Maybe it’s just me, but 2013 felt like a whirlwind of a year. As I look back, I can’t believe how much has taken place and yet, at the same time, I feel like it was only days ago I was writing the best of 2012.
The year really has been full of some amazing milestones – most notably the complete redesign of The Black and Blue that should keep it looking fresh into the new year and make the content you love enjoyable to read, watch, and learn from.
And there will be much more of that content coming in 2014!
In the spirit of that, it’s time to look at the best of the best from The Black and Blue in 2013. So here are the top posts from the past year, ranked in order of most popular – voted on by you and the rest of The Black and Blue community – based on number of visits.
The 13 Most Popular Posts of 2013
88 cinematographers and ASC members reveal thoughts, advice, tips, and tricks they’ve received that helped them throughout their professional careers. Their responses range from the simple to the complex, the obvious to the specific, and the easy to the hard – but all of them stand to help you make the most of life in the film industry.
What’s the one rule you shouldn’t break on set? Answers range from the profound to the practical to the peculiar. Many recommend turning cell phones off while others took the opportunity to remind their fellow crew to show up early (or at least on time). Almost all started with “never” or “don’t” — a sign that crew aren’t the most forgiving when it comes to major setiquette mishaps.
I’ve reached back into the well and found another 100 resources perfect for filmmakers, cinematographers, camera assistants, and just about anyone who has ever stepped on a film set.
It’s true there are some things that are primed for post-production and are better done in front of a computer rather than in front of a camera. But there’s a difference between planning a shot to be enhanced in post and relegating a shot to be fixed in post. As camera assistants, we may have a small role to play, but if we play it effectively, we can help avoid some major “fix it in post” headaches.
The devices we have in our pockets, the ones that can run these apps, these are the new leathermans. They have everything we need. They eliminate the need to carry paper manuals and enable us to do complex timelapse calculations in a fraction of the time as a paper and pen.
As the summer sun shines bright and brings productions heavy on exteriors and in desperate need of a longer magic hour, film crews come from all corners of the world to swelter in the heat — some shirtless — and hustle below the line. All will suffer. Many will sweat. Most will thirst. It is within this context that we take a look at a crucial aspect of filmmaking: bottled water.
During the course of this interview with Empire, Fincher drops hints here and there about what it’s like to work with him. And what we can glean from these brief insights are a few tips that will help your career for the long haul. One that, perhaps someday, gets you on a set run by Fincher himself.
When it comes to cameras, there’s more options now than ever before. That’s great for cinematographers, but it leaves camera assistants struggling to wrap their heads around a staggering number of camera systems. Inevitably, you’re going to come across one you haven’t even touched before. So, how do you handle it?
When rigging a camera to a jib, a crane, or even a Steadicam, you don’t want to leave anything to chance by making false assumptions. So, to stay safe and keep your job, avoid making these 7 stupid assumptions that could lead to your demise, the camera’s demise, or put the crew in danger.
As a cinematographer, Haskell Wexler has brought to life some Hollywood classics and brought home two Oscar statues. But Wexler has also had to put up with the same strenuous working conditions that film crews are often beholden to. Specifically, long working hours that cause sleep deprivation. So he did what any filmmaker might do – he made a movie about it.
Without resourcefulness, I wouldn’t be able to solve camera problems effectively. I wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure of pulling focus handheld on wide open SuperSpeeds. I wouldn’t be able to ruthlessly cut inefficiencies on set. It’s worked wonders for me and it can help you, too.
Here’s a list of filmmaking terms I’ve compiled that, in a twisted world, would be spoken only in a hotel room with a hooker and a $100 bill. Instead we shout them on set.
Generally, the more experience you have on a film set, the bigger your bag of tricks. The bigger your bag of tricks, the faster you can come up with novel answers to complex questions. So if you haven’t started building one yet, now is the best time to start — and I’m here to help you.
Will I See You on the Other Side of 2013?
I hope so. Like I said above, there are grand plans in motion for The Black and Blue (there always are), so it’s in your best interests to stick around: subscribe to the site, follow me on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or simply bookmark the site and check back when you have some free time on set.
I promise to make it worth your while with new articles and resources (like the pocket guides)!
Finally, I hope this past year has been kind to you and your filmmaking career. Maybe you got your first gig or took a big step up the proverbial ladder. Maybe you had a successful crowdfunding campaign. Or maybe you simply stayed put and had some job stability for once.
No matter what happened, let’s cheers to continued (or newfound) success in 2014!
Have a favorite post you don’t see listed above? Please share it in the comments!