Eibon Films Horror, Fantasy and SciFi writer / filmmaker and friend of the weird

28Dec/170

new iMac Pro – it arrived!

thumbnail for youtube video

New iMac Pro box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I got the new iMac Pro - it arrived a week earlier than expected and I had to unbox it immediately.

Here's the rushed video of the unboxing: https://youtu.be/psENjn3CbT8

I'll do a review of it soon if anyone's interested. But for now, I'm very happy with it.

 

New iMac Pro

New iMac Pro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes it is expensive! Yes it is a huge financial investment. But I have been waiting for this machine for a good two years, and carefully saving my pennies and biding my time. I last bought my MacBook Pro in 2012 and so after 5 years, it's finally meeting its match when trying to be my main writing machine and video editing machine. It was time to invest in newer kit for the video editing side of things. Especially now that I'm playing around with 4K footage. And the MacBook Pro will mainly become my backup on the move machine for writing and only occasionally editing - until that too can be replaced (as it's not really good for more than 30 mins long HD projects). But this new iMac will be my main workstation from now on.

It looks kind of small in the picture, but that's only because there's a new 32" 4K monitor next to it.

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5Dec/170

Things to get used to – import costs and a lack of manuals

As an aspiring filmmaker, there are two things that you have to get used to, if you want to be able to obtain the gear that you drool over in other people's social media feeds:

  1. Import costs: everything that I can only buy on the internet and not through an approved local retailer comes with an added random cost imposed by the tax office / csutomers. Joy! This usually means that your parcel is held hostage until you can pay the ransom, so that you can take it home. Because, after all, no Swedish hands had anything to do with putting half of my imported items together, but of course I'd be defrauding the Swedish government of money by not paying them for the fact that no bugger already legally imports these items and sells them within Sweden, right? And it's cheeky, because you're already paying a premium to ship the damn thing to yourself, and the seller gets to mark up your item in the currency exchange too. Now you have to pay a third cost and you have zero say in the matter. Fun times!
  2. A lack of documentation / manuals: Usually, such items either come with an incomprehensible manual (either in a foreign language or merely some dodgy sketches and no words at all), or no documentation at all. As happens with my latest purchase. This is ok when you can figure out from website pictures how to assemble and use your items. However, if something were to break, do you know how to ask for a replacement part, if you don't know what the parts are called? and if you break it through accidental misuse, then it's all down to you.

I bought a Lan Parte GH5 camera kit / rig (http://www.lanparte.com/product/info_45_itemid_483.html) for my camera and I love it. However, it really would have saved me some time and some head scratching to get a piece of paper with it / booklet that explains how to assemble it all! And it would have been great not to have to pay an extra 440 SEK in ransom, to take the item home.

Of course, now that I have this, I realised that I also need to order the camera shoulder rig (http://www.lanparte.com/product/info_45_itemid_493.html) and the follow focus... some nice early Xmas presents for the Swedish government....

PS - it's worth saying that no one has forced me to buy these things. However, when a local retailer failed to fufill my order for the 8Sinn cage and handle, and I couldn't find any other options, I decided to chance buying it abroad. Also, I bought it in the full knowledge that I could have been ripped off or it might have been faulty / incorrect. You pays your money and you takes your chances basically. Luckily, I was very well taken care of by HMI US (https://www.facebook.com/HypermediaINTL ). I just wish these guys had a local Swedish reseller. 🙂

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25Oct/170

Camera swap – time for 4K

Gear porn is a hard addiction to fight. Our desire to stay ahead of current trends in video production, to produce something that can hold its head up high in an ever changing media landscape is tough to keep apace. And I know, in that regard, that I'm an addict. And it's hard to deny the urges that stem from creative desires...

It's little more than a year that I've been playing with and trying to master working with HD video - namely 1080p. Trying to shoot for web delivery and produce videos that can hold their heads up next to the kind of visuals that we can see on the small screen. Although I am obviously not a professional cinematographer, in the traditional sense - as in someone that almost exclusively studies their craft and is hired to capture a marketable vision for others - I do hope that until I can get the chance to work with a professional, that my own visuals will hold up along side that of my peers. And until then master the pesky world of DLSR videography, at least to a point that i can be proud of the results. Currently, I'm not near where I want to be. I'm still a beginner.

But when I wanted to shoot a new film - and was deciding, during pre-production, what I was going to do with the film, I found that there was a little voice that kept talking about not doing the film in 1080p and trying 4K...

The use of 1080p is clearly waning. Now is the time for 4K... and then what? 5 or 6K? lol. No I won't chase every passing bandwagon. But I do think that 4K should be with us for a good while yet. So now is the time for me to invest in it and learn how to use it. My problem is that I don't currently have a computer powerful enough to handle 4K yet. So I'm waiting for Apple to sort their lives out and hurriedly release the new Mac Pros. It's been a long time coming and if they disappoint, I will have to jump to another PC manufacturer, after years as a loyal Mac fan, as they've already wasted enough time and ignored their pro customers long enough. So until then, I'm focussing on the camera - to worry about the edit later.

So why 4K?

4K (3840 pixels wide × 2160 pixels high) is a much bigger frame than 1080p (1920 pixels widw and 1080 pixels high). Even if you plan to release a 1080p movie, that bigger frame gives you plenty of options to crop creatively, to compose artful frames, that were better than that shot on the day. It also gives you more power to stablise unintentionally jerky shots in the edit. But it also future proofs your footage, assuming that 4K TVs become the new mainstream home viewing format.

So what camera have I chosen?

Z-PANASONIC-GH5-BEAUTY

It was a tough decision. I loved the ease of use, using my Canon 70D. And for vlogging, my point-and-shoot G7X MKII. However, Canon seem unwilling to solve the 4K riddle for their lower end semi-prosumer clientelle. I waited and they failed to deliver a good affordable 4K camera. Yes they've delivered what they call 'affordable' models in the C200 MKII and the C300 etc, but they're hardly affordable for people on lower budgets for anything other than as a rental. And I don't see much to like in their other DSLR range. So even though I love the way they do things and their glass, it was time for a change.

Now I loved what I saw in the Canon C200 MKII, the Panasonic EVA1 and the Black Magic Ursa Mini Pro. But if you buy those, then you still have to buy more gear to go with each. And you'd have automatically doubled your costs before you've even invested in storage to capture your footage on. I just couldn't justify the investment right now. Also those cameras are big. for my needs, right now, smaller is better. But in the future?...

It was a tossup between Sony or Panasonic, for me. Sony seem to have mastered the low light capability - something the guerilla filmmaker needs to deal with every day. But after using the RX100 MKIV and trying to Vlog with it and seeing how they p*ss battery power up the wall in minutes, I was not keen to invest in a more expensive camera that might have had similar issues. Also, their cameras tend to have a softer look that didn't quite do it for me. Instead, I went for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 - mainly because I heard much of the previous GH4 model - as a go-to for many wedding videographers and low budget filmmakers. They tend to bea bit more vocal about this camera than I tend to see in the Sony world. Having an active community to support you and advise you is key to me, as a learner. And I will just have to be creative when it comes to getting enough light.

The GH5 isn't cheap. Nor is it a simple proposition to switch format and then invest in new gear. Everything comes with a little risk. But so far I am happy. And before I committed to my chosen path I wrestled with the decision for a couple of months and did so much research that I felt incredibly depressed by the thought of doing any more.

For me, I was lucky in that I chose to switch at a time when my Canon gear, although it had depreciated in value, was desirable enough to give me a decent sum in a part exchange. So I had a good starting sum to play with. Then I waited for the new firmware update for the GH5 to come out - as there had been many criticisms of the camera on it's initial release earlier this year. And then I pounced. 🙂 At least it felt that way.

I purchased the body and then of course, unless you want to also invest in a speedbooster adapter, so that you can use your existing Canon glass with the different format camera - the GH5 is a Micro 4/3rds format - you then need new lenses. Lenses are not cheap - not if you want to invest in Pansonic lenses with inbuilt image stabilisation, so you fake a gimbal-like smooth moving shot. Although there are many cheaper 3rd party lenses that don't have that stabilisation - as well as 2nd hand lenses that do, but have dropped in value. Also, if you want to shoot in V-Log (a professional video codec that enables you to shoot in a professional format and then colour grade the footage later), you then need to buy the license key to unlock that pro format in the camera. The SD cards needed for that V-Log format at 4K are also very expensive, and have recquired SD card manufacturers to develop a new way of marking their cards, to guarantee that they can handle the footage. You need lots of them too, as 4K will eat up lots of storage in the shoot, nevermind the hard drive space you'll need when you take it into the edit. In short, I could go on with what I am learning, but it is truly dizzying to see how much other gear costs need to be factored in when building a kit - e.g. lights, sound gear etc. So I won't bore you any more. But suffice it to say that this camera, with a few more lenses will complete my basic kit and give me plenty to learn and keep me plenty occupied for a while now.

So far I've only had the briefest of time to play with the photo capability, to try out the new lenses and installed the new firmware update - I've purchased but I am waiting for the V-LOG key and have yet to put try editing any footage. But soon! First I need to go through the manual and play play play!

For now, my gear porn addiction is sated. Now comes the post purchase guilt and the need to shoot this damn movie. And then will inevitably come the post-production issues that I need to research and rehearse before the shoot. It never stops. Right?

Links:

Some video links that might be helpful:

GH5 Cinema Set-up & Tests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0btY-irwawk

Panasonic GH5 - Everything I found out that you should know:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6O0XrHzGgk

Pansonic GH5 6 months later: https://youtu.be/N6BcaykMp88

4 Best Video Cameras for Indie Filmmakers in 2017: https://www.lightsfilmschool.com/blog/4-best-video-cameras-for-indie-filmmakers-in-2017-aec

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15Jul/170

Don’t Forget To Breathe – in production now

Film poster for DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE

DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE

DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6207538/?) - a film I co-wrote with Darwin Reina, is being shot right now in Barcelona, and I'm not there. It's a weird feeling. On the one hand, I am super stoked that the film is going ahead - after a lengthy but much needed pre-production period. On the other, I'm feeling a bit disconnected from it - a social media lurker, merely peering in through the lens of posts on Facebook and Instagram and checking up on progress. It's strange... so why am I not there?

I've been working my fingers to the bone recently - I had some very tough script deadlines to meet and some business travel to conduct. All of that is now done. And soon my holiday starts. But right now I am exhausted. Any creative will know that feeling of having recently achieved something significant, but then being in a weird limbo of not knowing if it is even any good? If people will even like what you've created? And having given everything to hit that deadline and to then be utterly crushed as the weight is removed from your shoulders - and the rest of you sags to the floor. The fact that I am able to sleep right now - in my new house and new bed - is propping me up. My brain is firing on all cylinders creatively, having been well-warmed up by the recent productivity, but I need to allow myself to rest and not dive into the next big thing right away. And that also means that although I technically could jump on a flight to Barcelona.. and book a hotel... should I?

Image of a magnetic whiteboard

Creativity lives here... or does it?

I've worked on films before and it is exhausting. It's an amazing process - long days, lots of standing around, great camaraderie etc - but although it can be incredibly rewarding and give you a chance to forge new creative relationships, it can also be very draining. If it was in a week, I'd be there. But right now... I need to cling on to rest.... My holiday starts then. But right now, I'd be no good to them. I'd be the worst kind of on set hanger on. A sleepy and irritable guy,  and feeling like a zombie the whole time, trying to follow what's going on and needing everything to be explained to him again in another language - and merely delaying and exacerbating the inevitable crash that will follow. After all the film is being shot in Spanish and although I did a year of it in school, it was 35 years ago and I can only order a cool beer right now. I'd only have to get people to use English, and it would bring the wrong kind of vibe to what is by all accounts an otherwise smooth production. So despite being torn, and really wanting to be there, I must give in to my need to rest. After all, I've been working crazy hours, often 7am to 1opm all week round for weeks on end, and doing this since November!

So all I can do right now is urge you to check out the social media feeds, follow and share the posts and await the eventual film - as I am doing.

I'm waiting in case the cast or crew have a question about the script that I can help with. I'm going to be there to help Darwin with the edit and the post production. And when we make the next films that I am writing for him, we'll do it together.

For now, I have a big magnetic white board to fill, and it's crying out for some index cards, some story beats and some fresh ideas. I can do this from an arm chair. It's a kind of rest. It's creative. But I'll also be hawk-eyed on my social media feeds...

Good luck guys! ¡Buena suerte!

 

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11Jul/162

Of Vlogging and gadgets

So I've been busy. And it's been a fun kind of busy - which is good, because life really isn't fun right now. But I have been productive and tried to find excuses to stay busy and create something. So what if a little retail therapy is involved, right? So what if it is draining my bank balance? (Seriously, this sh*t can get really expensive!)

But - I have been busy, playing with iPhone videography, learning more about DSLR video and playing with my Go Pro. I've been doing it under the Vlogging banner - yes I now Vlog. It sounds like Blogging, but it feels more like flogging - as in a punishment; creating footage and waiting for someone to view it and like it or hate it. But it's great because you get to experiment and be creative, all without narrative restrictions. I've set a few restrictions of my own, merely to see what I can do with whatever footage I've collected. I'm terrible at it btw - at the Vlogging part. I just can't seem to get comfortable talking to and being on camera. Will I ever? But hey, it's something, right? And it helps me reach out my family and friends in distant climes and tell them what I'm up to. The other main restriction is not worrying about the perfect shot or the perfect anything - I am currently editing them all within iMovie, just to keep it simple and limit my choices. It's more about speed of the workflow right now, before I start worrying about colour grading and tighter edits. Until then I'm not worrying about dusting off Final Cut Pro or Premiere and After Effects again. And it's very much about the gear I'm shooting it with. Right now I am mainly evaluating what gear performs the best in the right situations and the ease of getting it into a finished video.

So for iPhone videography, I am using:

  • Filmic Pro - app to control exposure and white balance while shooting
  • Beastgrip Pro iPhone camera mount, both with DOF Adapter (for the cinematic look) and with the Wide-Angle lens
  • Rode Video Micro microphone / Smart Lav + lavalier Mic - for better sound
  • But I've also ordered the Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lens Adapter
  • Joby Phone Mount
  • Joby Grip tight gorillaPod stand

For DSLR video, I am using:

  • the Canon EOS 70D - for amateur to semi-pro level filmmaking
  • Rode Video Micro Pro / Smart Lav + lavalier Mic
  • Canon 50mm f1.8 prime lens - for Bokeh
  • Canon 10:18mm lens - for arm-length selfie mode filming
  • Sigma 50 mm f1.4 prime lens - for proper filmmaking, it's too heavy for anything else
  • Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom tripod

And lastly, for Go Pro / action cam footage (predominantly timelapses), I am using:

The keen-eyed knowledgeable types will notice that there's no fancy tripod or fluid head, for smooth panning and tilting, or other pro audio gear, lights etc. These are all other issues to resolve for more dramatic shooting. Right now, it's about speed and it's about getting the shot - as life is happening. That other gear will come. Of that I'm sure.

With all this type of gear, don't underestimate the shots you can get with an ipad, or an iPhone / smart phone or just with a GoPro / action cam. You don't need half of that other gear. It's just so easy to film with a Go Pro or a phone and get it right into your editing system. Trust your eye and whatever device you have with you just use it! There's no point to any devices or gadgets if you don't use them. The other gear comes in as soon as you start thinking about achieving different / better aesthetic / quality levels - but you don't need to buy it all now. Play and experiment and choose wisely. And always have one of your devices with you. The iPhone obviously wins out for always being with me, but the GoPro is also very portable and fits into a pocket (although is chunkier).

As soon as you add in DOF adapters and lenses you add a f*ckload of weight to your bag / carry around weight and the potential for grasping with and failing to focus, as soon as you deviate from automatic settings. In fact the DSLR automatic mode is great for Vlogging, and brilliant at keeping you in focus, but scary when you step outside of it, until you learn what you're doing. Again the iPhone wins out as long as you just use fixed lenses / the lens it already came with. As soon as you add the Beastgrip Pro to the iPhone you need a microphone, as the mount gets in the way of the phone's microphone, also - for any decent sound quality just don't rely on the built-in mic, and you need to preset the focus to ensure that you are in focus when talking to the lens. Add one mic on. If you do one thing, add a mic. You seriously can't rely on built-in mics for sound.

The GoPro is awesome. And you can get rid of the annoying fish eye effect in the free GoPro Studio app. Its timelapses and other modes are great - as is the ability to conect via Wifi to your iPhone, so you can see what you're capturing in real time, like a monitor. Also it's small, so you can leave it in public spaces and get unobtrusive shots. Covert guerilla filming is definitely more achievable.

Anyway, I could talk about this for ages. I'm still playing though and still learning. And I have a few more bits of gear to use first before I share more findings.

This is all going to help when getting back into filming dramatic material. Vlogging is about playing - for me anyway. It's about taking risks in a low risk environment and having fun with it. It's about forcing me to create footage and to edit it, quickly. It's about retraining my eye. And it's about relaxing. Soon this will pay off when shooting the next short film. More about that later. But join me, have fun, try it - and let me know how it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

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3Jan/160

2016 – My creative resolutions and goals

Last year, I did one of these posts, explaining what creative activities I was planning on focusing on in 2015 (original article HERE). So how did I do with those resolutions and goals and what will 2016 bring?

The short version:

  • Not so well. 5 out of 8 aint bad.
  • Will tackle the other 3 this year.
  • Still fighting the good fight.
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31Dec/142

Obligatory end of year post [WARNING – may contain nuts!]

Feeling enthusiastic about the coming year? I am. Very much so.

I don't mean to sound smug, but unlike the previous [bleak] most recent years 2014 was a productive year for me. I stuck to my goals and completed all but 2 of them; including relocating to Sweden to continue to pursue my happiness, giving up a perfectly good job, renting my house out and throwing myself into the unemployment pool, setting up my own company and then luckily finding a new job - with my first happy clients. All so that I could be where I felt I needed to be, do what I felt I needed to do with my life and ultimately, because my life felt like a trap. It felt stagnant and I felt like I was doing nothing with it; at least nothing that I wanted to be doing.

Some of the creative things I was proud of:

  • I made more films earlier in the year - not for public consumption. Merely for fun and to get back into making films. We even had a club going at work, where we each made a 'Ten Second Film' a week; purely to prove to each other that creativity was possible for anyone and there was a way to tell a story with a variety of methods and everyone came to the same story theme from a completely different perspective and often using very different techniques and tools. Want to know more about how this works?
  • I wrote a novel as part of Nanowrimo 2014. Yes it still needs to be rewritten, but it's down - out of my head and on the page.
  • I joined two writing groups (one for writing and one for critique) - in order to overcome my shyness and seek out others, to help look at my work objectively and constructively and also to see if I could be of assistance to others. I made some new friends in a new country and I'm sure that it will be a great help in 2015.
  • I took a few online courses to help learn my craft. And I read every article that seemed relevant to what I was trying to achieve - in order to learn more.
  • I also sought out more books on my craft. And I downloaded any free screenplay that I could get my hands on - I suspect that 2015 will be very much about reading more of those scripts and learning form the best.
  • I wrote something almost every day - even if it was my journal or some short #VSS tales in Twitter; something I was never good at before.
  • I used meditation to help fight my way out of creative blocks / writing block.

I'm currently setting my goals for 2015 and I'm looking forward to using more of what this great online community / the interwebz has to offer - attend more courses, develop and refine my writing skills and seek more professional critical feedback and to also help others, where I can, to achieve some of their goals. This year was a rehearsal, to see if I could still muster the gumption to take this seriously and invest serious amounts of time and energy. I did it. But I can give more. Much more.

More on my goals in the new year. I tend to like to let them simmer for a bit to see which ones fight to the surface more.

But if I may be so bold, can I suggest that we all help each other to get a step further up the path to creative freedom and feel the buzz of a little more success!

Have a great 2015 all!! Don't fight the good fight alone! Let me know if I can help in any way in 2015.

Oh and here's the [random] Nuts.

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27Nov/140

Like meets Like writing game

This post is a minor break from my Nanowrimo - which has been going well by the way - thanks for asking. 🙂  but I hope you enjoy it.

So the game we played today in my Writing Group - was something I'll call 'Like meets Like' - inspired by how film pitches to studio execs often begin with very simple 'elevator pitch' - to convey what your new idea might be like, by likening it to a previous successful movie idea, or changing the genre or the time setting:

Many successful / cult movies were pitched this way (and some not so successfully):

  1. ALIEN - "JAWS in space" - this very cleverly conjures up the isolation of being out in the middle of nowhere, paying a nod to the second half of JAWS, by taking the crew of a ship in space, fighting a man eating alien in close confines.
  2. ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 - was originally pitched as an exploitation / horror film, because the studios weren't funding westerns - as RIO BRAVO in modern LA; where a homicidal gang that do not fear death, target the cops at a run down police station and mark them for death (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_on_Precinct_13_(1976_film)
  3. OUTLAND - "HIGH NOON in space" - this takes the classic Western trope and transfers it to space, where a lawman (Sean Connery) decides to take a stand against corruption, despite the hired killers coming for him and the fact that everyone else is turning their back on him.

I'm sure there are many more better examples. I'd be pleased if you could share them with me 🙂

One other way to approach this is to compare two movie titles and see if they conjure up a film idea - this could be to reinvigorate a tired film idea and give it a new spin.

The film FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116367/) - is a good example of what happens when you take a vampire movie and put it together with a heist / gangster movie. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE WITH ZOMBIES (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1374989/) is another.

So why do it?

It's fun to put different things together to see what combinations may inspire different ideas. And you never know, some interesting plot variations might come out of this experimentation, at least you get you on the road towards fleshing out characters and situations. And to that end, try then taking that film title combination and then trying to work that up into a logline.

For example - I might say "It's like JAWS meets DUMB AND DUMBER - a tale of three incredibly stupid men, attempting to capture and kill a mythical Megalodon Shark that's targeting the population of a small island - and it's far bigger and more dangerous than any Great White - only they've lost their boat, and they're too dumb to know anything about hunting sharks."

I'd love to know the proper name for this activity - if there is one. For now the name stays. 🙂 Please let me know if you can think of a more well known technique term for it though.

Here's the two I came up with: (they need work 🙂 )

1. Think RAVENOUS meets ZERO DARK THIRTY - A darkly comic action/horror film about an alcoholic CIA operative, recovering from a botched mission that went fatally wrong, who is forced to find the secret location of a cannibal cult, before they consume her kidnapped boss; the one person who stood by her in her hour of need. Ref: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt012…­ and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt179...­

2. Think REAR WINDOW meets L'APARTMENT - A drama / mystery / romance - about a bored advertising executive, recovering from an injury, who is forced to solve the murder he believes he witnessed, when spying on his new female neighbour; he's already engaged to marry another woman. And he's convinced that one of these women might be the killer. Ref: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt011…­ and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt004...­

The others in the group thought of an even better spin on the game, for the random factor, to throw different film names, genres into a hat and to pick them out at random. That way, no one has to struggle for good combinations to work with, but instead can just practice the technique when using ideas purely for fun and practise.

Why don't you give it a try, in those moments when you might be short of inspiration? they don't have to be keepers, those ideas that you'll eventually pitch to an exec, in a Hollywood meeting, but they might help you practice starting to develop that elevator pitch - so that you can later take the meeting that launches your career.

Please let me know if this was useful - and if you prefer a variation, tell me what works for you. And also, especially in time for next year's Nanowrimo, why not use this technique to inspire your next novel plot.

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9Jun/130

Production plan for Open Movie VFX film using Blender

Production plan for Open Movie VFX film using Blender:

This video - Open VFX Movies - has a very interesting take on using Blender (the open source 3D programme) as part of your production workflow for VFX films)

  1. Screenplay (CELTX)
  2. Concept Art (Krita and the GIMP)
  3. Storyboarding (CELTX
  4. Animatic (Video Sequence Editor in Blender) and Crappymatic (Animation with animated characters)
  5. Shooting (prepare props, casting, recce locations etc) - Used Blender to plan design of the sets
  6. Prepare footage
  7. Tracking
  8. Masking
  9. Layout
  10. Animation
  11. Compositing
  12. Grading

Check out Blender here.

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21Nov/100

Films watched recently

A few of the more notable films I've watched (in Alphabetic order):

30 days of night 2 dark days

  • 30 DAYS OF NIGHT 2: DARK DAYS - Yawn, blah... this b-movie sequel fails to live up to the promise of the first film. Right from the first movement when we see a quick actress switch and tiresome flashback monologue you can tell the film will suck worse than the hissing vampires this actress is trying to warn everyone about. It tells the tale of the female survivor travelling around and trying to convince people what happened after an apparent cover up, who is then sought out by a useless band of supposed vampire hunters to hunt the vampire queen. Only these tossers have no clue, inappropriate ideas about suitable weaponry and we don't care what happens to them as none of them are anything more than cardboard cut-out characterisations, including the Ripley-esque lead. It really outstayed the welcome and stunk up my night's viewing and was only memorable for the pain it induces when I think about watching it again.

Blood Creek poster image

  • BLOOD CREEK - a strange mix of atmospheric horror and sporadic, outlandish CG gore. This tale of a Nazi warlock using an ancient runestone to reanimate the dead and do his bidding proved entertaining, if a little predictable in places. Surprisingly good cast for what felt like a low budget schlocker. The main plot had more than a few plotholes, but entertaining and innovative enough, despite it's obvious desire to create a franchise. Worth repeat viewings.
  • CASTRATION MOVIE - Round a friend's house I was told a tale of a tape handed down from a cult film director by the band who released it. The bizarre nature of its footage and the murky provenence seemed like too good a chance to pass up the opportunity to watch what may be an actual - albeit bizarre - 'fake' snuff-type movie; as released by Psychick TV. The movie features the shoddy home movie road trip footage of a potential serial killer, featuring various 70s Mexican and White rentboys playing with electrode sexual stimulation / drug induced highs, with not altogether successful and sometimes fatal results. My friend had never watched it all the way through, so we did. You can't unsee this type of film, so think twice before deciding to check it out. - if you wish to check out what others think about the film and find out more about what is shown CLICK HERE. I certainly think it is a film that deserves more research into it. Not sure who would want to though.

Machete poster image

  • MACHETE - Danny Trejo (FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, HEAT) stars as the titular badass Mexican cop with a penchant for overly large shiny knives. The bag guys underestimate his gift for survival, when he is forced to watch them kill her, before being left for dead, stabbed and left to die in a burning house. He soon appears in the US as an illegal immigrant and is forced to take part in the fake attempted assassination of a candidate for State Senator (De Niro), using immigration as his ticket to office. Soon everyone is out to get Machete, but this unstoppable force of chopping and slicing carves his way through them all, until he gets his revenge; only stopping for the love of some hot Chicas - including a great pool scene with Lindsay Lohan (the Senator's daughter) and Alicia Rachel Marek (the Senator's wife). If you don't mind your action extra bloody CG, and can handle the idea of Trejo being an irresistible stud, then this film will float your boat. It did mine.

Ong Bak 3 movie poster

  • ONG BAK 3 - Another flawed martial action film starring Tony Jaa - picks up right where the second one finished. We find out more about the power of the Evil Crow assassin character, whilst Tien (Tony Jaa) is healed and regroups to fight another day. Flawed, but still amazingly shot and featuring some unique action sequences - this time a more yoga / Thai dancing style of fighting. Well worth a view.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 poster image

  • PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 - The much hyped sequel to the original haunted house tale - where a family bring their first born male home and all hell breaks loose. I fell asleep through the first film and wasn't entirely keen on going to see the second one. It does suffer from the same repetition and painfully slow build-up, and 'just-in-time-exposition', but it does deliver in the end. I was impressed that I felt the classic hairs-standing-up-on-the back-of-my-neck feeling, and that others in the cinema were jumping left right and centre and the unhappy ending. But I could have done without the pool cleaning equipment porn moments and other repetition. The film could easily have been 30 minutes shorter without sacrificing the experience. If I'd watched this at home on my own I doubtless would have slept through the good bits. I may now actually bother rewatching the first snooze fest.

REC 2 movie poster

  • REC 2 - a brilliant sequel to the first excellent Spanish Cinema Verite zombie movie, which blends the occult, possession and zombism into a terrifying unrelenting mix. This film picks up where the last one left off, the same night, with the female reporter being carted away by a possessed freak, and throws two new bands of curious people into the apartment building looking for answers. As one would expect, each band fall prey to their own stupidity and the hunger of the building's inhabitants. This film should be watched late at night, alone, in the dark. It will scare the pants off you and make you reach for the light switch when you go to bed. It has a very clever spin on how to make a monster truly terrifying and make use of night vision; something that is rarely seen in the tired horror genres of the last few years.

The collector movie poster

  • THE COLLECTOR - amazingly dark and unflinchingly twisted take on the Slasher film genre, with a thief breaking into a family home, only to find the house rigged with booby traps (ala SAW) and the family all trussed up in various states of disrepair. The titular killer is always one step ahead and seemingly unkillable, or rather the victims are seemingly intent on only maiming and not finishing the job. if you don't mind that sort of cliché fare then it is well worth a look.

THE LOSERS  poster image

  • THE LOSERS - a weird comic book action movie about an A-TEAM-like band of Special ops characters who fall afoul of an evil CIA operative and barely survive an assassination, when they go against his orders. Their quest to restore their honour and avenge a Helicopter of kids didn't really float my boat, despite the very slick action sequences. Nor would it interest me to read the original books. But I may rewatch this when I'm in a better frame of mind and hopefully learn to love it.

Anyway, there are far more to mention soon. But that's it for now.

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