Relax! Do I need an excuse for not finishing the film yet? It is, after all, a film I designed to help iron out some of the digital effects and puppet making skills I want to use for the Sprites. That has been done. So although none of you have seen it, it’s an excellent film if only for this reason.

Strangely though, as I look around at similarly genre media being produced at the moment I do keep seeing hints of the Sprites. Which of course probably means my time is running out to produce them... that or I should be approaching these people to work on the Sprites. This often happens to people in this industry. You have an idea, work hard at figuring out what the best slant for that idea is, how it should be birthed into the world and then you discover someone already has a similar idea just being put into production.

Not the same picture but still LSD induced art?

I know Mooncar has often claimed people have stolen my ideas in one way or another. That’s not true. But it is almost as if artists are all looking at the same Akashic records and the first one to interpret what we’re instinctively feeling/seeing correctly, truly believe in it as an idea and be in a position to run with it will get the production up first. Hmmm, imagine if that was even remotely true, it does of course beg the question of what’s so important about the world seeing a strangely rendered but beautiful puppet show for kiddies at this point in time? Ha, I’m not nearly fatalistic enough to pretend I can answer that.

Of course, that does not in any way explain why big studios release uncannily similar pictures at the same time. That’s purely thieving an idea already in production and claiming ‘marketing strategy’ as an excuse. That’s why one of the films will always have poor production values, a ‘rushed’ look, with a story although similar that is truly pitiful. That’s the one that’s the marketing driven box office slop.

So, what’s my excuse for not finishing the film? Hmmm, let me see…

Evil Richard (whose removal has been postponed again
BTW, grrr) told me its completion would disrupt
universal harmony, I couldn’t do it to you all…

I was on a research trip to the former Soviet Union.
Now I know they celebrate Easter I can finish the film…

I accidentally fell into a small cardboard box,
liked it a lot and thought I’d stay a while…

I’ve been involved in developing a vaccine for an
upcoming bird flu pandemic to be unleashed by the CIA…

The UN international tribunal put me under house arrest
for committing a crime against humanity… luckily once I
had explained it, they agreed it was a necessary crime…

I had to stop and change a Nun’s tire. She was a naughty nun.
We fell in love. We ran away to Patagonia. A week later I realised
it was purely infatuation. Strangely, my car was still on the side
of the highway completely intact... I thought god would have been angrier...

I’m actually a Superhero, that last villain Kronos managed to
freeze me in a time fissure. But I think we’re all agreed, I showed him!..

I needed to brush my teeth, with a rare deep-sea crustacean…

A turf war broke out between local hoods that shut down our
entire neighbourhood. I mean really, it was an argument
that was actually over local turf. None of us dared leave
our houses in case we stepped on a piece of grass...

I just couldn’t find my characters motivation despite
having tried amphetamines, marijuana, LSD, and
psychedelic mushrooms; wouldn’t you know it, I’d
accidentally left it in my other pair of pants…

Well, surely it has to be one of those. In possibly related news, I’m going here this weekend.

So I should be nice and relaxed when I’m able to access my editing suite again next Monday, it's been off limits this week due to other work being conducted on it.


It's the Easter film!

I'm such a Liar...

Fun though, ain't it! Even with my Germanic roots I've never really understood it though, that and Maypole Dancing. Let's dance around a pole holding ribbons. The first people to do that must have picked the wrong mushrooms in the forest that week... and had some spare ribbons laying around.

Although I do have to say that in the early 80's our national broadcaster had a programme filler (something they seemed to play every time there was a break in the predominantly British supplied programming) set in the verdent outdoors with a group of young people in white dress dancing around a Maypole to the tune of some Irish Folk tune that I can play on the flute but can't remember the name of... Come to think of it the dancers may have been all girls actually, which would make it quite pervy really. But that may be wrong, I don't remember for sure, it was before I noticed these things. What is the name of that tune... it goes like...

dah doooooooooo
dah doo dah doo
dah daah daaaam
dum, dum, dah dah,
dah-dah, dah-dah, daaaam...
wait, right, you can't hear that... damn, the video isn't on the greater world wide web either, doh, I guess I'll have to play in on my flute sometime for you.

Anyway, I used to love that little programme. The ABC should play that type of thing these days, hmmmm, it'd be kind of fun to do a recreation of that piece next time they have a significant anniversary. I can just imagine pitching that... the song goes something like... dah doooooo, and that's where they'd cut me off.

This is why people shouldn't live in the past - look at those haircuts.

That's enough random dribbling from me. Hopefully I should have the film up by Sunday. There's still a lot to do on it and I have a lot of other things going on that are distracting from it. But it should be done by Sunday (my time). Hopefully.


Shooting... myself.

What a weekend! I was shooting this years Easter movie over the weekend and... actually, I should say I was 'trying' to shoot this years Easter movie over the weekend and had all sorts of problems.

Bunny in a chroma-key setup. I didn't like the results of this lighting test
so he ended up being shot on a black background for a luma-key instead.

I've never had a film shoot like that before. All my shoots have been fast paced well organised finish early thanks for coming affairs.

But not this one. We had all sorts of delays. Sets took longer to put together than we expected, there were props (like a calendar) that required files to be downloaded and printed off that wouldn't download let alone print off, one of my new lights containing a bulb I had specifically rung the company about before purchase to ensure it wouldn't overheat the light housing decided to overheat and completely melt the light housing almost causing a fire, the Fluoro strip light (seen above) I was using as a fill instead of the melted lights decided to jump out across the room and land directly under my bare foot as I walked past so that it shattered into a million glass shards (yeah, OK it didn't jump out. I was just stupid enough to step on a light) rendering my foot very sore and making it impossible to shoot the puppets because we didn't have enough light without a replacement fluoro tube.

This was how I felt after a few hours - Burnt out! Although it's hard to see in this photo the
bulb is actually drooping downwards because the glass got so hot it melted slightly.

There was more than that as well, like Brun's head flying off two seconds before wanting to shoot with him, but those were the insurmountable problems that when added up meant that the shoot had to wrap without finishing the required shots.

I did, diligently with one other person, stick it out until 2 in the morning shooting backgrounds... Now, I'm all tired and want a sleep. Well, I have replacement fluro tubes now so the shoot will recommence this evening. Barring further disaster we'll knock it over tonight. Oh, and the company I bought my lights from had better replace my melted light for free or... well, we'll see.

What did you do with your weekend?

UPDATE: The lighting company will replace my melted light and reimburse me the cost of the bulbs I cannot use because they're too hot for the light housing. Now I can look at it as just an unfortunate inconvenience rather than an expensive stupid mistake and an inevitable no holds barred fight to the death. I just love it when people/companies do the right thing by their customers, don't you? Good for them!


Go and Play

It's Monday morning. Bleech. Oh well, at least I don't have to work long today. I'm off to meet some award winning Aussie doco maker for a documentary master class in a couple of hours. Last week I got to meet Ray Argall, who is one of Australia's most elegantly simple cinematographers, which was a bit of a thrill cause I've always admired his work. Still, bed feels like the better alternative today. Who am I? Garfield? Mondays *sigh*

Oh well, to help break up the funk, go and play over at Gnat's place. He's running an awesome contest to win some of his beautiful hand crafted glassware. Be sure to mention that I sent you because if you win I will also get another marble. I already have one of his large glass marbles from a previous contest. It sits on my shelf at home and people often can't help picking it up and commenting on it. It's tactile like that.

Funny story about that Marble actually. It features in the most bizarre way in the THIS is Alan Chapman documentary. At the start there is a play off between Alan's love of Astronomy, he even has a star in Taurus named after him, and the fact that Alan comes from a family of stars. I have a shot in the Doco of a star exploding because Alan says about His star that, "If it ever explodes you'll hear on the news that the star Alan Scott Chapman just went Supernova"... queue star exploding and title slide! It's a bit of fun and that IS the kind of thing Alan says. He's an interesting lad. Anyway, the explosion is actually a digitally manipulated photo of Gnat's marble. Wait, let me go look for a copy of it... Oooo, through the magic of editing here is one I didn't prepare earlier...

This is also the queue for the wonderful title slide music of our good friend Tich.
Talk about impressive on the BIG screen. Yeah!

Anyway, as I was saying the exploding material coming out of this star (which is actually a background NASA let me use and an eclipsed Moon I shot from my frontyard last August) is actually Gnat's marble... which is posted here. Of course, I ran a couple of digital passes over it to remove all the non-whites while still allowing the metallic elements in the marble to act as noise, then added motion blurs and animated it in AfterFX until it actually looked like an explosion. When creating special FX you really have to think outside the box, no choice.

But hey, it's still Gnat's marble under all that movie magic manipulation. And if you'd like one yourself go to Gnat's and win it.



I am a bad capitalist. I don't buy a lot of clothes... I don't have a car... I don't even have a flashy mobile phone that can download a pizza directly to a harbour side condo to be spilled down a designer shirt onto suede Italian designer lounge. None of those things have a whole lot of interest for me. Except for maybe the Pizza, Mmmm pizza! Anyway, I grew up inside a national park surrounded by endless bush, not having a backyard full of poisoness snakes and a house full of more poisoness spiders is as much luxury as I really need. So as you can imagine I don't have a lot of 'toys'... well... except when it comes to film-making. Then I have some of the best toys imaginable.

Luckily I don't need to buy those types of toys every week, they're rather expensive. One of the problems I'm trying to solve for the Sprites production (still haven't come up with another name for them yet - Scamps seems to fit their song better than the other names) by doing the Easter film is my continuing poor results on digital compositing. I have these wonderful chroma-key drapes I got for my birthday (THAT's my type of toy!) but still haven't had wonderful results using them. Which is all very annoying. The main problem seems to be lighting, I can't get it even enough over the drapes.

So I rectified my bad-capitalist status on Friday and bought a kit of three daylight temperature lights for my studio.

Aren't they beautiful! Well, they are to me. Now, the reason I've been putting off buying lights like this is that they are not cheap. $2-3K not cheap. Except for this kit. These are not superdooper film lights, so they only cost a few hundred (which is a marvel to me), but they will fix the problem I've been having with lighting, and hopefully in turn fix my problem with compositing, and hopefully in turn enable me to make my fun little show featuring puppets out in the bush. And that's about all the reason I need to buy expensive 'toys'.

There's something I haven't done in ages... ask a question of you lot. So, what's your favourite luxury item and why did you buy it?