Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vlogger Interview: Bill Elder [BillTVMacon]

Today's Vlogger Interview features Bill Elder, known on YouTube as BillTVMacon.  He's based in Macon, Georgia, and has had a long career in broadcast radio - including thirty years as a DJ.  That experience definitely shows.  His vlog is funny, well edited, and responsive to his subscribers the vlogging community around the world.    He has an amazing ability to create content that has an appeal across all age groups on YouTube.  AND, if that isn't enough, he's a nice guy.

Though the Vlogger Interview is usually ten minutes long, I sometimes have great conversations that go on quite a bit longer.  I'm considering an audio podcast that would, among other things, include in-depth interviews with a number of vloggers that's you've met here.  What do you think?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Vlogger Interviews: Curt Phillips [OhCurt]

Today's Vlogger Interview features Curt Phillips - OhCurt on YouTube - he's a vlogger with a cinematic sense, and a vlogging veteran with over five years behind him.   In this interview, learn how Curt actually began developing his vlogging style in the 1980's - and the single greatest reason he keeps it up to this day.

If you haven't seen it yet, here's the powerful video by young Jacob Mowry, to whom Curt refers to in this video. This video, though posted months ago, went viral just a couple of weeks ago.  Here's Curt's own response.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Are We Expecting Too Much? Motion Capture and the “The Adventures of TinTin”

I recently had the opportunity to see The Adventures ofTinTin, the Steven Spielberg  3D motion capture film based on Hergé’s iconic European comic books of the mid-20th Century (here's the main TinTin Site).   The film is visually spectacular - a real showcase for state-of-art-graphics technology.   Whereas Hugo combines live actors and CGI technology, TinTin is entirely a computer graphics creation.

Used Under Fair Use
Simply put, The Adventures of TinTin is the story of a boy/young man detective (his age is unspecified) and his trusty canine sidekick, Snowy on an international  adventure in search of a lost pirate's treasure.  It's a comic book come to life as never before - on sea, in the air - and on land - including some truly wild stunts that would have been almost unthinkable in a conventional film. 

Working with Peter Jacksons WETA Digital, which provided animation and special effects, Spielberg doesn't attempt to create photorealistic human actors.  The motion picture version of the TinTin character is a representation of the comic book version (early in the film, a street artist creates a caricature of the reimagined TinTin that brings the two interpretations together).  Like most cartoons, foreheads might be large, noses might be big - proportions aren't quite "right."  This isnt a cartoon, though.  This occupies a special territory somewhere between real and imagined. 

As I watched TinTin, I found myself wondering how much more of an experience this film would have been with live actors.   Though the motion capture technology used here really allows for an effective "performance," I felt a curious emotional detachment from the characters and experiences on screen.

Is such a comparison fair?  After all, TinTin is clearly a comic book character.  This is "The Adventures of TinTin," not the coming of age of TinTin.  As an adventure, it's succeeds probably beyond any previous comic book adaption.  Even in this success, though, there's a unsettling awareness that something's missing.

The advancing nature of the technology, in my opinion, is creating a subtle expectation of humanity.  With the creation of characters like TinTin, with his full range of emotions and human-like movement, we're beginning to instinctually expect these creatures to be more human, with all of the imperfections and inconsistencies that entails.   Though TinTin's performance is motion captured (from actor Jamie Bell), even the most sensitive motion capture can't recreate the distinctive human texture that makes a live performance wholly unique.  As biological creatures, humans are never perfect.  Even so-called beautiful people simply inhabit imperfections that happen to be considered attractive.  Humans are not symetrical.  We arent believeable, were simply the real thing.  TinTin is engaging, but he cant quite generate empathy, even in him most harrowing moments.

I highly recommend seeing both The Adventures of TinTin and Martin Scorceses Hugo back-to-back to gain a real perspectives on both the wonder and (current) limitations of CGI and motion capture technology.  Both are cinematic masterpieces and enjoy the most effective 3D yet.   Compare the performance of Asa Butterfield as Hugo and the motion-capture interpretation of Jamie Bell's performance as TinTin.

Let me know what you think. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Vlogger Interviews: Gabe Gerrard [TheresGabe]

In this latest episode of The Vlogger Interviews, I speak via Skype with Gabe Gerrard of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Gabe, along with his wife and son, create content across several channels, including TheresGabe . Gabe loves the camera, and even though he now works in an industry about as far from the entertainment world as you can get, you'll learn about his role in a certain classic kid's movie.   Perhaps that was just his warm-up for his vlogging career....

Enjoy the Vlog!  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Vlogger Interviews: Margaret Fabrizio [ATree3]

Here's a very special Vlogger Interview with Margaret Fabrizio, ATree3 on YouTube.  Margaret is a livelong creative artist.  As her website notes, she began her study of piano six weeks before her third birthday.  She's been a pianist, harpsichordist - and for 25 years was on the faculty of Stanford University.   She's a writer, visual artist, filmmaker - and an active and prolific Vlogger.

Margaret's creative and dynamic use of the vlogging canvas sets the bar high for all of us. In fact, she might very well represent the elusive soul of Vlogging...

Enjoy the interview!