Sunday, January 31, 2010

Film Making 101 Tutorial One: Rule of Thirds / Composition

I have always used the rule of thirds as more of a guideline than a rule. That being said, it's good to know rules if your going to break them.

The rule is simple, divide your frame up into thirds horizontally and vertically.(see the black box below) Now for the magic, place your subject on the intersecting points. That's it, easy as pie.

I've rendered out a cinematic sequence of frames to help you visualize this concept in filmmaking.

(Quick Tip) I like to start low for wide shots. As I move in the camera raises and levels out.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Miniature Testing Results "Round 1"

This is in no way a perfect shot, but it's a start. I'll need to buy a couple of things before I begin the next round of tests.

What's wrong with this picture?
  • Scale: I was using a 1:24 scale model in this example. (It would take 24 of these little models to equal the length of the full size vehicle.) It was nearly impossible to line up prospective at this scale, 1:12 or 1:6 would make the job much easier. 
  • Focus: I was at f22 and it's still out of focus. The model was right up against the lens. This might have worked better if I was using macro lens. 
More testing is needed. I'll post more results when I finish round two.

Go out and give it a try. Email the results to me at films.october(place the @ here) and I'll post them on the blog.

               Behind The Scenes Photos

And The Winner Is "Greenscreen"

It's official, The Dead War will be shot on a greenscreen stage. We've come to this decision after much thought and a little push from you guys. I'm sure it will be double the work, but the end result will be well worth it.

Stay tuned, I will be documenting the construction of the new stage area in the coming weeks.

October Black,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

R.I.P. Zelda Rubenstein

Poltergeist (25th Anniversary Edition)Zelda Rubenstein of the movie Poltergeist has passed on. She was 76 years old.

October Black,

Filming Miniatures

I was on recently and came across a post discussing the art of incorporating miniatures into our work. I've been thinking about it ever since. It's time to get my hands dirty and do some testing. I'll report back here when I'm finished.

October Black,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To Greenscreen Or Not To Greenscreen That is The Question

Sin CityLately, I find myself debating what direction to take when filming. Most people would grab their camera and go. But, I can't seem to shake my greenscreen dreams. The idea of creating a whole world from scratch appeals to the artist in me. It's time for a pros and cons list.


  • create anything you can imagine
  • light and mic your actors with ease
  • work in one location
  • scheduling actors couldn't be easier

  • sets must be modeled, lit, and rendered
  • camera moves must be tracked or cheated in post
  • certain camera angle may be difficult to achieve
To me it looks like the pros outweigh the cons. I guess it all comes down to the intended look of your film.

I have two examples, ONE which was shot on greenscreen and TWO which was not. Which of these two styles would you use?

October Black,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aging Airsoft Guns

UTG Combat Tactical Metal Heat Shield Shotgun airsoft gun

A zombie movie without guns is like cake without ice cream. Last week I purchased this Airsoft Shotgun and it's proving to be a great investment. After painting the orange tip black(painting the tip black is illegal in some states), I shot a quick test. That test is now the second teaser for THE DEAD WAR.

I'm thinking about aging and texturing my new Shotgun . Would you like me to turn this project into a tutorial? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

October Black,

A Word On Directing

Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television
Directing is the most demanding job on the guerrilla filmmaker's set. Most times you'll find yourself directing from behind the camera, focusing on the technical aspects of the job. So many things can go wrong when your undermanned, but I urge you to focus on your actors.

The actor/director relationship, is one that we have the least amount of time to learn. It's trial by fire and that can be intimidating. To compound matters, many first time directors cast friends in their productions. Do not fall prey to this mistake! Get out there and meet some new people!! But, arm yourself.

Directing Actors by Judith Weston will be your new bible. Don't just read this book, learn it. Keep it with you on set and at rehearsals. This book is the bridge between you an your actors. It will help you speak their language. Directing Actors is the best book I have in my film-making arsenal.

 Five Stars!

October Black,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Dead War "Teaser Trailer #2"

Film Making Tutorials

Tutorials are coming!

I'll be covering subjects such as lighting, vfx, and 3d.

If you have a tutorial request, post it in the comments.

The Dead War "Teaser Trailer #1"

Introducing "The Dead War"