A year is a mighty long time, especially for a website.
And while 2011 was an amazing year for the site, I promise you 2012 will be even better.
But before we embark on that ambitious journey, let’s take a look back at some of the best posts of the past year — some voted on you with your visits, others selected by me as my favorites.
Go Back to Basics and Learn Essential Skills
Whether you’re stepping on set for the first time or the fiftieth time, reviewing the essential skills of camera assisting is never a bad idea. Even a small reminder of how or why can have a huge payoff. Below are some articles which didn’t introduce any ideas particularly revelatory or new, but reinforced old ones that have stood the test of time.
How to Measure Distance for Focus Marks
It may seem obvious to some, but for those who have never once pulled tape on set, this is a nice primer of what marks you need and how to get them.
How to Exchange Camera Lenses and Look Like a Pro
One of the first things any camera assistant should learn is how to properly hand off a lens. How complicated could it be? More complicated than you think — to do it right.
Make These Quick Adjustments Everytime You Move the Camera
Some of the easiest things to overlook in the hustle of set work are minor adjustments. Making sure you know this list by heart is a good way to get on the cinematographer’s good side.
Be a Better AC Series
A 14-part series on ways to become a better, faster, and more efficient camera assistant. There is no BS here — it’s all bite-size tips that I guarantee will help you step up your camera assisting game.
27 Ways You Can Stay Busy On Set
There’s always something that can be done on set. Here’s 27 pieces of proof.
Mistakes You Should Avoid in the New Year
Sometimes being a great crew member isn’t so much about what you should do, but what you should never do. Between complicated rules of set etiquette and the complex skills you are responsible for mastering, it’s easy to trip up. By knowing where the obstacles are beforehand, however, you may make a few less mistakes than usual.
7 Difficulties Friends and Family Have With Your Film Job
If you work in this industry long enough, you’ll have scuffles with your friends and family because of various things they misunderstand. To handle that properly, it’s best to know where they’re coming from and why they feel the way they do when you can’t make it to yet another family wedding.
5 Common Focus Pulling Mistakes
Focus pulling is really simple: match the distance on the lens to the distance your subject is at. That’s why most of what you learn about pulling focus is how not to mess up that process.
How to Piss Off Talent by Doing These Three Things Nobody Ever Tells You Not to Do
Assholes. Divas. Drama queens. Like them or not, you have to put up with them. The last thing you want is cause the lead actor or actress to go on a ranting tirade.
10 Ways to Guarantee You Never Work On Set Again
Essentially this is a list of 10 specific ways you can make yourself appear as lazy, incompetent, and mean as possible and make sure you never get another job.
It’s Always Your Fault, So Stop Making Excuses
I love this post — it was one of my favorites to write. If there was one article that I would leave in a time capsule to define The Black and Blue, this might be it.
Tools You Need to Make Yourself Better On Set
What’s sitting in your toolbag might not do your job for you, but a lot of the gear inside can make it a hell of a lot easier. The right tool for the right job makes you infinitely faster. I’m a big fan of the do-it-yourself method (as you’ll see), but there’s also tons of tools you have to buy.
The Ultimate Guide to a Camera Assistant’s Toolkit
By far this is the post I have been asked to do most since I started the website. I’m happy I finally did it. I would venture to say it’s one of the most comprehensive articles about building an AC toolkit on the Internet.
12 Do-It-Yourself Projects for Camera Assistants
Some of the best tools are the ones you make yourself because you get to customize them exactly as you want them to be. Here’s 12 starting points to spark your DIY imagination.
Going the Distance: Knowing Which Measuring Tool is Best to Get Focus Marks
Soft tape, hard tape, laser tape — there’s a lot of things you can choose to measure with, but is there a difference? Well the answer is it depends…
Finding the Best Laser Measuring Device For You
When you’re making a big purchase like a laser measuring device, you don’t want to get stuck with junk from a sketchy brand. This is a guide for those who won’t be using their laser tapes so much for construction work as for pulling focus to an actor.
Know Your Industry Now and Where It’s Going
In 2011 I shied away from doing gear posts, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t keep tabs on the industry. There were some pretty amazing shifts that happened this year as digital cinematography has really grabbed a foot hold in both large and small productions. So while knowing where we are now is important, perhaps more important is where we will be.
The Hidden Cost of RED Epic and Digital Cinema
According to my web stats, this is the most popular article from the site this year. And it’s easy to see why — it takes a subtle jab at RED, the company everyone loves to hate, but it’s a fair and very real examination of how increased data is going to increase costs for digital cinema productions.
Three Ways Camera Assistants Have to Adapt to Digital Cinema in Order to Survive
With digital cinematography showing no signs of slowing down in 2012, camera assistants — like it or not — will have to adapt if they want to continue their careers.
Why You Should Get Google Plus and Unlock Its Potential for Freelance Filmmakers
Google Plus has disappointed some, but amazed others — I’m on the fence. Right now it’s floating in empty internet space, but I still think this platform will become stronger and has the ability to help filmmakers network, collaborate, and find jobs.
5 Infographics About the Frantic World of Freelancing
These five infographics explore the larger world of freelancing, of which filmmakers are a part, and how those who take the dive handle their finances, health, and sanity.
10 Camera Department Crew Jokes
Question: Why don’t DP’s smoke? Well, because it takes them 6 hours to light it!
Valuable Resources to Further Your Skills
Pocket Guides. Massive list of online websites. Cinematography smartphone apps. 145-page ebook.
The Black and Blue was all about supplying you with useful and amazing resources in 2011, something that was met with so much positive response that it will be an even bigger focus in 2012.
If you haven’t explored any of these yet, don’t hesitate and miss out on what they have to offer.
100 More Great Resources for Cinematographers, Camera Assistants, and Film Professionals
A self-explanatory sequel to the popular 100 Resources post. I guarantee there’s something on this list you don’t already know about.
Useful Cinematography iPhone Apps Series
2012 will be the year of smartphones (so everyone says) and I strongly urge camera assistants and cinematographers to take advantage of the power they provide. With apps, your phone ends up being one of the most powerful tools in your kit.
Digital Cinema Camera Pocket Guides
The original pocket guide, for the RED One, has gotten tons of use from me in the past year. Then I added one for the ARRI Alexa and the RED Epic and now I have a whole aresenal of quick reference cheat sheets.
Becoming the Reel Deal: How to Launch Your Film Career in the Camera Department
Are you ready for a future in the film industry? Becoming the Reel Deal is a free ebook designed to help you establish a career in the camera department. I spent half of 2011 making this ebook and I hope it will last a lot longer as a valuable resource.
Have a safe and happy new year’s and I will see you on the other side in 2012!
Don’t see your favorite post here? Let me know what it is in the comments.