Most of America's silent films are lost forever, according to the newly released Library of Congress report The Survival of American Silent Feature Films: 1912–1929. (You can look up the ones that survive in this handy database). [more inside]
Network of Blood: "Videodrome’s depiction of techno-body synthesis is, to be sure, intense; Cronenberg has the unusual talent of making violent, disgusting, and erotic things seem even more so. The technology is veiny and lubed. It breaths and moans; after watching the film, I want to cut my phone open just to see if it will bleed. Fittingly, the film was originally titled 'Network of Blood,' which is precisely how we should understand social media, as a technology not just of wires and circuits, but of bodies and politics. There’s nothing anti-human about technology: the smartphone that you rub and take to bed is a technology of flesh." Nathan Jurgenson writes about Videodrome (previously) as a way of understanding our present social media technologies for Omni Magazine (previously).
A six-minute documentary snippet discusses Kubrick's camera modifications for special, low-light f/0.7 Zeiss lenses used to film candlelit scenes in Barry Lyndon, now available to rent by aspiring filmmakers.
Revisiting Cinefex - a nostalgia wormhole into the golden age of model work and practical effects and the odd piece of early CG via backissues of the quarterly magazine of motion picture visual effects. The latest issues covered touches on Young Sherlock Holmes's Stained glass knight - mainstream cinema’s first fully-rendered CG character created by Industrial Light & Magic's Pixar group.
Mythbusters' Tested Blog recently posted a special feature from the Toy Story 2 DVD, in which Pixar's Oren Jacob and Galyn Susman recounted how the files for the movie (just 10gb of data!) were almost lost due to both an erroneous Linux command and a bad backup. The folks at The Next Web: Media followed up with Mr. Jacob, and learned that the movie was actually tossed out and reworked from scratch again nine months prior to a release date that was set in stone, not by the computers, but by the filmmakers themselves: How Pixar’s Toy Story 2 was deleted twice, once by technology and again for its own good.
Are small theaters punching a ticket to oblivion? Radical changes in the traditional structure of the lab processing and exhibition sides of the film industry have been filling the lives of small theater operators with uncertainty and worry for the last few years. Will filmstock be the next Kodachrome? (And what will that mean for the future of film preservation?) [more inside]
Mortys. (Vimeo) A short, animated film in French with English subtitles. Also on YouTube and DailyMotion [more inside]
Many would agree that the advent of CGI has made movies worse, not better. Blogger Gin and Tacos makes the argument eloquently: "The fundamental problem is that CGI, rather that being a tool that allows directors to explore new creative possibilities, just enables laziness."
The "Brown Stabilizer" - better known as a Steadicam - had its first commercial use 35 years ago in Bound for Glory, Hal Ashby's biopic of Woody Guthrie. Later that year, it was used to film the iconic shot of Rocky Balboa running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. But it was this shot in The Shining - which even Kubrick-hater Pauline Kael deemed "spectacular" - that showed the technology's full potential. (previously)
Early color film tests : 1912, Chronochrome, Deauville, France :: 1922, Kodachrome, Paragon Studios, Fort Lee, New Jersey (details)
Java 4-Ever (safe for work apart from that one bit) - an amusing language centric film trailer made to promote the Scandinavian JavaZone conference.
Will post-conversion done badly kill 3D movies? Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks thinks it might. Or as Michael Bay puts it "You can’t just shit out a 3D movie".
The SF Signal Mind Meld feature poses science fiction related questions to a number of SF luminaries and the scientist, science writer or blogger. Subjects have included the best women writers in SF, taboo topics in SF, underated authors and the most controversial SF novels of the past and present. The also cover lighter topics, such the role of media tie-ins, how Battlestar Galactica could have ended better (bonus Geoff Ryman) and the realistic (or otherwise) use of science on TV SF shows.
Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
The mother of all Mother Nature programs premiered in the US this weekend on the Discovery Channel. The 11-part series makes the most of three remarkable camera technologies: shooting in total darkness, counter-vibration stabilizers, and 1000 fps sequences. Here are some clips of: penguins sliding, baboons swimming, and birds of paradise mating. Finally, here's footage from the original BBC version (with the much preferred David Attenborough narrating) that shows, for the first time,a snow leopard hunting in the wild.
It's still about the means of production, you see — but in the overdeveloped world, at least, it's not about the production of goods and services anymore. Today's virtual revolutionary is happy to leave all that to capitalists. The virtual revolutionary wants to control the production of meaning — representations of herself and her world as she wants them to seem. Or be. Or whatever. That's all she asks. Or, rather, takes. Thomas de Zengotita welcomes the big world of the small screen. Peter Bogdanovich, instead, still mourns that last picture show.
The Image Culture - a discussion of the history, manipulation, desensitization and supplanting of language skills by the ubiquity of images. And no, there are no pretty pictures.
"Unsatisfactory movie viewing can only be attributed to human error." The Denver Post examines the way technology can help viewers find their next favorite movie.
Don't know ADR from THX? Filmsound.org is for you. Check out their cliches section, and much more besides.
Self destruct files to secure DVDs and CDs. Songs and movies will expire after a single play, unless you pay up.
Invisibles are scenes from films with the actors removed. Can you guess the film? Its pretty hard actually. I would imagine actually making the images is hard as well - clever colour matching in Photoshop, or is there another way?
DVDs are bad for business? They are, according to the producer of "Attack of the Clones." Although it seems to me that every week I hear about a new box-office record being shattered, Rick McCallum says such things as: "I don't think there's a single movie that can survive on box office gross alone; it just doesn't exist anymore" and my favorite: "Literally, our very lives are at stake now. George and I are just praying that we can finish 'Episode III' in time, before it's all over." What do you think? Legitimate concern, or more ridiculous whining by millionaires lobbying to place restrictions on technogy?
As much as I enjoyed the Blair Witch Project, one had to wonder why those silly kids didn't have a single mobile phone among them. A number of standard plot devices are becoming obsolete as a result of current technologies, while filmmakers are finding new ways to incorporate technology into their stories.
Computer Review While Final Fantasy is the first movie to have only computer generated actors, it's gotten few good reviews. All Things Considered, found a reviewer who wholeheartedly liked it: their Mac G3. Listen with RealAudio: 14.4 or 28.8 (via Macintouch)
iPix Movies are cool interactive movies, you choose the angle you view while it is playing and you can turn to any angle, up, down, left, right and zoom. This is pretty wild but takes a broadband connection so if you are a dial up user, forget it. I want the little helicopter the camera is on, very cool.
MovieFone (or 777film.com, or AOL/Moviefone if you want to be official) has long been my favorite place to look up movie showtimes, but lately I've been running into problems. The biggest one is this: if you search for movies by theater, then hit "more" a couple times, it reaches a limit of about 12 theaters. Here in LA, that limit corresponds to a 4-5 mile radius. The theater I want to look up movie times at is maybe 7-8 miles away, but no where in the interface is a real "search." It's all just lists and lists. Eventually, I found a list of local theaters (covering about a 20 mile radius) in the theater codes section, but it's not a real search engine, so looking up times at out of town theaters requires you to know the zip code of the place you're going to. I know they're trying to simplify their site by taking out a search engine, but what about the people that know exactly what they want? I use moviefone on the web because using it on a telephone requires you to navigate convoluted menu systems, but they've transferred the phone experience to the web quite well.