Modular Love x3

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My favourite treat was waiting in my POBox for me…

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Modules!

On the left an Evaton Technologies RF Nomad (Voltage controlled shortwave radio !) in the middle is an SSF Quantum Rainbow 2 (various coloured analog noise source – grey noise FTW!) and a Qu-Bit Nebulae, an audio file granulizer… Now to juggle some space to get them mounted & fired up!

 

Battery charge markers

These are a great idea that someone mentioned on FB (I don’t remember who, so please remind me if it was you, thanks!)

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They are tiny battery charge state indicators which you stick to your batteries and can then use them to identify batteries that need recharging. For scale here are the ones I just put on my batteries for my Sound Devices recorders:

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Each one comes with double-sided tape already attached, so you just peel the back of them & attach them wherever you want. The slider has a small notch, so when you set it to green or red, it stays there & it would be fairly unlikely that it could slide across accidentally… They work great on my Sound Devices batteries but I was also hoping they would also work for my collection of Canon LP-E6 batteries. Unfortunately there is not enough room to stick them on any part of the battery and still allow the battery to fit inside my 5DmkIII – I tried every permutation and the battery compartment door on the 5D would not close. Probably for most people they don’t chew through enough batteries with their DSLRs that its a problem, but when out shooting timelapse its a different story… plus I have some LED lights & an LCD external field monitor which all use the same Canon batteries, so it would have been super useful.

Anyway these are made by Turnigy and if you google ‘Turnigy Battery Charge Marker’ you will find a local seller, HobbyKing has them here US$4 for 10 and Mr Positive has them locally in NZ here

 

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I was walking down Victoria St on the way to the excellent Gordon Harris Art Supplies (shopping for materials to make a cyc) and this stencil by SCAMPI caught my eye…
shot with Fuji x100s today 11th August 2014

NZFF2014_09 Amazonia 3D

For me its kind of odd that the last two films I see at the Film festival are in 3D – I usually go out of my way to avoid 3D, but other than Werner Herzogs Cave of Dreams I have never seen a documentary in 3D, and when you think about how difficult it is to film most wildlife documentaries in 2D, the idea of this film in 3D was worth putting aside preconceptions and witness what they have achieved…
Frankly I cannot even begin to grok what was involved in making this film, Amazonia by Thierry Ragobert is a wordless observational documentary with a basic narrative but OMG! Accessing the locations in the Amazon must have been an incredible task in itself, but when the narrative you’re following is focused on a tiny monkey you have to wonder what madness was endured to direct the talent!
The film is a visual treat, with the 3D aspect thankfully not being applied to overtly. While months of arduous shooting must have been involved I can also only imagine a huge amount of work also being involved in creating the soundtrack. As there is no dialogue the ambiences, creature vocals & foley carry the film along with the score by Bruno Coulais. The screening I attended was mid afternoon and accordingly half the audience was kids, who seemed to enjoy it – which is a great compliment on the pacing of the film!

Also have to mention the incredible macro photography/cinematography in this film, and how beautifully sound & foley was handled for these moments when location sound would have been inaudible.

So thats the NZ International Film Festival over for another year, its been such a great celebration of film culture from all over the planet. Thankfully Film Festivals are one place where Hollywood can’t dominate, as no amount of marketing will sway the curators as to selection of films. That isn’t to say I am anti-Hollywood, but I see Hollywood as just one culture of film making, amongst many. And as with that great saying about travel by James A. Michener: “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home…” So if you’re one of those people who can’t be bothered reading subtitles, then please appreciate exactly what you are missing out on…..
When did you last see a subtitled film?

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Thanks Bill & all the NZFF team!

NZFF2014_08 THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET

Jean Pierre Jeunet in 3D? I had to suspend my disbelief on the way to seeing this movie THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET as despite trying more than a few times there hasn’t yet been a 3D film I didn’t/wouldn’t prefer to see in 2D (if at all), and while I wouldn’t say this is my favourite Jeunet film by quite a stretch, I still thoroughly enjoyed it, 3D and all.

After reading an interview with Jeunet about his approach to 3D, it is interesting to note he conceived the film to be shot in 3D: “I thought in 3D,” said Jeunet. “I wrote the script and made the storyboards in 3D.” And the 3D construction and art direction of the film was a great sucess – there were only a couple of times during the screening I had to consciouslly blink, to assimilate the 3D nature of something onscreen. But it was the story & great characters (especially the great performance from the 10 year old TS Spivet) that transcended the technology.

Great sound design and mix too! In fact I’d say it was the best sounding film that I’ve seen at the festival this year. Lots of great set pieces, but a beautifully paced & characterful soundtrack – always mindful of the potential for sound to help tell the story. As with many Jeunet films I really appreciated the foley, always entirely appropriate but many, many times contributing directly to key moments of character & plot evolution. I would imagine Jeunets sound team cheer the moment they hear a new production has been greenlit, such a joy to be working with material so engaged in its sonic world!

This is a highly reccomended film, an absolute treat for adults but also an imaginatively encouraging film for young geniuses, with some nicely handled existential aspects….

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shot 20th August 2013 with Canon 40D infrared and EFs10-22mm lens

 

Detritus 311

 

> best 50 documentaries according to 340 critics, programmers and filmmakers

 

The Synth of Fear: Horror film soundtracks with synthesiser scores (thanks Logan!)

 

> you had me at ‘micro apocalyptic scenes’

 


his cover of Billie Jean is pretty great too

 

> Strange Mr. Satie

 

> sage advice re sound for films via head of Dolby especially “Hire your sound editor at the same time as your picture editor.”

 

> ever wonder how the internets gets everywhere?

 

 

> the best gif you will see today (by rafael varona)

 


piano plays score composed by clouds (thanks Peter!)

 

> love these electric bikes

 

> no doubt you’ve seen it everywhere already: turning vibrations on objects back into sound

 

> Mix by Fourcolor/Keichii Sugimoto for URB – free download on soundcloud

 

 

> making music with broken plumbing

 

> new work in London by Ryoji Ikeda to commemorate the start of WWI

 

> urbex film school

 

 

Rose of Jericho from Sean Steininger on Vimeo.

beautiful music by Alexandre Desplat – Morning tears

 

NZFF2014_07 Leviathan

A film that is described as a ‘Russian master piece’ and which won best screenplay at Cannes is a reasonably safe bet for an ideal Film Festival experience. And thankfully it was. I felt a little taken aback after seeing two films in a row that left me feeling unfulfilled, but Leviafan by Andrey Zvyagintsev was the antidote I needed: a slowly paced film with heart breaking performances & beautiful cinematography, the story arc of which felt almost like a current theme: individual humans being consumed in their attempts to fight corruption – the philosophical righteous confronted & denigrated by the corrupt & powerful….

Levithan has a great soundtrack – the ambiences often primal & foreboding, or empty & plaintive, with the score by Philip Glass primarily bookending moments or chapters of the narrative… Have to say I almost cheered at one point, to hear the gentle rhythm of film during a quiet dialogue scene.

NZFF2014_06 The Internets Own Boy

If you use rss then you know one tiny part of Aaron Swartz work and rss really illustrates what a prodigy he was, making huge contributions to its development when only 13 years old! His involvement in developing & then selling Reddit for a significant amount, but remaining altruistic in his focus and motives for work also reflect hugely on his core values. But while there are any number of successful computer geniuses, it was his evolution into a political lobbyist that upon reflection is our greatest loss.

I wasn’t really aware of him in his earlier life, but I clearly remember the successful anti-SOPA protests and can only imagine what Swartz would have gone on to achieve in later life if he hadn’t been ‘made an example of.’ This is an excellent documentary, well worth seeking out to both appreciate the huge contribution Swartz made in his short life and the huge cost he paid. While the US government would presumably like his persecution to be a permanent reminder for anyone considering breaking any form of laws via the use of computers, in the end it just reveals the very sad truth that justice is for those who hold power & can access/afford any scale of legal costs. Test it and it will likely bankrupt you, but even more so it will be at your personal psychological expense, and I suspect for any reasonable human being that personal cost would rapidly escalate to being untenable.

For me, the true test of any film is revealed through the residual effect it has on me. Powerful films stay with me for days and weeks, some are permanent. Some come & go, like they never even existed. Seeing The Internets Own Boy made me appreciate what an ephemeral concept ‘freedom’ is, and with SOPA, just how close the perceived freedoms we have online were, to being lost in the aid of big business. But here is the real residual unease: the motives for SOPA have not been defeated & disappeared. They will have licked their wounds, gone away & regrouped, and then continued to invest huge sums developing new strategies to achieve the same desired result.

In my country this currently takes the form of the TPPA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a trade deal being negotiated in secrecy between the USA and 12 other countries. Why is it being negotiated in secrecy? Presumably because one persons idea of a ‘free’ trade agreement does not equate to many, many others idea of freedom. But thanks to Wikileaks, draft documents revealing some of these hidden intentions have come to light. Now that is the deep sense of unease I feel more clearly now, that big business is lobbying via political entities to spread their idea of ‘freedom’ (i.e. control of freedom) outside their own borders. And while acts of war are usually more overt & abhorrent, these insidious stealthy attempts at political manipulation are equally disturbing.

See this movie