filmmaking

Why we turned to Kickstarter to fund our film by Alec Kubas-Meyer

I'm making a short film with my friend and co-director Gerard Chamberlain. It's called Reel, will feature crazy martial arts action, and I think it's going to be really cool. But almost as cool as the film is the way we've decided to fund it: Kickstarter. If you'd like to read more about the film, I encourage you to check out our Kickstarter page. But this isn't about Reel. It's about our decision to ask friends, family, and total strangers alike to help us pay for it.

When Gerard first approached me with the idea for Reel  one sparked by a conversation we had had months prior  he told me he wanted to do a Kickstarter. It's a sentiment I've heard from a lot of different people, and I can't help but feel like it's turned into something of a cliche. Instead of being a new and interesting way to put yourself and your work out there, it's become just another avenue for filmmakers, wannabe or otherwise.

But the thing that makes Kickstarter so compelling isn't the money but the community. The money's nice (and the point, at least in the short term), yet it's the way that every person who puts down money becomes invested in your project that makes it so unique. Not invested in a literal sense but an emotional one. Even putting down just $1 for some Ethereal Appreciation and overly long backer updates written at an ungodly hour is a sign that a person cares about the project in some small way. Or maybe they're just curious. On Kickstarter, that $1 satiates curiosity. But it's not until $5 that a backer receives anything of any value. And even then, it's just their name on a website.

But those people are every bit as important as the people who back us in return for actual goods, tangible or otherwise. Everything we do is for them.

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My weekend with the Freefly Movi M5: Impressions by Alec Kubas-Meyer

My absence these past several months can be described simply: I have been making a movie. But now that principal photography has completed, I've got a little bit more time and wanted to discuss some aspects of the production itself. To date, the most popular post on this blog has been about my time with BlackMagic's Cinema Camera 4K. Whenever I look at the stats for this site, that story has always gotten at least a few hits. But what that tells me is that people are always looking for impressions of certain equipment/experiences, so I figured it was probably worth writing about my time with Freefly's Movi M5 handheld stabilization unit. For our shoot, we rented a whole bunch of equipment from BorrowLenses, including an M5. 

Early on, we had a conversation with our Director of Photography who said the best thing we could possibly get would be a stabilizer of some kind, and that he recommended that even over professional lighting equipment. And because I have wanted to try out a Movi since I first saw a video about one a few years back, that seemed like the way to go. (The rental price also dropped drastically between our original intent and the time we actually reserved it, which didn't hurt.) Our shoot lasted six days. Of those days, we used the Movi on two... the first two. One of the days we decided against using any motion at all and the other three we used a shoulder mount instead.

We had the Movi with us on set every day, but we ended up just setting it aside regardless. Because the M5 is amazing, but it's frustrating as hell.

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My weekend with the BlackMagic Cinema Camera 4K: Impressions by Alec Kubas-Meyer

For the last three weeks, I have been spending pretty much every waking hour (and most of my sleeping ones) involved in the production of two thesis films, one of which has wrapped principal photography, and the other of which has only just begun. The content of the films doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this (one is my own film, and I’ll probably be discussing that further down the line), but I wanted to talk a little bit about the experience I’ve had shooting, specifically this past weekend when I filmed with a BlackMagic Cinema Camera 4K. Over three days, I spent between 20 and 30 hours with the camera, so I feel like I have a decent grasp of what it is, at least enough to have some general thoughts about its successes and failings. So I’m going to talk about them. And I’m probably going to make it sound like I’m way more knowledgeable about this than I actually am. Especially in this first part. Also, still kind of sleep deprived, so this will probably ramble a bit more than usual... Hopefully it makes sense to the people who are actually going out of the way looking for something like this. It's almost like a review, except totally not in depth about the things people would be looking for in an actual review.

Anyways.

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