Archive for the ‘Cool Links’ Category

My New Favorite Thing

April 9, 2015 Comments off

The Apple II watch. Custom made, with instructions so you can make one, too!

Here’s an article with some more details (the floppy drives are just for show, unfortunately, but that boot-up screen is awesome). Things to notice – the little power notch on the top of the “monitor” – great touch. And check out the first comment on the article –  it’s from someone who should know a bit about this watch’s accuracy.


Baby, if you’ve ever wondered…

March 16, 2015 Comments off
For those of you too young to remember, WKRP in Cincinnati was a show about a radio station that lasted 90 episodes from 1978-1982. You may know it for the Thanksgiving Day episode, “Turkeys Away.”

I saw it mostly in reruns, but when it’s music licensing ran out (I’m guessing after about 10 years), rather than pay the ridiculous amounts of money for the original songs (lots of rock and roll, mostly), they instead replaced the music with “sound-alike” music that didn’t sound like the originals at all. In a few places they also had to replace the dialogue under the music, since there weren’t always separate audio tracks. They didn’t get the original actors back, and it sounded pretty horrible.
But even more than that, the music was a strong part of the show’s charm. It’s still a good show without the original soundtrack, but it was a really good show with that music. Here’s an article covering the Shout Factory!’s new re-issue of WKRP, with as much of the original music as anyone’s ever going get until it goes into public domain in about 100 years.
And here’s where to buy it (for $119! – complete with a short video of the Thanksgiving Day episode).
I’m so looking forward to hearing Foreigner “Hot Blooded” when Les gets ready for his date with Jennifer. I checked – it’s in there.

This Is Not the Film You Are Looking For

March 10, 2015 Comments off

Hey, look. It’s the rejection letter that United Artists sent to George Lucas about some movie he wanted to make called “The Star Wars.” What do you think ever happened to that script?

The Filmmaker Next Door

May 28, 2014 Comments off

Michael Mohan, director of Save the Date, and an old student of mine has an excellent review of Nicholas Stoller’s Neighbors. Whether you’ve seen the film or not, check out the review, because Michael does a great job of digging into a lot of what makes comedy work (and not work), as well as looking at Stoller’s career and where Neighbors fits in. And then Stoller adds a comment, which is kinda cool. Check it out.

Final Cut Studio, redux

May 26, 2014 3 comments

Oliver Peters has an interesting post about recreating the old Final Cut Studio with current non-Adobe or Avid products. I’m not sure what to think about his suggestions. A couple of notes to add to what he says.

First, he suggests Logic Pro as a replacement for Soundtrack Pro/Audition/Pro Tools (I like putting Pro Tools last in that list, just to be a curmudgeon). I did some research on audio software when we were moving from Final Cut Studio (at UCA, we settled on the Adobe Cloud), and found one instance anywhere online of someone doing a narrative feature in Logic Pro. And it was a guy who primarily did music, but thought he’d take a crack at a film.

Please correct me if I’m missing a group doing narrative sound mixes in Logic Pro, but what I kept finding was people saying that Logic is a great music creation tool, but just doesn’t cut it for narrative work. My take on it was that Logic Pro is laid out to handle notes and beats, not dialogue. I suspect that Oliver was suggesting it as a tool to augment doing your major audio mix in Premiere, which for an audio guy just isn’t a pretty concept.

I’m not a power user of Photoshop in any way, but is there any world where people don’t pass photoshop files back and forth? Again, I could be out of the loop, but working in something other than Photoshop feels like whenever someone gives me a file in Pages format, and I have to go bug someone with iWorks to convert it to something usable for me. I could easily use a program other than photoshop, given how simplistic my needs are, but I can’t imagine trying to work with anyone else while doing that.

The post side-steps DVD creation, saying that FCPX and Compressor can make simple DVDs, but that’s hardly what a client is looking for. I’m not using X, but the old FCP and Compressor DVD tools couldn’t completely hide the MS-DOS looking menus, and were pretty buggy. Of course, Adobe has left Encore out of the Cloud apps. Am I really the only person still making DVDs? I’m typing this right now while burning an hour-and-a-half program for a client. Where should I put that online that’s convenient for him to download and watch? DVDs are still relevant, and comic books used to be 25 cents!

Of course, I’m about to get a new laptop which does not include a DVD burner. We’ll see how that goes…

Wow, I didn’t mean this to be a negative reaction – I thought it was an interesting post, but turns out as I dig into it, life without the Final Cut Studio or Adobe is lacking.


Astaire Unwound

May 21, 2014 Comments off

Can’t believe no one ever thought to do this before. This is Fred Astaire’s famous ceiling dance from Royal Wedding. If you haven’t seen it before a) shame on you, and b) here it is (the good stuff starts about 1 minute in):

It’s a pretty famous scene, and I assume that most people know how it was done, but if you don’t; the room and the camera were both on a cylinder and would turn together. So when the room is turned upside-down, so is the camera. So he’s dancing on as the room (and camera) turns, and when he’s dancing on the ceiling, both the room and the camera are upside-down. Everything in the room is nailed down, except the couple of things that he handles, which are magnetic.

And here, someone composited a behind-the-scenes of how it was done, showing the room and camera as they rotate:

The coolest parts are the magnetic photo, and just thinking about the process. There wasn’t video playback back then, so they’d have to shoot it and hope it looked like what they wanted it to look like. Any re-shoots would be after the film was developed, processed, and projected to see if there’s anything that didn’t work. I don’t know, but I’m assuming they went through a version or two to make it look this good.

I Love FilmFreeway!

May 2, 2014 2 comments

filmfreewayAfter writing about it a few times (here and here), I finally started using FilmFreeway, the new film festival submission tool that’s aiming to compete with Withoutabox. And as much as Withoutabox is lousy, FilmFreeway is great.

The simplest explanation for how user-oriented FilmFreeway is: I set up my account, got two films ready to submit, and actually submitted one to a festival in less than 30 minutes, with no confusion. For those of you who’ve used Withoutabox – that’s pretty amazing, both in the short amount of time, and the lack of getting lost in byzantine menus designed for filmmakers with a marketing team and publicists.

There’s still room for improvement, two places in particular: First, the FF search tools are nice and simple, but could use a few more filters for genre or other specifics to help find the festivals that are good for your film. Second, if you have more than one film in FilmFreeway, it constantly defaults to the first one you put in. Yesterday, I submitted Sympathy Pains to about 15 festivals, but each time it would default to a short film that I had previously submitted to a different festival. If I forgot to change the default film, there was no way to change it once you hit “Save.” I had to delete the submission and re-submit the correct film.  It would be nice to be able to select the default film when you’re submitting to a number of festivals.

But those are small quips compared to the Soviet-era functionality that is Withoutabox. I also found a few festivals that had less expensive rates on FilmFreeway, which is nice.  And for Festivals, there’s no charge if you don’t charge filmmakers, which encourages free submission festivals, which are a lot of international ones.

Not every festival is on FilmFreeway, yet, so there’s still some use for Withoutabox, but the sooner they all get there, then the sooner Withoutabox will either have to improve their functionality or go away. And I’m happy either way.

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