Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three things ferry todays

Peggy Archer talks about what a terrible idea using real locations is. The curse of some idiot director saying "We need the place to be real" is very prevalent in New York indy film. It costs a lot of money. It never looks as "real" as you think it will.
We, of course, use locations because we have no crew and no budget to do anything else. But we're special.
She also complains about crappy gear from rental houses.
This is a thing which has irked me most all my life. I'd rather have just one or two good, working, pieces of gear than a whole pile of semi-working crap. I've spent way too much of my time fiddling with junky stuff just trying to get it to semi-operate.
Experimenting with MultiCloud File Manager in order to sync Open Office with the "cloud" (in this case, Google Documents). So far so good. Considering that we work on so many computers in my shop, it's really freakin' helpful.
Cinecoup seems to be about as bad a business idea as Amazon Studios.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


There's a thing I read somewhere once where someone was saying that students tended to divide into two groups: those who, when they didn't do well on a test, said "I guess I'm no good at that" and those who said "I guess I have to try harder."
I get the impression that some people look at a skill others have and, because whatever it is they're doing looks easy, decide that one does not have to concentrate or focus in order to do the thing well.
Back in the olden days I worked for Rutgers TV (as a freelancer). The in-house crew at Rutgers was seriously the best crew I'd ever worked with. Each one of the guys there was a quadruple threat of a very high order. And on bigger shows when they all divided up into what each of their strong suits was? Holy cats. Get out of the way.
On show days the crew looked very relaxed. In fact one might argue they looked lazy and unfocused and if you'd walked onto the stage and saw them you'd have to think "Making TV is easy".
It isn't.
They just put the work in all week for a Friday shoot so they knew what they were doing by the time shoot day rolled around. Then they could approach the shoot in a relaxed manner.
And some new people would look and see everyone lying around like deviants and think "Oh, there's no pressure here I don't need to actually be ready to do a show."
And they'd be ever so wrong.
I get the feeling that people d'un certain âge frequently look at young people who do fancy-pants things on computers (like send attachments as emails) and think "I'm no good at that" without taking into consideration the amount of effort by those young people that went into learning those things.
Now, it could be that I'm just a crank. But I think that when senior citizens get frustrated with learning computers it's the fact that most people after they've reached (say) middle age simply do not every fundamentally learn new things. So they aren't used to it. And yeah, some skills are easier to pick up when you're 12 years old, but that applies more to the skill of learning French and not the sort of skill where you know that you have multiple open tabs on a browser.
You know you have multiple tabs open on your browser, don't you?
I feel much better with this analysis because it's much better to lay blame on someone else for their inability to learn rather than my own ability to teach.

Kunk in Skunk

You know who's funny? Melissa Stetten. She writes about being a model and how incredibly un-glamorous the whole experience is. The thing that's weird to me is knowing that you're beautiful -- the sort of person who turns head when she walks in a room -- yet at the same time feeling fat and gross.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Probably Posted This Picture Before

Chrome doesn't seem to render Buzzfeed correctly. Or, for that matter, the HTML editor in Blogger. Which is ironic because Blogger and Chrome are both Google products.

The new and groovy place to go for airline reservations and the like is Hipmunk.
If you want to compare the Samsung Stratosphere and the Galaxy, go here.
Artisanal Pencil Sharpening.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dad and Cat

Yesterday, being Thanksgiving, and being that my parents live in a place that has its own restaurant so they don't have to deal with dinner, meant I spent a lot of time taking pictures of cats and uploading them to Tumblr.
Although it may look like a switchblade in my dad's hand, it is in fact a magnifying glass. That orange ear belongs to Meydl the cat who had decided to sleep on my dad's desk while he was working (what actually happened was the cat wanted to crawl all over everywhere and my dad said "Enough" and made her lie down which, as it turned out, she was quite content with.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Things in my life

I need some deep-dish pizzas. Shockingly, NYC has no good Chicago pizza. At least not according to the Internet. But you can order some Lou Malnatis to be shipped to you.
Here is a summation of the Reddit cosmology. As an aficionado of Fifth World Problems I find it quite amusing.
The First Unitarian Society of Plainfield.
A baby harp seal
The August 1 2001 brief on Al Qaeda's attack plans.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Things, Stuff, and Other Things

We hear good things from AFM.
"the eight-day market experienced an increase in buyers of 6% to 1,616 (compared with 1,523 a year ago) and 35 more buying companies than 2011. A total of 753 buying companies from more than 60 countries were present, while exhibiting companies were on par with last year, at 357."
I'll keep my fingers crossed. Knock on some wood. Throw some salt over my shoulder. Pray to the new gods, or the old. Whatever it takes.
These are pretty good tips on movie making.

The original screenplay to Prometheus.
Blender 3D actually allows for image-based lighting setups.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tap tap tap

So Mitch Gross shows off the AbelCine wireless solution for HD video transmission. If we ever want to have tap on set again, we'll likely want something like this. Excuse me. A producer just beat me senseless. All I remember is "Of course we want tap back!"
This was the same producer who wants to never have to boom a scene ever again. So we better get some wireless mics...
This is a picture of said producer.



Our own Virginia Logan is Medea in Medea.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Today's Things for Today

File under Things that Crack Me Up: Typography for Lawyers. Specifically the one space after a period rule.
The brilliant Danny Thompson made this awesome Facebook wall picture.
I swear this is the first web series I've ever liked. High Maintenance is awesome. Could they center their dialog so that one character doesn't come out of the left and the other out of the right? Of course. But it's brilliant.
The absurdly - named Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 looks kind of cool.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bat Boxes

The water in Metuchen is not potable right now. It has to be boiled for consumption.
Yeah. So there is power though.
I got all Instagrammy with this picture I took today of the Dismal Swamp. Yep, all the turned leaves have fallen but otherwise it looks pretty nice. I hope the incoming storm doesn't make it unnecessarily swampy.
Then again, we are shooting in a place called the "Dismal Swamp".
Did you know there are "bat boxes" in the Dismal Swamp? You know, like boxes, for bats. I don't know where they are exactly.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Electric Zoe Steals the Show

That's from some spam I just got. I don't know whether it's an album or a song. Probably both.
A plastic kit for a Logan's Run DS gun.
What do you call words that only have a negative? Widow words? Like a counter-example is "ruth" because you can melt with ruth, but anymore we just use the word "ruthless" and not "ruth". Anyway, apparently "combobulated" has apparently become slang.
You are low on pictures of me. Me me me. Whose blog is this? Me. Mine. Moi.
Drew. Through a camera darkly.
Although really that isn't the greatest picture of me. Certainly not for Facebook.
Hey, you know what's happening right now? The American Film Market.
This is Facebook then.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Blanks and Blood

I come to zero conclusions in this post.
For some reason, fake muzzle blasts look... not as awesome as they should. So I'd like to know why. I'll start by the notion of the "performance" with a weapon.
I only watched all of Heat for the first time a few weeks ago. How many times did you re-read the previous sentence to figure out what it meant? OK, it means I just watched the movie Heat.
Anyway, they have a lot of M-16s and variants in that picture.
Then I was looking at clips of Die Hard online. Lots of MP-5's in that picture. Those are the short-ish machineguns that John McClane has.
So here's the thing. Those movies use a lot of blank ammo. The M16's use NATO rounds and the MP5's are 9mm (usually). And for an automatic weapon to shoot blank ammo those blanks basically have to have the same amount of charge in them as real bullets. (The guns themselves are typically modified so they can't accept live ammo but otherwise they cycle just like fully working guns, from which they were made.)
Actors. Firing automatic weapons.

The guns do not kick much. I mean compared to a handgun (which has a LOT of kick), the barrels on those weapons stay fairly in place.
So if you're using a modern machinegun or assault weapon, and putting the flashes in later, you perhaps don't need to shake the gun when shooting. The gun might crawl up the target as the weapon pulls (my dad told me that was a problem with the "grease guns" he trained with in WWII) but the designers and manufacturers of modern weapons go to a lot of trouble to minimize the amount that the gun jumps around when shooting it.
Again this is not the case with handguns, which is why the 22nd Century version of me complains about 21st Century handguns all the time. Plasma weapons do not jump.
So where was I? Oh, it's like that Chekhov thing where drunk people do not act drunk. When you shoot you don't necessarily let the gun recoil the way you might think it should recoil. If you're pretending. To shoot I mean.
But the question for me is why does the flash look so crappy when you add them in post?
  • The images used are 2D and suck for that reason.
  • The flash doesn't light up the area the way flashes from a gun barrel should and suck for that reason.
There's all kinds of fancy tools for making the flash be unique and pseudo 3D can make the flash look like its coming from the right direction.

So I don't know. Maybe it's the lack of light on the face of the shooter? We've experimented with using a strobe light. Dumb rolling shutter on the camera makes for frames that are half lit up and half dark. So we don't know if that experiment would have really worked.

I'm a fan of 2D blood. I know. You aren't. But I am. But that's for another post.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Mandatory Vacation

Readthrough is a service that uses a computer to read your scripts. Or they also have real actors doing it.

Netzkino seems to feel they own the rights to the snippets of a couple movies we put up. I can't confirm they don't so I dunno. We don't seem to have any pictures in their catalogs...

I'm on an enforced vacation. I actually can't do any work until there's power in my studio. I can read scripts. I'm doing a bad job of that. I'm mostly looking at pictures of bunnies.