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Monthly Archives: November 2010

The year is 2012 and the world is on the brink of collapse.Rolling blackouts, depleted resources, civil unrest, assassinations and political dissension have thrown the world into a state of chaos. We follow the adventures of a group of young people as they lead us into a world of conspiracy, treason and failing energy supplies. While it sounds like it could be the description of a Hollywood blockbuster, it isn’t. Collapsus: The Energy Risk Conspiracy is in fact a transmedia companion to a television documentary by Dutch broadcaster VPRO entitled Energy RiskCollapsus takes theories and predictions from the Energy Risk documentary and transports them into a fictional story set within the not-so-distant future. Collapsus becomes a hybrid narrative that combines live action, animation, gaming mechanics and social entertainment in order to present a different perspective on the issues surrounding our struggle to transition from fossil fuels to alternative forms of energy. Tommy Pallotta, no stranger to innovative forms of storytelling (he helped to revolutionize independent animation techniques with his work on Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly), was tapped to directCollapsus by award-winning Dutch transmedia shop Submarine.

The opportunity to push an important global issue while at the same time forging new ground within broadcast television excited Pallotta. “The audience for documentary is dying. The average age of a television documentary viewer is 55 and up. Dutch broadcaster VPRO came to Submarine with the concept of making a simulation game in which the player experiences the impending world’s energy problems. The goal was to attract a different audience than traditional documentary viewers. We decided to take that even further and build a rich transmedia experience that not only entertained but hopefully provoked.”

Within Collapsus players/viewers are placed in crucial moments in time as they travel to London, the Ukraine, Teheran and the United States. Live-action footage combined with animation transports you into an energy crisis while at the same time providing insight into the complex issues surrounding global energy politics. The experience pulls you in by placing you in the shoes of the story’s protagonists. Players/viewers can access additional information on energy issues at the same time as the characters while game mechanics force you to make difficult choices that have a direct result on the world’s energy production.

Pallotta explains, “We crafted a multitasking and multilinear experience, and we blended genres like animation, documentary, fiction, gaming and interactivity all together in one story. This hybrid approach allows us to look at a serious documentary subject but also to shift from the usual talking head approach to something that better reflects our time.”


To create Collapsus’ narrative design and fictional story, Submarine and Pallotta approached me and my co-writer, Chuck Wendig. They wanted us to construct a narrative that built on the subject matter of the Energy Riskdocumentary while at the same time enhancing the Collapus experience that Submarine was developing.

When designing narrative for transmedia it is important to consider the original source materials, in this case the topics covered in the Energy Risk documentary. Since there are many moving parts to a transmedia narrative it is critical to ensure a degree of consistency not only with the subject matter but also with the goals of the interactive design. To do so we spent time reviewing materials that Submarine was using to develop the online components of the project. Another key was to identity transmedia hooks that can enhance the story experience. This was accomplished by looking at which platforms and devices could assist the focus and pacing of the storytelling. Once we had an understanding of all the source materials we created an outline of a conspiracy, worked on character backstories, wrote a treatment and finally funneled it all into a 60-page script.

As much as Collapsus is a hybrid of documentary and interactive experience, the approach is rooted in a story that is about characters and conflict. Pallotta explains, “The scientific perspective about the future of energy is basically horrific, no matter what scenario you look at… The heart of this experience is though the characters, not data. This was very important to us, to tell a story from a human perspective and experience that we can all understand.”


In order to produce Collapsus, Submarine assembled a team of more than 60 people to write, shoot, animate, build and design a complex transmedia experience. The core of the project took over six months and was budgeted at under a million Euros.

The roles within transmedia production vary based on the project. In Collapsus’ case an interesting mix of talent was assembled. The project made use of a researcher with energy policy think tank experience, an interaction designer and a game designer in addition to traditional/interactive production roles such as writers, producers, animators, illustrators and designers. A diversity of experience was key to designing an engaging transmedia project, says Pallotta. “You want to have a diverse team. For instance, interface is still the area that I think we can learn the most from. How do you create a more pleasurable experience? Simplicity and intuitiveness is not as easy as it seems in design. Having an interaction designer on the team is key. It is important to design with interface and user experience in mind. Then you find the balance of how the story comes into play. Interactivity in storytelling can be seen in many ways. Most people talk in terms of how videogames ‘work.’ You control a character and the actions change the outcome. We tried a different approach to interactive narrative design, one that used an annotated approach to information. How and what information you choose is how you interact with the story. It mirrors daily experiences and choices we make in real life more than the fantasy ‘chose your own adventure,’ which is often confused for transmedia.”





If you’re like most low-budget filmmakers, the word “deliverables” probably ranks somewhere at the very bottom of your List of Major Concerns, below “Outline my next film” and above “Pay back Uncle Mort’s $1,000 loan.” And rightly so; when you’re consumed with worries about scraping together cash to buy stock or about getting through the mix before the festival screening, what’s the point of worrying about abstract future concerns like E&O Insurance, Chain of Title documentation, and internegative checkprints?

But unlike Uncle Mort, deliverables will come back to haunt the unsuspecting independent filmmaker like a hidden line item threatening to dwarf the rest of the production budget. As producer James Schamus says, “When you’ve finished your film, you’re just about halfway through.” In other words, after the rude awakening of deliverables, you might find yourself crawling back to Uncle Mort to beg him for another $30,000 to $80,000 to provide you with the means to actually sell and jrelease what used to be your miraculously produced no-budget film.

Creation of deliverables is a huge and consuming process that accompanies any film lucky enough to get any level of sales or distribution. From the distributor’s perspective, a timely and high-quality delivery is the backbone of a film’s release. But from the producer’s perspective, delivery can make the difference between a film’s profitability and further debt. And for the low and no-budget filmmaker who has already plumbed the depths of fundraising and charity, the creation of deliverables can be a desperate struggle.

“The filmmaker always expects the distributor to pay for all the delivery items, and it becomes the biggest area of friction,” says Marcus Hu from Strand Releasing, which has released the low-budget art house films Crush andGrief. “But on a borderline film, if the filmmaker balks at creating necessary delivery materials, we may decide not to distribute the film at all.”

Unfortunately, there’s no way around delivery, no El Mariachi-no-budget shortcut, but there are a few hints about how to cash flow the process and juggle the elements so that a producer can ensure that the film does get delivered, and maybe with a few bucks left over afterwards.

Deliverables Defined

Simply put, deliverables are the materials that a distributor needs in order to release a film. Without a negative of some sort, the distributor can’t create theatrical release prints. Without a color-corrected video version, the distributor can’t broadcast it on TV or release it to your local video chain. Without a legal trail proving that the producer in fact owns the film and all its elements, the distributor won’t undertake the legal risk of releasing it. And without a good many color slides, black-and- white prints and quirky anecdotes about the shoot, the distributor won’t have the means to publicize the film’s release. Deliverables fall into those three categories: print materials, legal documents, and publicity materials, and the bulk of the expense for the deliverables process lies in the first of them.

Print Materials

Print materials are the means for the distributor to create theatrical release prints, the trailer, television and video versions, soundtracks, and other methods for people to view and listen to the film. Exactly which and how many print materials are needed will depend on the scope of the film’s release, but at the very least, print delivery will include access to the original cut negative and optical negative, a number of release prints, and a color-corrected video transfer of the film. For release in a foreign country where dubbing is required, print materials will probably also include M&E tracks, which have cleanly separated music, effects and dialogue tracks. Keep in mind that the most efficient way to accomplish this is to record each character’s dialogue and location effect separately, otherwise, you will have to re-record every effect that tramples on dialogue and re-record each character separately when their dialogue tramples on the others in the production track. And for a release involving more than a small number of prints, a producer will probably choose not to endanger the original negative and will create an internegative which can travel more freely and which can strike large numbers of release prints safely. But the creation of an internegative calls for the creation of an intermediary element, the interpositive, as well as a checkprint (combined cost for the three is typically $25-30,000), and the creation of acceptable M&E tracks can involve an extra sound edit and mix which can easily run $5,000 or more. Since pretty much any territory sale will include video and television rights, a filmmaker will be required to create a D1 or D2 color corrected video transfer, which for a typical feature can take from eight to 30 hours of transfer time at anywhere from $300-800 an hour.

A filmmaker may also have to provide what’s known as a spotted dialogue list. This form lists the film’s action and dialogue in feet and frames for dubbing and subtitling purposes. Professionally done, it can cost in the thousands of dollars. Some smaller distributors without in-house editors might require the filmmaker to come up with the trailer, but for the most part this would be the limit of the major print delivery expenses. The remaining print deliverables merely involve giving the distributor access to already existing materials the filmmaker utilized to make the film: from original location sound and erstwhile useless negative cutouts, to sound mix cue sheets and copies of the original score, to the optical overlays of the credit sequences and the negative of the textless credits sequences. Everything you thought you’d never need again might return to your attention as the crucial linchpin of your distributor’s deliverables list.

Legal Materials

Like print deliverables, the amount of legal paperwork required to release a film will vary from distributor to distributor. In general, though, legal deliverables are less expensive and less complicated than print deliverables, so long as the process has been anticipated from the very beginning of the film shoot. Well-conducted production legal work will include signed releases and contracts for every cast and crew member who worked on the film, for every poster and labeled bottle appearing in the frame, and for every song played on the soundtrack, and copies of all of these licenses and deal memos and releases must eventually be delivered to the distributor.

Additionally, filmmakers should expect to provide the distributor with a Chain of Title, which is a set of documents that trace each step of ownership of the film from the original screenplay through the producer and sales agent right up to the distributor, and which include copyright certificates, title searches, and certificates of origin. Though Chain of Title documentation can be complicated enough on its own, expect it to vary from territory to territory as each country’s bureaucracy grapples with its own idea of authenticity.

However, there are two additional legal deliverables which are invariably expensive though not always required, especially by the smaller distributors. The first of these is an MPAA ratings certificate, the cost of which is pegged into the annual sales of the company submitting the film. As such, it is invariably cheaper for a small producer to submit the film for the rating than it would be for a larger distributor with sales in the millions. The cost of an MPAA screening, even if the rating is not ultimately accepted or used by the distributor, will be upwards of $2,500.

Errors & Omissions Insurance, another costly legal deliverable, is an insurance policy which protects the distributor from any potential lawsuits looming in the future. Smaller distributors may not require this until they make a video sale. but larger distributors will want this immediately. A standard policy is $3 million worth of insurance for 3 years, and this can run between $8,500 and $10,000. Most of the remaining legal deliverables are relatively simple and straightforward – short form transfers of rights, access letters for lab materials, statements of dubbing or editing restrictions, etc.

Publicity Materials

If you’ve already prepared for a festival, you probably have a good base for all the publicity materials you need: photos, slides, pressbooks, synopses, biographies of key talent and creative crew, and sometimes poster ideas and electronic press kits. Most important on this list is the photos and slides: a filmmaker should be prepared to hand over all production slides and color transparencies to the film’s largest distributor (which probably means the film’s U.S. distributor), but should remain cautious because the smaller distributors will also require a smaller, but complete selection of these materials. Generally, the best scenario is to give your U.S. distributor a chance to see everything you have, and then ask them to duplicate the materials they prefer. From their selects (60-200 color slides, 15-100 black and white photos), you choose a smaller batch for selects for all the other territories (20 color slides and 10 black-and-white photos). No matter how astute and intelligent you are when selecting slides, all the distributors will latch onto one single image that they love. Because most of your European distributors will want to follow the U.S. campaign, they will often choose the same image. The point is, don’t make 300 copies of your favorite slide; trust your distributors to know their market and your film, and supply enough materials for them to do their job.

Other publicity materials include biographies of all key crew and cast, a summary of the film, and a few pages of material about production. Any information that can help your distributor fashion a “hook” to entice publicity is helpful. If the entire process was a miserable one, invent something. Often, press will not have seen your movie before interviews and will ask questions solely based on the notes you or your distributor have provided, so make sure your notes open up platforms to speak from and address issues that are enticing and marketable. Keep in mind that the El Mariachi hook of how low the production budget was is no longer interesting. Most independent films are made on a shoestring, and moviegoers don’t plunk down $8 to see how thrifty and ingenius you are anymore.

Delivery Shortcuts

The best shortcut to inexpensive and efficient delivery is anticipating the process from the very start of the production. While some of delivery expenses are unavoidable, many of the horror stories from the front lines of delivery involve inadequate preparation during the shoot and postproduction. Other shortcuts involve ways to handle the deliverable process itself. Following are a few basic mantras:

Never use anything you haven’t cleared. The cost of reshooting a scene with a different extra or in front of a different billboard, in the few instances where it’s even possible, can be enormous. More common, but no less damaging, is the inclusion of musical tracks in the mix before obtaining proper clearances. Clearing only the right to exhibit the film at festivals could be a great way to gain a bargaining chip with the record companies, but it can also be the producer’s worst nightmare. In the best cases, having a certain song in the film may attract the distributors’ attention, and the possibility of having the band’s music in a motion picture with a committed P&A budget may appeal to the record company, too. But an easy worst-case scenario is when the distributor loves the music, the director loves the music, but the music is only cleared for the festivals and the record companies will not negotiate a rate low enough to clear all media for the distributor. The moral is anything that isn’t cleared before exhibition is a gamble.

Pay attention to what’s happening on set. Careful attention on set will save a lot of headaches when time comes to obtain an errors and omissions policy. Be wary during production of any recognizable name, and keep in mind that recognizable doesn’t always mean famous. In one case, a producer needed to track down residents of a suburban western town who had the same name as the character in a movie. The producer’s lawyer asked them to make sure that the real people could not claim harmful similarities if their story was similar to the fictional character’s story. (The irony was the writer had crafted a name hoping to be completely generic.) Other things to be wary of: casting aspersions on trademarks by associating them with unpleasant activities. For example, don’t have your serial killer eat a McDonald’s Big Mac before a killing spree or your E&O carrier may exclude that from the coverage. Remember, what you don’t notice on set, a hungry lawyer will notice at a movie theater.

Hold onto everything you can. Never throw away anything. Never lose anything. Unused shots, failed foleys, recordings of the musicians rehearsing, letters from disgruntled caterers, keep ’em all. The most unlikely materials may eventually be required by a weird and rapacious distributor. And in such a case, the cost of recreating materials will most certainly outstrip the cost of a storage facility.

Hire a professional, reliable stills photographer. Unfortunately most producers learn the hard way just how important it is for a professional still photographer to be on set. “At Strand, we ask now before the deal is signed to see the selection of stills. It’s the single most important publicity item distributors need. Creating stills after the fact is usually impossible and pulling from a frame of the film is disastrous.” Oftentimes, unit publicists working on big-budget Hollywood films will read the script before production and identify major scenes where a good still will be an evocative selling tool. The unit publicist will then identify those scenes to the producer and unit photographer. Planning, professionalism, and attentive logging and care of the materials are all incredibly important during production. Make sure your key scenes, lead actors, and shots of the director on set are all covered.

Juggle the deliverables. Plan international releases carefully so that not all items will be needed everywhere at the same time. Very often, distributors around the world will release a film around the same time; that being the case, it’s very important to coordinate the international journeys of the film’s elements so that it doesn’t become necessary to create multiple internegatives or M&E tracks. The interpositive of a film will be used to create the trailer, the video transfer (unless you make a low-con print, which some transfer houses prefer), and the film’s internegatives; these activities must therefore be spaced out well in advance. A key to successful delivery is in evaluating everyone’s needs and concerns and crafting a solution everyone can live with

Use the organic deliverable – the Director. It may not appear in any contract, but the time demands made on the director will be enormous. After you sell the film, it will take your distributor at least three to six months to prepare for release. Many independent films are platformed, meaning they open in a few major markets and then expand to a wider audience. The European markets will generally follow the American release by a few months. This means that from selling the film to putting the film to bed can take about twelve to 24 months to get the film out to all territories. The primary selling tool for an independent film is the director. Interviews, by phone and in person, will continually occur. Most distributors will want the film to participate in a festival in their territory and will want the director to attend and do press. The director should be ready, prepared, professional and pleased, even though they are being asked the same questions day after day for months on end. Distributors remember who works a film and who can’t be bothered. You’ll never know how much your visit boosted ticket sales, but when you come knocking on the distributor’s door with your next film, they will remember. It’s good for the film, and good for the director.

Be wary of distributors creating the deliverables. Larger distributors might offer to create the materials themselves, often at lower base prices than you can because of the relationship they have with their own labs. On the other hand, they will add a service fee of 20-40% to the cost, which will be subtracted from the income the distributor makes on your film. On the third hand, if your film has only been sold for a modest advance, you may want the distributor to create as many of the materials as they are willing to, the logic being that you may never see any overages beyond your minimum guarantee, anyway. On the fourth hand, if your North American distributor (who generally needs the most delivery items) creates all the materials, who will service your international distributors? Will they charge a fee to the foreign distributors for access to the interpositive and internegatives they create?

Go for a Gross Corridor deal. If your distributor can’t offer you an advance to help defray the costs of delivery, ask for a gross corrider deal with your distributor, which essentially means that a portion of money received from the box office and ancillary markets will revert directly to the filmmaker. This allows money to come back to you more quickly in order to pay for materials. The downside is that less money is going to your distributor, who may need it to publicize and distribute your film.

And if you’re feeling luckySmaller distributors may only want an initial run of four to seven prints, which is a number that seems high to run off your original negative, but not large enough to warrant the expense of an internegative. An intermediate solution would be to create an interpositive of the film and then run prints off the original cut negative. If damage occurs, the interpositive can be used to create an internegative, and additional prints can be struck. The drawback of this method is that it’s still a tremendous gamble: Without creating an internegative and a checkprint, there’s no way to make sure that the interpositive is any good.

The Myth of the Seven-Thousand-Dollar Film

“A film without delivery items isn’t quite a film yet,” says Samuel Goldwyn’s Tom Rothman, which leads one to wonder whether deliverables should be a part of every film’s production budget, just as essential to a film’s creation as actor fees, equipment costs and music licensing. While deliverables are not strictly part of the script-to-answer-print process, they are definitely a part of the equation of how and whether a film breaks even or makes a profit, and their exclusion from a production budget can be somewhat misleading to a potential investor. On the other hand, it’s wildly inaccurate to predict the extent of a film’s release at the time of budgeting, so it would be difficult to anticipate how many of which deliverables a film might need. It would probably be safest to include one full set of deliverables in a production budget, but it’s even more important for producers to be aware of the cost necessary to create delivery items and weigh those costs during production. It is, for example, crucial to recognize early on that a 16mm film is virtually impossible to release theatrically anywhere outside the United States, and as such will probably have to be blown up to 35mm (a process which involves interpositives and internegatives as well as a substantial blow-up charge). It will also keep you from cutting corners by letting your cousin Sara, who takes pictures for the high school yearbook, from being your part-time, afterschool unit photographer. It will make you insist that production sound tracks be as clean as possible. And it will make you track down that charming street musician who sold your director a homemade tape in the subway, one of whose tracks has somehow worked its way into the production track.


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Definitely one of the best high-budget skate videos out there. Changed skate videos forever. ‘The end‘ was the first skateboarding movie to have 16mm and 35mm film used in it.

What video has exploding vans, beer guzzling chimps, hardcore porn queens, and a gnarly decapitation?



There is no real plot that runs throughout this documentary. Instead, each skater was placed into their segment to showcase their skills. Some of the skaters also incorporated a short story into their segments. ( Doesn’t the Nike concept sound pretty familiar???? supa creative on nikes part duh, now that was a K@k video)

Rick McCrank

The film opens with a scene of  Rick McCrank looking for a job, and boarding an airplane . This then cuts to Rick grinding down a rail in a high school, as well as some general  street skateboarding.

Willy Santos

This cuts back to the plane scene and then transitions to  Willy Santos ( Philippines )  becoming a human taco. Willy street skating is then shown.

Andrew Reynolds

Next comes a scene of an orangutan sitting out the front of a caravan trailer. This immediately cuts to scenes of  Andrew Reynolds‘ skating. Andrew’s segment finishes with him returning to the caravan trailer to share some  beers with the orangutan. An argument follows as the orangutan has consumed all the beer, and the scene ends with a bottle being smashed over Andrew’s head.

Team Birdhouse Amateurs

This transitions to Brian Sumner displaying some street skating skills, and then goes to  Ali Cairns who demonstrates vert skills. Finally, the last of  Team Birdhouse‘s amateurs –  Jeff Lenoce – displays some street skating.

Steve Berra

Next  Steve Berra is being seen chased by the camera in what can only be described as a tribute to horror films and the “unknown attacker“. He is attacked a few more times – each time “waking up from a nightmare“. Finally, he falls asleep and his street skating skills are displayed. During Steve’s skating sequence, the “unknown attacker” is constantly monitoring him. At the end of the segment, Steve fails to land a grind on the bench and becomes aggressive towards the camera. At this time the “unknown attacker” quickly approaches Steve and decapitates him. Steve’s segment ends when two FBI-like agents (one of which is famous skateboarder/actor The Late Harold Hunter)drive up in a black SUV and collect his head. The sequence uses a clever adaptation of breaking the fourth wall. Super creative.

Jeremy Klein and Heath Kirchart

Next Jeremy Klein and Heath Kirchart are seen street skating, driving a van and demolishing a portaloo, driving over trees and  traffic cones on the freeway, and eventually blowing it up. The next scene is interpreted as Jeremy and Heath, having ‘died’ from the accident, have gone to heaven – complete with Lexus cars, as well as pornographic actresses  Janine  Lindemulder and Kobe Tai dressed as french maids. Jeremy and Heath are now ‘living it up’, and playing some Golden Eye  007 on the Nintendo 64 , then going out and perform more street skating. This time they skate on and in a petrol station, a Blockbuster,get drunk, set a shed on fire, and end up jumping off a pier – all while wearing business suits. Symbolically, this may be representative of Jeremy and Heath ending up in hell.


Bucky Lasek and Tony Hawk

This last sequence opens as Bucky Lasek is shown being the lackey for Tony Hawk‘s domestic tasks. Bucky is seen cleaning the pool, cleaning up after the cat, and other domestic chores while Tony is seen relaxing and talking on the phone. Bucky’s t-shirt claims: “I am a piece of shit #2“. Footage of both of them on a vert ramp are intermingled within the domestic shots. Footage then shifts to that of only Tony Hawk on an indoor vert ramp. Other messages of “Tony Hawk #1 Bucky Lasek #2” flash up on screen. Tony finally slips and falls on the ramp, but awakens in an outdoor ramp, built inside a bull ring, dressed as a matador. The outdoor has a roller coaster loop, which after some attempts is successfully skated by Tony. Meanwhile, a disturbed Bucky is seen wiring up some plastic explosive in the bull ring. Bucky calls Tony on a mobile phone, and while on the phone with Tony, triggers off the explosives, thereby killing Tony. Instantly, Bucky’s t-shirt now reads: “I am the shit #1“. However, the full expletive is never shown in full. Bucky is seen driving off in a black Dodge Viper, and this is followed by some scenes of Bucky skating vert.

Cinematography techniques are of vital importance to any filmmaker as they help tell the story of the film in the most effective manner possible.

As a director of photography, it is important to learn the most precise and effective cinematography techniques to not only do the job effectively, but to keep up with the ever evolving world of cinematography techniques.  Cinematography is often defined as ‘painting with light’ and as such, it is important to remember that it is a discipline that is both technique and art.  Below are five of the most important cinematography techniques employed by ace cinematographers.

Digital Video Lighting

Lighting is of course one of the most paramount aspects of cinematography – in fact, it is probably the single most important element that needs to be successfully achieved for a filmmaker to create the kind of film he or she desires.  With the plethora of digital video cameras flooding the market in the last ten years, many amateur and professional filmmakers alike have had to struggle with learning how to properly light a scene shot with a digital camera.  Some filmmakers believe that a digital video can be shot with inferior cinematography and still appear comparable to an actual film in the end.  This is not the case.  The rule for successful digital video lighting is simple: a digital video has to be lit like it was shot on film for it to appear as though it was shot on film.  There is no shortcut around this!  Every director of photography with their salt knows this.  Cameras come and go, but the tried and tested techniques are permanent.

Three Point Lighting Technique

The standard lighting technique used by cinematographers is known as the three point lighting technique.  It is named as such because it includes three separate lights positioned to illuminate the subject being filmed.  It can be adjusted to enhance or diminish light ratios, shadows, shading, etc.  The three lights involved with this standard technique are known as the key light, the fill light and the back light.  The key light is the primary lighting device used to illuminate the subject being filmed from the front.  The fill light is typically placed at an angle and adds to the lighting in order to achieve the desired effect.  The back light is, of course, shone from behind and focuses on creating a contour of the person or scene being filmed.

Size of Shot

Another technique that has a profound effect on the way a film is perceived is the size of the shot.  For example, a subject being shot at close range will have a much more dramatic and intimate effect on the viewer than a scene shot from several hundred feet away.  The most common shot sizes utilized by cinematographers are the following: extreme close-up, close-up, medium shot, long shot, and establishing shot.  Most of these are self-explanatory, with the establishing shot being a shot that indicates to the viewer that change of location or time has occurred.


Matte is an old technique used by cinematographers and film editors that combines two separate shots or images into one shot.  This is generally applied to situations where an actor must be placed in a different environment than that in which they were originally shot.  This was particularly popular back in the 70s and 80s where many television shows and films depicted characters in locations created separately during production.  For example, many of the Superman films show Superman flying through space.  Of course, the actor did not fly through space but was superimposed over a background which made it look as though he was flying through open air.  This technique is being slowly phased out with the advent of green screens and other technology that seamlessly blend actors with any type of background.

Forced Perspective

Forced perspective is a technique applied by not only cinematographers, but engineers, architects and even army personnel.  Simply defined, it is an optical illusion that convinces the viewer that they are seeing an object (or person) from a distance that is in fact completely different from the actual distance at which the object is placed.  This is achieved by using objects that are not of standard size which manipulates the brain into thinking the object is farther or closer than it is in reality.  For example, recall the old monster movies of the 1940s in which it appeared as though giant monsters (like Godzilla) were attacking hordes of civilians.  In actuality, these giant creatures were simply large dolls or models shot at a distance which made them look like they were towering over their victims below.  This is the most common example of forced perspective in modern cinema.

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Procure multimedia was setup in December 2008 by Euvrard Loubser and Wilhelm Rabie as an independent digital video production company based in Cape Town South Africa.


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Van Coke Kartel Live at the Forbidden Fruit Festival in D’Aria 2010. Van Coke Kartel did what they did best and rocked the socks of everybody at the festival with songs like Voor ons stof word , September Fools and Verdoof vergiftig en verskoon my. This Band is a Must see. Hope you enjoy the video, Verdoof vergiftig en verskoon my.

Van Coke Kartel is Francois Van Coke, Wynand Myburgh, Jedd Kossew and JC Oosthuizen

Just two years after their first release, Van Coke Kartel is back with a third full-length album — Skop, Skiet en Donner. The new album follows on the group’s 2009 SAMA-winning release, Waaksaam & Wakker and once again confirms Van Coke Kartel as a unique phenomenon on the Afrikaans music landscape.

Francois Van Coke and Wynand Myburgh grew up in Bellville together, and have shared their love for making music for as many years as they have been friends. They have played together in many bands over the years, of which Fokofpolisiekar is the best known.

For more information on Van Coke Kartel.
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Procure Multimedia
Cameraman and Editor: Wilhelm G Rabie ( Procure multimedia )


BALLYHOO Live at the Forbidden Fruit Festival in D’Aria.

Ballyhoo — Originated out of Ireland and as defined in the dictionary means “exaggerated publicity“, and in retrospect, it certainly seems ironic that such a name should have been given to such a talented band — yet it is as ironic that they have achieved as much as they have — without exaggerated publicity.

BALLYHOO is a name synonymous with success in the South African music industry. Who can forget the smash hit “Man On The Moon” — the song that took them to the top of the charts in 1981, and is still going strong.
The Band is Fergie Ferguson – Bass Guitar & Vocals , Derrick Dryan – Lead Vocals & Percussion, Ashley Brokensha – Lead Guitar & Vocals


Film & Edit : Wilhelm G Rabie ( Procure multimedia )  —


Article by Popular Mechanics

Humans have feared a robotic uprising since the machines first appeared in science fiction. Today, experts caution against a more insidious threat: We might like living with them too much.

Being hacked by a robot requires much less hardware than I expected. There’s no need for virtual-reality goggles or 3D holograms. There are no skullcaps studded with electrodes, no bulky cables or hair-thin nanowires snaking into my brain. Here’s what it takes: one pair of alert, blinking eyeballs.

I’m in the Media Lab, part of MIT’s sprawling campus in Cambridge, Mass. Like most designated research areas, the one belonging to the Personal Robots Group looks more like a teenage boy’s bedroom than some pristine laboratory—it bursts with knotted cables, old pizza boxes and what are either dissected toys or autopsied robots. Amid the clutter, a 5-foot-tall, three-wheeled humanoid robot boots up and starts looking around the room. It’s really looking, the oversize blue eyes tracking first, and the white, swollen, doll-like head following, moving and stopping as though focusing on each researcher’s face. Nexi turns, looks at me. The eyes blink. I stop talking, midsentence, and look back. It’s as instinctive as meeting a newborn’s roving eyes. What do you want? I feel like asking. What do you need? If I was hoping for dispassionate, journalistic distance—and I was—I never had a chance.

“Right now it’s doing a really basic look-around,” researcher Matt Berlin says. “I think it’s happy, because it has a face to look at.” In another kind of robotics lab, a humanoid bot might be motivated by a specific physical goal—cross the room without falling, find the appropriate colored ball and give it a swift little kick. Nexi’s functionality is more ineffable. This is a social robot. Its sole purpose is to interact with people. Its mission is to be accepted.

That’s a mission any truly self-aware robot would probably turn down. To gain widespread acceptance could mean fighting decades of robot-related fear and loathing. Such stigmas range from doomsday predictions of machines that inevitably wage war on mankind to the belief that humanoid robots will always be hopelessly unnerving and unsuitable companions.

For Nexi, arguably the biggest star of the human–robot interaction (HRI) research field, fame is already synonymous with fear. Before visiting the Media Lab, I watched a video of Nexi that’s been seen by thousands of people on YouTube. Nexi rolls into view, pivots stiffly to face the camera and introduces itself in a perfectly pleasant female voice. If the goal was to make Nexi endearing, the clip is a disaster. The eyes are big and expressive, the face is childish and cute, but everything is just slightly off, like a possessed doll masquerading as a giant toddler. Or, for the existentially minded, something more deeply disturbing—a robot with real emotions, equally capable of loving and despising you. Viewers dubbed its performance “creepy.”

Now, staring back at Nexi, I’m an instant robot apologist. I want to shower those clips with embarrassingly positive comments, to tell the haters and the doubters that the future of HRI is bright. There’s no way seniors will reject the meds handed to them by chattering, winking live-in-nurse bots. Children, no doubt, will love day-care robots, even if the bots sometimes fail to console them, or grind to an unresponsive halt because of buggy software or faulty battery packs. To turn today’s faceless Roombas into tomorrow’s active, autonomous machine companions, social robots need only to follow Nexi’s example, tapping into powerful, even uncontrollable human instincts.

That’s why Nexi’s metallic arms and hands are drifting around in small, lifelike movements. It’s why Nexi searches for faces and seems to look you in the eye. When it blinks again, with a little motorized buzz, I realize I’m smiling at this thing. I’m responding to it as one social, living creature to another. Nexi hasn’t said a word, and I already want to be its friend.

As it turns out, knowing your brain is being hacked by a robot doesn’t make it any easier to resist. And perhaps that’s the real danger of social robots. While humans have been busy hypothesizing about malevolent computers and the limits of rubber flesh, roboticists may have stumbled onto a more genuine threat. When face to face with actual robots, people may become too attached. And like human relationships, those attachments can be fraught with pitfalls: How will grandma feel, for example, when her companion bot is packed off for an upgrade and comes back a complete stranger?

When a machine can push our Darwinian buttons so easily, dismissing our deep-seated reservations with a well-timed flutter of its artificial eyelids, maybe fear isn’t such a stupid reaction after all. Maybe we’ve just been afraid of the wrong thing.

Robots began scaring us long before they existed. In 1921, the Czech play R.U.R., or Rossum’s Universal Robots, simultaneously introduced the word “robot” and the threat of a robot apocalypse. In a proclamation issued in the play’s first act, the robots, built as cheap, disposable laborers, make their intentions clear: “Robots of the world, we enjoin you to exterminate mankind. Don’t spare the men. Don’t spare the women.” The origins of the evil robot can be traced back even further (see page 59), but R.U.R.’s new species of bogeyman was all the rage in the pulp sci-fi of the ’40s and ’50s—well before the actual research field of robotics. In fact, I, Robot author Isaac Asimov coined the term “robotics” at the same time that he began developing ethical laws for robots in his short stories.

By the time Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 gunned down an entire police precinct in the 1984 movie The Terminator, the robot insurgency had become one of pop culture’s most entrenched clichés. The film has since become shorthand for a specific fear: that artificial intelligence (AI) will become too intelligent, too obsessed with self-preservation. The Terminator colors the way we think about robots, AI and even the booming business of unmanned warfare. The Office of Naval Research, among others, has studied whether ethical guidelines will be needed for military robots, and in a 2008 preliminary report the authors tackle the bleakest possible endgame: “Terminator scenarios where machines turn against us lesser humans.”

But according to Patrick Lin, an assistant professor of philosophy at California Polytechnic State University and an ethics fellow at the U.S. Naval Academy, the need for ethical bots isn’t restricted to the battlefield. “Social robots probably pose a greater risk to the average person than a military robot,” Lin says. “They won’t be armed, but we will be coming face to face with them, quite soon.”

That, of course, is precisely the kind of quote reporters work hard to publish. The media homes in on juicy details about the hypothetical danger of self-organizing AI, and the prospect of amoral robots gunning down civilians. But the real threats posed by robots may have nothing to do with the Terminator scenario. Because compared to even the dumbest armed insurgent, robots are practically brain-dead.

Take Nexi, for example. Considered to be one of the most advanced social robots in the world, Nexi can understand only the most basic vocal instructions. During my visit, it couldn’t even do that—it was in the process of being loaded with behavioral software developed for another MIT robot, the fuzzy, big- eared Leonardo. Now in semi-retirement—its motors have gone rickety—Leonardo learns from humans such lessons as which blocks fit into a given puzzle, or which stuffed animal is “good” and which it should be afraid of. The implications are of the mind-blowing variety: a robot that listens to what we say and learns to crave or fear what we tell it to. Programmed with Leonardo’s smarts, “maybe in a year Nexi will be able to have a conversation with you that’s very boring,” MIT’s Berlin says. “But it may be pretty interesting if you’re trying to escape a burning building.”

If David Hanson, the founder of Hanson Robotics, has his way, the Texas-based company’s latest social robot, Zeno, could be talking circles around Nexi by the end of this year. At $2500, the 23-inch-tall humanoid robot would be a bargain, not because of its hardware but because of the code crammed into its cartoonish head. “The intelligent software can be aware of multiple people in a room,” Hanson says. “It builds a mental model of who you are, what you like and what you said. We’re getting to the point where it can hold an open-ended, open-domain conversation.” Hanson plans to roll out a $250 mass-market version in 2011 or 2012, with the same facial- and vocal-recognition capabilities. His goal is to provide a powerful testbed for researchers, while also harnessing AI algorithms to make a robot toy that’s actually fun for more than 15 minutes.

But for all of Nexi’s and Zeno’s social skills and painstaking simulation of emotional life, the bots are creatures of instinct, not introspection. Tracking software finds the human who’s speaking, a keyword triggers a scripted response, and when you leave the room, they don’t imagine where you’ve gone, whether the conversation helped or hurt you, or how to overthrow your government. “It’s very difficult for an artificial intelligence to project in a physical sense,” says Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading in England. “A robot can think about eventualities, but it can’t think even one step ahead about the consequences of its decisions.”

There are, of course, researchers who foresee rapid progress in computational neuroscience leading to inevitable “strong AI,” or artificial intelligence that’s not simply finishing your sentence in a Google search box, but mimicking human thought. IBM’s Blue Brain Project, for one, is energizing doomsayers with its goal of creating a virtual brain, potentially as soon as 2019. Still, without a neurological map of our own sense of consequence or morality, the breakthroughs that would allow for a truly power-hungry or evil robot are nowhere in sight. Contemplating them is a little like debating the ethical pitfalls of unregulated teleportation. Until someone builds the Enterprise, why worry if Scotty is going to drunk-dial himself into your house?

Robots will not rise up en masse anytime soon. Nexi won’t be e-mailing Zeno the “exterminate all humans” flier from R.U.R. to distribute among the world’s Roombas, Predators and assembly-line welding machines. It’s a fantasy, or, at best, a debate for another century. And like many robot fears, it threatens to drown out a more rational debate, one that stems from the fact that robots fall through nearly every legal and ethical crack. “If an autistic patient charges a robot and tries to damage it, how should the robot respond?” asks Lin, who is also planning to develop ethical guidelines for social healthcare bots.

“Should it shut down? It’s an expensive piece of equipment—should it push back?” When the robots arrive in force, are we prepared for the collateral damage, both physical and psychological, they could inflict?

When our eyes see a robot, one that we think is autonomous—moving, acting, functioning under its own power—our mirror neurons fire. These same neurons activate when we watch another animal move, and neuroscientists suspect they’re associated with learning, by way of imitation. Mirror neurons could care less about a wax statue, or a remote-control drone. It’s the autonomous robot that lights the fuse, tricking the mind into treating a mechanical device as a living thing.

And yet, like many aspects of human–robot interaction, the full repercussions are unknown. Science-fiction writers may have spent a half-century theorizing about the long-term effects of living with robots, but science is only getting started. While the field of HRI goes about the business of collecting data and sorting out its methodologies, drawing solid conclusions can be impossible, or at least irresponsible. Take those mirror neurons, for example. Neuroscientists can watch them flip on, but the exact purpose of those neurons is still up for debate.

Another, more common example of the brain’s mysterious response to robots is often referred to as the uncanny valley—a poetic way of saying, “robots are creepy.” Proposed in a 1970 paper by roboticist Masahiro Mori, the uncanny valley describes a graph showing that humans feel more familiar with, and possibly more comfortable toward, humanoid machines. Until, that is, the machine becomes too human-like, tripping the same psychological alarms associated with seeing a dead or unhealthy human. At that point the graph collapses, and then rises again with the response to a real human being, or, theoretically, a perfect android. Whether this is a distortion of our fight-or-flight instincts or something more complex, Mori’s word choice was important—the uncanny is not naked fear, but a mix of familiarity and fear, attraction and repulsion. It’s a moment of cognitive dissonance that the brain can’t reconcile, like encountering a talking Christmas tree, or a laughing corpse.

By academic standards, it’s evocative, exciting stuff, describing what appears to be a widespread phenomenon. Nexi’s unnerving YouTube clips seem like textbook examples, and the robot has plenty of unsettling company. The Japanese social bot CB2 (Child-robot with Biomimetic Body), with its realistic eyes, child-like proportions and gray skin, evokes near-universal horror among bloggers and reporters. Another Japanese robot, KOBIAN, features a wildly expressive face, with prominent eyebrows and a set of fully formed, ruby-red lips. It, too, was instantly branded creepy by the Western press. The designers of those social bots were actually trying to avoid the uncanny—Asian labs are packed with photorealistic androids that leap headlong into the twitching, undead depths of Mori’s valley.

But just as the Terminator scenario withers under scrutiny, the uncanny valley theory is nowhere near as tidy as it sounds. Based on those YouTube clips, I had expected my meeting with Nexi to be hair-curling. Instead, I can see my grin scattered across computer monitors in the Media Lab. Nexi’s forehead-mounted, depth-sensing infrared camera shows my face as a black and gray blur, and the camera in its right eye portrays me in color. I watch as I slip from the monitors, Nexi’s head and eyes smoothly tracking to the next face. I am not creeped out—I’m a little jealous. I want Nexi to look at me again. “There are some very practical things that we do to make our robots not creepy,” Berlin says. The secret to Nexi’s success, apparently, is within arm’s reach of the robot: a slightly battered hardcover book titled The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation—required reading for the Personal Robots Group. “We’re making an animation, in real time,” Berlin says. Like many animated characters, Nexi’s features and movements are those of exaggerated humanity. When it reaches for an object, its arm doesn’t shoot forward with eerie precision. It wastes time and resources, orienting its eyes, head and body, and lazily arcing its hand toward the target. Nexi is physically inefficient, but socially proficient.

How proficient? In interactions with hundreds of human subjects, including residents of three Boston-area senior centers, researchers claim that no one has run screaming from Nexi. Quite the opposite: Many seniors tried to shake the robot’s hand, or hug it. At least one of them planted a kiss on it. “It interacts with people in this very social way, so people treat it as a social entity in an interpersonal way, rather than a machine-like way,” Cynthia Breazeal, director of the Personal Robots Group, says. “In studies with Nexi, we’ve shown that if you have the robot behave and move in ways that are known to enhance trust and engagement, the reaction is the same as it is with people. You’re pushing the same buttons.”

That principle has proven true for CB2 and KOBIAN as well. The research leaders of both projects claim that the apprehension directed at their robots online and in the media never materializes in person. With the exception of one Thai princess, everyone who encountered CB2 liked it, according to Osaka University’s Minoru Asada. A Japanese newspaper brought a group of elderly to visit KOBIAN. They were “deeply pleased and moved,” Atsuo Takanishi, a professor of mechanical engineering at Waseda University, says, “as if the robot really had emotion.”

Even if the uncanny valley ends up being more of a shallow trench, one that’s easily leveled by actually meeting an android, the success of Nexi and company only raises a more profound question: Why do we fall so hard for robots?

“It turns out that we’re vulnerable to attaching, emotionally, to objects. We are extremely cheap dates,” says Sherry Turkle, director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. “Do we really want to exploit that?” Turkle has studied the powerful bond that can form between humans and robots such as Paro, an almost painfully cute Japanese baby-seal-shaped therapy bot that squirms in your arms, coos when caressed and recharges by sucking on a cabled pacifier. She has also documented assumptions of intelligence and even emotion reported by children playing with robotic dolls. The effect that Paro, a therapy bot that’s little more than an animatronic stuffed animal, had on senior citizens only reinforced her concerns. “Tell me again why I need a robot baby sitter?” Turkle asks. “What are we saying to the child? What are we saying to the older person? That we’re too busy with e-mail to care for those in need?”

To researchers like Turkle, the widespread deployment of social robots is as risky as it is inevitable. With some analysts estimating a $15 billion market for personal robots by 2015, the demand for expressive machines is expected to be voracious. At the heart of Turkle’s argument—a call for caution, essentially—is the fear of outsourcing human interaction to autonomous machines. Even more alarming are the potential beneficiaries of robotic companionship, from children in understaffed schools to seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s. Enlisting an army of robots to monitor the young and the elderly could be a bargain compared to the cost of hiring thousands of teachers and live-in nurses. But how will the first generation to grow up with robotic authority figures and friends handle unpredictable human relationships? Without more data, a well-intended response to manpower shortage could take on the ethical and legal dimensions of distributing a new and untested antidepressant.

One possible solution is to scale back the autonomy and use social bots as puppets. Huggable, another robot from MIT’s Personal Robots Group, is a teddy bear whose movements can be controlled through a Web browser. The researchers plan to use it to comfort hospitalized children; family members or doctors would operate it remotely. When I see Huggable, it’s actually a teddy bear skeleton. The furry coat, which will eventually be replaced with one that includes pressure- and touch-sensitive sensors, sits in a heap next to the bot as it fidgets. An open laptop shows the operator’s view through Huggable’s camera and a menu of simple commands, such as raising and lowering its arms, or aiming its head at my face.

For now, Huggable has no identity of its own. It’s a high-tech ventriloquist’s dummy channeling the voice of its operator, not a full-fledged social creature. In a recent paper describing the dangers of “parent” modes in Japanese robotic toys and the temptation to use robots as nannies, Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield in England, cited Huggable’s lack of autonomy as a selling point. “Such robots do not give rise to the same ethical concerns as exclusive or near-exclusive care by autonomous robots,” he wrote with a co-author. Semiautonomy might not cut payrolls, but it could be a safer way to roll out the first wave of social bots.

Sharkey’s and Turkle’s ominous point of view overlaps uncomfortably with the climate of fear that has always surrounded robots. And yet, nearly every researcher I spoke with agreed on a single point: We need ethical guidelines for robots, and we need them now. Not because robots lack a moral compass, but because their creators are operating in an ethical and legal vacuum. “When a bridge falls down, we have a rough-and-ready set of guidelines for apportioning out accountability,” says P.W. Singer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of Wired for War. “Now we have the equivalent of a bridge that can get up and move and operate in the world, and we don’t have a way of figuring out who’s responsible for it when it falls down.”

In a debate steeped in speculation and short on empirical data, a set of smart ethical guidelines could act as an insurance policy. “My concern is not about the immediate yuck factor: What if this robot goes wrong?” says Chris Elliott, a systems engineer and trial lawyer who contributed to a recent Royal Academy report on autonomous systems. “It’s that people will go wrong.” Even if the large-scale psychological impact of social robots turns out to be zero, Elliott worries that a single mishap, and the corresponding backlash, could reverse years of progress. Imagine the media coverage of the first patient killed by a robotic surgeon, an autonomous car that T-bones a school bus or a video clip of a robotic orderly wrestling with a dementia patient. “The law is way behind. We could reach a point where we’re afraid to deploy new beneficial robots because of the legal uncertainty,” Elliott says.

The exact nature of those guidelines is still anyone’s guess. One option would be to restrict the use of each robotic class or model to a specific mission—nurse bots that can visit with patients within a certain age range, or elder-care bots that watch for dangerous falls but aren’t built for small talk and snuggling. In the long run, David Hanson believes AI should be explicitly programmed to cooperate with humans, so that when robots self-evolve they have what he calls the “wisdom” not to harm us. Cynthia Breazeal’s take is more hard-nosed. “Now is certainly the time to start hammering things out,” she says. “People should have a serious dialogue before these robots are in contact with vulnerable populations.”

Philosophers, ethicists, lawyers and roboticists have only begun the hard work of fleshing out Asimov’s early code of robo-ethics. In the meantime, if there’s a way to dismantle our long-standing, irrational fear of robots and head off any risk of a Luddite backlash, it might be up to robots such as Nexi.

While I’m eyeing the gears and servos along Nexi’s exposed back, a tour group shows up in the Media Lab unannounced. A crowd of kids, maybe fifth or sixth graders, approaches the robot. Nexi is tracking their faces when one of the boys gets a little too close. The robot’s eyebrows swivel inward. The eyelids narrow as the head tilts down. And the worm motors that control Nexi’s fingers whine like electric drills as its fists clench.

“Whoa!” the kid in the lead says, and they all backpedal.

“Is it getting mad?” one girl asks the researchers.

Then Nexi’s face softens and, instantly, they’re laughing.

“So do you give robots emotions?” another girl asks.

I remember something Breazeal told me earlier: that for kids who grow up around robots, the uncanny valley could be irrelevant and The Terminator little more than a quaint story. Vulnerable or not, children interact with these machines differently.

Understanding the limits and strange potential of robotics might be as simple as letting them meet the models most like them—the ones built to live at their sides. Maybe Nexi could act as that first, limited exposure, a vaccine against the wild fears and warped perceptions the rest of us have grown up with.

The kids provoke Nexi’s anger response again, laughing more this time. When its eyebrows level, the lead boy jabs his friend and points at the robot’s impassive face.

“It’s smiling at you! It’s smiling!”

The Associated Press reports that toy company Hasbro is set to unveil a new device called “My3D” that will allow iPhone and iPod touch users to view 3-D content on their devices.
It promises three-dimensional content that offers a 360-degree experience in gaming, virtual travel experiences and entertainment content. It’s aimed at both children and adults.

The device, which resembles a pair of binoculars with a slot in which users insert their iPod or iPhone, will be priced at $30. It will be available starting next spring at stores where Apple’s iPhones and iPod Touches are available.

According to the report, Apple assisted Hasbro with development of the My3D accessory, which will require specialized apps to support display of the 3-D content. Hasbro has teamed with Dreamworks Animation, as well as a forthcoming 3-D TV network backed by Discovery, Sony, and IMAX, to produce content for the device.