Archive for October, 2008

“Wild Frontier: Sharp Teeth” at CICFF 2008

“Wild Frontier: Sharp Teeth” is a short animated film I completed earlier this year, and it has been selected for screening & competition at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, 2008!

The project is based upon circa-2005 audio recordings I captured of my three-year-old-at-the-time nephew as he tells me the story about a drawing he’s made. I incorporated that drawing and others-of-his into the film, along with a characterization of my nephew doing the speaking.

About the festival…

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the CICFF is North America’s largest and most celebrated film festival devoted to films for and by kids, and is the only Academy®-qualifying children’s film festival in the world. This year, “Cannes for Kids” features over 200 of the best films and videos for kids from 40 countries.

‘Wild Frontier…’ will be featured in three of the popular weekend anthology screenings of the eleven-day festival. It will certainly be fun to watch on the big-city silver screen, along with my collaborator nephew and a crowd of our closest friends!

I’ll share more about the film and about the festival upon my return.
Stay tooned…

“TtV” Photography

original "57 xelfogra" boxearly color

extremely sky-lit signdinosaurs

watching fall roll inmaking room for snow

hey, nice shirtwaving flower

Well, I’ve been bitten by the “Through the Viewfinder” (TtV)
photography bug!

TtV is simply the act of taking a photograph with one camera — usually digital — of the image displayed upon the viewing lens of another camera — usually a vintage twin lens top-view camera (such as the one depicted upon the red box in the first photo above).

That’s basically it. I learned about the technical fundamentals of the process at this flickr group. It’s a fun & enthusiastic bunch! When I joined I was the 4000th member.

There are really only three minor complications to the process of TtV: First, you likely need to have a ‘macro’ setting or capability for your shooting camera. (Because even though your portrait subject may be a distant mountain, what you’re really taking a picture of is a small reflection of that mountain, which is only inches from your camera lens.)

The second minor complication is getting your hands on a “twin lens reflex” (TLR) top-view camera. They’re not rare, but you just have to find one. Fortunately, eBay makes that simple, so within days one can be delivered right to your door for less than $20.

And the final complication is the need to eliminate glare and reflections on the view-screen you’re trying to photograph…

Presenting, “THE CONTRAPTION!“: TtV practitioners put their ingenuity to the test by engineering a light-blocking apparatus to span the distance between their digital camera shooting lens and the vintage camera’s view-screen. There are all sorts of shapes and sizes and solutions for accomplishing this, using materials ranging from toilet paper tubes or cereal boxes to gutter spout materials for home exteriors. I’ve made three variations so far, and will probably try more in the future. You can check out other people’s craftsmanship HERE.

As wonderful as digital photography is, it’s almost too perfect, and too universal to feel personal. Shooting TtV-style opens the door to happy accidents, and each vintage base-camera has its own unique aesthetic fingerprint to make the images one-of-a-kind. They’re usually dusty and bunged up, so that adds a retro quality to the imagery. Some have interesting blurs. Some have interesting vignette shadows. Some have interesting distortions. Most have their own special flourish of grit and grime.

And with prominence these days of panorama-shaped image dimensions, the square format is somewhat novel as well. The black, television-style border from the viewer lens is the final touch.

All in all it’s simply a fun and creative challenge! You can check out my beginning endeavors on MY FLICKR SITE.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 Inspi/Reference

Thonk! Verse

“Hi!”, says I. My name’s Steve.
So glad we’ve met on Tomorrow’s Eve!
When seeds from this day bloom full with Spring,
What bounties will tomorrow bring?!

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 Thonk! of the Day

Parallel Universe

This morning I was driving along a route I drive nearly every day. There was some sort of fender-bender ahead that gummed up the traffic flow, so I turned to the right one block earlier than I normally would have, and drove on a different road.

Everything was new to me. But it was old. It was an old industrial area lined with small, nondescript, weather-beaten machine shops that had forever been repairing or manufacturing this or that. Some of the buildings looked as if they might have been abandoned now. The large trees along this road had been trimmed through the years to accommodate a powerline running through the middle of the hollowed-out afros of their branches. They formed a long brambly row of deciduous ‘Y’s.

On this road there were none of the fast-food restaurants or video stores or illuminated gas stations I normally pass.

This whole other parallel world occupies the same time and space as I do, but one block to the right.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 Thonk! of the Day

WordPress Rocks!

Blog engines are super-fantastic things; dynamos that have made the World Wide Web a current and thriving, lively place. It generally used to be that the only current Web sites were the ones that’d been freshly launched — while most of the others were dusty out-of-date monuments or ‘under construction/coming soon’ pages.

Though I’ve visited countless types of blogs, WordPress is the only blog engine I’ve had my hands inside, and I don’t see reason to stray.

It’s a little tricky to navigate through the tangled WordPress universe when you first open the box, dump out the CSS, and set to the task of setting up and customizing a blog to suit your own distinct needs. But if you take the time and do the work, it is such a convenient and valuable asset to have on your team.

Long live WordPress!

Monday, October 20th, 2008 Eclectcetera!