie Maker for more time than I care to remember) but now there are some great, fully-featured options. Some are free versions (cut down versions) of NLEs you can buy (the freemium model); some are standard freeware offerings. All of the following will get you up and editing your footage for no money. These are my top 5 recommendations: Click for more

6 Ways Video and Filmmakers Can Use Pinterest

movie-clapper-pinterestYou could be for forgiven for thinking that Pinterest is just for people into food, fashion, puppies, interior design and Ryan Gossling but, if you dig a little deeper, you will find it a useful resource for video production and filmmakers too. Here are six ways you might use Pinterest as part of your process:

Practical Uses

  • 1 Video Mood board

    When filmmakers talk, especially when cinematographers and directors talk, they often talk in influences on themselves and for the work. A good way to make sure everyone is on the same page for a project is to create a mood-board for the project. As you can pin video, stills and audio Pinterest is the perfect place to create and share this. If you want to be a dictator, create a board, and then make your minions view it. If you want a more democratic process, you can let everyone on the team have a say and contribute. Pin links to movies that have some influence on what you’re trying to achieve. Link to actors who would be your ideal for a role. Link to costume, set, soundtrack, prop and location ideas. Break things out into separate boards if a single board gets overcrowded – no one wants to wade through more than a 100 pins so make it easy for your cast, crew and collaborators to find what they need.

  • 2 Bookmarks are dead (if they were ever useful in the first place)

    I used to bookmark pages I thought might be useful but them I could never find what I wanted in my mess of bookmarks spread across three different browsers on many different machines and devices. Chances are, if you’re a video producer, you’re a visual person, so what better way to store those useful links than on a Pinterest board? If it works for wannabe interior designs it will work for wannabe filmmakers too.

  • 3 Find practical and DIY solutions and tools

    There are plenty of boards where other users collect DIY projects for filmmakers. Others share collections of Filmmaking gear and tools if you don’t have enough gear-lust already. Yes, you can just Google these subjects but the visual responses to your queries in Pinterest are a more pleasant way to browse results, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.

Social / Marketing

  • 4 Promote yourself and your videos…

    … but not too much. If every pin you make links back to your own store or blog you wont get many followers. Why follow you on Pinterest when you can just go to your blog for the same content? Be more generous in your pinning but there’s still room for a board that is dedicated to your own work. If people want to know more about you they can see some of what you’ve made in a dedicated board. It’s also an easy way to create a portfolio you can point people to, especially if your work is spread across different hosts, channels and accounts.

  • 5 Show what you’re made of

    Looking through someone’s Pinterest Boards, you get a sense of who they are through what they like and promote. Do I want to work with this person? Is this person just promoting their own projects or products or are they being generous with their pins? Are they just following the herd and repinning the same stuff as everyone else or are they using Pinterest in their own way? What movies do they like? Which people do they admire? When you’re looking to work with someone new, you want to know as much about them as you can find. You might be working with them 24×7 for the next 6 months. Yes, it’s important that they can do the job but it’s also important that you can stand to be with them in close proximity for that long. Pinterest is a tool that can help you make that decision: it tells you something about a person beyond their IMDB entry or on-line portfolio. And while you’re considering that, what do your pins and boards say about you? You should probably check into that before you apply for next gig because they’re going to Google you before they offer you the job.

  • 6 Make Contacts – follow other video producers and filmmaker’s boards

    The community of filmmakers on Pinterest isn’t large but it is useful and inspiring. Find and follow boards and pinners who trigger ideas when you’re browsing Pinterest over your morning coffee. Comment on, or re-pin, or favorite pins you like: the social aspect of Pinterest is not as interactive as Facebook or Twitter but you never know who you’ll bump into on the site.

More Links

7 Things on Hulu that Filmmakers Should Watch


If you’re interested in filmmaking there are lots of movies worth watching for inspiration on Hulu but what if you’re looking for inspiration more directly concerned with filmmaking? The pickings aren’t quite so thick but there are still several hours worth of material to keep you busy.

Here are 7 of my favorites:

  • Project Greenlight: Looking a little dated now (the first of two seasons was released in 2001) but still interesting to see a contest winner given the chance to make their first movie through  Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore’s production house. As filmmakers I’m sure we all think we could do better but it does demonstrate a lot of the pitfalls of trying to make a low-budget feature within the Hollywood system.
  • 5 Broken Cameras: Amazing Oscar nominated documentary that describes what it is like to live in a West Bank village on the Israeli boarder from a local’s perspective.  You’ll never complain about your camera again after seeing how this filmmaker makes do with whatever SD camera he can beg or borrow.
  • American Grindhouse – a history of American exploitation film
  • RiP! A Remix Manifesto – the complexities of intellectual property in the era of peer-to-peer file sharing
  • Bergman Island – Ingmar Bergman discusses his work, his fears, his regrets, and his ongoing artistic passion
  • Touch The Sound – challenges the way we think about sound
  • Poultry In Motion: Truth Is Stranger Than Chicken – hilarious documentary that follows cult director Lloyd Kaufman as he tries to make a feature with no money.

4 Living & 3 Dead Film Podcasts Worth Listening to


If you search for Filmmaking podcasts there seems to be so many to choose from. The problem is, it’s much easier to start a podcast than it is to keep it going so there are many remnants of abandoned podcasts out there so finding podcasts worth listening to that are still active is harder than it first seems. I’m just talking about audio podcasts: I know there are quite a few great video podcasts out there but we’ll get to those another day. I’m just talking about podcasts you can throw on while your driving your commute to help kill that time and to learn something or be entertained in the process.

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Freesound: Give & Take

Zoom H4 Recorder

If you’re a filmmaker at any level from just starting out to an industry expert you know that, in the edit process you always find a few sound effects, foley or ambient noises that you’re missing. If you’ve been in that situation you’ve probably been to Freesound is a constantly growing library of Creative Commons licensed sounds. If you’re looking for something their search engine usually returns a few hits of sounds that might be useful and it is often quicker and much more convenient than digging out your field recording equipment and hunting down the sound for yourself.

That said, I’m sure lots of us have a few eclectic sound recording languishing on our hard drives that we recorded for one project or another. If you have something you’re willing to share the process of uploading them is a little geeky (ftp) but they do have a web interface too and it is a simple way of uploading a bunch of files at once. You simply upload your files, then describe and tag them and then wait a couple of days for them to be approved. What’s in it for you? What goes around comes around and what good are those files you’re hoarding especially if you’re not going to use them again. I just uploaded some of the sounds I’ve collected in recent months and it felt good to share. I hope other filmmakers will consider doing the same and freesound will become an even more comprehensive and useful resource for everyone.