Check back often – we will add more resources as they become available!
Wharton Studio: About – Wharton Studio Museum’s history of the Wharton Studio and silent era filmmaking in Ithaca and the surrounding regions.
Encyclopaedia Britannica includes a pretty good, more lengthy history of The Silent Years, 1910-1927, which covers many important milestones and films.
The Pre-20’s: Early Cinematic Origins and the Infancy of Film – Filmsite.org
This one is also more lengthy and deals with the business and milestone side of early film history.
Observations on film art – a site by David Bordwell (film theorist and historian) has an excellent archive of Silent film topic blogs that go in depth about the history of cinematography and editing, often with specific screenshot examples from rarely viewed silent films.
A (Very Brief) History of Experimental Cinema – No Film School
Some interesting history that may be fruitful to consider given the experimental nature of making a 3-minute silent film in this day and age. Maybe give you some ideas about how you want to approach your film as a 21st-century filmmaker!
The History of Silent Movies & Subtitles – Video Caption Corporation
A basic coverage of silent film techniques such as sound, intertitle, and acting style. They also include several great articles for each topic and list some popular films from the silent era.
Kulsehov Effect – Elements of Cinema
Fade In: A Brief History of Editing excerpt from The Complete Idiots Guide to Film – infoplease.org
Peruse these for ideas and inspiration, and to familiarize yourself with the styles and possibilities!
Do you like or dislike the odd fps of early film? What kind of situations absolutely call for a title card? Will you modernize or work with silent era flair?
Beatrice Fairfax Ep. 10 “Play Ball!” – This clip features Grace Darling and Olive Thomas, two silent era stars who were widely known. Notice how the tint changes for inside and outside.Pearl White also acted in Ithaca, starring in The Perils of Pauline by Wharton Inc. Although filmed before that, The Hallroom Girls is a great example of early silent episodes. Pay attention to how quickly we see “Shorty” realize who stole his jacket, and the strong message about friendship at the end. The Ring also contains a message about fidelity in marriage, but watch how it comes at it in a roundabout, dramatically ironic way.
Tess of Storm Country – (1922) starring Mary Pickford. This is historically linked to Ithaca, inspired in a fictional tale with non-fictional historical facts about Ithaca, written by Grace Miller White in 1909 and partly set in the “Rhine”, a community of people that used to squat in shacks along the canal. Wharton Studio Museum screened this film with live musical accompaniment in 2016 at their annual Movie Night Under the Stars at Taughannock Park. You can trace the story through history in this Ithaca Journal article.
One Hundred Percent American – (1918) another one starring Mary Pickford (not made in Ithaca), even the first 3-4 minutes are worth a watch. Lots of typical face shots, expressions, and quirkiness of a female lead, and intermittent use of heavy title cards, perhaps to express intensity.
It – (1927) starring Clara Bow. This is a longer film, but so good to study expressions, and with a fair amount of title cards.
The Girl in the Camera – Creators Choice! Something more contemporary – an International Youth Silent Film Festival entry by Henry Thong. Interesting use of technology!
Getting Started: 8 Tips for Making Silent Movies – Raindance
Simple tips on what to think about in preparation for starting your film.
Writing: How To Write A Short Film: Part 7 – Non Dialogue Films – Youtube tutorial
Of course, dialogue is not allowed in your film, but this video has some good ideas about writing scenes for those moments when you do not want to explain with a title card!
Video Editing Software & Tutorials
If you are not already familiar with a certain video editing software, try the suggestions below. We have provided official download links for FREE and PAID software programs that are known to be reputable and adequate. There are lots of other video editing and production programs out there. SR!FF encourages participants to use discretion when selecting the software they will use to produce and edit their film.
Contestants requiring additional direction in regards to video editing or filming, or other parts of production such as the soundtrack, can let us know using the Contact Us page, and we will do our best to accommodate them.
Adobe Premiere Pro – Desktop Only. FREE TRIAL available online, or PAID $19.99/mo for students. This software is also available at Ithaca College and is available for you to utilize. Please let us know as early as possible so we can schedule a time for you (and your group if you are working in a team) to come in!
Adobe’s Youtube Channel offers some great tutorials, such as Creating and editing titles.
Shotcut – Desktop Only. FREE. They offer tutorials on their website.
Adobe Premiere Clip – iOs & Android. FREE.
Silent Film Studio – iOS Only. PAID $0.99.
8mm Vintage Camera – iOS Only. PAID $1.99.