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Tip #843: Free Guide to Music Licensing

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Licensing music requires thought. The law favors the creator, and penalties are high.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com.)

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The folks at Ritual Music have written a free Guide to “How Music Licensing Works.” (Ritual Music is a subscription-based music licensing firm.)

Their blurb reads:

Video content of all kinds is being made cheaper, faster and better every day. The music in it better keep up. By 2020, it’s expected that 30 million videos will be uploaded every single day, almost all requiring legally procured music to comply with strong digital copyright enforcement on every major platform from YouTube and Vimeo to Facebook and Instagram. This explosive growth will open up billions of new music licensing opportunities in music over the next decade.

Smaller budgets and shorter production timelines will freeze out traditional licensing models, but the demand for world-class music will still be paramount. Because of the speed, budgets and quality of digital video content creation, affordable instant-licensing solutions with world-class content will dominate this new market.

Here’s the link to their free Guide.


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Tip #844: What Does a Film Producer Do?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Producers do a bit of everything. Here are the details.

Saul Zaentz on set of The Mosquito Coast with Harrison Ford. Image via Warner Bros.

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This article, written by Logan Baker, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

A film begins and ends with the producer. The producer is the catalyst for a project coming together, its complete production cycle, and its eventual release, marketing, and distribution. A good producer will cultivate a kernel of an idea into something significant, tangible, and bright on screen. So, with all that being said, on a day-to-day level, starting from story inception to hitting the silver screen — what does a producer actually do? Let’s take a look.

Here are the steps:

  • Find the literary property
  • Shape the idea into a viable film
  • Raise the money
  • Hire the director
  • Choose the cast
  • Oversee production
  • Oversee post
  • Mastermind the marketing
  • Negotiate worldwide rights

So, when all is said and done — what does a producer do? Well, a little bit of everything. They’re absolutely essential for a production to get off the ground running, as smoothly as possible. See, there’s a reason producers receive the Oscar for Best Picture.

Here’s a link to an interview in Time, with Saul Zaentz, who details the process.


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Tip #846: 8 Reasons Why You’ll Fail in Media

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The road to success starts with lots of hard work.

Image courtesy of MotionArray.com.

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As if life wasn’t stressful enough, the folks at MotionArray.com have compiled a list of eight reasons why you’ll fail as a filmmaker. See how many of these apply to you. (This is an excerpt of the original article.)

Becoming a filmmaker is a dream for many people. But… Here are some reasons why you might fail in the film industry and ways to overcome them so you can become the next big shot in Hollywood.

  1. You’ve got a cool camera. While it’s true that a good camera can “allow” you to get better shots, it doesn’t matter at all if you don’t know what you are doing with it.
  2. You memorized the shortcuts. Editing skills run much deeper than button mashing and speed. You have to learn about pacing, rhythm, and storytelling. Spend your energy focusing on the art of the edit.
  3. You saw the tutorial. Look, tutorials are great educational tools. We watch them all the time. Go ahead and watch those tutorials, but then take what you learned and expand on it. Experiment with new ideas.
  4. What does music have to do with filmmaking? You are a “visual” storyteller, not a musician. Think again on this one. Unless you are making a silent film, and we mean totally silent, the music and audio you use will be just as important as your visuals. Try thinking about music earlier in the process. Think about the emotions that you want to get.
  5. Your friends are great actors. Your friends might be great friends, but they probably aren’t great actors. If they are, lucky you, but let’s not kid ourselves. You aren’t going to ask your friend to mend your broken leg just because you don’t know any doctors off hand. Think about actors in the same way.
  6. You went to school for this stuff. Getting through film school will definitely give you a leg up over the competition, and education is never bad. But just remember that it’s a first step, not a straight shot to the top.
  7. Practice. What’s practice? Many of the best filmmakers of our time started with shorts. It’s a good way to get your feet wet before putting on your big boy pants. And remember, they give out Oscars for shorts too.
  8. You’ve got big dreams. Dreams are what lead us to create great things. Without big dreams, we run the risk of selling ourselves short. But… it’s not just about dreaming it into existence. Success comes from hard work.

Here’s the link to the full article.


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Tip #827: When Is It Time to Fire Your Client?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The creative arts are stressful- don’t let clients make them worse.

Image courtesy of Pexels.com.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is an excerpt.

The truth is, everyone wants to work, and everyone wants to make money, but sometimes it’s not worth the hassle to deal with a bad client. So, when do you know when it’s time to let go of a client and get on with your life? Take note of these situations and consider if it’s worth letting go.

  • Please Pay Me. We all know those clients that ask you for a ton of revisions, then they can’t seem to remember to drop the check in the mail. There are also really nice clients who never seem to pay on time either. The point is, you deserve to be paid, and you deserve to be paid on time.
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Any client has the right to not like what you are putting out. It happens all the time. After all, art is subjective. But that doesn’t give a client the right to treat you like a child…or worse. If a client can’t treat you like the talented artist you are and respect that you are a human, well, then you can do better.
  • Revisions Never End. This one is tricky. After all, there is a fine line between too many revisions, and you just not being able to deliver what’s being asked. Working with clients is always going to have its fair share of headaches. And many times it’s not even the client’s fault. We artists can be hard to work with too. It’s a give and take, and we do want to work after all. But when you start dreading the client call, when you have to really wonder if it’s worth it to take that new project, then it probably isn’t.

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Tip #825: Handling Unexpected Location Setbacks

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Production Planning Means Planning for Chaos

Image courtesy of Pexels.com.

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This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Knowing how to quickly and safely solve problems on set can save an entire production. Here are the critical areas to focus on. This article provides videos and links to handling problems.

Let’s face it, when working in film and video production, there are going to be problems that pop up on even the most tightly-run sets. It just comes with the territory. That’s why it’s critical for any filmmaker, director, or producer to plan well, schedule accordingly, take real measures up front to address all potential safety concerns, and, you know, still expect the unexpected.

Here’s what Jourdan covers:

  • Serious Emergencies
  • Safety Measures for Stunts
  • Schedules and Delays
  • Locations and Weather
  • See a Problem, Report a Problem

The article linked above also includes links to five other articles covering film and video production.


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Tip #826: Capture Stunts Better with a Long Lens

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The key to stunts is to imply danger while keeping everyone on set safe.

Image courtesy of Pexels.com.

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This article, written by Rubidium Wu, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is an excerpt.

Shooting on long lenses is an easy way to capture normal actions and make them appear as dangerous stunts. It’s a good technique to learn and practice, because, ultimately, a director’s first duty is making sure everyone — stunt performers, actors, and camera crew — gets home safely at the end of the day.

However, the history of stunts in movies has been marred by injuries and deaths of stunt performers (and sometimes even camera crews). Lloyd himself suffered numerous injuries and burns throughout his career, even with the primitive camera tricks they used to distance him from danger.

As cameras and optics evolved, filmmakers found innovative ways to make stunts safer and sell better. The most used and useful of these is via a long lens, which continues to be a cheap and effective way for filmmakers — of all levels and budgets — to sell stunts right up to present day.

In the article linked above, Rubidium provides examples, tips and links on the best ways to shoot stunt work.


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Tip #807: Create Looped Video for Live Streams

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Loops fill time or background when you don’t have anything else to show.

Simple animated loops can solve several knotty post-production problems.

Topic $TipTopic

This article, written by Charles Yeager, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

You’ve probably seen video loops on so many live streams that you don’t even give them a second thought. Here are some common loop examples:

  • Pre-Roll Loops: These video loops play before a live stream begins to give viewers a chance to settle in.
  • Live Radio/Podcast: These loops provide viewers with something of visual interest when people/subjects aren’t on screen.
  • Animation Scene Loops: These are looping animation scenes, frequently used on lo-fi music channels and other music broadcast channels.

The link (above) has a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a looped video, including the software you’ll need, and look at some common video loop examples.


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Tip #809: A Beginner’s Guide to Frame Rates

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Frame rates are fundamental to video – and difficult to change.

Topic $TipTopic

I’ve written a lot about frame rates, with my key point being that changing frame rates in post is, almost always, difficult and unsatisfactory. In this PremiumBeat.com article, written by Lewis McGregor, you’ll discover the basics of frame rates. Along the way, Lewis illustrates where they came from and how to decide which frame rate to use for your next project.

As Lewis writes: “Different mediums and different regions all demand different frame rates for various reasons. But, the number of frames per second you decide to give to your shot can also drastically change how your project looks and what you can do with the footage.”

Click the link above to read more.


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Tip #811: Talent & Location Releases – What’s Needed?

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Nothing ruins a great production like a lack of releases.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in MotionArray.com. This is an excerpt.

Picture this, you just had the best video shoot ever. You hired the perfect actress to play a part in your commercial. She was a natural in every way. The setting was outdoors on a perfect day, and you got exactly what you needed. You have two days to edit everything together and deliver the spot to the client.

The day before it’s due, you get a call from the talent who says they no longer want to be a part of the commercial. And you never got them to sign the proper release. Guess what? You are in big trouble.

It may seem like when someone says they are in, then everything will be fine. But without the proper legal documents, you have no power when it comes to release and usage. And you won’t realize what a headache this can be until it happens to you.

Getting proper talent and location releases signed by the right people is one of the most important and often overlooked aspects of any video or film shoot. So, don’t let it slip through the cracks while you are busy working on shot composition or directing talent.

This article explains what talent and location releases are, when you need them and links to get forms for your next project.


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Tip #779: Why a Lens is Worse at f/22 than f/8

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The smaller the aperture, the greater the diffraction.

Lens aperture is determined by the iris setting.

Topic $TipTopic

This article first appeared in PetaPixel.com. This is an excerpt.

It’s common knowledge that most lenses are at their best (i.e. sharpest) between f/5.6 and f/8, depending on the lens. But why? The reason a lens is softer at f/22 than it is at f/8 is due to a phenomenon called diffraction.

Two interesting points worth highlighting are:

  • Lenses get sharper as you stop down because stopping down reduces aberration, even while it increases diffraction.
  • It’s only when the “blurry points” caused by diffraction become bigger than an individual pixel that you’ll begin to see the effect in your images.

This has two consequences that are actually noticeable in the real world:

  • All other things being equal, a higher-resolution sensor will show the effects of diffraction sooner, because the individual pixels are smaller.
  • A really well-corrected lens will begin showing the negative effects of diffraction earlier.

EXTRA CREDIT

The link at the top includes more details and a video illustrating diffraction in real life.