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Creative COW had the great pleasure of speaking to visual effects pioneer John Dykstra, who received his first Academy Award for his work on Star Wars, and, the same year, won an Academy Scientific and Engineering Award for the Dykstraflex motion-control camera that made so many of Star Wars' effects possible. Join us as he shares behind the scenes on Star Wars, speaks about his transition from an artist to a VFX supervisor, and gives us his thoughts on the state of VFX today.




Learn to "Dance" in 2015


"For some reason when I look at risks, usually BIG risks, I always see the opportunity," says longtime Creative COW Leader Walter Biscardi, of Biscardi Creative Media. "I'm aware of what can happen if the risk doesn't pay off, but the opportunities for success are what intrigue me. The fun factor is also an influence. I mean why do something if you're not going to enjoy it? It might stressful, but if there's some fun to be had in the risk, well that is something to be considered.

"I learned a long time ago, when an opportunity is presented, or I see the chance to create an opportunity I don't let the possibility of failure stop me. I can't be afraid to Dance." Read more of Walter's inspirational look at risk in the real world... https://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/13709/learn-to-dance-in-2015


GoPro Workflows for Editing Pros
Shane and friends on tubing down the mountain

GoPro footage is making its way into nearly every broadcast project that editor Shane Ross has been working on. It's even showing up in feature film production, so no matter what you're cutting, you're going to work with GoPro soon, if you're not already. Drawing on his real-world experience figuring this out on broadcast deadlines, Shane offers practical advice for editors using Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro CC, and Apple FCPX.
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An explosive shockwave. Think you've seen it all before? Not until Simon Ubsdell has shown you how to take advantage of unique tools in Apple Motion 5 to make your own. Simon's experience has been built over 25 years in motion graphics, sound design and mixing, music composition, visual effects and compositing, as well as writing, directing and producing. Follow him as he takes you deep inside keyframes, caustics, camera behaviors, and customizations, as well as sharing real-world tips for finding your way around Motion.




Expert Tips for Crowdfunding Success

Film projects are the most unsuccessfully funded of any Kickstarter category -- but producer and crowdfunding consultant Diana Ward Roark has worked on a number of campaigns for independent films that have exceeded their goals. She has the real-world advice you'll need to succeed, including where you can find backers, and how to engage them.





Thinking Differently to Create Successful Indie Distribution

With the accessibility offered by ever more affordable tools, it has never been easier to make an Indie feature. This essay by President and Co-founder of the Digital Cinema Society, James Mathers, discusses the distribution of an indie feature and how the filmmakers brought "Why We Ride" to life.
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Cinematographer Mandy Walker joins UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television as a Kodak Cinematographer in Residence, teaching the next generation of film students what it means to be a successful director of photography.

Mentorship in the film and television industry is essential to getting fresh talent behind the camera and in the edit suite, and UCLA agrees: That's why they've declared Mandy Walker ASC, ACS, as their 2014 Kodak Cinematographer in Residence at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT). Walker joins the program in its 15th year, with other great DPs such as Roger Deakins, Dean Cundey and Allen Daviau having taken part in years past.

Walker, known for her award-winning work on films like Australia, Red Riding Hood, and Tracks, became interested in cinematography from a young age. Beginning with still photography at age 12, she soon realized she could blend that love with her interest in movies (especially unusual and interesting cinematography) -- so she did. After high school, she spent a brief time at university until a production runner job came up. Walker worked her way up in the camera department, shooting her first film at age 25. Walker will be working with students at UCLA TFT for the rest of the 2015 academic year, so Creative COW contributing editor talked to her about her role as a mentor and DP, and how she approaches her work.



Learn to "Dance" in 2015

"For some reason when I look at risks, usually BIG risks, I always see the opportunity," says longtime Creative COW Leader Walter Biscardi, of Biscardi Creative Media. "I’m aware of what can happen if the risk doesn’t pay off, but the opportunities for success are what intrigue me. The fun factor is also an influence. I mean why do something if you’re not going to enjoy it? It might stressful, but if there’s some fun to be had in the risk, well that is something to be considered.

"I learned a long time ago, when an opportunity is presented, or I see the chance to create an opportunity I don’t let the possibility of failure stop me. I can’t be afraid to Dance." Read more of Walter's inspirational look at risk in the real world... https://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/13709/learn-to-dance-in-2015
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Misery Loves Comedy: Comedian Kevin Pollak Cuts His Documentary with Adobe Premiere Pro

Comedian and actor Kevin Pollak talks about directing and editing his documentary "Misery Loves Comedy", a film that explores the darker side of comedians. After three software lessons from editor (and renowned VFX supervisor) Rob Legato and ten months at the console, Pollak has some new insight about the cross-over between stand-up comedy and editing.





Cinematographer-in-Residence: Mandy Walker ASC at UCLA

Mentorship in the film and television industry is essential to getting fresh talent behind the camera and in the edit suite, and UCLA agrees: That's why they've declared Mandy Walker ASC, ACS, as their 2014 Kodak Cinematographer in Residence at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT). Walker joins the program in its 15th year, with other great DPs such as Roger Deakins, Dean Cundey and Allen Daviau having taken part in years past.

Walker, known for her award-winning work on films like Australia, Red Riding Hood, and Tracks, became interested in cinematography from a young age. Beginning with still photography at age 12, she soon realized she could blend that love with her interest in movies (especially unusual and interesting cinematography) -- so she did. After high school, she spent a brief time at university until a production runner job came up. Walker worked her way up in the camera department, shooting her first film at age 25. Walker will be working with students at UCLA TFT for the rest of the 2015 academic year, so we talked to her about her role as a mentor and DP, and how she approaches her work.



Zack Arnold's podast on Fitness in Post production

"Fitness in Post" Revisits "Sexism in Post"

It's an understatement to say that Kylee Wall's article "Sexism in Post: Sometimes It's What You Think, Sometimes Not" has been the most talked-about story recently posted at Creative COW. It has sparked conversations on social media, on other websites, among vendors and manufacturers across the industry, and will be the topic of a panel hosted by Kylee at the NAB Show 2015.

Among the people who added to the conversation is Zack Arnold, editor of shows including Empire, Burn Notice and Glee, and host of the popular Fitness in Post podcast."Fitness" might make you think of lifting weights or running a mile or following a healthy diet, but just as important as physical exercise is mental wellness, including personal happiness and inclusiveness in the workplace. Zack felt that Kylee's article was a natural fit for that aspect of Fitness in Post.

She was joined by Siân Fever -- like Kylee, a working editor -- to discuss the vast gender gap in post-production jobs despite the even gender split in media production classes, the challenges faced by women seeking to work in highly technical roles today, and how gender parity in post-production can benefit everyone.

Their conversation is carefully nuanced, neutral, thorough, insightful, and provocative. You'll definitely want to hear more. Read on...
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Director Ridley Scott's latest epic 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' takes a gritty approach to a biblical story, and colorist Stephen Nakamura helped expand the realistic look by working closely with Scott and DP Dariusz Wolski ASC, and by grading the film in DaVinci Resolve 11 using new tools to help push the 3D grade while preserving highlights.



We're always happy to see the artists we cover over the course of the year here at Creative COW do well when awards season rolls around. A number of projects we've featured have done well in a number of venues, but we're particularly pleased to see a strong Oscar showing for three of them in particular.



The poster from The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is tied for most nominations of any picture, with 9 in all, including Best Picture, the first Best Director nomination for Wes Anderson, Cinematography, Editing, and Production Design. We spoke to LOOK Effects VFX Supervisor Gabriel Sanchez, for whom this was his third collaboration with Wes Anderson. Gabriel told us about his work on the uniquely distinctive miniatures in the film, matte paintings, and his work on-set. Read more in A Distinctive LOOK For The Grand Budapest Hotel.






The last time William Goldenberg was invited to the Oscars was for his work as an editor on two films: Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, for which he won the Oscar for Best Editing. Two more pictures came in 2014, Unbroken and The Imitation Game, the latter of which brings William his fifth editing Oscar nomination. We were pleased to speak to William about both of this year's pictures in Unbroken: Editing Angelina Jolie's War Drama (which also features editor Tim Squyres), and Editor William Goldman on Crafting The Imitation Game.








Last, but hardly least as what was also 2014's most popular picture, we spoke to Sony Pictures Imageworks VFX Supervisor Pete Travers about his work on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. The film's two Oscar nominations include one for its Visual Effects, as well as Makeup and Hairstyling. Read more about Pete's work in particular in The Marvel of Guardians of the Galaxy.
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Oscar-nominated film editor Dody Dorn is best known for her work on films like Memento and End of Watch, with her latest film Fury involving 16 Avids across two continents. Working her way up from switchboard operator, Dody brings decades of experience to the edit, with a personal advocacy for taking career risks and accepting any opportunity.



Motion 5 titles in a welded format

Apple Motion 5 Title Tutorial: Weld

In the first of what will be an ongoing series, "Title Animation: WELD" uses the particle system in Apple Motion, as well as support for EPS outlines, to create the photo-real impression of a title burned onto the screen with a blowtorch, complete with sparks and smoke. Part 1 covers the set-up ,including a stop in Adobe Illustrator, and Part 2 features the compositing, lighting, and filtering finesse to really make it pop.




Unbroken: Editing Angelina Jolie's War Drama

Unbroken: Editing Angelina Jolie's War Drama

Editors William Goldenberg and Tim Squyres discuss the process of co-editing Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie directed war drama, including constructing challenging sequences, working with an actor-director, and knowing when a scene feels right.
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Creative COW's Walter Soyka has been using the Boris Continuum Complete plug-ins for years, and now takes a look at BCC 9. His conclusion: it's exactly what a plug-in set should be, adding power and creative options, saving time, and a strong value. Available for every major NLE and After Effects, you'll want to take a look at Walter's experience yourself.



Title treatment with the world WELD in bold, hot-metal letters

Apple Motion 5 Title Tutorial: Weld

In the first of what will be an ongoing series, Title Animation: WELD uses the particle system in Apple Motion, as well as support for EPS outlines, to create the photo-real impression of a title burned onto the screen with a blowtorch, complete with sparks and smoke. Part 1 covers the set-up ,including a stop in Adobe Illustrator, and Part 2 features the compositing, lighting, and filtering finesse to really make it pop.



UCLA Bruins in the background with title text

The Drive to Create: The Drive: PAC-12 Football

The 40-35 victory of the UCLA Bruins over the Kansas State Wildcats in the Valero Alamo Bowl proved to be one of the highlights of college football's bowl season, and a strong finish to a strong seasons of both the Bruins, and the remarkable show that covered them, The Drive: Pac-12 Football. produced by 16-time Emmy winner Jim Jorden.

Jim's 25-year career began with NFL Films, where he rose to Vice President in charge of Producers, and included 7 years creating programs for NASCAR before returning to football. Along the way, he has led the production of 69 new series on 20 networks, winning Emmys for his work as a cameraman, an editor, and an executive producer. He brings every bit of that experience to bear on "The Drive: PAC-12 Football," which just completed its second season. It's the first show to cover an entire season, week by week, combining the classically cinematic approach Jim took to his work for NFL Films, and the all-access approach he pioneered with his work on Hard Knocks. You won't want to miss this remarkable story about full-contact TV production.
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Editors William Goldenberg and Tim Squyres discuss the process of co-editing Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie directed war drama, including constructing challenging sequences, working with an actor-director, and knowing when a scene feels right.



Editor Bryan Capri Talks Cutting Lifetime TV Movies

Editor Bryan Capri Talks Cutting Lifetime TV Movies

Editor Bryan Capri's shift from editing corporate training videos and independent films to crafting TV movies for SyFy and Lifetime was no accident: hard work and a positive attitude were everything as he found himself cutting films and designing workflows for major networks.





Bridging Web Design and Development with Adobe Extract

Bridging Web Design and Development with Adobe Extract

Adobe Extract, released in August 2014, is a feature in Photoshop 2014 CC, Dreamweaver 2014 CC and Creative Cloud that has the potential to transform the way web designers and developers work together. If the designer does have a Creative Cloud membership, it opens up a new possibility: uploading a PSD file (one received via email, for instance) to Creative Cloud and getting the assets and CSS information out to to your project.
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Editor Bryan Capri's shift from editing corporate training videos and independent films to crafting TV movies for SyFy and Lifetime was no accident: hard work and a positive attitude were everything as he found himself cutting films and designing workflows for major networks.




Photoshop and web design

Bridging Web Design and Development with Adobe Extract

Adobe Extract, released in August 2014, is a feature in Photoshop 2014 CC, Dreamweaver 2014 CC and Creative Cloud that has the potential to transform the way web designers and developers work together. If the designer does have a Creative Cloud membership, it opens up a new possibility: uploading a PSD file (one received via email, for instance) to Creative Cloud and getting the assets and CSS information out to to your project.



Boris FX and Imagineer Systems logos

Boris FX Acquires Imagineer, Building VFX Development Dynamo

Boris FX, makers of VFX plug-ins and integrated workflow solutions including Boris Continuum Complete, have signed an agreement to acquire Imagineer Systems, makers of mocha Pro. The two will combine for a tremendous reach in the editing, motion graphics, and VFX communities, and have already begun work on joint projects and technologies.






Editor William Goldenberg on Crafting The Imitation Game

Oscar-winning film editor William Goldenberg has cut his fair share of tension, including Zero Dark Thirty and Argo. On The Imitation Game, he crafts the story of Alan Turing's race to crack the Engima code, sharing his creative approach to constructing a scene and working with high-level directors.
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Boris FX, makers of VFX plug-ins and integrated workflow solutions including Boris Continuum Complete, have signed an agreement to acquire Imagineer Systems, makers of mocha Pro. The two will combine for a tremendous reach in the editing, motion graphics, and VFX communities, and have already begun work on joint projects and technologies.




Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and others from the Imitation Game


Editor William Goldenberg, ACE, on Crafting The Imitation Game


Oscar-winning film editor William Goldenberg, ACE has cut his fair share of tension, including Zero Dark Thirty and Argo. On The Imitation Game, he crafts the story of Alan Turing's race to crack the Engima code, sharing his creative approach to constructing a scene and working with high-level directors.
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