Friday, December 31, 2010

Recent clips - because the YouTube versions SUCK!!!

I just went in and watched some of my clips on YouTube. Ouch!!! The Tube uniformly destroyed all of them!!! Smooth animation looks extremely jerky, the clips look dark and grainy. Geeze!!

Let me apologize in advance for the size of these clips... and also for the way they'll automatically open and start playing full-screen and looping over and over. I had them set up to do that on my computer and forgot they'd do the same for anyone who downloads them. But all you have to do is hit the ESCAPE key on your keyboard to stop them.

So, since I have nothing actually NEW to post, here are a few clips you may have already seen crappy versions of:

Don't just click on the links... for some reason they'll show in bad aspect ratio. You need to download them - that's right click on a PC, control click on a Mac, then select the Download option (might be called something else, but you know what I mean...).

Finally, you get to see these clips the way I see them!

* Restoring the clips to normal:

To shut off the looping and "open in fullscreen" options -

First, if the clip is still playing fullscreen, tap the ESC key to reduce it to normal size. Now, while it's still playing or at least selected, go to the Quicktime menu bar that's showing across the top of your monitor and click on the Edit pulldown menu. Where it says LOOP there should be a little checkmark, meaning it's currently activated. Click on it and the checkmark should disappear. You've now disabled looping. You can re-enable it at any time by again clicking LOOP.

To disable "open in fullscreen" and "automatically play when opened", keep the clip playing and go to the WINDOW pulldown menu of Quicktime. Click on "Show Movie Properties". This opens the Properties window. Across the center of it is a row of buttons: Annotations, Resources, Audio Settings, and Presentation. Click on Presentation. The check boxes for "Automatically play movie when opened" and "Enter fullscreen mode when opened" should be checked. Uncheck them and close the box by clicking on the red button in the upper far left corner. Now when you close the movie itself a dialogue box will open asking if you want to save the changes you made. If so, click SAVE, or if you want it to open fullscreen and start playing next time, click DON'T SAVE.

Armed with this info, you can now set any of your own clips to play fullscreen when opened, and to loop automatically if you want. I do that for clips I want to study, or ones I just want to watch a lot.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where I've been


*Takes deep breath, lets it out slowly*

Here's how it happened. It was May 13 - 2 days till tax deadline. I decided to go online and do my taxes as soon as I got home from work, but when I tried to log on, nothing. The internet was GONE!! :o :o

My modem was broken.

I went to my sister's house and used her internet to order a replacement modem, and had no trouble hooking it up, but it wouldn't let me get online... it needed to know my modem password. I tried every password I had ever used for anything, but none of them worked... I suspect my password was some string of random numbers and letters generated by a computer and I had never changed it or written it down anywhere.

I can't tell you how hard it was to do anything about it... normally when I have a problem I go online and find a way to fix it... but I couldn't go online!! I tried calling AT&T (my ISP), but could never get ahold of anything but a machine. I called dozens of times, and stayed on as long as 45 minutes a few times, but was utterly unable to talk to a human being... just got shunted around to different departments inside the vast machine. Skynet was in control.

Finally I decided it must be time for me to be offline for a while. I have a very Zen attitude - when my life takes a sudden turn like that I go with the flow and try to find the bright side. And I was feeling like I spent way too much time online, and needed a break. So I settled in and gritted my teeth. But still I kept thinking "soon I'll be back... another week or so".

Around this same time my mom started suffering from really poor health. She had already been on oxygen for 4 years and could hardly walk, so I was helping take care of her and her house. She went to the hospital several times in a few days, and it became clear her time was drawing near. Her passing was quick and painless... Hospice had her on a morphine patch, and honestly I think she was feeling better than she had in many years. She felt she had lived a long and fulfilled life, and had always felt that death was a natural part of the life process... she died a very exemplary death. I hope I'm as brave when my time comes.

Anyway, I inherited some money from her, as well as her car and a duplex she had been the landlady of, where my sister had been living. We had decided some years ago that I would move into the duplex and my sister would get Mom's house, so here I am. I got cable, internet and phone hooked up, and this time no problem getting online... I just booted up after the cable guy left, opened Safari, and here I was!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The White Gazelle

Some of you may know the legend of the long lost film The White Gazelle, made by Tony Laudati in I believe 1981 (?). It was featured in Cinemagic magazine long long ago, but until now the movie itself was unavailable for viewing to anyone who didn't know Tony personally. Well, thanks to today's digital culture, it's now available - for 99 cents no less (!!) on a site called Filmginder.

White Gazelle on Filmgrinder

This is an amateur production... shot in 16mm, but featuring some incredible sculpting and in-camera compositing effects. The compositing isn't as flawless as it would be if shot on 35mm film with a pin-registered camera... the 16mm models are known to suffer from what's called "film weave", making compositing effects tricky.

All that said, as soon as I found out the film was available I went ahead and downloaded it. I was able to pay through my PayPal account, simple as pie, and no problems whatsoever with joining the site or getting the download.

I really love the atmosphere of this movie. There's something primal about it... watching this caveman and his woman I get a real sense of how tough life was in paleolithic times, and what's more I get a strong sense of shamanism. Magic and mojo... the basis of all art and performance, leading right up to and including of course stopmotion itself.

Needless to say, I highly recommend this... ESPECIALLY for the price!!

Life begins to stir...

Yes!!! Life stirs once again in the Darkstudio!!! My winter vacation is over and Im back to work on the film!!!

... And what's more, I'm just about ready to start shooting. Hopefully in a few days.

For today's update, I got the bar stools all painted up looking nice and grungy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sorry for no post

Hey people... sorry I haven't updated in so long!!! It's been insanely cold around here... hovering around 5 degrees F and ranging up to about 15 for a few weeks now. Too cold in the basement for glue or paint to set right... and for human habitation too!! I haven't been down here for more than about ten minutes at a stretch and even then I wrapped my lower half up in a sleeping bag and wore lots of layers!!!

So no work on the set recently, but now the cold front has passed, so work should resume. Actually I already got a few small things done, but nothing worth posting pics yet.

See ya soon.....