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  MAY2009

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05.30.09
 * $200 million tomake'Terminator Salvation': Mediocre Box Office ....As usual, the insane mainstream movie biz and what I have many timestiraded in past. Tinsel Town and thehyper rising obscenebudgets ofthese wannabieblockbusters.It is notabout Good Cinemabut the 'Suits'OBSESSION with Franchisesfrom the wannabieblockbuster hit. When willthe mainstream moviemaking budgetbubbleburst? It could happen, like the stock market, realestate,automobile, etc.. Maybesome controls or partial takeover of mainstream movie biz(like the USA Gov't owned Auto companies)??  Would you likeyourPrez Obama to do that?

How many lowerbudget films could have been done with that $200 mil instead of'blowing' all their WAD on onefugg'n movie? Diversifying your 'WAD Blowing' is just sobusiness-wise and commonsensical. IF I ever have desire tosee 'Terminator Salvation', I might when it's out onDVD. 'TerminatorSalvation' review ratings 

In my view, thefirstTERMINATOR (1984) was the one and onlybest.  James Cameron's budget for original'Terminator' was a mere $6million. It's the principle of 'Less is More'Filmmaking and most critically important, DAMN GOOD STORY andCHARACTERS. Re-experiencethe originalclassic Sci-Fi thriller Terminator 1: Main Title&Terminator Arrival & TerminatorGets UpIf you got time, soda pop & popcorn, turndown the lights,pump-upvolume Terminator1Playlist / Scenes.

 * 'MegaShark vs Giant Octopus' .... You maybealready figured out that 'Terminator Salvation' does not peak myinterestmuch, however, I would likely be more JAZZED to see the commonsense affordablelow budget Direct to DVD B movie, starring the mega hottie DeborahGibson, and for you ladies(& maybesome of you men?), the marvelous & gorgeous LorenzoLamas, in MegaShark vs Giant Octopus. From the trailer, it lookslike fun and entertaining. Unfortunately, no Stop Motion, butit could havebeen used. Like I ranted for long time, other outlets forStop Motion that is not mainstream. We have one Stop Motion'comprade' that has beenventuring into this low budget special effects arena for awhile withDirect to Dvd flicks, the Silent & MysteriousBrettPiper. Ifyou wish, drophim aline and say 'Hi' or 'Whassup'. We will seeif ISMC oneday will providetheir services to B Movie genre. 'Suits' feel free to contactus. If youhave cable/satellite TV, YOU KNOW that is a venue forindependents and of course you got Direct to Dvd. They allneed 'product'. MegaShark/Octopus Trailer  The Asylumsite Tonsof interest online I remember littleDebbie Gibson and now Deborahallgrown-up 

* Aniboomfollowup.... In our last SMW News installment, we mentioned themand I stated last time, I have not looked at theirsite. Accordingtosomeone who contacted me and checked them out, it might possibly be misleading howAniboom ismarketing themselves. Here's what my undercoverinformant said, "Aniboom'suse ofthe term 'The Virtual Animation Studio' is wholly inaccurate and afraud, they run contests and provide a platform for people to interactif they choose to. But if they do interact, it has nothing to do withAniboom.  They have just found a simple way of taking creditfor people finding each other and whatever they produce together,without any direct involvement in what's produced by the partners whomay have met on their site". Of course, that is theobservationsof one person. You can check out Aniboomand arrive at your own opinion or conclusions.
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05.20.09

* What is Aniboom?..... Asmany of you already know, I am involved as one of the memberparticipants in the experimental InternationalStop Motion Consortiumaka ISMC.I just found something that might be related but I did not have time tolook atthis. That's why I put it here so youcan check it out. This is excerpt quote from them, "Aniboom is thepremiervirtual animation studio that partners with untapped talent around theworld to create, produce and distribute compelling high qualityanimation brands. By leveraging the web to identify the best globaltalent, Aniboom cultivates animated content intended for commercialapplications in TV, Advertising, Digital Gaming, Web and Mobile Contentindustries worldwide". Hmmm .... what does thatmean?  Theyare announcing that they just added a Portfolio section.Read the restyourself  AniboomVirtual Animation Studio Launches New Brand - Aniboom Website

* Jiri Barta's allStop Motion2009  'Na Pude' (aka 'In the Attic') ..... Mostof us inthe Americas likely never heard of this (Ihave not)Czechproduced StopMotion feature.  I think it alreadyhasbeen released in some of Euro countries. Not the Aardman bright stylebutinstead, Jiri's aesthetics more subdued darker noir'sh andmaybehaving some of that 'Jan Svankmajer' ambiance, but they saythis is 'light'for childrensentertainment. I am not sure if USA kids (actually 'parents' whoselect) weaned on Disney/Pixar might jump on Jiri's work. Likely, therehas not been theatrical release in USA theaters? No marketing or aspecific website and/or making-of  'Na Pude'. Soundtrackseems to have high production values. Perhaps later on it might bereleased on Dvd (with subtitles or English dubbed?) Trailer IMDB  AboutJiriBarta

* Cuppa Coffee SignswithGotham Group ..... This appears to be the Canadianstudio'sventure into possible featurefilmwork. Cuppais a bigg'ish studio that produces lots of Stop Motion content (alsoother animation techniques) for commercial ad work and animated TVseries. A couple of very micro-brief newsbytes here& here

*Turbo-chargedClassic Special Effects: 'Bunraku' puppetry style .....There is no question that CGIis a powerfultool but as you can obviously see from the plethora of theCGI orgasmic indulgence in these genre mainstream effectsladenedmovies, they are looking the SAME and MONOTONOUS. There is a formulaicsignature style to CGI, not only in the aesthetics/looks, but also, the cinematictechniques such as extreme HYPER-QUICK EDIT/CUTS and excess NAUSEATING SHAKEYCAM syndrome. I was always a firm believer, whereapplicable, ofusing a VARIETY of COMBINATION SPECIAL EFFECTS techniques, andespecially now inthe computer era, the traditionaleffects enhancedwith post production digitalmethods. When you basethe Special Effects on the REAL & TANGIBLE (not totallysynthesized/faked with CGI), there IS a DIFFERENT FEEL,AMBIANCE and TEXTURE to the Special Effects final product. The audiencemay not be able to explainwhat that difference is, but I BET that they can SENSE IT. Right now,the consumers/public have been indoctrinatedwith CGI and the 'Suits' and/or directors mostlyrefusing to offer other alternativesto the mainstream 'Movie Diet-Menu'.

Let me show you anexample. This is not Stop Motion Animation but a somewhat,relative of it. It is realtime Puppetry special effects based on similar methodsthatJim Henson Studiohas used for the trademark Muppetsfor many, many years. I would take a guess that Henson mighthave been inspired bya very old JapaneseTheater Art known as Bunrakuin which the puppets are controlled by several puppeteers on the stage,'live'. Withthe advent of Blue/GreenScreen digital composting techniques, this 'Bunraku'puppeteering method,in my view, can be just as visually grabbing &compelling as CGIand of course an effectivealternative/option in the creation of Creature Character specialeffects. Thepuppet characters are REAL & TACTILE, andhave real gravity and their motionperformance puppeteered in 'real time. In post production, one can evenadjust the frame rates/speed to give the illusion of large mass& size to the puppeteeredmotion.  

A 26 year oldtalented artist from Belgium, SachaFeiner, demonstrates the potentialof puppetry methods and itcan be cost-effective.He is a die-hard fan of the 'Gremlins'moviesand created by himself with some friends, a 'homage/tribute' to the Joe Dante films.Very, very COOL what Sacha produced. These are not computergenerated 'Gremlin' characters, but puppets,ingeniously composited into existing movie clips. Withskilled artistry talent, thinking out of the box resourcefulness, andperseverance, he was able to create largeGremlin crowd scenes with only a few puppets. The samegoes with all the other scenes that Sacha produced .... Creativecombiningol' school methods with modern digital tools.

Although, the above wasnot Stop Motion specific but to emphasize the Combination of Classic& Practical Special Effects methods and that would includemodern/advanced DynamationStop Motion combined/intercut with Bunraku puppetingtechniques. WatchSacha's Work& behind the scenes at his YouTube channel ...1) GremlinsFan Film: 'Gremlins 3 Warmup'  2) Behind theScenes  3) Belgian TVinterview with Sacha.

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05.04.09

*Only forHarryhausen'ers:Digital SLR comboHi-DefVideo .... Digital Still Cam manufacturers, constantlytrying to bait you and BUY, bycrammingall sorts of bells and whistles into their cameras. It seems thatexcessMega-Schmega Pixel resolutionoverkill usedfor theirmarketing, perhaps not attractingconsumers and so now, some of the 'digital cam pushers' are addingHi-Definition Video recordingfeature in the DSLRs.As usual, plannedhyper-obsolescence in general consumer products. You know,the excess frequency of new modelsreplacing previous.Maybe less than a yearago, I did hear about Digital SLRs having built-in Hi-Def videocapture being usedby a few independents who shot the liveaction scenes using the DSLR's Hi-Defvideo feature (read).Only until more recently, it seems a few moreDSLR camera manufacturers are now jumping on the combo DSLR/HD Video'bandwagon'. I see it as possibly, just more complexity addedto thethe stillcamera andsomethingelse to malfunction.My personalpreference is: Each piece of equipment should be dedicated, aDSLR specifically for stillimagecapturing and a Hi-Def Video camcorder for live actionfilming. 

Inspite of my misgivingsaboutthis possibly superfluous HD video featurebuilt into some of the new DSLRs, there 'might' be a uniqueadvantage forthose rarefew who still have the passion for the Art&Craft of Stop Motionin the traditionof HarryhausenDynamationStyle.I say 'rare'because, 'mainstream media', the public, and most of theStop Motionpractionersusually are focused onthe ALL PUPPET Animation genre, andthey generally disregardthLiveAction (filmedactors) combined with Stop Motion puppet specialeffects techniques.That's okaythough. Free choice and whatever"Floatsyour Stop Mo Boat". Tomake longstory, short: As many of you alreadyknow, even though consumerDSLRs have had some flickeringand unknown exposurecycle longevity issues, these cams have generally been successful whenadapted to shoot high resolutionsingle frame Stop Motion,HOWEVER:How do you record orfilm the 'LIVE ACTION' images in a higherresolution and in a costeffectivemanner? Well,theoretically, hypothetically and speculating herenow .... Lets say for aninvestment in just onecamera, a wannabieHarryhausencould possibly use thatDSLRto single frame animateyourStop Motion, then, you could ALSO use that same DSLR to record your Hi-Deflive action background plates. You now have both stop motion andlive action plates to composite in post production andcreate finished Hi-DefinitionHarryhausen-esque Dynamation, just using onecamera.

Isuppose, the above scenario could work for producing'Harryhausen-mation' but I'm not sure of tryingto PUSH a DSLR camera to also perform the function of a HDvideo camcorder. In the long haul, how long would a combo DSLR/HD-vidcamera last?? Then you got possible minor issue of DSLR only able tostore limited video but maybe enoughfor 'live action' background plates (for Stop Mo). Also, I read aboutpossible issues of DSLR image sensors heating up with prolonged use. Inaddition, the frame-rates offered by these DSLRs may not meet procinema & video spec standards. So,is it cost-effectivejustbuying one DSLR/HD-Videocombo camera witha bigger quality imagesensorto do both singleframe & liveaction, or, just get a separatededicated DSLR cam and a dedicatedHi-Defintion Camcorder?? TheDSLR HDVideo Debate ShouldDSLRs Shoot Video? HDfrom Still Cameras? Filmmakersdisclose how they're shooting movies with still cameras.Theseindependents trying to get funding for their DSLR/HD video shot alllive actionfilm/short. Samples of their stuff: 1 -23 Cameras: CanonEos 5D Mark II PanasonicLumix DMC GH1 NikonD5000 & here Pimped-outDSLR: Video:Mount-adaptor for 'live action' cinema work or go to theirsite .... Tobe continuedin a later SMW Newsinstallment. EDIT:05.05.09


* MAY SMW Random Cinema:

> Randy Cook & PhilTippettRapping with Uncle Ray It Camefrom Beneaththe Sea
RichSvennson's Howtomake a Giant Octopus - Goblin Wood
 


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