Posts Tagged ‘bbc’
Heavy Rain (image: heavyrainps3.com)
It’s funny how particular game seems to resurface at different times. After the announcement of Heavy Rain’s Move edition-enabled re-release I had been revisiting what I’d made of the game when it was first released. We really enjoyed the Heavy Rain PS3 experience in our family – the older members at least. And it had become something of a favorite topic of the dinner table and we compared our different routes through the game.
This was enough to get me playing it all over again – not to mention featuring it on Game People’s podcast (iTunes/rss). No huge surprise there. But then, while watching the BBC’s excellent new Sherlock series I started noticing a whole range of similarities to Heavy Rain. It’s not often that TV copies a videogame for its aesthetic, in fact gamers are usually busy trying to claim that games are like TV and film. But Sherlock puts Heavy Rain PS3 to excellent use. As well as the general art style, the short focal length of the cityscapes and origami killer of episode 2, Sherlock makes frequent use of Heavy Rain’s publishing of emotions and thoughts to the screen via text.
This must just be a coincidence I thought, and more about my recent obsession with the game than anything in the production of this BBC show. But then, as if to disclose the source of their inspiration for those in the know, as the show reaches for the words-on-the-screen technique Sherlock says
“It’s obvious isn’t it? Sheâ€™s been in Heavy Rain in the last few hours… where has there been Heavy Rain and strong wind in that time?” (Audio available here)
Surely this is too much of a coincidence? Or am I just projecting my video game habit onto my favorite new TV show? GeekDad sanity check please.
Heavy Rain Influences BBCâ€™s Sherlock
Last week I posted about Pixelh8’s newest music education project, the Super Chip Tune Samba Band. Upon recognizing that children were far more interested in experimenting with electronic music on Nintendo DS handheld gaming devices as opposed to more conventional instruments like keyboards, Pixelh8 constructed a system by which multiple burgeoning chip musicians can perform simple group percussion using the DS stylus and touch screen.
Sadly, his efforts were hampered by a lack of resources, or, more specifically, a lack of systems. Without an adequate number of DSes to share with participants, the Super Chip Tune Samba Band simply can’t perform. Thankfully, none other than Nintendo itself has stepped up to support the project.
Heartfelt thanks to Nintendo for its generosity and foresight, and congratulations to Pixelh8 on this recent technological windfall!
View original post here:
Nintendo Steps up to Support Super Chip Tune Samba Band
One summer, when I was 16 or so, I borrowed a video camera and a friend and I made a very short, very dumb monster movie. There may be better ways to spend your time during summer vacation, but I can’t think of them right now. I haven’t seen the video in 20 years, but I’ll never forget making it.
To help you and/or your Geeklets get started on your own films — and hopefully do better than I did — I asked writer, director and SFX artist Matt Cunningham for some tips: from better lighting to better fake blood.
Matt Cunningham (and spinning head prop) on set of Troma slasher film “Decampitated.” All photos courtesy Matt Cunningham.
Q: Did you make your own movies when you were a kid? What were they like? I assume monsters were involved.
DM: Yes, I did. I used the old Super 8 format and shot a lot of them without sound. I couldn’t afford a sound sync machine to go along with the cameras. I would find old cameras in thrift stores and buy them up. They would be short movies, usually a roll per movie (which was about 3 minutes long). I didn’t know how to edit when I was young so I planned the shots out in sequence.
Many of my home movies had that Star Wars meets monsters feel to it. When I got a hold of a video camera, my cousins and I would make all kinds of movies. Zombies, Killer Clowns, Halloween knock offs and my favorite was Phantom of the Laundry. The Phantom was the one who took your socks or clothes and then used them against you. Some people faced horrible deaths by dirty socks. A lot of these movies are where I learned to do makeup fx.
Q: Many kids have access to much better camera equipment and editing than we did back then, but they may be need help figuring out how to handle some of the other basics. Can you give us some advice for cheap ways to get better?
DM: I think what will help those that want to be better at their craft is to make sure you have a great story. That is the bottom line. Making a monster movie is a lot of fun. But if you have one with a good story then everyone wants to watch it.
Watch the movies you love and see how the story is put together. That is the best starting point. I made many shorts that were just scenes and I always felt that it needed a lot more. So I learned how to write scripts and took it from there.
Q: Tips for better lighting? How can we avoid that horrible home movie look? Or worse the 1970s BBC look?
DM: What happens on most amateur productions is they go from a bright outside to a dark inside and the camera cannot adjust to that quickly enough and you get this horrible home video look and everything washes out or goes really dark. Interior home lights do not give enough light to really fill out a scene. If you see a lamp in a shot, that is what we call a practical light. It is still part of the lighting scheme but behind the camera is a big lighting set up to make it look like that practical is filling the room with light. You basically want to fake what you see in everyday.
Check out Three Point lighting tutorials online. They will give you the basic tools and instruction you need to elevate your production.
Q: Tips for better sound? Bad sound seems to ruin a lot of amateur productions.
DM: I can’t tell you how many times I have said to filmmakers that sound is 70% of the production.
These days you can run a boom mic right into the digital camera. Try to use an extra microphone for dialogue scenes that is fed into the camera. Boom from above or hide it close to the actors in the scene, especially on close ups. Try to keep an even feel to the audio through the scenes. Cutting from those far away shots where we can’t hear anyone to close ups where they are blasting out the mic spells amateur night.
Q: Any tips for staging stunts? A safe but believable fight scene, for instance?
DM: I hate to be obvious… but use fake everything! Knives, props, wood, etc. I have been on some productions where they have had real hard props in the fight scenes and it had disaster written all over it.
If you want to fake fight scenes, stage the punches away from the camera. Plan your angels so the punch looks real and you can cut to another angle to sell the fall or hit. Watch fight scenes and see how they cut on the action. (Don’t watch Jackie Chan or Jet Li because those guys do it all in wide shots and they are just plain amazing.)
Q: Tips for doing make-up and SFX?
DM: My first makeup fx shop was based in the corner of my bedroom. I had a small desk that I made masks at and fake body parts, monster horns and hands, blood and goo. I learned a lot from two books that changed my world. The first book was Dick Smith’s Do It Yourself Monster Make-Up (which I’m pretty sure is out of print) and the other book was Grande Illusions: A Learn-by-Example Guide to the Art and Technique of Special Make-Up Effects from the Films of Tam Savini.
I read these books a million times and practiced every technique in the book. Today there are so many books and videos on the market of How To do cheap and really expensive monster makeups you could go insane. There is so much you can do these days with Gelatin based appliances and they look so real.
My favorite blood recipe was Dick Smith’s, I used it all the time. However, there was a poisonous chemical in it and you don’t want to use that, so I altered it to be kid friendly.
1 c. Karo Syrup
1 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp Red Food Coloring
1 tsp Yellow Food Coloring
The following recipe is to make it more “realistic” – which tends to have more brown in it:
2/3 c. Corn Syrup
1/3 c. Warm Water
5 Tbsp Corn Starch
4 tsp red food coloring
1 Tbsp Powdered Cocoa
2 drops of green or yellow food coloring
And last but not least, if you decide to shoot your movie in black and white use Chocolate Syrup. This is what George Romero used for Night of the Living Dead movie and it worked great!!
Matt Cunningham is still making monsters, but now in the less messy form of books and short stories. Details at Literary Asylum.
Read more here:
Make a Monster Movie this Summer
Oh man! It turns out that Star Wars Kid was doing nothing less than predicting the future. The awesome future. Microsoft has demonstrated its Project Natal, which has been renamed Kinect and transformed into a motion-controller for the Xbox 360.
Kinect, which will be available in November, uses a camera and a microphone to turn a player’s movements into in-game movements. In a demonstration at the E3 show in Los Angeles last night, Microsoft showed of the peripheral with a huge performance by Cirque du Soleil, which was, according to Twitter, impressive.
Even better was the demo of a new LucasArts Star Wars game, which lets the player control his on-screen avatar by acting as a Jedi, just like Star Wars Kid. The above clip, which managed to sneak out onto YouTube ahead of official video, shows the Kinect in action. It looks fantastic: to pull out your light-saber you just, well, pull out your light-saber. To throw a huge spaceship across the room you simply wave your hand as if you were controlling the Force.
The giant screen probably helps to feeling of power, but which of us haven’t made precisely these gestures, only to have nothing happen? My brother and I would hang upside down and desperately try to get the light-saber to jump into our hands before the Wampa attacked. It never worked. Maybe now it will.
See full coverage of E3 2010 over at our sister blog, Game|Life.
Kinect’s Star Wars Game footage [YouTube]
Mind-controlled prosthetic arm moving to market in Europe originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 12 May 2010 15:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.