Grocery Cart Pickup

Someone left a grocery cart on the street about a block away from my house. I looked at the handle and realized it was one from Berkeley Bowl! I live on the south end of Oakland, so it was very far from home– over 10 miles as the crow flies, 13 miles by the freeway.

I called the grocery store and they sent a dude with a pickup truck to retrieve it. I guess a street personality must have taken it and used it to shuttle their crap all the way over here…

Julian Winston (May 31, 1941 – June 12, 2005)

Hello Gwyneth [Julian’s widow]-

I am a computer programmer and independent filmmaker living in the San Francisco bay area. I grew up in Palo Alto, and like many well-educated, liberal parents, my parents provided me with a bunch of hand-made wooden toys as an alternative to the plastic toys that were becoming more popular in the 1970s.

While on a break from editing a movie today (June 10th 2008) I was idly playing with one of these toys I still have, a hand-cranked music box, and I turned it over to see the Creative Playthings logo. On a whim I surfed on it and found your late husband Julian had designed it. I also learned of his passing in 2005.

I am now 33 years old and I still love my music box. It’s such a simple design, and apparently rugged with long-lasting “repeat play value,” since I still have it and use it. I’m a bit sad I couldn’t thank Julian while he was still with us, but a close second is thanking you.

Thanks again

Dear Brian
Since my beloved husband died I have had several emails from folk in USA who still have a working model of the music box and such fond memories of it. I don’t know if Julian had such emails before his passing — maybe he did. I do know that he would be pleased that something which he created has brought pleasure to so many AND that it is still in working order. I have the original on my shelf here– it plays ‘Sur le pont d’Avignon’ as well as the model which was produced for retail which plays an excerpt from Swan Lake I think. I guess that is the one you have. It really is something to realise how long since its creation and how durable. Guess you parents choice against the plastics was a good one!

Thank you for taking the time to email.

Go well.

Gwyneth Evans

So it looks like they all play Swan Lake. It’s such a great design; maybe I should make my own based on the shape.

Editing in Music Video

Analysis of music video cuts:

  • Watching a lot of music videos…
  • then watching them again, on mute
  • Then watching them again, in slow motion, with slowed sound
  • Then cutting them up on all the cuts, showing the audio, to sync the measure beginnings with the cuts

Music video is all about jumpcuts. Watch the new Vanessa Hudgens video which is very fast…

  • when are the cuts on the beat?
  • what instrument are the cuts following?
  • when are the cuts at the beginning of the phrase?
  • cut to the singer at key moments

To really properly analyze one of these jumpy videos, I would really:

  • cut all the clips apart
  • sort them all by setup/location – this will show how short the takes need to be, and in the case of pop videos, what kind of motions are most effective for the actor/singer
  • back on the audio track, replace all cuts with a frame of white, and then blank black. This will call attention to where in the music the cuts are

15 seconds is not much

When I was writing/directing/editing (at the same time) the 15 second commercial we did for the Watchmen contest, I realized I’d never tried to convey something in only 15 seconds before.

15 seconds is barely enough time to establish a rhythm, and not really enough to establish more than one rhythm. Especially for a product promotion, if you include an establishing shot and the product shot, you basically have only 10 seconds left at the most.

In a 15 second spot, the audience uses the duration of the establishing shot to acclimate themselves to the new setting of your film. So shorten that or drop that at the risk of losing the attention of the audience!

Can’t do too many jump cuts in a 15 second spot– there will be barely any cooldown period of slow shots afterwards, and there isn’t enough time to make the audience care about the subject to endure jumpcuts, nor to refer to previously-established images.

Maybe I’ll make some more of these.

Stephanie rules pt.1

BRAIN: check this out
STEPHANIE THE DESIGNER: ummmm, why did you send this?
BRAIN: you’ll find out!
BRAIN: keep it
BRAIN: you’ll need it real soon
STEPH: I’m reading it and it’s boring
BRAIN: save it for later
BRAIN: trust me on this one
STEPH: i don’t ever use corel draw
STEPH: ever
BRAIN: I know
BRAIN: that’s why you need this
STEPH: why would I ever use it?
BRAIN: you’re not very good at this game
STEPH: I don’t even have it
STEPH: I don’t get it
STEPH: is this a joke?
BRAIN: well… sort of
BRAIN: I’ll walk you through this
STEPH: like the end of the world is coming or something?
BRAIN: assume for the moment that I sent you this for a reason
BRAIN: and I know you don’t use Corel anything
BRAIN: now why would I say you’d need it real soon now?
STEPH: the end of the world is coming?
BRAIN: be serious
STEPH: ummm
BRAIN: (where do I sit?)
STEPH: you overheard someone who is going to give me an assignment
BRAIN: getting warm
STEPH: we got some files from a client
STEPH: and they’re
STEPH: corel files
BRAIN: very very warm
BRAIN: but not hot
STEPH: something to do with [client name]?
BRAIN: dunno which client actually
STEPH: ryo just sent me an [client name] style guide
BRAIN: someone wants something in corel draw
STEPH: that someone is tripping
BRAIN: and I happen to know no one here has corel draw
STEPH: who is it????
STEPH: joel?
BRAIN: someone JFi is talking to apparently!
STEPH: sprint maybe?
STEPH: damn them
STEPH: they can go right to hell
STEPH: in a handbasket
STEPH: who uses that?
BRAIN: I’ll quote you on that one
STEPH: corel
STEPH: please
BRAIN: ha ha, that is what [CTO] said
BRAIN: “who uses Corel Draw?!”
STEPH: I’m not sure why it can’t be made in photoshop
STEPH: it must be for some ass backward red neck client
BRAIN: draw is the illustrator equivalent
STEPH: who lives in the woods
BRAIN: so I think they want a vector
STEPH: so they will get illustrator then
STEPH: do they live in the woods?
BRAIN: time to bust out Live Trace
STEPH: deep in the woods?
STEPH: get to the 21st century people!
BRAIN: you rule
STEPH: sounds like an annoying project
STEPH: when are they going to talk to me??
STEPH: I have never even set eyes on corel draw
STEPH: is it like mac paint?
STEPH: he is on his way now
BRAIN: ha ha this is so funny
STEPH: funny for you
STEPH: how about if you had to code with sticks and stuff?
BRAIN: a magnetized needle

SAMIR: now i have this weird image of hillbillies using old macs
BRAIN: isn’t that awesomely cranky?
SAMIR: I’m just seeing some guy named cletus making moonshine and like running WordPerfect
BRAIN: yeehaw!