Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Actor, director, rebel Dennis Hopper died over the weekend leaving behind a long a varied career. Hopper has acted in or directed many of my favorite films including Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, The Trip, and Blue Velvet. Compared with all of the marginal fame-whore celebutantes that currently rule the airwaves, Hopper was a one of kind spirit and who made many contributions to cinema and art. His work will live on.

In Middle Earth news...according to the AP, Guillermo del Toro said Monday that production delays have forced him to quit the planned film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," a two-part prequel to New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson's blockbuster trilogy "Lord of the Rings." As much as I am disappointed in more Hobbit production delays, I am even more curious who is going to be taking his place??? Maybe Jackson might decide to direct again??? We can only hope. Read more about this subject here.

Film Tip of the Day: DIY Storyboards!!!

Wanna see more???? Here is an example of master filmmaker Ridley Scott's storyboards.

Friday, May 28, 2010


This short caught our attention, watch it, and you will see why.

MOMENTOS from Nuno Rocha on Vimeo.

In film releases:
Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) returns with CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY, opening Friday, May 28 exclusively at the Hillcrest Cinemas. This portrait of Washington super lobbyist Jack Abramoff, from his early years as a gung-ho member of the GOP political machine to his final reckoning as a disgraced, imprisoned pariah, confirms the adage that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. A tale of international intrigue with Indian casinos, Russian spies, Chinese sweatshops, and a mob-style killing in Miami, this is the story of the way money corrupts our political process. Following the ongoing indictments of federal officials and exposing favor trading in our nation's capital, Gibney illuminates the way our politicians' desperate need to get elected, and the millions of dollars it costs, may be undermining the basic principles of American democracy. Infuriating, yet undeniably fun to watch, CASINO JACK is a saga of greed and corruption with a cynical villain audiences will love to hate.
Check the trailer here:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Ok, so we have posted a lot of build your own dolly videos but this one definitely stands above the rest...

D8 Ladder Dolly from Cameragrip TV on Vimeo.

Film Trivia: The Hurt Locker.

Did you know that that over 200 hours of film were shot for the Hurt Locker which brought the shooting ratio to 100:1. The 100:1 ratio is one of the higher ratios in film and even surpasses that of Apocalypse Now.

The Hurt Locker is the lowest grossing film to ever win the Best Picture Oscar by grossing about $14 million. Also for a Academy Award winning film, you think that the editors would have noticed that throughout the film many timeline errors are apparent. The film takes place in 2004, yet we see the iPod Touch, YouTube is mentioned, and we see an Xbox 360. None of these things were available in 2004. Despite all of this, we still thought the film deserved the best picture award over Avatar.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It was another busy night here editing and working on storyboards. As part of our re-shoot of God with a Gun we are busy creating story boards and reviewing existing footage to determine what will be needed to complete the film and with our tentative shooting dates getting closer we are expecting more long nights ahead. No complaints.


"ARTIVIST" is the first international activist film festival dedicated to addressing Human Rights, Children's Advocacy, Animal Rights and Environmental Preservation. Our mission is to strengthen the voice of international activist artists - "Artivists" - while raising public awareness and funds for social global causes. The highlight of the annual Artivist Film Festival is The Artivist Awards - a gala ceremony honoring activist filmmakers and celebrities.

Art can be a powerful medium for social change by bringing people together, raising awareness, instilling hope, and inspiring action. We seek to unite the entertainment industry, the corporate world and non-profit organizations towards a common goal of generating exposure and support for socially aware Artivists. The time has come to direct the power of art, media and entertainment towards more responsible, compassionate and effective uses starting right here in Hollywood.

The 7th Annual Artivist Film Festival is from October 5 - 9, 2010. The 7th Annual Artivist Awards Gala will take place on October 9th, 2010, honoring the best films of the festival, as well as select Artivists for their outstanding contributions to global social awareness.

Withoutabox Extended Due Date

July 1, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010


How to stabilize footage using a variety of popular editing programs

Using Apple Motion to stabilize footage.

Adobe After Effects:

Final Cut Pro:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Death Wish + Gran Torino = Harry Brown

Harry Brown is a lot of things. But vigilante thriller with extreme violence is the best way to describe it, and thanks to a great performance from Michael Caine and all of the supporting actors, its well worth the price of admission. Gritty and to point, the film opens with a horrific scene of violence that sets the tone of the film. As with similar films, the neighborhood has gone downhill with the older generation dying out, the address becoming less desirable, as the wrong element moves in. Drugs and violence follow and the police look the other way. The film doesn't ask too many questions but after watching the film I was left thinking that vigilante activity is not the answer to urban crime, but what is?

Directed as a debut by Daniel Barber, the film places story and character above manufactured "thrills" and works better because of it. Finally, Caine, of course is great. But the story keeps it real in that, he’s an old man playing an old man, but one who lived through experiences that both scarred him for life and prepared him for what he has to deal with essential alone.

As a side note, I know Caine is a popular actor, especially among older folks but it was interesting to see that the audience was predominately pensioners who moaned and groaned due to the amount of violence in the film. I am not sure if they were confused by the trailer, but this is definitely not a film I would recommend my parents go see.

Film Festival News:

Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey - USA
July 17 to 18, 2010

The 2nd Annual FILMONEFEST celebrates and showcases the best one-minute films from around the globe along the historic shores of Sandy Hook Bay, New Jersey, against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.

FilmOneFest aims to challenge filmmakers to create a rich and dense on-screen experience in 60 seconds and seeks to provide an opportunity for artists to participate in a film festival without the resources required for longer works. A true celebration of the one-minute film, FilmOneFest pays tribute to the concept of stripping an idea to its core and playing to today's accelerated attention spans.

May 31, 2010 - Late Deadline
Read more here.
Upgraded projects save $5 on this deadline

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest

The Eighth Annual American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest opens June 1. The early deadline is August 2 and the final deadline September 3. We are definitely going to partake in this contest. Read more here.

Film Tips!!!

Additional Apple Sound Editing Tips:
Cleaning up Noisy Audio in Sound Track Pro

The best place to record audio is in a controlled environment like a recording studio.

So what happens when you need to work with some audio that was recorded in less than perfect conditions such as some voiceover that you recorded for use in a podcast?

Most likely, you are going to end up with audio tracks that contain some kind of unwanted noise. This can be anything from the hum of an air conditioner to people chatting nearby. The process of cleaning up audio files is similar to touching up an image in Photoshop. Soundtrack Pro has some great tools to help you touch up your audio quickly and easily. Just follow these easy steps:

Using Set Noise Print to identify the noisy portion of an audio file.

Step 1: Locate the audio file in the browser.
Step 2: Double-click it to open it in the Project window.
Step 3: Drag your cursor over a noisy portion of the file to highlight it.
Step 4: From the Process menu select Noise Reduction > Set Noise Print.
Step 5: Press Command – A to select the entire audio file.
Step 6: From the Process menu select Noise Reduction > Reduce Noise.

Step 7: In the Reduce Noise Heads-up display, press the play button to begin playback. Adjust the Noise Threshold slider to find the right balance of noise reduction and audio quality. Let your ears guide you on this. You don’t have to be a professional audio engineer to know what sounds good.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Can't wait for Friday

Not that we needed any additional proof but if you didn't get a chance to read this, scroll down to read a letter George Lucas wrote to the producers of Lost.

"Congratulations on pulling off an amazing show. Don’t tell anyone … but when ‘Star Wars’ first came out, I didn’t know where it was going either. The trick is to pretend you’ve planned the whole thing out in advance. Throw in some father issues and references to other stories — let’s call them homages — and you’ve got a series.

In six seasons, you’ve managed to span both time and space, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I never saw what was around the corner. Now that it’s all coming to an end, it’s impressive to see how much was planned out in advance and how neatly you’ve wrapped up everything. You’ve created something really special. I’m sad that the series is ending, but I look forward to seeing what you two are going to do next." - We are not surprised by any of this....are you???

This looks great, we are definitely going to go see this if time permits this weekend...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Terry Gilliam and lost in La Mancha....

Checkout this interesting story on The Independent Eye about Terry Gilliam's unfinished picture The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Apparently Ewan McGregor has been pulled in to replace Johnny Depp to complete the unfinished film. Originally the production had started back in 2000 but was marred with difficulties and eventually financing pulled out.

There is a great documentary on the making of this film titled Lost in La Mancha which documents the downfall of production on the watch now section of Netflix,

In El Roberto news, in case you missed it, here is the Citybeat story about John Meeks which includes our latest video.

Ever wanted to learn more about Spaghetti Westerns??? We found this interesting link to the Spaghetti Western Data Base which has info on just about everything on that genre. Enjoy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

John Meeks video...

Here is the interview we produced for Citybeat on John Meeks. Enjoy!

Tonight we recharging out batteries and cleaning up the computer for some more editing, so stay tuned more coming soon.

In film news...with the re-release of Exile on Main Street, Stephen Kijak and the Rolling Stones are releasing Stones in Exile, which includes 10 minutes of footage from the banned Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues. Personally I love music documentaries and Can't wait for it to be released in theaters.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lots of editing....

Its another busy week here at El Roberto. "C" probably got around 4 hours of sleep over the weekend due to an editing deadline. Tonight will be busy as well, as we are editing a Citybeat project we taped a few weeks back. Be sure to check out the video this week and let us know what you think. Tomorrow we are right back to working on a wedding video and doing some pre-production for G.W.A.G.

The Final Draft, Inc. Big Break Screenplay Contest

About the Contest
"The Big Break is an annual, global screenwriting contest designed to launch the careers of aspiring writers. The Big Break Contest rewards screenwriters with cash, prizes, and A-list executive meetings. Winners and finalists alike have had their screenplays optioned and produced and have secured high-profile representation as well as lucrative writing deals.

Since its inception in 1999, the Big Break Contest has awarded screenwriters with over $200,000 in cash and prizes and invaluable industry exposure. A panel of notable industry professionals conducts the final judging.
All Big Break top-10 finalists receive generous prize packages, including Final Draft software, a 10-week Gotham Writers Workshop, a $50 gift certificate to The Writers Store, a one-year IMDb Pro subscription, StoryO from Jungle Software, and plenty more. The top-10 screenplays will also be read by the industry's leading agents, managers, and production companies." Click here for more info.

In Movie News & Gossip, I wonder if Shia La Beof is going to be in another Spielberg Production???.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Glorious start to a new week...

Well the weekend is ending and Monday is on its way and we are still busy here at El Roberto. We spent the evening editing and researching editing software. After checking out Final Cut Pro Studio prices online we are debating on skipping getting that all together and getting Final Cut Pro Express which is available at a much lower price. Currently we are doing most of our editing with Final Cut Pro 5 and we use imovie HD to import HDV or AVCHD video since FCP has issues with it. We are going to research it a bit more before making a decision. Stay tuned.

As promised, we wanted to tell you about The Good, the Bad, the Weird. First I start by saying, go see it. Second, I want to point out, that its currently playing at an Art House Theatre near you and if not, you can watch it on the Tele on pay per view. And if you don't have that... well wait for video. Anyway, this genre bending flick is combination of a lot of films/genres and even with a slow midpoint, is a very interesting and film. Think, Spaghetti Westerns meets The Road Warrior, meets Kurasawa. Good stuff. I don't want to ruin this movie by talking about it too much but the cinematography and stunt work is great. The sound design was so-so (gun shots sounded muffled), but the soundtrack makes up for it somewhat. Now if I could only explain why there were Mongolian fighters with battle axes mixed in with WW2 Japanese soldiers, an old west gunslinger, and a hipster villain character....go see this film.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Weird!!!

After we finish up editing tonight, we are going to stay in and watch The Good, the Bad, the Weird on Cox On Demand. We will post a review tomorrow, we promise.

If you haven't submitted a film yet to the San Diego Film Festival, there is still time. The festival is accepting submissions until June 1st. "SDFF celebrates its ninth anniversary September 29- Oct 3, 2010. Founded by a filmmaker, SDFF offers a fresh take on film premieres with wide-ranging programming from American and international features to thought-proving documentaries, short films and music videos, in addition to a track celebrating San Diego Filmmakers. A full 360 experience, SDFF offers attendees everything from industry access through educational panels, to intimate filmmaker and celebrity gatherings and nightly parties that earned SDFF Chris Gore's Best Party Fest." We covered the festival last year and it was a lot of fun. Checkout our video from last year.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Its the weekend...

and we have a ton of editing and pre-production of ahead of us....and we couldn't be happier about it. On top of finishing up a wedding video project we have a cool new Citybeat video to work on. Also "A" is working on completing his script re-write and production plan for G.W.A.G. Be sure to checkout our site this next week for the new Citybeat video and more.

Ok here is much better quality version of the Super 8 trailer we posted earlier in the week. Enjoy.

Film Tip of the Day: You can do a lot with a Holga 120mm medium format plastic camera...

and here is one more....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cool Vid

A bit off topic, but check out this awesome timelapse video of the Iceland volcano. Another example of the high quality streaming at Vimeo:

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull - May 1st and 2nd, 2010 from Sean Stiegemeier on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Upcoming Film Festivals and more...

This festival caught our attention...The Nevada City Film Festival, Organized in 2001 by Nevada City's Magic Theatre, "brings top independent cinema to the foothills of northern California, and creates a forum of exchange and interaction between local filmmakers and the national and international independent film community." The festival accepts the following submissions:
Short Film over 5 Minutes
Professional and amateur filmmakers working in all aesthetic forms and genres are welcome. Narratives, documentaries, animated and experimental films and videos of 40 minutes or less are eligible for consideration as a Short Film. Special emphasis on effective storytelling!
Short Film under 5 Minutes
Professional and amateur filmmakers working in all aesthetic forms and genres are welcome. Narratives, documentaries, animated and experimental films and videos of 5 minutes or less are eligible for consideration as a Short Film under 5 Minutes. Emphasis on effective storytelling.

Submissions must be received by 6-4-10. If you already have something completed this looks like a great festival to showcase your work.

So what has El Roberto been up to other than blogging and working on the occasional Citybeat Project??? Besides teaming up with our friends at Artepolitik for our version of Vino and a Movie, we have been hard at work on a number of creative projects including completing my short film God with a Gun. Check out the original trailer from 2005, its been on the back buner for a long time:

We are currently re-working the script and are having production meetings. Shooting begins in mid June.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Exit Through the Gift Shop Review

I have to appologize because we saw this film on opening weekend and are just now getting around to posting a review (my fault). Anyway I want to start by saying that Exit Through the Gift Shop is one of those every once in awhile films that are completely original and leave you asking the question...Is this all real??? That question and many others will fill your head as it takes you through the world of street art. The "documentary" follows Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman who lives in Los Angeles and videotapes "everything." This habit eventually leads him to start following graffiti artists around LA and document their activities. Guetta was introduced to the scene through a cousin, the French artist Space Invader — his videotaping habit works with the artists’ desire to have their work documented. He captures the street art scene’s luminaries, like Shepard Fairey and Swoon working on rooftops and on vacant building at night. Eventually he builds his reputation among the LA artist and through Fairey, is connected with Banksy, the infamous British street artist, who established his reputation on stunts, such as placing politically/socially inspired work in museums around the world.

After discovering that Guetta is not a real filmmaker, Banksy decides to take control of the material himself — or so we’re told. Encouraged by Banksy, Guetta, changes into a street artist, giving himself the alter ego called Mr. Brainwash and staging an opening exhibition in Los Angeles that turns him into an overnight sensation. Now, this where the film becomes particularly interesting and changes into a bitter critique of his efforts. Who knows if this is all real or not, you be the judge. Unfortunately this film is showing in limited release so definitely go see it in the theaters while you can. I dare you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man 2 Review

So I heard a lot of the mixed reviews Iron Man 2 was getting (all sizzle no steak, cluttered, clattering toy story) and we debated if we should wait for it on video. However, after the first couple of minutes I was glad I had decided to pluck down 12 bucks to see it. First we should point out that the casting alone trumps the special effects and adds to the under current of story that is severally lacking in other run of the mill super hero flicks. And the special effects are as good as the first film. However, I am not saying that this film is as good in terms of its story as the first film but its stands on its own as being very entertaining. Yes nearly every part of the film where an actor isn't speaking is filled with some sort of cgi robot moving or loud noises, but the film doesn't drag and gets to the point. And I was surprised that Mickey Rourke's contribution to the movie almost consisted entirely of him grinning with faux gold teeth while mumbling between scenes with some sort of pathetic attempt at a Russian accent. Also the action at times seemed more like an afterthought, almost added to fulfill a quota with the studio or fill a plot void. Regardless of all of this, Iron Man 2 is what it is...a solid sequel to great first movie. Go see it during the week rather than standing in line on the weekend.

Film Tip of the day: Creating a muzzle flare using Adobe After Effects

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Its Sunday night..

and I just got back from Seeing Iron Man 2. We will post a review within the next few days....I promise. Anyway here is clip we stumbled upon on Youtube of Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams top secret film project Super 8.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Killer Inside Me....

This film has been getting a lot of buzz since its premiere at Sundance. Check it out

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Cinco De Mayo message from Machete!!!!

How could you not be excited about this film??? Its got Don Johnson, Hohan, and Steven Seagal among others...Like his director pal Tarantino, Rodriguez has a soft spot for employing has-been actors and helping revitalize their careers. I loved the Grind House films and the trailers between the films, but I can tell its gonna be good.

Film tip of the day: 10 Minute Cooking School! You need to know how to cook if you are gonna make films...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Wife! My Family!

Checkout this hilarious Harrison Ford video compilation.

Film tip of the day: Apple Motion Tips

Monday, May 3, 2010

New video...

Here is our latest video produced for Citybeat.

Say it ain't so, but according the LA Times, Anchorman 2 is not going to happen. Its a sad day indeed.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Johah Hex Trailer

Not sure what I think about this. It might be pretty cool or it could be awful..

We thought that this was pretty cool. Shot entirely with a Holga plastic medium format camera.