The wondrous Gestalten has a terrific selection of videos up on their site Gestalten tv. Anyone familiar with their publications knows that Gestalten is synonymous with extremely high quality production. I wasn’t familiar with many of the subjects listed, but found each one engaging and very well done. The one on Postlerferguson above was especially entertaining. Definitely going to order a paper MP5.
Of course I had to include the recent video on Dieter Rams above. I find interviews with him to be mesmerizing and am nowhere close to tired of seeing new ones pop up (as his exhibition makes waves in London). The book Less and More is available for purchase from Gestalten (in Europe), Vitsoe, and Amazon (though looks like not until January).
Gestalten.tv creates a broad range of documentaries, interviews and features that introduce Gestalten related subjects alongside individuals, projects and companies that are vanguards of visual culture.
The Auteurs has a post on their picks for the top movie posters of the decade. Considering that the vast majority of modern movie posters fall short of the standards set in heyday of film, this must have been a difficult list to assemble and a boring task to complete. Nevertheless, they have managed to dig up a few gems. Good to see The Bank Job in there — always a favorite — but I was pleasantly surprised by Funny Games, hadn’t seen that one.
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.
Grain Edit has a great post on the upcoming Photo Lettering Site from House Industries. When I first saw the headline for the original post I was half hoping for some sort of digital way to achieve that awesome blurred edge style from old movie titles and magazines. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. But the reality was just about as good, a bunch of great until now defunct vintage typefaces. The Photo Lettering Site is not fully operational yet, but you can check out some posters featuring some of the fonts here.
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.
You are probably familiar with the illustration work of the exceptionally talented Kevin Dart. His most recent project is the trailer above — promoting a hypothetical film and his new book Seductive Espionage: The World of Yuki 7. The film was a collaborative effort between Dart, animator Stepahne Coedel and composer Cyrille Marchesseau. I have a soft spot for trailers of films that don’t exist, and this one is truly amazing.
Art of the Title Sequence recently posted an in depth interview with the three creators. They walk through a lot of process and really go into the fine details of the production. Very interesting read if you enjoyed the trailer.
Film the Blanks is an ongoing design experiment that takes existing film posters and abstracts them down to their core elements. The project has garnered much press over the last few months, and I figured I’d post up some of my favorite pieces. I like the work because of the visuals, but there is also a strong participatory component that sets it apart. Each time a “blank” is uploaded to the site, users are invited to guess which film the abstraction represents. In some cases the solution is obvious, but it’s often remarkably difficult to discern which poster is hiding behind the blocks. Eventually clues are released and points are awarded to the successful guessers. It’s an exciting format for a design project; one that takes a strong concept, built around a fairly standard medium (poster), and twists it into something unique and engaging.