Biennale des bewegten Bild oder B3 - Thursday

This morning I woke up and went almost directly to the Max Planck institute where my hosts are working. This institute is freshly new and to have an idea of how it looks, think of the design a Scandinavian hotel in Stockholm, but instead of rooms for sleeping you will find labs, working rooms, über cool microscope, nice sofa, good cafeteria, good coffee, a lot of light and space, all what you need to do a good research job and probably any job.

The head full of cells images I left this place. More moving images were waiting for me down town. I took the U8 follow by the S2 (not sure) to join the main train station. There I went to the Kai Middendorff Galerie where I saw a film (it was "Out (Tse)" from artist Roee Rosen). It was question about Israel, sm, politic, exorcism, fetishism, eroticism and more. Type of video installation where you wonder "Am I looking at two women, one with clothes whipping the ass of the other, naked, the arms attached to the ceiling and screaming with an evil voice quotations from the a former Israeli minister? Yes I'm.", checked.

To continue I went again to the Weißfrauen Diakoniekirche located nearby the Willy Brandt place. Watch some films, played video game with four other players on the fulldome and left again.

I crossed the Main and enter the Deutsches Filmmuseum. There I only had 45min to attend the exhibition on Fassbinder. Very nice installations, mainly projections of film parts, shorts ones with explanation. Now I know I'm missing some german movie references (or in French "Maintenant je sais que je dois combler mes lacunes fassbinderienne").

Re-crossing the bridge, official opening of the fulldome in the church and short visit for another opening in the same street of the Basis place. Here as well a lot of videos. I remind to the readers that it is the topic of this Biennale.

Then again leaving and going home by feet. Frankfurt is pretty quiet for and an Halloween evening. I just saw 4 people dressed for the pumpkins event.

Time to sleep well thank you.


New York am Mainz oder?

Je profite de la première édition de la Biennale des bewegten  Bildes 2013 ou B3 pour aller faire un petit tour à Francfort.

Parti ce matin en train de Berlin j'arrivais en terre des saucisses oranges dans l'après-midi. Ses saucisses donc, mais aussi ses tours et sa petite skyline. Ils aiment les banques ici ou alors les banques aiment l'endroit. Enfin la Deutsche Bank, la Commerz Bank et autres jouent à qui a la plus grosse et ce petit jeu n'est pas fini apparemment.

Un bon point pour la ville de Francfort, c'est petit mais elle a tout d'une grande. Ce qui fait que rapidement je trouve le Kunstverein près de la Dom/Römer Platz où se trouve quartier générale de la Biennale. Tout n'as pas été détruit pendant la dernière guerre et il reste quelques jolis bâtiments typiques à ma grande surprise. Je suis facilement influençable voir impressionné.

Rapidement je file à l'église Weißfrauen Diakonie où un dôme digital a été installé à l'intérieure du bâtiment. Curieux de savoir si l'installation fonctionne comme le souhaitait l'organisatrice. Et donc oui, l'installation est plutôt cool, 7m ou 8m de diamètre, inclinée de quelques degrés, des gros coussins noirs sur un tapis noir, les films sont projetés et les spectateurs allongés et avachis sur les poufs, position extrêmement relaxantes pour suivre les créations complètements immersives.

Une fois l’événement officiellement lancé, des coupes de mousseux englouties et deux bretzels dans l'estomac (c'est comme à Berlin, bretzel for life en teutonie) je file chez mes hôtes de qualité.

Trois stations de U-Bahn plus loin j'arrive chez la paire Lisa Cyril. Petite visite de leur quartier de nuit, falafel de qualité, dessert italien de qualité, sofa/lit de qualité. Une bonne très bonne introduction francfortoise.

Vous avez échappé à un titre de post "vous reprendrez bien un peu de saucisse".


Two days in vfx world - animago 2013

Thursday and Friday took place in Babelsberg (near Berlin) the Animago 2013 event. Two days of talks and presentations about movie production and more specifically cgi/special effects and other VFX. The people giving talks were coming from different production houses. Companies involved in movie production of course but also production of commercials, tv shows, tv productions.

What was interesting? Two things. First you don't need much equipment to produce/create cgi of high quality. Some computers, one or two kinect, good software and most important talented people and you are ready. Secondly it was interesting to see how big movie production (e.g. from the US) are sending scenes to be produced oversea (e.g. in Europe). A few seconds of film or shots are sent to a company. And that company will finish the "job", add explosions, destroy buildings, remove people when necessary. They may not have the resources to produce a whole movie, but some seconds are completely doable. Also it gives a bit the feeling that everything is about producing the best explosion on screen (half true) in that field. Or that too much attention is put on very little details when you know which movie it is or how long is the scene to be processed.

There were also longer talks describing the work on full movie almost, you can call them making-offs. Once talk was great, a team from a company based in Stuttgart was telling the story of their work on the movie Oblivion. And it was fascinating how much effort was put in that movie (knowing it is reasonably average sci-fy with a non-sens ending). Not only effort, but quality work. A perfect example of old fashion studio work and up to date vfx. So if you have seen this movie, the house in the sky was built in real size but hooked to the ground and the simulation of viewing above the clouds was created by re-projecting (I call it immersive cinema in case you are not following...) in every directions various panorama movies (made from shooting in Hawaii with a camera cluster). Very cool I may say, a nice mix of creative work and proper scientific work (how to record panorama movie, how to project them, how to set-up such projection system..)

I hope to be able to attend this event next year.h


Back to IBC 2013 - Movie Making Colour Management, Best Practice and more

The last two days of the IBC 2013 conference have seen two interesting sessions on movie post-production, pipeline, standards and more important than everything else: color (or colour (ou couleur (oder Farbe))).

The session "Movie Making Colour Management, best Practice" was on many aspects my favorite. The panel discussion was covering all the movie pipeline steps: from real acquisition people (camera system with ARRI), to display people (Dolby), to big studio (Walt Disney) and post-production (Fluent Image Ltd). Comparing to a few years ago - when the full digital wave was hitting the cinema world, first scanning then editing, filming and now displaying (?) - it seems that people are getting familiar with the new equipment, digital cameras do not appear as magic devices being able of technological feats only... but cameras with their given properties (how they capture light and color). On that aspect, the ARRI person as well as the Fluent Image person were saying the same (it was two months ago so I may not be completely accurate): try the camera before starting shooting your movie, once on schedule for shooting you do not have the time for experimentation (this is what reasonable post-production companies do, I have seen that in Berlin by ARRI post-production people). In the past you were choosing this or this film-roll (i.e. fuji or something else) and your lab was then processing the film, now you choose a camera and its captor/sensor properties.

What is interesting when a new technology is introduced in an established pipeline is how the cards are redistributed (i.e. power, influence). Before the director of photography (DP and not TP which is a French basketball player) was deciding the light, the film-roll for the next production and in a way fixing the color "limit" of the production and kind of imposing its choice, vision. Now it is a bit different: the color can be modified anywhere along the movie production pipeline (which doesn't mean it should be done that way!). And this give a nice transition regarding the input to the discussion from the Big Studio person who was talking about standard and ACES and simplifying the workflow. Starting from color consideration (extremely important considerations say the color scientist) with ACES, it is more guidelines than absolute recipe that are introduced to the pipeline.

Of course the importance of display calibration was mentioning. All and all pretty standard comments but reasonable comments on what people should do or not do: be prepared in advance, know your tools. Danger of processing the dailies too much for the important people, it means you need a grading team on set and you take the risk to fix the color "mood" of the film to early.

I also do remember, or I think I remember that this panel of professional said they need color scientists, good for me, or I dreamed it? In any cases they need color scientists.

During the last day and maybe the last session it was about compression (for the Hobbit movie), especially jpg2000, and color artifacts that can occur. The problem of archiving was tackled by people from the EYE center in Amsterdam: what do you do when you have to scan old film material with very different fps.

And more political, how the standards are pushed from each side of the Atlantic and which company, studio, government, open-source project and so are the main players in these battle/discussion.


A night at the planetarium

September is over and October took over ten days ago. As usual the trees, but not only, some buildings in Berlin as well are getting new colors. For the trees it's easy, we call it Autumn, for the buildings it's the light festival or festival of light. 

Passed 9:00pm you may find a lot of night photographers in the streets of Berlin, all equipped with tripod and waiting on the side as fishermen with their fishing rod waiting for the chosen monument to change appearance. This year I'm following a bit more seriously the program who offers interesting combos: free shows outdoor with light and music and payed performances indoor with music and light.

Last Sunday we attended two shows: one outside the Elisabeth Kirche in Invalidestrasse and a second inside the church building. First show used the front side of the building as projection surface as well as its shape to create nice visuals. Therefore you had the impression that the whole building was changing color and not only simply colored with a laser pointer. Indoor only the back wall served as projection surface, a huge surface, the small baroque ensemble was a delight for ears and the visuals created could have been better. I mean technically it was superb, but the content was not really synchronized with the music.

Tonight it was the opposite, the projection outdoor on the Gross Planetarium roof in Prenzlauer Allee was fine but not exceptional, only a simple slide show and sadly rain. This event took place during the week.  Nice to see this place full of people during the evening and people of bit younger than the an average planetarium visitor.

But really tonight it is in the planetarium that the a full dome show is taking place. Live electronic music and projection on the whole indoor dome surface. The projection surface was ok, not a perfect blending but it did the job as some people may say. The rest was completely hypnotic :-) The visuals - rather simple - were completely matching with the electronic live performance creating a strange atmosphere, truly immersive experience, giving you the feeling to be in the center of the dome, floating in space and no I did not take drugs before.