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May
13

Making the abstract visual

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eyeballOften screenwriters have the job of making the abstract visual. That was also the challenge of these folks, making a procession that represents the surveillance of society.

They created it for the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, which ended last week in Manhattan. Click below for a look:

http://nyti.ms/1lpwNcd

 

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What you see below is an example of Cinemagraphics, which use moments from movies created using a format called gif (Graphics Interchange Format). This one was created by Gus Mantel and you’ll find more (as well as some great still images) at www.gusmantel.com. Very cool!

George C. Scott in "Dr. Strangelove"

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Apparently Andy Hendrickson,¬†Disney’s chief technical officer, told a SIGGRAPH audience, “People say it’s all about the story. When you’re making tentpole films, bullshit.”

As an example he cited Disney’s Alice in Wonderland,which was very successful at the box office. Hendrickson said, “The story isn’t very good, but visual spectacle brought people in. And Johnny Depp didn’t hurt.”

“Mr Hendrickson, I have a Mr Burton for you on line one.”

It’s what we in England call a “Ratner moment.” In case you’re not familiar with the term, a few years ago jewellery store chain Chief Executive Gerald Ratner mentioned that one of items in their store sold for some paltry amount and reason was that “it’s total crap.” The next day all the papers blared, “Ratner says We Sell Crap!” The stock plunged, he resigned and the company changed its name.

Not that I’m suggesting that anything of that magnitude will happen to Hendrickson; maybe we should applaud his candor. Anybody who has seen most of this summer’s films will know that this is not an unusual attitude.

What’s depressing of course is that it’s possible to have both a good story and great spectacle but so rarely do they come together.

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