Film Dash

Now the dust has settled on this year’s Film Dash, here’s a round-up of all the films (well, most of them) that were submitted. Have a watch and leave some nice comments, they all deserve it.

Easy as Anything – The Murtaghs

Forget Me Not – Team Fandango

Happiness – Alan Smithee

Happiness – the novelisation – Team Make It So

Happy Ending – Junction Zero

HEP08 – The Cantina Band

Sandwiches – Eh, why not?

Girls Will Be Boys – Emerald Void

Silence is Gordon – Aruba Perhaps?

Eric – Hermit House

Wooden Spoon – Happy Cam

Grandma’s House – Bokeh

Gabriel – Living Proof Films & Studio 279

The Quest – Jellycat

The Interview – Samoobsluga

Road to Happiness – Jolly Demon

Trees – Hardluck Hotel

Lost Happiness – Limefires

If there’s a Film Dash film missing it’s either because it’s been removed from youtube or I couldn’t get it off the hand-in disc to upload it.


Team Make It So with Happiness – The Novelisation.

I’d like to congratulate Team Make It So on their winning entry to this year’s Film Dash 48-hour film challenge, as chosen by editor of Catherine Bray and script editor Kate Leys. Congratulations! Here’s some notes from Kate on their film:

This a glorious mess and it is very, very good.  It is a perfect realisation of the most important thing about storytelling, filmmaking and art in general: too many people make the mistake of thinking that what we (audiences) turn out for is clever plots, when in fact what we turn out for is the truth, organised into some sort of shape.  This film has a beginning, a middle and an end.  It is superbly, excruciatingly truthful and as such it is immediately universal: apart from anything else it probably tells the story of all the other films too.  I liked it a lot.  Now they have to go and get some training…

And here’s the film.

As promised, a proper ‘thank you’ post is on the way, but for now, thanks to everyone who took part, helped out and packed out the screening at the Electric Cinema, and especially to everyone who entered into the spirit of the competition. You’re the best!

So, see you next year?

Film Dash is over for another year and the films are in. Hope you all had a fun, if stressful, weekend!

There were 24 finished films by the end of the challenge, and the judging process has begun. A winner will be announced on Thursday 11 March, 7-9pm, at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham after a screening of some of the entries.

Due to time constraints we’ll only be able to screen so many films at the Electric, so apologies if your film doesn’t feature. If it doesn’t, it will be featured on the Bullring website and a variety of film sites, and may also be shown at FilmRats, or the Filmmakers for Haiti event.

You can see most of the films made over the weekend uploaded or favourited on Youtube here.

Thanks to all the filmmakers and supporters of Film Dash. A proper thank you post is on the way soon.

See you at the Electric!

Film Dash got under way last night and the teams are now feverishly filmmaking before Sunday’s 7pm deadline. The photo above is just before the Film Dash launch at the Created in Birmingham shop in the Bullring, where teams that preferred the face-to-face approach came to receive the criteria for their films. Here’s a video of what I said to them:

Each team was given a line of dialogue from a feel-good film, and a prop to include in their films. Hopefully these spark some creative ideas and we get some varied films back at the end of the weekend.


Film Dash starts tomorrow (Friday), so here’s a heads up about what’s going to happen.

At 7pm, I will be giving each team leader the criteria to include in their Film Dash films.

This will be in an email which will also include a quick run-through of the key rules, hand-in details, and an online form you will need to fill in before the Sunday deadline in order to compete.

I will also be giving the criteria out in person if you come to the Created in Birmingham shop in the Bullring (top floor, Debenhams side, opposite Apple store) at 6pm, where I’ll be answering any questions you might have and you’ll be able to meet some fellow competitors.

Here’s a map to the Bullring.

See you soon!

Or, as Louis Hudson from Dice Productions wanted to call it, ‘Rendering your video without giving yourself a heart attack or brain haemorrhage.’ Anyway, here are Louis’ tips for avoiding YouTube issues for uploaders during Film Dash…

The key to success is practise. So try exporting a film and uploading to YouTube before the challenge. That way you can find out what works best for you without screaming/crying/begging/smashing/screaming at your computer.

YouTube supports full HD (1080×1920 px) videos and very nice they are. But the bigger dimensions the longer your computer will take to render it. So if you’re finding yourself in a pickle towards the end of your 48 hours, play it safe and upload something a bit smaller. You can always upload a high quality version afterwards.

The same goes with file type. You’ll want to make sure your file is small enough to upload relatively quickly. Uncompressed video footage is Gigabytes in size. Make sure you use a reasonable compression on your video. YouTube’s favourite file type is an .MP4 file using H.264 compression, but can handle all sorts. H.264 compression should be OK for any Mac users and anyone used to Adobe After Effects, but for everyone else it’s not so easy I’m afraid. Your easiest option would be to open an Uncompressed version of the video in Windows Movie Maker and exporting a .WMV file. It’s not glamorous but it gets the job done.

There are so many different ways that you can export videos, that to try to cover them all would involve writing a small book. Experiment with what works best for you.

As for render settings for the internet, make sure your video has the following:

Square pixels. Opposed to rectangular pixels used in broadcast and camera tapes. Internet video is displayed in square pixels, just like the pixels in a digital photo, so if you export the video with rectangular pixels it’ll squash the footage. If your filming with a Flip Camera type device it should record square pixels.

Progressive’ format. Opposed to ‘Interlaced’ which will create ugly lines across your footage when uploaded. A lot of videos cameras record interlaced footage, so if you know this is the case, set you editing software to ‘De-interlace’ in the export settings.

Standard square pixel video dimensions:

576×768 (Standard 4:3),

576×1024 (Standard widescreen),

720×1280 (half HD widescreen),

1080×1920 (full HD widescreen).

Another incentive to take part in Film Dash for you. A selection of films made over the Dash weekend will be shown at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham on Thursday 11 March, 7-9pm.

This is also where we will announce the winning Film Dash team and present the prizes (if that team can make it). How exciting.

I can’t guarantee that all films will be shown on the big screen, but if you get the uncompressed file of your film to us in time you’ll have more than a good chance of being included in the screening.

All participating teams are invited to come along, and if you just want to see some of the films, pop along too. It’ll be fun!

Film Dash presents Birmingham's 48-hour film challenge, 5-7 March 2010.

Teams of film makers will script, shoot and edit a film in 48 hours.

Organised by Meshed Media in association with Say Hello, which is part of Hello Digital, Arts Council, Birmingham City Council, and Bullring.