Friday, September 16, 2016


The actual connections of the cables into the body are a bit tricky, aren't they?

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Sound Devices makes a little free utility called Wave Agent which will split poly .wav files into multiple mono .wav files, or join mono .wav files into single poly .wav files.
Since I derped and recorded a bunch of individual tracks the other day, it was nice to have a little utility to sew them all together again.
Shooting a reel or "demo" for a movie in a very beautiful bar in Astoria.
And also the Zoom F8 worked for two whole days recording 3 and 4 tracks (plus stereo) to two SD cards without failing! Woo! This is with the latest update to their firmware.
I ran a backup to a Tascam handheld recorder anyway, but it was nice to not have any failures on the F8.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Geared Head

Proaim Orion Geared Head.
Just under $2000.
This is what I need. And a decent dolly too. With a realistic way to pull focus. But yeah, somebody finally realized how we all need a good geared head for less than $15000.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Oblivion Status Update

Bob Teague asked me for a status update on Oblivion.
This is where we're at. We have a cut. We have a lot of visual effects. But Ian Hubert is em-bettering the effects and adding our giant robot Henry.
This actually means there's a lot of paperwork for me. I am labeling all the effects and making sure the background plates are properly labeled and rendering out files which have "context" so Ian can see what happens before and after the effect. The effects numbering is like "1401 02.100 downed drone series" and the like.
Huh. I just now realized I'd made an error in my numbering. The "1401" is correct because that's the number code of the movie. But the "02" should be for a visual effect in act 2, not act 1 as shown here. Oops. As long as no visual effect is given the same number though, that's the key.

There's going to be some ADR. The stuff outside was never properly recorded, but that was by design because the park rangers would have busted us on day 1 if we'd showed up with recording gear as well as a camera.

Now, I'm also in post on two other pictures. And I have to build sets for the reshoots on the movie which was once called Android Masquerade but is now called Carbon Copy. And then there are about a million things I have to do. I'm sure.

EDIT: my above mistake has been fixed. We're back to project number/act/shot number. Whew.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Krylon vs Rustoleum spraypaints. I'm using Rustoleum for metallics and Krylon for flat colors.

I'm thinking Masonite rather than MDF. Another thing I'm thinking is flats that are 24" wide rather than 48". Actually I'm thinking that 18" on center is more amusing to me but for practical purposes that may not work. From what I can gather Masonite is a tad more practical than Luan.

Blick actually sells 24" by 30" panels. I know I could cut the panels myself but that would be really irritating work to do.

I learned the difference between a Hollywood and a Broadway flat.

A guide for making corrugated cardboard set pieces.

Monday, July 25, 2016

These shots.

    • Running into position
    • Shooting at oncoming
    • Approaching Wall
    • Side View
    • Chaos
    • The Wide Shot of Stuff Exploding
 I think I have all those shots. These are things I think. Yes. This blog is just a notebook which contains information that only makes sense to me.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Aspectical Ratios

I always get myself turned around when trying to calculate percentages. Let me start from the beginning -- Adobe Premiere Pro does not have a letterbox plugin. This is irksome to me.

Vashi Visuals has some .png files to download with all the different aspect ratios at all sorts of resolutions

At first I thought that there were only 4K images in that download, which is cool but we shoot in 3840, so the image has to be ensmallened slightly. How much? Luckily there are calculators on the web for that.  The answer is 96%, which is how much I scaled the image to by eye, but it was nice to check the math.

That said, there are "ultra HD" .png files, I just didn't see them because they're at the end of the list and I can't read.

Remember Jarl's Premiere Presets? That's where they are.

Scenic Things

Sprayed MDF on timber formers.

I kinda dig that hatch.
I need a medical bay. It has to look like a set on a multi-million dollar picture. Luckily we can make it small so we don't need to spend that much money.

The thing about using wood on spaceships is that it tends to look like wood in closeups. Fiberboard, which can be slick on one side, can avoid that "wood" look.
Homewyse has a Cost To Frame a Wall Calculator. Obviously the shapes we tend to look for are more expensive but to get an idea of the cost of just the framing it's an interesting calculator. The cost is between $2.50 and $5.00 a square foot.
JCFabLab is a sort of workshare fabrication shop. $135/month to join.
Medium density fiberboard.

And don't forget styrene plastic sheets as a material that doesn't read as wood.

(I simply cannot make one of those widgets from Amazon to work with Blogger anymore.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Noise Reduction in Production

So check it out, Cedar actually makes a portable and simple DNS. It's interesting because it means that a dialog mixer in the field might very well use it because Production is incapable of shutting the hell up for takes.

This is a quick and dirty solution for cleaner-sounding takes, but it ain't cheap -- it's $4000. And cleaning up with single-ended noise reduction while recording is not the "right" way to do it. But two things about that -- 1 it's likely that you'll have separated tracks of each microphone being recorded pre-noise reduction anyway and 2 so many productions go through post so quickly that the production sound person really is the last time a sound pro will touch the audio so you may as well make it sound like the finished product.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

More Medical Bays

The upholstery on the Nostromo is really nice. What's it made of? Is that just vacuformed plastic? What I really don't get is how the seams don't show. Maybe there's weatherstripping involved?

Cantilevered platforms are out of our budget range. But the light and the sort of surgery/dentist tools above Kane are very nice aren't they? Making this room circular must have taken quite an effort.

This is a CG model from the Interwebs. It's much too detailed to be made as vacuformed panels.

The alien medical bay from another angle. Are those speakers on the wall above the lighting instrument in the photograph?

Ash's station here is not as super-duper expensive as (say) the bridge. But I like the sort of s-shape of the vertical pieces. What I fail to comprehend is how the seams work because it's like the whole thing is molded out of one piece. It's quite lovely actually.

Here's the medical bay from a video-game of Alien.

I tried simplifying the above CG image to see if it was something we could have vacuformed. It was prohibitively expensive.

So I'm pretty sure this is Leeloo or... wait, no. The medical bay in Prometheus.

I don't know. Production drawing for Alien maybe?

The state actually gives you a pretty decent apartment when you come out of hypersleep. Maybe it's because you have a cat? I do love how inconvenient the corner thing Ripley is leaning against is.

Details everywhere.

Looking at this again, this is actually one of the cheapest looking sets in Alien. It's not that it doesn't look nice, it's just not super-expensive (for Alien).

So. Reshoots and stuff. Which means the word "greeble" is all over the place in my vocabulary. Also, it seems like the cheapest small monitor is really a Kindle Fire 7". Because using VLC media player you can play .mp4 movies on a loop on the Fire (also you can "lock" the display so you can design your graphics for, and use it, sideways.)

This is a closeup of the newspaper in Blade Runner.
I've been looking at pictures of ISS recently. Mostly dorking out about Suni Williams. The station is filled with plain-old laptop computers. And from what I can see there's basically no in-wall wiring. Everything's exposed.
I believe this is in the Russian part of the station. Although the display is in English. I do so love the super-simplicity of the readout.
Inside the cupola of the ISS. There is more duct tape in use there than you'd think you'd want to have on a space station.
This is the inside of a garbage truck. It's actually a right-hand-drive truck, or rather it has both left and right hand steering wheels but you're looking at it from the "working" position.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

My three things today

Issues with monitoring with the GH4. Basically you switch from .mov to AVCHD recording and back again if it's not outputting video via HDMI.
Apple's Time Machine can get cranky about disk permissions. Just. Because.
Panasonic's VLOG-L is very interesting. I don't know why Panasonic is so weird about releasing it. It's a $99 upgrade but it's frequently "out of stock". I mean it's a flippin' serial number for a software upgrade and it's... "out of stock". Nobody knows why.

There are some complications using VLOG-L. One is that it doesn't really work in 8-bit as nicely as you'd like. And that's what the GH4 records internally.