Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dave Daniels Talk

Tuesday night this week (25/04/06) went to see Tandem colleague Dave Daniels give a talk at the Curzon Cinema in soho. The Adobe hosted 'Inspired Media Event' was well attended by a genuinely appreciative crowd. Dave illustrated his talk with a graphical slideshow - a nice touch, and there was abundant movie material, some I hadn't seen before. Dave makes a lot of short films; often abstract; always experimental and much of the time exploring the interaction of music and image. Some examples of Dave Daniels work can be seen on the Tandem website (click on Directors)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Get Meshed

Trying to get some funding for your next animated short? The Channel Four Mesh Scheme is open for entries again. Submission dealine for proposals is 22nd September 2006.

Too Short

Back to nightshift work on the short. I've just spotted the upcoming Rushes Soho Shorts Festival; also just noticed the 5th May submission deadline for entries! Is this movie going to make it? It'd be very nice to get this film out and hopefully get it picked up for some screenings.
I'm mostly happy with the picture now, but the soundtrack needs work. Here's the problem... the soundtrack is a piece of music I composed using Cubasis VST 4.0 around three years ago. Since then I've changed my PC and now also moved house. I now can't find the Cubasis cd-rom!
So I've got old cubasis files (.all format) that I need to get into to modify the track to fit the picture... Cubasis seems to be obsolete now according to the Steinberg website and I've no idea whether my Cubasis VST 4.0 files would be usable in any current version of Cubase. Any ideas/suggestions would certainly be most welcome.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Moved In

Spent this weekend moving house. From one bit of London suburbia to another not very far away. All those who know us better watch out for change of address info coming soon...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Taking Random to the Movies

I'm ploughing on to finish the short film 'Evo' soon, and needless to say, new ideas keep coming along when I'm least able to act upon them. Moving house this week will doubtless contribute to furthering this frustration erm... further.

One idea I'm toying with takes the randomly generated text of Poematic into the realm of movie-making. I.e. some kind of code that generates movie scripts and draws on a bank of picture and audio elements to make a pseudo-narrative film that really is different every time. It's probably animation again, because this allows for more dynamically created elements etc. No matter how great the code is, the result will be surreal and disjointed... I quite like the idea of using familiar trappings of the thriller genre as the components for this.

Working title for this project "Unique" ... a tagline already too "the new film every time film"
Is it a goer?

Friday, March 31, 2006

The No.3 Chris Gavin In The World

If you Google search on 'Chris Gavin', this site gets the number 3 ranking. One day I'll be the Chris Gavin king of all the Chris Gavins...

Test Screenings

I've been showing the short film 'evo' (still work in progress) to a few colleagues at Tandem Films recently. It's interesting to get some fresh eyes looking at something I've been working on in isolation for well over a year now. I've had a few valuable comments/suggestions that I'll try and absorb into the production. Thanks anyone who has offered help and advice... you know who you are...

Monday, March 20, 2006

What's Goin' On?

Keen-eyed visitors to will spot that after a splurge of activity updating the 'poematic' section with movies etc, activity seems to have now abated somewhat. The day job at Tandem Films has taken over again, with my fifth directing job for Sky TV! It's been promos up to now, but this job is more in the graphics area.
Of course work on my short film (now titled 'Evo') should have taken a bashing, but I've rather been spurred on to get this thing finished. The picture is now just a tad over two minutes, with no rough artwork anymore. It's almost at the stage at which I'll have another pass adding elements here and there, possibly for around the next month or two. On completion of the picture I'll have to dig back into my archives to fix the music, then think about a possible effects track too.
Still too early to call this thing done, but it feels like it's into the last push...

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Poem Generator Just Got Better

I've made a couple more tweaks to the 'Poematic' ActionScript.
Now you can't get double adverbs (i.e. one before and one after the verb) as was previously the case.

I've also added a new group of words - the connectives. Now, sentences can start with a connective word (e.g. but, however, although, while, meanwhile, instead, and, or, for, suddenly, as, like etc.) These seem to give the randomized poetry a bit more flow; slightly less 'choppy' than before.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Press Green for Kinoautomat

Thursday night (16/02/06) went to the NFT to see 'Kinoautomat, One Man and His House'.
It's a revitalisation of the Czech film made in 1967 (dir. Radúz Činčera).
Truly a fascinating thing, because it's an interactive movie, and billed as the first one ever. The film stops at certain points and the cinema audience votes on the next course of action for the narrative to follow. More details can be found at the Kinoautomat website. I was really up for this, and nice to see art college mate Tom Hillenbrand acting as host/compere for the night.

Got to thinking that I've had quite a few experiences with these branching narratives in various forms already; teenhood 'adventure' novels; early text-based computer games and the games at the Siggraph 'Electric Cinema' come to mind. I even tried creating a branching HTML narrative of sorts on the first incarnation of my website 'Tall Story Hotel' circa '97. The idea of modular, self-generating or random story devices has been kicking around in the things I'm keen on for quite a while now.

KinoAutomat shows that participating in an interactive movie can be engaging as a live and communal cinema experience. Astonishingly ahead of its time; the technologies of DVD and the web make it technically easier to create and deliver work in this field nowadays. I guess that once digital projection is more common in cinemas, there'll be much more of this to come...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coding Again

I've just updated the 'Poematic' code again.

The ActionScript now chooses whether to deliver a truly random poem or a pre-written text selected from variables stored within the code. The library is currently pretty small, so repetitions occur all too frequently.

Either way, random or pre-written, the text is dynamically converted into word tiles then automatically laid out on the page.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Random or Written?

Woah, apologies for throwing 'poetry' at you there without any warning messages...

I'm planning to update the 'Poematic' feature of this site slightly. To make for more variety, I'm planning to randomly plant pre-scripted texts in amongst the randomly generated ones. Phase one of this has just been implemented... The Poematic feature now dynamically generates a page of 'fridge magnet word tiles' (henceforth FMWTs) from a single variable within the ActionScript code. This seems to work OK.

The next phase will be to build a small library of texts (yikes, more poetry!) then re-instate the random poetry generator too. On a random basis the visitor to the site will either be confronted by a digital poem or a humanly generated one. Clicking on any word will probably take the visitor to further digitally created texts. Maybe later, keywords that I've bothered to write accompanying text for will trigger the apropriate pre-scripted work.

For the forseeable future the pre-scripted texts will be variables embedded in the action script code, but I'd be keen to learn how these might be stored as text files server-side; the ultimate aim being to allow site visitors to contribute words or texts to the library for generating the FMWTs.

Ultimately, the goal would be a whole bunch of dynamically-created / partially random, partially hand-made web pages endlessly interlinked with each other for a truly non-linear user experience.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I've finally made it onto Tandem Films list of represented directors, go to click on the 'Directors' area and I'm there, 'Chris Gavin' near the bottom but there nonetheless... Hopefully there'll be more of this to come!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Video: 'Back From La Bourgogne'

Click on this image to view the QuickTime (0.23MB)
A family trip to visit friends over new year. On the journey back I took some stills from the car.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas 2005

This year's Christmas card. Design and Flash artworking by Freya (aged 5)
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Video: 'M25 Timelapse Test'

Click on this image to view the QuickTime (0.6MB)
I'm keen to use my DSLR camera for the purpose of making some hi-res timelapse films. Here's an early test showing classic 'traffic trails'. I set the shutter to about 2 seconds, then fired off the shots using the continuous shooting mode, i.e. by holding the shutter release button down.

It's early days, and some kind of cable or timer release device for the camera would be preferable. There is a timer remote from Canon available (Canon TC-80N3) though I understand this would need to be modified to fit my Canon 350d camera. I'm exploring options available at the moment but would welcome any comment or advice from readers with experience in this area...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Vids on the Blog

Click on this image to view the QuickTime (0.15MB)
Well here goes. I've finally figured out how to add movie files to this blog. The above image is clickable and should trigger a short QuickTime movie. I've implemented this after finding some fantastic advice about adding video clips into the Blogger template.
Big thanks to Svein Høier and Jon Hoem (Arts and Media Dept., Norwegian University of Science and Technology)for putting their tutorial online.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Photo: 'Timelapse Test 005'

I finally got the chance to take the new camera out to shoot some timelapse footage this evening. The still here is from a test sequence of fast-moving traffic shot with long exposures.

I'm using a Canon 350d; it's got fully manual exposure settings and can capture repeatedly when the button is held down. I found shutter speeds in the range 1-2 seconds give a nice motion trail but allow a high enough frame rate for coherent motion from one frame to the next.

When comping the stills back into a movie, setting the speed at 2 frames per image with frame blending enabled worked very nicely. (i.e. on twos with mixes).

If I'm going to do any more more of this, I'd definitely like a remote shutter release switch. Ultimately a timelapse controller for this camera would be nice too!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Photo: 'Laser Lounge'

In the name of research I've been staying up late taking long-exposure photos of laser beams, how 21st century is that?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Little Less Action

Not a lot of blog-action recently hey?
Was directing a very low-budget and inevitably fast-turnaround ad piece for Sky Active channel so my 'day job' at Tandem became an 'evenings also' job too for a week.
That finished, then been away with family in Cornwall for half a week. So not much progress on the movie thus not much to blog about really.
Had a couple more ideas to put into the short film, hopefully I'll be posting some more once I get a chance to work these through.