Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Celtx wants to give you money!

Celtx - the students' choice for screenwriting software (because it's awesome and it's FREE) - is giving away MONEY for your films. Check out the video below!

These are the rules for the Seeds program from their website:
  • We want to see your single best storytelling video of 15 minutes or less.
  • If you’re an individual or a team, share it with through your Celtx account. If you’re entering on behalf of a school share it with
  • That’s all you need do. There’s no entry fee and it’s open to all Celtx account holders.
  • The deadline for sharing is midnight, 15 April 2012. Selected creators/videos will be announced on or before 30 April 2012.
This is how they’ll be giving away the money:
  • 10 x $2,000 grants for individuals or teams
  • 5 x $1,000 grants for schools (grade school to high school)
  • All selected storytellers and projects receive promotion through Celtx networks on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo & Google+.
(Original post courtesy of nofilmschool)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

'Parallax' and 'Covet' at Phoenix Film Festival this weekend!

Professor Paul DeNigris' Master's Thesis film "Parallax" will be screening twice during the 2012 Phoenix Film Festival's opening weekend. The film was produced by an all-star team of UAT Digital Video students and alumni who came out in force to help their prof!

"Parallax" - part of "Arizona Shorts"
Saturday, March 31 @ 10:40am
Sunday, April 1 @ 4:25pm

Click here for tickets for "Parallax"

And "Covet" - a multiple award-winner at last summer's 48 Hour Film Challenge, produced by many of the same folks who worked on "Parallax" - will also screen at the Phoenix Film Festival.

"Covet" - part of "Arizona Shorts Showcase"
Saturday, March 31 @ 9:05am

Click here for tickets for "Covet"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Help a UAT DV Alum launch his writing career!

UAT Digital Video grad Abraham Stopani sent me this email a couple of days ago:
As you may or may not know, my novel is in its final stage of editing and will soon be ready to go out into the world. I will be presenting it to editors and agents beginning April 20th. One of the big things the publishing industry looks at these days is how many people follow an aspiring author on their social media pages. If you don't already follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ would you, please consider doing so? If you wanted to be really nice you could encourage some of your friends to do the same. I'm constantly giving away free stuff on my blog and I link there from my social media feeds, so, hey, free stuff.

In fact, starting in April I'm going to open six weeks of drawings for autographed novels, books on writing and all manner of other cool stuff so now is a great time to jump on board.  If you recruit people have them include your name in a post or reply when they "like" (follow, +) me and for each person I'll enter you in a drawing for an extra special prize at the end of my publicity push.


Incidentally, I'm going under my pen name of S.J. Abraham so don't be surprised when you see that name on the links above.
Abe was one of our star students while he was at UAT, and I'm sure his fantasy novels are going to leverage his incredible imagination and his knack for spinning a great story! Be a hipster and "like" his pages before everyone else does, and tell him Paul sent ya!

'The Walking Dead' Season 2 VFX Reel

Not for the squeamish.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Art of the Title: 'Game of Thrones'

UAT alumnus Erin Clark was part of the team that created the Emmy-winning main titles for HBO's critically-acclaimed and immensely popular fantasy series Game of Thrones. Take a look at the breathtaking title sequence and read about its creation, courtesy of Art of the Title.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New After Effects Compositing Course from Jeff Foster and video2brain

From Jeff Foster, and video2brain, have just released a new video tutorial series, “Fundamentals of Compositing, Tracking, and Roto Techniques with After Effects.”

In this workshop Jeff Foster — video producer, compositor, visual effects artist, and author of “The Green Screen Handbook” — teaches you the basics of green screen compositing and setting up a streamlined roto workflow with After Effects and a Wacom tablet.

You’ll get real-world tips on getting the best mattes and keys from your green screen shots, stabilizing and tracking footage in After Effects, and using the Roto Brush feature to create quick and accurate mattes of anything that moves in the frame. You’ll also learn how to create more believable composites by matching your foreground and background plates, using roto-spline masks, and applying match-moving techniques.

Here are some free video tutorials from the series:

Best Practices in Software Keying

Stabilizing with the Warp Stabilizer in After Effects 5.5

Roto Brush Basics

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Evan Richards: 'Reverse Key Lighting'

Freelance director / cinematographer Evan Richards posted a well-written article about a lighting technique used by many Hollywood DP's, something he calls "Reverse Key Lighting."
The idea is that the key light is placed behind the subject rather than in front (the way you would probably see it set up in most cinematography books).
Read the rest of the article, which includes images from numerous blockbusters such as True Grit (above), here:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another TEDx Talk Produced by UAT DV Makes Front Page of

Another of the videos we produced for November's TEDxPhoenix event has made it to the front page of! The video has racked up over 100,000 views in just a few short days!

"Kelli Anderson: Disruptive Wonder for a Change"
Kelli Anderson shatters our expectations about reality by injecting humor and surprise into everyday objects. At TEDxPhoenix she shares her disruptive and clever designs.
The video was produced during the Fall 2011 Semester by the DVA241 (DV Production) class and edited by the DVA274 (DV Editing) class, under the supervision of Professor Paul DeNigris and Associate Professor Todd Schoenberger. Students involved were: Ty Bitterolf, Kennedy Gray, Ariel Navarrete, Neil Sparks, Nic Vereen, Dylan White, and Annie Winn.

Watch "Kelli Anderson: Disruptive Wonder for a Change" here!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

'Flight of the Melvin'- Official Selection, 2012 Arizona International Film Festival

"Melvin" continues to soar! We've just gotten word that our sci-fi family adventure "Flight of the Melvin" has been selected for the 21st annual Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson, Arizona! The 2012 edition of the festival runs from April 13th thru the 29th.

Rumor has it there will also be an event at the Arizona International Film Festival honoring the films selected for the Arizona Centennial "AZ100" Independent Films. Our previous sci-fi epic "Fallout" is one of those 100 films.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Flim Slate: 'How to Break Down a Screenplay'

You can never prepare too much before shooting a film. For instance, I just watched “Saving Private Ryan” for the umpteenth time and there it was: a mistake that I’d never noticed before. The translator has rounded up a group of Germans. One of the Germans mouths off and the translator shoots him, then tells the rest of the group to move off. We cut to a shot of the Germans marching off and there’s no dead German on the ground.
Someone made a mistake in breaking down the script and no one caught it.
Read the rest on Film Slate!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

nofilmschool: 'Getting Better as a Director: Using Objectives'

One of the fundamental tools for an actor is their “objective.” This is a specific way of working with character “motivation.” Discovering a character’s objective begins with asking the question “what does this character really want or need during a particular scene?” This is not to be confused with what the character says in the dialogue. We are looking for the “subtext” or unspoken desires of a character that can be channeled into specific behavior.
Read the rest over on!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ARGNet: 'Transforming USC Film Students’ Freshman Year Into an Addictive Game'

Wired Magazine picked up this little gem from ARGNet - "Alternate Reality Gaming Network" - about a revolutionary card game being used to prompt creativity and networking among Freshmen at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.
Reality, which just completed its first season, is one part trading card game, one part media creation tool, and one part web portal. Three hundred unique cards, color-coded by type and designed to fit together, were handed out to students who unraveled a series of clues leading to the game’s secret campus headquarters or tucked away for discovery as the game progressed. As students discovered other students who were playing, they made “deals” by trading or pooling cards that led to collaborative projects and then published their work to Reality’s web portal so other students could rate and review the projects. Winning projects earned interesting rewards, like meeting industry professionals, for the creators.
Check out the article for details of this really interesting melding of gameplay, socializing, and filmmaking. Also check out the official "Reality" site at

Monday, March 5, 2012

Paul Steinberg: 'C300 Test'

Toronto, Canada-based DP Paul Steinberg has posted his own take on a Canon C300 test, with an eye towards really pushing the camera in terms of ISO. Check out that 20,000 ISO shot at the end!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Inspiration: 'Rest'

Here's a great short film to inspire students and professionals alike. A new twist on the zombie genre and a beautifully shot film to boot. Thanks to alum Abraham Stopani for passing this one on!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Premium Beat: 'Wisdom for Editors'

Writer Danny Green over on has compiled a handy list of 140-character nuggets of advice (i.e., Twitter posts) from working editors and post-production professionals. From working with clients to what tools to learn, the business side of working as an editor is pretty well covered. Plus you'll get some new people to follow on Twitter. Read the article here!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Zacuto: 'Film Sound Sessions with Clinton Harn'

Camera accessories manufacturer Zacuto has been compiling some great articles to help filmmakers at all experience levels get better at their craft. Their "Film Sound Sessions with Clinton Harn" is no exception!
Sound.  It’s the most elusive element that seems to plague filmmakers so very often.  We commonly hear filmmakers saying things like, “sound is 2/3 film” or “sound will make or break a production.”  The list goes on.  Yes, we have been able to get that “picture” quality to a “pseudo” Hollywood look, but sound is difficult. Or is it?
The index of Harn's articles can be found here on the Zacuto site. Here's the current list:

Article 1, Sound Perspectives 101
Article 2, Tools of the Trade, Part 1
Article 3, Tools of the Trade, Part 2
Article 4, Tools of the Trade, Part 3 
Article 5, Tools of the Trade, Part 4 
Video Tutorials: Capturing Sound in Cars

And here's Harn's intro video: