(PC/MAC/ or any web
surfing hardware that can play video formats)
Some of our readers
that enjoyed our book reviews from the books by Focal Press will
recognize the publisher does some great focus books on film making.
So when a company like this makes a web site for learning and it’s
on the craft of film making, we need to take notice. The folks at
Big Picture Media where kind enough to send over a code for us to
have access to the site and look the site over for review. Our main
focus…was to be on a section on Film Safety, and I did go over it
all. As I looked the site over though, the breadth and depth of the
learning experience placed on this site for most all of the areas of
film making are staggering. There are companies that provide
learning DVD’s and videos for productive software like Adobe After
Effects and other types of software…..but this site FilmSkills
provides enough knowledge that it’s like taking college university
courses. Some of the knowledge that is offered up, well most of it
really, most people on the outside looking into the film industry
would never have had access to. This site is a gold mine for
learning the film industry.
The creators of this
learning site Film Skills are Jason J. Tomaric and Focal Press.
Focal Press has been for a while, for over 70 years they have been
leading the charge in Media Technology Books. The books they have
published, and continue to publish covers a wide range of media and
technology from my favorite film and media technologies,
Photography, digital imaging, graphics, animation and new media,
broadcast and media distribution technologies, music recording and
production, mass communication, and then also theatre technology.
To say that they go to great pains to put together ever thing that they
offer is perhaps a huge understatement. From the professionals that
are on staff on to the people in the industry they interview and
glean knowledge from for any and all of their products is
Jason J.Tomaric is no stranger to film. He is a multiple Emmy, Telly
and CINE Award-winning director and cinematographer. With four
feature films, sixty commercials, music videos and an educational
DVD series on the market, he has had a successful career and has
also taught in some of the nation’s most prestigious film schools
such as UCLA and the New York Film Academy. Mr. Tomaric has also
written a book published by Focal Press…titled “Filmmaking.”
Now the website
FilmSkills is made up of several learning modules as well as main
page of quick tips on film making. As a whole the site is
spectacular, though it’s the learning modules that make it shine.
The site is designed for not on low budget to big budget film
makers, but those folks just learning and have no budget would do
well to take the classes and learn, learn, learn.
If you are a film school teacher and if you have not considered
using the site in your classes, you are missing on spectacular tools
here. The site has Academic Advisor Robert Sabal, who is Associate
Professor at Emerson College. He has also taught at University of
Arizona and the University of Texas. Sabal currently serves as the
President of UFVA (University Film and Video Association). Robert
Sabal’s credits are not just academic; he has practiced what he
teaches and still does film work.
Robert Sabal is a
film and video producer whose works include narrative drama,
documentary, abstract experimental, instructional, and commercials.
His films and videos have won awards at numerous festivals and have
been funded through regional, state, and local grants.
Now from the stand point of being a teacher in some kind of film
studies, both hands on and academically with the books only, then
the FilmSkills site also has something that is very well done that
can make part of your teaching almost effortless. It has a program
on the site that can create tests based on what modules a teacher
would like to test students on. Better still; the system in most
cases can grade the test as well depending on preferences.
The preferences are between "FilmSkills Grades the Test" and "FilmSkills
Grades with your Help” Choosing the first option the system only
uses multiple choice and true/false combinations. This way it can
grade the tests for you. The second option puts a little more work
back in the teachers’ hands but is also a bit more flexible in some
ways. The teacher will have to grade the short answers using the
grading wizard in the grade book feature of the site. FilmSkills
will still auto grade the multiple choice and true false questions.
This site is a spectacular boon to the film world and the film
academic world. Motion picture production can be a labyrinthine mix
of departments and skills and knowledge. Thankfully this site
strives to provide real world training in a huge cross section of
the production process. Having worked in low budget films as an
action coordinator I am highly impressed at what FilmSkills has to
offer. Even more excited that they sent the information and access
over to look the site over and write this article. One area in
particular which should be mandatory in your curriculum if it’s not
is Film Safety.
FilmSkills offers a
group of 14 modules Safety Training, based on the industry standard
safety pass program in California. The modules cover everything from
working on the set, gun safety, and Vehicle and roadway safety,
shooting scenes with vehicles and rigs and trailers and working on
location. Safety is no laughing matter and FilmSkills offers this
set of training that at one time was only available to union members
The section for Safety Training, much like other sections on the
site is highly informative. Each module is broken down into sub
sections for the training course; each modules sub section focuses
and teaches different points of the module as a whole. Then some of
the sections also have further resources and written article inputs
and insights. The front end and controls are all intuitive so there
is no way to get lost in the logical progression of the training.
Full of work books and resources the FilmSkills site as a whole is
highly comprehensive. From up and coming film makers, to new Indi
and low budget to no budget filming to film industry people of all
walks and disciplines, this site is a must.
Edwin Millheim Impulse Gamer