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October 2, 2015

by ShoHawk

filmmaking advice

The expectations for young filmmakers have certainly evolved in the past ten years—probably faster than ever before.

There continue to arise new production and distribution options, weekly. Many of those resources are covered here on ShoHawk, and on a plethora of other wonderful filmmaking sites. But here, now, I’d like to cover some life lessons and filmmaking advice.

Life lessons are among the most important tools a starting filmmaker can acquire, and these are 17 I wish I’d known before leaving high school. Many of these came to me the hard way, over time. Some were things I’d heard, but ignored. All of them prove that hindsight is 20/20.

The old story: if I’d known then what I know now, the struggles along the way would have been far less dramatic, and the hurdles less intimidating.

I hope these 17 lessons will help filmmakers who are just beginning, and remind working filmmakers of some important things that inevitably get hazy.


Whether you aim to create independent works or commercial entertainment, opportunities to do so will never be available if you have little or nothing to show. Practice early and often.

If you’ve just decided to enter this craft, know that it’s never too early to begin creating. You don’t need anything fancy and can start today on a smartphone or tablet, so commence experimentation as soon as possible.

Learn the grammar of movies: why certain shots don’t cut together, how changing sunlight effects a long shoot, and why audio quality is as important as image quality—if not more. Keep refining these techniques.

The beginning is all about putting together a toolbox, and developing a voice.  Ideally, you’ll be doing that your whole career, but it’s particularly important early on.

16 More…


Leave us a comment and tell us: what’s your best piece of advice for young filmmakers?


Essential Information on Flying Drones


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October 1, 2015

by Larry Jordan


Recently, the Digital Production Buzz interviewed two founders of a company that specializes in flying drones for videography. After watching the interview, Mike wrote to share some important information and clarifications on flying drones.


Mike writes:

Current FAA rules stipulate that no drone can be flown within 5 miles of any airport, nor can they be flown inside any national park without a special permit; and this permit does not include state parks or national forests. Also, all flights must be kept below 500 feet.



Free Audio Fade plugins for Final Cut Pro X


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September 30, 2015

by XEffects

Free XEffects Audio Fades Plugins for Final Cut Pro X

XEffects Audio Fades are a set of free audio fade plugins for Final Cut Pro X that when applied to a clip or audio components of a clip, automatically apply audio fade handles.

Audio isn’t Final Cut Pro X’s strongest point and we all know that there is no easy way to execute an audio fade between two clips. This set of plugins has been designed to automatically add audio fades at the beginning and end of a clip. Different durations range from 1 frame to 10 seconds.

So by just extending the outgoing audio component, audio fades between clips in the primary and secondary storyline can be achieved with a few clicks.

To install the plugins, drag the contents of the folder into the Effects Presets folder in the Library as shown. The plugins will not work if the folder is dragged in, they will show up in FCPX but not work.

Follow the path Users/Yourusername/Library/Application Support/ProApps/Effects Presets

If you cannot see the Library, hold down the ALT key whilst looking in the GO menu.

One note of caution. As these are levels presets, any audio level changes or keyframes will be removed when these fades are applied. So apply the fades first!

This plugin has been made free to download for the FCPX community, however please read the copyright restrictions. Be sure to subscribe to YouTube to get notifications of all new effects.

audio fades path fcpx



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September 29, 2015

by Christopher Sakr, Producer/Director at ShoHawk Media

The Pixar Brain Trust


This is an awesome way for editors to get feedback from other like minds! Here, we cover the power of Pixar’s braintrust—a mastermind group Pixar uses to flesh out and solidify concepts. We also show how you can create your own braintrust with filmmakers you know, or even those you don’t! You can share rough cuts, or full scenes. Hope you find this helpful!

Want to know how to set up your own braintrust with filmmakers? Click: WHY YOU SHOULD EMULATE THE PIXAR BRAINTRUST

7 Things You Need to Know About Green Screening


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September 28, 2015

by ProVideo Coalition

FREE EBOOK: 7 Things You Need to Know About Choosing and Using Green Screen Materials

Professionals that have worked with green screens will tell you – without the right green screen materials, even the best lighting and camera won’t help you.

With this free download from award-winning video producer and artist, Jeff Foster, you’ll learn sensible approaches that content creators at all levels can take when it comes to getting the most out of a green screen.

In this eBook you will learn about:

  • Types of green screen production
  • Choosing the right materials
  • Retaining your details
  • The importance of scopes and apps
Ready to get started?

78 Free Production Elements and Templates


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September 25, 2015

By Michael Maher, Premiumbeat

Download dozens of free production elements!

Get free After Effects elements, sound effects, Photoshop templates and more!

Last week (see September 15th blog) , PremiumBeat gave away original production elements for readers to use in their own productions. All of the elements are still available for download!

1. 20 Free Color Grading Presets for After Effects

With PremiumGrades, quickly apply color grading presets to your footage in After Effects. These 20 Free After Effects presets will add style and tone to your project.

The effects presets were designed to be dragged and dropped into your layers in After Effects. Take a look at all 20 presets in action in this demo:

All the rest, here!



The Three Ground Rules for Interviews


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September 24, 2015

by The Pinkston Group

The Pinkston Group

  • The Three Ground Rules for Interviews
    Photo courtesy of Roger H. Goun, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

“Don’t quote me on that.”

That phrase will make any public relations professional cringe in agony. It means a spokesman has just shared information or an opinion with a reporter he should not have shared. It also means the PR advisor has failed in their duty to properly prepare the spokesman for an interview by setting and clearly explaining the ground rules.

There’s a saying that sums up everything you need to know about an interview: The microphone is always on. If you conduct an interview with the understanding that everything you say may be quoted and attributed to you, you should be able to avoid pitfalls.

However, there are cases where it may be necessary to provide a reporter with information or analysis without attribution. It’s absolutely vital that the ground rules for this kind of interview be set in advance and clearly understood by all parties involved.

Confusion about these ground rules — whether an interview is on the record, off the record or on background — has contributed to countless awkward situations for political figures and business leaders. But the consequences can go far beyond awkwardness. Failure to understand the fundamentals of the media and what it means to be on or off the record lead to situations where you damage your reputation and put your organization at legal or financial risk.

Here’s a guide to the three primary arrangements that govern how a reporter may use the information given in an interview.

Free Animation Training from Pixar Studios


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September 22, 2015

By Michele Yamazaki, Toolfarm

Pixar in a Box

Yes, you heard that right! Khan Academy has teamed up with Pixar to bring you ‘Pixar In a Box’. Here’s the press release…

Khan Academy Launches PIXAR IN A BOX, a Behind-The-Scenes Look At Pixar Animation Studios’ Creative Process

Pixar in a Box – a new online resource that explores the academic concepts behind Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process – goes live on KhanAcademy.org. Through a series of video lessons, interactive exercises, and hands-on activities, students will discover how the academic concepts they learn in school enable Pixar filmmakers to create new worlds, animate unique characters and tell stories through animation. Although designed especially for students in middle and high school, these resources are available to learners of all ages, completely free of charge.

Here’s the rest of the press release…

Khan Academy logo

FREE 1,500+ 4K stock footage clips


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September 21, 2015

by Mitch Martinez


As a video producer, you’re on the front lines of content creation. Now that 4K tools are more accessible, it’s time to ease yourself into the future of filmmaking… and Director of Photography Mitch Martinez wants to help you out.

Martinez shared his 1500+ free 4K clips here.



Find It All Here!


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September 18, 2015

So… I’m asked many times about this site that I’ve had going since early 2009 and what it has to offer.  Its mostly a “bookmark” blog about articles, tips, and freebies related to editing and the mac I work on to do that editing.  Of course the favorite part of this site are the freebies that can be found across the internet related to my field.


You want freebies?  Merely click on the “Categories” field and you’ll find over 250 articles with links to hundreds (or more) freebies.  I’ve even made it simple to find them all by just clicking here.  I’ve been a guest lecturer at a local university to students who obviously cannot afford the myriad of sometimes costly plugins and software out there.  Heck!  Neither can I, at times!  Which answers my earlier question about using this site as a bookmark so I, myself, can find those past freebies.

99% of these articles are not written by me, but merely a link to the original articles.  More than freebies, you’ll find interesting tutorials and production news that might help you in your endevours.  Feel free to bookmark this site and leave a comment if you feel its been helpful in any way.

Best Regards,




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