Podcaster, web designer, film maker, photo taking, coffee injected geek and all round hero without a cape.
Now chief architect of Worcestershire's first ever Film Festival.
So I need to admit something before we go any further. I am a Trekkie, a person that watches Star Trek for enjoyment. I am someone who has based some of their belief system on the Trek universe.
Looking forward to watching The Great Gatsby tonight. It’s a Baz film and they have to be seen in a cinema at Empire Cinema – View on Path.
Decided I need to get my social networks in order - it all needs tidying up along with a new website – Read on Path.
Rust And Bone is a French drama following a homeless man, Ali, and son who is squatting at his sisters, working in several security jobs and a woman, Steph, who works at a marineland aquarium, where she entertains crowds of people with whale acrobatics. They meet at a club when Ali stops a fight as a doorman. He takes Steph home who had been knocked over. A short time later, disaster strikes at the aquarium when a whale crushes Steph, causing her to lose both her lower legs. What follows is a bond between the two as both try to get through life. Ali begins street fighting to make money and Steph initially has to become a wheelchair user and later, learn to walk with prosthetic legs. Both gather inspiration from each other in different ways.
I chose to watch this film, based on a trailer I saw for it. It was beautifully filmed with a great track to accompany it. I suppose I expected a ‘picking yourself up’ kind of film, but it turned out quite different. Both characters are quite flawed and it isn’t as easy as all that. Ali sleeps with other women and shows little regard for his son and Steph is aggressive as she looks for meaning in life. The film cleverly avoids the stereotypical scenes of learning to walk on new legs and the getting montages and concentrates firmly on telling the story of the characters. It’s uncomfortable to watch sometimes, but this is what makes it a French film and not some dumbed down diluted Hollywood affair.
It’s filmed beautifully, mostly with natural light, lots of warm sun flooded shots. It has a great soundtrack and captivating acting. It may be a touch too long at 2hrs, but there’s lots of drama and events that bring the characters together. There should be special recognition given to Marion Cotillard who really pull off not having legs. I imagine this has been done with green screen tracking, but it’s very well done and her performance is amazing. Mathias Schoenaerts is also very good, showing a full range of emotions throughout the story. Highly recommended watch
Rust and Bone
It’s now one week since we shot the principle footage for Epiphany. We got lucky that day, the day was milder so people didn’t get cold waiting for setting up, the sun came out, but diminished as we worked through the story and the first spots of rain fell just as we were wrapping up, so it all worked well. We were also blessed with some extra help, Dave brought his podcasting opposite, Rob, who pretty much owned the audio capturing. He quickly got accustomed to the Rode mic and boon arm that Alan had bought and operated the Tascam recorder. It made a lot of sense to record the audio separate from the camera because the story is all about the dialogue between the two characters and we wouldn’t want to leave it chance capturing it on camera, just in case. That said, Al fitted another Rode for reference to the top of the GH2.
We also had Matt, who I invited. Matt was the trigger for Worcestershire Film Festival and was indispensable at the roadshow events and the main gig. He was also instrumental in the cinema heritage project. He’s worked on several films and soon found himself helping with equipment, reflectors and monitoring.
For me, I took some photographs and the one I have uploaded here, I feel is the story in one shot. It’s got the drama and chemistry between the two characters and sums up the type of film it’s going to be - all about character and story, something we have been hammering on since the beginning of this trip. I also took some video footage that I will make into a little ‘making of’ featurette. Although I had a cursory role on the day, I’d put myself as being ‘that guy who pulled people and places together’ and maybe a touch of a bully to actually get the thing filmed! I just love the process of film-making. I enjoy the pre-planning and writing, since I have next to no skills in that department, I enjoy the shooting. It’s like a magic trick to me, watching someone tell others to stand in a certain way and operate a camera and then to show something on screen, after editing that has a beginning, middle and end. I don’t look over the editing either, I love post work too, even if it’s not me doing it! I was told once that in film, the ‘industry’ wants specialists in a particular field. I don’t know what my field is, so I clearly have no future, but that’s not my motive.
Digressing a little there, one thing that could not be disputed was the incredible work Dave and Chas did. They have been friends for an age and this obviously helped as their chemistry was fantastic on screen. Alan has already posted about their performance, but they should be very proud of themselves.
At an equipment level, we shot the film on a Panasonic GH2 with a 14-150mm lens. It’s a little micro four thirds camera, but it was reliable and great to work with. I have heard about 7Ds getting too hot and battery troubles with others, but this didn’t break a sweat. Al had bought a Lilliput monitor, which we did think was a little frivolous, but actually it was invaluable in ensuring focus and reference. Al had built a gib for one shot which was amazing to see working. It was a three person operation and a complicated shot involving three closeups with movement, all of which had to be in focus and without that monitor, it would have been impossible. As I mentioned before, we had a Rode boon which had some good cable management and we also used a large reflector for fill-in which worked very well when sun disappeared behind the clouds.
It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with Alan on a fictional film and it was great to do again. He was very well organised and had a shot list and storyboard for each stage, which I think, made the shoot extremely efficient. I can’t imagine there being a lot of excess footage,which will make post work far easier. I’m really looking forward to seeing an edit and some pre-production on the next.
A couple of photos taken in Shepperton over the weekend on the River Thames
Following on from my previous rambling about blogging is another aspect I wanted to write about.
There is a new breed of app, well two actually to help create content or store data. The rise of the single purpose app that does a single job very well, is elegant to look at and is well featured. Then, there is another kind that becomes a platform where it can do the single purpose app but also, through api or similar, be other things. I should add when I say ‘app’ I refer to desktop, mobile or web applications.
The single purpose app - prime examples would be Triptease, the travel review site I mentioned last time or Letterboxd for film. A new mobile app I discovered is Todo Movies which is a visually stunning method of recording films you want to watch - useful for someone like me.
Key platform apps might be Evernote and Wunderlist. Now Wunderlist was originally a task list manager and very good one too. More recently though, they have developed a Safari plugin that creates a button on websites such as IMDB, giving a task to todo list for films. It also links into Amazon to create a wish list there. Evernote has expanded vastly from a note taking application to a platform for organising content, character recognition and recently even a blogging platform via Postach.io.
From a sustainable point of view, platform apps are likely to appeal to more to investment. Users will enjoy single sign on for services although they maybe slightly more complicated to use. Single purpose apps have a simplicity of doing one thing and are often beautifully designed tools that were perhaps originally devised to itch the developers own scratch for something. Ultimately, these apps may be less sustainable in the future but its hard to say at this point.
Twitter is an interesting observation. It started off as being an update service for people’s thoughts but it soon became instant messaging for some and news feeds for others. Twitter now is shaping into a media hub of sorts with its’ own photo sharing (and filters), video with Vine and, most recently, music discovery. They are definitely owning short form content and fancying their chances against Facebook and Tumblr.
Social networking is beyond the scope of this post, but it’s something I’d like to write about. However, this is about apps and platforms. I wonder if some of the single purpose options get acquired by the bigger players. A recent interesting acquisition was the Mailbox app by Dropbox - a prime example of a good simple purpose being bought up by a platform and potentially makes a lot of sense too.
I have no answers here, just observations. Maybe I’ll settle on something and if I do, I’ll write about it.
For the majority of my blogging, I have been using Blogger for the last 6 months or so. The main reason for this is because I’ve been enjoying the use of Google+ as my preferred social network. I have also been using Google Apps for Worcestershire Film Festival planning and I feel quite immersed in the Google ecosphere. It’s good too, reliable, has some iOS apps for mobile writing and I’m pleased with the look of the theme. My other main reason for using Blogger is the ability to generate a GeoRSS feed that allows me to plot some posts on a map and show them.
However, I’ve also used Tumblr for a long time and I flirt in and out. I’m using a simply Bootstrap based theme and it’s tidy, there’s good emphasis on content and it works well. I tend to use it for keeping a backup of my Blogger posts, but I’ve noticed that some of my posts do get reblogged and ‘liked’ by people, which is brilliant since I’ve never had any feedback on my Blogger pages.
More recently, I’ve seen some specific platforms that have taken my interest. There’s the excellent Triptease which is for travel articles. What I love about Triptease is that the (British) developers have made photography an important part of the review, which, when you think about it, makes sense - your best memories from a holiday is best told in an image rather than a lot of words. Letterboxd is a fantastic film based site where you can use it for making lists, writing reviews or just as a diary. Medium is for those big thoughts and ideas you have, longer articles that you’ve been brewing on. Finally there is postach.io which is a clever use of Evernote to create a blog. It’s early days for postach.io and it’s still in beta (actually Triptease and Medium are also in beta), but the developers are very open about it’s development and it shows great promise.
So, here’s the thing, how does all the content come together? Or does it need to? I think it does, but I’m not sure how. I am very keen to pull all my digital assets together, but finding it quite difficult to decide what to do with what. They say there is a new kind of anxiety with tech and especially web based tech, maybe this is it. I’m going to explore this further and I plan to write my findings as I go along.
Now…. where shall I post this??