Author Archives: Steve

Changing the mood

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Music has a huge role in setting the tone of a film. And it’s odd how making an apparently small change to the music has a significant effect on a movie’s mood. Our second film, Albert, has just acquired a new soundtrack and the improvement is significant. The soundtrack we selected originally was an existing piece of music. It was… Read more »

StoryFlow – now with Airdrop and Final Draft 10 support

StoryFlow, our shot listing app for iOS, has been updated. It now supports the revised file format of Final Draft 10, which has just appeared. And you can now transfer Final Draft (.fdx) and StoryFlow Production, Lenses and Shot Types files to your iPhone or iPad using Airdrop. The Airdrop facility is useful because it means you can transfer files without… Read more »

Lessons from The Garden

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Every film we make is an education. That’s part of the reason we make them. At the finish of each film we’ve looked back and reflected on some aspect of the experience and said to ourselves, “Well, we’ll never do that again.” And so it was with The Garden. Scheduling issues We made life difficult for ourselves by shooting in… Read more »

The Garden – the premiere

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We’d like to invite everyone to the premiere of Zolascope’s latest film: The Garden on 5 May at 19:00 at Le Jardin de Froulay bar/restaurant 41 rue de 6 Aôut 1944 53300 Couesmes-Vaucé Tel: 02 43 00 93 79 Map available on the bar’s Facebook page (please like): All welcome! Bring your friends and family. The more the merrier… Please… Read more »

Leaving things unsaid

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Speaking on BBC Radio 3’s Essential Classics programme this morning, Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, made an insightful comment about great art, one that resonated strongly with me – that questions are more important than answers. The context was what drew her to Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting as the inspiration for her novel (made into a… Read more »

Silence of the Rice Krispies

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Somewhere back in the dim and distant past (October 2014 to be exact) a bunch of Zolascope members got together for a workshop. In one shortish day we shot the footage for a film – The Silence of the Rice Krispies – written by Megan, daughter of our illustrious co-founder Clare. Meg’s brother Tom played the lead (and only) role. Meg… Read more »

Review: Zoom H4n field recorder

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The Zoom H4n digital field recorder has become wildly popular among independent and zero-budget filmmakers. And yet many professional sound recordists roll their eyes and moan “why? For heaven’s sake, why?” whenever the Zoom is mentioned. So why the love and the hate? The love part is easy – it’s cheap (relatively speaking) at around €200. I’m sure we’d all like… Read more »

Call in the professionals?

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I’m in the middle of writing reviews of some of the kit we use, starting with the Zoom H4n sound recorder. And this brought to mind a bit of advice I see often on filmmaking forums. When beginners ask the inevitable question, ‘what audio gear should I buy’, sure as eggs is eggs someone will pop up and say, ‘don’t buy… Read more »

Winging it…

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Helmuth von Moltke famously said, “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” (or, at least, that’s how it’s usually paraphrased). And so it is with filmmaking. Yes, you have a script, a carefully planned shot list and maybe even storyboards. But you’re still going to have to improvise. And unless you’re making a massively expensive, FX-heavy Hollywood blockbuster, this… Read more »

10 useful websites for independent film-makers

The web is a great resource for independent filmmakers, whether you make two-minute short films or feature movies. Here are 10 of the sites we find most useful as sources of information and education – for film-making techniques and tips, and for that all-important networking. They are presented in no particular order. Stage 32 There’s always Shooting People, which is… Read more »

A smashing time

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Filmmaking involves doing some odd things at times. To be honest, smashing pots and plates in the courtyard doesn’t rank that high on the what-the-hell-am-I-doing scale. But still… In putting the final touches to The Garden, we needed three things: the sound of a plant pot smashing; a one-word bit of dialogue; and an ethereal laugh. And so it was that… Read more »

StoryFlow: better shotlists

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Nothing stands still in the world of technology. Our StoryFlow shotlist app for iOS has been out for about 18 months now, and I thought it was time for a spruce-up. There were a few minor bugs I wanted to crush (mostly to do with layout on the screen) and it was an opportunity to add a couple of features…. Read more »