.:Trailer Report #2

February 4, 2008 at 8:17 pm (Uncategorized)

All right everyone, week 2 has arrived, and I actually remembered to continue this.  I hope you all saw the new Jumper trailer during the Superbowl.  I know I did.   So, I think I’ll include another Superbowl trailer in this week’s 5.

Romulus, My Father
Genre:
Drama, Foreign
Release: Feb 29th th, 2008
Synopsis: Based on Raimond Gaita’s critically acclaimed memoir. It tells the story of Romulus, his beautiful wife, Christina, and their struggle in the face of great adversity to bring up their son, Raimond. It is the tale of a boy trying to balance a universe described by his deeply moral father, against the experience of heartbreaking absence and neglect from a depressive mother. It is, ultimately, a story of impossible love that celebrates the unbreakable bond between father and son. (from Apple Trailers) (Eric Bana)
Thoughts: Interesting.  Definitely a drama that would pique my interests, but I don’t know if it is enough for me to seek out once released.

Son of Rambow
Genre: Comedy
Release: May 2nd, 2008
Synopsis: A runaway audience smash at the Sundance Film Festival, SON OF RAMBOW is a hilariously fresh and visually inventive take on friendship, family, film heroes and the death-defying adventures of growing up in the video age. It all begins in 1980s Britain, when young Will Proudfoot, raised in isolation among The Brethren, a puritanical religious sect in which music and TV are strictly forbidden, encounters something beyond his wildest fantasies: a pirated copy of RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD. His virgin viewing of the iconic thriller blows his mind – and rapidly expanding imagination – wide open. Now, Will sets out to join forces with the seemingly diabolical school bully, Lee Carter, to make their own action epic, devising wildly creative, on-the-fly stunts, not to mention equally elaborate schemes for creating a movie of total commitment and non-stop thrills while hiding out from The Brethren. But when school popularity finally descends on Will and Lee in the form of, oui, the super-cool French exchange student, Didier Revol, their remarkable new friendship and precious film are pushed, quite literally, to the breaking point. (from Apple Trailers)
Thoughts: This has me surprisingly interested.  It looks fun and cute and definitely worth a watch.

Nim’s Island
Genre: Adventure/Children’s
Release: 2008
Synopsis: A young girl inhabits an isolated island with her scientist father and communicates with a reclusive author of the novel she’s reading. Based on the book by Wendy Orr and Kerry Millard. (Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler)
Thoughts: It looks cute, and it’s from Walden Media, who tend to put out solid work so far.  Gerard Butler always cracks me up as he goes from being the Phantom to King Leonidas to the late love interest of PS I Love You… now he does double duty as Nim’s father and the fictional adventure hero that travels with Jodie Foster.

Over Her Dead Body
Genre: Comedy
Release: Feb 1st, 2008
Synopsis:  A ghost tries to sabotage her former boyfriend’s current relationship with a psychic.
Thoughts: The trailer and concept cracks me up, but I can almost guaruntee that it will be a box office flop.
…and the winer of the week is…

Iron Man
Genre: Action/Superhero
Release: May 2nd, 2008
Synopsis: A corporate arms merchant/developer, Tony Stark, barely survives an encounter with terrorists, and builds a new weapon… him. (Robert Downey Jr.)
Thoughts:
The music was awesome, and this was just the TV spot.  The shot of Iron Man shooting at the tank and walking away before it explodes with the knowledge that he has bested it is just super-cool anyway.  I’m definitely going to go see this Marvel flick.

I hope you’ve found something in here that interests you!

-Ryan

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.:Battlefield: Chapter One

January 30, 2008 at 7:36 am (after effects, hvx200, my projects) (, , )

“The worst of it is that we can’t see either side.
We can’t see what we’re up against.
We see the battles and how they effect us…
but, we’re just stuck in the middle.”

~Battlefield

Note: Viewing the video at YouTube gives a much better image for some reason…
click here for the YouTube video directly.

Battlefield: Chapter One is complete. Eventually there will be a much higher resolution Flash version when I get www.DarosFilms.com up and running. But until then, you’ll have to see the YouTube version. I would post this to Stage6, but there isn’t a way to turn off the download feature to my knowledge, and I’m not ready to release this for free yet.

A big thank you to everyone who has helped make this possible and supported the creation of Battlefield. Chapters Two through Five have a lot of good material in them, and I can’t wait to get started editing the footage down to a final product.

-Ryan

P.S. For those interested, this was shot on two Panasonic HVX200 cameras, and edited with Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 and Adobe After Effects CS3. Also, most of the special effects were crafted with the Trapcode Particular plugin for AE.

P.P.S. It seems that I didn’t make it entirely clear that this isn’t set during any historical war. There’s a little bit of allegory here if you think about it…

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.:Battlefield Sneak Peek

January 29, 2008 at 7:11 am (my projects) (, , )

“I will not risk open war.”
“Open war is upon you whether you risk it or not.”

~The Two Towers

For a incredibly hi-res version that requires DivX, click here:
Battlefield at Stage6
(trust me, it’s worth it)

This is a sneak peek of the version of Battlefield: Chapter One that will be played at the TBC Superbowl Commercial Party this coming Sunday. It won’t be up forever (hence the sneak peek portion), but I wanted to share what I have with you all.

-Ryan

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.:Backup System

January 28, 2008 at 11:35 pm (hardware) ()

One of my mottos is that I’ll try anything (within reason) twice. You could have had a bad experience on your first go round, and a second shot may prove to have unearthed something you didn’t know you could have lived without.

There are certain things you can’t do twice if you have a very bad experience. One of them would be skydiving

You wouldn’t go skydiving without a backup parachute unless you didn’t know any better. Right?

.:The Crash

Well, I had a bad experience with skydiving (metaphorically), and had something of a crash back around Christmas. My faithful computer of 3.5 years decided to half die on me. It had a RAID-0 configuration, which means it had 2 150gb hard drives that acted as two parts to a brain. Since files are stored partly on one side and then the other part on the other side… when one goes, the other is crippled and most information is useless.

What did I lose? All the working timelines from the last 3 years, excepting for my most recent projects (both work and personal, thank goodness) that I fortunately had sitting on an external drive because I was running low on my 300gb of storage. All my high-res photos (thank goodness for Facebook), a lot of high-res finished products of my videos (thank goodness for YouTube), and a lot of important documents were lost.

It took a little bit of coping to deal with the fact that my old friend would never be the same… so I replaced the 150gb with a new 500gb internal drive, upgraded the RAM from 1gb-4gb, and used the old 150 as the installation platform for Windows and not much else (I’m not trusting it as far as I can throw… well, it’s just a little brick, so I could probably chuck it a ways…) with all my important files on the new 500gb.

Great, computer is better than before, but I still have the crisis of what happens if my hardware fails me again? I did a little research…

.:Back it up

There are two schools of thought to backing up your goods.

  • You can do it.
  • Someone else can do it.

You can do it. Like Rob Schneider in The Water Boy says, you can do it (there seems to be a Rob Schneider tendency to my posts lately…). You can go out and look up the data on what a good external harddrive runs (or better known in the techie world as an HDD, as I learned), and be sure to have enough space to save everything in the event of an emergency… but then you run the risk of your backup failing (which some are known to do)…

Someone else can do it. There are online services out there like mozy.com that do the dirty work for you, and you merely upload your files to their servers, and they guarantee the safety of your beloved files. It’s nice in the event of a backup dying… or a fire, but it comes with a cost… A monthly fee, usually. It’s nominal, especially with mozy.com’s infinite space backup (for individuals, not companies) that I am currently taking advantage of for less than $5 per month. This is very nice when you have 200-300gb of data to back up. If something happens or the computer gets wiped, you just download all your files back to your revived or new computer. They heavily encrypt your files too, so they won’t see your vacation photos, or anything else you might not want in the hands of others.

So, I went down a hybrid path. I have an external drive that I back up my latest work files with, which makes me more mobile when it comes to editing, and I also have service from mozy.com, which I was able to find a coupon code to make it even cheaper. It’s not hard if you do a little digging for it.

The moral of the story is that in this digital age, once you lose something… it’s gone. You have to learn from it and move on. Technology comes with a high convenience, but also has a steep fall if you use it as a crutch.

-Ryan

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.:Trailer Report #1

January 28, 2008 at 6:52 pm (trailer report) (, )

Since this blog is still fairly young, I’m going to try out something to hopefully make Monday a little more bearable, and to enlighten you on some movies that are going to be coming out in the near future.

Ever since I happened upon the robust library of Apple Trailers, I’ve been learning about a bevy of films that I probably wouldn’t have heard much about otherwise. A lot of good films get lost in the cracks of advertising due to budgets or whatnot, so I thought I would watch these trailers on my lunch break, link you, and give my opinion on them.

Also, I believe that crafting a good trailer is an art in itself, and this exercise will help me as well. So, here are 5 trailers that I watched, and feel free to comment and discuss.

Young At Heart
Genre:
Documentary
Release: April 18th, 2008
Synopsis: The elderly learn rock songs and go on tour.
Thoughts: Cute. If I were more interested in documentaries it might be on my to-watch list. For now, I’ll stick to the funny YouTube videos.

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan
Genre: Comedy
Release: Summer 2008
Synopsis: Adam Sandler as an Israeli anti-terrorist turned hairstylist.
Thoughts: Standard Sandler comedy fair. Add Rob Schneider as a hezbollah aid-enlisting taxi driver, and you have your conflict. I might see it.

Wanted
Genre: Action
Release: 2008
Synopsis: A young man learns to fill the shoes of his late assassin father through the help of a brotherhood of assassins (James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman) Thoughts: Looks fairly exciting, even if the comic book it is based on is a much darker story (imagine someone who joins supervillians to kill superheroes), but I hear the movie will depart somewhat from the comic. I’m definitely interested.

Prince Caspian (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe)
Genre: Fantasy
Release: May 16th, 2008
Synopsis: The continuation of tLtWatW series, which has the four children returning to Narnia a year later for them, but many years later for Narnia.
Thoughts: I saw the original, which means I’ll probably see this. The battle sequences look pretty cool, so it’s probably a fair assumption that I’ll see this at some point.

…and the winer of the week is…

Jumper
Genre: Action
Release: Feb 14th, 2008
Synopsis: A young man learns he has the ability to teleport, uses it for his own selfish reasons, discovers there are more out there like him, and that there are people who hunt those with his abilities. (Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson)
Thoughts:
Wow. The music is incredible in this trailer. Think of this as a Nightcrawler (from X2) on steroids concept… except it’s the basis of the whole movie. It holds a lot of potential and then effects work is incredibly slick. Also, it was directed by the guy that did The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (both films I enjoy). That, and I usually love Sam Jackson, and I can’t wait to see Hayden not be Anakin. I’m going.

I hope you’ve found something in here that interests you!

-Ryan

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.:Criticism

January 28, 2008 at 12:20 pm (musings) (, )

“The freedom to connect to the world anywhere
at anytime brings with it the threat of
unscrupulous predators and criminals
who mask their activities with the anonymity
the Internet provides to its users.“

~Mike Fitzpatrick

So, you are the creative type. You enjoy taking pictures, writing stories, making music, filming… any or all of the above. Personally, I’m all of the above, but I think that what I want to discuss applies to all of those creative endeavors.

In my experience, when I would make something new, I would immediately toss it out to get other people’s opinions on whatever it was that I had created. Perhaps I thought that it was quality enough to garner praise, or at least some minor constructive criticism, but I soon realized my folly in doing this.

.:Brick Walls

If you’ve ever paid notice to the comments section of any video on YouTube, or frequent the message boards of imdb.com, you’ll notice that the anonymity that the internet affords its patrons brings out the worst in many. I think this can be incredibly difficult for a fledgling auteur to stomach when trying to learn the ropes of their craft.

My suggestion is this: If you want to improve off of the advice of others… find a community of people you know well enough that you would feel comfortable talking to them face to face. People you know and trust would not lead you down the wrong paths intentionally.

I can think of few things more discouraging than spending hours upon hours only to have some anonymous person rip something I’ve done to shreds with little to no regard to its creator. Depending on how thick your skin is, your reaction will vary, but there’s something to be said about pearls before swine… Not to call them swine or my work as pretty and refined as a pearl… but more that you don’t throw something precious to you to people who don’t care.

.:Your Voice

One thing that I’m learning now is that while I should ask people on occasion, I shouldn’t bounce every idea of friends and coworkers regarding a creative endeavor. If it is a team effort, then sure, but don’t get yourself in a place where you begin to second guess every decision you make. Develop your brand, your confidence, your style. Do what you love, and don’t forget why you set out to do what you set out to do.

-Ryan

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.:Movie Review: Cloverfield

January 26, 2008 at 6:25 am (movie review) (, )

Hud: Do you guys remember a couple years ago
when some guy would light homeless people on fire
in the subways?
Rob Hawkins: Now is not the best time.
Hud: I was just thinking about how scary it would be
if a flaming homeless guy came out of the dark right now!
Marlena Diamond: Shut Up!
Lily Ford: Shut Up!
~Cloverfield

cloverfield_poster.jpg

A promised, I caught the film Cloverfield this weekend. It was my first time to see a film in the theaters all by my lonesome… and I doubt I could have picked a better flick to go see by myself.

There was a lot of buzz about this movie in the viral world leading up to its release last week, and I was one of many who visited some of the fake sites in order to get as much information as I dared. As Michael Caine said in The Prestige, “Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled.” This is one reason I wanted to see Cloverfield as soon as possible…

I knew pictures and details would leak shortly after it was released, and I wanted to relate to the people who were running from whatever it was they were supposed to be running from. When I saw a link on imdb.com yesterday about a figurine of the Cloverfield monster, I knew it was time to see the film ASAP or else I ran the danger of knowing what the boogeyman looked like (and thus ruining a good portion of the fun). I wanted the mystery.

Well, I got what I wanted. I won’t ruin this for you by any means, but I won’t be remiss in saying that the film does an excellent job of teasing you for a good long while without letting you down or feeling jipped that this was ‘a low budget film’ that maybe couldn’t afford too many effects shots.

Speaking of the effects… I hold a lot of respect for the people that were behind them… the whole film is handheld, shaky camera-work… and putting something on the screen that wasn’t there with any sort of movement in the camera is a challenge. They did a good job of making you feel like the tape really was discovered, and that it was one continuous thread of footage with some amazingly brilliant storytelling work done in the unorthodox method of taped-over footage occasionally cutting in when the characters wanted to review footage of what they just saw and then didn’t sync the timeline back up properly again (those of you in the video world that have had to reuse old tapes would get an extra kick out of this storytelling vehicle).

I have much more to say about the different aspects of this film in the rest of the review, but for now I’ll just poorly segue into the summary…

Summary: Cloverfield is not for the weak of stomach… if you get seasick easily or can’t stomach some blood and guts (nothing too prolonged), I wouldn’t recommend it. Or, at least wait until it hits the small screen when you have your trusty remote to fast forward (and a friend who has seen it to guide you past some of the parts).

Overall, the story was not the king here, but the devices used to bring the story to the screen were nothing short of groundbreaking. I don’t look forward to the plethora of film students who try to mimic the style since it is fairly easy to accomplish and is forgiving of lower quality footage, but the film was outstanding in it’s unorthodox reinventing of a genre.

This is the new standard for American monster movies. While monster movies are a little more tolerable than horror movies to me, neither are really my shtick. But I enjoyed it thoroughly, even if I had some minor qualms with the story (which I won’t go into and ruin anything for you).

Grade: A-

A little interesting tidbit… this movie recreated one of my worst reoccuring nightmares I had as a child… big monster, plenty of people… yet I’m singled out.

On another note… on the first time that I saw a movie by myself… I managed to wear a trenchcoat. I really hope I didn’t creep anyone out, but hey, it’s really cold outside, it’s my dad’s trenchcoat, and I’m a sucker for noir and the 20s. It just didn’t help that I was by myself…

For a further look into the aspects of Cloverfield: Read the rest of this entry »

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.:Thoughts on Editing – Chapter One

January 25, 2008 at 12:12 am (editing)

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert on editing, nor have I had any formal training… these are just my experiences as a self-taught editor.

Where to start? Well, I don’t recommend Windows Movie Maker. Personally I have no experience with linear editors, but as for the beginning part of this series, it doesn’t much matter if you are using a linear or non-linear editing (NLE) system.

Well, to start, I think of where I want to end. What is my desired finished product? If I’m still not sure? I answer these questions:

  • What pace will my video be? Fast and exciting? Slow and thoughtful?
    • Will there be music to help the pace?
    • How will the feel and pace communicate what I want to the audience?

Knowing the feel and the pace are, I believe, two of the most important things to have locked down before I even import the first clip. Having that solidified puts me in a groove that carries me through the entire editing process.

Now, mind you, depending on the length of a project, the pace and feel does, and should, change. You need dynamics for longer projects, but back when I started, I had to start small. So the following questions had to be answered…

  • How big was my project? How much footage am I dealing with?
    • Depending on the amount of clips, I may need to set up a system to store my clips so I’m not overwhelmed.

So, for a basic introductory to editing, I try to answer these questions:

  1. Do I know my pace?
  2. Do I know what feel I’m going for?
  3. Do I have music that suits my pace and feel?
  4. Do I know how my pace and feel will effect my viewer?
  5. Once I have my footage, do I have a storage system so I’m not overwhelmed?

Once I answer those questions, I’m ready to begin. There are many fine NLE suites out there. Personally, I’ve learned non-linear editing on Adobe’s Premiere, but I’d love to compare and contrast it with Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas, and Avid someday.

I hope this has been helpful, and while this was rather light on content, hopefully it will get you thinking about what you’re wanting to accomplish instead of wading in to your hips and feeling lost in the process.

-Ryan

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.:Blu-ray FTW?

January 24, 2008 at 9:48 pm (industry news) (, , )

According to High Def Disc News, Blu-ray may come out on top.

I was neutral on the spat for a while, just hoping one would win out over the other so I could finally commit… but ever since I picked up the Adobe Creative Suite 3, I’ve been rooting for Blu-ray.

Why? Well, since I’ve started shooting on HD, I’ve had the option to burn Blu-ray Discs through Adobe Encore (their DVD burning software). I have yet to see any of my HD footage in anything but standard def. Very nice standard def, but still standard def.

So, here is the very short clip from imdb.com:

http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2008-01-24/film/2

-Ryan

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.:Movie Review: Juno

January 24, 2008 at 7:14 pm (movie review) (, )

“You should’ve gone to China, you know, ’cause I hear
they give away babies like free iPods. You know,
they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns
and shoot them out at sporting events. “

~Juno

Juno

I recently saw Juno with my wife last weekend. It seemed to be a good choice as people were lauding it as the next Little Miss Sunshine. The trailer looked quirky/witty, and there were plenty of fairly recognizable faces, even if I couldn’t put names to all of them.

Starting out, I began to wonder if Juno was Napoleon Dynamite‘s (the movie, not the character) cooler sister, as the opening sequence was animated in a style that evoked the indie-flavor of the latter film. But shortly thereafter, Juno delved deeper into a more mature set of themes and images (the first sequence including the sex scene that begins the story of her pregnancy).

For me, it almost seemed that the movie would hearken to other popular indie titles, but be different enough that it would be difficult to directly compare the film to its influences and neighbors.

Summary: Juno had very enjoyable parts, painfully awkward parts (not the funny sort, but the I’m-cringing-and-not-wanting-to-look-at-the-screen parts), and a few moments of sincere authenticity from some of the cast members (especially Jennifer Garner). I probably wouldn’t watch it again, but it usually takes extraordinary quality for me to watch a film multiple times.

Grade: B-

My wife is heading to NYC this weekend, so I’m hoping to catch Cloverfield (the movie, not the monster) by myself. If so, I’ll give a review on that.

For a further look into the aspects of Juno, click on the link: Read the rest of this entry »

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