Psychedelic “Pseudo-Slit-Scan Eye Effect”

No, this isn’t exactly like the famous “Stargate” sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey, nor was it done the same way, it’s just that it’s hard to come up with descriptive titles for stuff like this.  Best I could do.  Random single frames of colorful texture with a “mirror-image” effect applied, then processed through static “slit-mattes”, progressively thrown out of sync.  What I do to have fun sometimes, never know what you might discover. Want more? Click here for another.

Guilty Pleasure: DumbLand by David Lynch

DumbLand is comprised of 8 short episodes, all crudely animated (and I mean cruder than crude) and all about a nameless family (dimwitted psychotic father, hysterical inarticulate mother, annoying squeaky voiced kid) and their depressing (& hilarious) adventures around their home.  There is something worthwhile here, and like all great art, it gnaws at the truth of our existence and illuminates it.  All written & directed by David Lynch, all characters voiced by David Lynch (and I am assuming he drew everything too).

82 years ago in Special Effects history…

King Kong bw

Here is a posed publicity still from the original 1933 “King Kong”.  King Kong and the Tyrannosaur are posed stop-motion puppets, perhaps 18″ tall.  Foreground and background elements are painted.  There is no scene exactly like this in the actual film, Kong never picks up a log, jamming it into the Tyrannosaur’s mouth, although maybe it would’ve been a good idea.  For you collectors, click on the picture and you will get the full size version which you can copy.

Adam Beckett (1950-1979), Infinite Animator

Beckett_webI met Adam Beckett at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in 1971.  He was a talented artist, animator and possessed an eccentric “larger than life” personality.  His work was clearly influenced by 1960s & 1970s counter-culture and erotica.  His output was prodigious considering his brief lifespan (1950-1979) and he was also legendary for his astonishing skills with the animation camera and optical printer, employing techniques which led many to believe he used a computer (which he absolutely did not).  The Iota Center along with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have worked diligently to restore his significant works, which are available in DVD format.  The main part of  “Sausage City” (everything excluding the opening and ending credits) was created using 48 drawings, which were repeated as a loop.  However, on each repetition, Beckett would add more detail to the drawings, so that you can actually see the complex loop evolve.  Given the elaborate detail of the drawings, many days, weeks, months (who knows?) were required to complete the cycle, along with many trips to the animation camera, all while holding off on processing the film until completion.  At least, this is what I remember Beckett telling me!

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen 1920-2013

Ray Harryhausen, the great stop-motion animator and inspiration for many of today’s Special Effects Gurus passed away today at the age of 92.  I remember seeing The 7th Voyage of Sinbad at age 8 and it made quite an impression.  He was the first special effects artist I could actually name (it helped that he had an unusual name), and (I later learned) many of his films were scripted around his astounding animated creatures and concepts.  Unlike today’s Special Effects Extravaganzas, requiring armies of animators and effects technicians, Harryhausen supposedly did most of the animation himself.

7thVoyageOfSinbad.lc3tnI got to meet Mr. Harryhausen in 1982 when he took a tour of I.L.M. and I got to show him around the Optical Department.  I managed to secure his autograph on a Lobby Card from It Came From Beneath the Sea (which has faded somewhat since I had it framed and displayed).

1981 RayH visits ILM ItCameFromBeneath.lc(1)

Somebody colorized King Kong!

Purists will condemn the colorization of old black & white movies, but for some strange reason, I never had an issue with it, as long as they’re not messing with the original negative (which is not the case with colorization).  The cropping of movie formats to fit within the squarish TV frame bugged me way more, but that’s another issue.  I’ve seen King Kong more times than I care to admit, and for my money it remains one of the greatest films ever made.  One of my great film memories is watching a reel (the very scene depicted in the YouTube clip) struck from the original negative in the Academy Theatre in L.A. with a cranked up sound system.  Awe inspiring.  The film is filled with incredible details in both the picture and sound.  For instance, we get to hear Fay Wray scream a lot, but next time you see the film pay attention to the screams of the unlucky Venture crewmen who suffer horrible deaths while pursuing Kong on Skull Island!

King Kong lobby card