Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Three Things Today

GK Amplification is a VST virtual bass cabinet by Gallien Krueger. The demos of it online seem very cool. It's $40 for the "light" version. I've already blown my software budget for 2015 though.
MT Power Drum Kit is a free VST drum kit with MIDI patterns. The snare and kick are not to my taste but the hi-hat is controlled and so is the top end of the rest of the cymbals. And it's free.
Right now though I'm digging Groove Monkey for MIDI patterns. Their free loops are pretty fine.

Today's 4 Things

Do you need to know about stage blood? Weller discusses the history of stage blood. You know what I like about folks like Steven J. Weller? He actually teaches you about stuff. There are people in the world who feel that the knowledge they have is somehow proprietary and they are afraid of other people learning from them because somehow that decreases their own power. That's a load of hooey, the more you teach the more you know. But some people believe it.
Anyway, Weller's blog is great.
Pond 5 has a public domain project which looks interesting.
The DAMN Film Series is next February 4. I won't be there because I'll be at the dentist that day instead. But you should totally go.
Would you like a from-the-horse's mouth prediction about the state of low-budget filmmaking? 4K is definitely coming (unlike 3D). So we're going to all have to be delivering 4K. Soon.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Earth Dies Screaming

The Earth Dies Screaming is surprisingly well-crafted. It's a bit creaky in the way one might expect a Hammer-esque picture made in the mid-60's to be, but at one hour and three minutes they've definitely cut out the long and excruciating boring part in the middle.
It opens with an amazing lack of expository dialog. The whole thing is really quite tight and "modern" in both the writing and the overall tone. I mean, it's still a bit on the creaky side, but very cool. This movie is in desperate need of a remake (although, to be fair, it has essentially been remade a gazillion times).

Fun fact: Elisabeth Lutyens composed the music for it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Let Me Mansplain That for You

I have never been into the "great man" or "auteur" theory of art-making. It's mostly nonsense. Almost everything that's any good was made with, by, or at the behest of some sort of group of people.
But this thing where we ignore the talent of, say, Taylor Swift, is just absurd. Could Taylor Swift's only talent be that she's good at choosing her collaborators and then good at editing what they do into pop songs? Yeah... it could be that. And if it were that it would still be pretty cool because knowing who to work with and getting the best out of them is a huge accomplishment.
Unrelated: puffin
But let's face reality, the current crop of "female solo artists" has a lot of talent in them. Yeah, they collaborate with songwriters and producers. But here's the thing -- everybody collaborates with songwriters and producers. Some producers are really song co-writers who don't take credit.
But the freaky-deaky Beatles had Mal Evans and George Martin.
And come on, how much do you think David Bowie really does? Give the gals a break.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Two for Pleasure

On Wednesday Marc and I played together. No drummer. We did some loop experiments.
Bass is going direct into a Lindell with a bit of EQ. Had some issues with the whole signal chain being way too hot so I had to turn the gain AND the output all the way down. Still working on that. The A/D's don't appreciate it.
Guitar is split left and right with a Lindell on the left and a Neve 1272 on the right. Most of the guitar is my SG with P90's.
Drums are by Groovemonkey. The grooves are actual drums played by someone and then the sounds are Abbey Road late 60's kit. I did all the compression and suchwise in an archaic version of Samplitude.
Marc's playing is very smooth so I never have to worry about compressing for level, just for, you know, the "sound".
I may need some passive pad to go between the output of the preamp and the input of the A/D. Or just a limiter. I don't know. It's way too easy to smack these Focusrite inputs too hard.
The loop experiments came out very interesting and we made a sound unlike anything I would have expected.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bill Martell

Bill Martell is a brilliant teacher.
Tell me his book on Hitchcock isn't going to be amazing. Seriously, this is one of the most informative and information-packed movie-making hours on the Internet.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Your Three Things for Today

The Digital Bolex. Highest ISO is 400. But shoots RAW and global-shutter.

The order of opening credits.

(The more we make movies the more we're told that our movies have to look like "regular" movies.)
DVDepot rents drones with operators and the DJI Ronin with operators.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

You Should Quit That Fantasy of Being a Third-Rate Movie Actor

Enemy is a deeply weird movie. It totally makes Toronto into a Polanski - esque late 60's noir thriller.
It's somewhere just north of Eraserhead but not by as much as you might think. The Pendereski-like score really helps.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fire and Fury

I'm a Harry Connolly partisan. Basically he could tell me he's doing a re-write of the phone book and I'd sign up for his Kickstarter campaign. So maybe there's something wrong with his writing that I just can't see. No, that isn't it. Everything he produces is perfect.
His previous series was the 20 Palaces series and it was just freaking awesome. Indeed, the first book of the series starts off in such a way that I think it should be used as a model for how novels should start.
Comparatively speaking, his new novel The Way Into Chaos starts out slowly. I think everything doesn't explode until about page 3.

I love the imperfection of the characters. They're just exactly wrong. Indeed many of the characters are written such that you instantly dislike them but then they grow, and grow on you too.
The magic "technology" in the book is pretty fascinating. And the story is structured such that the exact way the magic works is revealed in sort of a logical, rather than a pedantic, way.
Judging a Book by its Cover
I am not proud of myself for thinking this, but I sure do like the feel of this book. How nice books feel is one of the things which has kept me away from an e-reader all this time. This paperback has a particularly soft and silky feel which I really really like.
The Way Into Chaos, of course, ends on a cliffhanger.* Somehow, stupidly, I did not back the project such that I would get the entire trilogy, just the first book. So yeah, I could read the other parts if/when I get a Kindle Voyage, but I won't be able to pet the covers on the way to the studio and back.

*Uh. Spoiler alert?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Woe is E

With my trashy reading habits, or, at least my seeming refusal to read anything "literary" in the way of modern books, I should probably get myself an e-reader. I'm sure it would save me hundreds of dollars per year in buying Kindle books rather than paperbacks.
Thing is, I've never been into e-readers. But there are things I want to read that are only in e-formats (and I do so hate reading long-form stuff on either a computer or a phone-sized device).
So I look around. The fact is that the basic Kindle is totally reasonably priced. The Paperwhite is still reasonably priced and looks better (by all reports, including by those who don't care that it looks better.) But I know I'm cranky and prissy with my reading and I know I'm going to be unhappy with anything less than the 300dpi equivalent of the Kindle Voyage.
Yup. It's two hundred bucks.
But that's not even the most irritating thing about it. The fact is that the Voyage is unavailable anywhere -- including Amazon. At least for three more weeks.

How am I supposed to hold out for three weeks?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dance on Camera

I think this is awfully good. This is "The official video for "Elastic Heart" directed by Sia and Daniel Askill, featuring Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler. Choreographed by Ryan Heffington." Dance for camera is very hard to do. And they did an amazing job telling an emotional story with it.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Grading, Order

An interesting look at color grading (H/T Stu Maschwitz).

Color Reel - The House On Pine Street from GradeKC on Vimeo.

I am too dumb to make movies. For instance, what's the order of the logos that goes in the front of a movie?
Turns out it's the (1) distributor, (2) producer, and then (3) movie. If my distributor hadn't told me that I seriously wouldn't know.
Also, what is the order of the front-title credits? If it weren't for Wikipedia I'd have no idea.

Actual Conversation Between Me and a Guitar Player in a Bar

We: I love your band. I bought your LP. I listen to you guys all the time on Spotify.
They: Oh, you're the guy.


Film distribution. Not the way we do it. But some legit stuff in this series.

Giraffe Stage Puppet.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015



I don't understand why Letraset doesn't make Eurostile.
"You'll never get any information from Netflix. You sell it to them for a certain window and you get X number of dollars. I'll ask and say 'how's it doing?' And the two answers you get are 'it's underperforming' or 'it's doing pretty well.'
So yeah. That's pretty much how that goes.
TouchDAW is a program for fiddling with your audio editor on a tablet.

Sunday, January 04, 2015