Friday, August 13, 2010

THROWBACKZ: Down and Dirty DV - Classic Clips

In case you never visited our Livestream channel, here's some of the Best of Down and Dirty DV free content from the last few years...

Watch live streaming video from downanddirtydv at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Details Emerge on Apples New Plans for Apple TV

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about Apple's reported move to revamp Apple TV to bring streaming content to our living rooms. Well, yesterday the diligent reporters at Engadget dug up some new details.

Most prominent are the price point - reportedly now $99.00 and the revelation that it will only offer 720p HD not full 1080i or 1080p HD video.

(Personally, I've noticed little noticeable difference between the quality of the 2 reigning flavors of HD and people forget that other factors apart from 720 vs. 1080 pixels can greatly affect image quality, but that's another post/debate for another day.)

Here's the Engadget exclusive on the new Apple TV.

I Say DVD's Are Dead (Yes, Blu-Ray too)

This week Netflix announced a new $1 Billion deal to further cement their leading role in the rapidly changing new media landscape. They signed a deal with a company called Epix that will allow them to add new movies from Paramount Pictures, Lions Gate and MGM to its online subscription service.

(*image sourced from:

As much as the streaming service is being embraced by Netflix users, it's big limitation has been the limited number of movies, especially new ones, in it's streaming service.

For the record I never really believed in Blu-Ray DVD's. Not that I don't think they are a superior and valid disc format, I just think they missed the window in all the years they spent bickering over a unified High-Definition DVD format (not unlike the 80's BETA vs. VHS tape wars). Had they have settled their war earlier (or never fought it in the first place), I think they'd have a better hold of the marketplace and would last awhile longer. In my opinion, they didn't miss with the technology per se, they missed with the timing.

Basically while the big technology players like Sony and Toshiba battled it out to push their two different formats, Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD, even smarter visionaries were looking past discs and physical media altogether and instead focusing on the future viability of pure digital delivery- downloading and streaming flicks and video content straight to your tv, phone, computer (or any other screen you want to consume it on).

I know there are plenty of filmmakers that will see this as some sort of heresy to dump the physical media, but it really is no different than the natural switch from CD-players to iPods and MP3 players- or from shooting on Mini-DV tapes to solid-state P2 and SxS cards for that matter. Yes, we lost the album liner notes (and in the case of this debate, the DVD back cover), but let's catalog the 3 Big C's we gain with this switch to all-digital delivery:

The 3 Big C's of All-Digital Delivery
1) CONVENIENCE: It's way easier to transport and manage a digital collection of videos, better yet, with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, we now have vast catalogs of content at our fingertips that live in "The Cloud" of the Internet and we don't have to carry a thing or even decide what movies we want to watch before we go on a trip. (I'm also one of those people who often ends up with the wrong DVD in the case or missing altogether, so for the unorganized DVD collector, streaming and downloads are a Godsend.) And best of all I can now watch a movie on the device and at the place of my choosing- TV, computer, iPad, videogame system or phone.

2) COST: It's cheaper to deliver and consume digital content. For less than the cost of a single DVD purchase, I watch dozens of movies from Netflix for $8.99 a month from anywhere in the world. Add on Hulu consumption (Free-cheap), iTunes Video downloads (reasonably priced), and On-Demand cable movies (plenty for free and included with premium channel subscriptions) and it really doesn't make much sense anymore to drop $30+ on a fancy Blu-Ray DVD or even $10 for a regular DVD.

3) CHOICE: The cost of Blu-Ray DVD's naturally means that we buy less of them and are more careful in our purchases. However, there's plenty of room in "The Cloud", so there is a growing (and soon to be endless) supply of movie, tv and video content available to stream or download. Watching an unknown indie movie is not such a commitment anymore since we don't have to go back to the video store or wait for our next DVD in the mail, we can just click on the next one if the flick's not for us. As a result, this newfound freedom of choice online allows us to discover and watch many more movies without fear of making a bad choice. And to top it all off, companies like Netflix and Apple have invested millions in honing systems that recommend new movies that we are more likely to like based on our previous choices.

So for all those reasons, plus a few I haven't mentioned here, I think DVD's - Blu-Ray included are dead. I give them 2-5 more years of meaningful life as video sales and consumption shift to the all-digital realm and don't think it's a bad thing for consumers or filmmakers.

That's my prediction and if you scroll back to the first years of this blog, I've been pretty on the money so far. Of course, I welcome a spirited debate with the Blu-Ray fans.

TOOLZ: 25 Must-Have Apps for Moviemakers

Since I first wrote a blog post a few months back about apps for filmmakers, there have been a number of new apps released and some of the previous ones have been updated with new features.

See my original Filmmaker Apps post with links HERE.

Movie Maker Magazine recently put out their list of 25 Must-Have Apps for Moviemakers , so I thought I'd just link to it to add to my original list.

(Unfortunately, their article only provides app names, not links, but if any of you want to take the time to provide links to the apps mentioned in this article. as a comment below be much appreciated by all I'm sure.)

Peep Movie Maker's 25 Best Apps for Filmmakers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DSLR Camera Debate: Cinematographer vs. Producer

Let me start off by saying two things here:

1) I thoroughly disagree with the general viewpoint of this video and

2) Nevertheless, I think it's very funny and presents a very teachable guerrilla moment about common strains in the dynamic of the Producer / Cinematographer relationship as well as filmmaking elitism.

Watch and we'll discuss the very serious filmmaking debate(s) it raise in a future blog post. Enjoy...

Cinematographer vs. Producer

Created by nicholasdh using (a "filmmaking" web site that's a whole other debate unto itself) and to my man Alex Houston who posted it on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Change the World...One Person at A Time

I started Down and Dirty DV as a way to share my little bit of guerrilla knowledge and insight with those who are walking the same filmmaking path I began almost 20 years ago. I've discovered along the way that moreso than filmmaking even, I really enjoy teaching, inspiring and encouraging others to make the films in their head.

As I wrote in the introduction to The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide, I believe in it's best form documentary has the power to change the world, not necessarily in big sweeping ways, but in a thousand little but very real ways- one-person at a time. (The only way anything ever really changes in society.) I believe this is doubly true of teaching and I often get emails from former workshop students and readers that affirm this idea.

Most recently I got an email from new filmmaker, Susan Shaw, who attended an all-day series of workshops sponsored by Panasonic that I gave along with DP/camera guru, Bernie Mitchell, at the B&H Event Space. Unbeknownst to me, that day changed her life.

In the space of less than a year, Susan went from never having made a film to directing her first short, an experimental documentary entitled Michael's Snow, getting it on the big screen at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival ...And to top it all off she just received an artist's residence in Vermont to work on her next two films.

Most humbling to me though, she credits the info she received at that day of seminars, as well as what she learned in The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide and on this blog with educating and inspiring her to make that first film - and now two more. Her case-study is the very definition of what I mean when I say "Shut Up and Shoot".

Read Susan Shaw's full blog post about that fateful day in her own words HERE.

If you want to see for yourself what got Susan so fired up to go out and make films, every seminar I gave that day at the B&H Superstore Event Space is now available with expanded content in the new deluxe 6-DVD Set of Indie Film Bootcamp, plus this set includes 3 more seminars from my fellow indie filmmakers, Pete Chatmon and Benjamin Ahr Harrison.

I try to not just offer straight filmmaking instruction, but go out of my way to give you the inspiration and practical filmmaking wisdom that you also need to ultimately succeed. And yes, it is possible that at the very best it could just end up changing your life...

You wouldn't be the first.

*If you have a story of how any of Down and Dirty DV's workshops, podcasts, or other products have helped you, I'd love to hear from you too. Drop me a line here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Snoop Dogg Puts the Mack on Sookie Stackhouse

I know I'm way late on this one, but in case anyone missed it here's a clever and funny-ass video from my man, Snoop Dogg, about a mutual passion we share for Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin) of the HBO Series, True Blood.

Moreso than other series of it's type, HBO has been producing little side content online and video epilogues to further engage fans of the series. Trailblazing the small screen as always...Oh Sooookie! Enjoy...