Monday, November 30, 2015


I've been killing a lot of androids lately. I know that's going to come back to me.

Yes, Mother, you can export ProRes out of AfterEffects in Windows. It requires this free plugin from the company DuBon. And you can only export files, not compositions, so you have to pre-render first. But it can be done. It can. Be done. H/T Ian Hubert.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Last Additional Photography Day

Just as we're being summarily dismissed from our office at 356 Broadway by our insane landlords, we're in post-production on a couple pictures, one of which requires some additional photography. The images from the additional photography look great, but we have to shoot exteriors and this time of year there's only like 9 hours of daylight altogether at this latitude. For exposure purposes there's even less because once the sun goes below a mountain or a tree line you've only got the skylight left. You're basically in civil twilight even without being in, you know, actual civil twilight.

I'm thinking that publishing images of sunrise/sunset charts is about the most boring thing I could blog with. And for that I am somewhat moderately sorry. But I need to keep the image somewhere.
On Sunday at 4:30pm the gaffer shuts off the lights.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What's for me

Of things that do not exist yet, the Blackmagic Micro Cinema camera is the thing that speaks most to me.

First of all, it's going to be cheap. Like a thousand dollars cheap.
Secondly, Chance Shirley has convinced me that 16mm is a better sized format for shooting because it's somewhat easier to focus than 35mm. Indeed, 35mm is a pain in the tuchus to focus.
Thirdwise, it's micro-four-thirds. I have a micro four thirds lens that's pretty fast. I'm totally down with that.
Quadranaically, there's HDMI video out. Oh man, the SDI on other Blackmagic cameras irked me. HDMI is so much easier.
On the Five Spot, it records to SD cards, not to weird stuff.
Sixly, it's got a global shutter and rolling shutter irritates me half to death.

The problems with it? Well for one it doesn't exist yet. Also, it's not 4K. Blackmagic is indeed coming out with a 4K Micro but it has no onboard recording. So as long as buyers don't care about "Ultra HD" we're good. The problem with 4K is that nobody can actually see it unless they sit with their face right up in the screen just like their moms told them not to do.

I feel like just as we got computers to get decent at rendering high-def and now we have to do 4K. Sigh. I feel HD really is the top resolution. Nobody really sees anything higher. I mean the boys down at THX say that film prints have an effective resolution of about 700 lines. So why all this resolution stuff? Ugh. Now I am complaining.

I think the Micro Cinema camera seems cool.

A Conversational Place - Full Film

Did I blog about this yet? I should have. I probably did. I'll do it again.

Groove to the beautiful and brilliant Catie Riggs.


Singularity is a fun little movie.

SINGULARITY [short film] 2015 from The Bicycle Monarchy on Vimeo.
** This film starts over black so have your speakers up nice and loud! **

SINGULARITY [short film] 2015

In the midst of a war between humans and sentient androids, a Delta Force team must battle a dangerous enemy to rescue the US President.

Directed by Samuel Jorgensen
Produced by Jeremy Pronk

© The Bicycle Monarchy

Web ►
Kickstarter ►
Facebook ►
The director is a visual effects guy, naturally. It's sort of surprising that they went for a small Kickstarter to finish just because the rest of the picture is clearly so expensive what with props and such.
It has an amusing ending.

Friday, November 20, 2015


This dude, James Lee, posted these amazing and inspiring images on Renderosity nigh on 10 years ago. I love how dynamic the scenes are. And the costume design is astounding.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Long Days

I do not understand the "work 'till you drop" ideology in the filmmaking world. I can't see how it's somehow cheaper to work really long hours because the number of mistakes you start making grows exponentially the longer you go.
Not having time to take a look at what you've been shooting while you're shooting is just... incomprehensible to me. I can imagine under a TV schedule that you're trying desperately to get something finished under a deadline although honestly I don't get why production doesn't just start a few weeks earlier instead.

There are some fixed costs of rentals, sure. Sometimes your soundstage is a huge part of your budget so from a financial point of view you want to have it working constantly. And sometimes your key talent has a limited schedule. But seriously, those are exceptions, not rules.
Putting the producer under a chopping block and telling them that they get whacked if they go over 10 hours has a magical ability to make things happen on time. Not allowing a production to go into overtime simply means that production will mysteriously become vastly more efficient at shooting. I've seen it happen on so many shows. It's a kind of fascinating thing to watch.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Carbon Copy Key

The key art at this year's AFM for Carbon Copy (formerly Android Masquerade).

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sound Check

A while back I wondered exactly how long it would take to do the dialog, music, and effects mix, with Foley and "sound design" cut effects, for a feature-length motion picture -- you know, the kind of movies we make.
I estimated 144 hours. That is 144 "man-hours" at a computer with a Foley stage of some sort available and doing the sound effects, ADR, dialog edit, and final mix as you go along. The other caveat is that the effects are not done "100%". No, instead you do just the effects you need, not wanting to Foley the entire movie and cut effects for the entire movie. Just add the stuff you're going to use.
How much is 144? I mean, how much does that cost with overhead, computers, electricity, sound effects, your time? Is that about $50/hour? So 144 is what, I don't know, about $7,000?
Now the fact is that I do virtually all this work myself on most of our movies. So that's work that does not incur a cash cost to us. But it does, you know, take up a month of my time. And then there's the music. On shows I'm composing for, that's some additional time.

So these are my thoughts of which I am thinking. Still. Thinking.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

What is now

Oh, the footage is pouring in from our shooting days over the weekend. That is, the composites Ian is doing.
The German Blu-Ray of Android Insurrection

This Lima backup dongle thing is very interesting. I'm using (multiple) Backblaze accounts and also iDrive (and also Sugar Sync) but if you wanted to keep your backup local, the Lima seems pretty cool. The advantage to, say, Backblaze is that you don't need to buy new hard drives for it. With the Lima you'd have to buy and power your drive.

Speaking of power, our crazy landlords for our studio have cancelled our lease. At the same time they've started leaving the front doors open overnight. So if you're in need of a bathroom just come down to 356 Broadway I guess. Doors are always open.

Dig the color reel for the dude just down the hall from us (until we're out at the end of the month) -- Ray Levé.

Lacra Color Reel 2015 from Ray Levé on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Backup Sound

Glen Trew suggests not running a backup recorder on set.

I have to agree with him there. I used to run one thinking that at least twice in a movie I was going to not roll on one machine. But the fact is that hitting two record buttons does indeed make it somewhat easier to miss one of them.
The Japanese version of Robot Revolution.

The other thing is that the sound department is the only department that even considers running a backup. There's no "backup camera" running while the regular one is running. And, of course, sound can be replaced in post. And sometimes that's just easier anyway.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ian Hubert = Genius

Arielle Hope, Sarah Schoofs, Ashley Mundy. Uh. Twice.
Day for night is flipping hard. It's just obnoxious because lights don't work the same way. The sun, it turns out, is really really bright.
On the other hand, without really huge lights at night it's impossible to really get exposure.
So you need to do about ten million tricks just to get things to look like they're night. You have to make flashes of firearms light up around them, which is a fancy bit of compositing. Lens flare, sky replacement, they all come into play.
I'm really glad I didn't have to do it! ;-)
Ian Hubert. The man is a genius. Check out Karma Pirates.