Back when RED first announced their Scarlet camera it caught a lot of people's attention with the promise of 3k resolution for $3000. Before it was released I secretly hoped that they would keep their promise (even though I knew it was unlikely) so that I could buy two Scarlets to shoot Play It Safe. Well, as we found out at the end of last year, we didn't end up with 3k for $3000 (and consequently Jaque and I will be sticking with our trusty Canon DSLRs for Play It Safe). However, achieving 4k resolution even for around $20,000 is still a pretty big deal, and I've been following news of the camera with interest since it was officially announced and priced.
While some test footage came along pretty quickly after the announcement, the first actual films shot on a scarlet were only released in the last couple of weeks.
It can get pretty boring just watching test footage, and the teams behind these two shorts did a really great job of creating an engaging viewing experience as well as putting the camera through its paces.
With Koo's short "Pull Back" especially, you can really see how the Scarlet shines when compared to something like a DSLR. Overall, the footage looks razor-sharp and is totally free from issues like banding, moire, and rolling shutter that plague DSLR shooters.
Check out the shorts below and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments:
Directors: Koo & Rafi Rivero
Featuring: Harlan Short
Cinematographer: Timur Civan
Editors: Sasha Friedlander & Koo
Music: Milosz Jeziorski
Colour: Thomas Wong
MAYBE HE SHOULD HAVE TOLD HER CLOSER TO HOME
Director: Sebastian Woeber
Production Manager: ROSALIE HÜBL
Unit Manager: ROBI FAUSTMANN
Assistant Camera: RALF WOLTRON
Digital Imaging Technician: DAVID WAGNER
Sound: MICHAEL JELLASITZ
Margarethe: GABRIELA HÜTTER
Erich: WERNER WULTSCH
The other day I caught the new music video for Young Magic which was Directed and DP'd by the very talented Dylan Wiehan. I've been following Dylan's work since he directed the video for "Company" by Melbourne band Seagull about a year ago. I thought that the "Company" video was really gorgeous (as is all his work), and his Young Magic clip absolutely took my breath away. It's rare to see a video that is both visually stunning and perfectly suited to the music, and it's even rarer to find a video that truly enhances the experience of hearing the song. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend you check out all of his work. He is incredibly talented and I can't wait to see what new projects he puts together over the next few years.
Here's the video for Young Magic's "Sparkly" as well as a few of my other favourites:
I’ve read stories where people like Kevin Smith recall seeing Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” and then they thought “my god, I can make movies too”. The film that did that for me was “Mutual Appreciation”, directed by Andrew Bujalski.
I first saw “Mutual Appreciation” at the 2006 Melbourne International Film Festival and it was an absolute revelation to me. I’d never seen anything like it. I found the stories interesting, I was fascinated by its naturalism, and I felt like for one of the first times I was watching characters who I could really relate to. They were doing and talking about things that I did myself. How to be a young artist. How to make it. Growing up and finding your way in life. I saw “Mutual Appreciation” and something clicked. It was as if someone had suddenly given me permission. I felt like I could now make the kinds of movies I wanted to, and maybe here was a way I could do it.
I never went to film school, so I had to learn all the protocols of filmmaking on my own. I didn’t actually learn some of the basics until about three years into my career as an indie director. By this time I’d already won Best Australian Film at MIAF and been commissioned to direct a short docco for the BBC World Service. But still, I didn’t know the basic protocol of working on a film set. This was because of the way I’d come up - fiercely independent, making up the rules as I went. This approach got me some terrific results, but it also had its limitations.
Inevitably, my (lack of) knowledge was tested, and in quite an embarrassing way. Back in 2008 I had somehow managed to score a roll as First Assistant Director on my friend Alan Lam’s final honours film. I thought I knew enough about filmmaking, indie production, and visual storytelling to be of use, but it was a steep learning curve when it came to working with the crew.
I believe that learning to work within limitations is an incredibly important part of being a filmmaker. On many (if not not all) projects it is simply a requirement. In addition to this, however, I believe that it can actually be a very big help to the creative process. This is something I learned early on in my film career and I still believe it today. Some of my best work has come out of the technical or logistical limitations I had to work with. So with every new project, instead of cursing the limitations and restrictions I face (even though sometimes it’s mighty tempting) I do my best to actually embrace them.
Today marks the launch of our first promo video for Missing Link Digital Media. This clip was directed by the one and only David Shiyang Liu, with production being undertaken by the entire KKP crew including Maia dancing as the skeleton (named "Skeletor the Grim Leaper", just "Skeletor" to friends).
Sorry for the delay folks, here's the final entry in my MIAF wrap up for 2009. Saturday & Sunday had a lot more great films, and also involved meeting and hanging out with some great people too. On Saturday I attended the Australian Panorama & the Australian Forum, as well as International Program #4 and the Late Night Bizarre. On Sunday I caught International Program #5, International Program #7, and then Chris Landreth's Screening & Q&A session. Here's my favourites from these sessions:
The Employment Santiago 'Bou' Grasso (Argentina, 2008, 6'15)
As I understand it this was in close contention for the Best of the Fest (which went to Chris Landreth's "The Spine"). For me it was a bit of a one trick pony, but it was very effective in its simplicity. Great looking, a message we can all relate to, and some excellent comedic timing.
Great Ambition Malcolm Sutherland (Canada, 2008, 3'00)
Good clean fun. Cute animation with a cute song.
Naturebreak: Roommates Mike Hollingsworth (USA, 2008, 2'00)
Another simple, but fun animation. A bit predictable, but still funny.
I really enjoyed Kristian's previous film "Bald Dad" a year or two ago so I was delighted when I recognised his distinctive style on the screen. Very simple, but strking visuals. I'm a big fan of the way this film looks. I don't think I enjoyed the story quite as much as Bald Dad, but this one had a much darker edge to it which could account for that.
Jazzed Anton Setola (Belgium, 2007, 6'45)
Another great combination of visuals & music. I guess I'm a bit of a softy for the combination of jazz & animation, but I really enjoyed this one.
Rescued Peter Parlegreco (USA, 2008, 8'15)
This film shows a bizarre world full of strange creatures. It isn't really clear what's going on, and as this one was in the late night bizarre screening I just embraced the weirdness and sat back to enjoy. That was all I was expecting to get out of the film,so I was shocked as about half way through a simple story began to develop and I was quite moved by the surprise ending. I'm not sure how a casual viewer would find this film given how strange it is, but it was one of my favourites from the Late Night Bizarre session.
Looking back over the festival there were a few films I really enjoyed that I haven't yet mentioned, so here's a little retrospective:
The Black Dog's Progress Stephen Irwin (UK, 2008, 6'00)
This is quite a disturbing film where a dog is repetitively abused. That might turn you off, but I assure you it looks and sounds incredible. The film is hand animated using flip books and is drawn in a style that reminds me of the old rubber hose cartoons. The sound track is incredibly chilling. Very well put together, and it was very affecting on the big screen. A real technical & artistic achievement.
Black Tea Serge Elissade (France, 2008, 5’00)
Black tea features a funny, paranoid character and some very nice animation. The story is funny, but the thing I really enjoyed about this film is the way the character is animated differently as their mood changes. Great stuff.
The final session I attended at MIAF 2009 was Chris Landreth's Q&A session. Chris won an Academy Award for his film "Ryan" and was nominated for one of his earlier films. You can appreciate and enjoy his films, watching them now, but it was really interesting to hear Andrew Hagan's introduction where he explained just what a huge impact Chris Landreth has had on CG animation when his films were first released.
This session was a real highlight for me. It was really great to hear about Chris' approach to animation and some of the technical developments that went into creating his films.
His latest film "The Spine" won Best of the Fest, and it was great to get a chance to see that (playing for only the third time at a festival).
Well I guess that's it for another year folks. I'm too tired to write any more! Sorry for the short and somewhat inconsequential breakdowns of each film, but it's quite hard to get your head around so many films in such a short time.
I want to send out a huge thank you to Malcolm, Helen & everyone else for once again putting on an astounding festival. And thanks must also go to all the filmmakers who submitted their work. It was a real pleasure to see so much wonderful work.
Friday was the best day yet at this year's MIAF. Program 3 was really brilliant, every film was great and had something interesting to offer. Unfortunately I don't have time to write about all of them, so I've had to narrow it down to a few favourites (but this list could have been a lot longer).
Sparrows Are Children Of Pigeons Nina Bisyarina (Russia, 2008, 5'00)
A simple, gorgeous film, exploring childhood and imagination. Really beautiful, the cutest film I've seen since last year's "The Tiny Fish".
The Conservatory Matilda Tristram (UK, 2008, 2'00)
Simple, and really funny. A really great sense of (somewhat absurd) humour.
Labyrinth Patrick Jenkins (Canada, 2008, 8'00)
The starkness of this film is really beautiful, and it works very well with a really great "noir" style soundtrack. The storyline is filled with unexplained happenings, but instead of being annoying this mystery really just adds to the experience. Unlike many detective stories where the audience is trying to guess whodunit along with the detective, this film takes you on a strange and fantastical ride and I was quite content to go along with it. For me, the combination of noir genre elements and these more strange ones worked really well and was a lot of fun.
Another great screening yesterday was the Studio Watch of UK company The Mill. You will definitely have seen some of this company's ads on TV. Possibly their most well known one was the Sony Bravia bouncing balls ad.
There work is of an incredibly high standard, so many great looking TVCs that were actually interesting and enjoyable to watch. They also had a couple of really cool shorts in the program as well. As this company shows, TVCs don't have to be shit.
Yesterday, I also caught the "Works in Progress" 101 Session. Three animators gave us an insight into the project they're currently working on and what stage they're up to.
Sue Stamp is working on a very promising film about Gorillas at the Melbourne Zoo. Her initial sketches are just gorgeous and her ideas for the film are really fantastic. I can't wait to see this one come into fruition.
Hung Lin, who's previous film screened at last year's MIAF, is working on a new film called ‘The Impersonator’. He's done a lot of concept work and storyboarding for this film already and I have to say, it's looking magnificent. He restricted his first two films to black and white due to time constraints, but for this one he has gone all out with glorious colours. The boldness of his style looked fantastic in the stills and I'm sure it will only look better once it's animated.
Finally, Jonathan Nix showed us some clips of a 30" animated film he's been working on for more than four years now. He's working with two other animators (one cell animator, and one 3D CG) and the footage we got to see looked really wonderful. The main character has a gramaphone for its head so you just know this film is going to be a good one!
I think that's enough updating for today. I'll be living it large this weekend for the final two days of the festival so my next and final MIAF update will probably be coming on Monday or Tuesday.
If you haven't already, get down to the festival and check out some screenings! The quality of these films is really fantastic, and there's so much variety to appreciate.
Yesterday was another great day of MIAF. I caught the New Croation Panorama, the Pritt Parn Special, & the London's Calling #1 Session.
Morana Simon Bogojevic Narath (Croatia, 2008, 12'30)
I'm not exactly sure what was going on in this film, but it was quite interesting to watch. A really nice combination of traditional CG and CG with cell shading for the characters. There was really interesting character design too. I also enjoyed the pacing in this film, there was lots of stillness in the early sections building up to a lot of excitement when the film changes scene.
BBC iPlayer “Penguins” Vince Squibb, Darren Walsh, (UK, 2008, 1’00)
Some of you have probably already seen this one. I won't say much, as you can watch it yourself.
I also quite enjoyed Pritt Parn's "Life without Gabriella Ferri". Another one that I wouldn't have normally expected to enjoy (especially at its length of 44"), but it was quite a bit of fun. There was definitely some disturbing imagery, but the film had a good sense of humour. Again, beautifully animated.
The Horrors: "She Is The New Thing" Corin Hardy (UK, 2007, 2'45)
I'm not usually into the gruesome demonic imagery that can stereotypically accompany hardcore music, but I really enjoyed this video. The animation was perfectly suited to the song, not just in imagery but also in the pacing and style of movement. A great combination of live action with animation (which I think can often look pretty naff). Check out the video below.
Well it's that time of year again. I've thoroughly enjoyed the first two days of this year's Melbourne International Animation Festival, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week. MIAF is one of the world's biggest animation festivals, and as the program proudly proclaims it includes 50 screenings, 400+ films, from 35+ countries. We're very lucky to have such a prominent festival right here in Melbourne, so if you get the chance I highly recommend you get down and check out some films! You can check out the program here.
Over the next few days I'll do my best to write about some of my festival favourites. Here's some films that stood out to me from day one and two:
According To Birds / Volgens De Vogels Linde Faas (Holland, 2008, 5'30)
This film is absolutely stunning. The theatre was completely silent as this film played and you could really feel just how mesmerised the audience was. It was almost like we were all holding our breath. Beautifully animated, with a gorgeous look. A real stand out for me so far.
I Am So Proud Of You Don Hertzfeldt (USA, 2008, 22'00)
I didn't actually realise how long this film was until I checked the program afterwards (which is a good thing). The D.I.Y crew have been fans of Don Hertzfeldt for a few years now so I was really looking forward to this one. It has Hertzfeldt's unique randomness and humour as you would expect. But I was surprised and delighted by the strong sense of humanity the film had. It looked great - combining Hertzfeldt's simple line drawings with photos and other elements very successfully. I'm not a fan of much mixed media animation, but the different elements worked very well together in this film. A great soundtrack too.
The Year I Cut My Hair Ami Lindholm (Finland, 2008, 5'15)
Another film with an excellent soundtrack. The music contributes significantly to this film, really setting you on edge, and lending the visuals (that might otherwise have appeared cute or flippant) a real sense of eeriness. This film also contained a great mix of visual styles, often simple in appearance but quite disturbing and affecting.
Fantasie In Bubblewrap Arthur Metcalf (USA, 2007, 3'45)
A very simple film, but it succeeds perfectly in what it sets out to achieve. This one reminds me a lot of "Global Warming" which played very well at last year's MIAF. This film had the whole cinema roarng with laughter. Definitely a crowd pleaser. A great idea, exectuted perfectly.
By no means were these the only films I enjoyed in the last few days. I thought International Program 1 showcased a great variety and it was really great to see so many wonderful sand animations in the Sand program.
A little while ago I assisted on a short film called "The Trainer" directed by Clayton Jacobson. The film was produced in collaboration with Canon using their brand new DSLR, the EOS 5D Mark II. Clay got to test drive the camera and decided to make a short documentary about his father's career as a boxing coach. Many of you will recognise Ron from his role as the hilariously mean-spirited dad in "Kenny".
The film was a lot of fun to work on. I got to work alongside DP Peter Falk (who was the director of photography on "The Jammed") which was really great.
I finally got around to watching Adam Elliot's new feature film Mary & Max last week, and I have to say I loved it. It is a really gorgeous film. To start with, it's visually stunning. The animation is exquisite, and the photography is simply beautiful. Wonderful colours and fantastic art direction. Overall, it's very easy on the eyes. The film also has a wonderful (and disturbing) sense of humour.
I can't recommend it enough. Go out and watch it! I'll be going down and watching it again hopefully this week. It's not every day that a truly stunning Australian film is released (let alone an animated one), so we better enjoy it while we've got it!