Sunday, 23 November 2008

Blood Sports (Projections aftermath)

Yeah, that all went pretty well. For one scene on both nights the video did indeed keep playing for about 30 seconds after the stage went dark, but the set change took a while so no-one really cared; for another scene on both nights the projected background did indeed disappear before the scene ended, but it kind of fit with what was happening so no-one really cared either.

Uploaded the two projections that I like the most. The play's called Blood Sports and it's by David Edgar. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Horse Heaven

yeah I've worked out how to embed now 

There's one scene where a horse that's played by two actors gets shot, and flies up to heaven. Me and some elves PVAed a load of cotton wool, marshmallows and a couple of sugarlumps on to some cloud-shaped paper cut outs, and hung them in front of a green screen (well, green cloth) by invisible wire. Which is why they jerk around so much. The horse is a toy horse from Poundland, with moldable wings, so we stop motioned it. The green cloth and horse were provided by one Nicola Lamont, a nice lady. I don't know what happened to the other sugarlumps. I did a rough version in Motion, then redid it in Final Cut to get it in time with the music (Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem, I didn't choose it but it's quite nice). If I could do it again I'd make the marshmallows and sugarlumps more obvious and less beaten up-looking, and sync up the flying horses a bit better. 

Der Blood

I did it by going to the youtube page and copying the bits that said "Embed" I guess I feel pretty l33t about it

This was a bit different. The scene consisted of an actor (Simon Maeder) slumped on a chair in tennis gear, looking as if he'd been strangled by catgut, while this voiceover played. Since it was the only scene in the first act without any projections, and since the speech was a parody of The Seventh Seal, I spent a night drinking heavily while stealing clips from that movie and messing with them. Isn't the "Bad TV" filter awesome? Anyway I think if I'd had more than a day to think about this I would have done more stuff, but actually that could have been rubbish. Maybe with theatre projections you don't want loads of stuff, just little things that complement the action without detracting from what's happening on stage. I've seen/made a couple of theatre projections that haven't done anything narratively for the play they're in, they've just looked arty, and this is more stupid the more I think about it. It's like putting on another, completely unconnected play just behind the play you're meant to be watching. 

In this post, I've written about theatre, an Ingmar Bergman film, and how we made a magical purple pony seem to fly through the marshmallow clouds into sugarlump paradise. Me and N-Dubz don't talk much these days. 


Friday, 21 November 2008


Operating some video projections for a play tonight. I've done projections before for a couple of studenty things, but it tends to be a thing play directors don't think about practically. One of the first ones I did involved filming the actors speaking their scenes in rehearsals, and hoping that they would sync up perfectly with these scenes each performance, which was ridiculous. On top of that, the projectors were precariously balanced on a couple of books just behind two chairs on set, meaning that if the actors walked into them or sat down on the chairs it was pretty likely that any working clips would appear sideways near the floor. And if you unthinkingly say yes to someone without complaining about it like a little persnickety bitch, there's a 50% chance they'll ask you to do something much harder and only give you half the time to do it, but I guess that's the case with most things. Grah and VJing programs. Or my lack of them. With Powerpoint slideshows it's reasonable to expect that my fat fingers will mash the wrong button and the whole thing will start from the beginning or play backwards or something. For this one I'm just showing all the films from a Quicktime movie file, which means that if a scene ends too slowly its video background will magically disappear, or if it ends too quickly we either have to sit out a minute of film over a dark set or watch my mouse appear and quietly fast forward it.

But hopefully that won't happen tonight, because I actually feel pretty good about this one. I've had way more time to do stuff, so I've comfortably left clips to render for 24 hours without hopping from foot to foot and chewing my fingers off. We've actually been able to rehearse with them, even adjust the lights so they can be seen properly, which I don't think I've ever had time to do before. The directors have thought about how they're going to work, sometimes even helped me film them, so they knew what they'd look like and didn't have any reason to change stuff. And having them all in one movie file isn't necessarily good, but it does mean that there's only one button to press, which is awesome. Also since the music video went slightly breasts up I've had more time to think about them as well, so something I thought I was going to phone in ended up looking pretty good. In short I have a weird new feeling of knowing exactly what I'm meant to be doing, and believing that I'm doing it okay.

So that's that. If I haven't told you about it already but you happen to read my blog and live in the York area, I would invite you to watch out for falling meteorites and frozen stalagmites bursting out of the ground from the lowest pits of Hades, but also come along to Blood Sports at York University on 7:30PM Friday and Saturday, facebook group, free entry. I'll put a couple of them online when it's done.

Everything is pretty damn exciting and interesting here.


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Just found out why no-one from the management company came to that meeting.

They'd gone bust.

Fucking bollocks. Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

It was Will Smith that pushed me over the edge.

Today the constant non-applicable media bombardment finally broke me. I scribbled out my own ballot sheets in crayon on toilet paper, and put in 500 frenzied votes for Barack McNader. I ran naked into the street, slipping them into post boxes, letter boxes, suggestion boxes, and the notably large mouths of a few confused passersby. 

My programming obeyed, I performed a short but memorable rap about my chosen candidate's impressive track record and the social merits of his policies, aggressively implied that the opposition were neoconservative liberal terrorist Communist Muslim Nazi gays, spent between twenty minutes and an hour shouting "WAKE UP SHEEP" to an actual field of sleeping sheep, then mercifully discharged a bullet into my forehead. 

"This wouldn't have happened if we'd voted for the other guy," I dribbled as my brain leaked on to a snoring ewe.