concept to publication

Category: film-video Page 1 of 2

What is water?

Cool video made from David Foster Wallace commencement address.

1616 video trailers

I made two trailers for my forthcoming book 1616: The World in Motion. The short one is a little over a minute long and has no voice-over narration. It’s main advantage is that it’s, well, short. The other one, a hefty ten minutes long, is more informational.

The short video trailer:

Carol says the short trailer overemphasizes Asia, which is a fair criticism, but I’ve about hit my limit for now on video work! I thought the long video trailer was just probably too long for most people, but early listeners Anne and Ellen had the following reactions: Ellen says “I like the long trailer better! I think it has a better sense of the book and is more engaging. But I think the audio track needs some work — the music’s a little loud and your voice a little quiet in comparison. I like the script and images you chose though.” And Anne says of the long version “I enjoy the narration and all the fabulous graphics … the music is well selected too. I wonder though-if the sound track could have less volume so the voice over is clearer to listen to. I preferred it in areas where the music was lower. It does run a little long but is very interesting.”

So on the basis of that feedback I’ve turned down the volume on the music (I hope by the right amount), uploaded the long trailer to YouTube, and embedded it here:

The Danish Poet

The Danish Poet is a animated short film written, directed, and animated by Torill Kove. It is narrated by Liv Ullmann. Via Jason del Arroz.

liv ullman

Liv Ullman

torill kove

Torill Kove

Who was Phillipa Fallon?

I linked to this video on Friday, but it’s so hep it kept calling out to be embedded here.

The scene is from the movie High School Confidential. Phillipa Fallon, who plays the poet, is brilliant, but she seems to have had few other roles, and not much is known about her. Jackie Coogan is the piano player. The poem itself seems to have been written by “B-movie actor and writer” Mel Welles (1924-2005). The lyrics to “High School Drag” kinda go something like this:

My old man was a bread stasher all his life.
He never got fat. He wound up with a used car,
a 17 inch screen and arthritis.

Tomorrow is a drag, man.
Tomorrow is a king sized bust.

They cried ‘put down pot,’ ‘don’t think a lot,’ for what?
Time, how much? And what to do with it.

Sleep, man, and you might wake up digging the whole
human race giving itself three days to get out.

Tomorrow is a drag, pops, the future is a flake.

I had a canary who couldn’t sing.
I had a cat who let me share my pad with her.
I bought a dog that killed the cat who ate the canary.
What is truth?

I had an uncle with an ivy league card. 
He had a life with a belt in the back.
He had a button-down brain.
Wind up a belt in the mouth with a button-down lip.

We cough blood on this earth.
Now there’s a race for space.
We can cough blood on the moon soon.

Tomorrow’s dragsville, cats.
Tomorrow is a king size drag.

Tool a fast shore, swing with a gassy chick.
Turn on to a thousand joys.
Smile on what happened, or check what’s going to happen,
You’ll miss what’s happening.
Turn your eyes inside and dig the vacuum.

Tomorrow, DRAG.

Motorized paraglider

I don’t know what you call this — it appears to be some form of motorized paragliding. There were a couple of guys taking off from Anna Maria Island when we were there in Florida during the biting cold spell this January.

Whatever it is, like jet skiiing, off-road biking, and similar activities it’s probably fun to do but seems a little noisy for the context.

The video was taken with a Kodak EIS camera that my sister gave me. It shoots high-res videos, is slim enough to fit in your shirt pocket, and includes a built-in usb connection.

BTW, if a youtube video does not appear to be high-definition you can force the issue by appending &fmt=6 &fmt=18 or &fmt=22 after the url. But I think that soon most or all high-res videos will have an option at the bottom to simply select high definition. (Or, you can go to your youtube account page and tell it to always show high definition.)

Public service announcement

Before “upgrading” your Netflix instant-watch player, think about it.


Python poetry


via Robert Peake


A story of a sign



Illustrating Lennon

Jerry Levitan, working with direction Josh Raskin, illustrator James Braithwaite, and digital artist Alex Kurina, has produced an animated version of an interview he made thirty-eight years ago with John Lennon. Levitan was fourteen at the time, and Lennon was generous in answering his questions.


via crap detector


What is design?

Paul Rand offers some answers in this four-minute video. According to the youtube info, it was “created for his posthumous induction to the One Club Hall of Fame in 2007.”

I’ve got to break these chains

I like this 1966 video by artist Bruce Conner — featuring the beautiful Toni Basil performing Breakaway (hard to believe she is the same person who did Hey Mickey) — which I originally saw at a retrospective of his work at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. What a surprise and delight to discover this on YouTube.

Motion typography

This is brilliant.

Working with video in Photoshop

russell brown tutorial animated gifRussel Brown has an interesting sequence of tutorials on working with video in Photoshop.

  • In part one he demonstrates combining two video sequences using a layer mask
  • In part two he shows how to blend objects over time
  • In part three he explores spot colorization and looks further at video blending and painting over time

These techniques require CS3 — guess I’m going to have to upgrade my software.

Against violence in movies

Maybe it makes me a wuss, but I don’t care. I just have no interest in seeing violent films. Even though I host a blog about Mesoamerica and the Maya world, for example, I still haven’t seen Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. In the New York Times, I read in a generally positive (!) review by A. O. Scott — that the new Rambo “is, for most of its fairly brief running time, a blood bath puctuated by occasional bouts of clumsy dialogue. There are beheadings, mutilations, disembowlings …” and I just lose any faint interest I might have had in seeing the movie.

Look, I live in Richmond, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I work in the Tenderloin in the city. Those are a couple of the more violent places in the world where war hasn’t actually been declared. At present Richmond is the third most dangerous in California and the eleventh most dangerous nationally. As for the Tenderloin, according to Wikipedia,

Seven of the top ten violent crime plots (out of 665 in the entire city as measured by the San Francisco Police Department) are adjacent plots in the Tenderloin and Sixth and Market area…. The area has been the scene of escalating drug violence in 2007, including brazen daylight shootings, as local gangs from San Francisco, and others from around the Bay Area battle for turf.

Why would I want to go to the movies to see violence when it’s around me every day? I believe the last few years have been among the bloodiest in the history of the cinema. It’s getting so there’s nothing I can watch anymore.

Until some nice European sex comedy comes out, I guess I’ll just go read a book — for whatever reason, I don’t mind reading about violence as much as actually watching it (or the increasingly convincing semblance of it that movies are serving up).


The end

A Flickr set.

the end

via Swiss Miss

A message from Mr. D.

Royal Futura

nakedness tonight

Most discussion of type in film centers on anachronisms — how could characters in a movie set in the thirties read materials set in a typeface designed in the sixties — that sort of thing. Or you hear “I loved the credits typeface, what was it?” (The folks at always know the answer.) Rarely is a movie discussed for the way it integrates type into the film itself, as Mark Simonson has done with the Royal Tanebaums. Simonson notes that director Wes Anderson’s use of Futura throughout that film “borders on obsession.” The typeface, in various forms, appears:

  • on buses
  • on hospital signage
  • on a cruise line
  • on museum signage
  • on posters
  • on books

I wonder what the significance of this type choice is. The original Futura was a pretty radical face, geometric and minimalist — Paul Renner sought to reduce letter forms to a sort of underlying essence. The result was crisp and cutting, if a bit difficult to read at times. Futura is also a broad type family, with the essential forms expressed in a multiplicity of weights and styles.

All of which seems compatible with Wes Anderson’s own style, and the ubiquity of Futura in the movie is a good example of a typeface supporting a certain tone in a work even if most people, on the conscious level, might not notice how it’s being used.

The impotence of proofreading

via India Ink

Interview with Julio Cortazar

Two hours with Julio! (In Spanish.)

Read a Book

director’s comments

via splodinvark

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