The battle heats up for mobile camera rigs – MoVI moves price

You have to feel a little bit sorry for the folks over at MoVI. They basically created the first amazing, affordable-ish, camera gimbal when they came out with the M10. And awesome it is. It is a combination of hardware and software that has caused many a filmmaker/DOP to change their way of shooting.

But, cheap it was not. The M10 ran about $15,000(!) and when they came in with the smaller M5 it was still priced at around $10,000.

This, of course, meant that another company could come in and, as we say in the business world, eat their lunch. And DJI came in and ate. DJI have the Ronin, which is for all intents and purposes the same thing (some argue it is better, some argue it is worse) as the M5. And it costs under $3,000.

So, perhaps too late, MoVI have dropped their prices. Basically halving the cost.

  • MōVI M5: $4,000
  • MōVI M10: $8,000
  • MōVI M15: $12,000

Is it too little, too late.

Over at NoFilmSchool.com they’ve got an article on the price drop, but it is really the comments that are the news. Scroll down and read the reaction. I don’t think it was exactly what MoVI was hoping for.

Five Fatal Flaws of your Indie Film Website

I’m trying to contact as many micro and low budget filmmakers as possible. Those who have completed and distributed, in any form, a feature (preferably narrative) film. I am doing this for my Raindance Postgraduate Degree research.

For my sins I have to go to a lot of indie film websites. A lot. And it is more often than it needs to be – because it needs to be never – very painful.

I’ve compiled my top 5 list.

1. No Contact Us Information

Are you KIDDING ME?!?!! You went to the effort of making a website for your movie and you didn’t put a contact us form or even your email address in the typical replace @ with (at) form? You do realise that you have just cut yourself off at the knees, don’t you? Probably 90% of people who go to your site that want to contact you will not look any further.

If I had to guess I would say that more than 50% of the ‘official’ websites for micro and low budget films have no contact information.

2. Facebook is not your website

OMG. WTF? You think that setting up a Facebook fan page is all you need to do? While it is PART of a strategy it should not be the whole strategy. It is very difficult to have private conversations on FB and let’s face it, this is what email is for. Also, you have very limited control over your page and design on FB (which for some of you is a good thing as we find out in point 3) but really, do you want your destiny held by Facebook?

I will expand on this and say that any other site like Facebook, where you can put up a page about yourself or your project, is ALSO NOT YOUR WEBSITE. The sites that are not your website include: YouTube, Wikipedia, KickStarter, IndieGoGo, Film Festival pages… you get the idea.

Spend the $10 and get your own domain.

Extra ‘fail points’ for thinking that your IMDB page is good enough.

3. ‘Clever’ or ‘Arty’ design

You have a friend who is a clever web designer. Or you yourself are an artist. That’s nice. But please don’t be tempted to have some super sexy, graphics heavy, Flash/HTML5 video driven site that is unusable from anything but a high end pc. Yes, put your – YouTube hosted – trailer on the front page. Yes, have social media buttons. No, don’t make me wait for media to load. Or make me regret going to your site from my iPhone while I am on 4G.

4. Not updating

Many websites I visit seem to just peter out. Often there are no postings after production is done. There MIGHT be a posting about some festivals, but I have gone to films from festival website links where they don’t even mention being in that festival. Now… if I was running a festival and I knew you did that why would I put your next film in it?

During fundraising, pre-production and production you have to update a lot. Lots of photos, behind the scenes, etc. Of course you have to do that. But even in post-production and definitely in distribution you also need to do that. Keep a dialog with your audience.

5. No Website

Of course, this is the worst one. As I said in point 2 – get the domain name for your film. You should do this way way early. Even before fundraising. Because you should be naming your film something that is unique and people can find (see bonus tips below). Once you have that domain name, get some free hosting or cheap hosting, put up a wordpress site and get going. It doesn’t take much and you can do it yourself or find a friend who will do it for free or next to nothing. Please pay attention to point 3 and don’t make it overly complex or ‘clever’. ‘Clever’ is the enemy of ‘usable’.

If you are stuck on this point then contact me and I will help you out.

Bonus Tips:

6. Check Google Results

If you google on your film name and you are not on the first page you’ve got a problem. Especially if you add ‘My Film Name’ + ‘Filmmaker Name’ and you don’t show up in the top five.  It means your website is not being tracked well by google or you have called your film something ungoogleable. Like it or not, Google ranking is a vital tool in the promotion of your film. As I stated above, keep uniqueness and ‘googleability’ high on your list when thinking of your film name.

7. Check spelling and links

Nothing is worse than seeing spelling mistakes or even worse, mistakes in links that cause the link to not work. Double check and test your site. Please.

 

The real pocket cinema cam – the iPhone 6

I have long been a believer that the iphone not only changed still photography forever, but also filmmaking.

Now with the announcement of the iPhone 6 I think we will see another step up in the revolution. And I am not alone in thinking this. Over at Wired.com they have an exciting article on this very topic.

We are at a point in history where never before have filmmakers had such access to the tools and the audience. Perhaps someone can see the need for studios, cinema chains, sales aggregators and the like, but, their functionality in the future is pretty hazy!

Get excited. Read this.

THR’s 20 piece Indie Gear Starter Kit

What’s the harm in one more list!?

Over at The Hollywood Reporter they’ve got a quick list of all you need to make it as an indie filmmaker. It is slightly simplistic (sarcasm mode!) as point 1 is ‘the script’ but, all the points are spot on.

I envy people in LA (on this ONE OCCASION!) for having a resource like LA Casting.

I would remove one thing: the Jib. I’d definitely replace that with a slider (I honestly think the slider is the single piece of gear that will change your filmmaking!)

Otherwise…great list!

Douglas Trumbull reinvents the movie

In the Hollywood reporter is a very exciting piece about legendary filmmaker and SFX man Douglas Trumbull and his new filmmaking process. The new process – where the film is shot and projected at an incredible frame rate (upwards of 120fps) will supposedly change the viewing experience into something completely immersive.

Sounds exciting, scary and a little bit like one of Trumbull’s infamous sci-fi films!

The premiere of the tech will be at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival. Dammit. I wish I was going.

Trumbull’s own website has more info.

Do yourself a favour – try not to lose all your work

God bless Elliot Grove over at Raindance for writing this article! As I was reading it I realised that I hadn’t configured the backup for this very website!

The article is ostensibly pointed at filmmakers, but in truth it is for anyone who uses a computer. Rule #1 check your passwords Rule #1a BACKUP.

The one thing that is missing from the article is mentioning Dropbox. Recently Dropbox upped it’s storage (I now get 1TB for the price I was paying for 1GB) and I can back things up from all over the web directly to my dropbox using OAuth authentication. Awesome.

But otherwise, please, for the love of GOD, read this article and act on it.

The confusing world of cameras – crop factor

Recently I’ve been looking into a variety of cameras with which to shoot video. As soon as you even scratch the surface you realise you are in a new world of terms and technology.

One of the most confusing, and I think unintentionally off-putting, is the crop factor of a camera. People rant and rave about it (especially in the case of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and the Panasonic GH4).

Well, over on nofilmschool.com is a short piece from Robert Hardy that might belay some of the discussion for at least a few minutes.

Using Biometric Data to Measure Audience Emotion

This is a cool little featurette from the July 5th, 2014 episode of BBC’s great technology show, Click.

This talks about using realtime biometric feedback, captured using wristbands, to chart the audience’s emotions. I can definitely see this being used to do audience testing. The exciting thing is that as this technology becomes more available – via 3d printing and open source software – this kind of thing can be used for indie film, not just big budget studio pictures

How horrible a viewing experience would this be? Live viewer comments in the cinema

While they are not busy shuttng down independent film festivals, China’s national film board does some interesting things.

This is, um, questionable but I can see that it is a gateway to a future vision, not the end vision. Or at least I hope not.

The short version: while watching a movie audience members can post live comments and then

Those messages are displayed either next to or on top of the feature film projection

Ugh.

Read on.