film

Hitfilm 2 for Mac Kickstarter - 3 reasons why you should support them.

This morning, FxHome Hitfilm started a Kickstarter to help fund the conversion of their flagship software, Hitfilm2 to Mac. As a Mac user, I own Hitfilm 2 for PC that i've been running through bootcamp, and I've been an FXHome customer since Visionlab. I'm also contributing. Here's why:

1. The Cost/Return is awesome

As stated on their website, Hitfilm is already a proven product. It has industry recognition from the likes of Film Riot's Ryan Connolly and Freddie Wong. The software is not only a video editor, it's a VFX package with 3D model integration. For something comparable, you'd have to go with something like After Effects + Video Copilot's Element 3D. Nothing against Adobe and Andrew Kramer, but some people just don't have that money, especially those starting out.

2. The Company

FxHome is based in Norwich, UK. They don't have the massive resources that Adobe has, but they put together a solid product. They have been personally extremely cool with me, responding to my random questions about the product, and the industry. As a matter of fact, I got to talk to their community manager today about his take on a potential project of mine in the near future. They bring a very personal approach to this. They know that we're all learning, and they encourage community. I've not seen another company do that ever before. I feel like I have stock in the company just by being a user. They're not just programmers making a product. They're film makers who are making a tool that they believe in. I believe in them as well. If they had a NY office, I'd apply to work there right now.

3. Competition breeds Innovation.

The more VFX users there are out there, with more tools, the better we all have to become. If you can't afford After Effects and Premiere, or Final Cut, you'd be out of the game if not for companies like FxHome. They're providing a lower cost alternative that lowers the barrier to entry for aspiring artists and filmmakers. With the continued advancements that the Hitfilm team make during every update, you're only going to see more and more quality work come out of that package. 

Supporting creative companies like this only help everyone in the long run. We allow more people to have the means to create, and thus raise the bar for ourselves as well. If we want to see better products, better films, better effects and better stories, we need to support those that are making it happen.

Check out their kickstarter for more information.

Sacrifice

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There's something about self sacrifice that speaks to me. Countless script scenarios that I've come up with end with one of the main characters willfully ending their own life as to ensure the survival of their loved ones, overcome evil or some other obstacle. It's often views as the most noble of acts. Darth Vader threw The Emperor down a reactor shaft to save his son's life at the cost of his own is Return of the Jedi. Doctor Octopus brought an out of control nuclear reaction to the bottom of the Hudson River just after he proclaimed that he would not die a monster in Spider-Man 2. John Constantine took his life in order to persuade Satan to stop his son from entering the world in Constantine. The list goes on and on; Aslan, Gandalf, Neo, The Iron Giant, Spock, Jean Grey, John Hartigan, Obi-Wan Kenobi...

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So what is it about self sacrifice that appeals so much to film makers? Is it not enough that the hero saves the day and ends up with the girl to live happily ever after (until the sequel. See: The Bourne Identity)? Now, to be clear, I'm not talking about the old soldier who says to his commanding officer, "Just give me a gun, and get out of here... I'll cover your escape..", as they take one last soulful stare at each other which conveys al the love and respect that they're too manly to put into words. No, not that. I'm talking about the gut wrenching loss that someone feels when their world is shattered because of the loss of someone, while they know that there was no better way for victory to be achieved. I'm talking about V in V for Vendetta, David Tennant's Doctor in the Doctor Who Series 5 finale.. Characters that you miss terribly afterwards. 

I suppose the obvious answer as to our obsession with self sacrifice stems from religion. There's Jesus dying for humanity's sins, Prometheus being eaten alive for eternity. Countless other religions tell of us people who have sacrificed themselves for their followers or something simple. Yet, there's a difference between sacrifice and martyrdom. I suppose that religion focuses more on the martyrdom aspect, enticing it's practitioners to be inspired by one's selfless actions. 

I suppose that for me, the act of self sacrifice in film leads me to feel that the character believed so deeply in whatever (or whomever) they were sacrificing themselves for that it was the only option. Usually, this translates into the live of a loved one, sometimes without the loved one knowing that the character is doing the sacrificing. In the world of drama, I think that the feeling this conveys is the one that speaks to me most of all.

Motivation

Lets face it.

Doing-it-yourself isn't easy. In fact, it's damn hard. 
We do-it-yourselfers teaching ourselves as much as we can without a 'proper' formal education, often learning our mistakes the hard way, through practice, rather than from instruction. We learn from doing, and from other do-it-yourself people along the way. I've been lucky enough to find sites like Backyard Effects, Film Riot, Video Copilot, various bloggers, and other YouTubers like Drew Casson, Freddie Wong, Gabriel Sung to learn from.

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However, the other side of do-it-yourself that many find difficult is finding the motivation. It's one thing to have a job doing the things you love, or be in school learning about it, but when you're learning something just to learn it, it's harder to keep the flame going. 
We all have lives outside of our hobbies (or else, of course, they wouldn't be hobbies, would they?) and life, as it does so very often, has a knack of getting in the way. Jobs, relationships, obligations...

But I love learning. And I love learning about film making, even if i'm moving a lot slower than I'd like to be moving. But a few things have happened recently, that have really encouraged me to move forward. On more than one occasion, people I barely know, (or, have never met in some cases), have approached me and told the that they enjoy my work, ask what i'm planning next, and if they can somehow get involved. To be randomly approached about things that I thought only me, and maybe a couple of my friends have seen is a huge motivator. Also, I had a conversation with a buddy of mine across the pond for over an hour via FaceTime that helped me to keep my motivation up. (Thanks Drew). 

So, what do to? Find more people to help me film!