Friday, July 29, 2005

Annoying Trend of the Moment

I just have to vent about something.



In general, the whole trend of girls having words printed across their rears is disturbing, because it constantly tricks you into looking at these rears, and often the girls are no older than 12.

But there is no worse offender than the shorts with the word, "JUICY" on them.

What in the world, I ask, is this even supposed to mean? I know it is intended as some kind of sensual reference, but I honestly can't figure it out. I'm not being coy. But really, when an orange is juicy, it means that when you press it, liquid leaks out. I have to say, that a juicy backside is not really something people should be advertising – rather they should consider seeking medical attention. Are they wearing diapers under those shorts so the "juice" – whatever in the world that is – doesn't soak through? I'm upset if it's meant to turn me on in the first place, but how in the world is this supposed to turn me on!?

Has anyone else noticed this?

Long Lost Update

My apologies for the long time between posts here. I hate when weblogs aren't updated, and now I'm guilty of the same crime.

School has become crushingly busy. I have a 35 page script due on Monday (the first third of a feature length). 19 pages finished so far. I have my short film due on Sunday, and I'm in final cutting and sound design stages there. I also have a final in Cinematography and a photo journal due on Thursday. So there is the lame excuse for not giving the updates.

So things have been going very well here for me. My screenwriting professor, who is the head of the program here, said I was an ideal candidate for their MFA program, and that he would be optimistic of my chances of making it (which, statistically speaking is more difficult to gain admission into than is Harvard Medical School). The TA in that class, who currently has a screenplay in development with Adam Sandler's production company, has been embarrassingly full of compliments for me. And I've heard what he's said to the other students. He does not say these things to everyone. That's pretty cool.

Another professor in my Experimental Film class encouraged me to apply for the MFA in Directing and said she would write a letter of recommendation for me. Again, it's all very nice to hear.

So right now I'm kind of knee-deep in this other world of my own creation. I don't know if this happens to everyone, but when I write a feature screenplay (I've written one other), I become kind of obsessed with the story and the characters, finding myself thinking about what they might say and do at all times, having to force myself back into "real life." It's almost like that feeling when you first fall in love and that other person is all you think of, "Wonder what they are doing right now?" "Wonder what so and so would say about this?" etc. I'm psyched though because I have the whole story, now I just have to write it. I know how it ends, and I know how to get there. I think it's a pretty awesome story too. When I finish it, I'll let whoever desires read it.

I miss singing. Can't wait to start playing some music again.

I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Seriously, it's excellent. Johnny Depp is amazingly talented, and the kids were perfectly cast. The music is hilarious too. I never liked the Gene Wilder version, so I was gratified to see this one. I adored the books as a child and was horrified by the original move. But this one, in my opinion, got it all right.

Good night!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

ณงท ณื ธ้ฟรสฟืก

Hello!

I am in Thailand. I am with a YWAM band. We're called In Transit. We have played 9 shows. IT is loads of fun. This is a missions trip. There has been lots of great stuff going on.
I'll put a picture or so on here off of Ken's Photo Gallery on here. Ken is the guitarist here.

Here is a photo Ian and Ronald. I've got a new Ian! ha. Ronald is being culturally sensative and Waiing instead of waving.
Ian Well, THe photos can't be uploaded onto this page from this computer. Oh well. You can go look at them for yourself.

Have a great summer.

ฆ้ฟื ฤฤ นี ไรสส อำพ ฟิสำ น พำฟก รหใ %

-shane

Happy Birthday Poncho!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Art of Cinematography, Pt 2

Well, writing all that explanation helped me really retain that information, so bear with me here. My exam is tomorrow. And maybe you'll learn something. But I'm especially writing this for the Einstein who said it gave him/her a headache.

Where were we? I think we were talking about stops and the double half rule. Great. Let's move over into the fabulous worlds of viewfinders.

A quick history. . . in the past there WERE no viewfinders. Photographers and motion picture cinematographers alike used just wireframes that were mounted on the side or top of their cameras to approximate what they might be filming. But of course, they had to be expert mathematicians to make sure their focus was right (based on measurements) and they especially had to look out for "Parallex" problems - that is, based on the lens and how far you are zoomed in or out (or dollied in or out) the angle of viewing could be vastly different than what your wireframe was framing for you. The solution in this case was to dolly all the way in as close as your coverage of scene was going to get and make sure you are getting the face or item within the frame, and then you know as you dolly out you'll get what you need. But keep in mind when you watch films made in the early 1900s (Citizen Kane, for instance) that the camera operators did not have a proper viewfinder.

There are basically 2 different kind of viewfinders. The first is called the Reflex, or TTL, viewfinder. TTL stands for "Through the Taking Lens" meaning you are seeing what the lens that is filming is actually seeing. It's called a Reflex viewfinder because it is making use of the reflection for the shutter's mirror, which bounces up into a prism which directs it into the viewfinder. The viewfinder on a motion picture camera will actually flicker, as you are only seeing the image when the mirror is covering the film (when the shutter is closed), not when the film is being exposed (when the shutter is open).

Of course, some pesky consumers complained that they didn't like that flicker, so you will find some consumer level cameras that have a "non flicker" Reflex system. They have the light come in through the lens, and then right away it meets a prism which splits that light, sending part of it to the film, and the other part up to the viewfinder's prism. So you do away with the flicker, but you've split the light and thus these cameras require more light to be exposed properly. Personally, I like the flicker, so I think this whole idea is stupid.

Then there is the Non-Reflex Viewing System. You all know the kind -- think disposable cameras. So you can take a picture with your finger over the taking lens but it looks fine to you when you look through the viewing lens. Cameras with this kind of viewing lens would need to have adjustable lines on the viewfinder to approximate the captured image differences between a wide angle taking lens and a telephoto taking lens, and again they run into Parallex Issues, especially as you use a telephoto lens to zoom in.

My conclusion: Through the Taking Lens is the only way to go. Why bother with a lens that just hints at what the film is seeing, but could very well be wrong?

OK, everybody, it's time to talk ASPECT RATIO! In this day and age of widescreen TVs and letterbox DVDs, people are fairly familiar with what this is. Up until 1955, movies were not actually shot widescreen, they were shot like standard television - 1.33 wide for 1 unit high. But then Studios started panicking as TV became more prevalent and feared that noone would come to see movies anymore. So in order to differentiate, they decided to make their films WIDER. 1.85 wide for every 1 unit high. Did they invest in all new equipment and new film stocks and projections to make this happen? No. In fact, movies are still shot on standard 35mm film -- which records to a native 1.33 to 1 aspect ratio. And then, the projectionist puts a matte over the projector that blocks out the top and bottom so you don't see those parts that were filmed. But a good cinematographer will shoot making sure that no boom stands or dolly tracks make it into those "matted out" top and bottom edges - because sometimes in a DVD or video transfer those parts may kind of make it into the print. In Dustin Hoffman's "Marathon Man" you can see an actor's position tape in one scene and a fairly complex dolly track in another.

It's not uncommon these days for a cinematographer to be asked to film a movie or a TV show with 3 different aspect ratios in mind. They know they want 1.85:1 for the Cinematic Release, but they want to be able to show it on cable TV at 1.33:1 and on HD TV, which is 1.78:1. Fun fun.

Some film makers will also try to go Super Wide Screen by using Anamorphic lenses, which actually distort the image to push the aspect ratio to 2.40:1. It's shot on normal 35mm film and it actually looks stretched on the negative, but then when it's projected back the projector will ALSO use an Anamorphic playback lens, and so it will just look Super Wide and not artificially stretched. Approximately 30% of Hollywood Films are shot Anamorphic.

By the way, two nights ago when I discussed Lensmounts? The names of the ones that screw in are called B Mounts (used for 8mm cameras) or C Mounts (used for 16mm cameras, and are more common than B Mounts).

The one that just sticks in and uses the length of the lens to hold it in place? It's called a Bayonet Lensmount. (For obvious reasons).

And the preferred one that is used on most pro level cameras. It's called PL Lensmount - which stands for Positive Lock. It has an advantage because it locks and place, and it's either locked in or it isn't, so there is no Collomation concern (when the lens is too far or too close to the film).

It's time to discuss the Magazine. This is where the film, both exposed and unexposed, is stored.

One kind of Magazine is the Displacement Style. Here the film is all held in one chamber, with the exposed film reeled up on the "take-up" side and the unexposed (Raw Stock) stored in the "Take up side." In a displacement style magazine, film must be loaded AND unloaded in complete darkness (a dark room, a changing bag, a changing tent).

Then there is the Dual Compartment magazine, which has 2 airtight chambers that are separate from each other. Because of this, you have to unload the take up side in total darkness, but the feed side can be loaded in light. (You just expose the small amount of film needed to thread through the camera).

As documentary filmmaking took off in popularity and quick changes were needed since action was not planned and one needed to be ready at all time, a new kind of Magazine was developed. The Coaxial Magazine is a quick change magazine that can be loaded completely separate from the camera and then easily added on when needed. All threading takes place within the coaxial chamber.

Panavision will just use Displacement magazines. Arri will use Displacement and Dual Compartment. With some cameras, the camera body itself is also the magazine. The Bolex, for example, is set up this way. (As are most still cameras).

So you've probably used it and never given two thoughts about it. Film stock. Just what is it made up of and how does it reproduce images?

The secret is a naturally occurring material called Silver Halide. Well over 100 years ago, it was discovered to be reactive to light, and would arrange itself according to the light that hit it. However, Silver Halide itself is just a very fine powder, so in order to make it usable, it must be mixed with something.

It is mixed with a binder, which works as a fortifier and turns it into something that can be applied as a layer -- a photographic emulsion.

So, Silver Halide mixed with gelatin (which is used as the binder) is your photographic emulsion. Yes, gelatin, the same used in Jell-O. The same gelatin, which is an awfully nice word for "ground up pig and cow bones."

And this is where, if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you might want to skip ahead a couple hundred words. I''m warning you. Because it is a little publicized fact that all film consists of gelatin. So, Vegetarians cannot in good conscience make or WATCH motion picture films, at least that's how I see it. For every "Die Hard 2" hundreds of cows had to be placed in a blender. There's no way around it.

The photograph emulsion is still not the film, it's just a very thin layer that needs support, called a base. Back in the beginning of photographic technology, people would use glass as the base. However, glass would not work. It's not flexible and can't move through the camera. What is used now is plastic, which provides the ability to transport the emulsion and support for it.

The tan side is the emulsion. The black side is the base. Most of the thickness of film is the base. A layer of photographic emulsion is only 1/10th of the width of a human hair. Very thin.

Interestingly, until the 1940s, people used Nitrate for the base of film. Explosive, volatile Nitrate. And if it came in contact with a flame, it was like dynamite. This is why projectionist booths have such tiny windows - for the safety of the audience in case the film exploded. Sadly, Nitrate breaks down quickly, and half the films made prior to the 1950 no longer exist in any form. (This is partly the fault of the Studios too, who saw no value in preserving films once they were finished their theatrical run, not having the foresight for such things as DVDs and VCRs and re-releases. The film was released, ended it's presentation, and then had no worth.)

The actual breakdown of film is as follows (from top to bottom): Layer of clear protective coating. Photograph Emulsion(s), Subbing layer (glue that sticks the emulsion to the base), Plastic Base, Anti-Halation Backing.

The Anti-Halation backing is a layer that protects against light bouncing off the pressure plate which was behind the film and exposing it again. In old movies you'll see an odd halo effect often, and this was prior to use of the Anti-Halation backing.

Color Film will actually have multiple layers (6) of photographic emulsion (each for a different color), and because of this is slightly thicker than black and white film. This can actually be a problem when shooting in black and white, because that slightly thinner film can lead to more frequent camera jams AND can buildup static electricity which will show up in the print as tiny exposed lightning patterns. When Spielberg shot Schindler's List this was a huge problem they had to overcome.

Motion Film camera comes in 2 basic types: Positive/Negative and Reversal Film.

Positive/Negative is like your common still film, it develops as a negative image and you can create a positive image using that negative.

Reversal film is more akin to Slide Film. The Camera Original film is also the Positive Print. There is no negative involved.

Since you only have to develop it once, Reversal film is less expensive, and it was developed for consumer use. The contrast on it is higher and it's sensitivity to dark and lights is very high and it can get blown out or blacked out more quickly then convential positive/negative film. The color reproduction is also slightly unreal. All of this can be used to great effect, as when Spike Lee shot Clockers or in the film U-Turn.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A FILM STOCK
Just like in still photography, you have your Exposure Index, also known as the ISO, the ASA, the EI, the film speed. The higher this number, the greater sensitivity the film has to the light.

A very important concept is understanding film stocks is the film's Latitude, which is it's ability to record a range of exposure from bright to dark. How light and how dark can the room be and still make out detail? The human eye has a tremendous latitude, and can make out detail on both extremely bright and extremely dark spaces. Motion picture film's latitude is a subset of the human eye's ability. So the Cinematographer's job is to translate what people know as a large latitude space into a much more limited, compressed latitude (that of film).

They will do this by using lights to move more shadows into a film stock's latitude. These are called Fill Lights, and if not used those shadows would be deep dark shadows (otherwise known as bulletproof blacks). The X-Files often purposely exceeded the latitude towards the bright end of the spectrum to completely blow out the windows so you couldn't see anything through them but blindingly bright light streaming into a dark set.

Another characteristic is the film stocks' contrast - the ability to reproduce shades of grey in tonality. High contrast will see lots of bright whites and dark blacks, low contrast will produce lots of shades of grey. Shooting in the morning will naturally produce lower contrast, and shooting in the afternoon will naturally produce high contrast.

There are ONLY TWO producers of motion picture film stock. Kodak and Fuji. Kodak inherently has more contrast. And Fuji has less contrast. So, for instance, if you had to shoot in the afternoon, but needed to make it look like morning, it would be smart to use Fuji film for that particular shoot.

. . . .

Sorry all. . .. That's as far as I can get here. I have to get to bed soon.

Monday, July 18, 2005

515 Kelton Ave, Venice Beach, and more

First things first. I'm paying way too much money for a hallway that smells of garbage and an elevator that has been vomited in twice in the last two nights (and not been cleaned up by the way). And the kitchen has an old gas stove in it, so there is this constant "light a match and watch the room blow up" gas smell. $1900 a month for this? Oh, and we're the only ones in the building with children, so the building manager hates us, claiming we make too much noise. Nevermind the music we can hear loudly until 2 in the morning. Oh no, our kids sometimes running in the hallway at 2 PM is what is truly disruptive. Goodness.

Yesterday we went to Venice Beach. Like no place else in the world, and in a cool way. What you have is 3 miles of beach and people can apply for a lottery to get a bunch of small booths lining the walkway. And they use their booths to prophesy, to express themselves, to perform.

For instance:


Believe it or not, that guy was preaching the Gospel. Things are different here.

Venice Beach also has an outdoor body building gym where fanatically strong men and women work out, it's called Muscle Beach. It's also where White Men Can't Jump was filmed. Oh, and they were filming a scene of some new TV show and we say Don Johnson, from Miami Vice. Croquette!!! (Or however you spell that).

More pictures from Venice Beach:





Sunday, July 17, 2005

Everything you wanted to know about Cinematography

I have a midterm exam on Tuesday and I'm kind of procrastinating and I'm trying to put that procrastination to some use, so from memory let me list out what I know about the art of Cinematography.

First things first, the Cinematographer wields a very powerful weapon - the lens. The lens allows you to force others to view things in a specific way, allows you to force focus in a way that no other performing arts allow you to do really. In the theatre, people can look at what they want to look at. But the Cinematographer combines a number of variables to elicit a specific emotional response which serves and supports the story. In this sense, every shoot is actually an experiment. Cinematography requires a Artistic Technician - one who has imagination and inspiration, but then also is conversant in enough of the science to be able to control the image (allow the picture in the imagination translate onto screen) and also be able to repeat this image over and over again (avoid happy accidents, you cannot make a great film or a great career out of happy accidents). So you need to know the science behind the things that elicit an emotion response, to serve the art and the story,

Basically, the motion film camera consists of the following major parts.

Body
Gate
Movement
Shutter
Motor
Lensmount
Magazine

Almost any camera you get will consist of these major parts, and they are even relevant to most DV cameras as well, although the stuff said here primarily relates to color motion picture negative film.

The body is quite simply the casing of the camera, and what everything attaches to. It really only has one major requirement, and that is that it be light tight, not letting ANY light in other than what comes in through the lens and the aperture. Some older cameras might need to be wrapped in electrical tape to ensure that they are light tight. If they aren't, the film could get fogged and come out a washed out gray.

When it comes to 35mm Motion Picture cameras, there are really ONLY 2 manufacturers of note. Panavision and Arri.

Panavision was founded by a man who created one of the first adjustable lens. Way back in the early 1900's, if you wanted to use a wide angle shot or a telephoto shot, you'd have to lug out another lens and attach it, wasting time. But the founder of Panavision changed that and made a load of money. Then FOX films had made Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor and spent way too much money on it and they were on the verge of going bankrupt, so they sold most of their film cameras. Panavision bought them all and retrofitted them so that they were one consistent system. The lenses always were compatible, all the parts were compatible. Since them, Panavision has become the dominant player in major motion picture filming. One unique aspect of Panavision is that they lease their equipment, they do not sell it. So you'll rent the Panavision system for a film.

Arri is a French company. In contrast, they will sell their cameras. And also, when they come out with a new camera, it's likely that attachments from past cameras will no longer fit.

Other 35mm camera systems are mainly specialty cameras. Such as a stop motion camera, used for filming animation, which specializes in holding the register rock solid through multiple shots. And hi speed cameras, which will shoot from 150-300 frames per second (normal films are shot at 24 frames per second). Being able to shoot at such high speeds allows for the crazy "bullet through the apple" shots and stuff like that. But not with a cost. A whole roll of film can zip through it in about 10 seconds, and THEN a specially trained technician will have to take about an hour or more to clean out the camera and get it ready for another shoot, because the film moves through at such speed that it shatters the film and leaves a residue. The US Military has hi speed cameras that can shoot up to 8000 frames per second. Wow, think about that. So they can really analyze exactly how deadly are those deadly inventions that they use and defend against.

Another specialty camera is the stunt camera, "or the slam cam." This is normally an old US military surplus camera left over from WWII put into a super strong metal casing. Then they'll be used in the car for a car crash or something like that. Once the smoke dies down, they'll sift through the debris hoping the film is undamaged.

Anyway, when it comes to 16mm, there are a couple more players. Arri is the king of 16mm. And Panavision is second. In additional, there is Bolex, which I believe is a swiss company. The notable thing about the Bolex camera is that it does not record sound, and you actually have to crank it and then film for 1-2 minutes. There are some other companies but I don't remember them, guess I have to study that part a little better.

Let's talk about Film Stocks for a second. Why 35mm? Well, the answer is simple. At the time motion picture film was being invented by Kodak, still cameras photography was already well established. And still camera's format of choice was 70mm. Now 70mm in motion picture film would be too expensive, but in order to still be able to use the same production machinery and processes with a few modifications, they just chopped the film in half.

Then consumers wanted to get in on the act, but 35mm was too expensive. So what did they do? They basically chopped it in half again, and you got 16mm film. 16mm film used to actually be shot on 35mm. Meaning the cameras would expose half of the 35mm film, then you would rewind it and expose the other half. Then in the lab they would develop it and cut it in half for you.

Incidentally, though it was originally developed for consumer use, 16mm is now used in many professional productions -- mostly television where the increased resolution is not needed since it's not being projected onto a huge screen. (By the way, 35mm film is much more "high definition" than digital HD). The first TV show to use 16mm was "Young Indiana Jones" back in the 80s. Once this show proved it was a viable format, many other shows jumped at using it too (saving a lot of money).

But consumers wanted their film even cheaper, so the 8mm format was developed. Yes, once again, chopped in half. Problem here. .. now the quality was really getting bad. So what did they develop, Super 8! Why was it "Super"? Because the perforations on either side of the film (that the cameras and projectors used to advance the film) were made smaller, so more of the film surface could be dedicated to the image, increasing the resolution. Super, indeed!

Let's talk about the "Gate." Simply, the gate is the part through which the film runs to get exposed (through the aperture). It consists of a "film channel," which is where the film is actually located, and a pressure plate, which pushes the film from behind to keep it the proper distance away from the lens. If it gets too far away from that lens, the focus will become blurred. Not good!

It will also normally have two different claw like mechanisms, one will advance the film at a regular rate, and one will hold it in place so it doesn't shift left to right at all while the shot is being exposed.

That regular rate part is important. Old films (when the technology was first invented), were advanced by handcranks, so actually the frame rate was not consistent. They normally hovered between 16 and 18 frames per second. Which pretty much looked fine for the time, and a 2 frame per second deviation is pretty hard to discern so it basically looked ok. That being said, a camera operator had to have a very good sense of rhythm. Anyway, you wonder why old films from this time look all fast and almost comic when we see them today? Because we're now playing them at 24 frames per second. Back then, the projectors played them back at 16 or 18 frames per second, and the motion looked completely normal.

Why the change to 24 frames per second? (which is, by the way an expensive change because it requires more film.) Sound. Sound could not be adequately reproduced at 18 frames per second, and "talkies" were becoming an important part of film. So the "industry" asked the experts what the bare minimum requirement would be in terms of frames per second so that sound would work (not optimal, just passable). 24 fps is the cheapest they could go, and still incorporate sound. So this become the new standard.

Frame rate can be a very important variable in eliciting an emotional response. For instance, filming the fight scenes in the Matrix at 20 or 22 frames per second instead of 24, but playing it back at 24, gives the illusion that the fighters are faster and stronger and more sure than they actually are. This is, by the way, called Undercranking. Likewise, filming a dance scene at 26 or 28 frames per second but playing back at 24 can give the impression that those dancers are just a little more graceful and smooth. This is called Overcranking.

One thing to bear in mind though when under or over cranking is that both have an effect on the amount of light that is hitting the film, and thus the exposure. So adjustments will have to be made to the stops to still get the correct exposure. You might even have to make these adjustments on the fly if you want to over or under crank mid scene, which is often done.

Let's talk about the movement for a second. The movement is the way the film moves through the camera. In motion film cameras, the movement is both continuous and discontinuous. It's continuous because the film must move at the standard constant frame rate. Yet the film must stop for a moment (even if only 1/100th of a second or less) behind the aperture to get a proper exposure. The way the system does this is by using Latham Levers, which leave a little slack of film on either side of the gate so that the film is constantly getting bunched and pulled and the camera can allow for both the necessary continuous and discontinuous movement.

On to the Shutter. In the most basic terms, the Shutter is what opens or closes to allow the light through the lens to hit the film and expose it. It's shaped like a circle, and part of it is open, and the other part is actually a mirror. The mirror allows the light to bounce into the viewfinder when it's not exposing the film so that you can see a reflexive image of what the film is seeing through the taking lens. This is very important, because in early Hollywood movie making, the viewfinders could never see what the taking lens was actually seeing, and huge amount of mathematical equations had to be performed in order to "know" what exactly was and wasn't being filmed.

The standard setting for a shutter is 180 degrees, meaning that half of the circle is open to the film, and half is closed. But it is adjustable, and can achieve very dramatic effects.

A formula for determining how shutter angle relates to "shutter speed," which is a much more familiar concept to still photographers is as follows.

1 open angle
-- X -------- = xth of second.
fps 360

So, if you're shooting 24 frames per second with a standard shutter opening. ...

1 180
-- X ----- =
24 360



1 1
-- X ----- = 1/50th of a second shutter speed (i know it's 1/48th, but we round these numbers!)
24 2

Now thinking again about still photography, when you have the shutter open for more time, what kind of images does it produce? The motion will blur more, right? And when you have a very fast shutter speed, it will freeze the image and cut down on the motion. The same is try with motion cameras, but what you adjust here is the shutter angle.

Think about Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg was trying to approximate the "otherworldly" aspect of battle that so many WWII Veterans described. He and his Cinematographer decided that they wanted to make all the battle action much more detailed and less blurring. So they cut the shutter angle to 90 and 45 degrees. The opening scene, the D Day landing is all shot this way, and it's a great effect. If you pause the film at any specific frame, you can see individual pieces of dirt in the air. On a normally shot film, that same dirt will be blurred on a frame. Hollywood liked the effect, and now you see it in many other films, even commercials (Gladiator, for instance). Likewise, if you wanted to push the blurriness of a scene you would open the shutter angle more. Keeping in mind of course, that you will have to adjust stops for all this because you are effecting the amount of light that hits the film.

When I keep talking about stops, I'm referring to "f-stops" or apertures. In other words, the size of the hole that lets the light in. One stop up allows in exactly double the light from the previous one. One stop down allows in exactly half the light. Exposure is effected by this tremendously, as it controls the intensity of the light. In filming, they are called stops. A very important concept to remember is the following:

Exposure = Intensity x Time.

Intensity is affected by stops (and filters) and time is affected by frame rate and shutter angle. You combine these variables to get the exposure that you want for a particular shot.

One thing that is very interesting is that most of these things abide by what is called the "double-half rule." Meaning that if you double one of these variables, you can half the others and still arrive at the same exposure. So let's say I'm shooting at 24 frames per second with a stop of 5.6 and a shutter angle of 180. Oh but now I want that cool Saving Private Ryan affect, so I adjust the shutter angle to 90. I have now allowed in a lot less light, (in fact, I've cut the light by half), so I need to double it somewhere else. So I go down one stop - to 4 - and double the light again to compensate. All of those variables play but the double half rule, meaning if you double one you can half another, and vice versa, to keep the same exposure.

OK, I need to get back to studying. . .. if you've read this much you should be here with me learning all this. It's pretty cool.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

This is not good.

People wonder why I am suspicious.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Back to the Music

If you recall, we are actually a band that plays music. Even though we are scattered over the globe right now, and Drew is insane, we do play music. We are applying to the Dewey Music Festival. Here are some of the things we put together to send them.

A 40 word Description: They defy easy categorization. That is, unless you believe there are only two different categories for music - good and bad. Combining intricate acoustic guitar with hardcore influences and heartfelt vocals, the Look Machine rocks while not repressing a more sensitive sound.

Ok, it's 41 words, but who's counting?

A short bio: Music is the passion of each member of the Look Machine. It fill their days and finds its way into their dreams. Far more than just a pass time or a tonic for a troubled soul, music is a way of life for each of the band members. The band is made up of friends and brothers, all musicians from childhood, all optimistic visionaries with high hopes and a daring dream. Since 2003 the band has been striving to create music that is touching and powerful. They have been combining their skills and drawing on their varied musical backgrounds and have crafted a sound that is unique and memorable.

United in their creative goals this band is shooting for the top, and having fun along the way.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The View From the Stage


So I know that you are all wondering: What is it like to be a rock star? Well, once and for all let me show you. This is what it looks like fom the stage. When you are a member of the Look Machine, this is an every day sight. I'm kind of used to it by now, but it was pretty cool at first. You know, the thousands of of screaming fans, the spot lights, the millions of dollars. I guess it's not too shabby. Rock on.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Burning Question


Could anyone explain to me: Why do guys have nipples?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Mystery Bird

Can someone please tell me. . . what kind of bird is this? It was tiny. Very small indeed. I think it's some kind of hummingbird. And it made the prettiest song. Anyone have a clue?

Palisades Hiking Pictures

Today I went hiking at the Will Rogers Historic State Park. The views were beautiful and the hike was well worth, but I need to find another hiking place because it was very dry and there was no water anywhere. I don't know what it is, but I just am not satisfied unless there is some water involved with a hike. A waterfall, a creek, the ocean, a lake. . . something. I think it's because water signifies some kind of mystery and peace and refreshment.

Maybe I need to get over my water obsession, because a walk in the mountains is also awesome.





Saturday, July 02, 2005

From Montanna

Hi.
Thisis Shane.
I don't know if you remember me, but I'm actually in this band.
I play drums. I played drums today. It was fun. We playd in this parkfor like abouta thousend people. Well, it was really about I don't know 100-150. Something like taht.

Well, have a joyfilled evening.

Friday, July 01, 2005

What I'm Up To

I saw War of the Worlds. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen. But if you're at all squeamish, avoid it. The imagery, I think, purposely evokes the attacks of 9/11 and the film is actually kind of one big punch in the gut. . .

You know something different about LA, at least where I am?

There aren't really any multiplexes, like back home. Here, they have a HUGE movie house with one HUGE screen and one movie playing at a time. The crowd lines up around the block an hour before the film start time.

And the crowd is so much more respectful of the film. You don't get cell phones and talking. People are studying the film, watching the film, enjoying the film. And there is actually a curtain that rises and falls between previews and the main feature. Certainly different. And better. Except now I've seen the one movie they're showing and there is nothing else to see for me.

I'm making friends, which is always good. I spent awhile today with an Italian named Giacamo. It came up in the conversation that I was in a band, and he asked which kind of music I played. I told him Rock, and he said, "Oh like Bruce Springstein and Bob Dylan." I told him just kind of but not really, and I couldn't come up with a band that he's heard of that we vaguely sound like. I promised him a CD.

I turned in the first part of my script to my screenwriter instructor and he set up a meeting with me to discuss it. But then he called me later and cancelled and said, "I actually read your pages and they are pretty outstanding, so I have no reason to meet with you because I wouldn't change a thing. It's really actually pretty stellar." Nice, huh?

I'm also taking a Cinematography class and I'm LOVING it because I'm learning all the ins and outs of movie cameras and film stocks and lenses and techniques. It might sound boring but actually these are exactly the kinds of things I need to learn so I can make the films I want to make and achieve the looks I'm going for. YES.

So yes when the Look Machine starts rocking out again. . . we will be multimedia hopefully.