If there’s one thing that you can count on when it comes to technology and media, it’s that nothing ever remains static for very long. New developments are constantly being churned out, and someone who may once have looked proudly at their widescreen LED TV now looks in envy at the latest curved 4K monster that is being advertised in the news today. We always want to be up-to-date with media, but it seems like we’re constantly a step or two behind the times.
This is hardly a new thing though, as media and technology has been forging onwards at an impressive rate of knots for years, leaving a trail of sadly obsolete formats in its wake. For those of us who’ve been around for a good while, it’s very tempting to look within our cupboards, see the clutter of VHS tapes, cassette tapes, records and the like, and despair that they’ll ever see use again. We reckon that we need a really good clear out, but can’t bring ourselves to get rid of the happy memories. What’s often overlooked, though, is that many of these media types can be updated.
Records to CD
Perhaps the most beloved obsolete media type is the record. Those of us who are entwined in the world of downloads and MP3s can still appreciate the beauty of a vinyl record, and that fact is demonstrated by the amount of people who still collect records en masse. Actually though, even those of us who just purchased them way back in the day can still get something out of them if we look into converting them. It’s not as finicky as many people seem to believe, and you can even perform the conversion entirely without a computer using devices from companies like ION.
Film to DVD
Another still popular obsolete media type is cine film. How many digital photographers and the like have you heard bemoaning the loss of film over the years, waxing lyrical over the purity and clarity of a photo that’s been taken using an old-fashioned film camera? We’re guessing that there’ll be a fair few, but film reels can still be pretty readily converted onto disc by services like Cine 2 DVD Transfers if you want them to be. In this way, the film footage of some precious memory in your past doesn’t have to be gathering dust pointlessly as a sort of ‘heirloom’, as the images can ‘live again’.
When you start looking into it, a huge amount of old media and technology types can be updated with far less hassle than you might think. VHS can be updated to be brought into line with DVDs, floppy disc data can be transferred onto CDs and more; the list is practically endless. Of course, with the DVD now giving way to the Blu-ray, CDs fighting a seemingly fruitless rearguard action against downloads, and more new formats than we can keep up with being released every year, it’s only a matter of time before the media of today is being looked on as obsolete too. We’re betting there’ll always be ways to update though, so don’t throw out your prized memories needlessly.
We live in a world where a great deal of the information imparted to us on a daily basis comes via a device with a screen. From Smartphones, to computers, to TVs and tablets, a good deal of our time is spent in front of some form of screen. Advances in screen capabilities have been frequent and widely covered over a number of recent years that have seen the rise of touch screen technology and high definition capabilities (amongst other things), and there always seems to be new ways for us to view the world just around the corner.
Surround Video is one of the latest technologies that is being used by a variety of websites and social media channels. If the idea of Surround Video means nothing to you, don’t worry. Check out the Surround Video homepage to both learn more, and also view a selection of videos which allow you to view the video content from any angle that you want. Surround Video has made it easy to incorporate a 360° video into a variety of environments, and many video applications and camera lenses are beginning to make use of the new technology.
Television will probably always remain the premium method of viewing visual content, but many TV users also often use a second device with a screen at the same time as they are watching their favourite programs, so Surround Video need not be a fleeting trend that has no relevance to the UKs TV audiences. In fact Surround Video is also beginning to be taken notice of by more and more TV related companies, so it is well on the way to achieving even more widespread integration. You can visit the BBC website to view a short article on the subject that also links to an iPlayer feature dealing with how broadcasters are incorporating new technology into their designs.
You may not yet be able to purchase a Surround Video capable TV, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy quality television right now. The amount of TV suppliers out there can make choosing a new TV a slightly bewildering experience, so it makes sense to choose a supplier that offers you both high quality graded televisions as well as low prices. Electronic World is one great option to consider using if you’re looking for cheap graded TVs. With a massive selection of TVs available, they’re sure to have something that will suit your needs, and your pocket.
Technology continues to show no signs of resting on its laurels. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, checking various internet websites, such as CNET will allow you to keep up to date with the latest news in the world of technology. With new advances and features being developed every day, you’ll have to move fast in order to avoid being left behind.
The recession has left an enormous number of commercial business sectors and consumer markets struggling to perform to expected standards. However, according to a recent report one such industry may have taken a step towards more positive times. News from within the consumer electronics market has shown that the number of consumers intending to purchase a HDTV has reached its highest figure for the last 3 years. More than 23% of the people surveyed expressed their intentions to buy a HDTV during the course of the following year, an increase of more than 5% when compared to Q4 in 2012. You can read the full report by visiting the Advanced Television website.
Many consumers still continue to find the difference between Standard Definition, HD Ready and Full HD TVs difficult to categorise. There is much to say on this topic, but in brief the basic differences mean that full HD TVs offer a much greater quality of picture when compared to a lower resolution Standard Definition model. HD Ready TVs sit somewhere between the two, offering a screen that is not Full HD, but that is still capable of displaying images from Full HD sources. If you want a more detailed discussion of the differences, you can find a useful article on the Gadget website that offers more in depth information.
For those wishing to enjoy high quality TV on a limited budget, HD Ready TVs are a great choice of model, as they offer the same amount of visual enjoyment on all but the largest of screens. The Philips 26PFL5522D is one option worth considering if you’re looking for a HD Ready TV. Boasting a flicker free screen, an integrated digital tuner and high quality surround sound, it is also currently retailing for £190 less than normal on the Cheap LCD TV website. Cheap LCD TV offers a massive selection of TV options at bargain prices, meaning that whatever your preferred type of TV, you can be certain of finding something that will suit your needs.
With more consumers than ever looking ready to upgrade their televisions, the future is looking brighter for manufacturers of consumer electronics. With even more TV options, such as 4KTV, set to become more widespread over the next few years, the fact that more people appear willing to invest in the latest gadgets is a welcome bit of good news to an industry that has endured a very challenging few years.
Being able to deliver a good presentation is an acquired skill, and one which is often honed by years of practicing. For many, the thought of standing up in front of an audience and articulating your thought is an uncomfortable idea. For such people, adhering to a strict set of reliable guidelines can often be highly beneficial.
Rehearsing your presentations is a key practice when preparing for a talk. It can help you to iron out any inconsistencies before the actual event, as well as helping you to identify any potential tripping points. Working hard to not overload your audience is also important, along with avoiding lengthy intervals where you simply repeat what you have already written on your slides. There are many detailed resources on the internet designed to help you get the most out of a presentation by avoiding such key errors. Visiting presentations.catalysis.nl/presentations/presentation.php will allow you to read a great article on oral presentation skills. It covers a variety of presentation tips, as well as analysing how the average attention curve of an audience can fluctuate during your talk.
A successful presentation also depends on your equipment. For someone who regularly delivers presentations, having access to an LCD projector is a fundamental part of life. You’re often served best by providing your own equipment, as at least you have more control over its maintenance. Check out www.isource.com/2013/07/03/the-kickstand-a-portable-hd-projector-on-kickstarter to find out about one proposed project called the Kickstand which, if successful, looks set to fix some of the weight and brightness issues which currently plague many portable projectors.
Until projects such as the Kickstand hit the shelves though, many portable projectors that are transported from place to place still suffer from various problems. Discount AV Direct is one company that is worth considering if you’re looking to get hold of a projector. With unmatched market prices, they are a great choice if you don’t want to spend too much on a projector that is going to be regularly subjected to the rigours of travel. Good value also doesn’t have to mean poor quality, so all Discount AV Direct products come with a 12 month return to base warranty. You can visit www.discountavdirect.co.uk/projectors_22_c to browse through the projector options that are available to you.
Not everyone is a natural when it comes to presenting, and so for some it can often be a cause of considerable anxiety. However by taking on board the right advice and making sure you have access to reliable equipment, you can definitely make sure that you give yourself the best possible chance of success.
Shooting your own short film is its own reward in many senses. Sitting around watching the film for the first time with the whole crew can be a pretty magical moment when you realise that, yes, you’ve done it! If you thought raising the funds to get the film made was a challenge, then you should be at least partly prepared for the next task: getting other people to watch it. Here’s a few ideas for things to do.
First of All…
… Get plenty of copies. You’re going to need to send this film to a lot of different people before you start getting noticed. Try a professional DVD Duplication company like VDC, www.vdcgroup.co.uk/DVDDuplication.aspx. Whatever the number of copies you were considering, it’s probably a good idea to double it. Buy a lot of stamps too. Keep the disc itself simple. Don’t overcomplicate matters with menus within menus and long streams of viewing options. Think of it as though you’re applying for a job, the layout of your CV should be clear and simple to allow for the content to shine through.
Set up a screening in your hometown and make an event out of it. Invite other local filmmakers to attend and share their projects. Make a feedback wall and take on-board people’s reviews. You might not want to change your current work but this will definitely help you with future projects. It’s also a great way of learning how to sell your film. You might discover that people’s interpretation is different from your intention – this is a great selling point to include in your submissions to other events as it shows that there is a complexity and ambiguity to your work.
From the local screening, you might be able to conduct a self-appraisal. What stage do you think you are at? Is your work as accomplished as you expected or are you still learning? Vimeo is an incredible platform for video artists. It might be a good idea to make a profile there and share the film with their vast online community. You can generate quite a following by watching and commenting on others’ work: people tend to reciprocate. If you get featured by Vimeo as a staff pick, then you can expect a lot of traffic. The community tend to be keen to share tips and techniques and technical information so you can learn a lot there: use it wisely!
There are so many short film festivals throughout the UK and abroad. You can apply to as many as you like but be careful to note whether they stipulate if they want original submissions only. This means that if your video gets accepted somewhere, you may have to pull it out of other festivals. A great tip is to look for festivals both by location and by theme. For example, there are lots of London film festivals like this one: London Short Film Festival (www.shortfilms.org.uk) and the Edinburgh Short Film Festival (www.edinburghshortfilmfestival.co.uk) is also running at the moment. There are also dedicated festivals like the UK Green Film Festival (www.ukgreenfilmfestival.org) for films about environmentalism and Sheffield Doc/Fest (www.sheffdocfest.com) for documentaries.
Don’t be shy! Shout about it! It took a lot for you to get your film made and you have to keep believing in it. It would be such a pity for you to go to all that effort and then fail to market yourself appropriately. Remember, you might not get exactly where you want to be straight away but everything you do is an opportunity for you to learn something new. Even if your film is rejected, you might gain some valuable feedback for your next film or if you’re shortlisted, this will be useful the next time you’re applying for funding. You’re a filmmaker, you know the journey is the destination so get out there and don’t miss out on any of the plot turns of your own career!
I have to admit something… I am a geek. Now 10-15 years ago geeks were not cool, there was an image that we all sat around in basements wearing grubby curry stained t-shirts playing DnD (Dungeons and Dragons to the uninitiated). The image of geeks has changed though, there are some pretty cool geeks out there like Brian Cox or Simon Pegg. Even geeky television shows like Game of Thrones are huge nowadays, The Guardian reported that it started ‘for its third series on Sky Atlantic with more than 700,000 viewers on Monday night.’ I myself am a movie geek, I love them. Nowadays you can buy merchandise and costumes to show off your geekiness like never before. Here is a few places that I go to when I want to embrace my inner movie geek.
(found at www.wauidesign.com )
Games Workshop is a staple for most geeks that I know. For those who aren’t so familiar they sell figurine armies of orcs, elves and even terminator style robots that you can battle against each other. The reason I feel an affinity with Games Workshop is they have Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Figurines, click here to check out some examples. So now I can do my own battles with Gandalf, Frodo and even Bilbo against the evils of Mordor.
The best thing about being a geek is there are tons of other geeks out there, so you know that you are never alone and someone is bound to share your tastes. Geeks even have their own conventions now, you might have heard of Comic Con in San Diego but there is even a Comic Con in Wales. This is a place where you can meet and talk to some of your favourite geeky movie stars. Of course costumes are a big thing at these sorts of events and I always try to get the best costumes I can. One of my favourite movies is Star Wars, so a Princess Leia costume is a staple of my geeky costume wardrobe. If you want to know where to get great geeky costumes click here. They have a great collection of movie, tv and superhero costumes, anything a geek’s heart could desire.
So don’t be afraid to geek out, it’s cool and hopefully this blog has shown that as a movie geek, comic book geek, any kind of geek there are plenty of ways to show off your geekiness to the world.
The TV found in a person’s living room can tell you a lot about their interests and how they spend their spare time. In one lounge the television is clearly the focal point, with all seating angled towards the screen, whereas in another the television may even be contained in a cabinet or need the furniture moved for clear viewing.
For a movie buff it is generally important to have a large screen, while keeping it proportional to the size of the room. Televisions for domestic use may be as large as 60 inches, which would be far too big for a small living room. A large screen is most effective when you can sit some distance away from it so individual pixels cannot be seen. When watching movies with a home cinema sound system it is important, for the best effect, that the viewers are seated centrally facing the screen, so the television should suitably placed. If you are unsure which TV is right for you, there is an array of TV reviews online (such as this one from trustedreviews.com)
TVs are available to fit any space in the home. With the advent of LCD technology a television can take up very little room and may even be wall mounted (for more information, visit 123 Brackets). Traditional cathode ray televisions still exist in many homes, although it is inevitable that these will eventually disappear for two reasons. The first is that an old-fashioned ‘tube’ in a television is a consumable part which will not last indefinitely. Secondly television broadcasts are set to change entirely from analogue to digital signals in the coming years; traditional televisions are not capable of receiving or displaying digital images and will therefore become obsolete (for more information on digital signals in your area visit digitaltelevision.gov.uk).
It’s not cliché to say that the filmmaking world is incredibly competitive. Thousands of scripts are written every year, many of which never see the light of day. The good news is that you don’t always need industry money to make industry waves, and that it has become much easier to get your film made with a little bit of time and effort. This blog is designed to walk you through the steps to get your words from page to screen to disc as cheaply as possible.
Getting your screenplay right is the most important thing you’ll ever do on your film. Your script will make or break your chances, no matter how good your idea is. Not only is this fundamental to it being noticed, but it also helps makes things clearer for you. First, having that unique idea needs to be presented properly. Scriptwriting software such as Final Draft is a major boon and should definitely be checked out, though it can be quite expensive. Luckily, there are some fantastic free alternatives out there available to download. My personal favourite is Celtx, as not only is their interface clean and intuitive, but their new app makes it possible to tweak your script on the go. With the right look and structure to present your ideas you’ve already got the hardest bit of the job out of the way.
Film doesn’t have to be on film. 35mm may be the traditional method of shooting, but digital filmmaking is just as common at a fraction of the price. Best of all, it can be shot on any shop bought camera, or even your smartphone. Of course, different cameras will give you different qualities, but achieving that aesthetic doesn’t have to break the bank. Films like Paranomal Activity and Monsters were shot using prosumer products, professional products for the consumer market, but even today’s shop-bought cameras are more than up to the task, and the majority are HD ready too. And for the nostalgic among you, why not start with a Super 8? It’s how Spielberg himself began, and this article explains why it’s making a comeback.
Get yourself to your computer, grab some editing software and start editing! As an editor myself I can say that this is often the most laborious aspect of filmmaking, but also the most rewarding. Nailing those edits is the best way to tell your film’s story, and it will also teach you to kill your darlings, making your hours and hours of footage into a tight, ninety-minute piece. Again, there are some brilliant pieces of kit out there to be bought, but free programs like Lightworks do just as a good a job, and it was even used to edit the 2011 Best Picture winner The King’s Speech!
With your film made there’s only one thing left to do, get it seen! Getting it into cinemas is one way, but realistically this is both phenomenally difficult and expensive, particularly for smaller, independent films. Submitting your film to the festival circuit is a great way of getting noticed, but will cost you for every submission you make to every festival. A great option is to burn yourself some DVDs of the finished product, and the right packaging can go a long way in aiding your cause. Whether you’re after just a functional ‘stack and shrink wrap’ job for mass distribution, or some bespoke packaging for a few copies, there’s nothing like seeing your film all boxed and ready to go.
It’s a hard task to get your film out there, but you can make it easier and cheaper for yourself by following steps like these. Don’t be put off if things are difficult at first, and the most important thing is to keep making films and enjoying what you do.
From a young age I have always wanted to make a film and have it seen by people, not just my friends and family. But of course the cost of distributing a film is well out of my price range. How Stuff Works talk about the costs of distributing a film, one print typically costs ‘about $1,500 to $2,000 (£950-1,300) to make, so the distributor must consider the number of theatres a movie can successfully open in’.
There are other ways to get your film seen if you don’t have the backing of any big studios. You could use the internet as a way to distribute your film, it is pretty easy to make a WordPress blog and imbed a video of your finished film. Your film will be out there with a host of other ones and unless you have the time and knowledge to make use of social media your film may be little more than white noise on the internet. You could send your film off to an independent film festival like Raindance but they require you to spend £100 before they will even look at your film and that doesn’t guarantee that it will be featured. If your film is chosen to be screened, that is great but beyond film nerds and movie critics it won’t been seen by the average cinema goer and you have not made any progress to recouping any of the costs of making the film.
Don’t waste any internet or media buzz that your film may have gotten from either of the above, and take this moment to think about distributing your film by yourself. There are plenty of DVD duplication companies out there that can make create copies of your film to sell and even do on body print to make your DVD look like one distributed by a big budget company. This way you can sell the DVD online or to the general public, boosting knowledge of your film and making some money to fund your next not big budget feature.
When you think of film makers you might think of Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg, your mind doesn’t even think to jump to any animated film makers, but why not? Often animation is associated with being juvenile, childish, but that is not always the case. Animated film makers can create imagery and stories that make you emotionally involved in what is essentially a pencil drawing, so here is a celebration of some of the greatest animated directors of all time.
You have to mention Disney when talking about animation greats, he made the very first feature length animation in 1937 ‘Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs’ and his company has been running since 1923, 90 years this year. He was an animator, director, producer and voice actor, he voiced Mickey Mouse until his death in 1966, and his legacy is phenomenal. Yes there are theme parks and the Disney corporation seems to be buying up anything it can get his hands on, but Disney’s animation is timeless, I love it, my mother loves it and my grandmother loves it and I am sure that my children will love it too and who what is better praise than that.
Not as well known as Disney, but definitely an animation great. He is an animation film maker from Japan and in an age where many animators are turning to computers to help create their films, all of Miyazaki’s films have been hand drawn. His films encapsulate the spirit of Japanese heritage and culture, some of his greatest creations are influenced from the Japanese myths surrounding spirits and that brings a magical and often mystical quality to his films. His films have a worldwide appeal, many of his back catalogue of work have been dubbed into English. He is quoted as saying that a child should only be allowed to see one film a year, and by that he means that films should be a special occasion, they should be something of such high quality in storytelling and animation that a child should only need to see one film a year, and that is why Miyazaki deserves to be on the list.
John Lasseter is the driving force behind the animation studio Pixar and after a relatively difficult start, he was fired from Disney in the 80′s as they did not see any profit in 3d animation, he has gone on to make some of the greatest animated features to date. Pixar seems unable to make a flop and that has to be because John Lasseter has always put the story above the medium, though he has helped pioneer 3d animation, the quality of his storytelling will be the thing he is remembered for.
One of the most revolutionary formats to come into existence in the world of technology has to be DVDs, which have superseded video tape to the degree that nowadays it is rare for anyone to even still own tapes, tape recorders and tape players. DVDs offer a high level of performance and storage space for relatively low cost, which is why they have become so prolific and popular in recent years.
There have been fears and ideas that DVDs will be superseded themselves at some point soon, but this looks unlikely for a few reasons. One is that DVDs have remained popular for a long period of time, and the fact that they are still popular at the moment indicates that there is not much of a market to improve upon or get rid of the format just yet. This is despite new technology such as Blu-ray discs being available, as these newer technologies are seen as being just the same as DVDs, but with slightly higher definition and more disc space.
In addition to this reason, many people think that normal DVDs are expensive as they are, and the reason that people have been slow to pick up Blu-ray discs at all is due to the even higher cost. Many people prefer to download, legally or otherwise, their films, which may suggest that one day DVDs become superseded by pure digital data, and that our films and music will cease to take physical form at all.
Animation has progressed astoundingly in capability, technology and acceptability in the past hundred years, being originally thought of a mere folly and is now respected as a major art form, along with painting and music. It has fought misconceptions of being an art form purely for children or as a novelty item, and even to this day there are many people that do not consider animation to be as respectable and important as some of the older, more established art forms.
The evolution of animation has been a slow one, though one of the first times it was popularised was in America during the twenties. Short animations, often for humour or advertising purposes, were the most common form of animation, and these were typically aimed at families. Despite this, some of them were not aimed at children at all, but contained adult humour and themes. Animation was originally not only ‘for children’, and it is clear that this misconception did not exist at the beginning but developed over time.
With the advent of the motion picture production code, more commonly known as Hays code, such animations either had to be censored or banned outright, leading to a more watered down version which was supposed to be more suitable for children. This is thought to be an instigator for the idea that animation is childish, when it was never originally so, and was instead supposed to have universal appeal and a particular message, which was not always politically correct.
A trip to the movies was once a big night out and a memorable experience. This has progressed to a weekly occurrence that we think nothing of, and now come full circle to a rare event only to see the most exciting new films. Now that it is possible to access the latest films without moving from your computer screen, even before they are officially available to see in the cinema there is less reason to pay high prices and drive to a cinema.
The experience of watching a film in the cinema is very different compared to your own lounge. In the cinema the room is designed to offer comfort and few distractions from the screen. A cinema will have superior screen size and sound equipment to that which can be installed in the home. For these reasons the viewers become more immersed in the film and get a fuller experience. There is also something to be said for watching a film with a large group of people – although it is preferable not to be aware of the rest of the audience, there are times when a collective shudder, laugh or intake of breath can enhance the enjoyment of the film.
From a home PC or laptop it is possible to watch the latest film releases by downloading them from the internet. These downloaded movies are often inferior quality and, if accessed illegally, may be so poor that the film is unwatchable. A preferable way to watch movies at home is by purchasing or renting DVD or Bluray discs with a high quality version of the film, including surround sound. Home cinema equipment can be purchased relatively cheaply and makes viewing a movie a more immersive, less disposable experience.
The clichéd image of a director sitting in a chair with their name on the back, calling instructions through a loud-hailer is probably the one that most of us imagine when we think about who has made the film we have just watched. The reality is that to bring a film from concept to cinema screen it can take either a vast number of film makers or a single individual with many talents.
In its simplest form, making a film can take just one individual. Student film makers are often those with the most determination and the smallest budget, meaning they must use solely their own talents and the minimum of equipment and technology to bring their film idea to fruition. In these circumstances the film maker must conceive an idea or story, write a script for any dialogue, design the visual scenes and shots for the film, find a location and source equipment, film the scenes including lighting, edit the footage and sound, then market the film to the intended audience.
Film-making as we understand it best is a massive industry dominated by the United States of America. It is known as a fickle business where both film makers and actors can be highly popular one year and struggle to work the next. The process of making a ‘Hollywood Blockbuster’ is massively complex and requires a huge budget. It is for this reason that script-writers often struggle to get their film made despite what may be an original and innovative concept.