Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On editing

David Bordwell has a post up over at his great blog on some of his favorite edits in films.

Read about it HERE.

It got me thinking about some of my favorites. The scene in Lawrence of Arabia where the match is lit and the head of the match dissolves to the blistering sun of the desert. The opening sequence of Apocalypse Now where the shot uses a split dissolve between Willard on the bed, the jungle and the choppers and then the ceiling fan. Wonderful stuff.

What are some of yours?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hot Sunday

Sunday morning. 9 AM. It's 88 degrees on my patio. I think we are in for a long, hot summer.

Been working on a commercial for victims of utility vehicle crashes. Since the commercial has to depict the vehicle in a roll over accident and since I cannot use any specific branded vehicle for this, I am having to do it as a 3D animation sequence. This has been a good challenge. Every time I take on any project that involves using Lightwave, I always learn a LOT about the tool.


In other news, Panavision has a great set of videos up that attempt to de-mystify digital camera specifications. It's a 7 part series and it's well worth watching. You can check it out HERE.


OpenCut is a new contest for editing. But this one (unlike the Tori Amos one) actually looks to be a pretty decent deal. The top prize is an AJA IoHD unit, credit in the finished film and credit in IMDB for editing the film. There is a $25 entry fee and you will need to ship an HD to them that they will load up with 185GB of RED ONE footage, the script, storyboards etc.

Check it out HERE.

If nothing else, check out the FCP / RED Workflow video that they have up there. One of the things I noticed in that video was the use of an on-camera LED Light array.

Nance's last shooting gig was a run-n-gun doc that she had rented a mount for the Z1 as well as a light. The mount was mostly fine for her but the battery pack for the light was just debilitating. VERY heavy and the quality of the light was crappy.

So she recently bought one of these LED arrays for doing run-n-gun and WOW what a difference. The light is MUCH nicer, much more controllable, and the unit weighs NOTHING. Check these out if you get a chance. They are very nice!


That's right, free. Well, free if you have a tripod... You are going to look at this video and think "Why the heck didn't I think of that?". Check it out HERE.


And, finally, check out this video on Kiteboarding. I personally have little interest in this sport. However, the guy that did this video does some REALLY slick stuff with time-remapping / Bullet time. Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

All Mac, some of the time

I use Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X. They all have their issues. They all have their positive aspects and negative aspects. None of them are perfect. However, Vista managed to bring me to the apogee of despair this week. More on that in a minute.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the iMac. Ten years ago today, Apple announced the iMac computer. It did not get a warm reception. The decision to fore go a floppy drive in 1998 was considered crazy. But, alas, ole Steve was right. Not to say he was right on every decision (the single-button mouse comes to mind here among other things).

So, Happy birthday, iMac. You are significant in that you mark the beginning of Apple's return to profitability. Apple today is enjoying great success. Which made me think about Apple...

For a long time, Apple has enjoyed a certain cache. A certain exclusivity appealing to a niche market that consists largely of creative professionals and people who prefer an exclusive product that does not appeal to the hum-drum mainstream. Something with a...uhh, certain je ne sais quoi...

I own Macs because of client demand for projects done in FCP and for some other tools that are Mac only. But, the latter "exclusive" group are now able to see Apple becoming more mainstream. Less exclusive. For many of them, they are evangelists of the product. Extolling the merits of the machine in order to convert the Windows user to the Mac.

As this erosion of exclusivity continues, I suspect that the evangelists of the product are not going to like the results of the Mac becoming more mainstream. We live in interesting times. Apple faces many challenges going forward. It will be interesting to see how well they can meet these new challenges. I suspect they will do OK. After all, back in the early 80s, Apple was the number one producer of personal computers...

VISTA: The Apogee of despair

This past Sunday, I had gone into the office to write some code for a web site as part of a project to switch that web site from one e-mail vendor to another. My deadline to get this ready for testing was Monday and today was the deadline to do the first production run with it.

After finishing my changes and letting the testing folks know it was ready, I came in Monday and got an e-mail telling me about some minor fixes that needed to be made. Some cosmetic and a couple of coding bugs. No problem. About 1 hour of work.

Now, in the office, I use a Vista machine for software development because the main web system is a Microsoft based system. I generally use Dreamweaver CS3 and TextPad for coding and design work. My process is that I make the changes on my local machine, then copy them across the network to a testing server and then test the changes there.

So I make the changes and copy them over to the test server. I start to test it and now it's worse than when I started. The code is behaving VERY strangely. it makes NO sense what it is doing. I spend hours in a panic now because nothing is making sense and I am under the gun.

Finally, I figure out what is happening. When I would copy a file from my local machine running Vista out to the testing server, only certain files would get copied. Vista was telling me that it was copying everything correctly but in reality, it was not. Once I figured out what was going on, rebooted the workstation, everything was fine.

Suffice it to say, I am NOT a Vista fan. There was a time when I would have said Vista was OK. Not as bad as the media has made it out to be. Today I would advise anyone against it. I have NEVER had an operating system perform in such an egregiously poor manner.

Whatcha been doin?

Well, we have been busy working on some commercials for local business. I had the opportunity recently to composite a 3D model into a still photograph. That was a fun challenge getting it to match:

The Audi is comped into the image. I have a music video in the works here that will include animating a pin art toy for part of the video. Should be a great challenge. I'll post that animation once it's done.

OK, back to work for this slacker!