China defends screening software

June 9, 2009

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The Great Firewall of China just got an upgrade…
– FlashAddict

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By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

China has defended the use of new screening software that has to be installed on all computers.

Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the software would filter out pornographic or violent material.

Critics have complained that it could also be used to stop Chinese internet users searching for politically sensitive information.

But Mr Qin, speaking at a regular press briefing, said China promoted the healthy development of the internet.

All computers sold in China – even those that are imported – will have to be pre-installed with the “Green Dam Youth Escort” software.

‘Poisoned minds’

The news came in a directive from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the new regulations will come into force on 1 July.

The directive says the newest version of the software has to be pre-installed on Chinese-made computers before they leave the factory.

Imported computers must contain the software before they are sold.

The aim is to build a healthy and harmonious online environment that does not poison young people’s minds, according to the directive.

Mr Qin defended the move on Tuesday: “The purpose of this is to effectively manage harmful material for the public and prevent it from being spread,” he said.

“The Chinese government pushes forward the healthy development of the internet. But it lawfully manages the internet,” he added.

The Chinese government regularly restricts access to certain internet sites and information it deems sensitive.

The BBC’s Chinese language website and video sharing website Youtube are currently inaccessible in Beijing.

Critics fear this new software could be used by the government to enhance its internet censorship system, known as the Great Firewall of China.

But a spokesman for one of the companies that developed the software, Jinhui Computer System Engineering, rejected this accusation.

“It’s a sheer commercial activity, having nothing to do with the government,” Zhang Chenmin, the company’s general manager, told the state-approved Global Times newspaper.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8091044.stm


Reading Media Culture – Friday’s film class notes

March 16, 2009

ANTHROPHOMORPHISM
The endowment of creatures with human attributes, abilities and qualities.
– by Paul Wells in his book Understanding Animation
Creatures covers more than animals or plants as seen in The Brave Little Toaster (appliances)

There are 2 practices that explain this theory in greater detail:
– Animism – the belief that everything on Earth has a spirit and impacts on life
– Totism – incorporation of natural entities into ritual behaviour
(ie: dove with an olive branch = symbol for peace as a mental construct / candles on a cake = symbol for birthday)

In Eisenstein’s article, he refers to Vesilovski’s definition of Animism, “We involuntarily transfer onto Nature our own experience of Life which is expressed in movement in the manifestation of a force directed by a will.”

Key to the Animation Industry = Design characters that the viewing audience can identify with and would want to watch over and over again.
– viewers either see someone who they know or like, or possibly themselves (cross-genre use of animation and musicals are a natural mixture)
– this character can be an idealized version of who they are
– as a result, viewers feel more comfortable about who they are (personality animation)

The Three Little Pigs by Walt Disney

Anthrophomorphism examples from the animation:
– wearing clothes, talk, stand on 2 feet, procrastinate, dancing, building houses, play instrument, a pig that’s afraid (tails), picture frames, furniture, relied on others, showed hubris (extreme arrogance = get what you deserve for your cockiness), boiling water, understand english, use tricks to foil the wolf, lock the door, deceptive quality in the wolf, wolf uses threats, first 2 pigs form a collective where the third pig is on his own, have luxuries (welcome mat), portrait of the family in the pig house (2 of Father – one with sausage and one with a ham / and one of mother nursing), understood the concept of work, lived in capitalist society (if you don’t work, you are screwed), separation of class structures (pig represented as civilized where the wolf is shown to be a vagrant), different pitches of voices from first 2 pigs to third pig, Darwin theory of survival of the fittest, creation of suburbia (own your own house), have a fire, value of hard work, potted plants, self-serving mentality of the first two pigs, turpentine and mixing it into the cauldron, individual clothing and voice style, be prepared motto shown by the third pig, hits the wolf with the brush = defense strategy, opposable thumbs (foundation to human evolution), eyes structured like humans, mocking the wolf when they thought they were safe, have beds and pillows, ability to reason and negotiate

Most blatant examples are when the wolf tried to trick the 2nd pig that he had left and then showed up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Then he tried to pass himself off as a Fuller Brush salesman trying to put himself through college.

Merbabies by Walt Disney

Imaginary divine omnipotence – Eisenstein
– manufactured utopia – impossible dream to live in that environment – shown when the bubbles rise to the surface and reveal that the whole setting is imaginary
– mermaid characters were very cherubic in their portrayal
– defiance of the food chain – big fish eats the little fish

Bugs in Love by Walt Disney

What comes first, the chicken or the egg when it comes to animation?
– Chuck Jones, one of the greatest animators ever, talks about the creation of Daffy Duck.
– Producer Leon Schlesinger was a very bombastic persona who was authoritative, yet he spoke with a slight lisp
– Jones used this as creative license and added it to the persona of Daffy (wasn’t a duck in fact, but a transvestite chicken!)
– Jones asked Mel Blanc to do the voice and the track was sped up
– but then they realized that Leon would have to listen to the recording and approve it
– as a result they wrote out their resignation letters beforehand just in case
– “Jesus Christ, what a silly WOICE! Where did you get it?”
– moral of the story = where does an animator get inspiration for their work? – answer is that every animator has a mirror on the side of their desk to mimic facial expressions

I do not know what it is I am like by Bill Viola
– Video Art deals with the camera in a totally new way so that you have immediate feedback in what you are recording
– Failure of Knowledge is a major theme that they wanted to develop
– image is displayed will leave you in discomfort and wants to put the viewer in the piece itself rather than as an entertainment tool = leaves you in a state of frustration and you are stuck with it = anti-telivision and anti-constructed entertainment (not here to entertain you)
– feel like a spectator inhabiting the world of the bison – other than the camera recording the imagery, there are no obvious human interactions, not even a narration

Planet Earth – by BBC


Google turns map tool into people tracker

February 4, 2009

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It will be very interesting to see how things will unfold with this new technology and what implications it may have on personal rights and freedoms…
– FlashAddict

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With an upgrade to its mobile maps, Google Inc. hopes to prove it can track people on the go as effectively as it searches for information on the internet.

The new software to be released Wednesday will enable people with mobile phones and other wireless devices to automatically share their whereabouts with family and friends.

The feature, dubbed “Latitude,” expands upon a tool introduced in 2007 to allow mobile phone users to check their own location on a Google map with the press of a button.

“This adds a social flavour to Google maps and makes it more fun,” said Steve Lee, a Google product manager.

It could also raise privacy concerns, but Google is doing its best to avoid a backlash by requiring each user to manually turn on the tracking software and making it easy to turn off or limit access to the service.

Google also is promising not to retain any information about its users’ movements. Only the last location picked up by the tracking service will be stored on Google’s computers, Lee said.

The software plots a user’s location — marked by a personal picture on Google’s map — by relying on cellphone towers, global positioning systems or a Wi-Fi connection to deduce their location. The system can follow people’s travels in Canada, the United States and 25 other countries.

It’s left up to each user to decide who can monitor their location.

Also in the Loopt

The social mapping approach is similar to a service already offered by Loopt Inc., a three-year-old company near Google’s Mountain View headquarters.

Loopt’s service already is compatible with more than 100 types of mobile phones.

To start out, Google Latitude will work on Research In Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry and devices running on Symbian software or Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Mobile. It will also operate on some T-1 Mobile phones running on Google’s Android software and eventually will work on Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iTouch.

To widen the software’s appeal, Google is offering a version that can be installed on personal computers as well.

The PC access is designed for people who don’t have a mobile phone but still may want to keep tabs on their children or someone else special, Lee said. People using the PC version can also be watched if they are connected to the internet through Wi-Fi.

Google can plot a person’s location within a few yards if it’s using GPS or might be off by several miles if it’s relying on transmission from cellphone towers. People who don’t want to be precise about their whereabouts can choose to display just the city instead of a specific neighbourhood.

There are no current plans to sell any advertising alongside Google’s tracking service, although analysts believe knowing a person’s location eventually will unleash new marketing opportunities.

Google has been investing heavily in the mobile market during the past two years in an attempt to make its services more useful to people when they’re away from their office or home computers.

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/02/04/google-latitude.html


Tales of the Past III – by Martin Falch

January 15, 2009

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I will be showing clips from and talking about Tales of the Past III, a Machinima Film based on the video game World of Warcraft to my Video Art class at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design tomorrow for our Previous Inspiration Presentation project.
– FlashAddict

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Tales of the Past III, by Martin Falch is the ultimate achievement in fan-made Machinima Film based on the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, World of Warcraft. Martin spent over a year and a half single handedly piecing together the overall visual majesty of the film, from screen capturing from the game itself, editing hundreds of hours of footage, painstakingly doing all of the special effects, to labourously directing dozens upon dozens of other virtual actors on live game servers for massive group sequences. He also had professional voice actors volunteer their time and efforts to help piece together the emotional tone of the characters and organized an incredible array of songs for the soundtrack that effortlessly leads from sequence to sequence.

While most World of Warcraft Machinima Films are rudimentary and poorly strewn together with freeware software, Martin Falch has set the bar for all aspiring Warcraft Machinima auteurs to shoot for, myself included.

Opening Scene:

The Ashbringer:

These are the Duranin:

Final Battle:

Trailer:

Movie Plot and Download Links:
Since the death of Yimo and the shattering of the Orb of Visions, the Horde and the Alliance have accepted an unstable peace agreement. However, old hatreds stand in the way of cooperation and at the same time, chaos erupts as the Lich King finally takes action. In the meanwhile, Blazer travels to Northrend to hunt down Mograine, the Death Knight, and retrieve the legendary blade that may decide the fate of Azeroth – The Ashbringer…

After 1,5 years of production, Tales of the Past III is finally complete. Having spent an average of 3 hours every single day on the movie, there have been times where this whole project was frustrating rather than enjoyable. However, looking back on the whole project, I’m glad that I started and I’m glad that I managed to get through it! Also, having watched the entire movie, I’m really satisfied with the outcome and I hope you feel the same way! Now, since the movie is huge, I hope you’ll take your time to read through the block of text here!

http://warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=53953

Milestones:
Martin Falch is number 4 on the all-time Warcraftmovies.com download list currently at 2,361,104 total downloads.

http://warcraftmovies.com/halloffame.php

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1.000.000 downloads
Posted: 28 July 2008 @ 09:39 (CET)

Hey people! Just wanted to inform that TotPIII has now reached 1 mio downloads on Warcraftmovies.com, making it the second movie ever to archive this (number 1 being Leeroy) – I just want to say thanks to all the people commentning on it and sending me mails, it’s been awesome with all the support and nice words. Also a big thanks for the people informing their friends/guilds/forums about it in order to spread the movie around!

I’ve mentioned this before, but hopefully I’ll be able to make new story line machinimas later on, perhaps some relevant opportunity comes up for the case – having just watched the most brilliant film I watched in a long time, The Dark Knight, it’s a bit tempting to get back to machinimating. However, until then I hope you’ll enjoy the little Synergy Contest submission I’ve made, which should be up today – I’ll post the link here when it is. As mentioned it won’t be anything fancy, but it’s a bit different from what I’ve tried making before and the whole thing about following someone elses script has been both a challenge and interesting!

Again, thanks alot for all the support!

– Martin

http://www.talesofthepast.com/

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Soundtrack:

“I was… the Ashbringer.”

* (0:38/–:–) Legendary – King Arthur Soundtrack – 02 – Woad To Ruin

* (–:–/6:00) The Blade – King Arthur Soundtrack – 04 – Hold The Ice

* (–:–/–:–) The Ashbringer In Battle – Pirates of the Caribbean 2 – Hans Zimmer – 08 – a family affair

* (–:–/–:–) Betrayed – 01 – Age of Music

Discord

* (–:–/–:–) Saurfang’s Challenge – Hans Zimmer- The Contender (Main Theme)

* (–:–/–:–) Rexxar’s Journey – Trevor Rabin – Armageddon – Launch

The War Begins

* (–:–/–:–) Council of War – The Elder Scrolls 4 Oblivion Main Title Music

* (–:–/–:–) Two beers per kill – Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s chest – 07 – Two hornpipes (Tortuga)

* (–:–/–:–) eternal_silencetheme_ngm_by_mike_cameron_force

* (15:16/16:44)”No! He must no scape!” – 10 – The Peacemaker – Devoe’s Revenge Take 3 Take 2.wav ; Hans Zimmer – Devoe’s Revenge

* (–:–/–:–) X-Ray Dog – Clash Of Arms(1)

* (–:–/–:–) The Last Samurai (Soundtrack) – 09 – Hans Zimmer – Red Warrior

* (–:–/–:–) Edgen+discovery

* (–:–/–:–) Movies – Hans Zimmer – The Last Samurai – Spectres In The Fog

* (–:–/–:–) “To Hell With This Mission”-The Last Samurai (Soundtrack) – 03 – Hans Zimmer – Taken

* (22:40/24:50) Starsailor – Way to Fall

* (–:–/–:–) 01 – Danny Elfman – Introduction

* (–:–/–:–) Mograine – Immediate Music – Epicon (Hybrid)

* (27:43/29:46) Harry Gregson Williams – Metal Gear Solid 1 End Title: The Best Is Yet to Come

* (–:–/–:–) Pirates of the Caribbean 3 – 06 I See Dead People In Boats

* (–:–/–:–) Pirates of the Caribbean 3 – 02 Singapore

* (–:–/–:–) Pirates of the Caribbean 3 – 03 At Wit’s End

* (–:–/–:–) Serphentos and Rexxar Travel – 10 – In Search of the Grail

* (–:–/–:–) Saurfang and Rexxar – Theme – Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

* (–:–/–:–) Pirates of the Caribbean 3 – 11 I Don’t Think Now Is The Best Time

* (38:10/40:46) Ambush – Saw Soundtrack – Final theme

The Emerald Dream

* (40:58/43:20) Quite A View – Star Wars Episode II – Attack Of The Clones – 02 – Across The Stars (Love Theme)

* (–:–/–:–) “This is why I chose you!”13_-_Hans_Zimmer_-_Barbarian_Horde

* (–:–/–:–) Metal_Gear_Solid_LegendoftheSnake_OC_ReMix

* (–:–/–:–) Memories – Naruto OST – 08 Sadness and Sorrow

* (46:00/46:40) Gronn Slayer – Naruto – Strong And Strike

* (–:–/–:–) Naruto – Main Theme

* (–:–/–:–) Warcraft 3 – Comradeship

* (–:–/–:–) “Let us cast it, into the flames of Blackrock Mountain!” – Lord of The Rings – Main Theme

* (–:–/–:–) The Plan – Pirates of the Caribbean 3 – 05 Up Is Down

* (52:42/55:37) Coco Lee – A Love Before Time (Mandarin)

* (55:45/59:26) The Final Trial – Godspeed You Black Emperor – Moya

Armies Unite

* (–:–/–:–) Metal Gear Solid 3 – Snake Eater (Soundtrack) – 211 – Norihiko Hibino – Last Showdown

* (–:–/–:–) Metal Gear Solid 3 – Snake Eater (Soundtrack) – 210 – Harry Gregson – Williams – Lifes End

* (–:–/–:–) King Arthur Soundtrack – 05-Another Brick in Hadrian’s Wall

* (1:03:50/1:05:03) Monori In Death – Nightwish – End Of All Hope

* (–:–/–:–) Immediate Music – 48 – Orch & Choir Rise – 3

* (–:–/–:–) 31 – Asteroid Chase – The Shuttle Crash

Final Push

* (–:–/–:–) Too late… – Naruto (Orochimaru’s Theme)

* (–:–/–:–) The Lich King’s Power – Naruto 15 – Orochimaru’s Fight

Blazer, returned as the Ashbringer

* (1:07:40/1:09:45) Return of the Ashbringer – Hans Zimmer – King Arthur – Hans Zimmer – Crimson Tide Theme

* (–:–/–:–) Ash and Frost Part 1 – X-ray Dog 50 – Tightwire Orchestral

* (–:–/–:–) Ash and Frost Part 2 – Immediate Music – Blasphemy 2.0 (Choir)

* (1:13:50/1:14:30) Remember Them When in Hope you Doubt – Immediate Music – With Great Power

* (1:14:32/1:14:55) “If you think that’s cool…” – Immediate Music – Desperate Hour

* (1:14:56/1:15:28) Phoenix and Frost Wyrm – Immediate Music – Serenata (Choir)

* (1:15:29/1:15:53) “Nice One!” – Immediate Music – Liberation! (Choir)

* (–:–/–:–) “I smell demons coming…” – X-Ray Dog 44 – Secret Agent

* (–:–/–:–) Monóri vs. Serphentos – Soundtracks – Mission Impossible 2 – Hans Zimmer – Injection

* (–:–/–:–) X-Ray Dog 21 – Big f’n Drums

* (–:–/–:–) “No match for me!” – Immediate Music – With Great Power

Victory of the Ashbringer

* (1:17:05/1:18:10) Retribution – Trust Company – Downfall

* (–:–/–:–) Arthas Reborn – Batman Begins Soundtrack – Corynorhinus

* (–:–/–:–) Blazer’s Final Sacrifice – Metal Gear Solid 3-End theme Harryson Gregson Williams

* (–:–/–:–) “Honor Them!” – Theme Songs – Naruto – Hokage’s Funeral Scene

* (–:–/–:–) “We had a deal…” – King Arthur Soundtrack – 02 – Woad To Ruin

* (–:–/–:–) The Tale Ends – TavernAlliance02

* (–:–/–:–) 04 – Danny Elfman – The Story…

* (–:–/–:–) 10 – Danny Elfman – The Tree of Death

* (1:26:06/1:27:58) Credits – Nightwish – Ghost Love Score

http://www.wowwiki.com/Server:Dunemaul_Europe/Tales_of_the_Past#Soundtrack_TotP_III


Reading the Screen – class and film notes

November 7, 2008

MISE EN SCENE
– is what you see in the frame – the great shots – the visuals!
– french term means to put on the stage (ie: a couch, a painting, the lighting, costumes…)
– applies now to what the director puts in the frame or the production designer
– costume, lighting, sets, props, actors (poses and movement)
– some directors encourage spontaneity (ie: Salaam Bombay! = improvisation)

SETTING
– need to decide if you want authenticity or stylized (outdoors or indoor sets)
– foreground and background planes
– special effects are also involved (3d or background projections = driving scenes)
– props that represent part of the setting
– Persepolis market scenes contrast scarcity and plenty in Iran vs. Austria

SALAAM BOMBAY! – Dir. Mina Nair

– director Mina Nair had made 5 previous documentaries before making this film
– wanted to use cinema verite to capture the moment
– “enraptured by the everyday life”
– used real street kids – hundreds auditioned but 24 were cast – the main character was actually 15 but looked 11
– 7 weeks of training with the kids – asked them to tell their stories and wove them into the plot
– the kids ended up improvising the script
– 3 professional actors – Rika (prostitute/mother – cast against type) – Chillum who played the addict – woman who was the brothel mother – Baba was a theater actor (he is now a major Indian Film super star)
– the rest of the actors were from the streets
– Mina Nair got 25% funding from the Indian government
– the film was shot in the red light district of Bombay – real location
– met with the union leaders of the brothels!
– depth of field – she loved to have it in each shot – someone in the doorway but also behind them down the hall
– loved the colours of the brothels – you weren’t in Kansas anymore
– she studied photography and was very aware of the frame
– shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988 – at that point Mina was completely broke
– she won the Palmes D’or as the best film of the festival
– with the money she made, she setup a street kid charity to help them with food and education
– all of the kids have ended up rising up from the street and are now working
– guerilla film making – crew were involved for several scenes
– the first on screen kiss in Indian cinema history (Bollywood)
– nominated for best foreign film at academy awards

COSTUME AND MAKEUP
– authentic or stylized or contemporary rendition?
– show evolution of a character (ie: Sandy in Greece – young innocent girl all the way to the hot leather pants)
– can also define difference (Ie: Shane as a cowboy and then becomes a farmer)
– Manju in Salaam Bombay is somewhat sexualized in the beginning then toned down in the girl’s reformatory

LIGHTING
– used for highlights and shadows
– attached shadows around your face linked to the source light
– cast shadow comes from another source – entrapped venetian blind shadow covering someone for example
– each shot is controlled by the light quality, direction, source and colour
– frontal, back, under and top lighting – how do you want to light the figure so they appear in the frame
– 3 point lighting = key light,
– high-key lighting = bright not a lot of shadows
– low-key lighting = much stronger contrasts / chiaroscuro (dark shadows with bits of light framing it = film noir/horror)

MOVEMENT
– if a character is going to move, the director has to decide if the light will move with the actor or will the actor move through shadow

STAGING, MOVEMENT AND PERFORMANCE
– the body is a plastic form and up on the frame, it becomes a shape that has plastic characteristics
– is the actor cocky, sad, happy…
– actor’s business = what is the business/movement that this character would adopt
– facial features (brow, eyes and mouth) are the most expressive along with the hands
– an actor’s performance is individualized and unique and the audience believes that they are the character
– stylized performance = over the top performance
– Salaam Bombay actors were encouraged to just be themselves
– types of performances (friend, villain, evil spy…)
– you can bring individualized performances to the role, but not all the time

DIMENSIONS OF DIALOG – The Alchemist of the Surreal – Dir. Jan Svankmajer

THE BIG EASY

– our teacher, Ann Naymie was the Post Production Supervisor for this film
– original screen writer was pissed off that the story was moved from Chicago to New Orleans
– took his name off of the Associate Producer credit to the credit of his Chicago cop, Tony Tagliatere
– every single song or artist was from or about New Orleans


Full Metal Jacket – Trailer

September 16, 2008

Sir, does this mean that Ann Margaret’s NOT coming?

Kubrick at his best!