Thursday, June 28, 2012

'Flight of the Melvin' Selected for Dragon*Con

Our sci-fi family adventure film "Flight of the Melvin" has been selected for its 8th film festival - the 2012 Dragon*Con Independent Film Festival in Atlanta, Georgia! From the Dragon*Con site:
Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!

This year, Dragon*Con will be held Labor Day weekend (August 31 - September 3, 2012) in Atlanta, GA.
Film festival info can be found here: We'll post the screening schedule for "Melvin" as soon as it becomes available!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Microphone Placement Tips

Here's a fun video that illustrates some of the key points to getting the best location audio possible.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HurlBlog: 'Diffusion for the Digital Age – Using Smoke'

DP and blogger Shane Hurlburt has written an excellent post on the uses of smoke on set - to create mood, evoke a time period, or to create an appealing diffusion to make your actors look better.
The first diffusion I go to time and time again, whether it is film or HD, is smoke.  This is a very powerful tool.  Having the patience to use the right smoke to get your levels consistent can infuse a mood, transport you back in time, create style, and a cream effect on a woman’s skin.  One tool.

Check out more examples, and the full blog post over on HurlBlog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

IndieWire: 'The Six Things You Must Know to Make it in the Film Industry'

Barbara Freeman Doyle, Chair of the Film Division of Chapman University, shares her insight into how the film business really works in this incisive blog post for IndieWire.
In a business where much of the deal-making and negotiations are verbal, your word and your reputation is EVERYTHING. The film industry is small. Everyone who is established can easily make contact with anyone else or can get the straight scoop by making a few calls. How much you are paid, your title on a project, how hard you work, how honest you are, how you treat people— there are no secrets.
Read the entire post here, bookmark it, re-read it, commit it to memory, live it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

UAT Digital Video produces Geeks' Night Out videos

In February 2012, a team of UAT Digital Video students lead by Professors Paul DeNigris and Todd Schoenberger provided video production support for the City of Tempe's "Geeks' Night Out" science and technology festival.
Geeks are really important to Tempe. About 20 percent of the jobs in our city are tech-related. We are, perhaps, the most tech-heavy town in Arizona, depending on how you slice it. We love geeks. They're smart, fun and want to change the world for the better. They've cured diseases, built robots, and yes, even helped us get to Mars. (Source)
The students involved in this project were: Alexander Broderick, Evanne Carter, Clayton Dowell, David Ford, Anthony Guilkey, Reginald Riley, and Vanessa Schell. Here's the playlist on YouTube, over two hours of engaging talks and high-tech product pitches. Watch it all here, or bounce over to YouTube to pick and choose which talks to watch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

nofilmschool: 'Two Interview Lighting Tutorials That'll Kick Your Footage Up a Notch'

The great "nofilmschool" blog turned us on to these two awesome lighting tutorials. If you're new to lighting, or just looking for some pointers to sharpen your skills and fill out your aesthetic toolset, these are both worth a watch. From the nofilmschool article:
The first tutorial comes courtesy of stillmotion, the folks behind SMAPP (which looks like a pretty useful filmmaking app for folks learning the ropes).  Not only does this tutorial do a great job of illustrating a general lighting set-up, it does so while jam-packing key terms and concepts.  It’s a solid introduction to lighting in general — from key lights to fill lights, to lighting ratios, you get a lot of great information:

The second tutorial is from Eve Hazelton and the folks at Realm Pictures (who are developing what looks like a really cool underwater fantasy project).  What I like about this tutorial in particular is how it shows the many ways you can spice up the image with well placed lights in the background, and that 3-point lighting isn’t some hard and fast rule — you light to your tastes:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

fxguide: 'Art of Stereo Conversion: 2D to 3D – 2012'

In keeping with their amazing "Art of" series, fxguide has put together a comprehensive set of case studies detailing the 2D to 3D conversion pipelines for films such as Titanic, John Carter, Star Wars Episode I, and the latest Transformers.
Many people argue that if you want a film in stereo you should shoot it in stereo. Yet many filmmakers do not want the physical size of an on set stereo rig, or they prefer to shoot film (ruling out stereo in camera, effectively) or want to use anamorphic lenses which are extremely difficult for stereo native capture. Even on a stereo film, lenses and situations often times render a single camera the only viable solution. Thus, even on films shot in stereo there may well be a need to convert some footage and that high quality conversion is an important tool in the box of any effects house.
As a number of our alumni are currently working in the 2D-to-3D conversion specialty, and there are no signs of 3D disappearing from cinemas anytime soon, chances are high that you'll at some point be involved in this sort of work. Read the rest of this invaluable article here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

UAT Inducted into Cumulus, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media

The University of Advancing Technology is pleased to have been inducted into Cumulus, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, as one of an exclusive group of universities worldwide. From their website: "Cumulus is the only global association to serve art and design education and research. It is a forum for partnership and transfer of knowledge and best practices. Cumulus consists currently of 189 members from 46 countries."

In fact if you look at the list of full members here, UAT is one of just 11 institutions in the United States, including Art Center College of Design, Ringling College of Design, and the School of Visual Arts. Great company to be in, indeed.

Here's UAT's member profile on the Cumulus website.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

UAT Sponsoring Trip to VFX Career Fair

The Visual Effects Society (VES) and are hosting the VES Career Fair and Tech Expo on June 16, 2012, in three simultaneous locations - Los Angeles, London, and New York.
On the heels of our successful inaugural VFX Career Fair & Technology Expo last year, the Visual Effects Society presents our Worldwide VFX Career Fair. This will be a daylong event where the very best practitioners in the Visual Effects industry and the top companies in entertainment from around the world converge on Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, & San Francisco on Saturday, June 16, 2012 to employ, educate and inform the Visual Effects Community.
The VES VFX Global Career Fair & Technology Expo has the distinction of being the world’s largest Visual Effects specific Career Fair and Technology Expo dedicated solely to the Visual Effects professional. Exhibitions, Career Fair, Technology Showcases, and Software Master classes, all set the stage for the 2nd VES Career Fair and Technology Expo.
If you are interested, email The entrance fee is $15 dollars and you must provide your own hotel room, but UAT will drive anyone interested there in the UAT Van!

AE Tuts+ 'Create Custom Blood Spatter With CC Mr Mercury'

James Whiffin posted this tutorial on AE Tuts+ for using After Effects' built-in "CC Mr. Mercury" effect to create (in his words) "300-inspired blood spatter." Here's the preview, and the full tutorial can be found here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

'Flight of the Melvin' Official Selection, Gen Con Indy Film Festival

Our sci-fi comedy "Flight of the Melvin" has been selected for this year's Gen Con Indy Film Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana, August 16-19! This is the 45th year for this venerable convention of gaming, sci-fi, and geek culture. From their site:
Gen Con Indy is the original, longest running, best attended, gaming convention in the world. For over 44 years, Gen Con Indy has been setting the trend and breaking records. Last year, more than 120,103 turnstile and 36,106 unique attendees experienced Gen Con Indy. The biggest complaint we hear is that there is simply too much to do, see, and experience. Get lost in a phantasm of art exhibits. Stare at jaw-dropping costumes, or better yet, wear one of your own. Meet the movers and the shakers in the gaming industry. Check out the newest games and get a sneak peek at the latest editions.
 Learn more about Gen Con at their website!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Inspiration: 'Because of Stanley'

Here's an amazing video produced via "Camera Mapping" or "Camera Projection." From the video's creator, Topi Kauppinen:
The reason why I’m so fascinated by Camera Mapping is the way it enables, in a sense, rebuilding physically long-gone spaces and situations by using relatively simple geometry coupled with a little bit of photoshopping. And the ultimate pay-off that comes with it, if done right, is the possibility for near photorealistic, but more or less limited, interaction. The most obvious interaction, of course, is dollying the camera into the frame, which creates something of an elaborate Ken Burns effect, if you will.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Black and Blue: 'Three Must-Have Skills for Pulling Focus and How You Can Improve Them'

Evan Luzi over at The Black and Blue Blog has written a really helpful article on focus-pulling, an essential skill for anyone considering a career in the camera department:
Pulling focus is hard. Really hard. It’s certainly no walk in the park.

In fact, it’s one of the most stressful, pressure-filled, ridiculously tough tasks that you can shoulder on a set and the consequences are as simple as they are brutal: miss the focus, ruin the take.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

For those who are good at it, it is. Nothing is more satisfying than keeping an actor’s eyes in sharp focus throughout the entirety of a 30-foot-dolly shot.

But that kind of skill has to be earned — forged in the fires of experience by tapping into and improving certain qualities necessary to pull focus in a seamless way.

So today I want to talk about three of these must-have skills for focus pullers and show you practical methods to improve them so you can panic a little bit less when the DP sets the stop to T 1.8.
Read Evan's list of three essential skills, and how you can practice to improve them over at The Black and Blue.

Friday, June 1, 2012

PBS: 'The Art of Film & TV Title Design'

Here's a great video posted by PBS - brief interviews with the creators of some of the most iconic title sequences of the modern era.
The credits are often the first thing we see when we watch a great film or TV show, but the complexity and artistry of title design is rarely discussed. Creators of title sequences are tasked to invent concepts that evoke the core story and themes of the production, and to create a powerful visual experience that pulls the viewer into the film's world. In this episode we hear the stories of some of the most inventive people working in the field, including the creators of the iconic Mad Men sequence, the hilarious Zombieland opening and "rules" sequences, and the stirring end credits from Blue Valentine.