March 2006

Internet&Media23 Mar 2006 05:21 pm

Spanish Girl Cat FightHot Tub

Today’s SF Chronicle is running an article about the growth and diversity of Internet video content. They include a list, and here are some of the hyperlinks to the sites. See the democratization of television on the march.

  • YouTube – looks like flickr for videos
  • Current TV – an ambitious user created video content network offering payment for your uploaded video projects.
  • vMix – videos submitted and ranked from around the world
  • vidiLife – yet another way to share videos with your friends
  • Ourmedia – this one appears to have a socially conscious edge
  • – kind of sleazy and commercial brand of site
  • FireAnt – pioneering videoblogging
  • Veoh – invitation to submit your videos. Clips from copyrighted films such as Coppola’s Dementia 13.
  • – slick, sexy, commercial regurgitation of primarily professional mass media
  • Grouper – a place to upload and share your videos from
  • GUBA – enables images and video through good old Usenet
  • Podzinger – an index of audio and video for podcasting
Animation23 Mar 2006 01:06 pm

Hangnail HomeHut Sluts

Spike & Mike’s Sick and Twisted Animation Festival has been at it for 20 years now. Animators can go where the camera of the mind takes them, and these independent animators go to some crazy, sick and twisted places. See their online galleries of really crude, rude cartoons.

American History&Movie TV DVD Review23 Mar 2006 07:45 am

Russ Feingold on The Daily Show

Here is video and coverage of Senator Russ Feingold‘s refreshingly clear stance on his proposal to censure President Bush.

Perhaps Americans’ vast knowledge of The Simpsons and American Idol trivia over their own Constitutional rights, has clouded our memory of Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights which includes our right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

So America needs a Simpsons show where Bart recites parts of the Constitution and Russ Feingold makes an appearance. Go man, go!

American History&Money&Movie TV DVD Review13 Mar 2006 09:06 pm

Hellfire missile
When writing a previous review of John Ford’s classic World War II propaganda films, Why We Fight, I was not aware that another newer film Why We Fight was in the works. Well, this has been a season for remakes, why not documentaries too?

The earlier WWII Why We Fight was designed as a nudge to a neutral inward looking United States, whereas the new Why We Fight covers the now well established American military industrial complex. Might as well face it, never mind oil… these days we’re addicted to war.

Some may justify their jobs in the defense business sector; it’s good for the U.S. G.N.P., stock market, ya-da ya-da. As far as I can tell, the Iraq War has been nothing more than a three year economic stimulus package engineered by the Bush administration. Taken a look at a Halliburton stock chart since March 2003 lately? Back in Nixon’s day there was aversion to ending the Vietnam War, because it would hurt the job market with too many baby boomers coming home and competing for a piece of the great American Dream Pie. Chances are we won’t work our way out of this habit until it all blows up in our collective Old Glory faces.

Animation10 Mar 2006 05:30 pm

Spore character design tool

Video presentation of Spore shows a procedurally animated game that allows you to build 3-D characters that possess behavior, such as “monkeys with guns” that wander around in procedurally generated 3-D worlds. Looks like way more fun and creative, faster and crazier than rotoscoping. Playing with artificial life, is sort of the opposite of tracing previously filmed live action. I guess if you generate a really great scene in Spore, you could record it and then rotoscope it, if you really enjoy doing that sort of thing.

Description from Google Video:

Will Wright talking at the 2005 Game Developer’s Conference about ‘Spore‘, which looks like it could possibly be the best video game ever.

Further Spore threads:

Animation&Movie TV DVD Review09 Mar 2006 08:59 pm

A Scanner Darkly
After the tedium of months of doing rotoscoping on Shrek 2, why on Earth would I imagine doing an even more extreme version of it in Austin, Texas on A Scanner Darkly? The thought did cross my mind. Doing a feature length rotoscoped movie requires a marathon runner’s mentality, and ideally a lot of weed.

I could have done it, but talked myself out of it. The idea of moving to Austin to work on a punishingly tedious test of patience seemed like a quest I could take a pass on. Good thing too. The current issue of WIRED magazine recounts in Trouble In Toontown the realities of coping with the super sluggish process of photo-realistically tracing every ding-dang frame of digital video.

The original Linklater groundbreaking, experimental rotoscoped film Waking Life was the beginning of something freaky, but with Scanner somehow being able to say, “Yeah we could do that,” came too easily. Perhaps as bad an idea as, “Let’s redo Fantasia! …again.” I’ve read a number of P. K. Dick’s books, and A Scanner Darkly was a bit too dark and introspective for me to care to finish. A creepy story about a paranoid narc becoming addicted while bumming around suburbia with his deadbeat house mates. The monk-like mind-numbing hours of rotoscoping in dark rooms is no far cry from the cold, dark world of P. K. Dick’s story.

Rotoscoping, the tracing of live footage to create animation, was done by Disney way back on Snow White and Cinderella, and then Ralph Bakshi did some awfully disappointing stuff in American Pop. Bob Sabiston and his crew at Flat Black Films deserve a lot of credit for Waking Life, but after A Scanner Darkly they should be ready to turn out the lights and wake up to a new life.

Animation&Media06 Mar 2006 07:54 am

The Moon and Son

Congratulations to the little guys! John Canemaker and Peggy Stern won an Oscar for Best Animated Short film, The Moon And The Son, at the 78th Academy Awards last night, beating out the mighty Pixar’s One Man Band. The handwriting is on the wall that the psychological expression of hand drawn animation is the real treasure, since 3-D computer animation has become as common and all pervasive as video games.

Animation&Media&Technology04 Mar 2006 07:47 pm

Underworld creatures

Luma Pictures recently produced 200 monstrously realistic visual effects shots of vampires and werewolves for the recent horror movie UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION. Apple’s web site has a good write up of the software and visual effects techniques of Luma’s artists on Underworld, Crash and The Cave. The 3-D modeling, animation and compositing is very high end.

Luma’s work generated a VFX Forum discussion which includes an excited artist bubbling over his first film experience. Looking at the trailer I am too removed from the excitement. With all the real life horrors in the world, what is so scary about this old fashioned hocus pocus stuff?


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