Thursday, December 11, 2008

IMDB Policy Change, The Internet Movie Database, is an important resume link for people breaking into the film industry. IMDB used to have a policy that only films shown in select film festivals or distributed through a studio or network could be listed. They have just changed their policy in a way that will benefit new filmmakers.

Does your film have a Title Page on IMDb yet? If not, maybe it should. IMDb wants to help you publicize and promote your movie as soon as its ready for the world, not just after you've won recognition for it. Next time you submit to a Withoutabox Partner Festival, you will be invited by email to create a Title Page on IMDb, the most recognized and trafficked movie site in the world. Submit to a festival by year's end to get in line for your Title Page. Certain submissions are not eligible, but the great majority are. Invitations are sent once the festival receives your submission. In fact, thousands have been sent just in the last couple weeks!

Learn more about this opportunity here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quizlet - Free Quiz Website

Quizlet is a free website that allows you to create online quizzes. Both students and teachers can use this as a study aid. Check out this quiz on film vocabulary to see how it works.

Browse and use millions of flashcards created by other students and teachers, or create your own.

Create Flashcard Sets

  1. Easily create flashcard sets with as many questions and answers as you want.
  2. Import questions and answers from your computer or other websites (or just type them in directly).
  3. Cut and paste questions from other peoples' flashcard sets to make your own.
  4. Invite friends to share your flashcards via email, Facebook, or MySpace.
  5. One-click lookup of official dictionary definitions, and other users' previous answers.

Teacher Features

  1. Give your students a study tool that's both powerful and fun, encouraging them to learn.
  2. Share study materials online with your classes, or generate photocopy-ready flashcards for in-class distribution.
  3. Host a group where your students can create and discuss study materials for your class.
  4. Notify students by email when you've posted new study materials, and receive messages back from them.
  5. See what other teachers are teaching at your grade level and in your subject area.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Moby Film Music - Free

The musician Moby is offering film music for "independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short." You need to register to hear the music at You must request a license to use the music.

Moby makes techno, dance, ambient, rock and other types of music. His music has been used in all three Bourne films, Cloverfield, Miami Vice, xXx: State of the Union, The Devil Wears Prada, CSI: NY, The Sorpranos, and lots of other stuff.

See this clip from the Sundance channel where Moby explains the website.

You can see a list of short films that use Moby's film music on this YouTube playlist.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Digital Still Cameras for Video

Digital still cameras have had a video feature for a number of years. Nikon's D90 Digital SLR offers 720p HD resolution. Check out this remarkable example shot on a subway. The camera allows for great shallow depth of field and the use of 35mm lenses. It costs $1300. You can read this review with some test footage. It will be interesting to see how this this converegnce of camera features develops. Perhaps DSLRs in the future will be used for for both video and still work.

Monday, December 1, 2008

MacBreak Studio - Free Tutorials

Mac users will really benefit from the podcast MacBreak Studio. They feature tips and techniques for users of Final Cut Studio. They have had some really excellent episodes. They are short, around eight minutes, which makes them great for showing to a class. They put out a new episode every Friday.

Join Steve Martin, Mark Spencer, Brian Gary, Alex Lindsay and friends as they reveal the ins and outs of video production on the Mac. From 3D to audio, video, and compression, learn from the experts how to add advanced techniques to your production workflow and a professional touch to your video content.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 - Final Cut Pro Audio Filter Guide

Check out the two part Final Cut Pro Audio Filter Guide written by Jon Chappell. It does a great job explaining what all those filters do.

It can be found on Ken Stone's web site, which is one of the best resources for articles on Final Cut Pro. Since 1990 his site has published valuable tips and reviews of video production and post production products.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How To Make A Mic Flag - Cheap

Local news reporters use mic flags on every broadcast. They are those rectangular ornaments on hand held microphones that display the broadcaster logo.

Mic flags can sell online for $20-$40. They can be made in about half an hour using materials that cost less than $1.

Follow this is a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make a mic flag.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy

The Center for Social Media has published a free report of interest to teachers titled, Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy.

This document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances—especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant. It is a general right that applies even in situations where the law provides no specific authorization for the use in question—as it does for certain narrowly defined classroom activities.

This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K–12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 Online Animation Software - Free may provide students with an easy way to create animations using online software with ready to use templates. You can use their sound library and type in dialog bubbles, or upload recorded dialog for use in the animations. You just need to set up a free account to access the web-software. Check out their How Does It Work page for a quick summary, or watch the CNN video below.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Youth-Made PSA Examples

Austin Haeberle, the Creative Director at Listen Up! recently posted a list of recommended youth-made public service messages PSA examples. These are part of the 2008 Very Important Producers Awards. Teachers can join Listen Up! for free.

Check them out at

There are a lot issues motivating youth to stand up and speak out, inspiring us to take action. This category if full of thoughtful messages from youth filmmakers to their peers and adults alike. See all of the films in the PSA category here:

Take a quick peek at few:

You Have the Right By: Michael Maldonado Org: BAVC_ Next Gen Video Programs

I Will Use My Voice By: Tessa Ormenyi Org: Grover Cleveland High School

Arthur By: Yaroslava Vaganova Org: The oneminutesjr Network

Chewing Tobacco PSA By: DROP TV Youth Producers Org: Children's Media Project

I'm Mad! Org: MyView Video Project

Listen to your heart Org: The oneminutesjr Network

Monday, October 6, 2008

Anneberg Cinema History Curriculum - Free

Annenberg Media has a teacher development website at

They have an online course on Cinema: How Hollywood Films Are Made.

They also have a video instructional series on film history for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 10 one-hour and 3 half-hour video programs and coordinated books.

You can purchase the DVD for $329.00. You can watch a video stream of each program for free (with free registration).

Using clips from more than 300 of the greatest movies ever made, this series explores film history and American culture through the eyes of over 150 Hollywood insiders, including Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Eisner. In-depth treatments present film as a powerful economic force, potent twentieth-century art form, and viable career option.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Current TV - Producer Training Resources

The cable/satellite channel Current TV is built upon the submission of programming from viewers. There website has resources for potential contributors. The have "producer training" section and production knowledgebase with information on pre-production, production, post production and marketing. They also have license cleared music for their projects.

Current is about what's going on in your world: all the things you and your friends are actually interested in -- that you won't find on any other news site or cable TV channel. is the place to find and share stories and videos that are interesting to you. It connects to Current TV, a global cable and satellite TV network.

You can watch Current TV online or enjoy it from the comfort of your couch:

DirecTV: channel 366
Dish Network: channel 196
Comcast: channel 107
AT&T U-Verse: channel 189
Time Warner: check listings

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Depth of Field Video Tutorial

Justin Snodgrass has created a 20 minute video tutorial that provides a detailed explanation of depth-of-field. The tutorial was designed specifically for filmmakers who use or are planning to use 35mm depth-of-field adapters. The information can also be applied to still photography.

You can download it in parts or in its entirety for free.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Garageband and iDVD Turorials - Free

The University of Indianapolis has video tutorials for Garageband '08 and iDVD '08.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

BBC Blast Filmmaking Tutorials - Free

The BBC has a series of video tutorials to encourage viewer produced filmmaking. The have a series of short "how to" Masterclasses that include such topics as sound design, animation to music video tips.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Make Internet is a concise website that give an overview on how to make video for the web. The best page is its explanation of copyright law and creative commons rules.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kids' Vid Curriculum - Free

Kids' Vid is an instructional website designed to help teachers and students use video production in class to support project-based learning.

They have a couple of special storyboard features that allow you to make quick, if non-traditional storyboards.

This site was inspired in part by Mike Keating, a professional videographer and instructor, who developed a manual for integrating video into the classroom as part of his Master's thesis at Montana State University.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shotlist Manager - Free

I haven't tried this, but for those of you running Windows, you might want to try Shotlist Manager. It is free software developed by independent filmmaker Josh Johnson.

He notes:
I’ve developed a free shot list tool for directors to use during film production. You can even import screenplays from Celtx and the shot list tool will automatically generate a shot list for you. Simply edit scenes to add shot lists and you’re good to go. This is a great way to streamline the film production process, saving you time and organizing your shoot.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Star Trek First Contact Storyboards has storyboard examples from the feature film First Contact. They also have a short film clip that compares several actual scenes with the storyboards.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Adobe Video Workshop

The Adobe website has a series of free video tutorials for their software.  They have a cool tutorial for After Effects on how to use the puppet tool for animation.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 Instructional Videos

Israel Hyman has produced 100+ videos on video production at While he sells a six month subscription to the website for $45.00, he has a number of free samples of his tutorials.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Center High School Website

Vernon Bisho has set up a website with student work and the curriculum of all of the media communications classes he teaches at Center High School in Antelope (Sacramento County), California.  These course include: Video 1, Advanced Video Broadcast, Computer Graphics and Digital Audio.  

For over a decade Vernon has provided leadership and lots of labor to the organization that ties video teachers together in the Sacramento Sierra region.  

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Videography Magazine - Free

You can sign-up for a free subscription to Videography Magazine.  This is a really great magazine that reviews current video production products and has some articles.  I always get a lot out of reading Mark Schubin's Research and Development column.  

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Video 101 Course Website

The Video 101 Course website is well designed and easy to read introduction to video production. It has a lot of nice photos and short video clips that illustrate various video production concepts. The length of each page is short enough to keep the attention of an average high school student. There are sections on editing, recording, camera, shots, lens, sound, lighting, mounts, camera techniques and graphics.

While I have filed this under the label "Free Curriculum" this resource will cost you if you want to use it in your curriculum. The author will license its use for $2.00 a student per semester. With that fee he will provide you with some tests and footage for your students to edit.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Target Field Trip Grants

Target has several programs that can benefit teachers. The best of these is a Field Trip Grant. Target will award 5000 grants of up to $800 in the 2008-09 school year for field trips.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Novi High School Websites

You can view the Cat's Eye News from Novi High School in Novi, Michigan.  They offer a serious  broadcasting program.  They also have a radio station.  

Monday, September 8, 2008

Online Video is a website that lists calls for user-generated video.  It has sleek design that lists the numbers of days remaining until the submission date closes. 

Check out other contest listings on this blog

Friday, September 5, 2008

Copyright & Fair Use Resources

The Center for Social Media at American University has a lot of great resources related to the fair use of copyrighted material. They have a new Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video.

Fair use is the right, in some circumstances, to quote copyrighted material without asking permission or paying for it. It is a crucial feature of copyright law and what keeps copyright from being censorship. You can invoke fair use when the value to the public of what you are saying outweighs the cost to the private owner of the copyright.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

RootClip - Video Contest is a clever filmmaking contest website that builds a story through chapters submitted by entrants.  Viewers vote of the submission they like best.  The next chapter is developed from the story presented in the winning chapter.  

I think this is an idea that could could make for an interesting classroom assignment.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Easy Movie Poster Design - Free

Do you need a movie poster design for your DVD?
Your can make some quick an simple movie posters at the Big Huge Labs website. They also have a badge maker, if you need to make a press pass. You will need to upload your own photos for both of these.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Apple's Student Gallery

"You create it. You post it. You promote it."
Apple has a "digital media gallery" on their website "where students control the content."

Thursday, July 24, 2008 Scriptwiriting Software - Free

Scripped Writer is a free web-based script writing software application you can use right in your web browser. Unlike other screenwriting software, Scripped Writer is built specifically with the needs of the writer in mind. That means it has all the functionality you need without the clutter of features you'll never use.

No installation is required. With a browser based web application you can use Scripped Writer without downloading software and installing it on your machine.

(If you are looking for free scriptwriting software, you should also consider Celtx.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Apple Loops Utility: Create Apple loops from audio files

The Apple Loops Utility allows you to create Apple loops from audio files.

Apple’s Apple Loops format adds metadata to files that allows them to conform to arbitrary tempos and pitches. For example, a 100bpm Apple Loop in the key of E could loop in a sequencer project in the key of C at 126bpm.

You can find a simple set of instructions at EQ Magazine.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

MicroTrack II 2-track mobile recorder

M-Audio’s MicroTrack II 2-track mobile recorder has been embraced across the digital media production spectrum—from cutting-edge music producers and Hollywood sound designers to top-shelf video game developers and photojournalism agencies.

It provides a great option for recording voice-overs for classroom video projects.’s newest tutorial on the MicroTrack II is available FREE in its entirety on the site. Over 35 minutes in length, this tutorial covers the basics of using the MicroTrack II, plus in-depth coverage of the Hardware/Software Controls, System, Settings, Options and Files Menus, Recording Options from Selecting An Input and Setting Levels, to Connecting To A Computer and File Transfers to iTunes, etc.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Apple Motion Exam Study Cards - Free

Laura Dahl has created a set of study cards for the Apple Motion certification exam. he has prepared a printable PDF version and a downloadable version that plays on your computer using iFlash. Also check out her set for Final Cut Pro

Monday, June 23, 2008

Motion Sketches-Screenwriting Tutorials-Free

Built around Celtx, Motion Sketches is an online video series that explores contemporary approaches to media production development. From the big screen to the mobile screen, from live-action to the virtual camera - Motion Sketches presents a range of highly practical perspectives on developing a media project from concept to production - screenplay, design, story, development and delivery.

On June 4, 2008, Celtx went from beta to version 1.0. If you are looking for free screenwriting software, this is what you need.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

British Film Institute - Video Clips - Free

The British Film Institute has a pilot site featuring video clips made available for free download to users in the United Kingdom under the innovative Creative Archive Licence, to stimulate creative re-use for non-commercial purposes.

Saturday, June 21, 2008 - Video segments on media is a British website that features online video on various topics of interest to teachers.

Among the videos on their site of interest to video teachers I found these, using their search criteria Media & Moving Image, Secondary Videos.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Story of Movies Curriculum - Free

The Film Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, established in 1990, by Martin Scorsese and an esteemed group of fellow filmmakers — Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg — to protect and preserve our cinematic heritage.

The Film Foundation has created The Story of Movies project, the first-ever integrated interdisciplinary curriculum to expose new generations to classic cinema and to teach them about the cultural, artistic, and historical significance of film. This educational program is available, free of charge, to middle schools across the country, with a goal of teaching young students how to understand and interpret the language of film and visual images. Each teaching unit will include DVDs, a teacher’s guide, and a student activities booklet. The films for study are Robert Mulligan’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962), Frank Capra’s MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939), and Robert Wise’s THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951). The response to this program from students and educators has been overwhelming.

They have a Lesson Library and Middle School Teaching Curriculm with a DVD for free.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Channel 4 - Breaking the News course - Free

The UK's Channel 4 has a really great four unit course available for free called Breaking the News. Course materials include PDFs and PowerPoints and video segments.

It can be used within the context of Media Studies, English, Citizenship and related subjects. The resources can be adjusted to suit the subject as well as the level of the student.
Students will learn to critically analyse television news as well as create their own news stories. They will use digital technologies as well as online tools to select, edit and produce news stories.
The course is made up of four lesson plans and corresponding student worksheets. It has been conceived using a concept map which sees the news (and indeed all media) as involved in a circuit of meaning. The structure has been informed by the key aspects approach that underlies most UK Media Studies courses. The news course can easily be integrated with the study of other media forms.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Final Cut Pro Practice Study Guide Cards

Laura Dahl has prepared study guide cards in PDF format for the Final Cut Pro Level One exam. You can print them out and cut them up with scissors. She has them arranged by chapter.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Proper method to coil cable

The over-under method of cable coiling is the proper method of coiling microphone cable. Check out this link to an instructional video prepared by a location sound pro.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Disksomnia - FCP Utility - Free

Digital Heaven has just release a freeware item of interest to Final Cut Pro / Express users. Here is what they say about it:

Hot off the press is Disksomnia, our latest freeware utility application that stops external disks from going to sleep.

Video editing and sleeping disks are a bad mix, particularly if you have media spread across several external disks. If you've ever moved the playhead to another part of the sequence and stared at the spinning beachball while a disk wakes up then you'll know exactly what we mean!

Disksomnia stops external disks from going to sleep (including those that ignore the Energy Saver setting to stay awake) by giving them a gentle poke every five minutes when Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express is running. After installing and launching for the first time, Disksomnia is totally automatic and works invisibly in the background. There are no settings, no need to launch the app manually and best of more sleeping disks.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Digital Heaven FCP Podcast - Free

Digital Heaven is posting a podcast featuring Apple certified trainer Martin Baker. He provides free Hot Tips for Final Cut Pro that will save you time and make your editing life easier.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Larry Jordan's Podcast and Newsletter - Free

Final Cut Studio trainer Larry Jordan has a free weekly podcast titled, Digital Production Buzz. Recent episodes discuss lighting, editing and microphones. You can download copies to your iPod or cellphone for free or watch them online on He offers extended versions of the podcast for $1.95.

Larry also has a free monthly newsletter that offers Final Cut Pro tips. He also offers periodic traijing seminars, which I have attended and are quite good.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

School Video News - Online Magazine

School Video News is an online magazine for K-12 TV/video production teachers.  Their website has a number articles, often written by teachers.  

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Photoshop For Video Tutorials

Richard Harrigan, the author of books on PhotoShop and broadcast graphics hosts the great website Photoshop for Video.

He has a link to free video tutorials from his book Photoshop for Nonlinear Editors.

He also puts out an excellent video podcast Photoshop for Video.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Preachpit Press - Instructor Copy Requests

Peachpit Press publishes a wide assortment of technical training books. This included the Adobe Classroom in a Book Series and Apple's Pro Training Series.

They have a webpage with links to a number of instructor notes. This includes the instructor guides for Final Cut Pro 6 and Motion Graphics and Effects in Final Cut Studio 2.

College and K-12 teachers can request a free review copy of their books.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Reflectmedia Chroma Key

Reflectmedia, a company that offers chroma key solutions has a web page on the use of their product in high schools.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

AFI Screen Nation - Instructional Videos

The American Film Institute sponsors a website aimed at those 18 and under. AFI Screen Nation hold challenges and has a series of free instructional videos on how to plan, shoot and edit video.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Legality of "home use only" DVDs in classroom. has a link that discusses the legality of using "for home use only" videos in a classroom setting.

The article does not note that there is an educational exemption allowing reproduction of copyrighted material from DVDs. This allows film instructors to burn disks of selected scenes for classroom use.

You can hear about this exemption in this NPR report.

Monday, April 28, 2008 - Free Sound FX & Loops offers royalty free sound effects and loops - all free!

Soundsnap is the best platform to find and share free sound effects and loops- legally. It is a collection of original sounds made or recorded by its users, and not songs or sound FX found on commercial libraries or sample CD's.

It was originally started by a small group of sound people from all over the world. Our common belief is that sounds and samples should be free for everyone to use in their projects, commercial or not.

Our users are a diverse mix of sound designers, sound artists, web game developers, filmmakers and music producers. Hobbyists and home video makers are welcome too.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Apple's Moviemaking Curriculum - Free

Apple is offering a free Movie Making Curriculum created by digital media production experts Ross Kallen and Marco Antonio Torres (copyright 2008).  It includes 16 lessons from storyboarding to producing a documentary, music video and fiction film.  It includes both an instuctor guide and and student guides.  

Go to the link and fill out the form and you will be able to download the pdf files.  

Friday, April 25, 2008

Apple's Set to Screen Podcasts & Lesson Plans

Apple has a free filmmaking series aimed at high school and college students. The Set to Screen series offers a monthly podcast and contest tied to the filmmaking process. (Update: This webpage is down, but you you can access the videos here.)

They also offer free lessons plans at either the high school or college level.

From the Apple website:

Learn moviemaking from a master.

Great movies are full of adventure, and Australia, the next film from acclaimed director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet), is no exception. But making a movie is an even bigger adventure—an adventure in creativity—and with the Apple Set to Screen Series, you can be a part of it.

Every few weeks through October (2008), a new podcast episode from Baz and his production team will introduce you to another aspect of moviemaking, starting with on-set still photography, then moving on to costume design, cinematography, scoring, and more. You’ll get insights from the artists at work on Australia, watch them in action, footage the rest of the world hasn’t seen yet, and follow along as the movie comes together.

Here's where you come in.

Five of the episodes will also come with a challenge: Create a project inspired by what you’ve learned. Each time one of these episodes is released, you’ll have three weeks to post your work to the Apple Student Gallery. If your project is one of the best (10 from high schoolers and 10 from college students), you’ll win an iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch, or a MacBook Pro. And if your work is chosen as the most creative of all, you’ll be going on yet another kind of adventure—a trip for two to Australia. Five challenges mean you’ve got five chances to win.

Of course, we saved the best for last. Submit the top project for the final challenge, and Baz himself will plan your trip to Oz, meet you there, and take you along on the promotional tour for the film in the U.S. Your project will even be included on the DVD release of Australia.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lowel Lighting Tutorials

Lowel, the lighting equipment manufacturer, has a section on their website titled, Lowel EDU: A Lighting Resource Center. It has some great tutorials on how to set up lighting for different situations, including interview and green screen set-ups.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mervin Block News Writing Resources

Mervin Block is a broadcast writing coach and author. He has written news at three television networks and taught at a number of universities.

He has a website that promotes his workshop on broadcast news writing. He also has a number of articles on broadcast journalism.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Franklin High Video Webpage

The courses we teach at my school, Franklin High are listed at the school's website with directions for each assignment. This remains a work in progress, with changes occurring every year in the curriculum. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Supported Devices for Apple Pro Applications

Apple has a webpage that will give you a list of Supported Devices for Apple Pro Applications based on the software version you are using.

Use it to find out recommended cameras, control surfaces and audio interfaces that will work with Final Cut Pro / Express.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Texas Media Technology Curriculum

The University of North Texas hosts the Texas Trade and Industrial Education website. They have the curricula listed for a number of courses, including a Media Technology curriculum. This is a video/television production course. They have a lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, along with tests for each unit.

The materials are free for Texas public or charter schools, but the copyright notice, posted on their website, limits other use:
Private entities or persons located in Texas that are not Texas public school districts or Texas charter schools or any entity, whether public or private, educational or non-educational, located outside the State of Texas MUST obtain written approval from the Texas Education Agency and will be required to enter into a license agreement that may involve the payment of a licensing fee or a royalty fee.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 - Free Web Hosting

Students looking for a free website hosting may like They have more than 300 website design templates and a WIYSIWYG editor that lets you easily edit content. They claim:

We have the easiest site-building tools around. It's just a few clicks to a sleek, professional-looking site for your family, friends, customers - or just for yourself.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 tutorials - Free, a training and consulting company has a number of free tutorials for Final Cut Pro, LiveType, Photoshop for Video and Avid Exress.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Imaging a Mac Lab

Below are some options for maintaining your Mac lab. Get one type of computer (G3, G4, G5, iMac, MacPro etc.) installed the way you need, create a Disc Image then deploy to the same type of class computers.

You can push that image to each computer using Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) (via network) or if you don't have ARD (or a network), put the disk image on a Firewire Drive and clone the image to each computer.

The creator of NetRestore, Mike Bombich, has created some great free tools at his website for Mac lab management. has a webseminar with an outline on how to use his freeware NetRestore with ADR. In the webinar, go to the "deployment options" chapter of web cast.

ADR and NetRestore are powerful tools because they allow you to clear all the student preferences and remaining work at the end of a term.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Secondary Color Correction in Color

The author of The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction has valuable tutorial on how to do secondary color correction in Apple's Color.

Tutorial - Using Apple Color's Secondary Color Correction from Steve Hullfish on Vimeo.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Media Converter - Free is a website that allows you to convert video files into different formats. You can:
  1. Convert a video directly from various portals (YouTube, Dailymotion, etc.)
  2. Convert a video or music by URL (http, ftp, mms, mmsh, and rtsp)
  3. Upload a video, audio or Office file from your local hard drive

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 TV Production Course - Free is a website that hosts two free online courses. Television Production is an in-depth look at the production process. The Elements of Communication has modules on Film, Radio and Television. It also has modules on internet and print publishing.

Ron Whittaker, Ph.D. is the author of the courses. He provides instructors with free tests and lecture notes and students can take interactive quizzes.

Whitaker notes the advantages to instructors and students using his site:

The form of this cybertext has a number of advantages.

  • It's free*
  • It includes about 800 full-color illustrations.
  • It is condensed. Drawing from many years of profesional TV experience, it focuses only on essential concepts.
  • It is updated regularly. (A revision date is listed at the top of each module.)
  • It's not hampered by the content and form limitations of commercial publishing.
  • It's now available on several sites and includes a mobile version

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Miyu Subtitler - Free

MIYU is an all-in-one solution for video subtitling and translation management on Mac OS X. It recently became free.

Miyu provides the tools for scripting, timing, typesetting, and export - in one compact software package. Whether your project is foreign language epics or just home movies, Miyu can get you there with a fully featured, intuitive user interface.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Texture Archive - Free

You can find a number of free textures available at

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Microsoft Word Script Format Macro - Free

The BBC has a free Microsoft Word macro for script formating called, Script Smart. It will only work in Word, and not Microsoft Works.

This resource is part of the BBC's Writer's Room, which has a number of resources for scriptwriting.

The version they have for the Mac only works for OS9 Word 2001. There are multiple Windows versions.

If you don't want to use this, I recommend Celtz.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Word Caption Software - Free

World Caption is a free program for adding captions to a QuickTime compatible video, using a transcript of that video. While World Caption cannot be used to generate a transcript, it makes the process of synchronizing a transcript to video simple, and allows quick and easy generation of captions.

World Caption accepts UTF-8 encoded text files, which means it can handle a wide number of languages - including languages with non-Latin character sets such as Japanese.

World Caption allows addition of any number of tracks to the video. This allows the creation of caption tracks for several languages.

World Caption requires Mac OS X version 10.4 or later. It is offered free though the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin - Madison

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Subtitle Software - Free

If you need to add subtitles to your DVD or video project the Belle Nuit Subtitler is an option. They have a full featured version for sale, but the offline version is free. It is an application to:

Spot, edit and render subtitles for video editing, DVD authoring and digital cinema. Translators can spot directly with a QuickTime movie and translate precisely. The subtitles can then be imported to Avid Media Composer, Avid Xpress, Avid DS and Final Cut Pro for editing. The same subtitles can be sent also to Adobe Encore DVD, Apple DVD Studio Pro, Sonic Producer and Sonic Scenarist for authoring. The subtitles can also be used for live subtitling on Texas Instruments Digital Cinema projectors. Belle Nuit Subtitler frees the video editors from repetitive work and from typo errors.

With the offline version you can freely distribute the program and use on any numbers of computers. The offline version is fully functional with the following restrictions:
  • You can only export 10 titles at a time.
  • Some tools in the Tools menu do not work.
Give it to your translator, your director or your producer or whoever is responsible for the subtitle text. With the offline license, you can also test the entire workflow (import/export, quality of titles) and buy only the online license, when you are satisfied with the result.

Hoover High School, Ohio

Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio offers three different video production courses. On their website you can find examples of student work and a promo video for their program.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Learn Final Cut Pro Podcast

Eliot Baring has posted six episodes on the basics of Final Cut Pro. His website states:

Learn Final Cut Pro with filmmaker and multimedia teacher Eliot Baring in these exciting, easy to follow FCP podcasts. Ideal for editors, students and teachers, this will take you through absolutely everything FCP has to offer.

Monday, February 18, 2008 Tutorials

The website has a number of video tutorials that range from prop building to scriptwriting. They are all fun to watch and emphasize how to do things on the cheap.

Here is a tutorial on how to build a prop jet pack. They did it for $30. It looks pretty good.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

iMovie plug-ins from - FREE offers a free sampler of their Slick Transitions and Effects

You can get 20 fully functional plug-ins for free!

Supports iMovie HD 6, 5 and 4
Universal Binary for Intel and PowerPC Macs
(Plug-ins do not work with iLife '08's rewritten version of iMovie 7)

Give Slick software a try for free.

Requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, including Leopard 10.5

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Emerald Ridge High School Video Curriculum

Check out the website of, which contains the curriculum of the three year video program at Emerald Ridge High School.

Web Jam - Free Website Hosting

Webjam is another free place to host your website. It features an easy drag and drop design interface.

Students can set up a website to promote their short film or to promote themselves. Students who want to protect their identity can create a production company website.

Check out other free web hosting sites.

Vorhees High School Website

Vorhees High School in New Jersey has a website with photos of their TV studio and examples of student work.

Friday, February 15, 2008

HD to SD Version in Final Cut Pro

The website has a quick tutorial on how to convert an HD project into an SD version in Final Cut Pro.

Teacher's Guide to Intellectual Property Rights

Mircosoft is sponsoring an initiative to teach intellectual property rights to middle and high school students. Information Week has an article about it which notes:
Microsoft's survey found that about half of the teenagers surveyed (49%) said they are not familiar with the rules and guidelines for downloading content from the Internet. Only 11% understood the rules well, and of those, 82% said downloading content illegally merits punishment. Among those unfamiliar with the law, only 57% supported punishment for intellectual property violations.

To address this issue they have set up The Teacher's Guide to Intellectual Property Rights. have a set up a website with curriculum aimed at 8th-10th grade students, but which is modifiable for upper grades. This curriculum includes:
Four thematic units comprise the IPR Education Curriculum. Within each unit are stand-alone yet complementary lesson plans (activities) that focus on and play off of an IPR-related scenario presented through a Case Study.

Guiding Questions help set the expectation for what students will learn in each unit, and Baseline and Post-Unit Assessments serve to gauge changes in student knowledge and perceptions about IP. Each unit consists of 4-6 lesson plans (activities), including a Culminating Activity that serves as a project-based unit assessment.

To support this initiative, Microsoft has launched MyBytes, a web site where students can create custom ringtones, share content, and learn more about intellectual property rights.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Apple Soundtrack Pro Training Material

An Apple Certified Trainer in Logic and Soundtrack Pro has generously put up both chapter notes, supplemental material, and interactive quizzes for these applications.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Alliance for a Media Literate America

The Alliance for a Media Literate America is a membership organization that may be of interest to video production teachers. Their website notes:

"Since its founding in 2001, the Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA) has emerged as the leading voice for inquiry-based media literacy education in the United States.

Established to bring together previously isolated practitioners and projects, AMLA works to harness the collective passion, energy and expertise of its members into a vibrant support network with a strong and effective organizational presence in the world of K-12 and higher education. "

They have published a set of Core Principles of Media Literacy Education in the United States.

They also have some lesson plans on their website.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lightwave 3D Tutorials - Free

New Tek has put on their website over 10 hours of free tutorials for their Lightwave 3D software.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spaceship Compositing Tutorial

Here is an interesting spaceship compositing tutorial using After Effects. (Unfortunately, it doesn't show the After Effects application.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hit By A Car Tutorial

Here is an After Effects tutorial for how to get hit by a car.

Detonation Films SFX Tutorials

Detonation Films has a page with a number of video tutorials on special effects techniques they have done for Final Cut Express. They includes a compositing demos for several other applications.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Creative Cow Magazine - Free

Creative Cow runs a great forum for finding answers to technical questions. They now produce Creative Cow Magazine and the subscription is free.

They say this about themselves.

Creative COW Magazine is the outgrowth of the Creative Communities of the World media professionals web community located at Born from the work that Ron & Kathlyn Lindeboom and their team began over 11 years ago a team that now includes over 200 leaders and writers who create some of the finest content and support on the net for media professionals the COW has well over 275,000 unique visitors each month, with months reaching as high as 11 million pageviews.

Out of this phenomenal community, now comes a FREE magazine filled with the kind of no-nonsense practical and useable knowledge that will help unlock many new techniques, areas of expertise and tools that will make you a stronger and more creative media professional.

See the Video Instructor list of free industry magazines.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Celtx - Scriptwriting Software - Free

In a previous post I discussed using Macros in Microsoft word as script formating aids. I am now using Celtx, which is excellent freeware script writing software.

It has an easy to use interface and once you teach students the basic structure of proper formating, they can quickly use the software. Best of all, it is an open source project. It continues to add new features that make it useful for more that just formating.

The website states:

Celtx is the world's first fully integrated solution for media pre-production and collaboration. It replaces old fashioned 'paper, pen & binder' media creation with a digital approach to writing and organizing that's more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share.

The website has some tutorial videos that provide a great way to learn what it does. It is available for OSX, Windows, and Linux.

UPDATE: Version 1 is now out.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Adobe Software Donation Program

K-12 Schools in the US and primary and secondary schools in Canada may request a software donation from Adobe through Gifts In Kind.

Eligible schools may request up to a total of four individual title products or one suite product per year. Each product package provides licensing for one computer. No additional licenses or program upgrades are available through this donation program.

Schools may apply once per Fiscal Year (December 1-November 30). Please be sure your request includes all the products (maximum of 4 individual or 1 bundled package) your school requires.

The software is not actually free, you must pay an administrative fee:

In order to recover its costs for administering this program, Gifts In Kind charges a modest administrative fee of $40 per package of Acrobat Pro, Contribute, Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Fireworks, In Design, Illustrator, Photoshop and Premiere Pro; and a $140 administrative fee for CS Design Premiere, CS Web Premiere, and CS Production Premiere.

If you are not a member of Gifts In Kind, you will be charged an additional $25 on your entire order. If your order is not approved, you will not be charged for any portion of the order if paying by credit, or your check will be returned if paying by check.
If your organization is a North American based nonprofit, you may be eligible for a software donation from Adobe. Please go to Tech Soup for more information about Adobe's North American Nonprofit Software Donation Program and to how to apply.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Adobe Video Curriculum - Free

Adobe has developed an ISTE-aligned curriculum for video production, centered around Adobe software. It is available as a free download.

Digital Video: Foundations of Video Design and Production is a yearlong, project-based curriculum set that helps students develop career and communication skills in video and audio production. The Digital Video projects include instructor project guidelines and reproducible student materials. You can download individual projects or the entire curriculum.

Two other available courses are:
Visual Design: Foundations of Design and Print Production and

Digital Design: Foundations of Web Design

Adobe has an Education Resources page with interesting articles, case studies and other resources.

Monday, February 4, 2008

D-Day Invasion - Done by three guys

Here is an interesting YouTube video that shows some of the process taken to stage the invasion of Omaha Beach on D-Day for a BBC documentary. A total of three people were involved. They had four days of production. Very cool.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

DV Magazine - Free

You can get a free subscription to DV Magazine.

Their tag line is "Tools and techniques for the independent professional." I recommend that advanced video students subscribe to this magazine.

Their website states:
Since 1993, DV Magazine has served the information needs of professionals involved in the production, postproduction, and delivery of digital video. Written and produced by experts in the field, DV provides objective, hard-hitting, in depth product information.

See the Video Instructor list of free industry magazines.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MPEG Streamclip - Convert a DVD into QuickTime

An increasing number of students are using DVD camcorders. These camcorders often come with proprietary software for editing, and often it is PC only. Bringing these disks into a Mac lab can pose a problem.

Mac users can utilize the powerful freeware application MPEG Steamclip for converting a DVD into a QuickTime file.

MPEG Streamclip is a free video converter, player and editor for Mac and Windows. It can play a number of movies files. It can convert MPEG files between muxed/demuxed formats for authoring. It can encode movies to a number of formats including QuickTime and AVI and it can cut, trim, and join movies. It can also download movies from YouTube and Google by entering the page URL.

Converting a DVD from either a camcorder or a non-copy protected disk into a QuickTime file for editing in either iMovie or Final Cut Pro / Express is easy. Insert the DVD and then launch the MPEG Streamclip application.

For a Quicktime File for use in iMovie:
Go to File > Open DVD. Then select the the DVD.

This will bring up a pop-up menu that says, "Please choose which DVD movie you want to open." On a disk created on a DVD camcorder, each camera start and stop (or shot), becomes its own "movie." Select each shot one at a time. You can preview the shot and determine if you need to make a QuickTime conversion of it.

Then go File > Export to DV.
This brings up a pop-up window with all of the presets made for this type of file. The only thing you might need to change is the aspect ratio.
Press the Make Movie button.

For a QuickTime file for use in Final Cut Pro / Express:
Do the above except for the last step. Instead of selecting Export to DV, instead select Import to QuickTime. From the pop-up you will get a large number of choices. It defaults to Apple Motion JPEG A. You DO NOT want to use this default. Instead, for standard DV that will work in FCP without rendering, you want to select the following:
  • From the Compression pull-down menu select Apple DV/DVCPRO-NTSC (Do not confuse this DV/DVCPR50)
  • Move the Quality slider from its default of 50% to 100%
  • Sound: leave it at Uncompressed - Stereo - Audio
  • Frame Size: 720 x 480 (DV-NTSC)
  • Field Dominance: Lower Field First
  • Make no adjustments on the rotation; Zoom, or Cropping (unless, you want that adjustment for some reason.)
  • Optional: Click on the Presents button and create a new preset that you title: DV NTSC
  • Click the Make Movie button.
See the photo below for the how it should look. The conversion is pretty quick, happening in real time or quicker, depending on the age of your Mac.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Find Video Competitions

A great way to motivate students is have them enter video competitions. An excellent website for finding these contests is Vidopp, which they call "the intersection of Video & Opportunity."

They try to locate all video contests available. Many offer cash prizes or trips to various locations. Some are open to everyone, other are for adults, but many are for teens. You can can do a search of those tagged as "students only."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Student Filmmakers Magazine

I can't speak highly enough of the editor and writers at Student Filmmakers magazine. They produce a magazine that is loaded with a wide range of articles covering every discipline within the filmmaking process. The writing is directed at high school and college readers and features a clear succint style. Recent contributers have included John Badham (War Games), who wrote an article on directing actors.When the magazine launched they allowed students to sign up for free subscriptions. While they have currently discontinued that offer, teachers can order free class sets. That's right, order a box filled with 100, or whatever you need, delivered for free every month. This offer is open to both high schools and colleges in the U.S.To obtain free bulk distribution of magazine for your classroom you need to fax or mail in an application. You can find the instructions at this link.

Update: It appears that they have taken down the free bulk distribution offer. 

See the Video Instructor list of free industry magazines.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Online Filmmaking Seminars - Free

Columbia University hosts a number of short online features about
filmmaking that you can build a lesson around.

The Basics of Scriptwriting is very well done and concise.

A list of all short online film related courses:

Features (Interviews)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

iMovie HD 6 as free download (with a catch)

iMovie '08 is a complete rewrite of Apple's movie editing sofware and offers a new model for creating movies. It sports a new look and provides a fast and easy way create a basic video quickly. Unfortunately, some critics have considered it "a step backwards."

If you didn't kow, iMovie HD 6, previously distributed with iLife ’06, is available free for download for those who have purchased and installed iLife ’08. (NOTE: It will not work if you don't have iLife '08, I tried.)

So, if you purchased a new Mac or bought iLife '08, you should get iMovie HD 6.

The minimum requirements for iMovie HD 6 are:
- A Macintosh computer with a PowerPC G4, G5, or Intel Core processor
- 256 MB of RAM; 512 MB recommended
- High definition video requires a 1 GHz G4 processor or faster and 512 MB of RAM
- Mac OS X 10.3.9 or Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later; Mac OS X 10.4.4 recommended
- Mac OS X 10.4.4 (or later) required for themes, real-time video effects, and audio effects

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weebly - Free Website Hosting

For people seeking work in the video production field, personal websites have become more important than business cards. You need to site to show your reel and talk about work you have done. Students without any money can consider a number of free web hosting sites. If you don't have the cash to buy a domain, the consider a site like

One of the benefits with this particular site is the number of templates they offer. They also have a simple "drag and drop" interface. So, you don't have to have a background in web designing to put up a nice looking site.

Check out other free web hosting sites.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Center for Media Literacy

The Center for Media Literacy has a downloadable PDF of key concepts and other educational resources.

Five Key Questions of Media Literacy

1. Who created this message?

2. What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

3. How might different people understand this message differently than me?

4. What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

5. Why is this message being sent?

Five Core Concepts

1. All media messages are ‘constructed.’

2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.

3. Different people experience the same media message differently.

4. Media have embedded values and points of view.

5. Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stray Cinema - Video Footage - Free

The British website is offering an interesting
experiment. They sponsor a video contest where they provide the video
footage and you get to edit it.

There is no specific narrative tied to this footage and you are encouraged to
create something poetic with it. Some students may enjoy practicing
their editing skills with this contest. You can download the raw
footage in the QuickTime, MPEG4, and AVI formats.

Stray Cinema is an open source film. It is an experiment that combines filmmaking with online information sharing. We have shot a film and put the raw footage on this website, so you can download it and make your own version of the film!

We would love you to submit a two minute segment of the film you wish to make with our footage onto this website to be included in our competition.

We challenge you to make a more interesting cut of the film than we do.

Your film will be voted by our online community, and the top five films will debut at our New Zealand screening event.

An archive of the 2007 submissions is available here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Maya Animation Software - Free

For students interested in learning top-end animation software Autodesk's Maya Personal Learning Edition is for you.

Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE) is a special version of Autodesk® Maya® software, which provides free access to Maya for non-commercial use. It gives 3D graphics and animation students, industry professionals, and those interested in breaking into the world of computer graphics an opportunity to explore most aspects of the award-winning Autodesk® Maya® Complete software in a non-commercial capacity. The Maya Personal Learning Edition software is available for 32-bit Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional and Apple® Mac OS® X (for Macintosh Power PC or Intel-based Macintosh computers) operating systems. Autodesk Maya PLE is based on Autodesk Maya 8.5.

Note that the software is for personal use only:

The Autodesk Maya PLE restricts users to non-commercial applications through the display of a watermark on images as well as through the use of a special non-commercial file format. If you are a business, school, academic institution, training center or any similar type establishment you should not use the Software or Materials, or any Personal Use Files in, or as part of, any business activity or educational or training program.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Music Video Footage - Free

The Guardian newspaper in England with Intel sponsored a music video contest. The contest is over now, but you can still download the video clips and the music and edit your own version 60 second version.

For teachers, this can make a great extra credit filler project. The media is available both in WMV and QuickTime.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


The purpose of this blog is to share resources and instructional ideas on the teaching of video production and related media. High school and even middle school and college teachers are the target audience. It will primarily focus on solutions for Macs, but will also feature resources for other platforms.

It is hoped that not only teachers, but anyone interested in learning about video production will find the information in this blog valuable.

I will explore the use of many free resources, particularly freeware, which is listed on the Apple website.

Expect a new post about once every week. I look forward to sharing ideas from readers. Thanks