This October, with the help of the Kickstarter community, a small group of filmmakers, photographers and musicians are setting out on a journey to explore the remote countryside of Iceland and document our experiences with the landscape, residents and traditions we encounter. The end result, a beautifully packaged box set of the film and companion soundtrack, will be released to backers of the project as a physical artifact of the unique and awe-inspiring experience. We can’t wait to share the results with you.
The project — anchored by internationally renowned photographers Tim Navis + Kim Høltermand and aided by film collective Scenic and composer Deru — will be unique in its improvisational spirit. The group will create a series of short films at various locations throughout the island, inspired by moments of discovery and chance occurrence. Tim’s sun-drenched SoCal landscapes and Kim’s cold, architectural abstractions provide the perfect visual foundation, and fans of their work can imagine how exciting a collaboration between the two will be.
We’ll be sharing our trip in inventive ways with supporters, providing a real-time window into an experience that the community helped to make reality. Upon our return, Scenic will edit a series of short films, featuring an original score by Deru and a full-length soundtrack featuring contributions from select musicians and contemporary composers. Tim + Kim will create an archival photo book and release a limited run of exclusive prints for the Kickstarter community.
Your donation will help provide travel and accommodations while our small crew films and photographs the trip, and will allow us to produce truly stunning physical artifacts that showcase the beauty and wonder of Iceland. We hope you’ll join us on our journey, and we thank you for your support.
About the Soundtrack
*** Download the first single here, FREE ***
Deru is curating a full-length soundtrack compilation of tracks contributed specifically for the film. Artists include:
• Joby Talbot
• Ryuichi Sakamoto
• More to be announced
Last week I wrote a quick post about the Nosh Promo video I made. Today I wanted to go into the production and describe all that went into its creation. Basically it was insane 25 hours from when we started, until the next morning when I exported the final video and the power went out in my apartment building (literally AS I hit export). Above you’ll see the composite I put together to show how each step of the post-process contributed to the final video. View the final video here or at the bottom of this post. I’ll describe each step in detail after the jump.
I’ve interviewed Sam Grawebefore, he’s the perfect fit for ISO50 in my mind, his slow motion synth work as Hatchback meets the Editor In Chief of Dwell Magazine.
ISO50 Just listened thru your new record Zeus & Apollo a third time, whats in the water in SF? you synth guys make it sound effortless, people don’t see how much a handful of you well put together 30 year old men (The Beat Broker, Sorcerer, etc) are changing the face of Adult Contemporary in the background into this finely widdled down masterpiece of a genre, can you explain yourself?
SGI think we’re just trying to make music that we would like to hear ourselves. I’m not really a part of any music scene out here per se—especially since moving north to Marin—so its all about making something that you would yourself want to listen to. We all work for a living, with wives and kids and mortgages and that kind of business, so all that helps you maintain a low profile. Last but not least, I’m not really ashamed of the fact that most of the music I listen to is from 1982 or earlier. I’m not saying that to prove how cool I am, but in fact the opposite. There’s a different attitude with music of that era, much less of a developed sense of irony—like, you couldn’t possibly put a sax solo on a track now, or sing about sailing—and I think its freeing just to get into music that comes from an honest place.
ISO50 You go from Editor of Dwell Magazine back home and do Hatchback, the emotion in the music is calming, your even comfortable with calling it New Age, can you explain how you keep yourself composed? because i’d be an anxious mess of excitement if I was in your position(job wise), i’m asking that because I respect you and your projects and most importantly your tone always seems to be relaxed, do you ever freak out over there on the west coast?
SGI think I release all my anxiety in my dreams. Every night while I sleep I pass through these incredible vignettes of stress—stressful situations spawning even more stressful situations, like trying to find your flight information before you realize you’ve lost your passport only to end up in a car that is skidding around like its on ice—so when I wake up, I am actually relieved to be where I am, and feel pretty good. So, that being said, I don’t really make mellow music to somehow unwind.
I’ve always liked “new age” music, so I don’t really have a problem with labeling it that—new age without shame! It’s much better than “Balearic,” which is a scene I have absolutely no connection to whatsoever. I remember listening to Music From The Hearts of Space (http://www.hos.com/) on Vermont public radio when I was a kid, and my mom had some George Winston and Enya and Windham Hill type of stuff that I would put on. As I got older and started buying a lot of old records, the new age bin was always the place where you would find the rad imports and synth records that the clerks had no idea where else to file. Even at Amoeba in San Francisco you used to be able to get the coolest records for $1 in the new age bin.
ISO50 What do you not like about New Age when you hear it done by others?
ISO50 Can you explain the Dream Chimney community? how did you get involved? what makes you keeping coming back and contributing on there?
SGI kind of come and go with posting tracks, but I’m a daily lurker. I’m usually just too busy to take the 20 minutes to sort out a post, and I haven’t had the energy to rip vinyl in a long time, but I feel a strong connection to the site, so it’s hard not to check in a couple of times a day just out of habit. Long before the word blog even existed there was The Dream Chimney, and it was so cool to get exposed to all kind of different music from all these great music dudes and friends. Back in the day it was largely made up of folks I knew from the music scene in SF, so it was like the place you all hung out during the day before you might see each other at a show later that night. If you were lucky maybe you would get schooled on some crazy synthy progfolk or CTI style beard jazz. There’s an element of humor to it that some people don’t necessarily pinpoint, like in the genre labels or the tags, that never really gets old to me.
ISO50 Can you suggest a Prefab home at an affordable price that you’d live in for more than 10 years?
SGKeep dreaming. But I did see this protohome just yesterday, and was fairly impressed.
ISO50 I noticed the percussion on the new album is almost non existent especially compared to your last record Colors Of The Sun, was that a conscious effort from the start?
SGYeah, it really was. I think after the Hatchback and Windsurf albums came out I was glad that some people were into it, but it was also strange to get lumped into this cosmic disco nu-balearica movement and to get criticized for somehow hopping on a bandwagon you never even knew existed. So I started making tracks that were more ambient or new age thinking that it would be more fun for me, and wouldn’t have anything to do with what was going on in the music world. I had had this idea of a new age “band” called Zeus & Apollo kicking around so I just went for it, fairly consciously thinking of it all as a whole package. Honestly this is closer to my default setting. As much as I love funk, jazz, funky jazz, etc. when I sit down to play at a piano or electric piano, this is the kind of stuff that naturally comes out. Also when it comes to programming drums I usually think what I do sounds pretty horrible, and its really tiresome, so this was a bit of an easy way out.
ISO50 Something your fans might not know about you?
SGI have other fans.
ISO50 Dream gig (location, mood, pick a show opener or closer) and how important is it to you to have a live show? what would want your fans to see on stage for those 45 minutes if the sky was the limit?
SGi’ve been dreaming of doing a show in a planetarium. I’ve always been obsessed with a sort of total immersion entertainment—like an audio visual version of the Audium here in San Francisco; or actually a musical version of the tech in Brainstorm would be better yet.
But to really dream big, I think the most amazing place to play would be at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. It was designed by Marcel Breuer, and is quite simply, an amazing and inspiring piece of architecture. I love me some brutalist concrete.
ISO50 Do you collect anything other than music gear?
SGI have quite a few pieces by the Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala. He was a total renaissance man—with one foot in the modern world and the other in primordial nature.
ISO50 Favorite newer band you’ve heard?
SGI really like the last two albums by The Alps—III and Le Voyage. I also like this guy Rob, who released the best two albums of the 2000s that no one heard (Don’t Kill and Satyred Love). He’s released five or six of these mini Dodécalogue eps, which are stunning. The only problem with Rob is that he’s impossible to google. My favorite new music of the last few years is probably 9dw. We became friends after doing a couple remixes for them and even did a short tour together in Japan in 2009.
ISO50 If you weren’t working with music or Dwell, where would you work?
SGA Vietnamese restaurant.
ISO50 Who would you want to take out of hiding and sit in the studio with,
even if it was just for one song?
SGI’d love to have Vangelis and his CS80 pop by for an afternoon. But I think I’d be pretty embarrassed by my shabby rig. My other greek option would be Iasos!
ISO50 Share a childhood memory that might relate to your new album?
SGOne of the lamest things about living in San Francisco is that is so damn cold every single day of the year. Bye bye short sleeves. I grew up on the east coast, in Virginia, and even though it was muggy and crazy hot during the day, there’s nothing more pleasant that sitting outside in the evening and feeling that residual heat burn off in the night air. Hotaru, the fifth track on the record, is Japanese for firefly, and was inspired by a kawabata book I was reading and catching fireflies. There’s something really beautiful about fireflies—not only the iridescence, but also how they all start on the ground while its still pretty light out, but as it gets dark the float higher and higher into the trees; there’s this kind of gentle rising and dispersion, and then they’re gone. So sitting outside on the deck in Virginia, sipping on a cool drink, watching the fireflies. I think Hotaru would be a nice soundtrack for reliving that moment.
This might be a departure from what I post most days but I can’t pretend that this isn’t some of the strongest song writing out of my generation and maybe even the generation before me. Mark Kozelek is a pure talent when it comes to setting a tone and feeling that most can’t control when they hear his songs. Deadly as this playlist might seem for some since a beautiful sunny weekend is in store for the east coast I just think it needed to be done.
I didn’t include my 2 favorite Mark Kozelek songs since i’ve already posted them which are Mistress and Duk Koo Kim, if you need more then the wait isn’t too long, Sun Kil Moon’s next LP Admiral Fell Promises is slated for 7/13.
Color Management: A Field Guide
Whether you are designing for print or for the web, making the leap from what you see on your computer screen to the outside world can be a tricky process, fraught with unpredictable changes and unexpected results. The web is full of information regarding color management and sifting through it can be very overwhelming. Contradictory opinions abound and it can be difficult to find reliable sources of information.
Over the last few months, Scott and I have been researching this topic extensively. With the addition of the new Epson 9900 to the studio, we wanted to be sure that our printer workflow was optimized and producing a consistent output. With the help of Kirk Economos of Meridian Cyber Solutions, we have implemented a color management system that works for us. Below we have tried to aggregate this knowledge into a simple and useful guide, designed to help you ensure your studio is set up correctly. It is not intended to be the end-all article on color management by any means — but it’s a good place to start if color management isn’t something you have previously implemented or considered.
As much as I love my Google Reader, I still prefer to get my design fix in printed form. In addition to providing the necessary dose of inspiration, magazines usually include insightful commentary and design criticism. I love this sort of writing on design and it seems like the best place to find it is still in the “unplugged” land of printed media. Additionally, with each one you get an actual piece of design to hold in your hand. It’s easy to forget how cool this is if you’re used to bouncing from blog to blog. After the jump, I’ve put together an overview of a the major players in the design magazine realm. Check out the list!
I just got home from Portland after playing the Emrg-n-See festival on Sunday night. Thanks to everyone who made it out, I had a great time playing and the energy was amazing. I had the honor of sharing the stage with two artists I have a lot of respect for: Flying Lotus and Daedelus. Luckily I brought my little Canon SD780 Elf and in between setting up my gear backstage, I was able to catch a little bit of Daedelus’ set on video (Sorry they’re so short, time was really tight).
The SD780 really is amazing for it’s size; it cranks out HD and takes some great still shots too. If course, it’s not the greatest in low light situations so take the above examples with a grain of salt. I will post some daylight stuff this week that show it’s real capabilities.
It’s hard to believe, but somehow my spring semester is coming to a close this week. The film festival project, which I’ve written aboutpreviously, finally has all pieces completed and accounted for. The last element added into the mix was a festival trailer (shown above). Originally, I planned to create a few more ancillary products to flesh out the brand, but these fell through and I had to move on the trailer option late in the game. I teamed up with my friend Phil Mills, a local actor here in San Francisco, and we set about writing, shooting, and editing the film last Sunday afternoon.
We were allowed to base the trailer on just about anything we wanted, so long as it advertised our hypothetical film festival and carried through the visual style of our brand. There were a multitude of directions this could take; we thought the most fun way would be to shoot a Royal Tenenbaums-esque short, and then just throw as much craziness as we could at it. Phil plays T. Allen Fenway, a fictional character we made up to live in our Wes Anderson film festival world. We wanted it to remind you of Wes Anderson, make you laugh, and eventually turn you on to the festival. The 3rd person narrator, use of Futura Bold for all titles, extravagant setting, and full blown randomness were all utilized to aid in conjuring this look and feel.
The equipment for this project was sort of all over the place. I luckily had a video camera lying around (usually relegated to filming stationary Youtube videos) and I figured I might as well take it out for a real test drive on this project. I used the Panasonic PV-GS250; an older handheld consumer camcorder that doesn’t have much in the way of image quality, especially compared to the newer HD models. I considered renting a Panasonic HPX-170, but was deterred by the expensive daily rental rate. I figured I’d make it work with the little guy and try my best to fix things up in post. I had also recently purchased a continuous tungsten lighting kit and this helped with the indoor shots greatly. (I am planning to do a post on video lighting after some more tests.)
I edited this project using iMovie ’08, the disastrous upgrade to iMovie HD. I had never used the upgrade before and was very disappointed to find that the program had basically been downgraded into an almost unusable trainwreck. (No waveform mixing!?) I had to stick with it, for the increased flexibility with titles, but it was not a pretty sight. Once the project was edited and all cut together, I procured Final Cut Pro (sadly too late to edit with) and Color. I sent the final output through Color and it was a great help in getting the trailer to look the way it does. Color is an amazing application and I feel like I just scratched the surface of its capability. It basically provides the same color editing functionality you have in Photoshop for still images, but for video. I worked on each shot individually, and first tried to clean up the stale color the camcorder captured, and then tweak it just enough to provide that timelessness of Wes Anderson films. Of course, the program’s power is limited by the image quality of the camera, so some edits weren’t possible without destroying the integrity of the image. (Exposure or saturation edits for example looked terrible.) The basic color editing functions (below) were enough to give the final product the look I was hoping for.
I had done a few test shots and some basic story-boarding prior to the shoot, but we were pretty much shooting from the hip the whole time. Phil is a great actor and he knew exactly what I was going for with this project. As we are both avid Wes Anderson fans, we didn’t have to do too much in the way of research or planning prior to the shoot. The order in which we completed the trailer was probably completely backwards (we wrote it after we shot it) but it ended up working out and provided us with many a happy accident. Despite the fact that this part of the project was not “graphic” design in the traditional sense, it was definitely the most fun, and my favorite part of the semester.