Top 10 most useful sites for video professionals.

So, being a full time digital filmmaker can be a bit isolating if you happen to live in a small town area. For certain projects I hire small numbers of crew members, (usually only 1 or two people) but most of the time I'm working as a one man band. When this is the case it can be difficult to stay up on new products coming out, techniques others are using, and general news in the pro video world. That's why I usually start my day by checking some or all of the following sites. This is my list of most useful sites for video pros.


videocopilot.net Obvioulsy there are different types of websites that a video pro may need to be looking at. This is one of the best sites for in depth special effects. The guy that does the tutorials is funny, dynamic, and gets to the point. He's enjoyable to listen to. This website follows a standard model of offering the primary content for free. The primary content is the tutorials. You can watch as many as you like for no charge. Video Copilot, to make money, sells certain extras. They sell 3d models, plugins, sound effects, etc. So many of the tutorials might use a plugin or a 3d model that would be for purchase. This is great though because if you want to learn the concept but do your own project that's no problem.

shortfilmtexas.com If you don't live in Texas than you will have to probably find a similar or equivalent in your area. The value of this site is in the connections that you can make. I get an email each day with a number of casting and crew calls in my area. It tells me if they are paying gigs or volunteer. It allows you to contact the producer or director directly. It's been a pretty valuable asset. If you live in another state it may take some googling to find some site similar but I'm sure there are lots out there.

alisterchapman.com The other day I woke up with the name Alister Chapman on my mind. I could not think of who that was but knew it was the name of someone I had seen recently. I googled it and realized that it was this guy who I've seen in about 100 camera reviews. So I had seen a lot of Alister Chapman's content before I knew he had a website dedicated to his work. The thing that his site is most useful for is reviews. If I'm looking to buy a new camera you can bet he's done a review on it. The thing I like about him is he has reviews of a lot of higher end cameras. He's a long time pro so he knows his stuff, and he knows what broadcasters are looking for. He's very thorough and he has helped me to decide which cameras to buy a few times.

philipbloom.net Philip bloom is a video pro internet legend / celebrity. Anytime I meet someone that wants to prove they know the video pro industry it seems like Philip Bloom's name gets dropped. He's a DP primarily but does a lot of camera reviews and articles. I don't know exactly why he has gotten so famous but people love this guy. He really is a niche celebrity. The reason I visit his site is for inspiration usually. His work is always very artistic and he has a lot of work on high end cameras but also on lower budget cams. So his content peaks a lot of peoples interest because it's stuff that they can emulate. His reviews are well done and often take the perspective of not only, "does this camera take good images," but, "how does this camera feel to use." Which I really like.

provideocoalition.com Now this is a big operation. Often I start my day by googling the phrase, "professional video news." This site almost always comes up. They have a whole section devoted to pro video news which I like. You won't miss much if you spend a little time on this site each week. You may wonder why it's important to keep up with news after you've bought all the gear you can buy. For me I find that it's valuable to be able to talk shop with other pros. I was on a shoot the other day for a new client. For some reason they had a guy there that runs an agency that did a lot of print work for this client. The guy had previously done a lot of video work for them too. So he wanted to talk shop video-wise. He wanted to talk about a new camera coming out (FS700) which was no problem because I keep up with my video news. If I had not known what he was talking about I would have been embarrassed in front of the client and looked bad. Sorry got off topic. So this site also has lots of blogs and hundreds of pages of content. Definitely worth a look.

fstopacademy.com Den Lennie is one of the world’s leading coaches on the new wave of digital film making with experience in both London and Hollywood, operating right in the heart of the entire industry. That is a line from the website. I will be honest I had never been to this website until about 5 minutes ago. I probably won't go back but here's why I included it. Den Lennie has a valuable opinion and this is his site. Den started cropping up on my radar about a year ago when I was looking into the FS100. He was one of the guys that sony got to review, and I think even help direct the design process. So I see him on video content from time to time. That's really why I included it, because I like to see what he's up to and the best way to is to take a look at his site. 

indymogul.com The slogan on their home page is, "Fun, Cheap, Filmmaking." That pretty much it. This site feels a little bit more like its targeted at teenage boys who want to make action or horror films on the cheap in their parents backyard. Don't get me wrong it has some great content and was valuable to me when i got started, but it's not targeted at an audience of professionals in my opinion. What it does is give a boat load of ideas on how to fake a bigger production budget than you actually have. In the first year of doing what I'm doing I did a few of their projects and they worked out pretty well.

dvinfo.net I'm on this site a lot, at least once a week. The funny thing is that I never come in through the front door. Until a few minutes ago I didn't even know that this home page existed. I always find my way into this site through it's MASSIVE forums section. So whenever I run into a problem with a camera or editing, or whatever related to pro video, I will google it. When googled what you find is that someone else has usually had the same problem, has posted it, and found answers on dvinfo. It's forums are full of user posted info on all kinds of related subjects. They are also regulated, at least somewhat, so that they stay on subject. This is a great resource. It may be good for other stuff too, but that's all I ever use it for.

canonrumors.com is another site for news. It has an interesting focus, it seems to be targeted at those who are looking into buying a new camera and want to stay up on the latest. This site is often the first to post the upcoming canon camera offerings. It's a tight niche since it's just for canon, but canon has enough market share that it works. This site also has forums. I haven't hardly ever been in their forums but I wind up on their articles pretty often. Overall a good site to stop in everyone in a while to see what canon is up to.

bhphotovideo.com This is primarily a photography and videography store online. It's based out of New York. I sometimes buy from them but often I simply use it as a resource. The nice thing about his site is that it's huge and it carries most any pro gear. It's a great place to compare features because their feature page for each product is the same so I will pull both items up in different tabs on my browser and swap back and forth to compare. Very useful. The other thing that I use this site for is a little more peripheral. There are a lot of people that make camera accessories, and sometimes they are making them in their mom's garage. So if I see a product that I think is neat but am unsure if it's a nationally selling item, I will check BandH because that tells me if they are big enough to have a full sized distributor.


So those are the sites I spend a fair amount of time on. Any questions, feel free to ask.





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