Wednesday, May 15, 2024

"Brave Love", our "Mock Epic" feature. The Synopsis.

Valerie Brandon has a relationship crisis. Her boyfriend Evershed is an oil billionaire who delights in attention-getting showmanship as a climate change denier. But he has a deep dark climate change secret. Valerie is having an awareness awakening triggered by greenie activist Mitka getting into her elite lifestyle bubble. The climate change battle is then fought out in Valerie's relationship with Evershed, complicated further by Valerie's growing attraction to Mitka. 

From director John Calder: ‘My mentor asks "what's the genre?" I say "this is highly original alternative cinema that is beyond genre". The mentor says "don't talk rubbish, what's the genre?". I come up with "classic literature retold as a near-future science-fiction mock epic" or "mock epic" for short.’ 

Satirical comedy takes on climate change sceptics, corporate culture and billionaires. The classic literature comes from Katherine Mansfield: “Brave Love”, “The Garden Party”, other stories as well as letters, poems, book reviews and articles. With support acts from Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare.

Regarding visions of the future: move over Nostradamus, here comes Katherine Mansfield! 

The big production experiment is to make a no-budget co-op mock epic possible by filming green screen. We report that as a success for filming the actors but we also discover in doing the often animated backgrounds that there is a reason epics have hundreds of background artists in the credits. After many years of epic DIY post-production, it is an amazing feeling to be submitting to film festivals and planning our premiere.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

"Sliding Door" - green screen filming of actors with a meccano miniature set.

From "Brave Love", our indie co-op green screen climate change mock epic now entering film festivals.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Water Effects - "Old School" wins again.

About greenscreen scenes with water. At the time of filming I was into watering actors with a spray bottle and we imagined the rain etc. Whatever James Cameron is doing is not "trickling down" to indie land that I can see. So I reach for the garden hose.

From "Brave Love", our indie co-op green screen climate change mock epic now entering film festivals.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

"The House of Seville" wins Film Festival Award

"The House of Seville" has won Best Animation Spring 2022 in the "Golden Nugget International Film Festival". Awards page:

Golden Nugget had a subtitles requirement. View that version on Vimeo:

Golden Nugget nominations page Spring 2022:

I remastered and entered "..Seville" into "Golden Nugget" after I was impressed by their NZ screening. My review of that:

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

"The House of Seville" and Youtube Age Restriction

"The House of Seville" (18 min) is our animated mock horror ghost story based partly on "Carmen".

Watch "The House of Seville" on Youtube

Posting "The House of Seville" on Youtube for public viewing raised the question of audience rating. Our movie has animated violence with a murder scene based on the "Carmen" story. In our discussions we thought it was a low level issue and we should use the Youtube upload option "not made for kids". However when I did the upload and carefully read the Youtube guide notes I made the call to "play it safe" and go "age restricted".

Murder with a Censored label hiding the blood

We work with a storytelling trope that ghosts are obsessed with causing the living to reenact their deaths. Here, the ghost of Carmen takes control of Ray and causes him to kill Daria with a sword. The critical items from the Youtube checklist are (1) the audience can see blood and (2) the editing and animated camera point of view highlight the blood beyond incidental detail. This is balanced by a non-realistic animated depiction.

Blood is a major rating element. I went through an exercise of reviewing Youtube scenes of violence and other content that could be challenging for sensitive viewers. These were mostly trailers for horror movies as well as examples like "1917", "Dunkirk" and "Gladiator". Challenging yes, with many life-at-risk tension moments, but mostly contrived to be bloodless. It was very difficult to find any example clip that showed blood. It appears that a convention has developed that bloodless violence is OK. Reflecting on that I agree that blood is an issue and I should restrict a film that depicts it. However, how OK is it to have wide audiences for otherwise realistic violence without blood? Advances in movie tech are making bloodless violence more intense. We are seeing entertainment violence that is missing violence realities like long term pain and suffering: including a lifetime of guilt and remorse for the perpetrators after a moment of impulse. Blood is a truth of violence. And film-makers should tell the truth. To age-restricted audiences rather than using the bloodless excuse to market violence to a wider audience.

Watch the Murder Scene as discussed here

Compare with the Murder Scene in the Opera "Carmen".

Monday, August 30, 2021

"Ulead MediaStudio" project recovery - the raw file is partly readable.

The Challenge

I am re-editing our animated short "The House of Seville" using Adobe Premiere. It needs an extensive audio re-edit.

It was originally edited in Ulead MediaStudio 8 which is no longer available.

I can use the output video as a guide track for re-editing in Premiere. Reconstructing multitrack audio sequences is the biggest challenge.


The Solution

Open the MediaStudio Project file in a simple text editor. I use "WordPad".
The "project file" has an extension "dvp" eg "vedScene06_v12_QS.dvp"
A lot of the data appears as non-printing characters, but names of source files appear in uppercase plain text - like this:

And that gives us answers to IMO the most important recovery questions: which was the selected clip for a particular moment? and where do we find it? The old video then guides us as to where to position and how to cut.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Free for Three - indie e-book publishing promo experiment

A little side adventure happening here, from the Democratisation of Film-making to the Democratisation of Book Publishing. 21st Century enabling tech means that books are becoming a natural extension of our media creativity.

IAFilm is publishing "The Master Weaver: Tales of the fantastic for grownups" by Bronwyn Calder. The promo experiment is to make the e-book version free for 3 days: 18, 19, 20 Aug 2021. Will this giveaway work as promo? Will it result in any positives? We are doing our indie thing which is to run the experiment to find out.

"The Master Weaver" as an Amazon Kindle e-book - free for three days

The Amazon Kindle has developed into a reader that can run on many devices including most phones or tablets. It can also deliver through its web page. 

As an alternative for anyone without an Amazon login, we have a sample story free to read on the IAFilm website:
"Gift of the Sea" - read on IAFilm