Friday, December 24, 2010

Video Tutorials (New Media Tools & Practise)

Following the previous tutorials, here I complete the series of tutorials on Slicing

In this tutorial, we learn to make user defined slices and learn about auto slices. We draw the slices manually
Any doubts, feel free to contact me for clarifications: 

to make our life easier, photoshop allows us to define slices according to layers. If you have the foresight to create your layer design in photoshop with layers, it will help you a long way to quickly convert your layers into slices. Follow the tutorial to know more.

this is what we have been aiming at all this while, build slices and then optimize it in different file formats like jpegs or gifs. In the design we have been working at - we will be doing exactly that. 
Any doubts, feel free to discuss further: 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Video Tutorial for my students (NEW MEDIA TOOLS & PRACTICE)


What should be the screen size of my website? A question often asked by many students. This tutorial aims to answer that.

Any doubts - feel free to discuss...

If you have prepared your design layout comp on photoshop and ready to move to your web design platform - Dreamweaver? May be you want to consider slicing up the images to optimise it for your website first. Here's my second tutorial on the same. 

Any doubts, feel free to discuss...

Saturday, November 13, 2010



We live in this time where everything is in the present tense. Memories are simply the source materials for "tonight's act." Any film clip or historical document can be summoned by surfing the web, and entire TV networks are devised to trot out re-runs of Westerns and cartoons, all juxtaposed against the backdrop of people downloading what just happened, off of their telephones for public consumption. Through this, I am a storyteller. An archivist and an entertainer. And most importantly an artist. My job is to use all of this source material, and run it through the prism of my own life and create a moment. To make an experience for the audience to experience. Laughter and the wry smile are my payoff. The work works best when I get these same results every time the audience comes back for more. I use the familiar, and cram my own self into it to see how it fits. Then I parade around to show off how badly it usually does. For the most part, I dispense with naming names. I like it that people get the idea without them. People seem to get what I am talking about without them. But sometimes the name is the crucial ingredient.

Which reminds me of a story…—David Kramer, New York City, 2010

Using his own life as source material for his art, Kramer is the consummate storyteller. But like a movie star who we recognize from the roles that they play, and the stories we read in the tabloids, there is a disconnection between the man himself and the stage persona he has created. The character presented in his artwork is both an idealized and vilified version of himself, with the truth often stretched in service of the story.

Kramer's experiences become the universal struggle of the everyman for greatness. He gets up and goes to work every day. He is married with a son. He struggles to make ends meet. And he often takes comfort at the end of the day in a bottle. The imagery in his work is culled from 1970s print advertising. Hot girls and big cars are symbols of having arrived. Cowboys are metaphors for the lonely and hardscrabble life of the artist. Modernist architecture creates space for better living. Cigarettes are eternally cool and represent an irrational love for things that may destroy us. Re-inscribing romanticized and highly stylized versions of the American Dream, Kramer explores our desire for halcyon days and the hangover of disappointment with a razor sharp wit.—Sarah Murkett

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Approaching the EDIT

As editors, we're thinking audience all the time, I've always said editors are proxy for audience. We love our audience, and we want them to be happy and be enriched. And we want them to stay with it, of course, especially if it's for television

Cameraman like what I do with their material, or obvious reasons. I respect the quality of what they're doing. I don't muscle it into some intellectual thing. I respect their curiosity. I use their curiosity, it matches my own. And of course, that doesn't mean that therefore I use only their best stuff. But, I'm certainly very sensitive to what I think is effective material. Very often I lose their best stuff, because it doesn't work

To a lot of television producers, a documentary is like a term paper. They're not loving the audience, particularly. They believe you have to tell them what they're going to see, tell them what they're seeing, and tell them what they saw. There's an excessive use of narration in television because that's the one thing they know how to do, they were taught well in college and they know how to write. And the audience is just switching channels, or dozing off, because they's spoon-fed. So you have to wrestle with that, and argue for the audience. I would rather confront someone I'm working with than make a heavily scripted film that is totally boring the hell out of an audience

- Larry Silk 

Editing Biographical Portraits

A documentary editor shapes the film narrative. With a biographical film that means being accountable for telling someone's life story. Getting the story right is an enormous responsibility; making the film entertaining and watchable, which is the larger job of the editor, requires careful balance.

Documentary editors pore over material for weeks and months, digesting the meaning of what they are given: film clips, photographs, interviews, transcripts. In making a biographical film, through viewing the subject's life artifacts, the editor comes to know the person intimately, but great editing always requires distance. The interpersonal dynamics of making a biographical or autobiographical documentary with the living subject of the film can be challenging. Because the editor's job is to represent the interest of the audience, she is focused entirely on the quality of the storytelling; the director, on the other hand, is inevitably invested in how he or she will come off. With every cut, the editor makes conjectures and statements about the person's character; as an emphatic person, an editor cannot help but be distracted by the nagging question, "What will the subject think of this portrayal?"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tension and Style: film editor's challenges

One of a documentary film editor's challenges is bridging the gap between the often sublime, nuanced story that unfolds as the crew shoots a scene, and what the camera and microphone succeed in capturing. The crew's goal is to shoot footage that will make those nuanced obvious and comprehensible to an audience. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don't. Nonetheless, it's up to the editor to tell the story as the director sees it, or work with the director in forming a new vision for the narrative. Editors often identify the presence, or lack, of dramatic material in raw footage as "what's there". 

Creating a documentary is fraught with a variety of tension and conflict that gets resolved (or not) via a complex interplay of personal, creative and practical negotiations among the various players. To begin with, in most every documentary, there is inherent tension among three versions of the story: 

1. The story that the director is trying to capture with the material. This story is usually based on the director's original concept for the film, but it often evolves and changes during shooting as the real life unfolds in unexpected ways

2. The story that the editor sees in screening what has been captured by the camera

3. The edited version of the story, which is the reconciliation between what the editor can structure from the material she's been given, and what the director wants to emphasize: themes, turning points, important exposition of the events or characters, or dramatic moments that will be entertaining and informative to an audience.

In addition to the tension among the different versions of the story, there is tension between truth and drama. While the editor goes about inventing the structure, she must keep the dramatic storyline alive, though she also may feel an ethical responsibility to portray events as they actually happened. In structuring the material, a documentary editor often works like a screenplay writer, charged with crafting the entire narrative and "finding the story" in what is often 100-plus hours of material. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who are the English?

Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that."
Photographer: Chris Steele-Perkins

Who are the English? And what images spring to mind when you think of the English and England? Ask a tourist and they would probably say Big Ben, English 'bobbies', the London Eye or maybe even the Queen. Ask a Scot, Welshmen or Irishman and you may get a different answer. However, ask an Englishman (or woman) and you will probably get more intimate  answers...mowing the lawn, going down to the pub or maybe braving the beach on a frigid summer's day. Ask Chris Steele-Perkins and he'll have a multitude of answers and what's more, as an internationally acclaimed and award-winning Magnum photographer of 40 years standing he has the images to share.  From Sunday cricket matches to snoozes in a deckchair; intimate family portraits to carefree children at play; circus shows with performing bears to the wilder performers of a street carnival; and from Saturday night dancing to race riots. Each picture tells a story of time and place and many of the images collected will strike a chord or a memory in the viewer.

Brief: At the age of two, Chris Steele-Perkins moved to England from Burma with his father. He went to school at Christ's Hospital. At the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he studied psychology and worked for the student newspaper; he graduated with honors in 1970 and started to work as a freelance photographer, moving to London in 1971. Steele-Perkins joined Magnum Photos in 1979 and soon began working extensively in the developing world, in particular in Africa, Central America and Lebanon, as well as continuing to take photographs in Britain. He continues to work in Britain, documenting rural life in County Durham.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

EDITING: finding the film

The documentary editor is like a sculptor whose materials are restricted to the format artifacts of media: photography, professionally shot footage, archival material, home movies, interviews, music and transcripts. Today's editors working in the digital realm also have animation, graphics, and effects at their disposal to construct a cinematic story line. But while the equipment to edit documentaries evolves at an ever increasing page - from the steenbeck, Moviola or reel-to-reel video editing system of ten years ago to your average personal computer today - the craft of storytelling remains at the core of editor's work. Editor Larry Silk says "Every cut is a disturbance of reality, so the trick is to cut artfully so the cut gives you more than the disturbance it creates", Documentary editing ties together seemingly mundane moments they may lack inherent drama in a way that moves the plot forward, creates intrigue, portrays an engrossing reality, and brings the larger significance of the events to the surface of the film. 

One of the most common mistakes filmmakers make is they get caught up in how your reveal the exposition. People often begin a film with all the facts, all this background on the characters or on the subject - information that you think the audience needs to know. What you want to try to do is let the story unfold - start with something weird or surprising or wacky or mysterious. There are different philosophies on what that first scene should be, some people like to start with a straight cut interview. I rarely do that - but sometimes it works. If you do start with a talking head, then atleast start at a really unusual point in the interview, to arouse the audience's curiosity. 

You have two scenes, A and B. And each has a beginning, a middle and an end. But watching them one after the next is fairly boring. So you intercut them in parallel

Geof explains further: 
My whole strategy as an editor is to get you on that boat and to go down the river, make it feel like one smooth trip and you're being drawn along. And one thing that can happen is sometimes you'll have two scenes that'll play one after the other - A and B - which, to me, is like getting off the boat, taking a leak on the shore, and then getting back on. its stopping. it's stoppin. So, if you , find a way to intercut those two scenes - and obviously not all scenes can be intercut, there has to be a meaning to the intercutting. But if there is a meaning they can be cut in parallel. Two things happen - one, you are creating one scene rather than two back-to-back scenes. And the other benefit is, you are able to take the best of both scenes - really what you doing is using scene B as a cutaway for scene A, and scene A as a cutaway for scene B. In other words, you get rid of all the crappy stuff in scene A, because you are now in scene B. 

It is a very standard technique that's invisible to most people. You're drawing the story and it's a very good way to tell the story, through parallel editing. But obviously there's got to be a relationship between the events - that's either got to be a time relationship or there's got to be an emotional relationship of some kind between the two scenes. otherwise it won't work. 

Good editors and good directors take their ego and they put it in the locker. Lock it away and look at this movie and say "Is that thing working for a general audience?" It's a very hard thing to do, but you have to...

Watching a Compelling Documentary - Albert Maysles

For Albert Maysles, Cinematographer/Director, to watch a compelling documentary film is to become "engaged in a process that is so human and so lacking, especially in our sophisticated societies'
He feels that the Iraq war "never would have happened if we had a few films of Iraqi people. I wouldn't be going on now the way it is without more skepticism if were were looking at what's happening there. We haven't even seen a photograph of what Baghdad looks like from the air after having them bombed to hell. Have you? I haven't seen it. That's about the first basic - they bombed Baghdad. let's take a look at it. But, from there we can get into people's lives"

Of documentary filmmaking, Maysles says, " I can't think of a better profession and it's not just because I earn a living by it. Although, I don't know - do I earn a living by it?" he laughs, gesturing around at his spare midtown office. "It's not just that, It's that I'm doing good all the way around. I'm making a film that I can be proud of. I'm doing a service, the ultimate service, for people that I'm filming, giving them recognition and paying attention to them, not as they would be or should be or shouldn't be, who they are. That's what people need, right? And then there's the benefit to the audience: Millions of people can step into the lives of people they never otherwise would have met, and learn something. 

FILMMAKER-SUBJECT BOND: violations and beyond

The most extreme reactions to any Maysles Brothers film were accusations  that the brothers had violated the filmmaker-subject bond. Along with his brother David, Muffie Meyers, Ellen Hovde and Susan Froemke, Albert codirected GREY GARDENS (1975), a film about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's eccentric cousins. The film's main characters, mother and daughter Edit Bouvier Beale and Edith B. Beale Jr., are former socialites who lived cheerfully  in an undomesticated house in the conservative town of East Hampton. While GREY GARDENS has a bit of a cult following, it had also engendered the filmmaker's harshest criticism. 

In fact, for some of the criticism of Grey Garden was so intense as to be newsworthy. 

Many critics and viewers are uncomfortable watching scene in Grey Garden were the isolated women appear mentally ill. Edit Beagles and "Little Edie" as Albert calls her, have visions o grandeur, dancing about in near-naked performances, flirting with the camera (and with the Maysles Brothers) while raccoons and other 'un-housebroken pets' run throughout the house. Albert recognised the Beales as eccentric, but he believes they were willing - one might even say eager - participants in the film, and that the experience of making it benefited them. 

Except for tabloids shamefully perused in supermarket checkout lines, America was not yet used to seeing the rich, famous and powerful get publicly embarrassed in excruciating detail at every level of the media

Today, when reality show contestants are willing sleeping in coffins, eating bowls full of worms, and enduring liposuction procedures before a national television audience, the reaction to GREY GARDEN seems excessive. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why do we need GREEN TAX?

The main purpose of energy or carbon taxes cited by its proponents is to reduce CO2 emissions and to respond to concerns about climate change and global warming. Of the nearly 22 billion tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere worldwide every year, one forth is generated by the United States, with only 4 percent of the world population, as a change in policy in this one country, even if other nations do not go along, would have great benefit. There are many other advantages as well. A Study of the economics of Japan, the US, the erstwhile U.S.S.R and the E.E.C. in the period of 1976 to 1990 showed that economic performance was directly correlated with energy prices. The more costly the price of resources, as in the case of Japan, the greater the technological innovations and economic growth. On the other hand, where energy and resources were subsidized and below market value, as they were in Soviet Union, economic growth and innovation lagged significantly higher levels than the U.S, but not as high as the Japanese. This correlation should come as no surprise, since it is higher prices that goods and urge companies and individuals toward better design and more efficient technologies and systems

While carbon taxes will initially lower CO2 emissions by greatly increasing energy efficiency, their ultimate purpose is to the replacement of carboniferous fuels with sustainable, clean burning energy sources that do not vitiate the dynamics of our atmosphere and climate. The timing of the imposition of the tax is one of the foremost  concerns about it. If the taxes on energy go up overnight ( as they did, in effect during the oil embargo of 1973), they cause inflation, dislocation and chaos. But if green taxes on energy should gradually rise to the level where it is less expensive for individuals and industry to rely on alternatives to carbon based fuel. Wind, water and solar radiation provide permanent sources of energy, and they will always be available, while coal, oil, and gas in finite supply. Fossil fuels are useful but too damaging to be squandered out of exhaust pipes and Smoke stakes. Furthermore, they give us a false and deceptive view of our carrying capacity with respect to the environment. No business in the world can longer survive on its capital reserves. Every businessperson understands this, yet many ignore the fact that this same principle applies equally to energy and environment: No culture will long survive drawing downs its energy capital, and so any worthwhile green tax will eventually halt the depletion of the world's resources. The task in energy, as in food, clothing, and shelter is to create an economy that lives off of current income, not capital resources. Thus, the purpose of green taxes is to raise the economic stakes to the level where we cannot afford to live off of capital - where it simply becomes prohibitively expensive to deforest, degrade or destroy the environment.

Although we cannot or need not capture all the energy that arrives every day from the sun, we can harness more than enough to meet our present and foreseeable needs, as long as those needs do not continue to involve a runaway, frenetic world of cars, planes, commuting, and travel. Relying on solar energy does not eliminate all waste, but it eliminates the bulk of CO2 buildup in the atmosphere, as well as most of the smog and air pollution. Solar energy does not pollute, does not cause asthma and emphysema in the L.A basin, does not acid rain, does not run aground and spill into the ocean, does not seep into groundwater, pollute rivers, or create Super-fund sites. These and your gas, turn on your heater, even buy your food. By relying upon an that more people can have more things, we will absolutely create a world where we will have less and less, and imbalance between rice and poor will continue to grow more pronounced and inequitable. 

the comfort of DYING!!

The hospital environment is not designed to ease the process of dying for it is entirely oriented to preventing death. People who are old, infirm, immobile, helpless and in pain are left in brightly lit rooms, usually with another patient, and are treated with a scripted efficiency in an attempt to hold costs down. It is, as everyone knows who has witnessed it, an extremely unpleasant way to die. Beyond the emotional stress, families of the dying often face another shock, and that is the medical bills that pile up. It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of the health care cost in one's lifetime will occur during the final year of life, and half of those costs in the final ninety days. In rough dollars terms, this means we spend $200 to $300 billion annually in "health" care during the final year of life, $100 and $150 billion during those last ninety days. 

What is restorative company?

A restorative company "finds the shortest, simplest way between the earth, the hands and the mouth". Wendell Berry in his essay "Conservation is good work," decries the elaborate market systems that have effectively alienated us from our roots while wasting our earth: "The dilemma of private economic responsibility is that we have allowed our supplies to enlarge our economic boundaries so far that we cannot be responsible for our effects on the world. The only remedy for this that I can see is to draw in our economic boundaries, shorten our supply lines, so as to permit us literally to know where we are economically. The closer we live to the ground that we live from, the more we know about our economic life; the more able we will be to take responsibility for it. The way to bring discipline into one's personal or household economy is limit one's economic geography

To rebuild an economy to honor the natural communities on which the human society depends involves a patient reconstruction of the commercial ties and connections that bind and separate us. It is one thing for corporation to promote individual responsibility as a means to "save the earth", and quite another for an enterprise to conceive and design itself so that choices are enlarged. If changing from linear or cyclical processes is a key to re-creating business in an ecological manner, then an important component of that redesign will be feedback, accountability and responsibility. Local ownership, while not guarantee ring such a result,makes it much easier for producers and customers to know, understand, and respond to one another. Further, it also helps to maintain capital pools in the community of origin and strengthen local economics. 

Sustainable business take responsibility for the effects they have on the natural world. One of the outgrowths of Earth Day was the emphasis in the media on stories about what the consumer could do to "save the earth". Books were published, lists were drawn up, children were galvanised, as if subtle or radical changes in personal consumption and Individual activity in empowering, but it cannot of itself change the nature of modern corporate capitalism, however inadvertently or purposefully, to put itself in the best insignificant when compared to the demands placed upon the environment by corporation themselves. Consider this fact: If the items used in households in America were all recycled, this would reduce our solid waste by only 1 to 2 percent. 

Advertising - invasive expression of commerce

Advertising is needed to inform, direct and educate, but in its present form, it is an invasive expression of commerce. Advertising creates envy and sense of inadequacy; it is responsible for mediocre TV programming because the lower denominators for taste produce the highest ratings; it deceives young and old alike into purchases that are inappropriate, unnecessary, or wasteful, feeding the frenzy of consumption that is responsible for civilization's overshooting present carrying capacity. it is a type of 'disvalue', the removal of value from a motion and hyperbole instead. Mass-market advertising reinforces economic centralization because of the high costs required; it is anti-democratic because it is not designed to allow dissenting voices that challenge the product's value or merits, and serves no social needs. Advertising permeates our soul, and denigrates women, the intellect and spirituality. It has been called the "paradigmatic science" of the twentieth century. 


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The power of our Muse

photographer: Gueorgui Pinkhassov

The power of our Muse lies in her meaninglessness. Even the style can turn one into a slave if one does not run away from it, and then one is doomed to repeat oneself. The only thing that counts is curiosity. For me personally, this is what creativity is about. It will express itself less in the fear of doing the same thing over again than in the desire not to go where one has already been."

Pinkhassov's interest in photography began while he was still at school. After studying cinematography at the VGIK (the Moscow Institute of Cinematography), he went on to work at the Mosfilm studio and then as a set photographer.

In 1978 Pinkhassov joined the Moscow Union of Graphic Arts and obtained the status of an independent artist. His work was noticed by the prominent Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, who invited Pinkhassov to the set to make a reportage about his film ‘Stalker’ (1979).

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