Posts categorized ‘News’
May 11 09
As I’m sure many of you have heard over the past week, The Hunt For Gollum premiered on the 3rd of this month, basically blowing away most fanfilms of the past in one swell blow. This is the essence of a fanfilm: a movie based on another movie (series), made by fans for the fans with no financial benefits attached to the completion of the film (apart from the potential for being recognized and careers begun, etc.).
Apr 16 09
First off, welcome to the new blog! Yes, I know it’s awesome. I’m proud to say it’s my whole site collection hosted on one domain, inter-linked, organized and consolidated. Awesome. So now…on to the link dump.
I’ve got a massve…and I mean massive collection of links ready for ya. So massive, in fact, that I’m breaking it up into a multi-part series, because frankly, opening tons of links at once won’t be fun for you, and copying and pasting and reviewing what all of them are won’t be so fun for me. Not all at once, anyway. So next week, Link Dump: Tutorial Edition. But let’s get started with part 1.
Feb 08 09
Well, it’s been about three and a half months since my last post, and while I apologize for the wait, I haven’t completely neglected this blog. I’ve amassed a pretty massive collection of showcase and link dump material for the next while, and continue to receive newsletters and am on the prowl for tutorials and resources. Long story short, the final project’s finishing up, and there’s a vast pool of links about to come your way in the next few weeks. Starting now… Gimme the goodies…
Feb 21 08
Earlier today I got an email from StudioDaily, a pretty fascinating online industry magazine and resource website about filmmaking, visual effects and editing. In the letter,one of the headlines was this:
So naturally I emailed that quote off to the first friend I thought of when I think of zombie movies, and he responded pretty quickly saying that he didn’t like the new “Blair Witch sort of style that’s coming back.” That I can completely understand, so I responded with the following passage, which is the basis for this post:
I kind of like the shaky cam style that’s on the rise, it’s more viral and amateurish, and it blurs the lines between amateur films and professional ones, making it so that it doesn’t matter as much anymore to the audience if it’s a “real movie” because they can’t always tell, so it’s not worth bothering about. If it’s good, it’s good, and it deserves praise, if it’s bad, well, they leave it alone (or flame it, the bastards). Sometimes it’s hard to see or hard to handle (I got mildly nauseous watching Cloverfield), but I think it’s a cool way to kind of get the super-hype of paying high attention to lighting, costumes, and even set design a little bit out of the way, and letting amateurs get more into the field, simply because the cheapest way to film (handheld and shaky) is often the most real feeling, because it’s not completely stable like a statue, nor is it to the extent that Cloverfield was (though that was pretty wonderfully done). Basically, it give me even more of a chance to go out and shoot random stuff, put it all together in some sort of cohesive, understandable and entertaining story, and then market it and get attention because it looks real, it could be real, and if it’s good, people will appreciate either the documentary-ness of it or the realistic acting and detail of the thing. So basically I don’t put anywhere near as much effort into the preparation of the film that Hollywood does, and I can still come out with a viable film to show at festivals and gain a reputation among the biggies of the business. So that’s why I like it. As a style, though, you’re right, it’s hard to take sometimes.
Now, that being said, I haven’t seen the trailer for this, but I’m going to look it up and see what I can find, heh.
NOTE: You can see the trailer here. And I actually was a little disappointed with it when I watched it.
Feb 21 08
As some of you may know, I was involved with the cross-country-collaborative effort for the Stop The Violence documentary film. The film was contributed to not only by AnimiVirtus Productions (me), but also Neighborhood Studios, a group based in Ohio. The film was basically a series of interviews with students, teachers, parents and other high school staff about the issue of school and teen violence and aggression, and essentially coalesced into a 20-minute film from two different parts of the country with one core message: Stop The Violence. Take a look at the film below, and please add it to your DIGG, StumbleUpon, and del.icio.us collections to help us raise awareness about our cause and the effort we’re fighting for. Thanks for your support!
Feb 01 08
My good friend Jeremy over at Microfilmmaker Magazine, an e-zine for – you guessed it
- low-budget filmmaking, recieved a copy of LATENT(CY) a while back and has reviewed it for the new issue of the zine. It was great to hear that this project hasn’t lost steam (something I’ve warned against in my report on DIY distribution that has yet to be online). The review was more than kind, and though the score wasn’t high, it was a justified and even helpful review. Go ahead and read it over here and feel free to download or watch it from the links over on the Films page. Thank, Jeremy, and the rest of the Microfilmmaker Magazine crew for watching, critiquing and showing my film’s review to the internet community.
One little tip for all you self-distributors out there: keep the submission fees for your films in the same package as the film when you send them to festivals, it makes it harder for the money to be lost. And you’d probably rather not learn that the hard way like I did just recently. Also, checks are much better for paying through the mail, since if they don’t make it to the right person, they usually can’t be signed and cashed or deposited, since the account and “Pay to…” names won’t match, and you probably won’t be cheated out of your money… whereas if you send cash… that’s a whole different story. Best of luck, and I’ll put an announcement up once I get the e-book version of my report on self-distribution and -promotion online. Happy filmmaking!
Jan 25 08
Sorry for the lack of an update Monday, but I was traveling from LA to Seattle that day and couldn’t find an open wireless connection in the airport (strange, huh?) It was a busy day, so my apologies. However, I’m in Seattle, with a connection, and soon to be in Vancouver (hopefully also with a connection in the apartment) and able to update on time. So I’m moving, got a small video slideshow project of the move in progress and my other projects on hold, but I’ve been wandering around the city a little bit, exploring and discovering the joy of a tangible but relaxed lifestyle. I’d like to post about that on my personal blog at some point, but I’ll get to that eventually. There’s no rush .
Now, for the showcase of the week, I discovered this short video through a photography blog I subscribe to, and I was interested in the photography aspect of it, as well as the filmmaking side of putting together a bunch of images to create a video0like short film. It was interesting to watch and of course, since it’s a controversial subject, inspiring to a degree. I don’t have much to say about this video other than it’s worth watching, and it’s interesting and intriguing to watch how they even emulated some common video effects (rack focus, animated titles, time-lapse) using 20,000 individual photographs. I remember watching a music video a long time ago done similarly to this, only this was more pointed in its subject, and that was more artsy in its execution. Both are good, but this I think serves a more important purpose. So enjoy the video, get inspired, and do something to help in your community. Knowledge is power, and the internet is the end-all solution to not knowing. So go browse and learn. Enjoy, and best of luck. Happy filmmaking!
Jan 18 08
Well, it’s officially begun. AnimiVirtus Productions is moving to Vancouver, BC in Canada! This is not only awesome because it involves moving physical equipment (oh so fun) but because it’s the beginning of both a new school career, a possible professional career, and a personal life. I’m moving mainly for the school and the change of environment. The things I plan to take full advantage of are the people, the city, the fact that there will be lots more people and places than small-town Vermont, the opportunities that provides both for socializing (running two blogs isn’t just a hobby, it’s a use of otherwise-unoccupied time) and for filmmaking ventures. And that’s where this blog comes in.
The new location will mean taking some time to get the video PC set up again, however I’ve finally added a Firewire PCI card to it, enabling the capturing of video, which streamlines the video production process hugely for me. However, once I get the few kinks worked out (Premiere for some reason doesn’t like the card, and doesn’t detect the camera with it), the system will be “fully operational” (quick guess, what movie’s that from?).
Mostly, though, I’m looking forward to the resources and opportunities for new inspiration in both life, work and schooling, and I can’t wait to share more and more with you guys in the coming weeks as the move progresses and I’m finally moved into the place. Right now, I’m sitting in the airport, waiting for my family to come back and wondering how it is that my little DSL line at home is faster than a big ol’ ariport’s public Wi-Fi connection. Though that’s probably the reason – it’s a public Wi-Fi line. In any case, there’s the announcement, and the post for the day, and I’ll be sure to update more as the move progresses. Keep being creative and happy filmmaking.
Jan 11 08
I know I’ve been bad about updating this blog. But, I’ve added a reminder action to iCal that reminds me every Monday and Friday about updating the blog, so I’ll never forget or have an excuse to be distracted again. It’s really a mental kind of thing, once I know I have to do something, it’s still in my mind as something that needs to be done until it finally is. So that’s the function, and hopefully it’ll work. It’s already working for today, since I turned on my machine and got the reminder message right away. So that’s the news on the blog’s back-end.
The news on the front-end, however, is I think more exciting. Most of you know I put up the film page a few weeks ago, with a pretty nicely laid out section for LATENT(CY), the most recent film I’ve completed. Well, after trying once and having the results deleted somehow, I sat down yesterday and finished off the page. It now has, in addition to that one caption, a full list of the films I’ve done in the last two or three years, complete with links to watch and/or download them all. There is a closing paragraph that is important to me, about the use of the internet and free distribution to get a voice, a message, out into the world, and it’s what I’m hoping to do with my films from now on. Personal projects I want to be download-able and viewable form anywhere in the world at any time, so I’m offering them all free for download via torrent file sharing technology, as well as YouTube videos. Of course, the more serious projects will also be available for purchase, but that’s really a good Samaritan kind of effort on your part, since they’re freely available in multiple forms on the internet.
On the closing note, I’d like all of you to go to the TED site and check out their talks. They are riveting, I can’t stress that enough, talking about everything from building sustainable housing worldwide to creating a massive digital super-library with customizable teaching and learning resources, completely free of charge, for anyine and everyone in the world to use. Open source is the future, and digital gives way to freedom in a materialistic world, and the two combined have astronomical potential in helping to better the future and the lives of people and the earth. So watch, and help out. Make a difference.
Jan 01 08
Happy New Year’s from AnimiVirtus Productions! Here’s wishing you a great new year, the best of luck, life, health and goodwill to others both involved in your life and not throughout the new year. Have a great one!
~ AnimiVirtus Productions Team
Dec 29 07
The Waiting Room is finally completely shot and locked! I’m super excited to finally have this done. We fiddled with lighting more than usual on this shoot, and I liked it quite a lot. Direct light from my work light was too harsh, so we simply bounced it off a tinfoil-covered piece of cardboard sitting on the desk on the opposite wall, which gave a perfect soft back light from behind me. Next, we taped a piece of tin foil on the window in front of me, pointing the two track lights on the ceiling toward it, bouncing that light off the tin foil and onto my face, giving a nice soft glow that looked almost like it was coming from the paper I was writing on. It was a very nice effect, and perfect for the scene. Michelle really helped out on this shoot, being the cameraperson, the lighting technician and whatnot. It was fun to play with the lighting and get the shots I wanted to get in a relaxed, small-scale environment. Unfortunately, I only had the chance to take four pictures while shooting this stuff, but at least it demonstrates the lighting configurations I had set up. Take a peek at all of them here.
I think an awesome thing about low- and no-budget filmmaking is the ability to just improvise with what’s there at the time, with what you’ve got and what you know. I knew I had two little tin foil reflector type pieces (actually I just knew metal is reflective and I had some at the time), and I could use those to light up the scene in the way I needed and wanted. I’m excited now to relax tonight, and I have all day tomorrow to cut the thing together, start figuring out music, and finish up my school violence piece I’ve been not-so-diligently working on since last Spring.
Dec 28 07
Alright, I found these sites today pretty much all at once, and it blew my socks off. Quite literally… I was shocked and excited beyond words for a few moments. I’d found everything from free VFX and particle generation and animation software to a substitute for an already brilliant Terragen 2 all the way to a huge list of freeware/shareware/GPL-licensed software that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. I’ve posted some of the links here, but this doesn’t even begin to list what I found today.
And finally the big kahuna of them all…
Dec 18 07
The Big Announcement
Well, here it is, finally a ‘films’ page to showcase the work of myself and others involved with AnimiVirtus Productions. I know I haven’t posted in quite some time, and that this is the only thing that’s happened on this blog since that post, but I’ve been working on my personal blog to establish an effective, efficient, productive workflow solution that is entirely digital and helps me keep track of all the things I have to do, including how close to being completed they are and other information about each project. Completely unrelated to this blog at the momentum, I’m hoping that once that’s figured out I can schedule times during each week to post a new resource website, showcase item, and other things on this blog while maintaining my personal blog and personal life as well. I’ve also been working, am finishing up school, and getting ready for the holidays and my move out to Vancouver. I haven’t been incredibly active in these areas, but they are still pressing areas that need tending to.
OK… now the Big Announcement
The films page is on the right hand menu, has a listing of films made by AnimiVirtus Productions, along with descriptions of the films, places to buy copies, watch the films online, and other links for each of them. At the moment there is only the one feature LATENT(CY) on the page, but more will come as they are made (duh!). So for now, enjoy the new page, the layout, the screenshots (oh yea, did I mention there’s screenshots?) and the links for the film. More will come as it is edited, and hopefully I’ll be able to finish shooting The Waiting Room soon and be able to post some photos and stuff for that, as well as get it finally completed before I move. Yea, that would be nice. Enjoy the new page!
Dec 07 07
As you’ve likely noticed, this blog’s gotten a few enhancements on the right-hand sidebar. Firstly, the search box has been moved up to the top… down near the end of the page didn’t seem logical for a search function. Secondly, the Calendar’s also been moved, and renamed as “Post-By-Day,” since that’s really what it’s used for. Scrolling right on down, we’ve now got an AnimiVirtus Flickr section, providing you with random photos from my Flickr account having to do with shoots and film projects and the studio… err, my room. Moving along, we’ve got a “Recent Comments” section, just helping you – the visitor – see where the action’s at. Then we’ve got an “Archives” section, so you can more easily access older posts, followed by the “Admin Tools” section, which is really a subscription link to either posts or comments and some login tools for me. The integration with Flickr is the part I’m most excited about, as it links me to another networking site and lets me show you more of what we do and are about here at AnimiVirtus Productions.
Just as another note, I’ve been thinking about some extended pages and whatnot for this blog, making it a bit more of a website than just a blog. I’ve been thinking along the lines of a film page, staff page (the About page but extended) and maybe a few other places to help out you amateur filmmakers out there. We’ll see where that goes, but any suggestions would be appreciated. Enjoy the new functionalities!
Oct 21 07
Well, Studio Daily delivers again with this really cool short video about 4K, the new technology that’s been taking the place of 2K, HD’s cinematic rival. Essentially, they say that they don’t want digital to be a compromise for filmmakers who want as crisp an image as films that were shot in the 30s on film, because we always have the capability to go softer on the film, but not sharper, unless we then compromise the image. For me, it’s not a big deal, since I’m still a super low-budget MiniDV filmmaker in part-time college and soon to be starting at VFX school. However, for the big-hitters and even the local theaters in your area, the emergence of 4K (ant not only that but cheap 4K workflow solutions – including projectors) means that the theater experience could very well be livened up a bit from its current state and that the quality of a cinematic, big-budget motion picture could very well build up some strength with enhanced quality of image. The new format is still pretty much unknown to me, and I do know that I love the digital format of filmmaking, simply because when you know what you or others can do, you can make so many quick decisions on set that you don’t waste time and money (if you’re paying people on set hehe) by wondering what to do or reshooting multiple versions of the same take so you can experiment with it afterwards. Robert Rodriguez does a great short video on this on the DVD for Once Upon A Time In Mexico, where he talks about the necessity of knowing technology and special/visual effects so that you can be quick and efficient and in control on set at all times. This is the huge gift of digital for me, because if a shot is slightly shaky but it works otherwise, I don’t have to worry about reshooting it because it can be stabilized later on. I don’t have to go overboard with makeup because I can add some creepy color correction and a bit more distortion to people’s faces if needed in post. I can do background explosions, liven up whole sequences that may have been shot in a short hour with someone running around by putting all sorts of crazy action behind them just to sell the shot. There are some good examples in the extra features of the newly-released Planet Terror DVD that talk about Rodriguez’s shooting quickly on a low budget and then enhancing the experience with digital tehcnology and visual effects guys who just know what they’re doing. This is the gift of digital, and it’s nice to know that not only do we now as filmmakers have this ultimate flexibility to utilize on our productions, but that the quality of image and the undeniable progress in the quality of the technology is coming along for the ride as well, giving us basically the best possible stuff to use while making a big budget film so that it can be the ultimate entertainment experience. The only problem now is that it’s still way beyond the price range of any low- or no-budget filmmaker, and probably lots of indies out there too. However, if there’s a good story, lots can be forgiven. Oh, and sound, that’s pretty crucial too.
Just a note for readers, sorry I haven’t been posting that often, things have gotten quite busy around here, and I know I mentioned that page for my films a while back and.. where is it? Well no fear, there’s a film in the edit bay right now and another being worked on in the writing and casting stage at the moment, so those two hopefully will be done by January and online and sent out to festivals, but right now I’ve got school, work and some of my own things I’m dealing with and working on. However, you can look forward to updates on the progress of those films as well as a stabilization device that I’ve been planning and working out the details of so I can have a vest-mounted rig that’s easily detatchable but used springs and whatnot to stabilize a camera with the weight of an XL-1. More info on that once it’s in the works, but for now, keep your heads on and bear with me. Enjoy the video below and go check out some low-profile movies at your local video store. I watched The Insatiable the other night and loved it. It’s a cross between a Vampire drama and The Office. Yea, pretty brilliant, huh? Best of luck, and happy filmmaking.