Box Theory

filmpers : March 28, 2013 7:41 pm : Uncategorized

When I take photos I like to think of photography as a box. Technically speaking, of course we know that the camera is a box, but the box that I’m talking about is an invisible guide box. I use this notion as a guide to make my foreground and middle ground and back ground and all of the inbetween grounds and even the top and bottom really interesting. Below is a picture of what I am talking about.

Picture 14

Most of what I shot last year was with a 18-135mm lens. That being said… I was always trying to think of ways to make a picture look bigger than it was and more interesting. I basically wanted to give my photos more of a sense of space and not look so flat. Kind of like what all car mirrors say,” Objects may be closer than what they appear to be.” In this case, all objects in picture appear bigger than what they actually are. I didn’t exactly have the cash to go out and get new lenses so I had to make due with what I had, an 18-135mm.

Below is a photo that I took at Grau Mill last year in Oak Brook Illinois along Salt Creek. As you can see there is some grass and foliage there in the left hand corner. I probably could have taken the shot with out that grass in the lower left hand corner and it probably would have been fine. But to give this photo more of a sence of space. I made sure that the grass got in my frame in the lower left hand corner there.

_MG_0860salt creek


To explain further about my box theory… The top of the box would be the clouds, the sides would be the trees and the lake would be the bottom of the box and the grass would be one of the front sides. I know you might be thinking, “duh” but until you actually start putting this idea and concept into action you won’t be saying, “duh” anymore. It really does help. I believe it adds more quality to a photo too.

I also use this idea to always keep myself in check with my surroundings. I’m always surrveying the landscape beyond what’s in the frame before I take the shot. But most of the time I already see the shot before taking it.

Here is another shot that I took at Grau Mill. As you can see I decided to add a little spice to this shot. Instead of just showing the lake and trees in the back round, why not make this shot actually worth looking at by taking it to the next level. I accomplished this by putting the tree in front. Not only to make it more interesting but to also give more of a sense of space with in the photo. If I remember correctly… it was how this tree stuck out of the ground that really made want to take this shot.

Salt Creek near Graue Mill in Oak Brook IL

I mostly learn photgraphy and web video by doing. I am sure there is probably a proper name in some photography book somewhere and this theory/guide already exists. But for now I am just going to keep refering to it as the box theory. Keep in mind the box theory doesn’t always work, especially for a flatter landscape. You just got think out of the box when it comes to taking photos (pun intended).



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My Experiences with Cameras.

filmpers : October 3, 2012 10:34 pm : Uncategorized

I believe that photography is 50% you and 50% the camera. I don’t, and have never, had the mind set that some people do ,”It’s digital so you just delete the bad ones and the rest was the camera.” What they are really saying is that it was all the camera. That’s bullshit. It’s simply 50% the camera because it has to be, otherwise you don’t have a photo at all and the other 50% is your knowledge of the camera and experience.

 I went to film school at Columbia College Chicago and I graduated in 2008. I have been a film editor for 9 years and have been doing it professionally for the last four years. I have edited on everything from Adobe Premiere, to Final Cut Pro, and Avid Adrenaline. I have been a producer on projects for the last three years. I had only operated cameras a few times, up until I finally purchased my own Canon 7d recently.

I bought the Canon 7d because I like the epic look that the footage has over your hpx and hvx cams. I know this because of my editing experience over the years. Other than just knowing what they natively shoot at I didn’t really know much about the cameras before I got my cam.

As far as the knowledge and experience goes, if you talked to my colleagues they would pretty much assure you that I would have never been using words like iso or 5200 color temperature or Adobe RGB before. Just four or five months ago I wouldn’t have really understood what that all meant. (Again, I am a film editor first before anything.) I learned what I know from experience and from having had screwed up on things. So not everything I shoot is perfect. It can always be better.

I am sure I could spend a thousand bucks and take a class or two on photography. I would rather spend a weekend out and shoot thousands of photo’s. I would rather teach myself new things and keep and open mind and listen to other photographers that I meet along the way. I am yet to really read my Canon 7d manual.


When I bought this camera I originally bought it to do web video’s for small to mid-sized companies, but lately and mostly I have been using it for still photography. I guess doing still photography is like a break away from what I normally do and it’s been a lot of fun. I have learned a lot about photography since purchasing my Canon 7d this summer and I continue to learn and will never stop.


Also if you wondering if I use photoshop for any of my photos, no not really. I believe that if it wasn’t good in camera from the start, it’s just not good enough to show.








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What 9-11 has done to Photography and Film Making.

filmpers : July 27, 2012 11:05 pm : Uncategorized

 It aggravates the hell out of me how 9-11 has changed the world of photography and film making. You can’t even take a picture these days with out someone thinking your doing something other than taking a picture.


The right to be creative and the right to appreciate the earth that surrounds me, other film makers and photographers has been lost and destroyed. We should be able to go in own back yards or our own towns without living in fear that some knuckle head is going to call the cops on us. When all we want to do is take pretty pictures for others to appreciate, then go on our merry way.


Others are so scared they can’t even open themselves up to the world around them. They just would rather live in a hole or a cave and peak their heads out every once in a while to see if the coast is clear. Instead, maybe, go out and appreciate what you have in front of you. Breath the air. Really take a look around and realize why someone might want to photograph something.


Being able to take a picture is like a first amendment right. It’s a moment in time that should be shown to the rest of the world or for whom ever we film makers and photographers can share it with. That picture or that film has something to say. It has a voice.


Taking a picture should be taking a picture. Or making a film should be simply making a film. That is it. Nothing more. If you see a guy with a tripod and camera in front of a sunset, think twice. Not saying you shouldn’t be cautious, but think twice, before you decide to call the police. Think to yourself, is that someone really casing a joint? Or is it a film maker or photographer trying to make pretty pictures?


                                                         -Rob Allan-





                                                     PO Box: 693-60006

                                                Arlington Heights, IL 60006


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Logging Film/Video

filmpers : July 28, 2011 9:51 pm : Uncategorized

Logging is one of the most important steps in film editing. Unfortunately, this step is often over looked. I believe that logging makes the difference between a good cut and a bad cut. Just picking the first thing you see without considering anything else, is in my opinion, not editing. Logging gives you the opportunity to see all of your options before you start editing.

I’ve worked with editors that just want to start cutting. They think that the blade is always sharp for them and ready to be put into action. They think they are saving time by not having to go through and name shots, put in descriptions and scenes, or describe a problem with the shot. In the long run they are not saving time. Many times editors get far into a project when a director requests a specific shot. Finding that shot should only take you a couple of seconds. Instead, without logging, it can take you twenty minutes or even an hour to find that shot. Time is money on productions.

Don’t go into editing with the mind set that just because you were on set that you know every shot. Being on set doesn’t mean you get to skip logging. This is why I’m a strong believer of an editor never being on set. The editor should be seeing everything for the first time when editing the footage and be able to have their first impression in post production. Sometimes this is unavoidable if you are a one man band.

I have been asked a lot of times to change the meta data into a shot name.  I preferably don’t like to do this because I like to reference what I have.I have been mainly a Final Cut Pro editor since graduating film school and as the browser goes in Final Cut Pro I leave the meta data alone.  I use everything in the log; description, shot/scene, log note, and comments 1 &2, etc. These things are all there for a reason. The more information you can provide a producer or a director it puts them in a better position, plus it also helps you get to know your footage better.

Film/video editing is a discipline.  I didn’t always like logging. Early on in my career I would have rather of been the guy with the blade. It took a bit of maturing on my part, but I figure if nobody else wants to log footage then maybe this is my job security. I learned to like logging and have realized how crucial this step is in the editing process.

Speaking of job security.  If anyone needs me, Rob Allan, to log their film or any kind of project in general that you… just don’t want to log.   My contact info is 1-224-764-1485 and my email is, Thank You!

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Parent’s Role in Youth Violence

filmpers : April 12, 2011 3:11 pm : Uncategorized

In today’s society one can’t turn around without being confronted with some sort of violence. Violence is everywhere from television to movies, in video games and in the news. With so much violence it is easy to blame the media for youth violence, but it is not the media’s job to parent children. The cause of violence in the youth is not only violence on T.V., but also the lack of parenting that allows a child to be exposed to so much violence.

The powerful influence that television has over people is no secret. The thousands of dollars companies spend on commercials is a testimony to that. Children are especially influenced by television programs partly because at a young age they don’t necessarily distinguish between real life and acting and also because they learn by imitation. For example, a child may believe that superman can really fly, or their role model may be Michael Jordan and they pretend to be like Mike at the park basketball court. These examples are not harmful influences of television, but violence on television can become more detrimental.

It is true that most youth violence is not committed by 3 and 4 year olds who don’t know real life from pretend, but older children can also be negatively influence by television. When teens or pre-teens are exposed to a lot of violence it is easy for them to become desensitized to it. They may learn to solve their problems with violence by seeing it done so easily on television. Similarly to how physically abused children are more likely to abuse their own children because they learn the behavior from their parents, children can learn violent behavior from television.

It is clear that violence on television can have a very bad influence on children, but there is one very big factor that can counter balance this problem and that is the parents. Parents have the ability to limit the amount of violence their children are exposed to and they can provide positive role models who don’t rely on violence to solve their problems. Parents can also teach their children that violence is bad and that just because it is on T.V. or in the movies it doesn’t make it okay to do. Although television can have a big impact on what children learn, parents can have a bigger influence.

Some may argue that the media should not show so much violence because of the influence it has on children, but this is not the media’s responsibility. Just like any other business, television companies want to make money, and if violence sells then they have a right to sell it. It is the parents’ job to make sure their children aren’t exposed to a product that is harmful to them. Today T.V. and movie ratings help parents decide what is appropriate for their children, but in the end it is the parent who is responsible for what their children are exposed to.

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Final Cut Pro Review

filmpers : April 12, 2011 3:05 pm : Uncategorized

Final Cut Pro Review – by Rob Allan
January 9, 2007

Being a film editor, working with digital images, putting together picture slide shows and all that other technical stuff editors do you may be surprise to learn I am not a natural computer wiz. In fact, up until not too long ago I was clueless. Sadly, I didn’t even know how to open the CD tray. I think the key to learning about computers, or anything I suppose, is simply sitting down and actually working with it. After working with computers more I know now a lot more about computers than I did at that time, and yes, I can open the tray as well. Having a user friendly computer and software was the key for me in becoming proficient in digital film editing.

As a filmmaker I choose to use an apple computer and Final Cut Studio Pro as my editing software. Even with my minimal experience and lack of computer knowledge at the start of my editing career I was able to begin editing almost instantaneously. Both the Mac G5 computer and Final Cut Pro software are very user friendly.

The main thing I like about Final Cut Pro is its simple operation functions, specifically its drag and drop abilities. You can easily transfer pictures from a CD/DVD, or directly from a digital camera or camcorder onto the hard drive. Then simply drag and drop the files into the Final Cut program and you are ready to start editing. Other programs may have command keys to move files from place to place, but all that does is unnecessarily complicates things. Who wants to remember all those key strokes? The ease of the drag and drop function really saves you time, and like they say,” Time is money.” To be honest, I have more time than money, but that’s beside the point. With every day computer use dragging and dropping is common place and I like that it is available in Final Cut Pro because it is efficient and user friendly.

Don’t get me wrong, even though Final Cut Pro is user friendly it is also technically capable of doing any editing techniques you can think of. Other editing programs may be more commonly used for big feature length films, but I would predict that Final Cut Pro starts to take bigger place in Hollywood soon. One feature films that was edited with Final Cut Pro is Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.

Over all I think that Final Cut Pro is a great program. It is easy enough for a beginner to start off with, but also has all of the necessary functions to be able to put together a feature length film worthy of an Oscar.

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Hello and Welcome

filmpers : April 12, 2011 2:33 pm : Uncategorized

Hello and Welcome,

My name is Rob Allan and I am the owner of The Allan Film Company. I have an undergraduate degree in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago and throughout my college career I worked at a few small production companies. I started Allan Films, a small post-prodution company, in January 2007 which became The Allan Film Company in 2010 when we incoporated all aspects of the production process into our services.

In this blog I will try to make regular entries discussing my thoughts on various topics related to the film and television industry including movie reviews, technology information, and people in the industry. Please feel free to comment and exchange ideas.

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