/* @class WP Locale*/ ?> 2008 March | The AV Club Blog
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Archive for March, 2008

Babelgum Online Film Festival

Thursday, March 27th, 2008
 


Check out the commercial I directed for the Babelgum Online Film Festival! Shot by Craig, starring Jeff, and post-productioned [yes I know that's not a word, but it was fun to write] with a bunch of help from a new accomplice, Aaron.

 
 

Will Novels Die?

Monday, March 24th, 2008
 

old_novels

In paper form, yes. Before I expand, read this article by novelist David Louis Edelman. For the short attention spanned, here are the most important parts:

We haven’t always had novels. No, in fact, while recorded human history has been going on for five thousand years now (depending on how you define it), the novel has been around for less than five hundred (depending on how you define it)… The fact of the matter is that the novel itself is an art form that evolved to take advantage of a certain new technology, namely the printing press. Why do books tend to be no larger than around 8″ x 12″? Because that’s about as large as you can make a book and still be able to hold it comfortably in your hands and transport it from place to place. Why does the print tend to be around a point size of 12? Because that’s about as small as you can make text and still have it be readable at arm’s length. Take those limitations and you’ll find that you can’t easily pack more than 200,000 words into a single novel. So the novel is, in fact, a device that’s both created by and limited by certain factors of human physiology.

(more…)

 
 

Things Other People Did When They Were Your Age:

Friday, March 21st, 2008
 

fame musical

Feeling adequate today? Click this link and that situation will be cured right away. Enter your age and it will spit back a list of famous people and what they accomplished when they were your age. This is what I have not accomplished yet:

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. dropped out from his job at General Electric to become a full-time writer. Henry David Thoreau went off for two years to live alone in a cabin at Walden Pond. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space. Memphis millionaire Frederic W. Smith, whose father built the Greyhound bus system, founded Federal Express. Scottish botanist David Douglas discovered the Douglas fir. Ernest Hemingway published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises. Boston dentist William Morton pioneered modern anaesthesiology after learning that inhalation of ether will cause a loss of consciousness. Jimi Hendrix choked to death on his own vomit after ingesting wine and sleeping pills. Janis Joplin died of an overdose of whiskey and heroin. Conceptual artist Piero Manzoni crapped in 90 small cans which were then factory sealed and offered for sale at the price of gold.

Man, time to get to work!

 
 

Magic Eye 2.0

Thursday, March 20th, 2008
 

magic_eye_illusion_with_text

Click the above image to see it full rez, then relax your eyes until the message becomes clear to you. This is the first time that I have seen an autostereogram using just text, but I am sure it is not a new technique. It is, however, cool. Via MILITANTPLATYPUS.

 
 

Hack Youtube Videos To Play In Highrez!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
 

Watch the above video for a few seconds, then watch this version. Notice a big difference? You should. The picture and sound are both better, by a wide margin, right? What you are seeing is my favorite new thing about Youtube- they encode all new uploads as 640×480 mpeg 4 Quicktimes, and there is a really simple way to get them to play that highrez version of any video. Add the following to the end of the URL, and if that video is available in highrez, it will play:

&fmt=18

Anyone with an iPhone has been watching these versions when using the Youtube application, but it wasn’t until recently that I learned that they were accessible on the web. Only newer videos are encoded like this, so it won’t work on a lot of their content, but it is worth trying. Pretty great, huh? Got any other interesting ‘hacks’ you’ve found on your journeys through the interwebs?

 
 

A Different Kind Of Red Camera

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
 

minidigi red

This is not the Red One. This is MiniDigi AF 5.0, and it is beautiful. If you can’t guess, it is a digital remake of a classic.  I have a few “olde timey” cameras I have been contemplating ways to convert into digital versions, if I ever get the time to do so. Call it an extreme back burner fascination. For now I’m content to shoot my Digitalomo shots to get my fix of flawed photography. This camera, however, would be kind of fun to use, no? Click the image to read more details. Via NOTCOT.

 
 

Want To See Why I Went Overseas Last Year?

Thursday, March 13th, 2008
 

twist the throttle on discovery online

Those of you who were reading this blog this time last year will remember that I went to Japan, Germany, and Italy for 5 weeks on a Discovery video shoot. After what has been, and certainly feels like, an eternity, they have finally started running the videos that we shot. Go see “Twist The Throttle“, directed by Dylan Weiss, shot by Andy Waruszewski and myself, in glorious HD, for free, on the web, right now, do it. What is the show about, you ask? I’ll let Dylan’s words take you through it:

Shot entirely in High-Definition because of the multi-platform nature of the project, ‘Twist The Throttle’ is an inside and behind-the-scenes look at eight of the major and/or most storied motorcycle manufacturers in the world, including; Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW, Ducati, MV Agusta and Bimota.

Segments showcase the remarkable histories of these brands, their manufacturing process, their R&D and of course their latest, greatest sportbikes. There’s also a cracking stop at Alpinestars, which sheads a bit of light on what goes into creating a state-of-the-art set of riding leathers. And just in case you’re curious there are some short behind-the-scenes films as well. All told over 4 hours content will be available and the best part is that it’s 100% free and no sign-up of any kind is required to watch it!

So there you have it, the answer to all of your dreams has finally arrived. I make some cameo appearances in the behind the scenes footage, look out for the jackass making wisecracks, that’s me. The theme of the trip was not knowing exactly where we were or how to get where we were going, augmented by exhaustion. The longest leg of the journey was 30 something hours of nonstop travel that put us on 3 continents and who knows how many countries (I think it was 4).

This was my highest profile gig to date as a camera operator; mostly I like to let other people handle the actual lighting and shooting, and professionally I do VFX, not set work. It was most definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunities, and I am extremely grateful to Dylan for asking me to come along for the ride. If you like motorcycles, or Japan and Europe, or HiDef video (presented in Standard Def on the web, but that’s another story…) or me, or any combination of the above, go check it out. Comments, thoughts, etc. are more than welcome!

 
 

2 Reasons Why I Don’t Care About The iPhone SDK:

Thursday, March 6th, 2008
 

iphone sdk announcement

Those of you ‘in the know’ heard Apple’s big announcement today, which included the release of the iPhone SDK (software development kit) for anyone who wants to create applications for the device. The SDK will make it easy for developers to create applications, which will be made available to download right on the phone or in the iTunes store. This is a huge announcement, and it means that all of those jailbroken phones out there will someday be brought back into the fold and their awesome powers brought to all of the rest of us who are too lazy or too afraid (I am in both camps) to risk breaking our iPhones. “But this is great news”, you say; so why the title of this post? It is pretty simple really:

  1. I am not a software developer.
  2. All of our phones won’t be updated to accept new third party applications until the software update to 2.0 in June. That is three months from now.

So basically, I don’t care what it can do- it doesn’t affect any of us in any way, so let’s just ignore it until it is actually about to come out and all of the details are really settled in.

 
 

“Single Serving” Sites

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
 

godsdamnit

A little while back, Kottke posted a great list of sites that only do one thing (and do it well). I spent a few minutes going down the list and was not disappointed once. Here are some good ones, but they are all good, so it’s better to go see the whole list.

Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle showcases all the lovely things that the presidential candidate has done for you.

Is It Christmas?

You can do anything at ZOMBO.com.

Beth Cherry keeps a single page blog with no archives.

Sweet ideas, all of them.

 
 

I F##king Hate Mondays

Monday, March 3rd, 2008
 


Not me, I love Mondays. But these guys effing hate them. Pretty funny stuff, compliments of Joe.