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How Christopher Nolan Rebuilt Batman

How Christopher Nolan and his team of top technicians took a defunct franchise and turned it into the epitome of comic-book cool. The golden rule: keep it real.

After Batman & Robin had put the character more or less back in ’60s TV-Batman Adam West territory, Batman Begins’ immediate agenda was to move Bruce Wayne firmly back into the shadows. “The concept was always to present him from the criminal’s point of view,” explains Christopher Nolan. “I always liken Batman to the first Alien, where you just glimpse it. So he’s frightening, threatening and elusive. You understand why they’re afraid of him.”

“We had to lay new foundations,” continues production designer Nathan Crowley, “but there was still a lot we had to respect. We decided that his money is his superpower, that was really our starting point. He has this great company, and Chris came up with the military tech and the Applied Science Division — our Q Branch.”

Christian Bale may not have seemed like obvious casting, since he’d just dropped his weight to an almost catastrophic thinness to play the disturbed lead in The Machinist. It was precisely that intensity, though, that made him the man to play Gotham’s crimebusting Fledermaus. “The reason Christian was ideal is he can live and breathe and think that extreme of a character,” says Nolan. “That’s his gift as an actor. He is an extremely dedicated and disciplined person and so I think he relates to those qualities in the character.”

Bale says he was most interested in playing facets of the character that had never previously been seen. “What makes Batman, Bruce Wayne, intriguing to me,” says Bale, “is this notion of the multiple personalities that he chooses to display, of the notion that Batman actually is not a performance; that’s genuine. Bruce Wayne publicly is the performance…”

Empire Magazine | Read the Full Article

The Very First Photo Uploaded on the Web

Particle-colliders and cross dressing – Here’s the story behind the world’s first photograph ever to be uploaded to the internet.

July 18th, the photograph at the center of that image — a homemade promotional shot for Les Horribles Cernettes, a comedy band based at the CERN laboratory near Geneva — will turn 20 years old. Despite the artifact’s world-historical significance, its full story has never been told. Few enthusiasts of art or photography or technology will be marking its 20th birthday, in no small part because it’s such an odd and un-artistic image.

The first Web photo was no exception. It wasn’t even taken for the purposes of science or technology. The photographer, Silvano de Gennaro, was an IT developer at CERN who worked near Tim Berners-Lee and the other scientists who had invented the Web and made it public in 1991. But “I didn’t know what the Web was,” he recalled.

On July 18th, 1992, de Gennaro was backstage at the Hardronic Music Festival, an annual event thrown by CERN’s administrators, waiting for the Cernettes — whom he managed, and whose songs he writes — to come on stage. He wanted a picture for their next CD cover, so he told the four members to lean in and smile.

His Canon EOS 650 clicked, and that was that. “When history happens, you don’t know that you’re in it,” de Gennaro said.

Motherboard | Read the Full Article

How Does the Film Industry Actually Make Money

Adam Davidson takes a look at the strange industry that is the Hollywood Studio and how their business model works.

I’ve been trying to come to terms with two seemingly irreconcilable facts. First, “Men in Black 3” has made more than $550 million worldwide. Second, while a representative from the parent company of Columbia Pictures told me that the movie is now “in the win column,” it seemed until recently as if Columbia might actually lose money on it. How could that be? It’s not so complicated. Its production costs were close to $250 million; worldwide marketing most likely added at least that much; and a big chunk of the ticket sales go to theaters and distributors.

There must be an easier way to make money. For the cost of “Men in Black 3,” for instance, the studio could have become one of the world’s largest venture-capital funds, thereby owning a piece of hundreds of promising start-ups. Instead, it purchased the rights to a piece of intellectual property, paid a fortune for a big star and has no definitive idea why its movie didn’t make a huge profit. Why is anyone in the film industry?

All business requires guessing, but future predilections of moviegoers are especially opaque. If a large company wants to introduce a new car, it can at least base its predictions, in part, on factors like where oil prices are headed. Movie executives, on the other hand, come up with a host of new theories each summer about what audiences want — 3-D tent poles, 2-D tent poles, vampires, comics, board games and so on — then, sometimes over the course of a weekend, ricochet toward a new theory. Will the tepid economics of “Men in Black 3” spell trouble for “The Amazing Spider-Man,” this holiday weekend’s big release? Who knows.

Unlike other decades-old industries, Hollywood not only has a hard time forecasting, but it also has difficulty analyzing past results. Why was “The Hunger Games” such a big hit? Because it had a built-in audience? Because it starred Jennifer Lawrence? Because it was released around spring break? The business is filled with analysts who claim to have predictive powers, but the fact that a vast majority of films fail to break even proves that nobody knows anything for sure.

The New York Times | Read the Full Article

Everything You Need to Know about Text Animation in After Effects

After Effects can do some amazing things for animated text – but keyframing individual text parameters is handled a bit differently than other parameters. Andrew Devis covers how to create Text Animators and how Text Range Selectors work.

Range Selector Part One

Range Selector Part Two

Animator Part 1

Animator Part 2: Fill and Stroke

Animator Part 3: Tracking and More

Animator Part 4: Per-character 3D

Shaping Text And Advanced Options

10 Famous Directors on Making Their First Feature Films

From Paul Thomas Anderson to Joel and Ethan Coen, David Lynch to Woody Allen, these are the words of directors and their experiences making their first feature film.

Joel and Ethan Coen on Blood Simple

There’s something extremely satisfying in knowing that the director of The Evil Dead influenced two of the biggest art-house filmmakers of our time when they were trying to get their careers off the ground. (They also collaborated with Sam Raimi on Crimewave.) In My First Movie, the directors talked about how their Texas-set neo-noir film Blood Simple was conceived. It was the first time the directors worked on a professional set, but according to them, no one else there really knew what they were doing.

On choosing their story:

“JC: We wrote a little thing for Frank LaLoggia, one of the directors I was working for as an assistant editor; we wrote a screenplay with Sam Raimi. So we just sat down and thought what kind of movie could we make that was sort of producible on a really small budget like these horror movies, but that isn’t necessarily a horror film.

EC: The inspiration was these movies that Joel had been working on which had been done mostly by young people like us who didn’t have any credentials or credibility in the mainstream movie industry. But they’d gone out and raised money underground for their little exploitation movies, got the movies made and subsequently wandered into the place where Joel was working to have them cut. It was that evidence that it could be done that led us to try it ourselves: notably Sam’s movie, The Evil Dead, because Sam was the most forthcoming in sharing all his experience with us.”

Flavorwire | Read the Full Article

5 Tips for Directing Kids Under 10

Ryan E. Hoffman discusses something that W.C. Fields tries his best to avoid.


“Never work with animals or children,” is a phrase that’s somewhat of a cliché in the film world. On my upcoming pilot, we have to do both. Although animals are always tricky, working with kids doesn’t have to be. When I’m not making content, I coach little league baseball. It’s been a great day job for the past ten years, but I never thought I’d be able to apply its lessons to my career in film. This past week, we had to do an action sequence with a six year old boy where he had to run down the hall with a toy shotgun, post up on the wall, then run into the kitchen and shoot me in the neck. Here are five tips that I’ve put together from that experience and my decade plus of practice teaching kids baseball technique.

1. Work around their schedule

We have load-ins, lighting set ups, and the camera crew needs to set up their equipment. Art department sometimes has to build the set on sight, and often times it can be six hours on set before we’re ready to shoot. Problem is, kids don’t know anything about what it takes to make movies, how much work it is, or why it takes so long in between setting up shots. If you have to work with a kid on your set, give them a call time that places their arrival as close to rolling the camera on the first shot as you possibly can. You have their primo attention for two hours. It’s worth it to be completely set up, waiting for 15 minutes for them to arrive, than have them waiting for an hour or two while you set up equipment. Adults understand the concept of patience. Kids do not, or at least, not as well, and you’re more likely to get what you need quicker if you push them through quickly from one department to the next, right up until filming.

Fresh DV | Read the Full Article

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