Archive for the 'movies' Category
Smashing Magazine recently ran a great post that rounds up 50 Incredible Stop Motion Videos. It looks like they missed my favorite though, so I’m including it below.
It’s a short film called Gisele Kerozene that’s part Mad Max and part Harry Potter. It’s a bit hard to tell at YouTube-quality, but all the flying sequences are accomplished by stringing together individual shots of the actors jumping off the ground with a broom between their legs.
I ran across a new service called dotSUB that streamlines the process for subtitling and translating online video. The site recently featured a Rocketboom episode explaining how the service works, allowing users to quickly and easily enter captions which are overlaid onto a Flash video file.
The captions also allow other users to translate the content into other languages. Once subtitles are entered, the new language is immediately available for viewing, since the original video is shown with the new language overlaid on top.
Unfortunately, dotSUB’s options for embedding video in other sites appears to be limited. I wasn’t able to embed the Rocketboom video here because it would break my template’s layout. However, it’s worth visiting the site to check out. I’m willing to bet that the options for embedding video will expand as the service matures.
I think dotSUB has some excellent potential. Off the top of my head, I could see it being useful for nonprofits, activists, language learners, and anyone with hearing problems. I’d love to see some good foreign language documentaries made available through the site.
UPDATE: Apparently dotSUB was listening (see the comments). A smaller version of the dotSUB player is now available, so I’ll include the Rocketboom video below. Try clicking on the up and down buttons (to the left of the speaker icon) to switch between the various subtitle languages.
I first saw Theo Jansen’s sculptures on a video of his 2005 presentation at the Gel Conference. The kinetic sculptures he builds are otherworldly and amazing to watch, as they walk across the sand. Unfortunately, the quality of the Gel video isn’t the best. For a quicker, better introduction, check out this 1 minute video:
For more background, Jansen gave a 30 minute presentation the 2005 Pop!Tech conference. You can download a higher quality quicktime version of the presentation from the Pop!Tech website or watch a streamed version below:
I’ve done all my SXSW research. I’ve read the descriptions for the Interactive panels. I’ve watched the trailers for the documentaries that are part of the Film festival. And I’ve listened to at least a short snippet of each of the songs in the 2007 SXSW music bittorrent.
Here’s a short list of some of the stuff I’m most looking forward to:
- Kathy Sierra Opening Remarks
- Open Content, Remix Culture and the Sharing Economy
- How to Make Your Ideas Stick
- TWISTED: A Balloonamentary
- Big Rig
- This is another niche subculture documentary, about truckers. It’s by the same people who did the excellent documentary Scratch.
Overall, I’m a bit disappointed by the music this year. While Jim Bianco and Golem are artists I got turned onto by listening to the mp3s, most of the artists I’m looking forward to seeing are ones I was already familiar with. The interactive festival is bigger and better this year though, so it may make up for the disappointment of the music.
I just finished watching a documentary called “The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.” It details Cuba’s energy crisis in the 1990’s that resulted from the fall of the Soviet Union and the continued U.S. embargo. The documentary ignores most of the politics of Cuba and focuses on how the Cuban people dealt with the shortage of oil and all that goes along with it (manufacturing collapse, food shortages, transportation crisis, etc.). It’s an inspiring look at how everyday people adapted, largely by changing their way of thinking about energy and by coming together as a community.
The documentary focuses largely on the switch from agribusiness farming to small organic community gardens. According to the video, in addition to the decrease in pesticide polution, individual and cooperatively run gardens proved to be more productive per acre than large government run farms.
Unlike a lot of the political documentaries that have been coming out lately, this documentary is more likely to leave you feeling inspired and optimistic, rather than depressed. I highly recommend it.
I ran across the Japan SAQ (Seldom Asked Questions) via populicio.us. The page collects a wide variety of questions and answers about various aspects of Japanese culture. One of the questions gives some detail about the origin of big Anime eyes.
Q. Why do anime characters have such big eyes?
A. The practice of drawing anime characters with unusually large eyes dates back to the art form’s founder, Osamu Tezuka. When he started drawing his most famous creation, Astroboy, he was inspired by the famous cartoon character Betty Boop and her enormous eyes. After the success of Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy), other manga and anime artists began to copy Tezuka, and a trend was born.
The list is pretty fascinating reading. I wish there were similar SAQs to cover the obscure aspects of all cultures around the world. The closest I’ve seen are the The Xenophobe’s Guide book series.
I ran across the following video via populicio.us. I’m not the biggest Nirvana fan, but I have to admit that this version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is catchy.
I ran across this video via populicio.us recently.
You can watch more clips and purchase DVDs at the Animusic site.
This week’s Austin Chronicle features an article about a radio show on KVRX called These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For. The show is a weekly half hour of radio all about Star Wars. I haven’t heard the show yet, but I applaud the creativity of the concept.
Everything in the movies is there to be discussed and dissected from as many angles as possible. Military strategy, scientific inconsistencies, the theological subtleties behind the Force: all in an evening’s work. As Needles says, “For the sake of the show, there’s more to talk about if you accept the world as real.”
I watched a lot of Tom and Jerry cartoons as a kid. Some of my favorites were the ones where Tom would build his own version of the Mousetrap game. I’ve been fascinated by Rube Goldberg machines ever since.
I happened to run across three great Rube Goldberg Videos over the weekend on various sites. I wasn’t on the lookout for them and I’m not sure if they’re connected somehow. Maybe Rube Goldberg is on people’s minds because the National Rube Goldberg Contest was held recently.
I ran across this first video on the Make magazine website. The second and third were on either populicio.us or Diggdot.us. I believe the third one is a copy of The Way Things Go, which is also available on DVD. It’s about 30 minutes long, so plan your viewing accordingly. Finally, to round out the videos, I also searched out a copy of the Honda Accord commercial from a few years ago that consisted of a Rube Goldberg machine made from car parts.
My friend Jeremy, a SXSW volunteer, just sent me a link to the 2006 Bittorrent of SXSW music. It’s a great way to help decide what bands to try to catch at this year’s festival. But even if you’re not braving the crowds at SXSW, it’s also good for some free/guilt-free music. And chances are you’ll find a few bands you hadn’t heard of before.
If listening to 700+ songs seems daunting, check out my tips from last year on weeding through the SXSW MP3s.
Update: The official SXSW bittorrent page is now live. And they’ve included a bittorrent of this year’s movie trailers. Keep an eye out for more music releases too. They released an update last year, as the festival got closer.
I caught a commercial today for the Xbox 360 that showed some great jump roping. When I searched for a copy of it online to send to a friend, I ran across two other great commercials from the same “Jump In” campaign. The first is a huge water balloon fight and the second is a comical John Woo style showdown. If you can ignore the tag line at the end, they’re great short films.
UPDATE: I recently realized that I can embed the videos here. The showdown video is my favorite, so here it is. . .
I ran across this funny story by a lady who found Chris Rock’s cell phone:
CALLER: Is Chris there?
LAURA: [Puzzled, with curiosity piqued] Uh, Chris… who?
CALLER: Chris Rock.
LAURA: [Incredulously] Chris Rock!? As in, the Chris Rock?
Coincidentally, it reminded me of the time I saw Chris Rock. . . in Prague. I had only been in the city for a day or two. I was walking around in the touristy area, not far from the clock tower. I passed by a guy walking in the opposite direction who looked exactly like Chris Rock. I did a double-take, but it still took a few seconds for the possibility to register that it actually could be the Chris Rock. It was hard to believe, since the guy was walking around by himself, with no entourage.
I found out later that Chris Rock was in fact in Prague filming a movie with Anthony Hopkins. I even saw some of the exterior shots being filmed. Bad Company has been out on DVD for a while, but I still haven’t gotten around to watching it.