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Monthly Archives: November 2004

FilmHelp FilmHelp: Computers/Websites Films

MT-Blacklist to fight comment spam

By Greg Pak
If you create a blog with open comments, you’ll soon discover that scumbags like to post spam in the comment sections of blogs. So what to do? If you’re using MovableType, you can check and ban the IP addresses through which the spammers are accessing the internet. But that’s pretty ineffective, as spammers tend to use a variety of IP addresses. You can use a plug in which creates an image with a code which anyone posting a comment must reproduce in a form field. But spammers have actually started manually filling in those forms — or they’ve cracked the code to automate the process.
The solution?
I’m very happily using MT-Blacklist, through which you can build a blacklist of website addresses which you cull from spam posts. When you hit “De-Spam,” the software automatically deletes any message which contains the blacklisted URLs. And new comments featuring any blacklisted address can’t be posted. This hits the jerks where they hurt — if they can’t post a link, there’s no point in their posting at all.
If you end up using MT-Blacklist, feel free to get started with the blacklist I’ve built for use with this site. I’d recommend using a smaller list like this rather than the giant list you can download through That list may be pretty comprehensive, but its enormous size seems to bog the software up a bit.
For my email, I’ve started using SpamFire from MatterForm. It’s Mac OS X compatible and is working nicely so far.

FilmHelp FilmHelp: Festivals & Distribution Films

Menus for screening on DVD

By Greg Pak
More than once when screening at colleges on DVD, I’ve encountered problems because the remote control for the DVD player was missing. Without a remote, it’s often very hard to navigate menus and submenus. So for DVD screenings at colleges, I’d recommend making DVDs with no submenus and with the simplest main menu possible — so that when you press “play” or “select” on the machine, the video plays.

FilmHelp FilmHelp: Production Films

Tape to film hint: Give your frame some breathing room

By Greg Pak
When shooting for a tape-to-film transfer, be sure to give your frame a bit more breathing room than you might otherwise. A little bit of the edges will be cut off when the tape is transferred to film. And a bit more will be cut off when you transfer from your negative back to video. The upshot is that if you’ve shot too tightly, you might see cut off chins and shaved heads, which can be claustrophobic and unpleasant.

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