I've decided to retire this blog — I don't really see myself updating it any time soon, and haven't for over two years anyway. I intend to leave the content on-line for the forseeable future, but have converted it to a static site. As a result, dynamic things like search and comments aren't really going to work.

You can find me on Twitter or on Google+ if you like. Alternatively, I'm usually on IRC as LawnGnome on Freenode.

Thanks for reading!

Archive for the 'Film Geekery' Category


Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Yesterday at LCA 2010 I did a lightning talk in the Open Programming Languages Miniconf about a Javascript library I’ve been working on for a while called CineJS. CineJS provides a simple way to apply real-time filters to HTML5 video (and images) with only a few lines of Javascript and ships with nine pre-written filters that match the basic filters you would get from a simple image processing program.

There’s a simple example that applies a greyscale filter to a 30 second clip from the classic 1964 film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Check out the source code to look at how the filters are constructed and applied, or look at the more complicated stack demo to see how filters can be combined and altered.

This is pretty alpha, but it should work on current versions of Firefox, Safari and Chrome. I’d love to see some more complicated filters, and if you e-mail them to me, I’ll be very happy to include them in future versions.

The current version is 0.1.1 (and comes minified), and you can also clone the git tree.

Adam, You Twittering Idiot

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

I decided yesterday to actually do something with the Twitter account I set up a few weeks back, and have joined the self-absorbed cool kids and PR machines in posting the odd message through it. (Tweet, whatever. I still have enough issues with the existence of words like blog.) I had it hooked up to Facebook for about a day, but really, I think it’s a different type of writing to a status update, at least for me — a status update’s a bit more friend-oriented, whereas I see Twitter as being a way to just randomly blurt out whatever’s flitting through my head for anyone who’s bored enough to care. Ergo, no more linkage.

On an unrelated note, I had another meeting with my supervisor this afternoon about my India documentary, which is now due in just eight short days. (Theoretically I have nine, but if I get the project done in eight I get to spend a four day weekend in Albany with friends not worrying about it.) As has become the pattern for those meetings, I spent a couple of hours beforehand frantically working in an attempt to ignore the knots in my stomach, danced around the explanation of the incomplete work that I was supposed to have completed, Keith did his best to not look too disappointed with me, and we agreed on yet another course of action moving forward.

The silver lining is that I’ve learned plenty of things this semester. Unfortunately, the key lessons seem to have been things I shouldn’t ever attempt again, namely corporate videos and solo projects. I guess I at least know my capabilities (or lack thereof) a bit more now.

Summing Up Three Months in One Post

Friday, April 24th, 2009

The story so far…

Our hero quit his job and was deassimilated from the Borg, travelled to India via Sri Lanka, and was last heard from on a bus from Delhi to Noida.

And now, the unexciting conclusion…

That was, as the dates indicate, about two and a half months ago. Indeed, I returned from India, as expected, in late February and have since taken up my new job (which, oddly enough, has put me back at my old desk) and have been feverishly working on the two productions that I’m expected to edit the India footage into (with, it has to be said, remarkably little success, as the rather depressing supervisor meeting I had on Wednesday reinforced).

Why the break in transmission? I’m not sure, really. I did write a few more journal entries while I was in India, but found that I ran out of energy at a certain point and really just wished I could learn how to sleep on buses, and then with the editing workload back here, combined with picking up the new job baton (a whole 48 hours after I landed back in Perth!), I just don’t seem to have had the creative energy for it.

India, for the record, was good fun. There’s been a little bit of unpleasantness since returning (nothing related to me, but it still casts a slight pall over the experience), but it was an incredibly worthwhile trip, all told. In the end, I think Bangalore was probably my favourite of the four cities we stayed in, but they were all interesting and (often surprisingly) different in their own rights. The filming went OK, but as I’ve said to a few people since returning, it really was no more than OK, and probably reminded me of why I was hesitant to get heavily involved in production units in the first place — I just don’t quite seem to have a natural feel for what needs to be shot and how the way a lot of other people do, and when you’re shooting ephemeral events in a documentary style, you have to have that feel.

I also have a huge queue of photos to upload, too, starting with some from last November (sorry Dean!) and then the photos from India. All… find . -name *.jpg | wc -l… 413 of them. (Yikes, particularly since I know I discarded at least twice as many while I was there, too.) I’ve been meaning to get started on that particular job since I got back, but the thought of sitting down and writing titles and descriptions for each of them has just sapped my energy each time I’ve opened my laptop to get going.

Tonight I’m off to the 4×4 Film Festival at uni, which is the twice-yearly competition between second and third year production students to see who can make the best four minute film. (Third years get handicapped by needing to edit in-camera, which having done it last year, is actually a pretty significant handicap for a lot of genres.) This semester’s theme is horror, which should be entertaining, and for once, I might be scared by more than the usual shoddy student acting.

In that spirit, I’ll sign off with this dodgy YouTube version of a horror film I worked on last year for uni. (We were apparently just a year ahead of the curve. That’s what I’m telling people who ask about the grade I received for it.) It’s seven and a bit minutes of… something. I’m not really sure what.

Pac Wars

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

For anyone who saw our lightning talk at OSDC and wants to view Pac Wars in their own home cinema, you can view it on YouTube, courtesy of shenki.

Messages from a Cinema Foyer

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

Being a film student is something I enjoy. Being a film student 3000 km from home and going to a soirĂ©e where you don’t know a soul is not something I enjoy. I’m not good in these situations at the best of times — just ask anyone who’s attended an LCA networking session with me — but waiting through a 45 minute preshow love-in is my own personal form of purgatory. I just hope the documentaries are worth it.

I tapped the above into my mobile phone while waiting for the Brisbane International Film Festival screening of two jtv docs productions: Aussie Battlers, a film about the world of Australian MC battling, and Searching 4 Sandeep, which is better described on its jtv page that what I would do.

Fortunately, they were worth it. I’d already heard good things about Searching 4 Sandeep from the Sydney Film Festival, and it really is a touching, engaging love story. Aussie Battlers, on its world premiere (well, that’s what I heard somewhere today) did many things right, but one thing that I’m particularly keen on — after seeing a lot of student documentaries this year — is that it was genuinely funny. The contrasts between the battlers’ on-stage personas and their softly-spoken off-stage interviews were remarkable, and often led to some clever and revealing cuts. There are some shots used during the final battle in the Australian national competition which reveal a lot about the contenders — one in particular — and are juxtaposed beautifully with what’s being said, both in interview and in the flow.

Apparently both documentaries are going to appear on the ABC at some point. I’d recommend them both; they’re both very different films, but they’re really well constructed.

Perthifornication: The Edge of Coherent Thought

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I wonder how many of the series being pitched in my university’s Television Scriptwriting unit this semester are edgy, sexy shows about the life of a struggling writer in a big city? Three episodes in, Californication does seem like writer porn of the highest order. It’s the life every young writer dreams of — babes, smooth talking, throwing up on paintings that deserve it, more babes…

Well, the guys, anyway.

(OK, some of the girls, too.)

In unrelated news, post-production for science fiction shorts less fun than previously expected. Damned bluescreens.

Curse You, Douglas Adams

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

I’ve just had my first whooshing sound of the semester as a deadline whipped by at a rate of knots without the associated assignment actually being ready. Not a happy feeling, considering we’re still the best part of two weeks from the mid-semester break. Unfortunately, I just haven’t figured out yet how to juggle the seemingly insane requirements of the units I’m doing this semester, and consequently, two of the units (Feature Film Scriptwriting and the dreaded Internet and Java Programming) aren’t getting much love at present, let alone anything outside of uni.

Speaking of which, sorry, people waiting for a PEAR DB release. I haven’t forgotten about you.

Anyway, some things are happening, at least. The Computer Science project I’m working on is cool, and terrifyingly large in scope at present. (I’ll write a proper blog post about that later in the week, hopefully.) My latest film project has started shooting, and as we work our way through that process, I’m gradually realising just how much I’ve dropped myself in it as editor. The next time I write a script with that much chromakey work in it, I’m making sure that I don’t actually have to do anything related to said chromakeying. As things stand, I have to composite four — actually, it might be five, now that I think about it — scenes in post, including one against a virtual set which I’ve only had time to partially build so far. I mean, There are walls. There’s a screen. There isn’t anything resembling a door, though, and I still have to match the lighting to the actual set-up we’re using against the bluescreen, so partially built might be optimistic. Slightly built might have been a better phrase. Next time, we’re using flats, even if I have to spend all weekend painting them.

It’s interesting watching shooting take place for a script I wrote, though. I’m sure it’s even more fulfilling for Reuben, our director, since it was his story idea in the first place, but I keep feeling both proud of the fact that the scenes being shot are the ones I scribbled out, and worried that if we suck, it’s going to be largely my fault — you can talk about how the director is the true author of the film all you want, but JMS has referred to certain things on Babylon 5 being writer problems, and I suspect that most of the potential issues with this film are going to be in that basket.

At least I get the chance to fix them in post. (We’ll fix it in post is the film student mantra, it seems.) Of course, said fixing might require sock puppets…

That's all, folks!

Yep. Just like that.