Monday, May 25, 2015

New in Sand

While the ancient camels have disappeared, there are new niches to explore in SAND.  Exotic?  You betcha.  Inside tent walls can be changed for color and pattern.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Planning you Film

I wrote this on a Google Group the other day but thought it important so reposting here:
Just a general note to machinamatographers out there and of course just my personal opinion.

HOWEVER you film and edit is your choice. Experimentation is important as we each have our own methods -- or will find them eventually.

On a typical movie, scenes are not shot in sequence -- they are shot for convenience, actors available and locations available.  So you might be shooting the last scene in the movie in week two. Actors need to prepare for this, know the storyline and be willing to be the "me in the future" if needed.

The only film (movie) that I know of that was filmed sequentially was "ET" and that was to give the very young child actors a sense of continuity. Likely, that was an excellent plan.

Since I know Shin already has film in the can (who knows how much? Not I ) this isn't going to be a sequential shoot.

I guess my general advice to all is that if you have an idea for a scene that seems good, then shoot it. Not everything shot makes it into the film. Sometimes, it makes it into another film (ya never know). And sometimes some spectacular footage just doesn't FIT.

THAT is disappointing. But as a director - editor you need to do what is right for the film.

And this little bit of prose was SO important I am going to paste it into a post for my machinima blog for the future LOL. THAT works.

Do your own thing. Enjoy the process. Smile.

Those are my personal rules!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Being the Leading Lady

I have never actually been in someone else's film until now. It is an intriguing position. "Stand on the second step please.  Here are some studio lights to wear."

No idea of the story line when I was invited. No idea when filming began. The sets are impressive, homemade for the most part. The lighting is mysterious. Where will the story lead? I have no clue. But you can bet I will be one of the first ones to click and see what happens.

Darkness. Mystery.

Works for me.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Learning from Masters

I don't often mention videos here, but this one has a lot we can learn from.

While not pointing out too much, because then you wouldn't be watching on your own, note both the movement and the music changes to see how they add to the feeling of being on a journey, a quest.

Second Life of Pi by Sam Lowry (Hawks)

Follow this link to find the film:    (Note that I spotted one naked mannequin in the mix - so you are warned :D.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Land Grants are Open

lea29 - Mistero Hifeng

Once again it is time to submit your applications for an LEA Artist-in-Residence Land Grant. Find the information you will need as well as any questions you may need answers for here:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Under the Microscope

It is difficult for most artists to critique their own work.

Too involved with the process and the time spent, slight flaws get swept under the rug -- whether from ego or expedience.  We can all improve our skills and there is something that can be built on or eliminated to make our work better; that's my point of view anyway.

Getting out a magnifying glass wasn't necessary in my case. A quick review of my films and my memories of making them tell the tale. When faced with four or five minutes of a story, weariness comes into play. Filler shots find there way into the tracks so that the film can be complete.

It happens fairly often. And yes, there is a better plan.

My current film in production is of the music video variety. The story is one of the songwriter, the footage follows the lyrics. Even though I have many shots in my head and files in the can, I have decided to build this film in sequence.

That isn't my norm, but I believe that in making that change AND paying attention -- I can leave out those empty filler shots. They can be replaced with quiet scenes that reflect the story.

So take a look at your work from a distanced perspective and see if you can discern the places that need improvement. Once you know what to fix, it is only a matter of attacking the problem from an alternate direction.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Crowd Scenes

Crowd scenes are tricky. Getting enough folks together, in costume, on time; setting marks etc.  I remember one real life shoot of a Halloween party in a diner. Not enough actors showed up so everyone moved over to be RIGHT in front of the camera. Later, with a costume change, they became the other side of the room. We are a tricky bunch, the architects of fantasy.

This is a test photo for an upcoming shoot. All the actors are bots, even "me".  Frame rate holding at 31 without shadows. There were five other bots active and not in this scene when I tested. They could be turned off of course for shooting in this direction.

What am I looking for in this test shot?

Placement:  The girl seating needs to move over a bit. The tree in the background needs to move to the left a tad.

Order of importance:  I want people to see the heroine first (beige short jacket), then the male in the middle-ground in black and then the bartender. It is important that the background characters don't distract too much. The only issue I see is that girl in the chair again who needs to turn a bit so that there is less hot pink collar showing. 

If the shot is long enough viewers should take in all the characters eventually; if shorter then they only need to have the impression of many people in a crowded club.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Upscale Partying

New in the city, a brick converted warehouse abode with lots of great windows and skylights for shadows. And a very upscale bar with many single poses (lots of styles for guys in this one). 

Find them at: