Natural Lens Flare

In a recent class discussion, we discussed the use of lens flares in post-production work to imitate the natural flares exposed through cinematography.  The use (and sometimes overuse) of lens flares, whether natural or fabricated, is a debatable topic one way or the other.

However, while filming our recent music video this past weekend, two of our students were excited by this shot…a natural flare:


It still remains to be seen if this shot will make it in the final cut but it is exciting to watch the experimentation by student filmmakers.  Sometimes, it is the mistakes that make for the best results.

Film Students Work On Music Video

Just one more teaser as everyone waits for the promotional video.

I am posting a picture from a video shoot our Video I (PHT 130) students did for local band Karla and the Brotherhood yesterday afternoon.

I really think our students learned a lot being “on set” and getting hands-on experience working in this environment.

We appreciate the hospitality of the band and look forward to filming them on the 23rd as well.

Hopefully the band will have two new music videos by the end of the year.


Promo Teaser


We finished the interior shoot of our 2014 promotional video for the NOVA Woodbridge Film Program.

We will be showing more stills in the future and, of course, we will premiere the finished promotional video upon its completion from post-production but, in the meanwhile, please enjoy this still taken by film student Aaron Kimmel.

You can get a good idea of the set (a 1940s film noir private investigator’s office) from this overhead shot.  Please notice the set construction, including false walls, false windows, and even the fake image of the name plate from the detective’s door, shining on the floor of his office.

I would also like to thank these people for their assistance on Monday’s shoot, as well as, the exterior shoot as well:

Kelly Cochran

Bryan Brown

Erin Devine

Demetrius Oatis

Jonathan Balsamo

Meghan Olney

Paige Fischer

Aaron Kimmel

*I will thank our actors and non-NOVA support staff in the next post.

Classes are starting soon

Just to let everyone know that classes are starting soon (August 20th).  The Intro to Video class (PHT 130) is filling up and I don’t know if it will be taught in the spring, so I would recommend signing up now.  It is Thursday mornings.

Students will get to see the new RED Epic camera used for a music video shoot and a promotional video for the film program.

Also, I would highly recommend ENG 279 (Film and Literature) with Professor Cochran and CST 151 (Film Appreciation I) with Professor Brown.  Also, look at all the theatre classes, including Acting for the Camera.

In addition, the Filmmaking Club will be starting up again in the fall, so be on the lookout for this great student-led club.

As always, if you have questions, let us know.

A New Video Revolution at NOVA Woodbridge


The Woodbridge campus of Northern Virginia Community College proudly introduces the newest member of our filmmaking team: a RED Epic camera.

For those that know, you realize what a great tool to learn and work with as you expand your filmmaking knowledge.  The RED Epic camera is a professional cinema camera that is used to film many Hollywood blockbusters and great television shows.

Take a look:

There are very few colleges and universities across the nation that can boast the introduction of this technology and, yet, you can take classes here on our campus and get a film school education, including understanding RED, and all at a community college price!

For those that don’t know what this camera can do, please take a look:

(watch the 5K resolution video to get a great idea of the endless creative possibilities you now have).

It is time to move beyond your backyard video shoots and step into a role as a serious filmmaker.

Email me with more questions and get enrolled today for the fall classes, including PHT 130, which will introduce this technology.

Chris Stallings

NOVA Woodbridge Promotional Video

Here you go…

Here is the promotional video that was created for AMC theaters that debuts today (make sure you chose to watch in HD to take advantage of the intended quality).

Since we also had the actors and equipment and time, we did a quickly shot series of three “behind the scenes” videos of our actors pretending to be characters that were actors.  Do you follow?

It all helps set up the promotional video.

Check back for future versions of the promotional video as we will put at least one extended version of the promo and one special edition version too.  We will be posting them in the video section of this blog too.

We would like to create more of these in the future, so check back to this site often and remember you could be a part of the excitement by taking film classes at community college prices.  Yes, we love an underdog!

Importance of Color Correction/Grading

Since I am teaching color correction/grading in my Digital Editing class (PHT 274), I thought I would show a few stills from the forthcoming behind-the-scenes video series to accompany the NOVA Woodbridge film program promotional video (due in Woodbridge theaters after Thanksgiving).

These are the baseline expectation for any film student because these stills only received primary adjustments (no secondary adjustments, effects, or filters performed/applied).

NOVA Color Correct1UnNOVA color correct1Done


NOVA color correct2UnNOVA color correct2Done


NOVA color correct3UnNOVA color correct3Done


These stills are examples of the most basic form of correction in balancing colors and adding contrast to taste.  Granted, these might be more over saturated than most would like but I enjoy my colors to pop.

From here, the next step is to perform secondary corrections to get the look you want. For example, do we want to further smooth out the skin of our actors to remove any blemishes, or add a sun-kissed look to their skin tone, or give a little punch to their hair color, or even blur the edges of the frame to place emphasis on the center of frame?  There are many secondary decisions to be made while color grading and each is specific to the style the filmmaker envisions.

However, we spent more time on the actual promotional video rather than these behind-the-scenes shots, so we are leaving it at the primary adjustment level and just ensuring the colors are balanced and we added an appropriate level of contrast.

Keep checking back for the videos to be on this site.  We will also be promoting them on our new Facebook and Twitter pages: NOVAFilmExposed.

Watch New Student Videos

The main purpose of this blog is to display the talent and hard work of our current students, as well as, demonstrate to future students some of the things they could expect in our film/video courses.

As such, some new student videos have been uploaded to the video page of this site.  Though I would love to add more, I can only host seven videos in the manner in which I do it.  I have included three student videos from the fall 2012 PHT 130 class and the class documentary.  In addition, below – embedded here-, you can view music videos completed by the PHT 130 class in both the fall 2012 and spring 2012 classes and the one completed by the Filmmaking Club in summer 2012:

Fall 2012 Music Video (Eyes Closed)

Spring 2012 Music Video (Dangerous Girl)

Summer 2012 Music Video (Good Life)


Please Welcome…

As we continue to expand our film program on the Woodbridge campus, we are welcoming two new additions to our “crew.”

Demetrius Oatis will be an adjunct professor, teaching video production and editing courses starting in spring of 2013.  He has years of experience in the film industry, most in broadcast, including his current role as a video director for Voice of America.

Jonathan Balsamo will also be joining us in the spring semester.  He will be a special tutor assigned in instruction in video production and editing.  He is currently a freelance videographer in the Northern Virginia area.

We are excited to welcome these two gentlemen on board and we are especially excited for the students, who will benefit from the additional attention and direction.