Why Cinematographers Should Be Using Pinterest

Image courtesy of  startbloggingonline.com

Image courtesy of startbloggingonline.com

We are inundated with content every moment of every day. It's important to have a system in place where you can collate, organize, archive, and retrieve that information with ease. Like other cinematographers, I come across compositions, color schemes, lighting setups, etc. regularly and I want to collect all of those inspirational images for later reference. Every shooter has his/her method for organizing look books and mood boards, but I really think Pinterest is an excellent way to keep all of these reference shots organized.

Since Pinterest allows you to create different boards for different interests, you can set up one board for compositions, another for lighting setups, and yet another for color palettes. Right now if you go to my Pinterest profile, you will see the following boards:

  • Blue Color Palettes
  • Compositions
  • Warm Color Palettes
  • Low-Key Lighting
  • Color Theory

I'm still in the process of adding more content, based on my current projects, but so far I've found Pinterest to be extremely convenient for organizing and accessing reference material.

What tools do you use for collecting inspirational images? Leave your tips in the Comments section. 

Here's Where to Find Templates, Stock Footage, LUTs, and More

As a video production professional, it's important to maintain an ongoing collection of assets that you can pull from and use in various projects. Whether it's stock footage, sound effects, music, templates, or graphics, having a robust library is an invaluable resource.

Currently I have a folder on my main hard drive labeled "_Toolbox." Inside are several subfolders which are used to organize all of my assets by type, such as:

  • Sound Effects
  • Stock Footage
  • After Effects Templates
  • Graphic Elements
  • LUTs
  • Forms

Your collection might look different from mine. You might have more folders. You might have less. The important thing is to always be on the lookout for new elements that you can add to your library so it always reflects current visual trends.

Here are a few resources I turn to when I need additional content for my Toolbox:

  • Ground Control Color - Sign up for their newsletter and you will receive a free LUT for use in your projects. They also have a great collection of LUTs for different cameras and different styles that you can purchase and use in your color grades. 
  • Color Grading Central - This site is a great resource for all things color correction and grading. They have tutorials, webinars, an online community, and LUTs you can use for your own projects. You will need to sign up for their e-newsletter to get access to some of the free stuff.
  • Motion Array - Motion Array is an incredible resource for After Effects and PremierePro templates, stock music, and more. Be sure to follow their Twitter account not only for some really informative editing tutorials, but also get access to some free stuff they offer from time to time.

  • RocketStock - Get access to some high-end After Effects templates and assets. Browse over to the Freebies section of their website to see what goodies they currently have available. Sign up for their e-newsletter to receive insightful tutorials and to stay up to date with their latest offerings.
  • Pond5 - If you need stock ANYTHING (footage, sound fx, templates, photography, or music) then check out Pond5. Sign up for their e-newsletter and you'll receive a wide variety of articles pertaining to video production and post. In addition, you will also get access to a weekly stock footage clip absolutely free. 
  • Rampant Design - In addition to After Effects, PremierePro, and Final Cut templates, Rampant Design has a wide variety of style effects to punch up any edit. Their e-newsletter also contains some great tutorials.

If you need any more recommendations, check out Jonny Elwyn's post Free Film LUTs for Editors, DITs, and ColoristsDo you have any resources to add? Please do so in the Comments section below.

A Great Online Automation Tool You Should Be Using

Like many Internet users, I manage many online tools at one time, each for a variety of specific purposes. Automating some of those online tasks is a great way to save time and ensure that nothing is overlooked. That's why I've been using IFTTT (If This Then That).

IFTTT has a simple and straightforward concept: Whenever you make one action, then it automatically triggers another action of your choosing. These triggers are called "Applets" and you can configure them in a number of different ways. You can find inspiration by watching IFTTT tutorials on YouTube.

Here's how I'm currently using IFTTT to automate some of my online tasks:

Save Favorite Tweets Directly to Evernote

When I'm on Twitter, I use the "Like" function to save articles and information for future reference, or I use it to bookmark articles I want to read at a later time. That's pretty convenient, but what isn't very convenient is trying to find those bookmarked articles later, when they've been buried in a thousand other "Likes."

To make my Twitter likes more searchable, I created an IFTTT applet to automatically save those bookmarked posts into Evernote, in a notebook labeled "Favorite Tweets." Now when I want to go back and read that in-depth article on Alfred Hitchcock's career, I can search Evernote for "Hitchcock" and the original tweet pops right up.

Save Tweets Directly to Google Drive

As I started to become more involved on Twitter, I realized that I needed a way to archive and manage my posts for later reference. That's why I created an Applet that will automatically take a tweet and add it to a Google Drive spreadsheet. Now the post itself, along with metadata like date and time, is cataloged and searchable within the spreadsheet.

Cross-Post Instagram Photos to Twitter 

You can easily share your Instagram photos to Twitter the moment you post, but the resulting tweet only contains a link to your Instagram picture. The photo itself isn't embedded in the tweet. If you're a marketer selling a product, you might want to cross-promote your Instagram images on Twitter and have those same images appear in the tweet itself. You can do this with IFTTT. I have an applet running that will simultaneously upload an image to Twitter the moment I upload it to Instagram.

There are hundreds of ways to use IFTTT to automate tasks. I encourage you to browse through the Discover section of their website, or you can read this Gizmodo article to help get you started.

How are you currently using IFTTT? What applets do you recommend? As always, leave your thoughts in the Comments section.

How to Keep Your Production Team On Track

Last year I wrote, directed, and edited a short film, Final HitDuring pre-production, there were a lot of moving parts to keep track of - casting, locations, crew, gear, schedules, etc. The list was extensive. I had multiple conversations happening with multiple people in multiple places, including Twitter, Email, Text, and Facebook. It was hard to maintain a level of organization throughout the process.

So, as I entered pre-production on a new short film, Big and TallI was determined to find a tool that would help me keep everything related to the project in one place. Enter Slack. I first heard about Slack while listening to the 99% Invisible podcast, and since I love anything that can help me stay organized, I had to check it out.

"What's Slack?" you may be wondering. Slack is a tool for teams. It's an intranet where you and your co-workers can organize all conversations and topics related to a project and keep them in one place. No more time wasted searching your inbox for that specific email. No more scouring through Dropbox folders looking for that PDF. You can message team members right there within the app. You can upload pictures and documents so everyone can have easy access to them. And when those documents are revised as the project moves forward, everyone on the team will see those changes.

I've been using it with my cast and crew for Big and Tall and it's been fantastic. I first created the team and invited everyone involved with the film to join. Then, I created separate Channels for each area of the production. Conversations, thoughts, ideas, documents, etc. stay within their designated channels. Here's a look at the channels for the Big and Tall Slack group. 

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Are you using Slack? If so, let me know how you're using it for your team. Have another recommendation? Leave it in the Comments section.