Category Archives: blog

Top 5 Soundtrack and Original Scores of 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, lets take a look at some of my favourite soundtracks from this year’s movies.

1. Interstellar – Hans Zimmer

Interstellar didn’t invoke the same awe and wonder of space for me when compared to Gravity. But I totally adore the soundtrack. How the heck does Hans Zimmer even come up with this kinda stuff? Favourites include Cornfield Chase, Where We’re Going, and S.T.A.Y.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Vol. 1

The use of 80s music in this movie is genius. Every action flick should end with a dance-off with the big baddie. Say no to violence.

3. How to Train Your Dragon 2 – John Powell

How to Train Your Dragon is undoubtably my favourite animated movie. The sequel does not disappoint and John Powell delivers his best work to date. The duet between Gerald Butler and Mary Jane Wells in “For the Dancing and the Dreaming” hits all the right notes and triumphs the annoyingly infectious Frozen soundtrack.

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Henry Jackman

Especially the end credits theme. Made better when watched together with the amazing title sequence.

5. X-men: Days of Future Past – Trailer theme

Moving away from drones and blaring horns, the trailer theme for Days of Future Past combines John Murphy – Sunshine (Adagio In D Minor) and Hans Zimmer – Journey to the Line to create one of the more emotional trailer pieces this year.

And that’s it! Happy listening and have a happy new year!

Forget About Audio Editing, Just Capture It Right!

Waveform.Audio is the bane of every low-budget filmmaker.

The issue has never been audio editing but the process of capturing audio. Audio editing would only be able to help so much if your audio file is noisy and peaking. If an audio file is clipping, it would be incredibly hard or near impossible to restore. As for audio files that has been recorded too low, noise would be introduced if we try to increase its volume.

So how the heck do we get good quality audio?

Good question! Lucky for us, the awesome guys at Story & Heart wrote a useful blogpost on the importance of audio and how to capture it properly. Very insightful read which includes practical tips that can be practiced immediately without the need of fancy audio equipment. I won’t steal their thunder by regurgitating what they wrote, so go ahead and click the link below:

Sound affects. 5 Ways to Capture Better Audio Right Now.

Audio editing should never be a clutch for sloppy audio recording. Therefore, it is important to consider your audio production during a filming process. That way you won’t have to worry about crummy audio ruining your awesome award-winning short film. Don’t be lazy, capture it right!

For more audio tips, check out this article by NoFilmSchool – Getting Better Production Audio is Easier Than You Think.

Love Your Thumbnails!

Have you ever skipped on a video because the thumbnail looked boring? Or maybe you pick which videos to watch based on how interesting the thumbnail looked. Thumbnails are now the equivalent of movie posters for online videos. But instead of being hung up on billboards, thumbnails live online, fighting for attention against countless of other videos. This is why a good-quality thumbnail is crucial to attract viewers to you content and compel them to click on it.

Let’s take a look at two YouTube thumbnails:

meld_wow1-720pThumbnail A

meld_wow-720pThumbnail B

Which thumbnail would you click on?

Both thumbnails were created in Photoshop to accompany a video showreel for an online magazine. Thumbnail A was hastily put together as a joke to share among my colleagues. Thumbnail B is the official thumbnail that I’ve decided to use for the video. But after some thought, I realized that Thumbnail A might have been the better option. Although Thumbnail B is sleek and professional looking, it does not tell the viewers about the content of the video. Those who are unaware of Meld Magazine and its work would most likely be disinterested and skip pass this video.

Thumbnail A on the other hand, is visually striking, high in contrast, and represents the content accurately – minus the abundance of cats. The imperfections of the masking and sharpness of Thumbnail A may be noticeable but the strong imagery makes up for its shortcoming. It is also important to understand the medium that you’re working on and decide whether your style of editing would be suitable or not. Thumbnail A wouldn’t be suitable if it was to be used by The Age or Al Jazeera. But as a 640px x 360px resolution image on YouTube – no problem.

What do you think? Are thumbnails really that important? Sound off in the comments below!


Camera Tricks For The Indies

Original post found on Devour:

Filmmaking used to be accessible only to the “elites” who were able to afford expensive film equipment. But now, everyone has a camera kept handy inside their own pockets (read smartphone). This evolution in technology has opened up opportunities for the average user to create and publish their own films. Filmmaking is no longer limited to big budget Hollywood studios. Hence, we are now able to emulate Hollywood techniques using styrofoam cups and furniture movers.

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 1.47.42 AMFurniture movers? What ever should I do with them?

7 Tricks Everyone With A Camera Should Know teaches us simple how-to techniques that you can pull off with your DSLR or iPhone. The video shows us the process behind the trick followed by the results. A healthy dose of text were superimposed to guide the viewers. The content varied from in-camera tricks to DIY builds. Examples include light painting, bokeh photography, and how to build a light box.

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 1.50.19 AMThese are not the lens flare you’re looking for. JJ Abrams would be ashamed.

Do keep in mind that these tricks were done with household items and might not reap the quality that you yearn for. An example of this would be the LENS FLARE technique. Instead of tape, using a fishing line would have been more effective. Also, it may have been simpler to add the lens flare in post. However, the goal of the video was to show what could be achieved with a bit of creativity and little to no budget. Filmmaking can be a very expensive hobby but as a wise man once said:

“The best camera is the one you have with you.” – Chase Jarvis

So let’s not get caught up with the latest gear although the Panasonic GH4 does looks super sexy but focus on improving our storytelling and cinematography. Steward what you have to the best of your abilities and most importantly, keep shooting!

For more filmmaking tips and tricks, check out these YouTube channels: