48 Hour Film Project

48 Hour Logo

Just A Weekend

As most of us know creating a film, even a short film, weather it’s a documentary or something more fictional, takes a lot of time. First you have come up with a concept, get funding somehow, get a crew, shoot the production and then edit and do the rest of post-production. This whole process usually takes a minimum of several months, if not years, for some of the most basic films. Now, imagine trying to do an entire short film, from conception to post-production all in one 48-hour span of time. That is the challenge of the 48 Hour Film Project, where teams have just two days to create an entire story using just a prop, theme and line of dialogue. DC’s annual 48-hour film project was the weekend of May 5th and with other 48-hour film projects taking place across the globe on various other dates.

Mark Ruppert

A Humble Beginning

The Project got its start in May, 2001 when local filmmaker Mark Ruppert came up with the idea to have an experimental competition where teams would have to make a complete short film in 48 hours. He enlisted his film-making partner Liz Langston and several small teams who thought  the idea sounded fun and challenging. Today the project takes place in more than 120 cities around the world, such as Las VegasChicago, Rome and Beijing, and involves many teams, who altogether make up more than 60,000 thousand people. The smallest team was one man who set up a camera and then was in the film, and the largest group was a team from Albuquerque with 116 people and 30 horses.

It’s All About Action

The mission of the Project is refreshingly simple: don’t think, just do!!! The very short time limit encourages creativity and teamwork skills and spurs people to give it their all. It’s through this intense process that the creators of the project hope to promote filmmakers and advance filmmaking. Personally, as someone who worked on a team for DC 48 hour film project on May 5th, I can attest just how challenging and chaotic the process can be. It takes a lot of patience and nerve to make it through one of these films—and a true passion for film—to consistently come back to the project year after year.

48 Hour Trophy

The Process and Prizes

There are a few guidelines that filmmakers have to follow when making their short film. At the Friday party that kicks off the project, each team is randomly assigned a theme, a line and prop that must appear in their short film. Apart from those specifications, they make whatever type of piece they want. The finished pieces need to be complete two days later, that Sunday by 7 pm at a drop off party. The following weekend, the films are screened at AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring over the course of four nights. There are prizes for films that are voted the best and these prizes include best writing, best director and best editing among others. There’s a also an international grand prize which nets the winner $5,000. Ten of the best films of the 2013 tour are going to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner in 2014.




3 Big Standouts from NAB 2013

NAB 2013 Digital Media Industry Event

While the National Association of Broadcasters early event in Las Vegas may not have quite the same buzz as the Consumer Electronics Show, its still a big deal in the production industry and a regular trek for many members of the local community. While Word Wizards, Inc  primarily focuses on transcription work, light post-production, web and print design, we still love to learn all about the latest and greatest film tech. We love to see what enterprising filmmakers and production professionals can create with the latest and greatest gear. Although nothing at the NAB event was mind blowing, there were 3 products that seemed to garner a lot of attention.

Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera

Blackmagic impressed many people with the unveiling of its Pocket Cinema Camera that retails for $995 and has plenty to offer. Some of the features on it include SD card storage, CinemaDNG RAW recording, Micro HDMI monitoring and a Super-16 cinema 1080 HD recorder. At under a thousand dollars, that’s a whole lot of powerful tech for the price, especially when considering the model’s built-in LCD that can be used to watch some of that great talking heads footage. While calling it a “pocket camera” might be a bit of stretch, the size is still relativity compact compared to other models in this range. The camera should be available towards the end of July.

The Lynx A 3D point and shoot Camera/Tablet

Another very impressive and unique product was a point-and-shoot camera capable of 3D modeling and motion capture. This is a unique device, which was funded via kickstarter, and  is being developed by a group of students from the University of Texas. The Lynx A 3D point-and-shoot camera employs sensor hardware to obtain depth mapping and imaging info from your surroundings and then turns that same data into a 3D scene and object models or motion capture that it displays on its screen. This means that a savvy filmmaker will be able to record those important interviews in perfect detail and sound for easy transcription later. The price tag on this bad boy should be about $1,799 and should start shipping soon.

Sony’s Anycast Touch Studio in a Box

Finally Sony showed off its brand new Anycast Touch studio in a box, which is simply too impressive looking not to mention. The basic premise of the Anycast Touch is the ability to have a mobile production studio in a box that delivers network quality broadcasting anywhere. Some of the bells and whistles include sliding dual touch displays, the ability to split audio and video editing between the panels as well as a video switcher, audio mixer, an encoder and even a special effects generator. Even though pricing hasn’t been discussed yet, the Anycast Touch is apparently going to be shipping in September.

For more in depth coverage

While those are three of the impressive standout from NAB 2013, there were plenty of other noteworthy displays from Sony, Intel and Red Epic. For a much more comprehensive round up, check out engadget’s coverage.



Consumer Electronics Show 2013 – 5 Technology Trends

Next week marks the beginning of The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) In Las Vegas. CES is the worlds largest gadget conference, where the big and small names of the tech world gather to show off their newest toys. The 2013 show seems to be all about innovation through integration, prepare for a world where your phone can turn on your oven while streaming Homeland wirelessly to your smart TV. The gear will be cool, it will be new, and it will probably be too expensive for most of us to afford.

Consumer Electronics Show produced by CEA International.

Lets take a look at five of the leading tech trends that will dominate this years event.

Small Tech and Big Start-ups

The newbies on the floor this year will be fighting for attention for the first time, and it looks like they will be shaking things up. CES 2013 has attracted exhibitors from some of the leading small-cap technology companies and start-ups. Companies like Leap Motion and Razer are bringing new gear and gadgets with lots of buzz and big budgets.

The New "Sabertooth" Controller by Razer.
The New “Sabertooth” XBOX Controller by Razer.

While at the same time, brand new companies like Pebble are shaking things up with new ideas for gizmoz and gadgets, bringing the entrepreneurial spirit back to the showroom floor.

Pebble lets you check your e-mail and text mesages on the go.
Now That’s A Smart Watch

Tablets and Touchscreens

The tablets are in abundance this year, with all the big names competing for a market space that did not exist just a few years ago. The buzz this year seems to be surrounding the new “hybrid” tablets release by Windows and a few other companies. Although a hybrid laptop / tablet is not a new idea, the delivery has never been more sexy and cost effective for manufactures and consumers. The verdict is still out whether the hybrid tablet / laptop concept will take off, but Microsoft is hoping that CES 2013 will put their new “Surface” devices one step closer to winning over public opinion.


Surface hybrid tablet / laptoop with windows 8.
The hybrid Tablet / Laptop has been reborn!

Cars With Brains

I recently had the pleasure of driving a 2012 Mercedes SUV, she talks to you, warns you when people are in your blind spot, and even corrects the steering if you swerve on the highway. The world of car tech has come so far, but in recent history, the premium tech has only been included in the highest end models and brands. It seems that this year will mark the point where motor-vehicle gadgets are slowly being integrated into much more affordable models.

Inside The Delorean From Back To The Future III
Inside The Delorean From Back To The Future III

Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, Audi and several others will be showing off their new smart car wizbangs, and like I said earlier, the trend this year will focus on integration. Smartphone syncing, internet ready, self navigating vehicles will be the standard of the not-so-distant future. Much of the technology that will dominate the market over the next ten years will be shown to the public for the first time next week at CES 2013.

Ford at CES 2012
Ford at CES 2012

TVs Going Rouge

As always, new models of smarter, brighter, and fancier televisions will dominate the showroom of CES. Many manufactures are trying to come out on top in the ongoing fight for TV market share. The front lines of this battle will be drawn at CES 2013. TV gadget lovers will certainly have enough to keep their attention, but the real story here is the dramatic shift from traditional Television sets to mobile content delivery devices and systems.

Multiple screens with streaming television capabilities.

Once again, integration seems to be driving the current trend in television content delivery. So you have a smartphone and a smart TV, shouldn’t you be able to deliver content to and from both devices? That’s the logic currently influencing the development of new technology. People are no longer content to sit in front of a couch and watch their shows at prime time. Consumers of today want their content anywhere, anytime, and they want to be able to text, tweet, and surf the web while watching it. The dominant theme in TV tech at CES 2013 will be providing solutions to this demand.

 Check Back For More!

We will be covering CES 2013 on this blog to recap the highlights. Come back and check out our coverage, and make sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive articles like this.