Translate

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My Canon Powershot SX530 HS


I have been taking many pictures with my new Canon Powershot Camera.

Earlier this year I became concerned on what can be done if you have a grey day. What can you do to help colors?

The Powershot has a feature I have decided helps this issue. On grey days I use the Vivid color feature to brighten colors. I think this feature works too well, so I end up bringing the photo into Photoshop and de-saturating the image just ever so slightly to make it look better than it did on the auto setting but not so much color as to make it look fake.

The problem with is the colors are not natural, but they are colorful compared to the grey tones.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

White balance for different color.


Today I went out to take pictures. It is a very good day for taking pictures. I prefer, presently, days with very low humidity. Humidity in the atmosphere tends to light up a little bit and it ends up in your photograph as a kind over lightening of your image. Your eye sees this and your mind accommodates it. Your camera though takes it all in.

My Canon Powershot flashed a little thumbnail sign at me today. It suggested I change my white balance settings. I had set my white balance about 2 weeks ago on a very bright sunny day. The manual setting on the Powershot uses that white balance.

It is important to update your manual white balance at each new location you use. I hadn't done that so I took out a white piece of paper and re-calibrated the white balance. I used the back of a receipt at first, and it turned the color tones in the view finder green.

I tried again, same results.

Then I went back to the mini-van and puled out a sheet of typewriter paper and stuck it on the back windshield under the rear windshield wiper which had the direct sun beaming down on it. I got a great white balance then, the colors looked great in the view finder afterwards. Or so I thought.

I took some more pictures. The Autumn colors are really on right now. But I wasn't seeing the same bright colors in the view finder. I went back to the white balance settings and changed the setting to fluorescent.

Big difference. But I am not sure the colors are any better. I think I prefer using the white balance I calibrated better than changing to the fluorescent mode for outdoors under sunshine.

The difference I am seeing is a kind of slight reddening and maybe a little bit of browning to the captured image.


Friday, October 14, 2016

The Autumn Colors



Over the next 2 weeks the Autumn Colors are going to become brilliant. A friend of mine told me today that the trip out to his farm, about an hour away, was particularly spectacular.

I will post some links to my photo blog at 500px.com for you to take a look at the nice colors the trees are showing us this year.


500px.com


I have been posting my photographs to 500px.com.

I found this site about 2 years ago and enjoy the features it has. I started with it because I rented a camera to shoot video of a concert in 2013 and as part of the rental I got a discount card to 500px.com.

So I opened an account.

500px.com keeps adding features that I enjoy, and I keep discovering more features as I look through the dashboard and other available links.

A couple weeks ago I created a 500px portfolio of my photos. I used the statistics feature to help decide which photographs would become a part of my current portfolio. And I have already taken the first photos down and placed new pictures in my portfolio.

500px.com has an algorithm called Pulse. I have no idea what the parameters are to generate the Pulse figure for one of my photos is but with it and the number of views my photos receive I make decisions on which photos seem to be right for my portfolio.

Here is a link to my current portfolio:  http://photoplane.500px.com/

I have noticed the portfolio seems to soften the focus of my pictures. That bothers me a little because sharp looking photos are important, especially for my landscape images and I hope to sell photographs from this site. I suspect the photos get processed through a Flash system. Flash is falling out of favor as a web display system because of security issues.

The portfolio presentation is extremely good except for that issue.

I would rather you look at my photos right off the photo tiles though, located here:

https://500px.com/photoplane

When you click on any of those tiles you get to see the pictures as clearly as I see them through the camera.

a cloned account



I had a strange thing happen the other day.

I re-named an online account of mine and a cloned account was created at the same time.

So my old account got a new name, and the clone took the old name and added a numeric 1 to the end of it.


I sit here and ponder this.


My immediate reaction was to email tech support because I thought something malicious happened. I thought perhaps a hacker had somehow managed to be waiting at the right moment and then when I re-named the account, because there was a credit card attached to the old account, and money applied to the old account (which meant the account fell into a higher category of user type, it became more significant in a number of ways (better dashboard controls, statistics and so on)), and this is reaching a bit admittedly, but that extra gave it a little more life, so to speak.

Which made me wonder.

I informed tech support and they deleted the new clone account.

It begs the question... did the data that made up that old account want to come to life and because it was threatened by my wanting to give my account a new name it decided to give birth to itself as a clone?


Think about this. The implications are quite significant. What if this Universe was created in much the same way?

What if, as the Gnostics believe, there was only a single all one-ness and some part of that one-ness wanted its freedom, and the other part decided the new part needed a new name and in so naming the new, a clone of the old was created?

For those of you that know the Gnostic storyline this makes sense. I'll leave this discussion there for now.

It begs another question... Did I inadvertently kill off a new form of life?

What would the clone have done had it continued? Would I have had to keep "feeding it" new content? Would it have eventually expired itself on its own?


The online service this happened with is a photography site. There are literally millions of photographs on this site.

Is it possible by so much human input, so much intense interest in the photos uploaded that those collective thoughts, at the right moment, given the right conditions, when I decided to re-name my account, gave birth to the clone?





Thursday, September 8, 2016

Using the Macro ability of your digital camera.


My digital camera, the Canon SX530 Powershot has been very nice to me. One of the things I noticed that was not so nice are the measurements scale for the macro zoom functions. Macro zoom, for those of you who don't know, is for shooting extremely close to a subject. 1 to 6 inches is close. Some people like to take a picture that is even closer.

My camera was set to metric measurements and while I understand the accuracy of the metric system, I switched mine to inches so I could better use the macro ability. I know what 1 and 2 inches looks like, whereas I don't know what 50cm looks like.

'Having written that though, I set the macro focus to 1 inch and then put the camera about 1 inch away from this keyboard I am using. The letter G was still a little out of focus.

My point is trust what your eyes see as focused, and then take the picture.

The Powershot has an interesting feature that I can't presently take advantage of. I can connect an HDMI device.

I mentioned this a few posts ago. If I could carry around a tablet or some other large self powered screen device, a Macbook Pro, or an iPad with a Lightroom type of application I could use that large screen to really see how well my subject is focused.

And of course, some subjects, like a moving hummingbird, don't allow you the time, so you have to trust the camera to capture as best as it can for you.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Here is...



Here is a gallery of my vertically oriented (vertoramas) and large photographs (click the link below the photo to go see the gallery please):



Vertorama Gallery



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Interesting feature of the Canon Powershot camera.


This observation probably applies to most cameras that are newer DSLR and HiDEF digital video cameras.

I have started to get used to my new Canon Powershot SX530 and found that it has two ports built into it. I was a little surprised that neither was a USB computer connection. Both ports are A/V outputs.

One is HDMI, the other connection I am not presently familiar with.

What this allows for is to connect an external screen to the camera. Like an Apple iPhone or better yet the large iPad because now you can use the iPad in place of the camera LCD screen to compose and manage the scene you are going to shoot still pictures or video with. A larger screen means you will be able to adjust focus and lighting before shooting and get the best image acquisition possible.

If you have an iPad, make the connection and use the pad as your viewscreen.

Additionally, you can load a Lightroom application into the pad, and use the camera, the iPad, and Lightroom in live, real-time situations at the same time to compose, color adjust, and get incredibly sharp focus as well as manipulate the scene all before shooting it.

This will raise the quality of your photos.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Back to cameras...



I now have 4 cameras. I recently added a Canon Powershot SX530 HS.

This is a nice little camera.

The first aspect I enjoyed learning was the 200 power zoom. It is 160 power optical with digital zoom that really extends the reach, and with a tripod you can get a good picture with the 160 power zoom. The digital zoom, while impressive to be able to zoom in on something so far away, the quality of the image drops off and begins to pixel-ize.

This pixelization can be both good and bad. A degraded image can add to how the image plays to the story being told.

If for example the 200 power zoomed picture were to be examined in some kind of procedural way, for example if the story is using the image to explain how something happened for forensic or other reasons and is viewed as an element inside the main frame of the picture then it adds to the way the story plays. This can also go the other way, by using the camera in its movie mode and being zoomed all the way at 200x, the story might be enhanced in a negative space kind of way, depicting amateur imaging to unfold the story from an unscholarly point of view, or the vision of an alien presence or a collection of evidence, or proof that something is out there, but mystery remains as part of the zoomed imagery might not be completely discernible, making it necessary for the characters in the story to go view or investigate further, thus moving the story further along, and not reducing the viewer's involvement with the story. In other words, it helps to convince the story line and does not detract from the story line, depending on how it is used.

I am still learning the camera and am loving it.  It has a hybrid feature of taking a few seconds of video and then tacks a still image image at the end of that movie clip, so you could shoot 20 or 30 minutes and have a kind of digest of hybridized video and still shots that tell a short story.

For example a journalist might be on the scene of a story and be shooting like this as a set of visual notes for memory refreshment at a later time. This then could be incorporated into a much larger story in a feature length movie. And since it is a new technique I will be working in a new field of still and video hybridization. New is not always better, I like this though.

The camera also allows you to learn the inverse qualities of aperture and shutter and how they affect each other. There is a fixed shutter setting where the camera will automatically set the aperture and a setting that goes the other way fixing aperture and automatically adjusting shutter speed. After enough use your mind will start to understand how these two aspects of photographing and acquiring moving image play together to give you good and great imagery.

The camera also has an excellent high speed feature, it can take burst mode shots. Each image is 4 megapixels, which isn't great quality, but still pretty good, and this setting allows you to acquire 20 or 30 photos of high speed action.

It is a 16 megapixel camera with a nice mix of automatic and manual features, from white balance to a nice fish-eye lensing effect I can easily recommend this for the beginning photographer and you'll get great photographs by just using the automatic features, and you'll get to learn professional photography concepts as this scales up in difficulty of use by adding in manual settings a little at a time.

And since I want to make a feature movie I really like its sound recording ability. It captures stereo sound, and so far (I haven't really put the audio recording to the test yet by going into a live concert for example) it is a pretty good audio recorder.


Interesting aspects of my science fiction story keep showing up in the news.


My science fiction story series, The Diegisis Series, keeps getting more interesting to me and to my online readers.

You can find copies of the stories here:

Spark Gap and Seeds of the Three Suns

As I was writing the story and eventually got to the part about Larry DeVaryo building his electron lab, and the ensuing electrical firestorm that came out of that, and Larry's adventure dealing with hundreds of balls of ball lightning that Larry accidentally created, I came across this story out of China about Ball Lightning being observed in nature for the first time:

Ball lightning recorded and seen for the first time in China.

The second item that made it into the news recently was this discovery of mysterious solid spheres and reported here:

Youtube number 9 and number 2

And here in the UK Telegraph:

UK Telegraph article.

While these items probably aren't related in anyway, and probably don't prove any kind of other earthly or alien presence, they do make the Diegisis stories a little more realistic and fun to read.

Realistically, I expect that the mysterious spheres, much like the ice age created natural rectangular rock formations, will prove to be just that -natural formations. BUT, in the Diegisis Series Sieffas is a small dragon and those mysterious spheres might be some of the moons of Voryon.

Now what do you suppose they could be doing here?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Where do you get your music?



A while back I started to research music and how you can put it in your movie.

I have come up with a couple answers to this.

One. You can go the hard route, which is probably worth it if you can get a decent song and marry it to your movie appropriately.

The hard route is via the Harry Fox agency and or any other licensing mechanical fee (needle drop fee) enterprise that has the ability to provide you permission, for pay, to use a song by an artist in your movie.

Be prepared to go through a lot of steps to get to where you want to be with this route. Big name bands can be pretty sensitive about giving clearance to their music.

And it'll cost you a lot of money, either up front for usage rights or on the back end as a part of the film profits.

Two. You can also find production music in various places. Do a Google for it and you will find some good leads on production music. You have to be careful with production music though. A couple of the sites I found have little stipulations on how you can use the music they offer. For example, in one case, after reading the licensing and use material I discovered I could buy the music but I wasn't allowed to alter it in anyway.

What good is that in today's mixology world?

Radio stations have production music libraries. I can't recommend these production libraries as you can tell the energy that makes a great piece of music simply isn't there.

Having said that, keep looking and searching, you can find production music that kicks ass and isn't by a name band. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars to be allowed to license it for your work.

Here is the problem with route number two: other productions can also find the same music and purchase it and put it in their movie as well.

I had it happen where I bought a piece of artwork only to have someone later tell me they saw the same piece of artwork elsewhere. That kind of news kind of sucks.

But...  There is some great production music out there that is reasonably priced.

Three. Make your own music. There are places on the web where you can find online music machines. I found a lot of them going through Stumble Upon. These machines can be a little bit of a challenge to master, but you are nearly guaranteed to have a unique piece of music, even if someone else comes along and uses the same machine to put music in their movie. The chances both of you will compose the exact same piece of music is slim to none, but you could find yourself watching someone else's movie and listening to what sounds like your song, when it isn't. That would be a kind of a surprise. I think the best use of these machines is for short movie stings, like if someone turns a corner and discovers something surprising like a meteor tearing through a hallway wall.

Four. Find a local band that wants their music out there. I have found a few of these here locally. One gentleman is an incredible free form gospel player. He can't read music and simply plays by ear.

In this case I am a little hesitant because he may be playing someone else's music and simply not know it.

In another case I found a local group of young musicians and these guys are amazing to listen to. BUT, I am not sure their music is what I would call suitable for a movie. Its kind of like saying Frank Zappa or Iggy Pop might not be right for the Sound of Music, or the John Phillip Souza doumanetary film, it might be as a contrast, but probably not good to demonstrate marching music.

Having said that, I haven't listened to this local band's entire repertoire. They have hours and hours of music, and what is particularly interesting is they apply a kind of free form playback of the songs, so each time they play it is a little bit different.

I like that. The trouble becomes getting a decent studio recording of them. That can be a challenge as they almost always have their own lives to make and their schedules don't always mesh easily with yours.

-C

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Remember? I said crossover films?



A few posts ago I mentioned that I thought it seemed likely that there will be crossover films from the Marvel Universe, DC Comics and whatever. Here is the latest news touting Fox joining up with Marvel to make that exact thing happen:






Friday, June 24, 2016

I went to Finding Dory today.


Finding Dory is the follow up film to Finding Nemo.

I didn't see Finding Nemo but I did enjoy Finding Dory.

The voice casting was great.

And Disney/Pixar animation is great.

I was a little surprised to see credits roll at the beginning of the movie. In the past this usually meant that the story of the movie was going to somehow end in such a way that people probably wouldn't sit through the credits at the end, and so the production moves the credits to the beginning of the film.

My college professor made a statement once that, if you find yourself in the movie business, or in television, watch the credits. It is after all why you are in the business. To see your name up there.

The story hit a little hard for me. The story is about a blue tang, a type of salwater fish, named Dory, who has short term memory loss. It was fun for the kids in the theater to see someone go through the problems of short term memory loss.

For me though it struck home in a different way. At this time I am living with my 93 year old mother, and she is beginning to have issues with short term memory loss.

The question it raises for me is how do you go about dealing with this?

As I sat there I began to feel guilty for being in the theater and leaving her at home alone.

She really needs to have someone around to help her. Not so much to take care of her as she seems to be doing okay. She can get her food and make her way to and from bed, she still balances her bills and checkbook but that particular chore is becoming difficult and she has always made it a point in her life to balance her checkbook often. Short term memory is taking that away from her.

It will eventually, if we all live to be that old, take it away from us as well.

I have been trying to figure out how to gracefully meet the eventual cross roads I am coming to. I will at some point have to find work somehow that will be adequate for me to live the rest of my life on. And I will have to leave her.

The medical experts will tell you to go.

It is not so easy.

In the last few years Mom has been preyed upon. She answered some spam emails over the last few years and was caught up in some scams. Fortunately I was here, and helped to stop them.

But now I am thinking what is the next one going to be. And can I take the risk of leaving, knowing someone might take another opportunity to make mischief at her expense.

The last scammer came right to the door and asked for her electric bill. He may have been legitimate however he wasn't wearing anything like a uniform and didn't leave a business card, and he wasn't driving a company car, and there wasn't any advance notice he was coming to visit.

The American economy has fallen so much that many Americans can't make enough money to live without thinking about how they can make some more money.

It is a difficult nut to crack.

Out of this there is a predator spirit at work to take, even if it means taking from little old ladies.

The United States, if you read a book called Plan B, Mobilizing to Save Civilization (I have only gleaned a few pages here and there in it), you find out that other countries are also desperate. Countries are renting land in other countries to raise foods to bring back to their own countries to feed their people.

I share this feeling of desperation, although I try to minimize it as much as possible, because I am coming to this crossroads I mentioned earlier.

Finding Dory is a story about a Tang that loses its family, but somehow makes it way across the ocean and back again to find its family.

I empathized with the emotional content through this story.

NPR ran a story recently about how this movie will have an impact on ocean fish. The scientist in the NPR story is concerned that people will want to have saltwater aquariums and fish as pets.

I am inclined to agree and to share this concern.

Our oceans are over fished, and recently I have been made aware that eating fresh water fish is not good for you, that there are now so many contaminants in our fresh waters that it is starting to border on being a health hazard to do so.

The term Walt Kelly made via his character known as Pogo comes to mind. We are our own worst enemy, we have met the enemy and he is us.

One more thing about movie credits and the end of the movie, sit through until the end. More and more the movies are adding snippets to the end of the credits worth seeing. Finding Dory ran the credits and then had about 5 more minutes of movie to watch.

Disney really knows how to make movies.

A long time ago I watched a movie at a theater in Hollywood. I want to say it was The Egyptian, but now I have taken the time to look via Google and I am not so sure it is the theater called the Egyptian in present day Hollywood. Whatever theater it was, what a cool looking theater it was.

The movie was Outland with Sean Connery and Peter Boyle. Outland is a remake of the Gary Cooper movie, High Noon. At the end of Outland when the bad guys got beat, the entire audience cheered and clapped. That's Hollywood for you.

They are really into the movies there.

I make it a point now to sit through to the end... and clap even if I am the only one left in the theater.




Sunday, June 5, 2016

I went to...


I went to X-Men Apocalypse, the movie, yesterday. May 4th, 2016.

Ultimate, ultimate, ultimate. Ultimate anything is a kind of hard wall to bounce off of.

In one of the Ironman movies Tony has a one use weapon that sends out a searing, slicing laser type of linear light beam, and he swirls it around taking out all the attacking 'Droid robots.

I think it is Don Cheadle in the other suit and Tony says, "Duck". Tony spins, and cuts all the robots in half or other sections.

Apocalypse was the same kind of thing. The ultimate villain. It took all of the X-Men simultaneously working together to bring down and destroy Apocalypse.

I like that premise, cooperation is what pulls us all together to overcome obstacles.

But I also found it interesting that for an X-Men movie the theater was nearly empty. There were only about 6 or 7 us sitting there.

That really bothered me.

But that is off topic. The topic is Ultimate anything, Apocalypse was the ultimate alternative God-villain posing as God.

There could have been an interesting tie-in to the DC Universe and the New Gods. Stan Lee published both, I suspect we will at some point, if the comic book movies maintain audience numbers, start to see crossover story lines, with Ironman battling Batman and similar.

Each comic book realm has its ultimate bad guy. Thanos in the Marvel realm, Apocalypse for X-Men, Darkseid for the DC comics.

Which makes me think the comic book movies are getting away from the way they were when I read them all those years ago. That was then, this is now. Sure I agree.

Let me inform you though that Marvel comics during the 60s and 70s were full of deep conversation with the characters thinking out their decisions. There wasn't a lot of biff, boom, bang then. Which is one of the reasons I liked to stick to DC comics because, like all procedural story telling, they found a problem, found a cure, and fixed it, fighting included. But since then and now we have had the rise of the WWE, the WWF, the UFC, the internet and the doing away with boxing, for the time being.

We glorify the fight. But we do so in a way that is unreal. But by doing so we send the message that the way to solve problems is to fight.

In my college classes my cinema studies class and my cinema studies textbook made the point that war, fighting, is the ultimate conflict. I think what I am reaching for is that life isn't always about the quick fix fight. Dominating someone via pugilism, fighting is not the way that always works. In fact it sends a sublime message to those that view it that it is okay to fix problems by getting into a fight.

Life is not about the quick fix fight, not even close.

Duking it out with your dentist will probably only get you more cavities.

To the untrained mind, the quick fix fight sends the message that this is the way to fix your problems. No it is not the way to fix your problems. The problems we deal with in life are more complex than that. You have to choose a school, that isn't a fight thing, you have to choose a car, that isn't a fight thing, you have to choose your work place, that isn't a fight thing.

I admit it might be a kind of path to take to simply fight, dominate and get the problem out of the way.

Look at what happened to Loki. He got his butt kicked, destroyed Asgard and then made himself King. What good is it to destroy the thing you fight for?

Which is why I kept looking at my watch all through the Apocalypse movie.

When I look back to the Avengers movie where they are at Hawkeye's family home, I enjoyed the conversational tone that took place between he and his partner. They have a family. They were trying to decide which is more important. They were going back to that 60s and 70s conversational tone in the comics that I didn't like in the 60s and 70s. I liked it in that movie though.

I am a lot older now.

As Apocalypse peaked, it did not pique my interest. It did point to Magneto dealing with his loss, but somehow in the heat and stress of that battle it lost meaning for me. Like the conversation wasn't so important, that what was important was the spectacle, and taking it to its peak. The added in talking about Magneto's family loss had no poignancy, the emotional content of his life and loss was diminished by the extent of the mind blowing special effects ultimate mayhem making taking place.

And when I left the theater I didn't feel like I had learned anything new. It was another incredibly violent, unbelievably intense fight, from one end of the movie to the other, except Quicksilver. That was a nice interlude that did work for me. But all else felt empty for me.

In the DC world and the Marvel comics of old there was usually some kind of take away that stuck with you.

For instance, the word caveat. The first time I read that was in a comic book. That isn't all I wish for out of the movies these days. Some simple take away, like Groot saying We are Groot.

Apocalypse proudly proclaimed at the end credits that 15,000 people worked on the movie. That is an amazing statistic, and well worth being proud of, but then the now typical tag ending of the movie came along. The tag ending is that part of the movie that hints at the next movie from the same storyline.

What bothered me about the X Men movie that ended with the four horsemen, alluding to this very movie, Apocalypse, is there weren't any horsemen in this movie at all. And the tag on this movie was lost on me. I think it is because I am not following the stories in the comic books.

Maybe I missed it. I missed the easter eggs in the other movies.

It is probably my fault because I simply can't afford to buy the new comic books. I have my real job to think about and my 93 year old Mom to keep an eye on, and I have to think about people trying to prey on her because she answers spam from the internet or she picks up the phone and they say it is Publisher's Clearinghouse when in fact it is another scam team from who knows where.

Where are the heroes that deal with real life issues like that in the comic book movies?

They aren't there in real life are they? You don't see the comic book characters in real war scenarios. There may be a backdrop that looks like real war, but it isn't real war in the current day. You can't have that. Think about why that is.

How long then can the comic book world movie genre keep us coming back to the theater?

Which brings me back to cross-over movies. I think that will start to be the end of the run.

When Superman comes around to beat Thanos, and Hulk comes around to beat Darkseid in a tied to each other ring battle, and Rocky Balboa comes around in Tony Stark's Ironman suit to beat whomever is going to replace the ultimate X Men threat as Apocalypse reborn.

I probably will go to a few more comic book movies, but I will also be looking for the new genre that is going to come along, or the new sleeper hit movie of the year to come along.

And I will be looking for the take away, because I want to learn something new from these movies.

Because the comic book movies are hitting a wall. The Ultimate wall. You have to be careful with ultimate weapons, you can only use them once, and ultimate villains, because you can only use them once. Once you have defeated them, because they were supposed to be the ultimate villain, they couldn't have been, so we were mislead into thinking they were in the first place.

The ultimate villain is ourselves. Pogo is right. We are our own worst enemy.

But war, in real life, we keep using that over, and  over   and      o  v    e      r. To create others as the ultimate enemy.

So then, something else has to come along to change the diet. Variety, the spice of life. What the box office keeps looking to feed us constantly.

------------

Today is now June 6th, 2016. I am going to apologize for the above post. A couple posts ago I posted the relationship matrix. I posted that because I believe that is important that we stay positive. If you look at the relationship matrix, the ideal is to be in the actively constructive and positive parts of the relationship matrix. It isn't easy, which is why I believe I need to apologize.

In the above post, yesterday, I went off negative. Bryan Singer, the Director, and everyone that worked on that picture worked hard to bring it to us. The above post isn't fair to them.

The positive part of the movie for me was Quicksilver. As soon as he made his entrance and the slow motion fun started taking place I was into it. And there is now the prospect he will meet his Dad.

Let's hope that is a positive, and lasts a long time.




Tuesday, May 31, 2016

From the "for what it is worth" department.


Every so often, when I am doing my research, I think I find pretty good answers.

I found an interesting article about relationships here:

http://www.businessinsider.com/lasting-relationships-rely-on-traits-2015-11

And I would further describe a good relationship on what I call the X principle.

See the graphic below:


And I found another Walter Murch video worth watching:



There are several take-aways from this video.

-Charles


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Check out my online science fiction story Spark Gap:



Here is Part Two of my Science Fiction Story:

Cool stuff I have available for sale.

Today I am writing about the above link, which takes you to my Zazzle webpages, which has merchandise I have put together for purchase. It is interesting how this site works. I do wish they were a little more generous with the royalty they offer. I made $3.86 off of a 49 dollar sale recently.

I think that is backwards, but mine is only an opinion.

There are other sites like this out there like cafepress. There are also sites you can have your own custom made board games created.

http://mashable.com/2009/09/05/sell-products-online/#vOnRx3BjIqq9

I probably won't make a million dollars, but the odd little cash these sites bring in makes life a little easier, it also gives a creative type incentive to keep creating.

-CB



Monday, May 23, 2016

In my quest to make a movie...



In my quest to make a movie I keep thinking of questions and ask them of Google, and a website called Quora.

There is a fork in the road there in such a quest (making a movie). I watched JJ Abrams the other day, the Director of Star Trek movies and the latest Star Wars movie, and he says it is easy to make a movie these days, but he doesn't go on about how to make one, and his statement leaves out answering the question of how to go about making a major motion picture for national and international release.

I am not sure if the link I am about to post helps, but it reads like it is on track as of this writing, May 23 2016.

Follow this link, it goes to a webpage that tells about the 65 steps to make a movie:

http://www.filmmakingstuff.com/the-official-65-step-film-production-checklist/

And while I am at it, I just found this website:

http://www.screenplay.com/


But I suggest that if you are a writer, you probably want to find a program called Scrivener, it is here:

I like the pricing for Scrivener better, but my research suggests major studios use Movie Magic products when making a film.

So there is the fork in the road, going Big Budget and all the way to Hollywood?

Or Create Space and Youtube and Vimeo and festivals?

Also, something that keeps recurring to me is that awards are nice but money is probably better. I probably will change my mind about this some day.

And I think it is worth watching this Youtube clip of George Lucas about Joy.






Sunday, May 22, 2016

Translator for your ear:


Check this out:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/05/17/groundbreaking-gadget-claims-to-fit-in-your-ear-and-translate-fo/


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Every so often...



Every so often I cruise through pages I don't normally cruise through while reading online and find interesting new things, and old things.

So I found this a few minutes ago:

Polaroid Instant Cameras Making a Comeback

Click that link.

It takes you to a story in today's Wall Street Journal.

           _
                         /_)
                       (8_))}-  .
                         \_)      '.
                            .--.    .
           , .-.-,_,       :    '. .'
           )`-.>'` (        '---'`;
          /     `\  |             .
          |       | |          _.'
           \     / /         .'
           `=(\ /.=`         '
            `-;`.-'           '._
              `)|     ,           ` ' ' '   '  '
               ||  .-'|
             ,_||  \_,/
       ,      \|| .'
       |\|\  , ||/
      ,_\` |/| |Y_,
       '-.'-._\||/
          >_.-`Y|
         `   ,_||
              \||
               ||
          jgs  ||
               |/
 

Monday, May 16, 2016

WALTER MURCH 2015: FCPX, AVID, PREMIERE PRO



Non-Linear Editing Systems as a October 2015.

Listen for it: "Thirteen people in the edit room..."

        Listen for it;"The workflow has changed in the last four years..."

Listen for it: 25 tracks of audio - a deal breaker, because he regularly uses 50 tracks of audio.





Sunday, May 8, 2016

Marvel's Captain America:Civil War


I went to see Captain America: Civil War today. The title gives away the basic plot line, the super hero team becomes divided, and essentially a 2.5 hour WWF brawl takes place.

It is fun the way the interplay with Spiderman and Ant Man occurs during the movie. I missed the Hulk.

I did notice some technical aspects that enhance the fight scenes. The trick during fight scenes being used is strobing. By cutting a frame or two here and there the smooth cinematic movement that gives movies its immaculate visual appeal instead becomes somewhat jagged, thus giving the fight scenes an edgy quality. It isn't present in all of the fights.

I actually don't like this optical illusion because I see it. And because I see it I know it is there to sway my visual mind.

Personally the most amazing fighter ever was Bruce Lee. I don't believe his fights look repetitive, except that he always won.

There are three interesting new aspects to the story line in Civil War.

The first is the political repercussion of the vigilante superheroes beating the bad guys in all of the films to date, but now the penalty of unbridled fighting is met with consequence. Politicians and politics and the Law attempt to take away the superheroes fighting.

They eventually refuse, and then begin unbridled fighting again regardless of damage and consequence.

The second is subtle. The story line makes an argument that it is in fact okay to kill people.

I suppose this is to be expected because terrorism seems to be the norm now, as if the media is saying well, we gotta get used to it somehow, someway, someday, why not now?

I do realize it is the story of the movie and probably not meant to make a real argument for killing people. But untrained minds might not reason it out like that.

It is the further devaluation of human life, which was first given to us, as I recall, in the story of Soylent Green, where human life becomes the food of the unknowing populace.

The third is that in a world where hacking has become acceptable, even expected and labeled as cool, and hackers can be viewed as both bad guys and vigilantes (good guys fighting back?), Civil War takes us back to a story overtone from the Old Western, that of lawlessness meeting the law, or rather someone that is better, or perhaps badder than the other hacker, fighter, outlaw. It is an old story line, it is interesting though in view of what has been in the headlines lately with agencies of the US Government trying to outhack the hackers.

A comment from a few years ago from one of the online review magazines about that year's Defcon was that the bad guys have won. Meaning they can't be beat. They can hack their way into any online device.

I find this particularly poignant going into this election because of a story off to the sidelines about Bitcoin digital currency gaining a serious quality by the State of New York by way of recognizing it as a legitimate currency without thinking how this currency will bring down the Fed.

Bitcoin is used for legal and illegal reasons and purposes.

Bitcoin digital currency is a kind of inversion of the US dollar bill you can hold in your hand, and the credit issued to cover the US Dollar you can hold in your hand by The Federal Reserve Bank.

Bitcoin operates without a Central Bank.

If you've ever wondered about how we will get rid of the 20 trillion dollar national debt, here it is: Bitcoin Digital Currency.

This story about Bitcoin was written just as the US Government retired the 20 dollar bill with Andrew Jackson on it, the man who was alleged to have said he killed the Central Bank.

Bitcoin will kill the Central Bank. Perhaps taking the national debt with it. And it will take all of us down another technological Matrix kind of path and move all of us down another rung in the money social economic ladder because a currency controlled by networks and computers will allow network administrators, and Artificial Intelligence bots to re-route the use of the Bitcoin currency to preferred servers, thus making people that control those servers and those bots to become the kings of the new Bitcoin currency regime. It won't be the Fed controlling it, and it won't be the US Banking system either.

The State of New York took the pill, it doesn't matter what color it was.

The badguys appear to lose at the movies, but in real life...



Sunday, May 1, 2016

13.5 billion years of interactive history..


For those of you, like my college professors, that have been following this blog since I started writing it a few years ago, this is right in line with our theoretical discussions, and frankly right out of one of my papers about the ideal way to start the learning process of any topic you may want to engage.

http://histography.io/

That link takes you to an interactive timeline with 13.5 billion years of known historic events.

Each dot represents an entry in the Wikipedia. Keep in mind the Wiki is not a scholarly reviewed source and so what you absorb from it may or may not be accurate.

Never the less...

The paper I wrote concluding such was the way to go has proven to be, at this time, accurate.

It is not entirely equal to what I suggested... in my paper I proposed that one could link to other pieces of knowledge starting at any given point. The history line, at the link above, starts you with a solitary event. It does not offer continuous linkage out to other similarly related topic.

However, that is only a few clicks of the internet away anyway.

It is therefore suggestible that every movie ever made might be linked of such a timeline, and with that, every school course and every topic. And every photograph... And there isn't enough time.

Which is why scientists are now embarking on literally linking your brain to data transfer links. So you can, like in the movie The Matrix, and before that shows from the 60s and 70s that discussed sleep learning, so you will be able to download and learn the Oxford English Dictionary in moments, learn the painting technique of Picasso, and the engineering of ...

Well, you get the idea.

Now if money were so easily obtained...




Thursday, April 28, 2016

Leica


The Leica brand is THE brand in still cameras.

My Dad had a Voigtlander still camera which was a very good camera.

Here is a link into the Leica website taking you to the Leica Q.

I have not used one. I saw this one in a catalog.

What I like about this, which I have no experience as to whether or not it is true, is it claims it will get a great photograph in terrible conditions.



https://us.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-Q/LEICA-Q


Monday, April 25, 2016

Because I know very little about making films and...


Because I know very little about making major films and most of my schooling has been about taking a story direct to video, I started doing research today about the direct to DVD market, which is what I was taught to do in college.

It makes sense as costs are much smaller. It gives you, the creator of the film, a market test to see if your story will work as a movie.

I found this interesting article in Variety Magazine online.

The last paragraph is important, Nolan Gallagher states that the distributors like to place independently made movies in the Video on Demand (VOD) market first to see how it performs.

My thinking is you have to have an opening scene that will force people to tell other people to come watch your movie. And then a story to back it up.

Another search today offered this from the world of PBS.




Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Lytro Still Camera


Continuing with the last few days about Lytro cameras, today is about the Lytro still camera.

I have used the Lytro Still camera and I have to say it is a great camera to use after you get used to how it works.

I mention this because I finished shooting some video last week and one of the cameras I used auto focused and locked onto a wood railing in the foreground of the subject I actually wanted in focus, so the main subject is a little fuzzy, and now there is no way to reproduce the moment nor fix the focus.

And I expect to be paid for the shoot anyway. I have issues with that piece of video but I do have other video, thankfully, that captured the whole scene.

I will make it work, but...

That's why you buy a Lytro. After-the-fact, fix-it-in post refocusing a scene.

That is a nice feature the future has brought to us.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lytro 755 Immerge


I began yesterday writing about the 755 Immerge Lytro camera, and then I went off on a pessimistic rant.

'Sorry about that.

The new Lytro camera does have this interesting ability to capture the vector light rays in a scene in a 3 dimensional mathematically based form and house them in a computer server.

By doing so, film makers, and I believe anyone that needs to work with a 3D image, like a heart surgeon might with a heart, or a brain surgeon, or anyone working in a 3D space will be able to reach in with an editor and remove, quite nicely, anything the media resolves, and replace it with something different.

A flower pot in the scene might become a hair dryer, or a lamp, or a hovering bird.

It will lead to new design advances for architecture, and any construction medium, cellular to landscape and beyond.

Here is a link to TechCrunch, notice that it states the Lytro Immerge system is going to kill the green screen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It appears that..


It appears that the future of film is going without the green screen:

Click here to follow to a new page...

The above link takes you to a page posted by American Movie company about the new Lytro Light Vector capture camera. The 755 Immerge.

Over the years one of the things I have heard over and over is this is the hot new tech or this is the new way or this is where we are going with technology.

I was part of a Master's Thesis once upon a time wherein the writer and I met online in a virtual world and we discussed the future of tech and virtual reality worlds in general.

I have surmised, and it seems more and more this vision is coming true... I surmised that we can make such an eye appealing world with technology that people are going to want to spend their lives in virtual reality instead of in the real world.

Call it the Matrix or whatever, as crimes become more intense, and terrorism visits us closer to home, and we become poorer, and the cycle of inflation kicks in, and we deplete the value of the dollar into 16 trillionths of a dollar of debt (the dollar bill divided by the current approximate debt of the United States), escapism is going to become more and more desirable...

People will be locked in VR worlds and the building they are living and viewing the VR in will be destroyed by some occurrence and they won't even know it happened, except a momentary burning feeling as they are blown apart or incinerated.

But I am going off on a tangent.

One of the things about new technology is that as something new comes on the scene something else seems to come along that becomes the Public's preferred way to go. And it isn't the early on predicted way.

This social phenomenon is powered by the media, trends and other factors like the economy, and so on.

For example, in the 50s cigarette commercials, one of the ads used to say "More Doctors prefer such and such cigarettes..."

And so Doctors smoked more cigarettes.

Media influences our decisions in very powerful ways that we don't even realize.

We have been lead to believe that smartphones, and tablets and you name it is going to save us.

Growing up I would have said to you that technology is going to save us but I think we are now realizing, with malicious hackers tearing apart our social fabric tied together by technology, terrorist driving herds of stampeding people across the globe, and other such societal events and eventualities, that we may not be so lucky. I think it is quite possible that we are not so much entering the biblical end times, or an apocalypse ( revelation ), but I think we are heading towards a kind of Fermi's Paradox, wherein a kind of house of cards has been built out of credit and technology. And it is going to crumble nearly as fast, if not faster, than we can rebuild, renew, and outrun the inevitable. What ever that may be.

If you have read Bootstrapping Complexity, you will understand the analogy I am about to make...

In Bootstrapping the writer likens humanity as a surfer on a wave, always riding a crest of a wave, and with certain right turns and wrong turns the surfer will either wipeout and have to start over or will get it right and ride the crest of the wave for a nice long ride. Such are the likes of Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet and the United States largest land owner.

For the rest of us, we end up in the house of cards crumbling, for the surfing analogy, we end up in the boil. The boil is the bottom of the wave where previous waves have crashed and filled the water with air. These areas are dangerous because a human doesn't float well in them and sinks.

So our society has became filled with debt and credit boil. Our society is so filled with such that it can't hold anything up. I hope I am wrong.

The glass is half full or half empty? I want to believe it is half full, but I believe it is so aerated that nothing can float on it except those lucky few somehow already above it all.

Recently in the headlines of the news the coal mining industry gave up and went bankrupt.

Ever it seems that old tech is replaced with new tech. But it is never quite so direct as that because of the numerous factors I wrote about above.

Back to the Lytro camera. The premise this is being sold on is that green screen technology, which is so embedded in Hollywood movie making, and makes incredibly eye appealing imagery, will somehow vanish. I suspect it will become part of the tool kit, and probably more useful to the gamers world than the movie world as anything in the movie world will be able to be readily re-created into a game world.

It remains to be seen if this camera and its tech will become desirable to film makers. It is like people saying the desktop computer is gone. Not yet, not so fast.

But it is happening increasingly fast.

I don't think the green screen will be so easily abandoned.

There is too much money to be made. Except it is more like counterfeit money than money backed by anything with real value.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

As I keep heading towards making my first feature film...


As I keep heading towards making my first feature film I keep building aspects of it in my mind.

Questions haunt me all the time. things like, whats the opening sequence going to be? When I look at the first Star Wars movie it had so many things going for it. A great title, a re-working of the cowboy western into outer space, awesome, visionary, and visually interesting effects...

Imagine having a government space offense/defense program named after your movie.

The list goes on.

I see several opening scenes for my own movie in mind. When I think about it I recall plays like Silent Alarm, the opening for Star Wars and that incredibly huge Imperial Cruiser chasing down the Millenium Falcon, and how long that was on screen to purposefully pull us into that moment and give us a heightened sense of action.

I see other opening sequences as well, but none that grab like SW did.

I have spent much time over the last few years shooting photographs. And my background is in commercial and public broadcasting. I understand lookspace and how to compose a photograph and how to frame up a video shot.

But how do you get off on the right foot with a feature movie?

I am not sure yet but, because I am enamored of Stanley Kubrick, I intend to make a sunrise, sunset hyperlapse video clip. I have already made a hyperlapse clip of the community I live in and a neighboring town as well. Here is the link to view it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO4Z_Xe9fb4

One of the aspects I come away with this video is when I watch it I see the way the dynamic changes when I drive into the forest area going up Harris Hill. It is one thing to drive around on flat area, and to see the quick stops and starts at stop signs. It is entirely different to see what happens during the seconds from 2:13 to 2:40. And...it has just occurred to me what might be down to enhance a hyperlapse that I don't currently see in others on the net.

I will make one and show you what I mean, maybe, or maybe I will keep it a secret.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Take 751


When I started in media, which was when I was in 4th grade, we had Bell and Howell film projectors, and film strips and tape recorders and ...

That isn't what I am writing about today. Today I am going to write a little comparison between Stanley Kubrick and Clint Eastwood, that has little or no academic verification. What I am about to write is what I can tell having watched informative videos of Stanley Kubrick and having read somewhere about Clint Eastwood and comparing the two different styles of director and production styles.

I was looking today online at a production company that had called me a few years ago but I was unable to help them out. Today I believe the same company was involved in making the Revenant. I recently read a story about the director for the Revenant which brings me to one of my past experiences and a comparison to Mr. Eastwood's productions.

I used to be a radio announcer. I used to also listen to my recordings of myself speaking so I could become better at it.

One day I made an ad for the station. I had a pretty good voice recording on the first take, and another around the 4th take, and then another out around take 75.

Here is the question, what are you prepared to put up with?

The director on the Revenant, according to the story I read, put his actors through a lot of hard work to get what he wanted. I suspect that meant a lot of takes as well.

Stanley Kubrick also did this. 80 takes wasn't unusual. I also believe Alfred Hitchcock did this.

Clint Eastwood, Malpaso Productions, is known for going out and getting a film done in 3 weeks. I suspect that Malpaso probably does a lot of prep work first, and a fair number of rehearsals as well, and then with everyone familiar with the work to be done, they go and knock it out fairly quickly.

So three weeks is actual production time with a lot of pre-preparation work before hand. Like a painter painting a room in a few hours but spending two or three days prepping the room so it will only take a few hours.

So... having been there, so to speak, because I have put myself through take 700* to get the best take, what are you prepared to do to get the take that is going to work for your film?

* I've never done 700 takes but my point is it can take a lot of takes to get the keeper.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The making of:


There are books and TV shows out there about the making of certain motion pictures.

Here is a link to the Making of Star Wars:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Star-Wars-Definitive/dp/0345494768

Here is a link to Youtube video that features the making of Star Wars:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSuDjjlIPak

There are others. Here is the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey

http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Stanley-Kubricks-2001/dp/3836559544

Please keep in mind that 2001 was written by Arthur C. Clarke, who also came up with the concept of the satellite. He did not make the movie.

And, I haven't researched this but, I remember reading somewhere that George Lucas wasn't a very good writer.

I post these thoughts and links because I think making a movie is similar to making any good piece of art or anything in general. Do a lot of preparation and research. You can wing it and create something quickly, there are plenty of people who do, but I also think your results will vary according to how skilled you already are and how good the subject is and whether or not your audience enjoys your work.

Call it "ten thousand hours." There is more to it than that, being at the right place at the right time. with a receptive audience has a lot to do with how well anything goes over. Read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers for more on this.

Frank Lloyd Wright is known to have waited until the last moment before designing great pieces of architecture and other works. I imagine he had plenty of experience before making short work of great architecture designs.

What I am pointing out is that I think it is important to read and learn as much as possible about any endeavor you attempt. And then properly prepare, like a great 10 course meal.

I think you may have a better idea about how to proceed if you are better prepared.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Addiction



A link to a New York Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/09/opinion/when-addiction-has-a-white-face.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0


For what its worth:



Follow this and read it:

http://www.wired.com/2015/05/inside-ilm/

One of the most important things you can do...


If you are serious about making a movie, digital video, or film...

Go to school for it.

In the United States the, THE film school is at USC, the University of Southern California Cinematic Studies school, Here is the link to the Stark School of Cinematic Studies:

http://cinema.usc.edu/producing/index.cfm

Good luck.

I personally am going to download the PDF files that have the course sylabi available.

By doing this I will be able to read the recommended course books and educate myself about that particular field of Motion Picture making.

The problem is, there isn't a syllabus available for every course BECAUSE:
Many of the courses are hands on and taught by industry professionals. And often the courses do not have a syllabus available because of an agreement by the school and the individual teaching the course. Most of the teachers are working in the industry, and come to the school one day or night per week to teach a course.

Today I went to my local library and took out a book on making a movie, "The complete guide to making a movie - low budget and beyond." By Lorene Wales, reviewed positively by Kritie Stahl, the producer and owner of Whitestone pictures.

Here is a link to a Whitestone online story:

http://whitestonemp.com/film/john-henry-and-the-railroad/

-CB

Monday, February 1, 2016

Listening to your second audio track on a DVD


A couple weeks ago I was playing with the remote and happened to discover the secondary audio available on the SG-1 DVD I had from the library.

As I clicked the audio select button, I came in just as the people were talking about the new SG-1 opening, and that they used a Frazier lens to get the incredible depth of field, which allowed them to put the camera almost on the Stargate, shoot at an angle, and keep the whole curve of the Stargate in focus up to several feet away.

I borrowed the DVD again from the library just to pick up on that little piece of information and was lead to this website talking about the Frazier lens system:

http://petapixel.com/2011/04/19/frazier-ultimate-lens-shows-everything-in-focus-with-massive-depth-of-field/

There is a nice video on that page that shows you how that lens system works.

From there I happen to find another link into the camera company that so many movies are shot with, Panavision:

http://www.panavision.com/products/macro-and-specialty-lenses

And yesterday I inquired about having the garage in back of our house blown up via CGI. I went to http://www.revelpix.com/VideoProduction and then contacted the owner. He was referred by a friend as pretty good with CGI. His reply was it would be about $1500 dollars to create the scene I want with some give or take, depending on how long the segment is and how realistic I need it to be.

The rule of thumb on such is to mark it up by at least 10 percent. So in my head, if I were to budget for this shot, I'd price this out at $2,000. Better to have the extra cushion than to not have it.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Music, no music.


It isn't so much about music.

In my Radio and Television class my professor used to tell us to turn off the sound.

Do it.

The lesson here is that, and you may hear this term someday, video follows audio.

Turn off the sound, watch the movie. It makes almost no sense.

But...

Turn off the picture and turn the sound back on...

You can listen to a movie, or ad or whatever, and fairly well make out what is going on. You have dialogue, and you have the music. We have all been trained to eerie sounds, tense music, happy sounds, sad and so on.

Music brings a lot to the picture.

Recently the guy who wrote the song Wild Thing was interviewed on NPR. He was talking and then in the middle of the song he said listen, and the song stops for a few moments, he then says that's one of the best parts of the song, because there isn't any sound there.

In graphic art, the correlation is negative space.

Stop looking at your cell phone if you have the TV on in the room. Or go turn it off and pay attention to your cell phone. Don't do both.