Here's what that 8mm film developing spiral might look like.. .should somebody try to CAD model it in Geomagic Design.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Well, let's say it's a very select group who have discovered my typographic web series The Futura Gold. Fortunately, amongst the people who have found it, were the team who put together L'Oeil de Links; a rather special TV show about web creativity shown in France on the CANAL+ channel.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Jeff Tinard the scheduler for the show, asking if they could broadcast my films and record a Skype interview with me. The resulting programme was broadcast yesterday and I'm pleased there's already an online record of the show on the CANAL+ website. The clip above gives an excellent introduction to the history of the Futura typeface, then follows with Episodes 02 and 03 of The Futura Gold complete with an interview with the director. Hmm, is that really me grinning like a madman through all this?
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Well on Adobe chat today this was how that bit went...
Adobe spokesperson: We understand your concern. We want to make sure that we are giving our Customers the best products and at the right price. Although Adobe Europe and Adobe US are different parts of the same global company, European Marketing strategies and pricing are not directly related to those used for the US. The prices are not simply converted from the dollar pricing used for US products, therefore the pricing used for each country in the EMEA region may vary.
And there's more... oh yes, a lot more ...
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Folks seem to use Russian Lomo spiral tanks to do this, but I can't quite bring myself to send lots of good money away to buy a hunk of soviet-era bakelite from ebay. I'm guessing that many of the available tanks will be broken or have bits missing by now.
So what about designing the vector graphics for a new spiral and having it made from plastic? I would think this could be a job for a laser cutting or 3D printing service.
It might look something like this...
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
|camera Sumix 150M, c-mount Fujinon TV zoom lens f1.8 17.5-105mm|
|The camera is tethered to the PC by USB, so only able to take pictures of things nearby!|
camera Sumix 150M, c-mount 50mm lens with extension tubes.
|With a few extension tubes, macro photography becomes possible.|
|Some desktop clutter, surprisingly sharp.|
|Using rulers to show scale here.|
|And in we go until our image is 5mm wide.|
|An actual super8 frame.|
|Another actual super8 frame.|
Sunday, April 21, 2013
However, when I get a little spare time I'm going to try some of this in my Super8 camera.
It's 50 feet of black and white negative film. I'm hoping to try out some DIY film processing and figured that this BW negative would be the easiest type of film to start with. Processing is similar to BW neg. stills film, with affordable chemistry at room temperature. I'm also very intrigued with the idea of 'Caffenol C' processing... Yep, that's film developer made from coffee!
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
A stop motion animator is moving something on set by 25mm for each frame taken to create movement at a steady speed. Over the next 20 frames he wishes the movement to decelerate smoothly until a rate of 10mm per increment is achieved.
Calculate the distance the object is to be moved for each of the 20 inbetween increment positions to achieve a smooth deceleration.
Well, it's taken me a few hours over this Bank Holiday weekend, but I think I've worked out the solution for this in time for tomorrow's shoot. I've drawn on some school maths and a few Excel spreadsheet tutorials, but I've knocked up a calculator that can figure this out. i.e. Calculate the in-beteweens and print out charts (to scale) for the animator to use as fairing rulers on set. The sine wave based equation I've developed, spits out these figures for the increments.
Maybe this graph looks pretty, but it wont help the animator too much...
I've then added another column to the spreadsheet to aggregate these figures and give the actual (cumulative) measurements in mm.
I eventually found that Excel's 'Scatter Graph' could be formatted to give something like a useful chart, which when printed to the correct scale can be used on-set as a useful ruler.
So this is very basic stuff for anyone involved in the science of Motion Control, but I offer it here in the hope this might come in handy for anyone (like me) needing to work this out for themselves.
Oh, and the answer to the question is...
25, 24.9, 24.6, 24.2, 23.6, 22.8,21.9, 20.9, 19.8, 18.7, 17.5, 16.3, 15.2, 14.1, 13.1, 12.2, 11.4, 10.8, 10.4, 10.1, 10.0 (mm)
Saturday, March 23, 2013
|Click on this to see the whole 4824x2714 image. Photos circa 1977 ©Michael Gavin|
I've borrowed some of my dad's Ektachrome slides (circa 1977) and been re-photographing them with using a Canon DSLR camera. I'm using an A3 sized lightbox and a borrowed Kaiser rostrum stand to do this.
To get clear photos of each slide, I've been using an old 50mm f1.8 Pentacon M42 fit lens and one short macro extension tube. (I'm guessing this very same lens was used to take some of these pictures too.) With this arrangement, each 35mm slide image can mostly fill the frame of the Canon 600D (1.6x crop-sensor) DSLR. I've been copying each slide as a Raw file, allowing a little bit of colour and exposure tweaking; I've also been Photoshopping out a few dust spots and hairs from the slides along the way.
This seems like quite a quick solution for capturing the images from slides, but I'd still like to try some tests with my scanner's film adaptor for comparison.
|Photo of me circa 1977 ©Michael Gavin|
Thursday, March 07, 2013
+++ UPDATE 08/03/13 +++
After a day or so, I can say that having this film selected by Vimeo has come as a very nice surprise. Although the film has been online for three years with only a trickle of views, it suddenly spiked to around 12000 views in the 24 hours following the selection. The film has received a good few hundred Vimeo 'likes' and 'followings' too. Many thanks to all those who've supported the film and helped 'spread the word' by adding it to their blogs and sites etc.
Oh, you've seen the film ... now buy the T-shirts!
Sunday, March 03, 2013
Yep, those spiders made out of book pages, don't they look a bit like the ones I made and animated for the 'Little Hands Clapping' promo film I created for Canongate Books back in 2011?
You can watch my 2011 Little Hands Clapping film for Canongate here if you like.
I like to think I made my little paper spiders with some ingenuity. Here's how I went about creating them and getting them to move...
1: I first drew a short cycle of Flash animation to create a guide animation to figure out the legs moving correctly. I worked out that a walk cycle could be made using nine different poses of the spider.
2: I imported the guide animation into After Effects and used the Path Text to get the writing to run along along the legs (I used passages from Dan Rhodes novel of course).
3: I printed out my sequence of spiders onto thin card.
4: I cut out the printed spiders and folded them a bit to get a more 3D design.
5: I shot the stop-motion animation of my paper spiders using a replacement animation technique to get the scuttling action. I figured that it would be easier to replace the whole spider model each frame rather than trying to bend and shape eight fiddly little paper spider legs! I shot all of the animation using StopMotionPro software and found the previewing features invaluable for positioning the replacements accurately.
It's entirely possible that the artists, photographer and publishing staff working on 'This Book is Full Of Spiders...' never saw my Little Hands Clapping film. Even if they did, I think that people who design and make things for a living are to some extent often drawing on things they may have seen before. My 'Little Hands Clapping' film certainly has a rather Tim Burton-esque vibe to it; this wasn't a concious lift on my part; it just seemed to result from the black humour of the subject matter and the stop-frame aesthetic. Maybe we all tend to see things and add bits of what we've seen into our own ideas and work.
I made another book trailer film for Canongate in 2011. 'Our Tragic Universe' was a very different kind of novel. I really enjoyed making these book trailer films and would certainly welcome the chance to make more in the future.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Anyone who uses super 8 film these days, might still be reeling from Kodak's double-edged announcement in December 2012. On the same day Kodak announced a NEW super 8 stock would become available (Vision 3 50T negative film); but also that their existing Ektachrome 100D would be withdrawn.
This is a really big deal for people using the format. 100D was the last colour reversal film from Kodak, so now only colour negative films are on offer. This is the end (at least from Kodak) of positive film that can be watched on a projector once processed. It probably doesn't bode well for Straight 8 and similar 'single cartridge' and 8mm festivals either. Undoubtedly colour reversal in super 8 format is the gateway stock (i.e. the cheapest and easiest to process and use) for anybody wanting to try and shoot some real film. It should also be mentioned that all existing cine cameras are rated to work with 100D speed film; very few are rated to work with the film speeds in the Kodak negative range.
Like it or not, anyone who wishes to buy Kodak film from now on will be buying negative film stock. For me, this is new territory, I'll need to find out how my camera might work with this stock. Also, processing and telecine options are greatly reduced too. In short, thanks to Kodak, super 8 just got a whole lot more difficult and inevitably more expensive to use.
There are apparently some advantages to negative film, we should expect better latitude, smaller grain and maybe even sharper pictures; the Vision 3 stock is the very same film used on professional motion picture production in the larger formats. For those willing to persevere (and spend more) there could be image quality benefits to be had.
I've just bought some Kodak 200T negative stock, and I'll try it out, maybe I'll try the new 50T too (when it becomes available here in the UK) but I can't help thinking that this change will on the whole reduce the user-base for super 8 film.
I'm thinking long and hard about the price implications of buying, processing and scanning film. I think this announcement will further hasten the demise of the format, so maybe it's time to enjoy using it while we still can.
What to do? I looked around online for some inspiration, then I found this...
I think this looks pretty sweet... Seems like we have fewer choices now, but just maybe there could be an upside to this negative...
I've revised the 3D design of my 6 tooth super 8 film sprocket wheel slightly, and had a pair of these new ones printed at Shapeways.com
I reduced the size of the sprocket teeth this time and ordered 'fine detail white plastic'. Here's the result, and this time, the teeth do seem to mesh with a piece of film. Encouraged by this, I've just sent away my design for a 20 tooth sprocket...
Monday, February 18, 2013
Over the last couple of years I've been shooting super 8 film around my home town; the North London suburb of Enfield. I was greatly inspired by the 1960s-1980s travelogue films of Harold Baim and it seemed fitting to use real cine film to get this sun-tinted, picture postcard look.
Tech Notes: This film was shot on Kodak 100D reversal super 8 film. I shot five rolls between 2011 and 2013. This was shot on my Nizo 156XL camera using a Panasonic LA7200 anamorphic lens adaptor to achieve the 16x9 footage. The film was sent to Andec Filmtechnik in Berlin for processing then to 18-frames.com for cine to data HD transfer.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Now these are tiny, the hole in the centre of these is only 2mm in diameter, so you get some idea of just how tiny these are. I wanted to test the process with something small. Well I'm pretty impressed these came back, with all the features intact; maybe without the sharpness in definition I had hoped for. There 's no sign of the layering effect one sometimes sees in 3D prints, but there is a 'grainy' or slightly 'powdery' feel to these; they aren't smooth to the touch.
It remains to be seen whether my design and the manufacturing are fit for the intended purpose...
LATEST NEWS 16/02/13+++
Ok, these just don't seem to engage the film sprocket holes at all. It seems the 3D printed sprockets are just too big and fat to fit in the holes... However, I've just noticed that Shapeways offer a 'fine detail' plastic material that's 'slightly shiny'; that sound more like what I'm after. I think I'll redesign a bit on 123D Design and send off another print job soon.
On October 26th last year I posted the first of the Futura Gold films to YouTube. The first episode (seen here) has just hit 3000 views. The subsequent two films, nothing like so many.
Releasing some work in a series was something of an experiment really, just to see if this idea might gain some momentum. The curve isn't really heading the way I'd hoped, so I'm taking a little time off this project. I'll work on a few other things and take stock for a while.
This isn't to say there won't be any more; just don't be expecting another one soon...
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Well, there it is! This evening I designed this small sprocket wheel in Autodesk 123D Design, a free and very basic solid modelling application, available here.
Why did I choose to make this for my first foray into the future of manufacturing? Well, it's small, simple and if it works could become a little cog (quite literally) in my ongoing DIY film scanning endeavour. That's if it comes back and engages the film properly. I've referenced the SMPTE super 8 dimensions, so I've got to hope it will. I'm keen to see if this method of design/manufacture will enable me to make the small pieces for this project with anything like the required precision.
I've sent this off to Shapeways.com who knows what I'll get back in 10 days time, stay posted...
Sunday, February 10, 2013
I've found in these drives some tiny stepper motors that might be useful for one of my ongoing projects; also some ready-made linear slider mechanisms that look pretty useful too. Unfortunately I've not been able to drive these motors yet with my Stepper Bee (USB motor controller card). It seems like these little 5 volt motors are bipolar rather than unipolar motors, so I'll probably have to buy another card to control these from the PC. I'll maybe blog a bit more about this stuff if it looks like it's going anywhere. Quite apart from their functionality though, some of these pieces actually look quite pretty...
Over the past few years I've been using a single stepper motor (from an old scanner) as a very basic motion control system for rotating objects under the camera. With a stepper motor controlled by the computer, it's possible to get really precise turnarounds of small objects and models, and I've used this technique quite a lot in my film-making work. For example, the rotation of the Simon's Cat Earrings was shot this way, as were many elements for the Canongate Book trailer films I made in 2011.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
I've just completed work on another video for Simon's Cat Ltd. Making Simon's Cat: Earrings went on line today on the Simon's Cat Extra channel. This is a short 'behind the scenes' style film showing the production of some rather special silver Simon's cat earrings.
The film follows the story of the manufacturing process from initial design, through sculpting and casting and on to the final checking and presentation of the final product. It's notable that these earrings are hand-made and cast from silver, all in the UK. The earrings along with other Simon's Cat products can be purchased online at the official webshop.
For this film the manufacturing footage was all shot by the jewellery designer Christopher Milton Stevens. The film features Simon Tofield and Laura Nailor and music is from Sam Clunie at stockmusicsite.com
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Here's the latest episode of The Futura Gold. This is my new typographic animation series in which all the characters and backgrounds are made from the letters, numbers and symbols of the Futura typeface. If you like this stuff, you might like to head over to the TheFuturaGold facebook and twitter pages too.
Friday, January 04, 2013
To the students from this workshop and the staff of the University too for making my stay both enjoyable and inspirational... Grazie mille!