2015 July

Film Festivals: Should filmmakers bother with them?

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What are the purported purpose of festivals? Supposedly they’re interested in independent film and art, and all kinds of nice things. Is that really true?

Just ask yourself this. When was the last time you heard about some new writer or director being discovered by a film festival? When? I can’t remember anybody being discovered just because they sent in their great film. Almost any film that is chosen or featured by almost any festival of any repute is one that already has backing, either financial or star power.

I put up a picture of Sundance up there, but I’m not really picking on Sundance. All festivals are the same. The new ones may act like they care about the festivals, but they all want to be Sundance. And they all want to cater to Brad Pitt and Tarantino, and not Bill and Joe Shmoe. Just look at the picture above. What does it say underneath the sign? It says Southwest.com. That’s the customer of Sundance. The filmmaker is not the customer. And that’s the customer every other smaller festival that wants to be big wants. The filmmaker is the tool.

So what does that mean? The way Sundance makes money is through sponsorships from companies like Southwest. The way companies like Southwest become interested in sponsoring is when they see the likes of Brad Pitt. They are interested in star power. They’re not interested because a bunch of unknown filmmakers are attending.

And that is the goal of every film festival out there. To make more money through sponsorships. And that’s why they’re looking for stars, and not story.

So as an unknown indie filmmaker, should you really be interested in Sundance or it’s ilk? I think it’s a waste of time. Sundance will take your submission fee. And all you will get out of it is the death of hope.

Audio for filmmakers – Making a lav sound like a boom

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Before I answer the question of “How to make a lav sound like a boom,” I’m going to assume a couple of things.

  1. You’re not an audio post professional, but more of a video guy/gal (filmmaker)
  2. Since you’re here, you know a little bit about the EQ module in your software of choice

You’ve probably seen the answers on audio forums, people saying things like “I EQ it to match.” or something similar, on how to solve the lav/boom problem. Now what the hell does that mean, specially to a person not an expert in EQ matching? It’s worse than greek to a filmmaker, or any person who’s primarily a video guy/gal, without the means to pay an audio post person.

Here’s what it means. The EQ signatures have to be similar. Typically, in my limited experience. The boom has more activity in the 4.5k-5.5k area. So what you need to do is:

  1. Take your lav audio and increase the DB around the 5K area, as in the picture below. (I’m using Izotope Nectar below, but you can use whatever you like. Adobe Audition is a fine tool for EQ matching).
  2. In the lav audio increase the DB around the 16K area also, but not by as much as in the 5k area


Of course if you want to be precise, then what you need to do is the following:

  1. Play your boom audio and watch how the graph behaves
  2. Play your lav audio and watch how the graph differs from the boom audio. Chances are high, there will be less activity in the 5K region.
  3. Adjust the EQ with the EQ knobs, until the frequency signature is similar to that of the Boom audio.

That’s what EQ matching means. Hope that helped. If you’re still confused, leave a message and I’ll get back to you.