30 05 2008

Is there anything worth watching on TV anymore? Not a great deal, but there’s usually a lot of nice idents about. For a while BBC2 and Channel4 have been fighting it out for the best channel idents, both producing innovative and exciting little pieces of television history, often a disappointment when the programme starts and you have to wait for the next one. But wait no more, go to where they have a growing collection of the best (and worst – see BBC1 and ITV1’s very expensive but boring attempts). So I have taken a look and picked a few out for you.


Fiver – for Channel5

Some really funky new audiovisual idents for Channel5’s rebranding of Five Life. Simple, clean design, really exploring movement and colour. Produced by We are Seventeen. Really reminds me of the work of Oskar Fischinger.



Not sure personally about the success of the new BBC2 idents Some very great simple ideas which stand out are below.


I love this one because it’s real – no cg or compositing required.



Definite recent faves had to be these ‘Cutting up Christmas’ ones

Going back a little bit further, you just had to love the characterisation of these little 2’s. Not shown here, but I loved the one which was a yapping jumping dog put inside a fluffy 2.

And going back even further


Channel 4

I think that Channel4 is probably my current favourite for innovative idents. You can’t help but have been amazed when you first saw the 4 logo forming out of disparate objects.

These have been running for quite a while now, but seeing a new one is always a treat.You can click on the few above to see them, or click here for a link to’s full list.

It’s a real shame that don’t have more of the older idents. I remember the previous idents being very interesting, remarkably different to these ones. I’ll try to dig some of them up.

And of course there’s the absolute classic design by Lambie Nairn. So Iconic that they have never tried to really mess with it, where the other channels have often had radical rebranding. In fact the latest idents are really harking back to the original idea – a series of disparate blocks forming a coherant 4 logo. 

As well – The Channel 4 offshoots E4 and E4 Music have some really great and funky idents as well. Some really great ones produced by Andy Martin can be seen on his website here.

Somebody’s really going experimental on us at S4/C, producing a series of idents which interact with the voice over. On the whole, very bizarre.






Rosie Pedlow / Joe King – Sea Change

21 05 2008


A beautifully simple idea executed very well, Rosie and Joe’s film takes a seaside caravan park as its subject, and reveals through a series of smooth tracking shots, the beauty in the commonplace that we all too often take for granted. 


The piece was entered for the Jerwood Moving Image award. Their statement about the work, taken from the Jerwood site follows.


“About the work
Filmed on a caravan park at the end of the season, ‘Sea Change‘ reveals a landscape dramatically transformed by light and time, and resonating with the transience of human presence. The frail, hand-painted caravans that fill the site are soon to be removed and crushed to make way for a new housing development, so the film also acts as a kind of document for an unusual place on the brink of disappearance. The film is the artists’ response to place. The entire film consists of the same tracking shot, 300 metres long, filmed repeatedly at different times over a period of five days. It is closely akin to documentary in its use of camera as pure recording medium. However any semblance of narrative is rejected in favour of a framework that is at once formal and conceptual. This serves to focus the spectator’s eye on the essential elements: the flatness of the landscape punctuated by caravans; the continual and dramatic changes in light; and the unrelenting passage of time.”


watch their work at Finalists : Jerwood Moving Image Award

I really like it when people use the professional techniques usually employed on feature films for artistic works. I find that this combination of high production values with a great concept really makes something special. 

This style of work also really reminds me of the work of Mark Lewis, an artist/filmmaker who produces very strong, but subtle works, using feature-film equipment. Oh, and that post is just below this one.

Mark Lewis

21 05 2008


I saw his work at the BFI Southbank gallery in October 07. He often uses strong effects, like the ‘vertigo shot’ / dolly zoom (or whatever you want to call it), playing films backwards etc, but the way he does it is very subtle. For example his piece Rear Projection featured the longest ‘vertigo shot’ I had ever seen, running at 4 mins. This length allowed you to fall into the scene, gradually pulled in by the effect. 


Rear Projection


My favourite had to be Isosceles, where a camera moves around a building in a move which wouldn’t look out of place in a hollywood feature film, but something is missing. There are no actors. We are following no characters, dialogue or plot development. What happens is the building becomes the subject, and what is often overlooked when watching a film, becomes the main feature. It is mesmerising to watch, and again a very simple but potent idea, executed with professionalism.





You should also check out my blog on Rosie Pedlow / Joe King – Sea Change



I have included the statement from the exhibition below.


“Mark Lewis’ films are remarkable not only for their rich and highly seductive qualities, but also for their extraordinary ability to question those characteristics that define mainstream and avant-garde cinema. This was Lewis’ first solo show in London and included three recent films shot in 35mm and transferred to High Definition, the latest technological innovation in video presentation. Lewis’ silent, short form films respond to the specific nature of the viewing subject of the gallery and museum space. This viewer, ambulatory, free and essentially privileged in the space in which he or she moves, has historically been formed very differently from the cinematic viewer. Therefore limited length, lack of added sound and the removal of most staging mise en scene, are the essential characteristics of films that attempt to engage with the gallery viewer and its history. The works on show highlighted how the artist investigates the ways in which the language of film has transformed classical art historical motifs such as portraiture and the depiction of landscape. Rear Projection (Molly Parker) – was co-commissioned by BFI and received its London premiere here. It investigates the canons of portraiture in relation to landscape images. Shot in Lewis’ lush, pictorial style, the footage of a desolate Canadian landscape is combined with a filmed ‘portrait’ of the actress Molly Parker – of Deadwood and Six Feet Under fame – by using the traditional method of rear projection, a technique commonly used in films up to the 1970s to shoot live action against a backdrop of seemingly moving images and now outmoded by blue screen technology. Lewis’ exploration of the depiction of landscape and how film language has developed techniques to follow the other pictorial arts is also evident in the recently shot Isosceles, 2007 and in Downtown: Tilt, Zoom and Pan, 2005 – both previously unseen in the UK. In the latter, the camera shifts its focus towards inactive areas and background details present in the shots. The work is created by filming two distinct pieces of film and joining them seamlessly together: one part was shot at dusk; the other (pan) was filmed in a clear morning. In this work the artist depicts everyday situations, actions and places while exposing methods of filmmaking process; using the latest digital image manipulation software he also suggests that the evolution of film and technology are intrinsically linked to other visual cultures.”



Richard Fenwick

16 05 2008

Richard Fenwick is a designer/filmmaker/animator who works across a wide range of formats. He goes where the idea takes him, flitting between animation/design and  film, producing a prolific range of work.

I saw him at the Lovebytes festival a few years age, where he charted his progression through his career. He fell into studying graphic design, but quickly realised that moving image was his forte, and that he wanted the freedom to move between disciplines.

As he explains in this 4talent article excerpt – “Film courses were never presented to me,” he says. “When I got to university I was still doing graphic design… Stupid thing is, at 18 you believe what people say to you. There’s that thing where you think: ‘Well they must know.'” However, it wasn’t long before he worked out they were wrong. His graphic design degree was simply a smokescreen. By the third year he was rarely in the graphic design department. He confesses, “If I’d had more foresight, I would have tried to get on a film course and save myself a little bit of hassle.”

He has a healthy balance between more abstract artistic endeavours like the RND series, filmmaking, music promos for the likes of teenage fanclub and death in vegas, and more commercial work.

The Box


Safety Procedures


Artificial Worlds V3.0


RND Series




Rojo TV

10 05 2008

Congratulations to Rojo Magazine for their amazing new TV station at 

Full of really interesting creative video work, this site really spans a wide range of artistic video and motion graphics work. This should prove to be a great source of inspiration for years to come.

Expecting a real hit and miss experience, I started watching it to produce a little list of  pieces that got me going. I quickly abandoned this to simply recommend the whole lot and just implore that you spend a few minutes or a few hours looking at this site.

Quite often I find that sites dealing with creative video concentrate on the spectacular effects produced by computers, but this one deals with simple, potent ideas, quite often produced with little use of technology.

Click on the picture above to go to their site


Dangerous Parking

9 05 2008

I was looking at ‘Forget the film, watch the titles’ – a great site dedicated to title sequences at and found the titles for the film ‘Dangerous Parking’. This shows some really interesting text, being deformed in a wispy, smoky way. This sort of effect commonly has video people rushing into After Effects to try this effect and that to try to recreate a natural look. The designer of this, Nick Benns for Momoco, decided to do it another way.

“I created a sequence where the type drifts through a distorted world by simply shooting the credits through bottles of gin, whisky and an ashtray. All the elements are in-camera and any imperfections left where they are…”


The look is great, made all the better for it being real. It reminds me of when I used to work for a visual/design company in London. I had brought some footage in for a project we were working on. I showed it to someone there who started going through a list of filters and plug-ins required to produce the effect, and he was thoroughly surprised when I told him that it was shot through an empty glass resting on a TV Screen.

Computers are great tools in the creative process, but they are not the only tool.

Watch the video here…

Momoko’s website