Hallowindow Mark Gervais – Halloween Video Installation

25 10 2008

Spooky fun from Mark Gervais, who kindly puts a video installation up for all to see each Halloween.

Pop to his site to see them.


Don’t Forget about me – posts from the past

19 10 2008

Ink Tank Experiments

Here are a couple of companies who have been doing really interesting things with the classic film technique of filming ink and other substances. By experimenting with this technique and then treating it in after effects or other post-production software you…


Pixilation is a great technique for producing quick and fantastic looking animation. Based on stop motion, where the animator places clay figures or other 3d objects in front of the camera, takes a frame then moves the objects and repeats. The difference…

 The Action Cats

a group of designers, animators and filmmakers who use interesting experimental and traditional techniques to produce an innovative and dark look for their piece “The Experiment”. “The Experiment” was produced for Adobe’s “See what’s possible”…

David Anderson – Door

There is a great power in inanimate objects and architectural features, and exploited here is the door. A closed door is a very powerful image. Just seeing it places questions into the audiences mind, raising their emotional expectation. A closed…

Dangerous Parking

This shows some really interesting text, being deformed in a wispy, smoky way…

Rojo TV

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…

Richard Fenwick

Richard Fenwickis a designer/filmmaker/animator who works across a wide range of formats. He goes where the idea takes him, flitting between animation/design…


Mark Lewis

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)…


Rosie Pedlow / Joe King – Sea Change

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…



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… 


 Jan Svankmajer

Jan Svankmajer is a real influence for me. Often miscribed as an animator, he should really be classed as a surrealist filmmaker as his work moves effortlessly between…

Jackson Pollock – Action Painting

15 10 2008

Just a very quick one. Just found this After Effects animation. It’s nice.

Banksy – Surreal Petstore

11 10 2008

British Graffiti artist Banksy has opened a surreal exhibition as a petshop in New York. As you can see below, some bizarre ‘animals’ inhabit the shop, but they are all given life through animatronics. 

A shame I can’t get to see them for real, but here’s a BBC News article on his work.

Or check out the pet shop web site by clicking below.

OK, so not strictly moving image based, but Banksy’s new project moves and has been filmed, so there.

If this is interesting to you, then I’d certainly recommend the work of Jan Svankamjer.

Charlie Brooker – Dead Set

10 10 2008

Big brother is back. But wait, before you switch off, this is Big brother Charlie Brooker style, so I’m expecting some great things. Charlie has written a new 5 part series for E4, coming soon (I’d guess around halloween). – UPDATE – DEAD SET E4  27th – 31st October at 10pm

The show is a Zombie Horror series – I know, I know – so is Big brother (I thought I’d get it in before you do) and is based on ye olde story. Zombies for one reason or another rise up from the dead and take over. The remaining contestants on the Big brother house are the last to know about it, and when reality dawns on them, need to help and rely on each other to survive. A shame really that the producers picked them precisely because they would wind each other up and cause friction.

Check out the website by clicking below.

So why do I think this is going to be something special?

Charlie Brooker. That’s Why. He is a very talented writer. His dry and sardonic style is shown on his ‘TV listings magazine’ TV Go home,  and in his ‘TV review show’ Screenwipe, below.

He really has a healthy disdain for the media industry, with it’s idiotic programmes pushed out because they are cheap to make and titillating for an audience without giving any real depth. His style can be rude but passionate, so be warned.

Brooker worked with Chris Morris on the excellent C4 show, Nathan Barley. This was one of my favourite programmes ever. A drama/comedy which follows the programmes namesake – “a self-facilitating media node” (check out his myspace page)  who is obsessed with having the latest phone “It’s been out 2 weeks in Japan. Where’s yours?”, and living a stupidly ‘cool’ lifestyle, but with no depth or real understanding of the world. Based on, and filmed in Shoreditch, London, this show portrays him as a lovable/hateable loser/winner. When you start watching, the show is packed full of gags, so many that you’ll miss them. Gradually a dramatic arc takes over and the show begins to get detailed characters and storylines that hook you in. Even 2D Barley has his moments of being real. If you missed this then you really should watch it.

While you’re at it, check out http://www.trashbat.co.ck, Nathan’s website.

So although Brooker’s new show is a straight out and out horror, he has an excellent writing style, really understands characters, and is passionate not only about critiquing bad TV, but in creating great TV to redress the balance.

I’d like to see someone do a take on zombies where they try to brain us all by accosting us with forms to fill in – not chugger style, but bureaucrat style. Zombies with clipboards. But I guess that’s just me.

Other Links



Is this for real?! Canon EOS 5D MKII Video Footage

2 10 2008

Wow. If this is really what the video footage shot with the new Canon EOS 5D MKII DSLR looks like then it’s pretty astounding. Canon and Vincent Laforet are putting explicit statements out there that there is no post production or altering of these images. Thanks to Ash for the heads-up. Click for the video.

Obviously Vincent Laforet is an experienced professional photographer, but he has discussed this camera with a pro editor and is pretty blown away. Just read his comments on his blog

“1. The 5D MKII camera produces the best stills in low light that I’ve ever seen – what you can see with you eye in the worst light (such as sodium-vapor street lights at 3 a.m. in Brooklyn) – this camera can capture it with ease.

2. It produces the best video in low light that I’ve ever seen – at 1080p.   A top commercial film editor who  who regularly edits RED camera footage – and has seen the raw footage from the 5D MKII – says the 5D MKII is “far superior to the RED camera” in terms of low light performance…

3. You can use your prime and zoom lenses from your Canon still cameras with it – and shoot wide open… so you can shoot films with fisheye lenses, 50mm 1.2 as well as the 200mm f2 or 400mm 2.8 that you may already own…

4. This camera is so easy to use – that you can work incredibly quickly, mostly handheld – without a huge production – and using natural light – ergo you don’t need a huge budget and tons of preparation anymore… forget the lighting trucks and generators that take up entire city blocks…

5. This camera will sell for approx. $2,700 – and perform better than many $100K plus video cameras out there…

6. Photojournalists in particular – will be able to take full advantage of this camera’s strengths – because they are used to walking into any room, and finding the best natural “available light” in the room – or knowing how to add a single light source to make it pop… they are used to working quickly and with small or no budgets… which is something this camera is begging you to do…

It has the potential to change our industry.”

OK it costs £2299 without a lens, and as you can see below, Vincent has used a number of expensive lenses to shoot with. But still, this price is not bad for a high level DSLR and HD Camera, but if the quality of the images and low light shooting are as good as this, then combined with the lens interchangeability then it’s astounding. It’s kind of taken the wind out of Nikon’s sails.

As explained on the Canon site –

“This video was shot with a pre-production Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR. The files used to create this video were not manipulated in any way, only re-compressed for ¼ resolution display on our website. To view Vincent Laforet’s comments and behind-the-scenes video on the making of REVERIE, please visit his blog: blog.vincentlaforet.com

Uncompressed, Full-Resolution Sample Video Clips
To download and view three uncompressed, full-resolution sample video clips from REVERIE, please click here.

Sample Photographs
The CDLC has posted a gallery of in-camera JPEGS shot by Mr. Laforet during the making of REVERIE. Click here to view the gallery.


EF Lenses used in the making of REVERIE:
FD 7.5mm f/5.6 (converted to EF mount)
EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
EF 135mm f/2L USM
EF 200mm f/1.8L USM
EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 500mm f/4L IS USM
TS-E 24mm f/3.5L
TS-E 45mm f/2.8

Video ©2008 Laforet Visuals Inc.”

Now that I’ve had a little time to check out more details, the camera appears to be able to shoot video in raw format. This should be great news for people doing compositing as the lack of compression will enable smoother keys. Also the raw ability should give a greater control over exposure in post production. The biggest problem is that the video frame rate is set at 30 FPS!!! Oh why can’t there be a 25FPS PAL Mode. Hopefully soon this can be sorted out for the european market. The terrible auto exposure jumping which is present on the D90 is not apparent in this footage, which gives a much smoother exposure change. Still some jumping is evident, but only slight and should only cause minor problems. Look at the tilt down the building to see it in action. 

Links to check out.




Super 8

1 10 2008

Super 8 is a filmmaking medium which is seeing a resurgence recently, and has rightly been an essential part of the creative moving image artist/filmmaker/designer’s arsenal for a long time. 

Before home video cameras existed, there was super 8. A cheap, accessible film camera. Using smaller strips of film than conventional film cameras (the 8 refers to the film size – 8mm, versus 35mm for professional film camera) it allowed reasonably well off families to make their own home movies and to film their holidays and family occasions. It gradually died off as video cameras became cheaper in the 80’s. 

Film is far more tricky to work with than video, and for the amateur market the benefit of video over film was clear to see. Video is instantly accessible – just play back the tape, you can even hook it up directly to a TV set. Before you can see a super 8 film, you have to finish off the reel – approx 3 mins worth of footage, then send it off for processing, then project it onto a screen – minimum about 8 weeks later. You could find at this moment that it was badly out of focus, under/over exposed and that your footage was unusable.

But while the practicalities of using super 8 meant that it lost out to home video cameras, the actual quality of the images are often much richer. Video is always chasing the look and feel of film, and for purists it will never get there, just the same way that a digital recording will never have the warmth and pure sound that a vinyl record has.

The super 8 look is often used to show dream sequences, flashbacks to childhood and many more experimental uses. 

Due to its fall from use, many owners of cameras were selling them for a few pounds on car boot fairs, and you can still pick up a bargain today (although more difficult to find – check ebay or other auction sites). If you do so, then try to get the camera and a projector, as you need to be able to see the finished film as well. Be aware that there is also standard 8, which uses a spool of film rather than a cassette. Check that you are buying super 8 kit, as standard 8 is more tricky to use and process.

What about the filmstock?

Super 8 comes in cartridges containing approx 3 mins of film, as shown in the picture above. The filmstock is increasingly hard to find in the UK. As far as I know, Kodak (the last major producer remaining of super 8 cartridges) has stopped making them. There is stock left, try the widescreen centre to see what they have. The standard film for Super 8 cameras is Kodak Ektachrome 64T Colour Reversal Film.

If you have more epic intentions, then you can go for more expensive filmstock, and move between Colour Reversal to Colour Negative film. The cost starts going up, but so does the quality. If you look into buying colour negative film, then you will need to pay for the telecine process which will convert it into a format of your choice – Mini DV, DVD etc. Once again, check out this page at the widescreen centre for more info.

You can also try pro8mm who take pro 35mm filmstock and cut it down to 8mm and package it up into super8 cartridges. This means that you can use the same filmstock as the pros use in feature film production. They have a London office – details here. They also take old cameras and refurbish them, making them super super8 cameras.

A big exponent of super 8 is straight8. They had a season on channel 4’s 3 minute wonder recently, and run competitions and screenings for super 8 filmmakers. See below.

For more info, try the following links.