Mar. 16th, 2009 10:54 pm
escapewindow: escape window (Default)

After taking a look at Dan Chung's new Vimeo videos, I decided to look for other users' 5DmkII videos. Which led to the 5dmkII Vimeo group. Which led to a whole lot of wow.

Even now I don't really see myself making proper films. No screenplay, no character development, probably no dialogue. My discomfort with getting up close and personal with people extends from my photography (and life) into my ideas about film. My potential films, that is; I love other people's films over a wide spectrum. But I'd probably just film landscapes, moods, or abstracts and use them as a video backdrop to music. Whether music video or stage projection.

This idea certainly flavored the clips I chose to view:

  • Another car rig drive reminiscent of Lost Highway, especially with the Rammstein soundtrack. Great feel. Love this but I'd be nervous about my camera.

  • NIN - Burn from onstage in Melbourne. Outside of poor reactions to strobes that could just as likely be attributed to the fps translation, it's beautiful.

  • A shot up at the clouds and moon that definitely evokes a mood, especially full screen.

  • A macro video in the tidepools that makes me happy.

  • A time lapse in Antarctica that could have been taken with a still camera, but is beautiful.

  • A "filmish" look of someone playing guitar -- in which grain is not all bad, and is in fact very stylistically MTV-esque.

  • A more indie film drive, down the PCH.

  • Some great shots of Tokyo intercut with some inexplicable reoccuring clips of food conveyor belts.

  • The station -- film it, slow it down (no overcranking here).

  • The end of the world, an actual place in Norway, which starts beautifully.

  • Köln at night. Hm, this is the third video of his I like.

  • Orlando, practically a hotel commercial =)

  • Sledding, with speed variations and Portishead. I get so caught up in the song I almost don't notice when the imagery feel changes.

  • Seattle in the snow, where the song is just so right.

Hm, maybe I just want to travel ;-)

I haven't even seen half of the videos there! ... I don't expect to be good at this immediately, or ever, necessarily. I just think it'll be fun.


escapewindow: escape window (escape(window) typewriter)




One night in Beijing:

Video filmed by Guardian photographer Dan Chung entirely on a production Canon EOS5DmkII and adapted Nikon and Zeiss lenses using manual focus. The camera was purchased to use solely as a video camera with existing Nikon kit.

The film was shot an edited in about twelve hours directly after picking the camera up from a Beijing camera store and charging the battery.

I've never been to Beijing; this video clip certainly sells it well.

Dan's quick camera review.


"This [prototype EOS 5D Mark II] is basically going to sit for two days doing nothing. Just let me borrow it for a few hours and I'll give it right back, so I can try shooting a sample movie."

-- from the interview, along with a short clip showing the Redrock Micro DSLR Cinema rig.

EOS 5D Mark II: Laforet on Reverie

Prism, A Three Act Play, and other EOS5DmkII videos.

The main drawback most people are pointing out is the inability to set everything manually in movie mode: ISO, aperture, shutter speed. The workaround is to point the camera at something and hit the Exposure Lock button, then use Exposure Compensation.

The other seems to be the lack of audio, but I've got two answers for that: first, Robert Rodriguez' El Mariachi. Second, I'm probably going to use these small video clips as either live visuals for shows or as abstract music videos for songs.

I seriously doubt my first fumblings will be anywhere near the quality of these professional phographers' videos, but I'm certainly excited to try.

escapewindow: escape window (escape(window) typewriter)

Octavia E. Butler is brilliant. If I had half of her storytelling ability, I'd consider myself a master of the craft.

In Bloodchild and Other Stories, she includes two essays on writing. The first, Positive Obsession, is about her need to write. Her absolute inability to not write. And she speaks of escapism and emotions that sound all too familiar.

Shyness is shit.

It isn't cute or feminine or appealing. It's torment, and it's shit.

I spent a lot of my childhood and adolescence staring at the ground. It's a wonder I didn't become a geologist. I whispered. People were always saying, "Speak up! We can't hear you."

I believed I was ugly and stupid, clumsy, and socially helpless. I also thought that everyone would notice these faults if I drew attention to myself. I wanted to disappear. Instead, I grew to be six feet tall. Boys in particular seemed to assume that I had done this growing deliberately and that I should be ridiculed for it as often as possible.

I hid out in a big pink notebook -- one that would hold a whole ream of paper. I made myself a universe in it. There I could be a magic horse, a Martian, a telepath.... There I could be anywhere but here, any time but now, with any people but these.

(excerpt from Positive Obsession)

I read this not long after viewing most of Edvard Munch, in which Peter Watkins attributes many of Munch's breakthroughs to his youthful negative obsession over a woman and his positive obsession with conveying his jealousy and pain through his painting. Artists: are we so predictable?

The second essay, Furor Scribendi, is Butler's advice to aspiring writers, which can also be applied to a great many topics outside of writing.

First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice.

Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don't have it, it doesn't matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent. Never let pride or laziness prevent you from learning, improving your work, changing its direction when necessary. Persistence is essential to any writer -- the persistence to finish your work, to keep writing in spite of rejection, to keep reading, studying, submitting work for sale. But stubbornness, the refusal to change unproductive behavior or to revise unsalable work can be lethal to your writing hopes.

Finally, don't worry about imagination. You have all the imagination you need, and all the reading, journal writing, and learning you will be doing will stimulate it. Play with your ideas. Have fun with them. Don't worry about being silly or outrageous or wrong. So much of writing is fun. It's first letting your interests and your imagination take you anywhere at all. Once you're able to do that, you'll have more ideas than you can use. Then the real work of fashioning them into a story begins. Stay with it.


(excerpt from Furor Scribendi)

I used to read every how-to book on creative writing that I could get my hands on. These would vary in how much they would emphasize writing over reading and thinking (or vice versa) but none of them put it quite so eloquently. Part of that is how this passage takes your excuse of "but I don't have enough ______________ right now" and turns it on its ear. The other is the acknowledgement that you can't get by on pure talent. Those who work hard and keep at it will pass you by.

This also reminds me of the three virtues of a perl programmer in how it takes three attributes (inspiration, talent, imagination) and inverts their assumed level of desirability or necessity.

I want to live on the waterfront with a gorgeous view of the waves. I want to know exactly what I want in life, now that I've adjusted my expectations. And I want to have those habits, that work ethic of Octavia E. Butler's, that bypasses excuses, doesn't wait for inspiration to strike, doesn't allow for "feel like it".

I suppose I'll see which of those happens first.

escapewindow: escape window (raptor)

Zhang Yimou, that was a complete piece of shite and you know it. But for those of you staying in SF who are so inclined, tonight's the last night for Jan Svankmajer's Lunacy @ the Red Vic.

Yay for putting some chocolate through the wash with my laundry =P

'K, I'm off to Hawaii. Be good.

escapewindow: escape window (escape window)

I went to see The Fountain last night.

Trailers: Curse of the Golden Flower (the new Zhang Yimou flick) and Pan's Labyrinth have my attention. Perfume could be really good or really disappointing. I'll go see it.

(Hostel II: I'm not a fan of Eli Roth's at all, but I may end up watching this in the theaters anyway =P ... The fact that Letters From Iwo Jima was filmed back-to-back with Flags of Our Fathers makes both of them more interesting to me. Not sure if/when I'll watch though.)

[the rain starts falling harder outside and my mind sidesteps for a moment as i marvel at my capacity for being self-absorbed. meta-self-absorbed, even. i'd consider it a failing if it weren't such a defining part of me (..., i think to myself, pondering the inner workings of my self-absorption).]

[[if a sponge were self-absorbent, would it only absorb itself, or would it absorb other sponges? would it grow larger and take on the memories and abilities of the sponges it absorbed? would it be a cannibal sponge or a highlander sponge? would we end up with a huge there-can-be-only-one sponge that can both clean your kitchen and act as a contraceptive? and would that sponge be my father? (never!!!)]]

Evidently my mind has snapped somewhere. Perhaps while viewing The Fountain and its interweaving, era-spanning storylines. Though I have my theories about that.

Did I mention it was very good? Beautiful. Parts of it seemed more like a dance than a movie. Or a play. Or a visual piece of music, but that all got woven back into the story. A scene close to the end got a little "Oh no, this is getting a little too 2001" but I think it recovered.

on the way home.
blurry b/c i hadn't stepped up to iso 1600 yet, but i like this.

+4 )
escapewindow: escape window (escape window)

[prologue]: A month and a half in this city and I'm already noticeably more liberal. Mainly due to the excellent theaters and several important films.

Quick tangent: AOL is considering free service for broadband users, yet another milestone in the long, slow death of the internet giant. The AOL/Time Warner merger could have been important, but they weren't forward thinking enough. Time Warner had enough traditional media outlets that creating an internet market for content would have been self-defeating in the short term. Fast forward to today: Napster's death left a void, and Apple has taken over where AOL could have dominated; Microsoft is making noises about an iTunes/iPod killer in the works. And AOL is still dying its lingering death.

The automobile and oil companies are making a similar short-sighted decision. (see: Gore movie reaching the red states, too and the rest of this damn long winded post.)

[i: wherein our hero measures the boot of a small car and eats sushi]:

I put on my robe and wizard hat )

[quatro: photos]:

Afterwards I walked back home. Took some more photos. Lingered around Japantown, which was mostly closed... I should go back there soon. I want to wander around North Beach sometime soon too. Getting to know SF one photo walk at a time.

six peektures )


Jul. 3rd, 2006 01:48 am
escapewindow: escape window (escape(window) typewriter)

I walked to the Embarcadero Center to see An Inconvenient Truth. Highly highly recommended. As in, go see this film. The nation's top climate scientists said Gore was accurate and one said he was being optimistic (link). I was dismayed to see much of Manhattan and my beloved SoMa underwater. I'm revisiting my CalTrain-and-bike to work idea.

Afterwards I was doubly glad I had walked; the half moon and clouds gave enough backlight for a nice nighttime photo walk. I'd love to be able to take nighttime pictures like these; it's partially talent/practice and partially gear. But I've decided to put off procuring a new camera until after I've made loft ness feel like home.

Still, (brainstorm:) it would be fun to get a hotel room in a highrise, get a pretty accomplice in vintage lingerie to lounge by an open window, framed by the billowing white drapes, lit by neon, and photograph via telephoto lens from the street and other highrises while communicating via walkie talkie. Someday. Maybe.

treble clef
san francisco, ca

+5 of sf, one of me )

escapewindow: escape window (bloodheart)

[1] Got more ink yesterday. [Tattoo artist] Jason was really excited about it ("Ohhhh, this is gonna be SO COOL"). He wanted to spend the whole day inking me, but I got to the anything-coming-near-my-arm-hurts-like-a-bitch point by the end of it, so I was glad he had a 5 o'clock appointment.

To the left is an image of my arm *before* yesterday's ink... It's gotten a lot busier and really needs the blue to make everything work at this point. That'll be soon though.

[2] Haven't gotten much songwriting done recently. I think I need to go on a listening kick, start buying cds again. Watch movies. Read. Start clubbing again. Find new raw songwriting material.

[3] NetFlix: Band of Brothers : excellent. Way into Don't Say A Word. I bet Brittany Murphy could help me forget. All I have to do is stalk her find some way to meet her and hope she likes self-absorbed losers with weak conversational skills the quiet artist type.

[4] Couple of pics from my parents' hotel room over xmas. Love the water. Stupid for not carrying around my real digicam.

[5] Went to Aaron's. Was fun seeing everyone, though I've been feeling much less into gaming over the past few years.

Had fun playing the caveman game, mostly 'cause Steve kept saying "You might as well kill off all your people so you don't starve as fast" and "What's the use of planting crops? They're just going to get trampled. Might as well lie down and die", making us all giggle. "Yeah, Steve, not much use of doing anything. That's what I say to my boss when I'm lying down in my cube waiting to die."

... Humorous but a touch of truth. Damn malaise. Need to find a way out of this blue funk.

And it was nice seeing the dogs again. They still remember me.

[6] Wings of Joy has a lot of 3/4 in it. Didn't even notice before. Want to listen to more Cranes and Portishead. And Tom Waits. Just that kind of mood.

[7] During one of our walks over xmas break, my mother was feeding some birds in the parking lot. Pigeons and some smaller birds.

The pigeons would chase away the smaller birds when any food came their way. My mother started throwing the trail mix further and further away to try to feed the smaller birds (without any success), when suddenly an unnoticed SUV sped through, its tires rolling over the spot the trail mix had landed a split second before.

Most of the birds got away. The pigeon that got to the trail mix flew right in front of the tires and its body was crushed. ("Oh no!! Kanashi.")

It didn't make a sound, didn't struggle (probably couldn't move its body at all). It lifted its head, blinked, once, twice, then closed its eyes and laid its head down on the pavement. Wished I had taken an .avi of it. Voyeur.

We kept walking through the Presidio. On our way back to the car, we passed by it again. A little girl and boy pointed. "Dead bird!" Their parents agreed and steered them clear of it. I stopped to take a picture.

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