Design Matters, the long running design radio show by Debbie Millman, is making the jump to the small screen. SVA is producing a TV version of the show and will be taping the pilot episode this Friday. The first two guests are Milton Glaser and Stefan Sagmeister. To top it all off, the show will be directed by the wonderful Hillman Curtis. I’m not sure where the end result will be available, but I’m sure those details will be revealed in the coming days. I’m hoping for the Thursday 8pm slot on NBC.
If you’re in New York, the taping is open to the public — more information can be found on the Facebook event site. Why don’t I live in New York. Sometimes I want to defollow all of the New York designers on Twitter because all these cool events make me jealous.
I recently met Debbie Millman when she was in town to give a talk at school. Her talk was terrific and I’ll try to do a short write up later this week after I go over my notes. I also participated in her workshop about visual storytelling, which she led having just released her new book. She had each of us write a short story, which she reviewed and then set us on our mission of illustrating the story using all sorts of fun tools. It was fun to write fiction — I’ve become rather used to this “blog style” of writing that I forgot there was a whole other way to go about things. (My story is here if you’re feeling adventurous.) The workshop was great — I love periodically going back to the drawing board, literally, and breaking out the pencils pens and crayons. It was also great to just let loose creatively with no rules, objectives, or criteria. Something I certainly don’t do enough.
I’m posting these stills from Buffalo ‘66 partly because they’re awesome and partly because it’s a good chance to tell the story where me and Dusty saw Vincent Gallo at my neighborhood market on a Tuesday. It was surreal, I think we must have been staring uncontrollably because he was in line and had this look on his face like “are these idiots going to ask me something or stab me?” (all love knife style). We also saw him with Sean Lennon at a bar once and got some horrible blurry iPhone shot of him and Dusty. So I guess that makes us officially stalkers now.
I came across some screencaps from John Carpenter’s 1988 They Live over at the excellent I love Hotdogs blog today (you may remember ILHD from the film titles post) and was immediately struck by the “Obey” scenes. Looks pretty familiar right? Cool to see the inspiration for Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant campaign, looks like a terrible movie though. Although Roddy Piper cameos are always welcome.
In one of his books, A Place of My Own, Pollan describes how he personally, with no carpentry experience, built this small structure behind his house in Vermont. This whole thing might be ringing a bell if you read the Linda Aldredge post, but remember her tree house is a real, fully livable home, isolated in the woods, in a tree. She definitely wins the battle of priciple, but Pollan gets the honorable mention for pragmatism. Although how many people just happen to have an acre of woods in their backyard? Or happen to own an acre of raw forest for that matter… I think this is an east coast thing, the woods always look amazing out there.
This “writing house” — as he describes it — is a great concept and I am willing to bet it’s an incredibly productive environment. I often find that working in the same space as I live presents unique challenges to motivation and focus. This seems like a cost-effective alternative to having different addresses for your working and living spaces.
How many of you work primarily from home? Do you find there to be a conflict between convenience and distraction in the home work environment? Comment
Art & Copy is a film about advertising currently making its way around the country. The film is an in-depth look at some of the best and most creative minds in the business. As director Doug Pray states, “I felt it could be a more powerful statement to focus the film only on those rare few who actually moved and inspired our culture with their work. And that higher standard made me want to make a film that reflected the same kind of disciplined artistic approach that my subjects used.” It looks really interesting and I’m really excited to see it.
The frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from really — and especially you don’t have any idea where they are going to come from tomorrow. — Art & Copy
We’ve been watchingThe Persuaders in class over the last few weeks and, while it’s not specifically about graphic design per se, it’s easy to draw useful parallels between the two disciplines of advertising and design (as they are often one and the same anyway, whether you like it or not). If you are interested, you can watch all of The Persuaders on the website.
This winter is shaping up to be a pretty excellent time for designers as far as film is concerned. Art & Copy will be in San Francisco in early November, Objectified comes out on DVD on October 13th (so sad they had to push it two weeks due to a “manufacturing snafu”…how ironic), and Visual Acousticswill be here November 6th.
I think I am most excited for Visual Acoustics — I remember writing about it a while ago and have been surviving off of Shulman’s wonderful photography in the meantime. Also worth mentioning is The September Issue, the film chronicling the development and process behind the largest issue of Vogue Magazine. I saw this one recently and would recommend it, but it wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping. It’s exciting to see design related films making their way into the (almost) mainstream!
Side note: Art & Copy employs a beautiful ampersand in the logo for the film. Not sure what it is, but it’s very excellent looking.
The Cove looks like it could be the most heart wrenching movie I’ll see for a long while. The documentary about the plight of Dolphins in Japan shines a light into a secretive cove where an estimated 23,000 are slaughtered annually. There are screenings being held in select US cities throughout August. If you’re in the San Francisco bay area it’s playing at Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley on 8/7 where producer Fisher Stevens will be holding a Q&A after the screening. Hopefully this story gets some traction and will effect some sort of change.
We’ve written before about photographiclighting. Another lighting arena that I’ve recently explored is continuous lighting for video. As I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I jumped into this, I decided to start with a basic kit set up, and then go from there. I had researched enough to know that I would need at least three lights, but I was fuzzy on just about every other detail. I ended up going with the Smith Victor K84 Photoflood Kit. (Four lights: two A80 flood lights and two, smaller A5s.)
Now to this point, the kit has satisfied my requirements. I haven’t felt like I needed any additional lights on my projects and everything is lit well and looks (more) professional. That said, I have learned a lot in the process about what not to do.
First, these lights get unimaginably hot when they’re on for an extended period of time (more than 5 minutes). I use them in an enclosed room without a lot of ventilation and it can become unbearable really quickly. If you are interviewing someone, or performing under these lights, you need to either get things done fast, or have some way of cooling down your room. I broke a sweat just snapping the above picture, and they had only been on for 10 minutes.
Second, despite the benefits of using continuous lighting for photography (no camera syncing necessary, always see where you’re lighting etc), this kit is not powerful enough to really work in this regard. Unless the lights are right up on your subject, you’ll have to adjust the shutter speed significantly to get satisfactory results. It’s also impossible to get good portrait shots, mainly because your iris gets smaller as it gets used to the continuous amount of light; doesn’t look as cool as strobe. It works for some photo things, but I am mainly attempting to use this kit for lighting video. So far the footage has required a significant amount of color correction to make things look natural. The kit is a tungsten set up, which burns yellow/orange, and that is the color of the footage upon capture. Luckily I’ve been working a lot with Color and have been able to work around this.
The biggest positive to the kit is that it’s cheap (relatively). It helps to know some basic lighting strategy (three point etc), but the kit really doesn’t require much know-how to get up and running. It is a great starter kit and I feel like I have a much better idea of what I need, now that I have fumbled my way around with this one. Of course it will be a while before I can afford a real set up, but in the mean time I am having a good time experimenting and making mistakes. This probably wasn’t the kit of me at the end of the day, but it sure beats lighting things with assorted desk lamps and flash lights.