Archive for the ‘film’ Category

What happened to tripods?

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

NYPD Blue with its constant camera shake was nauseating when it first appeared. It seemed like a gimmick that would not be repeated, something very specific to that programme. Yet, now it’s become the norm for “gritty” real-life dramas. (It’s not even that new – consider the steadicam use in films like “Scum” in the 1970s – also aiming at gritty.)

I guess there are two changes that have brought this about:

  • cameras are lighter and don’t need sturdy support
  • image clarity has meant that  camera movement doesn’t result in blurry smears

But there’s something else too: a cultural shift. Whereas thirty years ago, it was considered somewhat amateur to have wobbly camerawork, it’s now considered positively, a liberation.

But more than that: it’s now seen as a signifier of authenticity for footage to be handheld. It’s a statement of proof that it hasn’t been faked. Of course this is nonsense: it’s just as easy to add to some fake handheld motion to some filmed animation, 3D model insertion or photoshopped trickery; and 3D model insertion is perfectly capable of following camera movements (see action adventures or even live election night broadcasts)

Watch the video for Hiszekeny by Venetian Snares. Clearly, it’s stop-frame animation but we are asked to accept it’s handheld.

I hate to sound old-fashioned but I miss the stability of fixed cameras.

Countryside Code Animation

Friday, May 1st, 2009

This is fun: an Aardman animation to promote the country code.

Download it from here.

From the government’s countryside access site.

(Look out for that seagull with the carrier bag!)

Jumpcut bites the dust

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

I loved this bit of software:

Online video editing. Fab, though I never made as much use of it as I’d intended…

And now it’s going to shut down. Ho hum.

How do you spell “center”?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

They’re always happy to change titles of films to suit US market. ["Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"? pfff!]

But I just saw a poster for new film “Journey to the center of the earth” here in the UK…


It seems that the localisation process is one way only with Americans… Should this surprise us?

Star Wars and terrorism

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

I’ve been saying this for a long time, for anyone who would listen: why do we revere characters in the film “Star Wars” who are essentially using the same thinking as the Islamic (or any other!) terrorists we hate so much. My point being that we should be looking not at whose side people are on but what their methods are. I disapprove of the use of violence by Bush just as much as by bin Laden.

Now finally, BBC Radio 4 has made a comedy sketch which encapsulates this far more concisely than I ever did.

What does 883 mean?

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

So: Penelope Cruz has a tiny tattoo on her ankle saying “883″.

And it’s causing much headscratching among commentators. The theory is that – being a numerologist – she is using the symbols for wealth (8) and communication (3) to express a desire for these. With an extra desire for even more money. But does that make any sense? What concerns me is that “88″ was also used in Nazi Germany as a code for “Heil Hitler” (H being the 8th letter of the alphabet). Is Cruz a Nazi?

Or perhaps she’s an android and this is simply a serial number. Might explain something about her acting? :)