I can’t say this was a complete surprise after the fantastic run Gravity’s had in the awards season, but winning an Oscar is still something else. Seeing our supervisor Tim Webber walking up there and accepting the award and becoming a part of an Oscar winning project feels a little surreal. Visual Effects was not the only award but only a part of an outstanding night for the film, which saw it take seven awards including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, Best Cinematographer for Emmanuel Lubezki, Best Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Original Score.
What a fantastic ride! we worked extremely hard on it and now seeing it’s success makes all those long hours and late nights worthwhile. It is hard not to mention Alfonso Cuarón and his brilliant vision in bringing such gripping story to life and Tim Webber’s leadership in translating Alfonso’s vision into incredible images . Also I should mention the compositing supervision team; Mark Bakowski and Anthony Smith who were provided everyone with opportunities and support. To mark this occasion I’ve just launched my new VFX website at http://vfx.samsalek.net.
It’s been 6 months since I got myself a new wallet! and I’ve been on the lookout for another interesting design, but it’s not easy to find innovation in this area. My current wallet is still functional and despite the loosened strap, still does a good job, and the one before; the paper SlimFold wallet no longer exists and has reached its’ fate; recycled. A few weeks ago I received a package that I was not expecting; inside there was a new wallet that I had completely forgotten about.
Machine Era Wallet was a project I backed on Kickstarter last September. It’s a very simple wallet made of Aluminum or Brass depending on your choice. I wasn’t sure if the flat design could contain all my cards but thought this could be a could companion to my main wallet to provide quick access to the most essentials. I liked the minimalistic approach to the design and the idea of feeling something solid in your pocket so backed the cheaper Aluminum version for $28. In the few weeks of using it’s been exactly what I thought it would be and I only put most essential things on it. The lightness and built quality has made using it enjoyable and this little wallet has satisfied my new wallet cravings for the time being! until I discover the next good design!
One of the most important part of working efficiently is keeping a track of your tasks and assignments. I try to provide myself with as much as visual information as possible by organising my tasks in a colour coded way so by a quick glance I can see what shot is reaching it’s deadline and needs more attention. Using Google spreadsheet makes really easy to create interactive tables and keeping everything organized.
I’m going to share a few tips today about how to setup an interactive block that shows the remaining dates and changes the colour based on that.
Let’s say the deadline for Shot A is 15th of March. First step is creating a data format that can be used for further referencing. To display the date use this format:
Now we can use the following line to extract the remaining days from our date;
It will be easier to colour code the remaining days block so when it’s reaching the deadline it automatically turns red. To do that go to Format>Conditional Formatting and set a condition.
ok seems we have plenty time left and everything is still green! you can go home early tonight!
It’s been such a long time since we finished working on Gravity that being reminded of it again in the award season kind of feels a little strange! Gravity has been a huge success and after winning many categories in the VES awards, just added one more trophy to its’ ever growing shelf of glory! British Academy of Film and Television Arts, BAFTA, awarded Gravity with the best visual effects, as well as 5 other golden status including Alfonso winning Best Director, Emmanuel ‘Chivo’ Lubezki winning Best Cinematography (calling us nerds in his speech!) and Gravity also winning Outstanding British Film, Best Original Music and Best Sound. What a night!
Yesterday I did two lectures for Kingston University students. I was a student there myself not long ago and graduated in 2009 from Media Technology Bsc. Going back to Kingston always brings back a lot of memories, mostly good! and I’m always happy to return and share my journey with the future digital artists. This time as well doing a presentation I also showed a special video.
Every time after I finish a talk I wish I could have shared more as all I’m saying is one person’s story and point of view and probably won’t apply to many.This year I wanted to change that with the help of my colleagues. I did a series of video interviews with Framestore artists from different departments and asked them to share their stories. I was faced with an overwhelming support, so much so that I was not able to include everyone in the project. The result was a video of the vfx artists generously sharing their unique journeys and how they got where they are. It took me four weeks to put it together and I really hope Kingston students found it helpful. I will make the original video available online here for a limited time and hopefully a shorter version officially online at some point in the next few months.
The film photography has been dying for years, it’s been battling with a cancer known as ‘digital’ but with each dying breath it leaves behind a legacy and a generation still discovering it.
The advantages of digital are just too many to ignore; you can take unlimited number of photos and you view the result instantly, just to name a couple of most important ones. There was a time that I was still using my film cameras for the experience, the design and controls as opposed to modern yet ugly designs of digital, but with the new wave of digital cameras in analogue inspired bodies such as the Fuji x series or even more recently released Nikon DF, that gap is closing fast. What is left behind is just film, the characteristics of a chemical process that produces a unique look, although you can mimic that with a little post work on your digital image to some extend.
The other day I took my Fuji X-E1 and Canon EX-AUTO out for a spin. My dad purchased this Canon EX-AUTO about 40 years ago and it was gathering dust for nearly two decades! so when I found it I had to try it out. EX-AUTO was Canon’s effort in creating an automatic analogue camera while maintaining full manual control, an idea point and shoot for everyone. Using them side by side there’s no doubt the when it comes to practicality and speed analogue doesn’t stand a chance, but there is still something magical about the film process. When you need to read the light, and choose the right setting, you almost need to get in a different zone and feel your surroundings in much more depth. The initial decision to whether the subject worth capturing is another interesting element too, whereas with digital you just keep snapping away.
It is hard to justify using film over digital, but as an hobby and just for pure enjoyment of photography, film gives you something that analogue by nature can’t; almost a transcendence! You become one with everything around you and with your camera, and then you’ll everything from distance before pressing the shutter button.
I think with digital, those moments when you capture something are erased from your memory and you only remember then through what you saw in the lens, but analogue captures it with you in them, if that makes any sense!
I recently moved to Bethnal Green. I’ve never lived or even spent much time in east London, so this was quiet a change of scenery or a good chance to discover a new part of London.Even though it’s been over a month, it was only a few days ago that I finally found some time to explore the area.
The view from my room to Cambridge Heath station
I walked down Hackney Road and there are two things that you will quickly notice; every few steps there is a bag/luggage store! I don’t know how much demand there could be!
And the second and more interesting thing is the street art and graffiti all over the place. Most of the street arts are actually quiet amazing and not really random but done by very well-known artists giving this area a very unique look.
You can’t avoid them! they are everywhere!
I did not know that some of these are very famous pieces and done by internationally renowned artists until I started uploading some of my photos on instagram. Thanks to the enthusiastic community there the name of those artists were revealed to me and I’ve been looking into their works with fascination.
ROA is the pseudonym of a graffiti artist from Ghent, Belgium. He has created works on the streets of cities across Europe and the United States. ROA generally paints wild animals or birds in black and white. (wikipedia)
and some work by ALO :
There are plenty more everywhere in Hackney/Old Street areas, very inspiring work and it’s hard to find out the identity of all these artists. Many of them won’t last long neither, I noticed a lot of STIK works are already gone when I tried to look for more. That’s a shame as all these drawings and painting have created quiet an amazing atmosphere in this area and there’s something to discover in every corner.
The discoveries continues …