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What you Brain looks like in the Uncanny Valley

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation, which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes them to appear creepy. Researchers at University of California, San Diego have scanned the brains of individuals visiting the “valley” to try to understand why they freak us out.

Published in the Oxford University Press journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, the functional MRI study suggests that what may be going on is due to a perceptual mismatch between appearance and motion…

According to their interpretation of the fMRI results, the researchers say they saw, in essence, evidence of mismatch. The brain “lit up” when the human-like appearance of the android and its robotic motion “didn’t compute.”

“The brain doesn’t seem tuned to care about either biological appearance or biological motion per se,” said Saygin, an assistant professor of cognitive science at UC San Diego and alumna of the same department. “What it seems to be doing is looking for its expectations to be met – for appearance and motion to be congruent.”

In other words, if it looks human and moves likes a human, we are OK with that. If it looks like a robot and acts like a robot, we are OK with that, too; our brains have no difficulty processing the information. The trouble arises when – contrary to a lifetime of expectations – appearance and motion are at odds.

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IQ’s Pitch Black nabs “Best Independent Film” – 2011 Las Vegas Film Festival!!

Pitch Black took home the title “Best Independent Film” at the 2011 Las Vegas Film Festival held July 16th-18th

Watch the full film here

My deepest and warmest thanks to everyone here on IQ that has help massage and tear apart this film from conception to the finished product especially Da Cat for his insight in the Editing in the Dark Series where we went through each scene cut by bloody cut.

But my biggest thanks goes to the audience – the people that showed up to see a film they only read a blurp about. And to you, the IQ reader -for without you the audience our films would just be home videos…

THANK YOU!!

And I even made it to the CBS Las Vegas News (this time not for my alleged prostitution ring)

The tag on the end where the reporter is talking about “shot in days with a $2000 budget” – they’re referring to Pitch Black…

Be sure to check out the next edition of “The Wrap” (or own podcast) next Monday where I will run down my experience at the Las Vegas Film Festival. Here’s last week edition that was recorded in Las Vegas right before the festivities.

The Dark Knight Rises – Official Teaser Trailer

That’s right it’s here, the official teaser trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises,” the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake.

Returning to the main cast, Oscar® winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

The screenplay is written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on “Batman Begins” and the record-breaking blockbuster “The Dark Knight.” The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull, with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane.

Dolby Presents Surrounded: 7.1 Cinema & Beyond

Dolby gathered a group of cinema industry leaders and innovators from around the world for an exclusive Filmmakers’ Forum held on Monday, July 11, 2011 in San Francisco, CA.

The content creation community is embracing this new audio format, and more than 25 feature films have been announced or already mixed in 7.1—and a majority of them are in 3D. Discover how 7.1 brings a more exciting sensory experience to 2D and gives content creators even more control over audio placement for 3D movies. Also learn from experts in the cinema industry how they envision the future of surround sound.

VIA: SoundWorks Collection

Panel Moderator:
Stuart Bowling, Dolby Laboratories, Worldwide Technical Marketing Manager, Cinema

Panelists:
Kinson Tsang, supervising sound designer, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen and The Lost Bladesman
Rohan Sippy, director, Dum Maaro Dum
Erik Aadahl, supervising sound editor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Megamind
Michael Semanick, rerecording mixer, Cars 2 and Toy Story 3
Eric Brevig, director, Yogi Bear and Journey to the Center of the Earth

The Wrap – Film Festivals: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Wrap – The Reality of Film Festivals
Episode 7

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Show Notes

A quick snap of Elvis who pulled in front of me…

My Favorite Short:

IQ Weekly Recap for the Week of July 10-16, 2011

Review of Canon XA10 XF100 XF105
In this video review Philip Bloom compares the small 1/3? chip full HD Cmos cameras from Canon.

Adam Sandler, ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME??
It seems Adam Sandler has completely given up. “From the producers of Just Go With It and Grown Ups”. I guess that’s just his way of giving us the finger on the way out the door. And what the hell is Al Pacino doing in this? Poor… poor… Al. “First, you get the money. Then you get the power, then you become a complete whore.”

3 Ways to Shoot a Driving Scene (without driving)
Film Riot’s Ryan Connolly and his team try out three different methods for shooting a driving scene without really driving. These include the Greenscreen, Rear Projection, and Special effects lighting.

6 Tips to Manage Client Expectations in the Video Production Process
Working with a marketing department that doesn’t speak “film production” can be tough and mismatch in expectation can potentially lead to costly re-shoots, extra editing and a generally dissatisfied client. Her are six tips that can help you better manage those expectations and create a better working relationship.

The Portrait Photographer’s Rube Goldberg
This has got to be the single hardest way to take a photo.

Something Educational & Something F*cking Stupid: LLC vs LP + Helium Dog
We post lots of stuff about contracts, the law and other boring topics. I believe they are some of the most important articles on IQ. Although it may not be much of a surprise that they are the least read. So, in a effort to provide a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down we created this new series, “Something Educational & Something F*cking Stupid.”

Michael Norman Saleman and a yapping dog

How to Cook Like Hitchcock
Hitch by Felix Meyer, Pascal Monaco, Torsten Strer and others was their graduation project at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover. It’s about an animated book containing the recipes for Alfred Hitchcock’s classics. “The Ultimate Hitch Cookbook” is made for Hitchcock enthusiasts and every other couch potato out there.

How to Make a Living as a Filmmaker
This event was co-sponsored by the Tribeca Film Institute and the Department of Media Studies and Film at The New School.

DSLR Film Look Using Shutter Speed
Olivia Speranza shows you how to simulate the film or cinematic looks with DSLR cameras. Without getting too technical, a basic rule is to keep your shutter speed at about twice the framerate. Using ND filters helps you to control that setting when out in bright daylight.

A Day in a Life of Pixar’s John Lasseter
What does it take to be the Chief Creative Officer and director at Disney and Pixar (other than an endless supply of Hawaiian shirts)? This 25-minute documentary takes us through A Day in the Life of John Lasseter and gives us some insights into the most powerful person in the animation industry.

Fair Use School: Response to YouTube’s Copyright School Video
This video from Patrick McKay is the winning entry for Public Knowledge’s video contest to create a response to YouTube’s new “copyright school” video.

The Sound of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Director David Yates returns to direct his fourth Harry Potter film and returns with his talented sound team including Re-recording mixers Stuart Hilliker and Mike Dawson, Supervising Music Editor Gerard McCann, Supervising Sound Editor James Mather, and Sound Designer Dom Gibbs

6 Things to Check Before Hitting the Record Button On Your DSLR
In this video Dave Dugdale of Learning DSLR Video gives you six thing to check before hitting the record button on your DSLR.

5 Keys to Writing a Summer Blockbuster
It used to be that summer was the season for blockbuster movies. Now it’s a year-round phenomenon. Hollywood is in the business of selling films to a worldwide audience, which means they are always looking for a script with blockbuster potential.

Spielberg, Grazer & Howard: Cowboys & Aliens Interview
Jon Favreau sits down with Steven Spielberg, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, three of the producers of Cowboys & Aliens. In these interviews they touch upon subjects like Jaws, the Oklahoma Land Rush, but the highlight is Spielberg telling the story of when John Ford told him to get the f*ck out of his office.

Spielberg, Grazer & Howard: Cowboys & Aliens Interview

Jon Favreau sits down with Steven Spielberg, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, three of the producers of Cowboys & Aliens. In these interviews they touch upon subjects like Jaws, the Oklahoma Land Rush, but the highlight is Spielberg telling the story of when John Ford told him to get the fuck out of his office.

5 Keys to Writing a Summer Blockbuster

by John Truby

It used to be that summer was the season for blockbuster movies. Now it’s a year-round phenomenon. Hollywood is in the business of selling films to a worldwide audience, which means they are always looking for a script with blockbuster potential.

Most screenwriters think a blockbuster is simply a film that does really well at the box office. Technically speaking, that’s true. But the reality is that a script with blockbuster potential is a very special kind of script, with a number of story elements that studio executives are looking for.

I’d like to point out five of the most important blockbuster script elements, out of about forty that we consistently see in the top money-making films.

Technique 1: The Myth Genre

The first blockbuster story element has to do with the genre you use to tell your story. A genre is a particular kind of story, like detective, action or comedy. When Hollywood was selling primarily to an American audience, executives thought that movie stars were the key to a hit film. But in the last ten to fifteen years, the vast majority of blockbuster films have had no movie stars.

Instead the emphasis has changed to genre films with great stories. For a film to reach a worldwide audience, it must be popular in over 100 different cultures and nationalities. Story forms are instantly recognizable anywhere in the world.

But you can’t just choose any genre if you want to write a script with blockbuster potential. Most writers don’t know that some genres travel well while others don’t. For example, comedies based mostly on funny dialogue don’t travel.

Ironically, the story that travels best is the oldest genre of all, the myth form. Myth is found in more blockbusters than any other genre by far. Add up the box office for the following myth-based movies: Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Lord of the Rings, Shrek, Star Wars and Avatar.

The reason myth transcends national and cultural boundaries so well is that the form tracks archetypal characters and archetypal life situations. These are fundamental character types that everyone knows, and life experiences everyone passes through from birth to death.

Like any genre, myth has a number of unique story beats you must learn, and include, if you want to tell the form well. And remember: in blockbusters, myth is almost always combined with one or two other genres, such as action, fantasy and science fiction, that serve to update and unify the myth story for a young audience.

Technique 2: The Hero’s Goal

The single most important element in an international blockbuster is narrative drive, the ability of the story to propel forward at an increasing rate. Narrative drive comes primarily from the hero’s desire line. Desire is one of the seven major story structure steps, and provides you with the all-important spine on which you hang all characters, plot, symbol, theme and dialogue.

Average writers tend to make at least one of the following mistakes when coming up with the desire line: their hero has no clear goal, he/she accomplishes the goal too quickly, or the hero reaches the goal by taking only a few action steps.

There are three keys to a good desire line. First, make it specific; the more specific the better. Second, extend the goal as close to the end as possible. Third, make sure the hero is obsessed with it. Above all, intensify the desire.

Technique 3: The Opponent

As screenwriters, we are taught to focus on the hero, since this character drives the story. That’s sound advice. But in blockbuster films, the opponent may be even more important. One of the great principles in all storytelling is that the hero is only as good as the person he fights. Also, the opponent is the key to plot. And in the last ten years, blockbusters have become more plot heavy.

When writing your script, first make sure you have one main opponent to focus and build the conflict. Then look for ways to intensify the central opposition. Make your main opponent bigger, smarter, more aggressive, more passionate. In writing Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan said, “What was important to me in creating an incredible frightening villain is that everything he says is true and at some level reasonable and also makes sense.” Nolan then used this same approach in The Dark Knight when he created The Joker, one of the all-time great opponents and probably the key element in that film’s huge success.

Once you’re clear about the main opponent, try to come up with one or two secondary opponents, with at least one of them hidden from the hero and the audience.

Technique 4: The Scam

The emphasis blockbuster films place on plot leads to another story technique. And it’s designed to solve a problem that plagues almost all screenwriters: how do you create maximum plot in the middle, where 90% of scripts fail? In blockbuster movies, the hero’s plan is often a scam, or a plan that involves deception.

The trick here is to make the plan more deceptive for both hero and main opponent. When the hero scams, he becomes a trickster character, which audiences love. When the opponent scams, it gives you more plot and makes him/her a more challenging foe.

Technique 5: The Story World

The rise of the videogame along with the ability of special effects artists to realize wholly imaginary worlds has made the story world one of the three or four crucial elements in a blockbuster film. As little as a decade ago, Hollywood didn’t care about story world, because it slows down narrative drive. Special effects were designed primarily to heighten heroic action.

But videogames showed Hollywood the power that comes from having viewers immerse themselves and explore a world in all its facets. And there’s no medium that can do that better than the big screen film medium.

Many screenwriters believe that this aspect of the film is the responsibility of the director and the special effects artists. Wrong. A good story world is written into the script, and it is intimately organic to the story. That’s why you must make sure that every visual element contributes to the story. In other words every element should have story meaning embedded within it.

How you do that is a major story skill right up there with character, plot, dialogue and rewrite. All of the major techniques for creating a rich story world are found in my Blockbuster story development software. The first step is to define a distinct and recognizable arena. Then create a map of the world, with as much detail as you can provide, especially when depicting the central community within which the story takes place. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Avatar were all written by masters of the story world.

If you are serious about succeeding as a professional screenwriter, start with these five techniques and you will be well on the path to writing a script that Hollywood is eager to buy.

About the Author:

John Truby coaches top writers for the screen and television, has created software for the working writer, has served as story consultant for major studios and production companies, and as script doctor on movies, sit-coms and dramas for television. He founded Truby’s Writers Studio where he teaches writing techniques and has created a number of books, audiotapes and other essential tools for the writer, all of which are available through the Writers Store.

Source with Permission: The Writers Store

6 Things to Check Before Hitting the Record Button On Your DSLR

In this video Dave Dugdale of Learning DSLR Video gives you six thing to check before hitting the record button on your DSLR.

Run and Gun Style

1. Resolution and frame rate
2. AWB, if I have a few more seconds to spare I will see what the other WB settings look like on the screen
3. ISO – inside outside?
4. Picture Styles – normally shoot standard especially if I am running fast
5. Shutter Speed – easy to jog it 50th for 1080 and 125th for 720
6. then I check focus and hit record

Planned Shoot (Additional Items to Check)

1. Custom white balance
2. I will check the ‘blinky’s’ to see if I am over exposed anywhere (I am not too good at reading histograms yet)
3. Use an 18% gray card to double check the exposure
4. Double check the audio – disable the AGC on my t2i

Somethings I never check because I never change them

1. AF mode – quick focus
2. AF during movie – enable
3. Movie exposure – manual
4. Grid Display – grid 1
5. Highlight Tone Priority – disable
6. Always on Quick Focus using the center or top focus point,
7. Auto Lighting Optimizer on standard.

The Sound of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

After eight films over a 10-year span, the epic adventure of Harry Potter and his circle of wizard friends will close the last chapter of this celebrated series with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Director David Yates returns to direct his fourth Harry Potter film and returns with his talented sound team including Re-recording mixers Stuart Hilliker and Mike Dawson, Supervising Music Editor Gerard McCann, Supervising Sound Editor James Mather, and Sound Designer Dom Gibbs.

VIA: Michael Coleman

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