Friday, December 18, 2009

Real-Time Mash-up Experience

Get the real-time french/jazz experience like this.
Open two tabs or two browsers simultaneously then hit up the following two links...

in one run this
in the other run this

MMM nicely random.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Gadding About

Lot's of going out to interesting things this week. After all these years living in London I finally seem to be making the most of it!

Last Sunday took the family to a screening of Henry Selick's 'Coraline' at the Mayfair Hotel (with thanks to Focus Features for that), then Monday started a couple of weeks stint in Soho doing compositing working for Not To Scale. My first proper work out of TANDEM in the last 8 or so years!

Wednesday turned out to be a rather spontaneous jazz and pizza night, then Friday to the Design Museum in Butler's Wharf for the 'Sparkle The Dark Up Event'. Lots of animators, art installations and old friends too. The Design Museum was also hosting an exhibition of Braun product design, lots of very cool German gadgetry, notably lots of hifi and cine gear from the 60s/70s. There were of course several Braun Nizo super 8 cameras on display, I've got a couple of these; great styling is pretty ageless even if the formats and technologies come and go.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blogging Out & About

Blogging live and direct from the Bristol Encounters Festival... from a PC in a bar. This is the future my friends...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going West

Off to the Bristol Encounters Short Film Festival tomorrow Friday 20th Nov. (very early!) to see TXT ISLAND play in the 'Best of British 2' screening.
Details here

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I'm a Mish Mash Finalist!

The short film I made for the Getty Images 'MishMash' competition has been selected as a finalist! It's now up against four other UK entries for the prize... winner to be announced on November 18th.
See the announcement online here and watch and vote for my film here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Simon's Cat the Documentary

Whilst working at TANDEM recently I was asked to organize the production of some video material to create an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) about TANDEM colleague Simon Tofield (creator of the Simon's Cat films and now books too).
We shot interview footage of Simon, then gathered some supporting footage of him at work creating the images and sounds for the films. I cut together this footage to make this short 3:30 documentary about Simon and his creative process. It's now been uploaded onto YouTube by Hachette Book Group, (US publisher of the Simon's Cat books.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009


For the last couple of weeks my night-time production sessions have been devoted to getting an entry in for the Getty Images 'Mish Mash' competition. The brief was to mash together a 1-3 minute music video using tracks, photos and footage from the Getty library. My effort entitled 'Mashmatik' can be seen on the Getty competition website here.
All entries can be viewed and of course rated by the highly discerning on-line audience ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another Showbiz Festival Party!

Your showbiz party correspondent has just come back from his second glamorous film festival launch party in just as many weeks. A Couple of weeks ago it was the launch party for Onedotzero over in Shoreditch, tonight it was the Bristol Encounters Short Film Festival party at the Channel Four HQ over in Horseferry Road SW1.
(Both festivals have taken on TXT ISLAND thus the invites to the parties.)

I can report that tonight's event was rather more appealing... No loud music (I'm getting old!), the chance to actually meet a few people and talk to them, a screening of some great shorts, some nibbles (including miniaturized cheeseburgers) and even a goody bag with some DVDs in.

The Festival programme is now up, details of the 'Best of British #2'screening (including TXT ISLAND of course) can be found here.
I'm thinking maybe I should go to see the festival in November!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

TXT To Go To Holland

The TXT ISLAND international tour continues... The film has been selected in Competition at the Holland Animation Festival (HAFF) 4th-8th November 2009.

Second Born

Well, after being one of the 3 finalists in this year's Rushes Soho Shorts film festival, TXT ISLAND has faired slightly better at the Danish 'BornShorts' festival by being announced as 'Runner-up' in the animation category.
So I made it into the last two this time!

Check out the BornShorts winners (and runners-up!) here.

Directed a Guardian Ad

I don't usually blog here about my dayjob at TANDEM (most of my work there gets an airing on the TANDEM blog anyway) but over the last 2 weeks at TANDEM I directed another commercial. This 10-seconder was made for agency Wieden+Kennedy to promote this weekend's Guardian and Observer guides to drawing and painting. The ad is now running on UK television, the newspapers go on sale this weekend.

See the finished commercial here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Down By The River

I journeyed into the centre of town on Sunday to go see TXT ISLAND playing at the BFI Cinema 1 on the South Bank. My short-film showed as part of the Onedotzero festival in a varied programme called 'Craftwork 09'; the theme of which was film work inspired by a 'hand-made' aesthetic.

Nice to meet the 1.0 folks (thanks Jo and Shane etc.) and enjoy the hospitality of their Green Room ;) they also rather rashly let me take the mic at the Q&A session before the screening and even videotaped some of my ramblings afterwards!
Having been thoroughly 'documented' I headed back over the river and found myself amongst the revellers of the Thames River Festival.

My gosh, on a nice evening with things going on London is one spectacular city.

I'm finally starting to enjoy this rather shoddily constructed Canon 350d camera I've had for some years now.

800 ASA, and at one with the manual controls I can even take pictures at night!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Open To Offers

Well then,

Apparently today 09/09/09 is the 'World Day of Interconnectedness' and 'The Recession is officially over!'

As of 4 weeks from now 12/10/09 I'm officially a freelancer again and looking for gainful employment. Any offers most welcome!

Monday, August 31, 2009

TXT @ the NFT for 1.0

TXT ISLAND will be shown next week at the NFT Cinema on London's Southbank as part of the upcoming Onedotzero Festival. A festival preview clip can be seen here. As well as a couple of screenings throughout the week (wed 9th sept & sun 13th sept) as part of the 'Craftwork 09' programme, the film may get some further international screenings by way of Onedotzero's touring programmes.

P.S. Thought I'd better add a TXT ISLAND page to the website. So back into Flash; and though it's been a couple of years I've added a new TXT ISLAND button and accompanying page.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Born On The 28th of August

TXT ISLAND will get it's first international screening (and in competition too!) at the 'BornShorts' Festival at the end of this month. Bornholm Island off the coast of Denmark hosts the festival, TXT ISLAND will screen during the Animation show at the Scala Cinema on Friday the 28th August.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

An 8mm Journey

Well, it's 2 months after our wedding and the Super8 film from the day is finally back in the country. The film has been on a long journey but here are the nerdy details...

My friend Ellis borrows my Nizo S800 camera on the day and shoots one roll of Kodak 64T Super 8 film. I send this to Bart at Blue Cine Tech here in London and he sends it on to Andec Filmtechnik in Berlin for processing. I get the film back by post then send it (with a USB memory stick) over to Uppsala Bildteknik in Sweden. Uppsala Bildteknik telecine the film using the FlashScan HD machine and return the film reel and the memory stick with one big Quicktime file. I then do a bit of AE noodling with some mild de-graining and levels settings.

Et Voila! Here are a couple of still frames from that very movie...

For the very curious, I might well follow this up with a post about the telecine service used.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Big Brother, No One Is Watching You!

I notice with some ranting smugness that nobody is watching Big Brother at all this year.

A long time back, Channel Four had built itself a hard-won reputation for edgy, innovative and unpredictable programming; they even used to fund lots and lots of film and animation production. Yet witness the endless freak-show of wife-swapping makeover reality programming they carry these days.

Well, it seems the game's well and truly up now. Lets hope there's anyone left at Channel Four HQ with some new ideas they're going to need something to fill that rather large void...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Awards Night Report

Well a fab night out with some TANDEM friends at the Rushes Soho Shorts Awards night last Thursday (July 30th). This year, the event was at the Curzon Cinema, a much classier event than on previous occasions; the change of venue being a definite plus. It was great to get an invite as a finalist director. 'TXT ISLAND' was up against two other animated shorts, 'This Way Up' and 'This is Where We Live'.

After the jury deliberated (and probably cogitated too) they chose 'This Way Up' as the winner. Well done to Smith and Foulkes, congrats to all the folks at Nexus.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Not a whole lotta blogging for a while eh? Some good news today though, TXT ISLAND will be showing at the onedotzero festival at the BFI cinema here in London in September, with international tour dates to possibly follow.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Foam Sweet Foam

I'm making a few models out of foam board and other bits and pieces. Maybe these will become the sets for another stop motion film, maybe not; fun to do anyhow...

TXT ISLAND : The Trailer

TXT ISLAND seems to be getting some nice responses out there. I've just re-cut the trailer to refer to the film's YouTube home over on the Tandem Channel.

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's Official!

The news embargo is now lifted; My short film "TXT ISLAND" has been selected for the 2009 Rushes Soho Shorts Festival.
Also, tonight (June 1st 7:00pm) we're off to the "Short & Sweet" short film evening at cafe 1001, Brick Lane to see it play there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

TXT ISLAND : Featured by Shots

My short film 'TXT Island' is the front page item on Shots magazine website. For a treat this bank holiday weekend only, you can go over there to see the whole film!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TXT ISLAND : The Trailer

I know it's a little bit indulgent to make a trailer for a film that's only three and a half minutes long anyway, but I couldn't resist it, could I? Click here to see the TXT Island trailer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The A to Z of TXT Island

Here's a still of the plastic alphabet I used to make the film. I've got some titles and maybe another project in mind for these...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

'TXT Island' wraps !!!

TXT Island is finished !!! TXT Island is my stop-motion animated short film featuring animated letterforms; it's made using those plastic pegboard signage panels you sometimes see in bars and cafes etc. The film is currently featured on the news page over at There are a few stills and an extract of the film viewable there.
This blog will be updated with further news about the release as it happens...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nizo 4080 in Camera Hospital

This week on camera hospital, take a look at this fella... That's right, it's another German Braun Nizo, a younger one this time and would ya look at that gorgeous black coat... But he came in to the hospital with a dodgy trigger and couldn't run anymore... We had to operate...

Well, it was touch and go for a while, and to be frank there were bits all over the place, but it's good news. He's back together again and whirring like a contented puppy... bet he can't wait to go out and play...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sensors And Sensitivity

Working late in the lab again! I'm trying to detect the film sprocket holes for my DIY cine film scanning project and in the process finding out quite a lot about photo-transistors. The plan is to mount one of these into my film transport mechanism to give feedback to the stepper motor. With some great support from Archie over at I've made a little circuit to test the sensors and measure the high and low voltages they give.

By placing a bit of card or some white super8 film leader next to the sensors I had the circuit tuned quite well (using the salvaged Epson printer proximity sensor) to the point where I thought this to be a viable route... However, tests with actual film strips gave a very curious result... Though seemingly black to the naked eye, movie film seems to have little or no opacity when seen by the phototransistor.
Realising that the Epson photo diode/phototransistor device uses infrared light, I thought I'd take a look an infrared look at some movie film with my miniDV camera in nightshot mode...

Bingo! The cine film is pretty much transparent under IR lighting. There's no way an IR photosensor will detect the sprocket holes when the film base itself is rendered almost completely transparent. I'll be looking at sensors in the visible light range next...
(Also of interest here, notice how the film looks so scratched under IR lighting; some film scanners use just such an IR pass to enable infrared cleaning of scanned images.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

DIY Film Scanner : One Small Step

This grey and blue thing might not look like much, but it's my very first Windows application! The StepForward and StepBackward buttons tell my StepperBee card to move the stepper motor forwards and backwards. A strip of Super8 film sitting in my DIY film transport moves accordingly... Up until now, I've always been sending instructions to the StepperBee using the controller application that came with the board, so this represents a fairly dramatic development. For a long time I've wanted to make things and control them from the PC, so this is a real first.

To produce this exciting code, I downloaded Microsoft VisualBasic 2008 Express Edition, then pasted in the code found at the StepperBee website.

Unfortunately the middle 'Snapshot' button doesn't do anything yet. Triggering the Sumix camera and saving the images was something I hoped to do within the Sumix camera application, but this doesn't seem to be possible. I think the camera will have to be triggered by my application somehow, and I suspect that a whole other can of worms lies therein.

Next up also I need to find out more about the optical proximity sensor I've recovered from an old Epson printer... can this be hooked up to one of the StepperBee's input channels and if so, how accurately might it pick up on the tiny film sprocket holes? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Up To The Wire...

Up late again... Still trying to finish the short film 'TXT Island' hopefully JUST in time for submission to the
Rushes Soho Shorts Festival 2009. 2 days time now... Russell over at Shrooty is taking care of the music/sound and doing sterling work too. A few wee picture fixes, a few more renders, then the submission DVD could just make the closing date...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The DIY Film Scanner Adventure Continues...

Here's The Sumix camera in DIY cine scanner mode. The lightbox and big tripod are rather cumbersome but temporary necessities. The stepper motor here does advance the film, but unfortunately a random amount each time! Still, both stepper motor and camera are under USB control from the PC. A milestone of sorts but redesign of film transport needed.

Another Super8 Frame Sumix Capture

Another early 90s Super8 cine frame. I've got a stepper motor advancing the film under the camera now, but the drive is uneven, so not much use yet for any automated capturing. Making a film advance mechanism is proving to be a VERY demanding task indeed!

This image is captured at 1280x1024 using Sumix 150M monochrome camera with macro lens tubes, Super8 film backlit by lightbox. Some DeNoise and Levels applied in After Effects.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Super8 Frame Sumix Capture

Above is one of the Super8 frames (seen in previous post) imaged by the monochrome Sumix 150M camera. The 35mm lens with 60mm worth of extension tubes lets the image fill the frame. The end of lens is about 30mm away from the subject; again this is shot on lightbox. Some Photoshop de-noise and levels applied.

Until I try combining three RGB filtered images or buy a colour USB camera like this one here... maybe I'll just have to colour these in by hand :)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Macro Super8 Rephotography

I'm back scratching the 8mm itch again... This still taken with canon350d, standard 18-55mm kit lens and Raynox macro adaptor attached. Super8 film strip is backlit by lightbox and held flat with edge of plastic ruler (note the millimetre markings).

These frames happen to be some peacenik badges on a stall at the Beverley Rainbow festival, Humberside circa 1990.

Friday, March 27, 2009

TXT ISLAND is almost here

The picture is almost ready for my new short film 'TXT Island'. I'm hoping to finish this in time for the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival deadline, but that's the 23rd April, only about three weeks from now! It'd be nice to make it; I recall using the deadline for the 1996 Soho Shorts festival as a self-imposed target to finish work on 'Evo'... was that really 3 years ago?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cardboard Engineering

Messing about with bits of card to make some kind of geodesic structure...

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Just seen this music promo for Röyksopp's 'Happy Up Here'. The director is Reuben Sutherland; I've been watching anything he does for a while now, somewhat in awe...

Happy Up Here from Röyksopp on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Move Along, There's Nothing To See

Did anyone spot this little change to the UK law introduced earlier this week? Seems like it's just become that bit more illegal for citizens to take photos in public places. If the photos include pictures of the police, the photographer can be arrested under anti-terror laws!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two-Faced Turnaround

I know, I know... after several years of derision I really did join FaceBook this weekend...