November 5, 2011 visual research

Opening title card from Barry Lyndon


Movies 101: Opening Shots Project – scanners. Jim Emerson discussing the importance of the opening scene in a movie through a description of some of his favorites.  As he puts it, his “two cardinal rules for movie-watching are:”

1) The movie is about what happens to you while you watch it. So, pay attention — to both the movie and your response. If you have reactions to, or questions about, what you’re seeing, chances are they’ll tell you something about what the movie is doing. Be aware of your questions, emotions, apprehensions, expectations.

2) The opening shot (or opening sequence) is the most important part of the movie… at least until you get to the final shot. (And in good movies, the two are often related.)

And for those interested here is his refresher on some terminology used in filmmaking.

November 4, 2011 video workshop

“Retail Design” is the design of retail spaces but what is “retail.”  Wikipedia has already looked up the etymology for us,

Retail comes from the Old French word tailer (compare modern French retailler), which means “to cut off, clip, pare, divide” in terms of tailoring (1365[citation needed]). It was first recorded as a noun with the meaning of a “sale in small quantities” in 1433[citation needed] (from the Middle French retail, “piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring”).[2] Like the French, the word retail in both Dutch and German (detailhandel and Einzelhandel, respectively) also refers to the sale of small quantities of items.” (source)

a shop in london

retro tesco

a cafe in Mexico

November 3, 2011 photography, visual research

Venturi and Brown Las VegasVenturi and Brown Las Vegas
In 1972, within their book, “Learning from Las Vegas,” Robert Venturi, his partner Denise Brown, and Steven Izenour asked what can we learn from Las Vegas.   Their answer was the kind of architectural communication and symbolism that the clean lines of modernist architecture had reduced.  This work and attitude is considered a part of the start of post-modernism in architecture and eventually other fields.   So what can we learn today from the architecture and design around us?

Here is an article on the storefronts in the changing neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York and an additional nytimes article on the lasting impact of Venturi, Brown, and Izenour’s work.

November 3, 2011 photography

Luca Zanier's Corridors of Power

The above photo is from the photographer Luca Zanier‘s Corridors of Power, images of the depopulated meeting rooms of the world’s agencies and organizations. Here is an additional write up on it in the nytimes lens blog.

November 2, 2011 photography

Shen Chao-liang

Shen Chao-liang, Stage.
A series of photos by Shen Chao-liang showing the “truck theaters” of Taiwan.

Due to rising popularity of television variety shows, cabaret artists have to keep upgrading their performing skills and diversifying the formats. Not only singers and dancers are dressed up in formal luxurious costume, forms and programs are also enhanced and re-designed to include “newer” performances such as poll dance, drag shows, jugglers and comedy. Sometimes the moving stage itself, usually a “truck theater” that may weigh up to 8 to 15 tons, is regarded as an integral part of the performance that can attract a considerable number of people. When a show is deemed a success, the owner, or organizer, of the cabaret will receive invitations from around the country.


November 2, 2011 photography

October 25, 2011 Portfolio

October 25, 2011 Digital Graphics

Digital imaging and digital post software have enabled more of us to consider color grading as a creative option. When shooting we make decisions regarding white balance along the Kelvin scale, with tungsten at 3200k and daylight at 5600k. In post production we can further tweak or adjust the color of an image.
This process used to be done photo-chemically and was commonly refereed to as color timing (source). Now it is most often done digitally either with a DI, digital intermediate, or working with the digital files straight from a digital camera. Processes like Bleach-Bypass refer specifically to the technique of skipping a typical bleach bath in order to leave more silver in an image. This effectively increases the contrast and desaturates the image a bit. Now this same look, or nearly the same look, can be achieved digitally and is still referred to as “bleach bypass.” Below you can see a frame from Saving Private Ryan (1998), a film that popularized the bleach bypass look. Notice that the blacks are “bunched up” or “crunched” meaning that the darks transition to solid black quickly.

While color correction in digital photography is often done through the adjustment of the curves for the various color channels and luma channel, much color grading in the world of film and video is done through the kind of three color wheel interface you see above. These there color wheels refer to the darks, mids, and highlights but are typically called Light, Gamma, and Gain. With these controls, adding a little blue in the highlights is as easy as moving the selector on the far right toward blue. Doing this, however, can have an impact on the mids and darks. So a counter move is sometimes necessary in the darks to balance out the initial choice. This is called pushing and pulling, e.g. if we push up the blue in the highlights, we may need to pull out the unwanted blue in the darks. Colorists also control what is color corrected through the use of mattes that define what region is affected by a particular adjustment.

The use of mattes or masks allows for secondary color correction, or in others, a different set of color choices to be made on a defined portion of the image. In Adobe Premiere, you can select what part of the image will receive your color correction by first applying a 3-color correction effect to a clip, then changing the effect display from “composite” to “mask.” The image will become white, until you scroll down to the “secondary color” section, expand it and use the eyedropper tool to select a color for inclusion in the effect. With the eyedropper chosen, the image returns to allow you to choose a color. Once chosen, the image displays the selected region in white and the rest in black. You can add to your selected color by using the eyedropper tool with the plus symbol. For example, you might select different areas of the face to build up a continuous selection of the skintones. This is a typical operation as often one wants to control the skintones and background color seperately. With a section chosen you should also blur slightly the mask so that the transition between different color corrections is not obvious. Now it is possible to return to the display settings of the effect and set it back to “composite.” All of this is explained in this video tutorial from Adobe,

Additional info:

A video tutorial on how to achieve the “summer blockbuster film look”
Two free tools for color correction

October 25, 2011 video workshop, Visual

October 25, 2011 video workshop, Visual