Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
Best known for creating the nostalgic mash-up REMEMBER series (previously), Youtube user Thepeterson teams up with Slackstory to create another video clip time machine: REMEMBER 1994
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]
The Eidophusikon, an early form of motion picture, is a theatrical technology developed by fine art painter and theatrical set designer Philip de Loutherbourg using sound, colored filters, mechanical works, light from newly invented Argand lamps, mirrors and more . It was first exhibited at his home in 1781, featuring five scenes of land and seascape. In recent years, recognition of this as an early chapter in cinema history has prompted several institutions to recreate the experience. Among the most successful is the 2005 storm at sea depicted in Eidophusikon Reimagined by the Australian National University.
Youtube user Thepeterson puts together collections of the major radio hits, movies, video games, and technology of a given year. So why not take a time machine trip to the media landscape of : 1997, 1999, and 2002
Television Without Pity re-capper Jacob Clifton has written a short steampunk story for Tor.com. “There’s a level on which the story is an indictment of using steampunk as a fashion or trend. It came about because I wanted to see what would happen if you substituted Jane Austen for Jules Verne in the steampunk equation...” The Commonplace Book
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.
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]
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)
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 <video tag>, as defined by the HTML5 spec, is an element "used for playing videos or movies". Which codec those videos or movies are in is currently undefined, with the two contenders being the free open source Ogg Theora and the proprietary H.264. With the unveiling of Internet Explorer 9 both Microsoft and Apple are supporting H.264 in their browsers, and comparisons of the standards seem to bear out H.264 as the better of the two. However Mozilla have taken a stance against incorporating H264 into Firefox on the grounds that it is patented and has to be licensed. Arguments are now being made for and against Mozilla sticking to its ideals. John Gruber of Daring Fireball points out that Firefox already supports proprietary formats such as GIF. Um, perhaps not the best example.
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.
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.
"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.
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?
In 1924 George Antheil caused a riot with his ballet score for 'percussion orchestra, two pianists, seven electric bells, 3 airplane propellors, a siren, and 16 synchronized player pianos'. In 1933, Hedy Lamarr caused a sensation by appearing nude on film. In 1942, Antheil and Lamarr jointly filed a patent for a secret communications system, having thought up 'an interesting scheme to control armed torpedoes over long distances without the enemy detecting them or jamming their transmissions' over dinner.
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)
Spielberg bizarrely philosophizes during a press conference about playing god and technology "becoming our masters." I can't imagine 2 issues that couldn't take a bigger backseat to the most pressing concern of how government uses said technology. Steve, the bogeyman isn't The Matrix its Uncle Sam.
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.