Francesca Da Rimini

Following yesterday’s post about a music video featuring modern dance and computer visual effects, here is a video featuring classical dance and a robot controlled camera.

Francesca Da Rimini was a historical figure portrayed in the Divine Comedy and numerous works of art, including a symphonic poem by Tchaikovsky. In 2014 the director Tarik Abdel-Gawad and his team recorded a performance by two dancers of the San Francisco Ballet,¬†Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada, using a robot controlled camera. Tarik was also the technical and creative director of the demonstration video featuring the same Bot&Dolly robots (a company acquired by Google in 2013) and which turned viral, “Box”.

In the accompanying back stage video, he explains how seeing dancers rehearse over and over gave him the idea of experimenting with a pre-programmed robot, in order to make the camera part of the choregraphy, and allow the viewer to have a closer, more intimate, view of the performance.

The Chemical Brothers: “Wide Open”

Earlier this year at Tokyo Demo Fest 2016, we were honored with the presence of Solid Angle‘s founder, Marcos Fajardo, who did a long presentation of the Arnold renderer. Various examples of productions that involved Arnold were included, like captures from Iron Man or Elysium, but between those blockbusters one production in particular held my attention.

It was a long shot of a dancer turning limb after limb into a lattice body while performing. That film is in fact the music video of the song “Wide Open”, by the Chemical Brothers, and directed by Dom&Nic. It is a brilliant piece of technical and artistic work, that I can only recommend to watch.

Some of the details of the creation are shared in an article by the excellent fxguide, as well as in this interview for Solid Angle, like for example how they dealt with the challenges posed by a single long shot under varying natural light. Finally, there is this behind the scenes video from the studio, The Mill:

Every Frame a Painting

The filmmaker Tony Zhou is the author of an ongoing series of fascinating essays on analyzing film form: Every Frame a Painting. Covered in 5 to 10mn with a critical and passionate eye, his topics vary between directors, actors or single film scenes.

Every single one of them is worth watching, but my personal favorites are the study of the scene when¬†Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter meet for the first time in The Silence of the Lambs, the analysis of Mickael Bay’s intense visual style, and the presentation (and praise) of Edgar Wright’s use of visuals to support comedy.

Those essays can be found on Youtube or Vimeo, with additional comments on tumblr and Facebook. Interestingly, they can also be supported (as in, financially) on Patreon.

Using a ti-83 / ti-84 calculator as an intervalometer

In this article on Instructable is explained how to turn a ti calculator into an intervalometer for a DLSR, by simply using its communication cable and writing a little script: Turn a TI Graphing Calculator into an Intervalometer and Create Time Lapse Videos.

The author tested it with a ti-83+ and a Canon Rebel, but ti-84, ti-89 and other cameras are also discussed in the comments. Other combinations can be found all over the web.

The camera work in the game Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a 2D shooter with an outstanding visual style (and this is where my description ends since I am yet to try this game, even though I already bought it). In this 10mn video, Ryan Meyer explains how the camera system he wrote for the game works.