Watchmen – 80’s kids animation style

13 03 2009

A great video which lovingly recreates classic moments from the Watchmen Graphic novel/ comic and puts them into a He man/Jem -style 80’s cartoon, complete with cheesy theme music. Very funny if you’ve read/seen watchmen, lots of great in-jokes. A real labour of love. Thanks to Ron for this one. As he said to me… Pure brilliance.





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 

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…

 

Idents

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…





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.

http://www.projector.demon.co.uk/super8.html

http://onsuper8.blogspot.com/

http://www.cambridge-super8.org/

http://www.straight8.net/straight8b.htm

http://homepage.mac.com/onsuper8/





6pli – Experimental visualisation of bookmarks.

21 09 2008

I know, It sounds rubbish. But I’ve been investigating the 6pli visualisation tool for delicious bookmarks. A bit geeky maybe. But it does look great and it’s really useful for working your way around hundreds or thousands of bookmarks – which I have. I’m looking at using it when building my new creativevideomovingimage weblink archive for students, so this is a test run. 

The only problem I’ve found is that it seems to start you off on a random page. In order to get home, and to a nice starting point I suggest clicking on the CLICK ON THIS IF YOU’RE LOST AND WANT TO GO HOME link that should be on most pages – if not then try clicking on a few things, especially the floating tag categories and it’ll soon appear.

PLEASE CLICK ON HERE OR ON THE PICTURE BELOW – GO ON IT’S REALLY NICE. 

Every time you click on something the whole thing animates and reveals new links and tags. If you want, you can spin around by this 3d visualisation clicking and dragging the mouse in an empty piece of space. 

I’m not sure really how useful it will prove to be, but please try it anyway. Especially as there’s a lot of really useful links out there. The direct link to the page is http://www.6pli.com/cvmi





UK Creative Film and Moving Image Festivals

21 09 2008

Festivals are an essential part of the calendar and I have decided to pull together some of the most relevant (and local) festivals that students should attend / enter. You will be amongst people who share your interests and passion, and who would make great contacts / collaborators. You will be inspired to push your work further – by being astounded by something’s brilliance (or even by its mediocrity – thinking I can do better than that). These films will be something that you are unlikely to see on TV or the internet, and are often surrounded by talks, workshops and seminars. 

So go see some work – Raise your game – Enter some festivals – Meet some contacts – Win some awards.

This is a work in progress and if you have any more finds then please let me know. I’m mainly concentrating on UK Festivals / Conferences etc primarily concerned with Creative Video & Moving Image, but will occasionally drop in an international festival if I’m hoping to go to it or to take my students.

Oct

22-23 Oct 08- Power to the pixel. – London

“Power to the Pixel brings together the leading innovators, filmmakers and entrepreneurs who are changing the way independent film and media is financed, created and reaches audiences.” Looks very interesting for digital pioneers and runs alongside the London Film Festival. Has also run in Feb

All Month – Noise Festival – Online

“NOISE is not your typical arts festival. It has no physical location; the central hub of activity takes place on the NOISE website and across the media – print, television, radio and online – making it the first ‘virtual’ festival of its kind in Europe. NOISE exhibits the very best in creative talent from people 25 and under – any creative work that can be presented digitally (on screen or on air) including across fashion, film, music, design, architecture, written word, graphic design, fine art and illustration.”

Nov

12 – 16 Nov 08 – Aurora – Norwich

“AURORA is an annual festival in Norwich, UK which focuses on the manipulated moving image. A uniquely multidisciplinary, progressive event, it fuses artist retrospectives and thematic film programmes with discussion events, live performance and installations, alongside the very best new work from across the world for space and screen.”

12 – 15 Nov 08 – Bradford Animation Festival

“Bradford Animation Festival (BAF), the UK’s biggest and longest-running annual animation festival, is a project of the National Media Museum. Host to masterclasses, seminars, workshops, screenings and special events led by some of the animation industry’s top names, the festival’s high point is the annual BAF Awards, which celebrate the very best in new animation from around the world.”

18 – 23 Nov 08 – Encounters Short Film Festival  Bristol

“screening the very very best short films from around the universe!” ‘The big thinking short film festival’ the Guardian. Encounters offers an important platform for both new and established filmmakers to showcase their work and is the place to be inspired, to talk technology, share ideas and make new connections.  6 days of screenings, special events, workshops and masterclasses and those all important networking opportunities: the parties!”

29 – 30 Nov 08 – Bang Film Festival  Nottingham

“Bang! is a non-competitive festival of short films hosted and supported by the Broadway Cinema, Nottingham, UK, and mixes local, national and international films to create an original and exciting programme. Without filmmakers or an audience we would not exist, so we do it for them. Bang! looks at all short films, and has no genre restrictions whatsoever.”

Dec

29 Nov – 6 Dec 08 – Camerimage – Lodz, Poland

“The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography PLUS CAMERIMAGE is the greatest and most recognized festival dedicated to the art of cinematography and its creators – cinematographers. It is held annually in Lodz, the second biggest city in Poland, the capital of the Polish cinema. PLUS CAMERIMAGE contributes to the growth of cinematographers’ prestige. The unconventional format of the Festival, which awards films according to their visual, aesthetic and technical values, has turned out to be an alternative for traditional film festivals. As all our guests emphasize – PLUS CAMERIMAGE is unique. The Festival proves to be a great forum not only for presentation but also for further development of international moviemaking. PLUS CAMERIMAGE helps young filmmakers and integrates the community of those already recognized, allowing them to explore new artistic areas ”

Jan

Feb

TBC – Flatpack Festival – Birmingham

“The festival remains fiendishly difficult to summarise, but intrepid punters can expect to find shorts, animation, music documentaries, independent features, live soundtracks, discussion events, web oddities, installations, parties and plenty more besides – with a general focus on people using limited resources in imaginative ways. ”

Mar 

Apr

TBC – Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival. UK

“The Super 8 format has undergone a creative renaissance in the last few years due to the digital revolution. Our competition and panorama programmes will show the best films originated on the brilliant Super 8 format. In 2008, the second Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival was a successful event with more than 88 short films shown in three days! More than 20 filmmakers from all around Europe joined the festival for a great three days of networking and films. All genres were represented (animation, fiction, documentaries and experimental film), showing the  diversity of our selection.”

TBC – Moves 09 – Manchester

“moves08!  focused on the interaction of sound and movement in film through screenings, debates and hands-on creative events. most films shown at moves and in fact most experimental film work, do not have dialogues, which gives a prominent role to sound in the pieces. moves’ remit is to present work with a strong take on movement and moves08 explore the connection between these two elements. 

24 – 30 April 09 – Sensoria – Sheffield

“The UK’s Festival of Music and Film: Sensoria 2008 saw a heady mix of films, music, exhibitions and fun. Jarvis came along and introduced his art school films, Richard Hawley kicked off the proceedings on the opening night, Reverend and the Makers joined in the industry day fun, Richard H Kirk gave an av installation in the surreal location of the Grosvenor Hotel and ITN gave a stunning soundtrack performance in the atmospheric surroundings of the cathedral.”

May

TBC – Lovebytes – Sheffield

“Lovebytes invites you to experience challenging and experimental new art and design at the wave-front of digital culture. Everything is free and open to everyone, welcoming both newcomers and seasoned festival goers alike.” – Last year this festival was scaled down considerably from previous years, but also made free. Some you win, some you lose.

13 – 16 May 09 – Futuresonic – Manchester

Futuresonic Urban Festival of Art, Music and Ideas 

Futuresonic is an international festival now in its 13th year occupying the orbits of both digital culture and music.  Futuresonic has 4 main strands: Art, Music, Ideas and EVNTS. At its heart is the Futuresonic Conference: The Social Technologies Summit.  Futuresonic 2008 featured 5 days and nights of live music, art premieres, exhibitions, club nights and events featuring a world-class programme of over 350 artists attended by 50,000 people in 30 venues and spaces across the city centre. Click here to visit the Futuresonic 2008 website.

Jun

TBC – B.Tween – Sheffield

“b.TWEEN events have networking, business and inspiration at their core. Our events provide a level playing field where creative innovators can meet potential collaborators and big industry clients“[b.TWEEN] creates unique opportunities for practitioners from the independent digital creative and content sectors to interact with broadcasters, commissioning bodies and brands””

Jul Aug Sept

 

International Festivals

Camerimage

Simultan





Dangerous Parking

9 05 2008

I was looking at ‘Forget the film, watch the titles’ – a great site dedicated to title sequences at http://www.submarinechannel.com/titlesequences 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…

http://www.submarinechannel.com/titlesequences/video.jsp?video=31755

Momoko’s website

http://www.momoco.co.uk/web/home.html





Experiment / Create / Innovate

20 04 2008
It seems like all my life I have been watching, making and playing with the possibilities of the Moving Image. I love Motion Graphics, Animation, Illustration, Special Effects, Visuals, Experimental Video. I’ve spent many years following the work of pioneers and innovators who are pushing the boat out creatively and technically in the realm of the moving image. So I’ve decided to start this blog to indulge myself a little. I should also give a flavour of some of the influences that will be included in the course I run.