Saturday, January 15, 2011

The 5 basic editing tips that will make your short film amazing

You’ve written, produced, and shot your winning film, now you have a week to edit before uploading for the Barcelona contest. How do you make it amazing? Here are 5 quick and simple editing tips:
  1. Pacing: Editing is where the storytelling takes place. It’s all about rhythm, so pacing is very important. Pay attention to how long shots are on screen for, a single frame can make a world of difference. A couple ways to keep it interesting is to vary up the shots, quicker cuts for a faster pace, slower cuts to build tension. It’s all about the gut feeling. What feels right to you?
  2. Sharing Rough Edits: Step away from your work and allow someone else to look at it. Often you will work on a project for so long that you get lost in your own work and a fresh perspective helps you notice things you may have missed. Remember story is key in filmmaking and a second opinion gives you an idea of how clear it is to the audience. Even let someone else edit work that you’ vedirected, they won’ t select the shots that you are personally attached to (took hours to prep and forever to capture) to but aren’ t right for the film.
  3. Sound: Often times filmmakers will pay attention to only what the audience can see and they forget about what the audience can hear. Make sure your sound is smooth, leveled, and consistent. This is a process called mixing. Also don’t be afraid to cut out a shot if the sound makes it unbearable to watch. If your film doesn’t sound right it could ruin the whole experience.
  4. Music: Music is one of the most important aspects of film. We would argue almost 50% (or any other arbitrary but significant statistic) of the film experience is sound design and music. Find the right piece or have a friend compose if you can, it will make all the difference and push your good film into greatness.
  5. Color: Color correction is one of the biggest factors that will take your video to the next level. A quick color correct helps set the mood for the film, lets viewers feel warm, cold etc. In FCP, drag 3-Way Color Corrector onto your footage and play around with the color wheel to find the right hues that matches the mood of your film.
That’s all we can say for now! Stay tuned till next time!

Lawrence and Hagan

Monday, January 10, 2011

The 2 People Who Will Help You Win Pepsi Films.

Hello everybody,

Lawrence Chen and Hagan Wong here!  Let us introduce ourselves, we’re fellow filmmakers and past PepsiFilms and MOFILM winners.  We’ve been asked by Pepsi to be a voice and to bring candid perspective and personal opinions as young filmmakers.  We’ll share our rants and raves about what’s happening in the PepsiFilms competitions and trends in the filmmaking industry.  We’ll also give you tips on creating that winning film entry for the upcoming competitions.  Think of us as an insider resource as you embark on your quest for the coveted PepsiFilms prize!

Here’s a bit of background about us.  We grew up together in Beijing, China and came to America for university.  Though we never studied film in school (believe it or not we both were Economics majors) we always had a passion for writing, shooting, and editing, and moved to New York City in 2010 to pursue that passion.  In fact it was this time last year when we saw the PepsiFilms Barcelona competition and decided to submit an entry.  That was the spark that started it all for us!

Though we didn't win a top prize for our earlier submissions, we did take a runner-up prize, which gave us the confidence to enter more MOFILM/PepsiFilms competitions.  Through our persistence and passion we were lucky enough to win 13 prizes out of 14 entries over the course of the year and finally a Grand Prize in Rome. Check it out here:

However, it was going to the film festivals and meeting fellow filmmakers that made the whole experience worthwhile.  We’ve learned so much from the community and now it’s time to give back.

We met the Pepsi team in Rome where they asked us if we would consider being the voice of the filmmaker and we said yes!  Our role is to be here for you:
  • We’ll be posting thoughts, tips and tricks here and on Facebook on low-budget/DIY filmmaking
  • We’ll make sure the Pepsi team hears your opinions
  • We’ll hold weekly Twitter discussions on writing, shooting, and editing
  • We’ll be posting some of our own videos we produced for Pepsi on YouTube
  • We’ll give you our perspective on how to go about creating that winning entry
  • We’ll also appear at upcoming PepsiFilms events as a peer filmmaker judge so you know that somebody out there understands what you’ve been through

We really hope to be seeing you at PepsiFilms Barcelona but if not then we will definitely see you at the numerous PepsiFilm competitions in the future.  Check out for upcoming events and feel free to contact us anytime with thoughts, comments, or questions!

Lawrence and Hagan

2011 - The Year of Pepsi Films

1 year, 7 Competitions and 21 exciting themes was the promise that we made in November 2011 when Pepsi Films was launched during the Rome Film Festival.

The first competition deadline is almost here, the three finalists will be revealed online before they fly out to Spain and then, in just over a month the first ever Pepsi Films grand prize winner will be revealed live on stage at the Barcelona award ceremony. The lucker winner will then get the opportunity to work with Pepsi Spain and its advertising agency, BBDO, on a specific brief with a $20,000 production budget.

There is still time to enter the Barcelona competition, visit the competition page, pick a theme and go for it.

If you can't quite make it, then our next competition will be opening very soon indeed. There will be three themes again, with almost $40,000 in the prize fund, along with a four-day trip to New York in April for the winner and a friend. Again the overall winner will be announced live on stage with another $20,000 production budget available, this time to work with Pepsi in America.

Before the New York competition closes, another one will open, so we'll keep you challenged throughout 2011 to come up with your best, most creative and refreshing work. If you don't think we're challenging you enough - let us know!

There will also be a few surprises lined up along the way, so make sure you like Pepsi Films on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the news first.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pepsi Films Barcelona Q&A

Before Christmas we caught up with Thomas Moradpour, global marketing director for Pepsi and put your questions to him about the first Peps Films competition. 
Q: With regard to the Hit Delete theme can we assume that the power  to change that one critical thing is a fictional power or does it need to  be a logical or a practical power?
A: Hit Delete does not need to follow the rules of physics or logic.Your idea can come from pure imagination!
Q: My film has no dialogue; however, it does have a voice over. According to the brief it should be in English; but
would it help to let you guys know that we also have versions in different languages (in case you would want to use it in different countries); or that we could translate it to any other language you needed?
A: Perfect.
If the film has voice-over, it can easily be localized. This is a “plus”. Note though that this would not be “the” deciding factor.
Q: How closely do the Pepsi themes have to be in correspondence with my video? The videos that represent the themes closely, and hit them dead on – will they be favored more?
A: Yes. However, we have picked broad themes, and let you interpret  them in the way you want. We welcome unexpected ideas!
Q: Can I shoot with my iPhone 3GS? Would the quality be acceptable?
A: Talent is in the filmmaker, not in the tool.
However, a film shot with a phone is likely to be of lower resolution than  required to be shown on a big screen. Consider using different equipment  if possible.
Q: I have a good idea for the POP-FIZZ-AHHH!!! category,but it’s  a commercial (i.e. the Pepsi trademark is featured).
I just wanted  to know if presenting my idea in the shape of a commercial is ok  or if points will be deducted for it.
A: No problem. No points added or deducted for shooting a Pepsi ad, as long  as it’s great!!
Q: Do you guys have any special forms for the actors to sign as  contracts/release forms? Or should they just sign the release forms  we usually use (here in Mexico)?
A: We don’t provide any forms unless you are shortlisted, the usual release  ones you use are fine.
Q: We are composing original music, should the author of such  music also sign a release form? Any special format you might have?
A: If you are short listed, we will require proof that you have the rights to the  music but we don’t provide any forms until that point.
Q: Is there a maximum dimension (MB) that my video has to have? And if the video is too large to upload it through your website, is there another way to send it to you?
A: Max file size is 300MB and there is no other way of sending it. Check out the FAQ for details.
Q: Am I allowed to use sounds from websites that provide free sounds?

A: You are but please be wary of sites that advertise “royalty free music or sounds” as there are end user agreements that often do not cover commercial use.
Q: What does it take to make a winning film?
 A great creative idea, and talent to bring it to life!
Q: Can the same Actors act in Different Brand Ad’s?

A: Yes. The only thing you can’t do is submit the same ad for different brands.
Q: Are we supposed to use both the Pepsi intro AND
outro bumpers, or just one or the other?
 You need both the intro and the outro and it needs to be 60 seconds including them both.
Q: When is the deadline to upload our films? Originally the brief stated that the date was January 15; however, in the MOFILM page it says it is January 22. So, when is it?

A: The deadline has been extended to 22nd Jan – make sure you like Pepsi Films on facebook as that has the latest information.
To download the Pepsi Films brief and to upload your video click here
Click here for more details on the Contest