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Near the Egress (2013)

Still from Antonio Ramirez's Near the Egress

Still from Antonio Ramirez’s Near the Egress

Dreamlike, absolutely stunning.  Antonio Ramirez took 800 dryplate tintype photos of a circus, and combined the still images to make a jerky 5 minute short film, the equivalent of just under 24fps.  Because they’re moving at about the frame rate of modern film, it feels like watching something filmed; because the photos were taken as stills rather than at camera-regulated intervals, there’s a feeling of watching something assembled.  (In fact, it’s a little reminiscent of the feel of watching La Jetée.)  Combined with the 19th century photo process, the film feels disjointed and out of time, entirely surreal. Continue reading


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Timelapse footage of rotating thunderstorm (2013)

From Mike Olbinski's thunderstorm footage.

From Mike Olbinski’s thunderstorm footage.

Documentary footage of natural phenomena is tremendously difficult to capture in a way that retains anything like the power it has in real life.  This is incredible footage, beautiful and overwhelming.  The Atlantic has more detail about how Mike Olbinski captured this storm on video, and a nod to the importance of music in framing the perception and meaning of images, even in documentary. Continue reading

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New York’s Teen Poets Put Words on Walls

Photos by Urban Word NYC

Photos by Urban Word NYC

I’m a sucker for two things in particular: interesting ways of projecting sound and light, and projects that mix scientists and artists, preferably in bizarre and idealistic ways.  (Anyone can make digital art.  It’s making magic happen that’s hard.)

Urban Word NYC is a literacy group bringing poetry to New York City teens.  Ideas City is a festival celebrating the arts and urban creativity.  The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund puts money in the hands of projects that combine scientists, artists, educators, and kids outside the classroom.  Stick them in a blender.  Mix well.  What you get is the Words on Walls project at the Ideas City Festival, where teen poets work with software to project their words onto the walls, steps, and surfaces of the city as they read their work. Continue reading

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“The Godfather for me is a very good example of good placement of music, because the music doesn’t tell you what to think as the scene is happening. Often, there is no music in those scenes, but music comes in at the end to help you to channel that emotion in the right direction… It’s as if the scene builds up an emotional charge, like an electrostatic charge where if you touch the slightest thing there’ll be a spark. The music comes in to bring that excess energy back to earth, to neutralize things in the right way so you can build up that energy for the next scene.


The other way is to have music during the scene. It’s undoubtedly effective, but the danger is that it’s effective in the way that using steroids is effective. It can definitely build up muscle, but it’s not good for you in the long run, and it’s cheating just by of the nature of bringing this artificial steroid into your body.”

Walter Murch, interviewed by Filmmaker Magazine