Tag Archives: film school

“Call it”

It’s your first day as AD (Assistant Director) and everyone is ready to shoot. The director just looks at you and tells you to “call the shot”. What do you do?

“Picture’s Up!” or “Quiet on Set!”

This is your first step. Loudly, without screaming, let everyone know they’re about to go into an actual take. Anytime you hear this on set, stop what you’re doing and get comfortable because you shouldn’t move or make a sound until you hear “cut” and sometimes that can take a while.

“Roll Sound!”

First thing you want to do is get the sound recorder to start recording (On your very own Zoom f6, if you’re in our Associates Program with equipment included*). Why start there? Sound is cheap. It runs on cheaper cards, taking up less space on the drives. Don’t get me wrong – it is not the sound mixer or boom mixer that are cheap, they’re looking at up to $800 a day for their expertise.

Your Sound Mixer will start recording audio and they will let you know by saying: 

“Sound Speeds” or “Sound Rolling”

You will then say:

“Roll Camera!”

Now your Operator will start the camera recording (with your 6k Blackmagic*) and they will let you know by saying: 

“Camera Rolling” or “Camera Speeds”

You’re now getting audio and video recordings so it’s time to capture the slate “clapping” this is used (when you don’t have timecode) to synchronize (sync) the audio and video clips. (Slates are also included in the Associate equipment package*) You will now tell the 2nd AC to:

“Mark it!” 

The 2nd AC will read the pertinent information from the slate so the editor can identify which take it is by listening to the audio.

“Scene 1 Charley, Take 4”

The 2nd AC will clap the slate and clear frame. At this point, on most sets, your job is done. When they are ready the director will finally call: 

“Action!”

This is the basis for every take, but things change on the fly and there’s lots of special circumstances and some different ways to call the shot.

If you’re interested in learning some of these industry specifics and so many other important elements of the filmmaking and media business, consider coming to one of our Open Houses. You will be able to get a feeling for our school, programs, and more!

Instagram            Twitter            Facebook            YouTube            DFA Blog

The Darling Buds of May

Summer is almost here!

And even if it’s true that ‘rough winds do shake the darling buds of May’, after a whole year of COVID 19 and pandemic we’ll take it.

Life was on pause before. Now is the time to unpause and launch your plan for world domination in media production and film! And what better way to evolve into this next chapter of your life than with an Associate of Science Degree in Digital Media?

film crew, may programs

Our new Associate Degree in Digital Media gives each student a fantastic equipment kit (valued at $10,000+), yours to keep for life. The list includes a Blackmagic 6K camera, Canon M50 camera, Sound Recording Equipment, Lighting Kit, etc. Take a look at the full equipment list here.

May Programs

Our May programs have literally just begun and today, May 13th 2021, our new group of media students are all boldly moving on to their third day of classes!
All have chosen to embark on this new year of rigorous training in media production and filmmaking techniques.

Students who choose to study at Digital Film Academy can opt for our New York City or Atlanta (Georgia) locations. The Associate of Science Degree Classes can be taken from either campus location. Currently our classes are starting online with the hope and expectation that we will be back to full in-person classes in September (to be confirmed).

Get the proper training in Cinematography, Sound Recording, Directing, Video Editing, Screenwriting and all aspects of professional media training you always wanted.

Interested to jump on board and join our May classes? There is still time to join! Digital Film Academy has a 14-day late start period. For any classes you have missed we’ll give you access to video recordings. No one begins at a disadvantage.

Later today – Thursday May 13th at 1 p.m. EST – we’ll be holding our next Online Open House / Free Demo Class. Jump on our Zoom call and join the group: watch, listen, ask questions. Add your name to the guest list here: https://www.digitalfilmacademy.edu/open-house/.

Chase a Story not the Gear

What camera did you use? What editing software? What LUT? Which filmmaker haven’t ever heard these questions? We are being bombarded with new releases from established equipment brands being announced constantly, and it’s hard to keep up with the always evolving technology surrounding film gear. People are consuming more content now than ever, spending more time in their phones and computers and Content Creators have a lot to work with.

But can a camera make you a better filmmaker? It’s a valid question in today’s filmmaking world but the answer is no. As filmmakers, our goal is to tell stories through our unique experiences, our knowledge, and, most importantly, our feelings and emotions. The cameras and gear you use are nothing without the eyes and brains behind it. 

Even when you tell stories that were already told more than once, they are not the same stories. The perspective and the point of view of who is telling the story can change everything.

But won’t the equipment help the story?

New equipment gives the filmmaker the opportunity to get results that he/she couldn’t get before, and if that’s not why you’re using it, then you don’t need it. It’s simply expanding your palette of colors for painting your story, nothing more and nothing less.

You need equipment that allows you to deliver your story. And most of the time, you have plenty of options of equipment to use (DFA students and grads have free lifetime equipment access through LEAP: https://www.digitalfilmacademy.edu/why-dfa/). But if you don’t have a good story, it’s not the gear that will make it interesting.

So first of all, work on your script. Creating good stories is demanding and it takes effort. “Screenplays are not works of art. They are invitations to others to collaborate on a work of art” — Paul Schrader

Are you ready to start facing those blank pages?

Coronavirus and Digital Film Academy: Statement from Patrick DiRenna, School President

“Hello Everyone,

My name is Patrick Direnna. I am the President and Founder of Digital Film Academy.

Thank you very much for joining me for a few minutes. Let’s discuss briefly what’s going on in the world with the Coronavirus, how that affects everyone’s life, what people are doing and not doing and how it affects the importance of media.

Very important now, more than ever, to be able to create professional grade media and get it to the public as people are consuming more and more and media become more monetizable.

But most important is what you DO at this time. And what you do WITH this time!

So firstly, stay safe. Keep your loved ones safe. Be smart and keep your hands clean. Keep all those around you that you care about safe, first and foremost.

Now beyond that use this time to hone these skills, because when this is over the time is going to be ripe for the right media. Those who are ready to deliver it when the bell rings are going to do very well. Those who only then start studying at that time and then 7 or 8 months later it’s going to be old and there could be something else going on. So use this time wisely! Don’t just do nothing. That would be the worst thing. Hone your skills. Right now the demands are going to be less, so it’s time to actually get your skills in order and then as soon as this is over and as soon as you are ready, you’ll be able to produce meaningful, powerful, monetizable media.

And you’ll have free access to equipment.

Our programs start May 11th 2020. Everything is on schedule. We’ve switched over to online.

We’re in very good condition there. The students are live online, so they’re with each other, they’re with the instructors. Everything’s moving forward and after they graduate they have free access to equipment for the rest of their life.

.Just like YOU will have! So they’re going to be hitting the ground running

So don’t shy away, make sure you move forward. Always!

Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it and stay safe.”

Sign up now to attend our LIVE ONLINE Open House event 3 days from
now on Saturday April 4th at 3pm.

Add your name to the guest list now:

DFA Alumni Jamaal Green on his Award Winning web-series “Chronicles Of,” and his experience at Digital Film Academy



Jamaal Green, a former DFA student – completed both the first year and advance program in filmmaking. We spoke to him about what he’s working on, and how his experience at the school helped to shape his career in film. 

“We had access to equipment from day one which was huge and we also had some really good instructors. I wouldn’t have advanced, technically and skill set wise if I didn’t go to DFA and also because the people that I met there.”

How has DFA prepared you for life after grad?

“DFA helped me organize as a filmmaker. It helped me to be a self starter and to keep pushing, that was huge. Going there helped me realized that it’s not just going to happen for you and that you have to really push it. DFA really gave us a lot of tools, and how well you did there was  up to you. They gave you everything you needed. We had access to equipment from day one which was huge and we also had some really good instructors. I wouldn’t have advanced, technically and skill set wise if I didn’t go to DFA and also because the people that I met there. The networking was huge. I still keep in contact with a lot of the students that graduated around the time I was there. I’m still do productions with one of my classmates. We have a small production company called MG Cinecraft.“

What are you currently working on?

“My main focus right now is a web series, The concept started when I was still at DFA and web series was kind of a new thing. One of our assignments was to create a web series and so I created something, which back then was called “Chronicles Of A Profiler.” As of now its been revamped and it’s just called “Chronicles Of.” It’s basically an ensemble crime thriller about a bunch of different characters in different locations spread across the region between New York and Philadelphia, and how their lives intersect when total corruption takes over. Everything kicks off when a string of murders that starts happening throughout the tri-state sets of a chain reaction that starts to expose all the things that’s been going on politically and socially in the underbelly for a while.”



What has the response been like to “Chronicles Of?”

We just recently participated in the Winter International Film Awards in New York. We won best web series. It’s been long time, we actually started full production, maybe two years ago, and we’ve been in post production for the last year or so. Finally we took the first episode and entered it into the film festivals. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well we’ve done. We’ve also been in the New Jersey Web Fest, which we did well in, and as a result of how we performed there we got a direct selection into the Apulia Web Fest in Italy in May. We will be showing at the Garden State Film Festival on March 28th and also in the Miami Web Film Festival on May 14th. We’re still waiting to hear back from some others, and we’re just now starting to enter the other episodes as well. We’re very happy with how it came out. 

We have eight episodes that are about 15 minutes each and a finale that’s about 45 minutes. So when it’s all together is a two and a half hour long feature. I’ve written enough to do four seasons, depending on how it’s received. The ultimate goal is to flip it into television. 

Stayed tuned with Jamaal, MG CineCraft and Chronicles Of here – 

MG CineCraft:

https://www.mgcinecraft.com/

Instagram:

@_chronicles_of_

https://www.instagram.com/_chronicles_of_/

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/Chroniclesofaprofiler/

Observe a class at Digital Film Academy!

Short Film: CHECKMATE

This short film is written and directed by Digital Film Academy graduate Mr. Gleb Osatinski. Gleb studied at Digital Film Academy back in 2011 and has gone on to direct and produce a series of highly well-received short films. The film was nominated in February 2020 and just won on REEL13 by PBS.

Other Work:

Trailer – Pisces of an Unconscious Mind by Gleb Osatinski

Training for a Career in the Film Industry

Some people are more interested in what goes on behind the scenes than others. In the film industry there are many careers and positions one might strive to achieve. Digital Film Academy based in Manhattan, New York knows what it takes to become a successful expert in multiple aspects of filmmaking including Editing, Cinematography, Lighting, Animation, Sound Production, Visual Effects and more. Digital Film Academy was established in 2001 by film producer and director Patrick DiRenna in the historic Film Center Building in Manhattan. Since that time, the school has turned countless graduates into independent filmmakers or actors with new prestigious careers.

From graduates who starred in blockbuster Marvel films, such as Chadwick Boseman, to several graduates who worked on films commissioned by Netflix, Digital Film Academy has numerous success stories. People interested in film or television can easily work on their production skills through courses at our school. Our institution is known as one of the leading art & design colleges in New York City with a focus on film. People searching for filmmaking classes online can experience and observe our courses in action and make sure it’s the right fit for them before making a commitment. Digital Film Academy has achieved global recognition and was also named ‘Best Film School in NYC’ by Village Voice.

One of the unique advantages of going to Digital Film Academy, is that you get a head start on your career after graduation, which includes free lifetime usage of their state-of-the-art video equipment and facilities.

The programs at Digital Film Academy do not put a strain on students in terms of tuition and the school provides many resources to boost the new careers of graduates. Courses include Film History, Screenwriting, Directing, Cinematography, Video Editing, Career and Portfolio Development, Producing, and more.

Our instructors and students use industry-leading software to train with such as Avid Media Composer, Pro Tools, Adobe Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve, Maya 3D Animation, and Movie Magic. Anyone with an interest in photography or filmmaking can advance their skills easily using Digital Film Academy’s refined curriculum.

Students are taken through hands-on training with the critical theory and foundation that transforms beginner level film students into professional filmmakers. The One-Year Digital Filmmaking Conservatory is a popular course offered by the university. Digital Film Academy continues to be the innovative force behind new filmmaking professionals breaking out in the industry.

FOX Sports and Digital Film Academy – Video Editing a NASCAR Documentary + The Berlin Sci-Fi Film Festival

It’s great to see another success story from one of our international students! Our former film student and now graduate Kayode ’Kaykay’ Olowu was hired by Orange County Speedway in upstate New York as a Video Editor. 

Orange County Fair Speedway is a 1 km oval dirt speedway in Middletown, New York. The facility holds weekly stock car races and demolition derbies during the summer months.

Our international film student worked as editor of a 10 episode documentary series about the history of car racing at the famous location. All 10 episodes premiered on FOX Sports website and as you can see here, as part of the NASCAR on Fox series.

Ready to start your engines? Vroom vrooom! 

Check this out. You will NOT be disappointed.

Way back in 2016, Kaykay was kind enough to do a short video interview, describing his experiences at Digital Film Academy when he studied in our Advanced Year Program as an international student:

Great to now see how his career is progressing. Onwards and upwards, Kaykay!

TANNIA + BERLIN SCI-FI FILM FESTIVAL

Shout out to Digital Film Academy student Tannia Kustka for her acting prowess in “REWIND”.

The short film concerns a mother suppressing her fear of losing her daughter through combat through the help of futuristic technology. The film won best drama in this year’s Berlin Sci-fi Film Festival and Tannia was nominated for best actress. Proud of you, Tannia!

Digital Film Academy invites you for a free personalized experience in Cinematography at our NYC film school. Contact Us to Sign Up Now


Considering Film School? How to Choose the Best Film School?

According to Statistics and Facts About the Film Industry, the digital media industry shows healthy projections for the upcoming years. It is estimated that the film industry will increase from about $38 billion in 2016 to nearly $50 billion in 2020. From this increase in revenue, it is evident that the media industry is prospering. Those who are looking for employment within the film industry are in a good position in terms of their career choices. Before getting behind the camera and filming your soon-to-be Oscar nominated film, you must decide which film school to attend.

 

·      How does one choose the best program?

·      How much are you willing to spend?

·      Do you prefer a formal education based on theory or is hands-on training more important?

These are all great questions to ask yourself.

Here are several points to consider when choosing or considering a film school:

 

 

Who are your teachers?

 

When universities select professors and lecturers for their institution an emphasis is placed on their academic achievement. Although these faculty members are able to provide their students with theoretical knowledge, in many cases they lack real world experience. A professor can educate his/her student about film history but not how to produce a film. If a student only has access to the theoretical aspects of film, they may never get the chance to produce their own content.  A student should therefore consider investing in more practical training in digital media rather than the university option. Film training schools select their teachers and lecturers based on their industry experience. With this industry experience, teachers are able to create a curriculum that focuses more on the technical aspects of film. They are more “in-tune” with the evolution of technology, which the film industry heavily relies on.

 

Hands-on time

 

In a world filled with endless evolving cameras, physically shooting a film is not rocket science. Lights, camera, ACTION….and hit the record button, right? Although it might appear to be this simple, practice is what allows an amateur to become a professional. When shooting a film one must consider the following: lighting, camera movement, frame rate, shutter speed, and sound recording.

Professionals from the film industry know that hands-on training is essential to a good production. Allowing students to get sufficient lab time is crucial. University students can find themselves struggling to find this practice time, while students in film training schools have the advantage of being exposed to more lab time due to small class sizes.

 

Affordability

 

Unfortunately, a university education in filmmaking is usually on the pricey side. Your tuition can be as expensive as $50,000 per semester. A film training school like Digital Film Academy on the other hand, only charges students $17,995 per year, which can potentially save you from large student debt. In addition, Digital Film Academy provides its students with free access to filming tools.

 

Career Prospects

 

Although the film industry has healthy projections for the upcoming years, the film industry currently has a competitive job market. Once students have graduated from their chosen film schools, how will they find employment? Film schools like Digital Film Academy provide students with access to a job board. Instead of waiting to graduate before finding employment, these Digital Film Academy students are eligible to apply for these jobs even during their studies.

 

Choosing the right film school may be an easy or difficult decision to make. It depends on the size of your pockets, the content that is being taught, and how you will use this knowledge. If you find yourself struggling to make a decision, remember that a top quality school will provide you with:

  • Valuable courses
  • Hands-on training
  • Teachers with industry experience
  • Job opportunities

 

Digital Film Academy will provide you with all of the above.

 

Click here to find out more about DFA: Why DFA?

 

Reference:

Statistics and facts about the film industry. (2016) https://www.statista.com/topics/964/film/