Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cell Phones of the Future.

We're looking at a possible Robocop mockbuster-y script. It's a pretty brilliant enclosed-in-an-apartment-building script with zombies and fun by Steven J. Niles. One thing in the script that's pretty important is the cell phones. But this is the future and I worry that we have to come up with a decent design. I kind of dig this design though. I believe it's from here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Et More

Here's the whole gang doing a snippet of the dialog in Earthkiller (in German). You want to buy a copy? Look here. You may need to get a used version to convince them to ship it to you.
Here's Katie Hannigan in German:
Here's Sarah-Doe Osborne in German: Here's the whole gang in Android Insurrection in German: Here's a scene with Sarah-Doe Osborne in Android Insurrection in French: And lastly here's the gang in Android Insurrection in French:

Many Languages

We speak many languages here in the Pandora Machine. They are mostly the languages of Love, but in this particular case we have some snippets of a couple movies in German and French.
Joe Beuerlein and Rik Nagel in Earthkiller do it (I mean "do it") in German.

I'm continually blown away by the quality of the performances in the lip-sync versions. The distributors do a really top-notch job. The one thing I don't want to do is irk our distributors, which is part of the reason I deliberately made crappity handheld video of the scenes posted here. Here's the lovely Greg Bodine in German: Here's David Ian Lee being a psychopath, but you know, in German. It's also sort of astonishing how well they match the voices to the characters in these movies. Kari Geddes makes an excellent German. And here's the whole gang in German: I really think the distributors did an excellent job with this.

Soon and What

I love the color change between daytime and nightime in this video:

I expect you'll need to click through to embiggen the video above.
You know, I'm not 100% on-board with the fantasy of having a digital camera with "through the lens" viewing with the eyepiece. Now, I totally understand why a fellow might want such a thing.
But I find that I do a LOT of shooting (for instance) the sun, lasers, other stuff that would instantly blind me if I didn't have the protection of a tiny TV in my eyepiece.
But I do want an end to rolling shutter artifacts. The Sony F55 uses a shutter which presumably eliminates rolling shutter artifacts.
I realize I'm the odd duck here, not wanting to be able to look through the lens without a closed-circuit television between me and the image. But I shoot lasers and the sun a lot. And I've gotten very used to being able to do that without hurting myself.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I want to launch missiles with this

Do you dig things which are crazy complicated? How about audio plugins which are mostly in Russian even when you set them to English?
You do?
Well you're going to love this then.
This is the Molot compressor. I have no idea what half the controls do even in theory, much less in practice. And this is after I watched the video about it online. Well, maybe I'm just confused about the filter, the alpha/sigma switch, the mid scoop and the mode. But still, that's pretty good.
I'm not going to come right out and say it sounds better than something like the Waves Fairchild 670. Because it doesn't sound as good, or at least it doesn't sound as good as easily as the Waves Fairchild 670. But it is super-duper cool. I mean, I want all my gear to look like it came off the communications station of a Soviet tank from 1968. And it does sound fantastic. And it's free.
Fairchild. Eventide. The next screenplay we do has to have those names in it.

I'm Tired of Being a Jerk

The reason I ask that the slate always be shown "open" to the camera is because in post when you're searching for the slate's marking the shot you're looking for the point at which the slate has come down. So you want to feel certain that if the slate is down you move your playhead to the left and you'll find it open.
Does that even make sense? Probably not. Just always show me an open slate and I'll quit saying "Always show the camera an open slate. Open that slate up. Open. The slate."
Yes, it's out of focus because I'm focusing on the subject who will step into frame. 
I ask for second sticks because just as you dropped the slate you stepped on a branch -- those two sounds are practically identical in post. So I'm sorry I was obnoxious and suggested that was the worst slate in the history of Mankind on the planet Earth. We just need to do it again.
Did I ask you impetuously what in the world did you think you were doing when you were supposed to be recording sound? I may have. I am, apparently still, mean to the boom operator.
Here's the thing about doing sound on a movie set. You're the only person doing sound. So you have a different place for your head to be than any other job on set. This mean that whatever you're normally doing on set, stop doing that and focus on sound. Which, of course, if you're the art director and you have the 702 strapped around your shoulder at the same time is... tough.
Gaffers Unite! is a pretty cool blog. Dude is way into mirrors. Which is also very very cool.

Oofly. Then

Shooting, even doing the relatively short days we do, just tuckers me out. By the end of the day I'm I pile of lazy fur.

The New York Times updates this map regularly. Right now there's a 66% chance of tropical storm force winds in New York City in the next five days.

Rainmeter is a customizable thing for, you know, stuff.
Real-time notes on a script we're reading:
How do we get a shot of the POV robot looking in the mirror? Just... how do we do that? Composite a face into the mirror?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eye in the Sky

Here are a couple dragon point-of-views. I set the ARDrone so it would go a bit higher than it had been. I still don't know how to consistently get it to record. I think it's when the REC light blinks. But maybe it's when the REC light is solid.

IMG 0190 from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.
Click through to embiggen.
Amusingly you can see the whole crew at the end of the above shot. The giant field we're in here is part of the "permanently green" bought-by-the-county or whomever, in order to keep it from being overdeveloped.
IMG 0189 from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.
One issue I have is that the camera looks straight out from the 'copter. Which is fine when you're in flight but as soon as you hover you're lookin' at trees.
I hope these shots will intercut nicely with a POV of Amelia looking back at the dragon.

Another day another dollar

We shot up in the Dismal Swamp of Metuchen some more today.
Annalisa Loeffler being very Grimm or biblical with her apple.
 The skies were perfectly overcast all day. I realize that's because the big storm is coming but boy does it make it easy to photograph things.
This glamour shot is awesomized by the perfect background of autumnal foliage.

Here's the 50's pinup version.
 We didn't have to worry about the sun moving, that's for sure.
Julia Rae Maldonado shoots her crossbow at camera. I flinched the first time she did this.
 We shot some whip-pan-alistic arrows flying. It should work out fun.
Claude waited all day for his closeup. By the end of the day he was starving.
 The Middlesex Greenway is just a fantastic park. I wish I'd had it growing up.
Julia Rae Maldonado's Facebook shot of the day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Pandora Machine Process

Our distributor keeps saying "You're making a sci-fi action picture!" to me. So I made up a flowchart to carefully explain to myself what I am doing.
The Pandora Machine Process
Look, I've made all these mistakes and more. Just... just don't listen to me. Make sci-fi action pictures.

Song for the Old Moon

This is a rehearsal with just guitar, bass, and drums. The guitar is my LP through the Vox amp they had there at Looming Rehearsal Studios. The bass is Ethan's new fretless Rickenbacker. You can hear me demanding that it be louder. I think it was the first time Ethan had it plugged into an amp. We had 10 minutes left at the studio and we wanted to hear the Rick. And this is what we did.

I kind of dig that we're doing the inverse of Neil Young here -- you know, lead bass guitar.
C to Em is kind of the inverse of Cowgirl in the Sand. I mean, if that's what we'd done. Really we were playing Em to Csus, C. But I think if we flip it so the beginning of the phrase is Csus to C and then onto Em it would be betterized.

Experimenting with Antress plugins. You kind of need to look around and guess which ones you want.


This is, quite frankly, a terrible picture of me. I look dumpy and my hair is a mess. Who do I talk to about that? But I'm flying my ARDrone with the "outdoor" hull on.

The drone turns out to perform very well out of doors. It's easier to fly than indoors actually. Just like the Internet said it would. 

The footage from the onboard camera is wobbly but that's how dragons see so for a dragon-eye cam it's perfect.

Here I am with my iPod touch commanding the AR Drone. I was having a lot of trouble with my pants falling down. Maybe it's the Gerber knife on my belt?

Julia Rae Maldonado and Annalisa Loeffler look at the "dragon" (which is the POV of the quadcopter which you can find like Waldo.)

Dragon lands.

This scrum formed when we did playback of dragon-eye view footage.

This picture is for when we do the dumb comedy: Five whacky roommates have to live together for a year without driving one another crazy.

Julia Rae Maldonado stares down some soldiers.

I wanted to get below her but she was already sitting on the bottom step.

Joe Watson held me up so I could steady my shot.

Still life with camera, screenplay, and crossbow.

Julia Rae Maldonado has her makeup touched up by the Queen of Mars. 

The overly sexy Joe Watson rolls sound.

Joe Chapman is... doing what? Poking a hornet's nest? Who knows? I'm just shooting on clearly a long lens.

The Queen of Mars tells me what to do. I listen. And obey.

Julia Rae Maldonado eats her yummy Choco Nom Noms.

Choco Nom Noms are endorsed by superstar Joe Chapman.

Joe Watson was ready for his California shoot.

We must be getting close to the martini shot here. Joe Watson un-mics Annalisa Loeffler.

I shoot the last bit of chocolate eating with Julia while everyone else wraps.

Annalisa Loeffler has one for the Facebooks.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pictures from Libby II

Yes, I do think of the song "Pictures of Lily" whenever I write 'Pictures from Libby."
Queen of Mars, Annalisa Loeffler, and Julia Rae Maldonado look at script things.

Annalisa (as Miranda) and Julia Rae (as Amelia) walk through the tulgey wood.

The tulgey and muddy wood.

Gotta drop that slate. I had to pull down like four stops as I swung from right to left on this shot because the actors walked out of the shade.

This is shortly before I went insane because the camera froze up.

The beautiful and beguiling Annalisa Loeffler standing in the mud.

Dragon hunter Amelia (Julia Rae Maldonado.)

Yelling at dragons.

Pictures from Libby I

Here are some behind-the-scenes of our first day of shooting Dragon Girl (the name "Null Zone" has been suggested for this picture).
Soundman Joe Watson wires up Julia Rae Maldonado.

Annalisa Loeffelr, the Queen of Mars, Joe Watson, and Joe Chapman resetting the shopping card.

Annalisa, Joe Chapman being a zombie, Joe Watson screaming in terror, Andrew Bellware in a bunny T-shirt, and the Queen of Mars script supervises. This is the place we're not allowed to shoot at.

Drew Bellware directs. Ha!

That's all I've got

When one believes it to be time to list all of one's favorite all-time recorded guitar sounds one will find that one does not include any recordings within the last 20 years.
We might... might... allow some U2 into the canon. And okay, Rage Against the Machine or Tool might be somewhat interesting.
But no. We don't have time or the patience to deal with those.
Why? Well because we have the entire recorded output of the Beatles. Virtually every guitar part on every album is the platonic ideal of whatever guitar sound they were going for. Peter Green or Jimi Hendrix pretty well takes care of the blues end of the rock guitar sound spectrum. And we can find ourselves all the rest of the sounds we need between Stephen Stills and Neil Young.
I mean, yeah, Clapton and Santana and a whole bunch of others... Wait. Why am I grumping over this like a cranky old man?

Oh right. It's because I hate the guitar sound on Elton John's Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting. This song comes from an era where some of the most awesome guitar sounds were born. But it is not awesome. Scratchy? Sure. Boxy? You got it. Yukky? That's where I'm going.
What if they'd used that guitar sound from the end of Solsbury Hill in Saturday Night? Then the song would have rocked. More. I mean it rocks now. But it could rock better. If only the guitar sound was better.
Well I think that's about it for me. Have a good night.

Mousalicious Notions

I'm struggling with the notion that I could put all the Prague Spring CDs on CDBaby. That would cost a couple hundred bucks.
Of course, all Prague Spring is up at Bandcamp.
CDBaby has a very thorough FAQ. It's pretty useful for all the details surrounding a record release.
I'm getting a bit chompy at the bit to play my new SG with a band.
Are we allowed to talk about the electric guitar sound at the end of Solsbury Hill? According to Wikipedia both Robert Fripp and Steve Hunter played guitar on that track. Now look. The acoustic guitar sound fantastic, and that electric is just added at the end to lift up the hook.
But that sound is one of the most amazing hard-rock guitar sounds ever made. I mean it's just a Townshend-esque slide down to an open... er.. D?
It's tougher than the darkest Jethro Tull. It's got more testosterone than War Pigs. It does a third, unnamable thing, to your soul. And it's just at the end of this Peter Gabriel song.
I'm a tad afrighted to put humbucking P90's in my SG though, because the routing might not be deep enough. And there's only a 5mm distance between the bottoms of the screws and the back of the guitar. Apparently. As far as I can tell.

To Grok

So these faux trailers used in pre-production seem to be hitting the web now. Perhaps some studio's legal department had a change of heart and pressed the OK button on letting these on the YouTubes and such because the clips are "fair use". I have no idea. But they're very interesting to watch. This is the one used for Looper.
Looper clip-o-matic trailer from rcjohnso on Vimeo.
You know, we should really do these. We so don't. But as a thing to describe the tone of a movie they're a really good idea.
Of course it's also possible that our entire movies are nothing more than concept trailers so maybe I should be quiet.
On my GH1 issues:
So, uh, this is what was causing the camera to fail on our first day of shooting. Yes, having the camera on a tripod will cause the write error when shooting with a 24p wrapper. That is... sooo intuitive.
So I unhacked the GH1 and didn't have any problems (although we never went on sticks on the second day of shooting).
What's my remaining issue? That dang ARDrone software. Is it recording when the REC light is blinking or when it's solid? And what does the blinking mean? Because I can't reliably get the thing to record such that I understand what I'm doing. So we do multiple takes and check them and... sometimes that works.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Two (Maybe 3)

On the second day of shooting I had an unhacked GH1 (with the stock lens and everything, there was nothing out of the ordinary.) We're shooting exteriors with a color balance of 10K.
You know, we're actually on reel 03. Because we had that one day where Tommy and I went and shot plates of that air intake at the Holland Tunnel
John Dillon as the Captain.
 We're using Michael Bevins costumes all over this picture. These robes are all his. He designed the brown ones for Ed McNamee's La Gioconda musical.
Chris Pope as Voss.
 We got to play with apples and another appearance of Choco Nom Noms.
David Frey as Ralph.
Boy there's a lot more poison ivy in these woods than I'd like. And probably deer ticks (although we're all being very good about using bug spray so I don't think anyone's been bitten by anything yet.)
I was going for a large sort of framing here -- like a pastoral painting. Funny, the guys are still fairly large in the frame.
 We did some more shooting with the ARDrone quadcopter.
The lovely and graceful Julia-Rae Maldonado as Amelia.