• This is a great reading of Insomnia; I loved Skjoldbjærg's original from the moment I saw it, and this review really neatly encapsulates why I hated the Christopher Nolan remake so much. It becomes about fundamentally different things, and they're not as interesting as watching Skarsgard fall quite so low and never really recover. Also: I'll take Norway over Alaska any day.
  • "…we re-designed our lighting rigs in the computer to be very similar to traditional lighting rigs with bounces and blockers and things like that. The slight difference being we could make a white bounce card that was a kilometer by a kilometer if we wanted to bounce a light onto the ISS." Easily my favourite sentence from an excellent article on the effects work in Gravity – not just how they did it, but what their processes were like. I love this stuff, especially around the interaction between vfx and DOP.
  • "…nothing really gets older online; the only aging of things here comes from the erosive force of changing human sensibilities. The black of that North Face jacket looks just as black, but the point of wearing it has faded a little. Here there is only the appearance of getting older because everything else has gotten much newer. The pixels do not outwardly become worn. They are like grains of sand. If one is destroyed, it’s too small for us to know it’s been annihilated. And there is so much sand."
  • "I wonder if there’s a business to be gotten into where one shows movies the way everyone wants to see them: just the movies, from the very first second you start watching. It’s a naive thought; I understand that. But I can’t forget that when those lights went down, when that screen went up, and when that twangy riff kicked in, there were audible gasps and cheers in the audience, and someone behind me yelled out “whoa, awesome!” I want to believe that there’s a business to be gotten into that capitalizes on “whoa, awesome”."
  • Stewart Lee's dark, self-referential Christmas tale from this year, for the New Statesman.
  • "In other words, the more packages you send at once, the shittier job FedEx does of delivering each of them, with each package getting less and less of a delivery attempt. And the limit actually approaches zero, which means that if you somehow send me infinity packages through FedEx, they will not even knock on my door. They will take the infinity dollars and run. I did honestly not intend today to use math to prove precisely how bad FedEx is at delivering packages, but, um, here we are?" I love Ryan North.
  • "The problem with ideas ís, the idea is often simply a way to focus your interest in making a work. The work isn't necessarily, I think-a function of the work is not to express the idea…. The idea focuses your attention in a certain way that helps you to do the work."
  • "This is just an image dump of marvel approved stills and screenshots of my work on the film. I'll do a proper post soon – this is a fraction of the work – But I had the distinct pleasure of working with Cantina Creative, leading the design of the glass screens for the Helicarier in the Avengers. I also led the design and animation of the all new and upgraded Mark VII Hud…

    Included are some partial explanations of how the HUD diagnostic functions
    Variations of it in 'all clear' mode, and a 'battle mode', after the suit has suffered damage and new windows have popped up to show depleted weapon stores and hazardous environmentals and general.

    The flight menu was designed with input from an A-10 Fighter Pilot. I like to keep my stuff accurate.

    I start all designs on paper so I included some ideas for the dock icons. In the final icons, the more detailed versions show system status based on the way they animate."

    Lots of lovely detail in the work on all the fictional UI in the Avengers – looking forward to it being unpacked.

  • "Fountain is a plain text markup language for screenwriting." More plaintext formats for writing in. This is good.
  • "When I'm evaluating entrepreneurs and their ideas, I look for "innovation bipolarity," a version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first-rate intelligence: "the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." Entrepreneurs should be able to argue passionately that their idea will change the world, and then, without skipping a beat, honestly assess the risks standing in the way of its success and describe what they are doing to mitigate them."
  • "I wanted to make the ship move, and I wanted to make it speak, and I wanted to speak back to it, with it, together. To make something." The poetry of creation is important. Also, @shipadrift is lovely, but you already knew that.
  • More useful vim stuff.
  • "In my forthcoming book Alien Phenomenology, at the start of the chapter on Carpentry (my name for making things that do philosophy), I talk about the chasm between academic writing (writing to have written) and authorship (writing to have produced something worth reading). But there's another aspect to being an author, one that goes beyond writing at all: book-making. Creating the object that is a book, that will have a role in someone's life—in their hands or their purses, around their mail, in between their fingers. Now, in this age of lowest common denominator digital and POD editions, it's time to stop writing books and to start making them." I am not totally sure I buy all of Bogost's argument, but I like his points explaining the role of artefacts. However, POD is weirder than he gives it credit.
  • "[Was shooting The Artist very different to making a 'regular' movie?] No, it’s a regular picture. The only difference is, there is no boom mic. And the story is not being told by what comes out of your mouth. If you want to tell the story, the story being the narrative, not the plot—the plot’s fairly simple—but if you want to tell the narrative, then you have to be concise with your reaction, and let the reaction get into your body and your face in a way you don’t necessarily do when you have dialogue, because the dialogue takes care of that." James Cromwell interview by the AV Club. I enjoyed this line especially.
  • "Alien is a great example of the importance of seeing movies on big screen.  For any director reliant on frequent long-takes, compositions naturally become less didactic: greater scope in field-of-vision grants greater freedom to the explorative viewer’s eye.  For a filmmaker like Scott, compositions are so enlarged that it is as if the audience is looking at the film through a microscope." Cracking article on Alien over at MUBI.
  • "We are making a model of how a product is, to the degree that we can in video. We subject it to as much rigour as we can in terms of the material and technological capabilities we think can be built.

    It must not be magic, or else it won’t feel real.

    I guess I’m saying sufficiently-advanced technology should be distinguishable from magic." This is a lovely pulling-together of things from Matt J, and really manages to express the notions of "physics" and "rulesets" that I always enjoyed so much.

Evo 2011: Moments

09 August 2011

Via GameSetWatch comes this marvellous compilation of “Moments” from Evo 2011.

It’s a really nice film. It’s not a compilation of players’ faces, or screen-capture, but primarily of the audience. And it reminds me why I love fighters so much: not just for the competition inherent in the game, but the community. Not a capital-c Community, either – but the community that springs up around every screen, every cab, every website, where you can’t stop talking to other players about what you’re seeing.

Just look at the crowd. Most of them will have entered the tournament and been knocked out, and yet they’re still there for the real show – watching the best players in the world waggle sticks and stab buttons. There’s been some incredible play at this year’s Evo, and it’s lovely to see someone concentrate on the incredible atmosphere to back it up.

Just look at that crowd.