How to Create a Long Exposure Video Effect in After Effects

Pulling off long exposure photos is relatively easy, but doing so with video is another story.

One of the first still camera «tricks» you learn as a photographer is how to create light trails using long exposures. All you do is crank up your shutter speed to five or six seconds (or whatever works), adjust your aperture accordingly, and boom, you’ve got some nice light trails streaking all along some random freeway. But can you achieve the same effect with video? Totally, but you’ll need to head into post to do it.

Photographer/cinematographer Dan Marker-Moore, known for his iconic time-slices, created a video for Toyota that employs this interesting long exposure video effect, and in the tutorial below, he shows you how he did it using nothing more than standard Adobe After Effects tools—no plug-ins required.

And here is the completed ad for Toyota so you can see the effect in real-time:

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No Film School

Michael Jackson’s Groundbreaking ‘Thriller’ Music Video Will Premiere in 3D in Venice

Michael Jackson's Thriller 3D

Michael Jackson‘s Thriller is perhaps the greatest music video of all time. It was the first music video of its kind, created as a nearly 14-minute short film that happened to have a chart-topping song playing throughout. The music video was such a publicized spectacle that it premiered at the AVCO Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983 and went on to sell out every night for three weeks straight. Thriller is also the only music video to be inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, which is a pretty big deal.

Now fans will get to experience Thriller as they never have before when it screens in 3D at the Venice Film Festival. After being announced back in 2014, the 3D conversion of the music video directed by John Landis is finally ready for audiences to see it. Find out more about Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D below.

A press release has announced that Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D was completed by Optimum Productions with assistance by John Landis, using the original 35mm film negative available in the King of Pop’s archives. It sounds like the process has taken longer than anticipated since the 3D conversion of the music video was intended to be released in theaters and on Blu-ray in 2015.

In addition to the 3D conversion, the sound from the video has been given a makeover as well. All of the audio, including Michael Jackson’s signature tune, Elmer Bernstein‘s score, and even the sound effects, have been converrted to 5.7, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos standards for the highest quality audio visual experience of Thriller since it debuted in theaters all those years ago.

Here’s what John Landis had to say about the big news:

“I am so happy to have had the chance not only to restore but enhance Michael Jackson’s Thriller! We took full advantage of the remarkable advances in technology to add new dimensions to both the visual and the audio bringing it to a whole new level. Even though Thriller was shot traditionally, I was able to use the 3-D creatively. Let me just warn you, there is a rather shocking surprise in there!”

Since Thriller wasn’t reedited or recut for this 3D conversion, I’m curious as to what this shocking surprise is that John Landis is talking about. Those in attendance will also be treated to a screening The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, a 45-minute documentary and was only available on VHS from 1983-1990 and never available on any format since then. Fun fact: MTV and Showtime paid $ 250,000 each for the rights to the documentary, which is how the music video, the most expensive ever made to date, was funded.

Sadly, most of us will be waiting awhile to see Thriller in 3D since it’s only premiering at the Venice Film Festival for now. However, since the previous plan was to release Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D in theaters and on Blu-ray, I’m willing to bet that we might get to see the music video come back to theaters, complete with the making of documentary, sometime down the road. After all, Halloween isn’t too far away, and with two months between the Venice Film Festival and the spooky holiday, that should be enough time to get some kind of theatrical distribution plan together for the music video.

Stay tuned to find out when you can see Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D yourself. In the meantime, here’s the original video:

The post Michael Jackson’s Groundbreaking ‘Thriller’ Music Video Will Premiere in 3D in Venice appeared first on /Film.


/Film

Theme Park Bits: Updated ‘Pirates’ Video, Star Wars Land Construction, and the Few ‘Fantasmic’

Star Wars Land Model

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Watch video from the new additions to Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Commentary on and photos of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
  • The Great Movie Ride is being sent out in style.
  • The Slinky Dog coaster track has been finished,
  • Retro Epcot merchandise is on the way.
  • Watch full video of the new Fantasmic.
  • And more!

The controversial update (which Imagineers explained at D23) to Pirates of the Caribbean that modifies the scene with the redheaded woman being “auctioned off” to salacious pirates has gone into effect at Disneyland Paris. Now, she’s a pirate herself, overseeing a treasure auction and armed with a rifle. You can watch the first footage of it above, months before this change will take place at other parks.

Even more impressive is the new Captain Barbossa audio animatronic, which transforms from human to skeleton before swinging his sword at passing guests.

The Great Movie Ride is set to close forever on August 13, but D23 Gold Members will be able to send it off in style. This special event begins at 7:15 a.m. at the entrance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and latecomers will not be allowed to join (so plan carefully). Details remain scarce, but it will be a “behind-the-scenes experience” that comes with breakfast and a special gift.

As The Great Movie Ride closes its doors, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is starting to take shape across the park. Here’s some very interesting construction going on at the location of the Millennium Falcon ride show building.

And while it will be a few more years before we can ride it, here’s a great look at the ride vehicle design for the other Star Wars attraction in that land, which will plunge you into a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

You may remember that highly detailed Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge model from D23. If not, you’ll still enjoy this guided tour of the intricate and gigantic model with Imagineer Scott Trowbridge. If you want to know more about this model and how this land was designed, StarWars.com spoke with Lucasfilm designer Doug Chiang about working on the land:

The process is pretty in-depth, because we’re trying to anchor something that’s very grounded in the Star Wars universe, yet add something new to it. So it’s a very fine line of where that balance should be. For this land in particular, we were very careful because we wanted to create something fresh that would be timeless. You know, like a film, these have to exist for years and years, and so we wanted to make sure that we captured that perfect note. 

One of the interesting challenges for this was to find a world that felt exotic enough, and yet felt familiar. So one of the key things that we did was really play around with scale and the idea of petrified formations. It’s that blend of something that’s exotic, but then exaggerating the scale quite a bit and then creating a whole world based on that one idea. If you look closely, there’s history built into it. There’s history built into the landscape and history built into the structures themselves.

Continue Reading Theme Park Bits >>

The post Theme Park Bits: Updated ‘Pirates’ Video, Star Wars Land Construction, and the Few ‘Fantasmic’ appeared first on /Film.


/Film

Interview (Video): Sidney Lumet

One of the greatest movie directors of all time.

Two cinema legends: Sidney Lumet, Paddy Chayefsky on the set of “Network” (1976)

I was on Twitter last night exchanging movie book recommendations with other writers and one of my very favorites came up in discussion: “Making Movies” by Sidney Lumet. Although known as a director of such notable movies like Twelve Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network and The Verdict, he also wrote and directed Prince of the City, Q & A, and Night Falls on Manhattan. So I found this interview with Lumet from 1995 on ‘The Charlie Rose Show’ in which Lumet discusses his book among numerous other topics:

Here is an excellent review of his book “Making Movies”. As I say, highly recommended for screenwriters and anyone interested in movie storytelling. Lumet was a master.


Interview (Video): Sidney Lumet was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story — Medium

New Days Gone Gameplay Video Shows Off Brutal Combat

New Days Gone Gameplay Video Shows Off Brutal Combat

New Days Gone gameplay video shows off brutal combat

Following the gameplay demo that debuted at this year’s E3Bend Studio and Sony PlayStation have released a video of an alternate version of the Days Gone gameplay previously seen. Featuring creative director John Garvin and the game’s star Sam Witwer taking a new path and getting into some nasty combat, you can check it out in the player below!

Elements from the game shown off in the video include:

  • Weather and time-of-day: Snow will impact your ability to ride the Drifter Bike, cold makes Freakers stronger; rain can dampen sound, but brings more Freakers out during the day; night brings out even more Freakers and changes the behaviors of Marauders, and more.
  • Survival Vision: You can focus on the environment around you to discover tracks, clues, and resources.
  • Crafting: You can find all sorts of things in the open world which can be used to craft items both useful and deadly.
  • Traps: Creating and placing traps — used in conjunction with our distraction mechanic — is an important part of our strategic sandbox combat.
  • Dynamic Events: You have to be cautious and vigilant to avoid ambushes, traps, and other hazards.

Days Gone is an open-world action-adventure game set in a harsh wilderness two years after a devastating global pandemic. Play as Deacon St. John, a Drifter and bounty hunter who rides the broken road, fighting to survive while searching for a reason to live. At its core, Days Gone is about survivors and what makes them human: desperation, loss, madness, betrayal, friendship, brotherhood, regret, love – and hope. It’s about how even when confronted with such enormous tragedy they find a reason to live. Hope never dies.

The post New Days Gone Gameplay Video Shows Off Brutal Combat appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

ComingSoon.net

Facebook Spaces adds live video, letting users without Oculus Rift peek into VR in real time

TwitterFacebook

After months of letting Oculus Rift users connect with friends and family in virtual reality, Facebook is opening up the party to the rest of your social network by introducing Live video. The feature will let all Facebook users see what others are seeing in virtual reality, even without a headset. 

When Facebook Spaces debuted earlier this year, the only way to let someone without a Rift headset could view your VR avatar was through a one-to-one Messenger video call.

But the new Live component of Spaces will function just like regular Facebook Live video, giving Rift users the ability to broadcast from virtual reality straight to their regular Facebook page.  Read more…

More about Streaming, Virtual Reality, Vr, Oculus, and Oculus Rift
Mashable

CS Video: Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket Turns 30

Sit down with the Full Metal Jacket cast. The Full Metal Jacket cast includes Matthew Modine and Vincent D'Onofrio.

Take a look back with Full Metal Jacket stars Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio

Last month marked the 30th Anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s penultimate feature, Full Metal Jacket. Warner Bros. Pictures celebrated the festivities with an anniversary screening in Los Angeles last weekend. Before the event, ComingSoon.net had the chance to sit down with stars Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio alongside Leon Vitali, Kubrick’s longtime assistant. In the player below, you can watch as they reflect on the film all these years later. While both Modine and D’Onofrio explain that they have trouble watching the movie, D’Onofrio explains that he’s planning to watch a specific part of it at the special screening.

RELATED: Vincent D’Onofrio and Dean Norris Set For Death Wish Reboot 

Released domestically in June 1987, Full Metal Jacket arrived at the tail end of a Hollywood fascination with the Vietnam War. Oliver Stone’s Platoon, released the previous year, had just taken home four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Full Metal Jacket, though, arriving seven years after The Shining, wasn’t so much about Vietnam as it was about the dehumanizing side of war and a savage contradiction that, as Joker explains at one point, reflects “the duality of man.”

If you’d like to learn more about the making of Full Metal Jacket, be sure to check out Modine’s Full Metal Jacket Diary. Released in 2005, the book prints Modine’s photography shots from set. Kubrick normally didn’t allow any outside photos on his sets, but Modine, playing a journalist, wound up being allowed to take and eventually share impressive black and white images from behind the scenes.

Also starring Adam Baldwin, Dorian Harewood, Arliss Howard and R. Lee Ermey, Full Metal Jacket received an Oscar nomination for its screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford

When was the last time you revisited Full Metal Jacket? How do you feel it compares to Stanley Kubrick’s other works? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

The post CS Video: Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket Turns 30 appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

ComingSoon.net

Fiverr: Here’s How You Can Make Six Figures Video Freelancing

Doing the freelance hustle? Fiverr can help.

Here at No Film School, we often hear from readers who want to use some of their DP or video-related skills to make a living and help support their bigger creative goals. We also hear frequently from people who are already freelancing but don’t live in media-rich areas and wonder how to connect with more clients in order to create a sustainable business.

Online business matchmakers like Fiverr that connect people in need of services (like video production) with service providers (like video producers) have existed for a while, but they haven’t always spelled financial security for creators. After all, Fiverr’s name and fame literally came from the fact that the price of most services started at five bucks. That’s a great cost-benefit ratio for a vendor recording a quick voiceover in exchange for a “fiver,” but not at all reasonable for a full-scale video production.

“We imagined a world where anyone could find millions of talented professionals from all around the world, and have them start working on a project with the single click of a mouse.”

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No Film School

Top 15 Video Essayists on Youtube

Great art inspires further art. This inspiration can be found within films, but the criticism and analysis of film can also be viewed as artwork itself. Online Video has allowed talented and thoughtful people an accessible outlet to describe their experiences with various creators, and document their responses towards it.

Without going into a full deconstruction of the online Video Essay (which can be found here), it allows for a combination of film criticism and filmmaking, combining entertainment and insight into a single entity. While obviously, as in any emerging medium, multitudes of content makers whose talent does not match their eagerness exist, I have listed several whom I believe make appreciation and understanding of films better through their own creations.

The above image is from a Video Essayist examining the film Drive (2011) using the Quadrant system. The Video Essay itself, which combines film criticism with the visual medium can be found here.

 

15. Folding Ideas

 

On every list, there is the dreaded position of being last, and this time that unfortunate lands on Dan Olson of Folding Ideas. This is not because I find Olson sloppy or unintelligent, truly he might be the smartest media analyst on this list, but he falls to the final spot for not really being a Video Essayists. Olson is an academic, explaining and deconstructing visual storytelling to teach his audience, rather than analyse particular content. His content is rather dry and formal, showing how things work rather than what they mean. But this is important work, and his breakdown of narrative techniques provides fascinating insights into essential components of the visual medium, beneath their surface, and how they unfold in our minds.

Favourite Video: The Art of Editing and Suicide Squad

 

Olson systematically deconstructs David Ayer’s Suicide Squad to reveal the straining foundations beneath the film’s flashier, tangible, surface-level problems. This video demonstrates how the misuse of film language can subconsciously make us feel uneasy about a film without precisely knowing why, and how missteps and rewrites of a movie can irrecoverably damage the core of a product.

14. Thomas Flight

 

Audience’s reactions to films cannot be wholly quantified, but of chief concern to Thomas Flight is exploring how filmmakers specifically intend to create a response to their creations. Flight’s analysis and style can sometimes be fairly standard, but the content he creates is certainly useful, and the insights he gives certainly productive.

Favourite Video: Nightcrawler Incriminates Its Viewers

 

Flight’s essay on Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler examines one of the film’s most fascinating aspects; the way it commentates and reflects upon its audience. Flight looks at several aspects of the film, detailing how and why the directors used Nightcrawler’s main character to explore the system he participated in, and the world around him that we, as an audience, contributed to.

13. Royal Ocean Film Society

 

Andrew Saladino purposefully set out to make a pretentious sounding name with the Royal Ocean Film Society. But his perchance for pretention and obscure filmmakers and movies should not distract from the in-depth content he provides. Saladino intentionally examines less popular creators and topics to broaden the landscape, and while his ‘outsider’ approach doesn’t exactly translate to his own style (Saladino very much operates within the tried and tested method of ‘talking over film clips’), the effort to introduce new ideas to what can seem a very self-referential market is commendable. While it cannot hope to change the tides of modern online film discourse, the Royal Ocean Film Society is able to charter new land in what can be discovered.

Favourite Video: The Rise (or Return?) of Christian Films

 

Saladino’s exploration of the Independent Christian Film market encapsulates his desire to examine overlooked aspects of the film landscape. Modern Christian films are immensely successful, yet received hardly any discussion, and Saladino dissects both the reasons behind this quiet shift in the film industry, and its future repercussions.

12. Now You See It

 

Rather than focusing on an individualistic movie or filmmaker, Now You See It is more focused on exposing the common tropes and story conventions found throughout films. The different effects of using the same techniques and themes, whether it be Gangsters, Endings, Swearing or Milk, are analysed in a condescend format, showcasing the similarities and contrasts in their usage. The magical power of a topic is demonstrated once you understand the context and intent behind its implementation. Now You See It sets out to reveal what is hiding in plain sight in films, encouraging us to see their importance, rather than just watching it.

Favourite Video: Milk in Movies: Why do Characters Drink It?

 

I wasn’t kidding about the Milk video. It also happens to be my favourite. Now You See It undertakes a seemingly innocuous and underused narrative device, the drinking of Milk, and deconstructs the narrative logic behind its place in the script. This also leads to a unexpected but quite accurate description of Mad Max: Fury Road. Drawing on both social context and audience reactions, Now You See It demonstrates with this video how no topic, or liquid, is small enough to be dismissed without worthwhile insight.

11. What it All Meant

 

Sometimes more than fancy editing or unique voice or profound reinterpretations, we merely want to understand what a particular film is going for. This is the service What it All Meant provides, giving succinct and rather blunt analysis of various famous movies. There is something effective about his understated delivery and visuals, laying out an explanation paired with multiple examples makes the underlying meaning seem apparent. In other ways, What it All Meant seems to most utilise the video format, matching a thematic musing to it the film purely through what is seen, not what is being said. The connection between the two, what grafts meaning onto the artwork, is done by us.

Favourite Video: Pulp Fiction

 

What it All Meant takes a single through-line in it’s analysis of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction; Respect. Proceeding to show how this single concept is an undercurrent in the film, and how a film as wild and tangential as Pulp Fiction can really be unified in this collective theme. This video also showcases a greater dexterity with editing and visuals than the standard ones, utilising split-screens and diegetic dialogue to further illustrate his points. As he points out in the video, maybe there is no one definition of respect, like there is no one meaning of Pulp Fiction, or any film, merely a collage of human experience and concepts into a soft, shapeless, pulpy mess.

10. Needs more Gay

 

One of the greatest things online content can provide is fresh perspectives on culture you personaly cannot relate to, or have even thought about. By focusing upon Queer theory and LGBTQ+ themes in Popular Culture, Needs More Gay fills a crucial gap in my hetero-normative knowledge. The host Jamie Maurer (or ‘Rantasmo’) investigates LGBTQ+ culture’s representation in both mainstream media (going from current TV/Films to classics like The Wizard of Oz) to completely low-budget obscure sub-genre films exclusive to the gay community. Even where you think no analysis can be gained, Needs More Gay demonstrates discussions of sexuality are pervasive and relevant throughout most of media.

Favourite Video: Top Gun

 

The supposed ‘gayness’ of Top Gun is something that has been circling around the film’s reputation for a while now, and Maurer investigates both the origin of this claim, and it’s legitimacy. He both dissuades and affirms the validity of the film’s supposed homoerotic undertones, revealing how the male gaze and masculine expectations play into this view on it. Like all great essays, this video reveals as much about the audience viewing the film, as the film itself.

9. Wisecrack

 

Wisecrack has become the premier of commercialised Video Essays. Making their beginnings with Thug Notes, which broke down classic literature from a ‘street smart’ angle, through to Earthling Cinema that used an alienated perspective to movies, Wisecrack uses subversive comedy to explain high-concept art in universal languages. While this style can appear patronising at times, Wisecrack possesses a deep and rich empire of content, bringing down intellectual concepts to a level everyone can understand and appreciate.

Favourite Video: The Philosophy of Kanye West

 

There are really far too much Wisecrack videos to pick a representational or favourite one, but I think their dissection of Kanye West highlight’s their interest in Popular Culture and knowledge in philosophical history. The research of both their subject and philosophical thesis emerges from the video, which places Kanye’s music and public personality as an existentialist demand for purpose and meaning. However much you may disagree with their conclusions, Wisecrack demonstrates the wit and wisdom to make a convincing argument.

8. Innuendo Studios

 

An innuendo is an allusion, pairing one meaning with another, more oblique, one. What Ian Danskin aims to do with Innuendo Studios is match high concept ideas with culture that is normally not perceived that way, creating links that transcend society. Most often this analysis focuses on Video Games, but always with a focus on storytelling techniques and the cultural context surrounding it. Danskin’s series on the Gamergate movement is essential viewing for its deconstruction and historical breakdown on the harassment and anger within it. The content Danskin produces is always highly learned and insightful, if sometimes infrequent, and like all good innuendos, will mean you cannot look at the same thing the same way again.

Favourite Video: It’s Not Easy Being Blue

 

I never really cared about ‘90s icon Sonic the Hedgehog, but after this video I did. Danskin manages to breakdown the paradox of Sonic’s iconographical status, being both a relic of the past yet also constantly reinvented for the present. Beyond the surface however, Danskin tells the tale of a mascot who wants to satisfy everyone, but in trying to do so disappoints them all individually. Somewhow, Danskin turns Sonic into a beautiful metaphor for the strained artist, doing all he can to please his large audience, not understanding that in the modern age, those audiences have split into followers.

7. Lessons from the Screenplay

 

While many naïve filmgoers may view the screenplay simply as the lines and actions which the Directors and Actors follow, Michael Tucker understands the strategy and differences that comes from the screenplay. By comparing the screenplay to the finished product, Tucker explores how differences emerge from the reinterpretation by the director, and how the story is structured around specific points of writing. By unearthing the originating point for the films examined, Tucker teaches us what can be gained from the root of the story.

Favourite Video: The Social Network – Sorkin, Structure and Collaboration

 

Tucker dissects a heavily requested video from a widely known screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin. This video does a good job of understanding why Sorkin is such a notable and memorable figure, revealing the strong foundations beneath Sorkin’s noticeable flare. The breakdowns of individual scenes, and how the screenplay balances character motivations with exposition and witty dialogue to transform a Facebook biopic into one of the greatest films of the 21st century. Tucker also does a fantastic job of highlighting how a great screenplay is paired and adapted with a great director in David Fincher, and how his specific creative vision is paired with Sorkin’s unique style, into a collaborative masterpiece.

6. Movies with Mikey

 

Beyond style or format or even ideas, it is the personality and enthusiasm of the creator which draws you into their artwork. The energetic, tangential and rapid breakdowns from Mikey Neuman are a pure celebration of his favourite cinema, even if he admits they are not all the greatest films. His wonderful, sometimes lyrical, occasional annoying scripts weave over his best experiences of film, and his pure energy eclipses any failings these films may have as only slight hindrances. You shouldn’t assume his informal, quick delivery and style is laziness however, as Neuman demonstrates his talent and commitment to these videos with his editing and research, which is inserted elegantly within the videos. Movies with Mikey remains a fresh, wholly positive outlook on current cinema, that has no intention of slowing down.

Favourite Video: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

One of the best things these videos can do is change your opinion on a film, rather than simply reaffirm it. I never particularly cared for the 2005 adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but Mikey unravels and deconstructs how forced competition between versions of stories is not only meaningless, but actively destructive. This video almost serves as a thesis for Movies with Mikey, elaborating on the positive aspects of film in fresh styles, aiming to share joy with others, and avoiding being the best or ‘correct’ so that we can be happy with what we have.

5. Kaptain Kristian

 

While the content of videos is obviously important, the flare and presentation can be impressive in itself. Purely aesthetically, Kristian Williams‘ creations are visual love letters to all aspects of media; film, comics, music and television. The respect for artistry, and revere for cultural impact is found with his work, and his crisp, flowing editing style consistently engages the viewer with whatever topic is explored. On a visceral level, the elegance of Williams’ essays heightens the subject matter, rendering the content greater by the images and sounds, as well as the words.

Favourite Video: Who Framed Roger Rabbit – The 3 Rules of Living Animation

 

Krisitian Williams looks at how live-action and animation were combined in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and establishes the effort placed into minute details to make the combination as effective as possible. Typical of Williams’ videos, smooth music underlines script notes, annotated clips and exterior references to collage a complete picture of the process. While discussing the seamless nature of Roger Rabbit’s animation, Williams also highlights the tight, smooth process of his own creations.

4. Lindsay Ellis

 

Rather than the previous quick, stylised and somewhat flashy video essays, Lindsay Ellis operates from a standpoint of experienced knowledge of filmmaking. Beginning as a more comedic reviewer as the ‘Nostalgia Chick’ on That Guy with the Glasses (now Channel Awesome), Ellis outgrew these limitations to grant detailed explanations and applications of film theory. She presents both long-formed explorations of specific films and genres, while also regularly producing Loose Canon, where the representations of iconic characters across time and media are examined. Her series The Whole Plate, a 12-part (!) dissection of Michael Bay’s Transformers films and their relation to film studies, is also essential viewing. Ellis’ dry wit and clear intelligence makes her dives into studies of cinema both impactful and meaningful.

Favourite Video: How Three-Act Screenplays Work (and why it matters)

 

I’m not certain this is really Ellis’ best work, as her divulgence into Mel Brook’s use of satire and The Producers greater demonstrates her skill and historical knowledge of film, and her demolition of Joel Schumacher’s Phantom of the Opera is visceral fun, but this video serves as a useful introduction to both Ellis’ style and knowledge. She outlines the fundamentals of film theory, and how they are implemented in various movies, which still holding her signature delivery. Appropriately, her explanation of the foundation of most mainstream movies provides a neat primer for the rest of her extensive oeuvre.

3. The Nerdwriter

 

Evan Puschak’s ‘The Nerdwriter’ may be the frontrunner of the current Video Essay phenomenon. While others have been creating before him, few do so with the frequency and diversity of Puschak’s content. He grapples not only with all forms of art (including films, TV, comics, painting, poetry and music), but has gained large success with his sociological and political analysis. What stands out to Puschak for me however is not only his obvious skill with editing and research, which grant each of his videos a captivating essence, but the tender way he gently unravels the layers of artwork he adores. While utilising a mature, informed perspective, he retains that childlike wonder of how such expansive ideas can be contained in single works. The passion and inquisitiveness of being a ‘nerd’ has never felt so appealing.

Favourite Video: A Serious Man: Can Life Be Understood?

 

Puschak’s catalogue of videos is so expansive and diverse that picking one favourite was extremely difficult (other recommendations are of Casey Neistat, Mulholland Drive, Vertigo, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Prestige, In Bruges and many, many more), but this penetrating, but also lyrical, look at the Coen Brother’s A Serious Man highlights many of Puschak’s strengths. Starting from the text of the film itself, he magnifies the character’s searches for meaning within the film into an existentialist musing on the desire for interpretation itself. Minute details and grandiose themes are paired together with style to create a solid, if implicitly futile, explanation of a fantastic film.

2. Kyle Kallgren (Brows Held High/Between the Lines/Summer of Shakespeare)

 

I feel that often ‘pretentiousness’ is used as a deflective from further investigation, a shield from trying to actually explain what ‘Art House Films’ are attempting to say. Kyle Kallgren, while often commenting on the absurdity, is unafraid of immersing himself in obscure and purposefully bizarre topics. Kallgren began on Channel Awesome with comedic-centred recaps of Art House films, providing humorous reactions to their grotesque content, but transferred into a genuine attempt to explain why these films were created, and why they mean something. His Brows Held High examines the nominal highbrow movies, while Between the Lines gives a broader analysis of how topics in popular culture (from Washington D.C., to Superheroes, to Dictators) have mutated over film history, and his Summer of Shakespeare videos look at how Shakespeare has been adapted into the cinematic medium. In doing these videos, Kallgren provides incredibly rich insights, which encourage film audiences to venture into more obscure territory, and keep their sights set upwards.

Favourite Video: Brows Held High – Holy Motors: Man without a Movie Camera / Between the Lines – Inception and the Surreal / Summer of Shakespeare – Jean-Luc Godard’s King Lear: A Movie About No Thing

 

I am really cheating with these selections, but using an example from each of Kallgren’s shows hopefully demonstrates the range of insights and topics he can cover. His deconstruction of Holy Motors tackles an extremely difficult French Art House movies, picking apart not only the context behind the filmmaker, but how it relates the understanding of filmmaking itself.

Meanwhile his breakdown of Inception is one of the best I’ve ever seen, understanding the origin’s of Nolan’s film coming from other Surrealist movies, creating an instructive and strangely personal video that grants renewed appreciation for the movie.

Finally, the analysis of Godard’s King Lear takes a purposefully nonsensical film, and extrapolates both the likely intention from the famous auteur, and how it closely pertains to it’s original Shakespearian source.

1. Every Frame a Painting

 

Of everyone on the list, Tony Zhou is one of the most influential creators here. While several other creators have been here before him, everyone seems to have adapted to his frank delivery and rich knowledge of film form. It is this examination of form, how camera techniques or soundtracks or whatever are utilised that separates Zhou from a mere descriptor of a film’s themes, to a curator of how these themes are reinforced by the medium. By forcing his viewers to inspect not only what filmmakers do, but how they do it, and how the craft on a single scene can embody the skill used throughout their entire creation.

Favourite Video: Jackie Chan – How to do Action Comedy

 

Every Tony Zhou video is worth watching. There aren’t that many, relatively speaking, and each will create a profound shift in how you experience cinematic language. But personally, his tribute to Jackie Chan’s use of editing and composition demonstrates both his understanding of the form, and how Zhou is able to effectively communicate these ideas to the audience. Using multiple examples (and counter-examples), Zhou demonstrates how the efficiency of Jackie Chan’s action is not only in his personal skills, but how the film form bends to accommodate his techniques.

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This Video Uses Thousands of NASA Photos to Bring the Apollo Moon Landing to Life

530 million people watched the the first humans walk on the surface of the moon, but no one has seen the moon landing quite like this before.

NASA’s 1969 moon landing was an epic event all on its own, but it’s made all the more monumental and awe-inspiring in the incredible short film Lunar. Motion designer Christian Stangl and his brother, composer Wolfgang Stangl gathered thousands of photos from NASA’s Project Apollo Archive and decided to stitch them together and use stop motion to bring the moon landing to life, allowing people to watch the historic mission unfold in a way they never have before.

Stangl decided to embark on the project after being impressed by the quality of the images in the Project Apollo Archive. The high-resolution images, as you might recall, were captured using the famous Hasselblad-Moon cameras, which were build using a Hasselblad 500EL body and a whole lot of rocket science to make the process of exposing and image capture easy for astronauts operating in 1.) space suits, and 2.) 83.3% less gravity than on Earth.

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