Filmmaking – TUTORIALS & TIPS

translation services

Here is a compilation of Tutorials and Tips that I have posted on this site over the past couple years.  They are grouped into two sections – Production and Post-Production (further down the page).  There is really a whole range of material – most of it for those just getting into video, but we have also put together quite a few tutorials on more advanced Post-production practices.  For the most part the posts are listed in the order, which they are posted, but I have moved a few things around – specifically the Setting Up You Canon 5D MkII (and MkIII etc…) post, which you will find at the top of the page.  If you watch only one tutorial – make sure its this one – as having your HDDSLR set up correctly to shoot video (or to shoot video correctly, rather) is the first and most important step!



Setting Up You Canon 5D MkII (and MkIII etc…) – I decided to put this piece on the ideal way to set up your Canon 5D MKII for video.  I had an inclination that the release of the 5D MKIII was imminent – but these settings and principles behind them (although the menus will change) will more than likely apply just as well to that camera.  The accompanying blog post details the process.


Vimeo: Behind The Glass Part 1: An Intro to Lenses – Blake at Vimeo asked me to help him record some instructional videos on lenses and apertures and depth of field etc.   I told him that it’d been done SOOOO many times before… I didn’t want to do anything too booorrriiinnnggg…  we had to do something DIFFERENT…  and then out of that, these 3 videos resulted – check them out below or on the Vimeo page.

 Behind the Glass Part 2: Focal Length

Behind the Glass Part 3: Depth of Field


Push/Pull Moves with the Kessler Crane (via Preston Kanak) – For all of my productions that involve time-lapse, I have always utilized Kessler gear.  Because these rigs are motorized and have built in controls that allow you to execute a certain move over a specific amount of time, they are perfect for time-lapse.  The below video was put together by Preston Kanak from "3 Minute Shorts".  He does a great job of explaining how to use Kessler systems in this manner, and how to best work around the issues these types of moves present, such as seeing the track in your shot.  It’s an enlightening video for those of you who have seen me talk about Kessler Gear, but not been a time-lapse shooter.  You can check out all out all of this gear on the Motion Control portion of my gear page.


Low/Tech Push and Pull move (via BrussPup) – I found this video on Youtube and just love the creative, bare-bones nature of it so much that I had to put it on here.  You don’t need a huge budget to do some nice looking camera work!


Tips and Tricks for 5D MkII: Part I  – This was the first tutorial/tip post that I put together for the 5D MkII.  I cover the usefulness of the 5D battery pack/handle, as well as using WiFi to trigger your camera on and off when shooting video (a remote trigger will only engage the shutter – not record video).

Tips and Tricks for 5D MkII: Part II – Audio – The second post that I put together regarding recording sound with your 5D MkII.  The camera’s internal mic simply will not do the trick, and for that reason you have to at least use a camera top mic of some sort.  For more information on ways to record audio on your productions – you can see the components of my audio kit on the Gear Page.

Tips and Tricks for 5D MkII: Part III – Monitors – As anyone who has shot with these cameras knows by now – having an external monitor is extremely useful.  This is my third post on tips and tricks for shooting HDDSLR video and it covers the benefits of using a monitor – especially for nailing focus.  For a breakdown of the different monitors and viewing assists that I use, check out the Gear Page.



After Effects CS6 3D Camera Tracker Tutorial – In the below video, Jon Carr, demonstrates the new 3D camera tracker in Adobe After Effects CS6.  The tutorial covers two different uses of the camera tracker: incorporating 3D text and also basic visual effects.  Also check out the accompanying post for more information.


Workflow: Green Screen Tutorial in After Effects – If you watch just about any movie or television show today – there’s a high probability that at least one green screen shot is part of that production. To that end I asked my colleague Jon Carr (who works on many projects with me) to lay out  the steps on how to do a simple green screen composite using Adobe Production Premium CS5.5.  The blog post on this subject also lays out the steps for doing this in detail.


Adobe Post Workflow on Mobius – This is a double post of sorts as it shows you some behind the scenes on how our workflow in Adobe Premiere worked on "Mobius," – using the dynamic linking to move between Adobe Premiere and AfterEffects.   In the video, Jon Carr, gives a more practical breakdown of how these features were used on "Mobius," but also briefly shows you how he uses these features to do rotoscoping.


Detailed Adobe Premiere & Dynamic Linking Workflow – This is a follow up post to my last tutorial with Richard Harrington.   It contains a more in depth look into the Adobe interface and its features, and lays out our workflow, from importing footage into Premiere, and sending it roundtrip to After Effects and back.  Check out the one hour tutorial below  (you asked for it!)


Workflow: Adobe Premiere Intro and FCP 7 Roundtrip – This is my first post with Richard Harrington.  I was always a long time FCP user, and recently began using Adobe products because of their ability to natively work with certain types of footage (.H264, 5K etc.).  So I thought I’d put a quick little video up on the blog showing how you can roundtrip back and forth between both apps via XML.   If you  have an FCP 7 project and want to use Premiere or After Effects – you can do so in seconds.   If you then want to send that project back to FCP 7 and grade it in Color for example – again, you can do so with a few keystrokes via XML.


Video & Post Workflow and Backup Strategy (with Chase Jarvis) – I was planning on writing about my video and photography workflow (pre-RED EPIC), but my buddy Chase Jarvis beat me to it with a pretty extensive video that describes his workflow.  For a detailed list of all of our media and computing devices and workflow in the Laforet Visuals studio – read the accompanying post.


Excellent Tutorial on Grading via ProLost – Stu has worked on Red Giant’s software’s Magic Bullet Colorista (which is a pretty rockin’ grading suite – especially if you don’t already own Final Cut Studios’ grading software Color)  amongst other things as well and I think his latest blog post is not to be missed by anyone who is interested in grading.  (For still photographers – “grading” is the word video/film folks use to refer to what we call “color correction” or “toning.” 


Ripple Training Tutorials for Final Cut Pro – possibly outdated given Apple’s move to Final Cut X, but if you are looking for some quick tutorials on getting started in post with your HDDSLR footage and are using an older version of FCP (which many folks still prefer), then you may find some helpful information here.  


Applying Timecode (or very close to) your HDDSLR footage – On a basic level – this is “simply” a Final Cut Pro “Log and Transfer” plugin.   Stick a disk in – launch FCP – and open the Log and Transfer menu up and you’ll be greated with the familiar FCP menu here.  However, it also reads metadata, allows you to convert your footage to ProRes 422, and will create virtual timecode for your files.  I explain the plugin in depth in the blog post.


Converting .H264 footage – MPEG Streamclip – For me it’s simple given that I work with Final Cut Studio – I work with Apple’s ProRes codec.  What this means is that I simply convert the H.264 footage to the higher quality (and less compressed) ProRes format.  In order to do this I have always been a fan of the (free) software MPEG Streamclip.  This blog posts covers the essentials of why you need to convert your footage as well as how to do it.


Apple Keyboard Shortcuts – a quick breakdown of Apple’s keyboard shortcuts – ALWAYS helpful – especially when navigating multiple hard drives with multiple finder windows when you are transferring an copying footage.


iStat Menus for Monitoring your Computer Processing – One of the most useful utilities I use is a free utility called iStat Menus.  It does a number of things – but the most important to me is to show me what my network activity is.  If I hook onto a WIFI spot – and I only see data going up (and nothing coming back) I know the connection is dead or blocked.  It also helps when you’re on deadline and don’t know if you connection is dead, or just really slow… The second big benefit – is that it shows you your hard drive activity and CPU activity as well – which is incredibly useful.  Check out the post for more information.


Booting your Laptop as a Hard drive: Target Disk Mode – Here’s a simple one that most of you likely know – but for those who don’t – it’s so essential that I have to go over it. this is a great way to get files back and forth or to “diagnose” certain things.  Simply restart your laptop and hold down the “T” key on your keyboard. This will start your laptop in Targe Disk Mode (or any Apple machine) – meaning your hard drive(s) from that machine will simply mount on the desktop of the host machine as regular hard drives.  The accompanying post goes into greater depth on this neat little trick.