Action Packed!

Wow. Last night was an amazing night spent with awesome people! All of the films this year were spectacular and interesting, and worth the wait to see at a formal screening (despite how much I was tempted to watch them all on the youtube account).

First, I would like to congratulate the top 3 winners of the competition, along with the other specific awards. All of you deserved the awards you got, and I can only guess how hard it was for the judges to determine the winners from this year’s pool of candidates. Congrats you guys!

Next, I want to describe the process of making my film, Course of Action. I had a very enriching experience with this production. It was my first time directing and I thought I knew what that meant until I actually started the pre-production process for the film. There were so many small details, last minute decisions, and a lot of improvisation done to get the shoot itself done once we were filming. Our shoot was done in one day, as our main actor wasn’t available otherwise, and it was a challenge that our team did a great job working with.

During post-production, it was a big issue trying to finish up ADR, music and the animation. (The struggle is real!) There was a couple of days where I was running around meeting with my composer and actor and animator getting everything together so I could complete the final edit. I even had moments where I wasn’t sure if we could make the deadline. Thankfully we did! And I can honestly say that I’m incredibly happy with the final product. It was truly the hard work of everyone on our team that led to final production and it has definitely been an amazing venture.

I would also like to thank Dr. Johnson for giving us science students the opportunity to explore our interest in film in such a practical and fun way. It was a great event and I hope to participate in it again next year!

Lastly, I am going to shamelessly plug my own blog: There are a few posts on there about the production process for this film as well as my personal blogs regarding my opinions, ideas, and interests. Please do follow me on tumblr and reblog any posts you find speak to you!

Thank you!

What a Voyage!

Anti-Buddies at Work

Our team had a blast for this year’s Science Film Competition. Four of our team members are scientists at Keck, and without this competition, would never have had the opportunity to create a film like this. It really stretched our left and right brain thinking. The experience was awesome and we are very proud of Vaccine Voyage: A Truly Viral Video. We can’t wait until the 7th to see all the other films!


Submitting Your Film

The deadline is almost here! Remember it is 11:59pm on 15th February 2014. That is this coming Saturday! You are no doubt wondering about how you submit your film. I will be announcing this to registered teams shortly. There will be two emails coming.

(1) The first will be about formats for the films. That will arrive today (Monday 10th), so look out for that.

(2) Tomorrow (Tuesday 11th) the details about site where you will upload your films will be given. I will also give you details about the information you need to provide in writing along with the hard copy version you will also submit. I’ll tell you where to take that hard copy, and when. Keep an eye out for that email too.

All the best,



Hi there

Has anybody from any group submitted their final project yet or received instructions on how to do so/ preferred method or media?

Please share if you have any info. I haven’t heard back from the competition administrators about this question.



Team Delorean

‘Eye Robot’ – That’s a wrap

Hello fellow Science Film Makers

How are your films all going?

The people on Team Delorean are putting the final touches on our entry for the competition. It’s called ‘Eye Robot’ and in a nutshell it is about the collaboration between different scientific/mathematic/engineering fields, showing how specific expertise from different areas of knowledge can work together, efficiently and harmoniously to advance humankind. That may sound a little vague, but we trust that you’ll get it once you see it.

It’s been great fun and we’ve had enjoyment and success in meeting new people from different faculties at USC – cool, talented people who have learned from each other and become good friends in the process. Hooray for film nerds and hooray for science geeks!

Best of luck with the final stages of your projects.

Calvin Maserow

Team Delorean

sciencefilmpic3 sciencefilmpic2 sciencefilmpic1

Day 1


Woah.  Totally blown away by today.  Great experience.

So this is the real deal.  We got our first shots down, but we have around 80 to go.  Plus we only have 2 days left.  So that means we have to do some serious cutting down on what we have to shoot.  I’m so thankful for everyone though, we have a great team.  However we did break the M.O.A.B. … which almost constituted in calling in the REAL Hazmat people.

And no, we’re not remaking Breaking Bad.  Sorry!

Happy Holidays, and Happy Filmmaking!

Dear Teams,

I hope that you have a good break. Many of you are planning to work on your films over the break, so I wish you the best of luck, and have fun doing it! Feel free to post here on the blog a little bit of how your filming went. We’d all love to know. Don’t forget some of the tips I gave in a previous post.

Above all, have fun collaborating, and enjoy the process of making your masterpiece!

I wish you well.


Super Cheap Lighting

If you don’t have access to those fancy Litepanels and need an inexpensive option for lighting, you can either ask an engineering student to make you this…

…or use a set up of Fluorescent light bulbs, sockets, and PVC C-stands that you can easily find in Home Depot or whatever. If you want to diffuse your light for cheap, putting your bulb into a Chinese Lantern does soften light nicely. A nice DIY tutorial on PVC light stands is listed below:

Also an update on my project: the script has been completely written and we are looking to shoot either right after finals week, during winter break, or right before winter break ends.  Comment below or message me if you would like to help on the set!

Vimeo Tips, Planning, and Getting the Science Right!

Hi Everyone!

I hope that you are well into planning your films right now. Please be sure to follow all the safety tips and production suggestions that you got from Joe Wallenstein last month. I promised that I’d put some links to film-making tips that could be useful for some of you with limited access to equipment, or not as much filmmaking experience. You actually can make pretty sophisticated films with free software, and pretty basic equipment like the cameras on your phone… With a modest outlay and some creativity you can improve lighting, etc., dramatically. See the post that Sean Lim did with some ideas he found online. (Thanks Sean!)

I found some additional things on Vimeo that you can explore. For example, for the basics, look at the tutorials at Vimeo’s “video school” here.

For more advanced tips, you can move on to the “film school” here. There’s a lot of videos there so it might take a while to find what you want, but it is probably there!

Finally, please be sure -before filming- to make sure that you have a written script that helps you plan everything out. This will really cut down on mistakes like forgetting to shoot important elements – this can be expensive if you’ve rented equipment and then have to rent it again… or it might mean you have to reshoot because conditions changed, etc. Plan things first.

Also, when you have the script, get some other eyes on it. Make sure you’ve got your story elements working right to constitute an interesting film. Be *sure* that the science is right! If the science is wrong, your film is fundamentally flawed and it will cost you in the competition (remember this is the Science Film Competition – all about communicating science ideas). Furthermore, we won’t be able to show it widely if it is promoting flawed ideas… So get everyone in your team to look at it and check everything, and maybe even try to show it to a professor and ask them to give you some feedback. I can help you find the right kind of expert if you are not having luck. This is *really* important.

All the best,


Sound and Editing for a film about the science of speech

Hi all – check out my profile for further info. My team will be working on a film exposing the science behind speech articulation. We will be using real-time MRI footage of the vocal tract of beat boxers, singers and speakers while they are doing their thing. The script is ready – the sound person is the key here because there will be recording of live beat boxing and free style rapping for our film. An editor from the film department would also be key – though I have experience cutting, some of the things we´d ideally like to do require experts such as yourselves. Check out the site of the SPAN research group

There you can get an idea of the data we work with. You can see samples of the RT-MRI vocal tract footage.

Hope to be able to meet you all soon,

Have a good one!