Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dakota 2013 Live Concert Centerway Square

Friday, October 16, 2015

Down below...

In the post down below called "thoughts on the music Business", I mentioned how my radio and television professor commented about needle drop fees. here is what I wrote:

"From Professor Morriseau I got the term "needle drop fee." This term has been updated into several new terms, a mechanical fee, a synchronization fee, and some others."

I was reading today's Wall Street journal and have now found out that a :mechanical fee" actually dates back to music being printed on rolls of paper for player pianos.

Just an FYI.


Friday, October 2, 2015

The Martian

This is not meant to be a critic's review of The Martian, which stars Matt Damon, although it might read that way.

Hollywood is taking old music seriously, as Director Joe Gunn did with Guardians of the Galaxy, in Martian we are treated to old disco tunes, which are treated by the main character, Watney, as his backboard for what is supposed to be humorous self entertainment for Watney and witty repartee' for the movie viewer.

It didn't fall on my ears that way, probably because I have seen so many movies and so I expect something different instead of trite formulaic output.

It also is a rehash of several stories, not that this is bad, but it does become somewhat of a distraction when nothing new is offered. The old storylines in The Martian are: Robinson Crusoe (and I suppose to some degree Castaway), Herman Wouk's Caine Mutiny, which in and of itself is a retelling of a true story out of the US Navy, and probably out of old history in other naval settings, and the old story of "we never leave our man behind", which I suppose came out of some battle. Romantic and Hero, but not, for-the-most-part, reality based.

For myself, a somewhat nerdy, science kind of person, what I found interesting was the cobbling together of old tech to make it possible for the lost man to survive, and the creation of new ways to communicate were utilized to achieve the continuation of the rescue story.

The unexpected also came at a good time, spoiler alert, but I won't tell you when.

It also occurred to me how much of a blank canvas an actor has to be, repeating the lines as the script dictates and the way the Director wants them delivered. During the movie my thoughts went to Chris Carter's X-files and how Mulder and Scully deadpanned their lines. Whereas other Directors might ask people to go into a kind of hyperventilation of emotional output for the delivery of lines (think "YOU"RE NOT READY FOR THE TRUTH" as delivered by Jack Nicholson; implying that both characters are at the verge of coming to blows)(Has anyone ever seen lawyers duke it out? Please Hollywood don't do that. Thats just what our justice system needs.).

I have heard many of these lines before, which bothered me.

Kubrick didn't want that, he wanted deadpan line delivery and true tech speak, to achieve reality. And when Kubrick wanted to achieve real suspense he enhanced it with dead silence. Airlocks did not have a sound when it was in a vacuum environment. Hal wasn't going to open the airlock when commanded to (at the time a very different kind of mutiny), and when Dave blew the hinges, no sound was heard. That moment had an impact for the viewer because it was silent. Kubrick framed the beauty of space travel with The Blue Danube in the more laidback, we're-enjoying-flying-through-space scenes. So Kubrick generated a very real scene when Dave had to make his way in silence, silently into Hal's core to dismantle that Artificial Intelligence.

A very different use of audio to achieve the ends of the Director as opposed to The Martian.

It is like a line I read recently states, you can take the Stairway to Heaven or the Highway to Hell. One builds confidently towards an amazing end, the other steamrolls with a kind of pounding confidence. There isn't anything wrong with either, it is how it registers in the long term with the mind that either makes it a jack hammer endorphin laden remembrance to the brain or that we're going to hold our breath to hear the ending properly sung kind of neuron impulse on the grey matter.

I can find my way comfortably with either. But I expected more of The Martian.

And so I make a tangent comment about music today, it is all 4/4 timing. I can't recall the last time I heard a mainstream song in 3/3 or 2/3 timing like a waltz might be.

The Martian stays mainstream by following a typical movie output for a sci-fi genre movie.

The dialogue was also high school tough talk with expletives inserted here and there. As if tough people have to talk tough and use dirty language to make tough decisions and convince others to make tough decisions, and to elevate the importance of the moment with such talk as well.

I am not inclined to think NASA astronauts, let alone astronauts from any country, would do this. Maybe, in an aside moment. It made the movie seem to me to be appealing to high school male thinking.

The 3D was very good, except I now have noticed something about 3D, it seems layered, much like Max and Dave Fleischer created in some Popeye cartoons. This tells you how old I am that I see this. With each layer in The Martian, the layer itself appears to me to be 2 dimensional, as if several layers of 2D were layered together with proper spatial and temporal movement to give the appearance of 3D, but still not quite getting there, especially if you look closely at any given layer.

I picked up on this quickly when Richard Daniels opens the movie with his first lines and the way the camera pulls back, Mr. Daniels has a pasty-grey flat look about him.

But, on Hollywood's side of doing business, I think they choose some not so good repetition of old ways of doing business that they know still work, and sacrifice originality to make big bucks. I can't say I blame them, they are after all the experts; they are the machine.

I balance that though with movies that came out of original thinking like Sylvester Stallone's Rocky. I am sure there are others, but Hollywood has to keep the butter urn churning, and so original dialogue and story lines are few and far between.

I also think that non-sequiturs could have been put into the movie. I suspect Hollywood considers these distractors, and possibly money not wisely spent. Perhaps, or they might be foreshadows of what's to come in the future of a story franchise.

The Martian is a one off, there might be a future retelling of its storyline, but nothing tangent was introduced to tell us we can expect more that will continue this story.

For what its worth,


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New Concept camera in the works from Canon

Check out this news blurb about a cinema concept camera in the works from Canon:

That red line around the lens is an indication that this is part of Canon's luxury - best line of lenses.

In my opinion the discussion about it being 8k is important. It is an indicator of the camera's range of ability, and the article talks about 300 pixels per inch [summarizing] -approaching the limit of human visibilty-.

It is the same difference between a 2 watt audio amplifier and a 500 watt audio amplifier.

The 2 watt will be audible but probably won't reproduce great sound at all ends of its range of audio volume. The 500 watt unit will probably have better electronics in it, if the engineer that designed it was looking to build quality, and a better sound through most of its range of volume.

What this means is that even on smaller displays, like a smartphone, you will have a better picture, even if your smartphone has a poor display.

And if you have an 8k capable unit, you'll get near film quality resolution.

Keep in mind the eye, and the human brain, combined, is the ultimate resolver.

Read this for visual acuity of the human eye,

I like the part about 180,000 rods per square MILLIMETER at the fovea.

That is about 116 million rods per square inch if my math is right, or about 387 thousand rods per pixel.

The eye then brings a lot of definition, or resolution, to each pixel.

And keep in mind, a pixel on a monitor is easy to see when one goes out. A pixel on a camera pickup is pretty small and may go un-noticed without careful examination.

Film on the other hand works at the chemical level. You can't get much smaller than a molecule of silver halide, which coats film.

Therefore to say this camera is reaching the limits of human visibility is an interesting comment. If I had to tell the difference between one rod being one color and another rod being another color I don't suppose I could tell the difference.

The question is what is the limit of human visibility? How small does a pixel have to be before the human eye and the brain together can't tell the difference between one pixel and the pixel next to it?


Monday, May 11, 2015

My other movie trailer submission.

The Senticus:

Check out this trailer from Project Imagination: The Trailer and get inspired to create your own.

One of my movie trailer submissions

Get Paid to Play:

Check out this trailer from Project Imagination: The Trailer and get inspired to create your own.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Furthering the discussion of making a motion picture film...

Today I asked Google what issues are present when working with motion picture film.

Here is one page that came back:

This page discusses many issues. It is worth the read, and clearly indicates how big the mountain is when trying to make a major motion picture.


Postscript to the above:


Saturday, March 21, 2015


I recently was listening to NPR radio and heard a piece of jazz music by The Maureen Choi Quartet:

Maureen Choi at Reverb Nation

They played "Feelin' Good".

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and when I heard the announcer give the name of the group I went and looked for it online and found the above website.

As well as being music I enjoyed, Reverbnation seems to be an interesting website for one specific reason, it appears you can get your music onto iTunes by being a Reverbnation member.

On the downside, Reverbnation has a lot of ins and outs and is difficult to figure out. There are a couple ways to promote your music, and this had me confused. I am not convinced that paying for promotion is the way to go, but Reverbnation has a pay to play angle.

Considering I heard the Maureen Choi Quartet on NPR, it appears it works, if this was the only way the quartet promoted themselves and ended up on NPR I'd say that is pretty good..

Another downside to Reverbnation is the webpage has en embedded player system. Chrome does not initialize the player correctly so I had to listen via Firefox and/or Explorer. fyi.


Saturday, March 14, 2015


Hi everyone,

I am looking for some help.

I want to enter this contest to create a trailer of this storyline:

Here is the contest site:

A 60 second trailer is the end result. And about 45 days left to produce it in.

I am looking for someone pretty good at CGI to create a couple clips.

The first scene will be a dorm room at night with two guys drinking beer that aren't supposed to be drinking beer after hours (and they are too young as well), and they are carrying on a conversation with a third guy who is asleep and talking in his sleep.

I can produce this part.

The next clip is this same talking-in-his-sleep guy looking up into the sky and seeing a mother ship appear in the clouds along with earth based aircraft (the bigger and more intense and dominating looking the better). He glances around to see a few other people also take notice of the ship arriving, and then a flurry of activity when other ships also arrive.

I will need help here. I have not done this kind of video editing, compositing or CGI creation.

Cut to the next scene where people are running, and then some aliens walking about malevolently.

...then the end clip, which will involve a climax of some sort, I haven't figured this out yet. Input is welcome.

What do we get?

The opportunity to get to know each other and perhaps create a team that can do more in the future as well as entry into this contest.

Here is the contest link again:

My email is :  crystalcityacademic    (at)    gmail   dot   com.



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

As I keep working towards making a feature film...

As I keep working towards making a feature film I keep learning new aspects of how to, and I keep learning more about myself. For instance I found out yesterday that I can discern 36 of the 39 colors present in this chromatograph from a story by LinkedIn:

LinkedIn article

It is interesting as it brings back an old discussion of whether or not we all see the same thing. Clearly this diagram above indicates we don't see the same as each other. Additionally women can also hear a different range of sounds than men.

I also don't hear the same range of sound as most of you reading this. I can hear old analog TV sets when the sound is turned off. My belief is I hear the actual buzzing of the electronic color guns in the back of the tube racing across the TV screen forming the image. All I know is when I walk into a room with an analog TV on, and no sound is audible, I know the TV is there.

And I read a statistic recently of how the movie business is now predominantly male oriented. That the majority of people acting, around 70 percent are males, and women make up about 30 percent.

How do you feel about that?

As I was watching the Robert Relyea produced movie Bullitt starring Steve McQueen over the last few days I was looking to see how the color of the film creates the world the story takes us into. From there I did some research on Arriflex cameras.

Arriflex cameras are making the claim now that they have such high rez on their cameras it is better than film (I believe it is referred to as double hi-def). That is backwards thinking. The ultimate resolver is the eye. And the rods and cones on the retina, and the subsequent transfer to the brain. Film has always been king because it resolves at a molecular level chemically which obviously is smaller in detail than rods and cones.

I was part of a Master's degree seeker's exploration into this neck of the woods about 15 years ago. I made the comment/conclusion that people are going to prefer to live in the composed reality of the digital rather than live in the real world. Max Headroom stuff.

Now though with Photoshop and digital imaging, histograms and such color can be manipulated in amazing ways.

Where is the line between the real and the unreal of virtual reality?

"Ship in a Bottle"

My brother concluded about 20 years ago that we will soon be able to place ourselves into movies as any character we want. In many ways in the world of the gamer this already exists.

I once predicted that our video phones will be answered by avatars of ourselves that we create for the times we don't answer. But I am mistaken. Once upon a time the answering machine was just what one needed to catch messages left when you weren't able to get to the phone. Now though, no one leaves messages anymore, let alone listen to them if you do leave one.


One last thought, check out this set of responses to a google search I just did about Vinyl making a comeback:

The Week, Vinyl comes full circle

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cameras Used by Sundance 2015 Filmmakers & Why They Chose Them

This is of interest to anyone making a production. I repost this for you to read:

lately, for myself, I have been looking into the purchase of the Sony A6000 mirrorless Digital SLR, and Sigma lenses to put on it.

Here is a review that makes me a believer as to why this is a good choice in a camera.

The problems I am now faced with are:

1 - I am not working in my field of expertise, and so I am not making enough money to afford one of these.

2 - I also want a drone setup. Despite the issues with laws and people taking a poor attitude about drones, here are some videos that show how wonderful having a drone photography/video system can be:


How can you not love the perspective the drone has from above?

I have been thinking I might ask for help and do a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to ask for the funds to purchase BOTH systems.

That's about $6 thousand dollars worth of help. And then I have to learn to use them to their BEST advantage so they will pay for themselves.

Wish me luck,

- Chuck

Furthering our abilities...

My friend in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ethan Bach posted this link to rebusfarm.

More and more it is becoming possible for the smaller art interests to make BIG productions. The above link is to a server farm that anyone with a few dollars can rent and put to our own disposal rendering high end pieces of work.