Saturday, June 21, 2008


Found out yesterday that there would be a screening of Jaws tonight at the Alabama Theatre. The Alabama is a huge, beautiful movie and concert theatre, and it is totally old school -- 35mm projection on a big silver screen. They even have the working curtains that open to reveal the screen right before the movie.

Or so I thought.

The pre-movie entertainment (live music from the Alabama's awesome pipe organ) ended, and I waited excitedly for those curtains to open all the way for the widescreen Cinemascope presentation of Jaws. But the curtains didn't open very wide at all, and the movie showed up on the square-ish screen letterboxed. The Alabama was showing the movie from a DVD.

The "print" looked okay, I guess, but not as good as my home theater setup, and definitely not as good as glorious 'scope 35.

So I finished my popcorn, came back home, and loaded up my Jaws DVD on the Blu-ray player.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Portable editing solution.

I'm way late on posting this, but I did indeed come up with a portable editing system, and it does indeed work. I got quite a bit of work done on my recent European vacation, especially on airplanes and at airports. My recipe for cutting on the run is as follows...

  1. Apple MacBook. You know I love the MacBook. Bang for the buck, I think it's the best computer available. A MacBook Pro has a bigger screen and more horsepower, but it is also heaver and more expensive.
  2. Extra MacBook battery. The MacBook is energy efficient, but video editing eats a lot of juice, so an extra battery comes in handy for long editing sessions when no AC power is available.
  3. Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. So you can hook up to an AC outlet and recharge your MacBook anywhere in the world.
  4. Final Cut Pro. According to Apple's documentation, their Final Cut Pro editing software will not run on a MacBook. The documentation is wrong. As long as you have enough memory (at least 1 GB, I have 2 GB), Final Cut Pro is go for MacBook.
  5. Audacity. Audio editing software, should handle most sonic needs not covered by Final Cut Pro.  And the price is right -- free.
  6. Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Headphones. So you can hear your movie's audio over the noise of the airplane/crowd/etc.
  7. LaCie Little Big Disk. The secret weapon. LaCie's 320 GB "Little Big Disk" is an external FireWire drive that doesn't need a separate power supply -- it gets all the power it needs to run from the same FireWire cable that it uses to exchange data with the computer.

    I know some airlines forbid the use of external disk drives on planes, but the LaCie drive is tiny, easily hidden from the flight crew and/or nosy passengers. Since 320 GB is plenty of space for all of the Interplanetary picture (in SD) and sound files, the LaCie "travel" drive is now my main project disk. I can carry it around from computer to computer (as long as said computer has the latest version of Final Cut Pro installed, of course).

Interview with Jonathan.

Word on the street is the upcoming issue of Fangoria features a one-on-one interview with Jonathan Thornton, special effects maestro of several movies, including Interplanetary. Check it out when it hits newsstands on July 8.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mamet for President?

A nice essay by stage and screen director David Mamet. Thanks to reader "KidAt40" for the link.

Also, speaking of Mr. Mamet, here's a fantastic radio interview with him, where he reveals several truths about filmmaking.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Now playing.

Michael Clayton.

Recommended by Roger Ebert. And the Academy. And now me. Excellent flick.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


So, the big Wrath of Con Interplanetary sneak preview was kind of a bust. Only ten or so people attended, and six of those were members of the crew. And one lady walked out after a particularly violent bit. Which is kind of cool in a way.

Even though the audience was small, the reaction to the 20 minutes of footage gave me some ideas for improving it. And we got to spend two days at the beach not working. Not a bad way to spend the weekend.