For the acting community

Grabbing and Sharing Your Actor Clips
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Total posts: 38
Joined: 11 year(s) ago
Posted 8:57 AM Jul. 25, 2013

Taping an audition, as I’ll be doing later today for an HBO series, typically means shooting a big HD file and then creating a smaller size or different type of video file that can be uploaded to the Internet and then pulled down by your agent and the casting director.


Here are some low cost/no cost options for creating and sharing smaller files:


1. Try Mpeg Streamclip, which is a free program that you can learn about here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG_Streamclip - and download here - http://www.squared5.com - in versions for Mac and Windows and others. I use this and find it super easy to create smaller files of sufficient quality to share with agents and casting.


2. Open a free account at Vimeo.com or Wistia.com, where you can upload your video files to share and also create smaller file versions that can be downloaded by others. I have a Vimeo channel and like the quality and versatility better than YouTube. Some casting directors will ask you to upload to YouTube, however, so it's good to have acces to both.


3. If you edit on a Mac with Final Cut Pro X, as I do, you can use your compressor. Select the YouTube video settings, then change the size of the video to 50 percent before exporting.


4. Try a program called Handbrake. I haven’t tried this one, but it came highly recommended. You can learn more about it here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HandBrake - and download it here - http://handbrake.fr. It's available for Mac and other platforms.


5. If you're using Mac OSX 10.8, you can create a smaller file with Quicktime. Just open your video and go to file/export. In the drop down menu in the bottom of the dialogue box choose "iPod Touch & iPhone 3GS" or "iPad/iPhone 4 & Apple TV." This reportedly works great and is very fast.


Need to send a video file? Try WeTransfer.com, which will send files up to 2 gigs for free, and larger files through a paid account. Better than DropBox.com, in my view. Very easy and fast.


Of course, for an actor the bigger issue is snagging performance clips for your reel. When you're just starting out, the biggest problem can be getting clips from student films, which can sometimes involve chasing down the student’s professor and making a formal appeal. I never had to resort to that fortunately. All of my student filmmakers behaved like pros, posted the finished video, and sent me the download link.


Footage from feature films and television gets trickier unless you make friends with someone in production. To get performance clips from these, actor Michael Alban - http://www.michaelalban.net - suggests using a program called Video Clone. You can download the trial version for free and capture up to 5 continuous minutes of streaming video to test it. If the clip you need is more than 5 minutes, you can pay for the full version to get longer clips. It’s easy to use and the footage looks decent, he says. You can access it here - http://wmrecorder.com/products/video-clone. I suggest doing a test run first to make sure you're getting the quality you want.


Michael says an easy software program for pulling clips from non-streaming sources is Mozilla's Firefox browser with the Video Download Helper add-on. You can grab any file that's on Youtube and on most other sites. With VDH, you're grabbing the actual file since it's directly available to you, whereas with streaming video, you're making a copy. Find the Mozilla VDH link here - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-downloadhelper.


Net Video Hunter, available here - http://netvideohunter.com - was recommended by another Mac user, but reportedly would involve a second step through Mpeg Streamclip to get it to an editable version.


If anyone has gotten good results by getting their clips through other programs, please post.