The Glamsmash boys on set with Einstein, star of client Best Pet Rx Pharmacy’s two new “how to” videos! A really cute dog ALWAYS makes a shoot so much fun.
Hello all. Here we go with Blog #2. If you recall, last week we had Austin’s blog about the various goings-on of pop culture, mentioning bands, movies, TV, and the like, but I’m going to focus a little more on some technical aspects of what we do and what we like (or don’t like). So I figured that the first thing to write about would be a topic that I believe splits the filmmaking and film loving community right down the middle. 3-D.
For several years now, we’ve seen 3-D make quite the comeback, and it seems that almost every movie released has the option to view in 3-D. The cynic in me feels that this seems to be, more or less, a studio funded endeavor that gives them and movie theaters an opportunity to charge more money per ticket and in some cases rerelease movies specifically for viewing in the third dimension (I’m looking at you, George Lucas. Just stop it already!). So, where do I stand on this split? Well, that’s a hard thing to nail down. When I went to see The Avengers recently, I opted to see it in 2-D, and I feel I was able to enjoy the entire experience more. I felt there was no reason for the 3-D in this story other than “that’s what is expected of big summer blockbusters these days.” But when it comes to something like A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas or My Bloody Valentine 3D, I would strap on those glasses in a heartbeat. Those movies, while not exactly Oscar worthy, knew exactly what they were and what they were going for. They used 3-D as a way of adding to the experience. It’s the difference of having fun with the technology presented and tacking it on for the sake of money (Aren’t you rich enough, Lucas?).
Personally, I’m not very fond of current 3-D for one reason in particular. The glasses. With tech the way it is today, putting on those glasses to achieve 3-D does one thing that completely ruins a movie for me: Darkens the screen and degrades the image quality. Being an independent filmmaker, starting from nothing and with no money, my goal thus far as a cinematographer has been all about improving the image quality by any means necessary. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to RED cameras, or actual film cameras, so every time we make a film, it is a lesson in creativity to take what we have and attempt to transform it into something greater. That has been my focus for the past couple of years on the technical side of filmmaking. So when you add in a feature that degrades that, that forces you to take a step backward, to sacrifice the hard work of some DP or cinematographer, I have a hard time getting behind that.
Of course, you can’t talk about 3-D and not mention the movie that started the craze. Avatar did it right. It is the movie to blame for the influx in 3-D these days. And I will concede that the truest way to see that film is in IMAX 3-D. The difference is this: Say what you will about his storytelling ability, but James Cameron is a technical genius. If there is one thing he knows, it is the camera, how to use it, and the how to push it beyond its abilities. It has been said before, but the work Cameron did on Avatar, particularly with 3-D, was, and still is, groundbreaking. Until the industry can either get up to that level with regards to understanding 3-D, or until we find a way to get rid of the glasses cheaply so that most movie theaters can upgrade their equipment, I just can’t jump on that bandwagon.
This is not to say I hate the idea of 3-D. Any method that helps audience members lose themselves in a story or world is okay in my book. In fact, there are glimmers of hope out there. This is a story written up by AV Club about Barry Sonnenfeld and his postproduction conversion of MIB3. Can’t wait to see what he does with it. But unless we can find a way to stop detracting from a movie, I don’t believe that 3-D will benefit the world of film in the long run.
OUR FIRST BLOG! Ah! Where to start?!
We’re gonna start making weekly additions here at our blog space so keep checking back for more from me and the guys. I’m mostly gonna write about different things happening popular culturally (no one says that) while the other guys will focus on tech, companies we like, festivals, etc. So until I come up with a cool name like Poptamist but better and not already taken, here’s Popular Culturally (not calling it that, that’s a terrible name, forget I wrote it):
TV: Aside from Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation is my favorite show on tv right now. It’s very funny but I think one of the reasons so successful is it’s become one of the most emotionally satisfying shows on television. Mike Schur and the writing staff believe there should be real stakes for these characters and that makes you root for them while you’re laughing along with them. The season finale last week is a great example of what makes the show so great – it’s funny, it’s sweet, well performed, and there are real honest-to-God stakes. It’s not the funniest show on tv (that’s probably Archer) but it’s definitely the best comedy.
Theatre: I haven’t seen that much. I’ll probably let Ryan talk about it (since he’ll be mad at me if he doesn’t get to so calm down, Ryan). BUT, on Monday, while in Vegas being a very important person (only except that’s not true), I saw Cirque du Soleil’s Love and it’s worth it just to go listen. There are some clever mash ups on the soundtrack (“Within You Without You”/”Tomorrow Never Knows” is my favorite) AND the seats have little speakers on the back so it’s like you’re surrounded by music. Love isn’t as acrobatically awe inspiring as some of the other Cirque shows and it follows the lyrics a little too literally (there’s an actual Blackbird who has to learn to fly – sheesh!) but I really thought it was great and totally recommend the experience.
Music: I have a music project I’m working on with a friend I’m really excited about (the project, not the friend, though he’s great). I’ll probably write more about it later but until then: Terry Malts are a punk group I saw at Glasslands a few weeks ago and I’ve been playing their record Killing Time a lot since then. They’re a pretty awesome show so if they come to your town, make sure you buy a ticket (and a mouthguard because punk!). I’m also very late to the party regarding Wye Oak and Sharon Van Etten and you should pick up their respective albums, Civilian and Tramp, as they’re both really, really great.
Film: The two best times I’ve had at the movies this year were with Joss Whedon (not with him personally, I don’t know him). The Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers are both thought out, funny, and rewarding for those who study and those who are new to horror and every big summer movie for the last 5 years. On top of that, I read a quote from Joss yesterday made me love him even. He’s not sure if he wants to come back for Avengers 2 because it’s a lot of time working on someone else’s idea and I LOVE that that’s his reason! Joss absolutely made HIS Avengers movie but it was HIS version of other people’s characters already reinterpreted by other filmmakers brought together by a movie studio hoping to make The Avengers an actual movie. A lot of hacks could have made a decent Avengers movie. Very few directors (let alone writer/directors) could have made a great one. And even fewer could have their point of view come across with so many other cooks in such a very, very large kitchen. The Avengers seems like a nightmare artistic assignment and Joss more than pulled it off… and now I want to see it and Cabin in the Woods again. I haven’t talked about Cabin in the Woods but don’t let anyone tell you anything about it and go check it out coz it’s totally the shit!
So I was asked to write about 250 words for our first blog and I’m at 750 (THIS IS JUST GREAT!). I’ll write more later (or hopefully less) and I’m sure you’ll hear from the rest of the guys soon. Thanks for reading and please leave comments if you want to tell me I’m wrong about something because I probably am.
p.s. – Thanks to Joslyn Jensen for helping me edit this down. Believe it or not, it was longer (good grief, Sanders).
p.p.s. – Other possible names: Poptomatrist, Poptobismol, Pop Pop Shiz Shiz, Poptober Fest (admittedly limiting title – see you in October, I guess), Pop Lock and Drop It, Poppurtunity, Poptimum Online. Feel free to add more below.