Real Cameras in a Three.js World

Gorilla Productions has always worked on projects that are ahead of the curve when it comes to all facets of media creation. From its humble beginnings, almost 20 years now, when we people didn't believe it was possible to edit film on a PC with DV tapes, working remotely with clients via the internet, to working in a new narritive formats like webseries and many other outlier projects. It is definetly part of the DNA of the company and we have been lucky to always attracted these type of exciting projects. 

Recently, we have been collaborating to create many tools for the next generation of what filmmaking will become, in our opinion. One of these technologies is the ThreeJs  platform which opens a world of posibilities to everyones via your browser. So, we had the possiblility to develop something to push this open source platform forward; it was a no brainer, we were all in. 

The REALCAMERA PROJECT is the result of many talented and passionate people and organizations (Seneca CDOT , Filmtyme , Barbara de Graaf). Basically, the objective was to build real traditional camera focus controls to the platform. It is always important ground technology in the real world, having the ability to control the camera in a 3D space and that it acts like a real film camera, is a great advantage to the people that have been working with cameras for all their careers. This was one of the primary reasons that we chose to use Arri set of film lenses as our baseline for the camera in the test scene.

The concept was to build tools with ease of use for people that use cameras or even teach camera operation on a daily basis, this will hopefully bridge the technological gap between filmmakers and the digital tools. Thus, bringing together real world knowledge to a new world of digital filmmaking. When you use the tool, you really can see the possibilities as a cinematographer, a teaching tool and even as a 3d world building tool that brings the very familiar film language to this platform. When we got all the pieces working, I found myself just imagining the different applications for this tool; as I re-framed and adjusted the focus. it's impressive the responsiveness and that it is functional via your browser. (no wacky plug-in installs either! It just works)

The Project is now ready for use and if you do play around with it, please send us some feedback via the short survey. It took some time to get all the work done but without feedback from proffessionals that use cameras on a daily basis it is difficult to get all the UI down. Your feedback is essential to perfect this tool. 

If you have any further questions feel free to email me and I will answer it as best I can or direct you to someone that can. 

NO SPOILERS EPISODE 5: ENEMY OF THE NORTH POLE.

Well it's that time of the year again the Christmas season is filled with those Rankin Bass classics and sitcoms paying homage to the Christmas Carol in full Scrooge glory. And I would like to propose to Holly jolliest of people to mix it up a bit and throw in one of the lesser known Christmas classics. In the past, I offered up Die Hard and Lethal Weapon as healthy festive changes of pace. This year let me suggest the "timeless" thin storyline of a Bruckheimer version of a Christmas parable: The Enemy of the State.

Okay, first knee jerk reaction is that Tony Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer don't do Christmas. They do and they blow it up nice with all the fixing you expect from a Blockbuster. On top of that, I would argue this is the perfect holiday classic. No need to watch every second of this flick as you wrap presents, cook a turkey or deal with Santa anticipating kids. If you miss a bit of "story", no worries, every 20 minutes the plot will be reiterated to you by one of the players. If you don't get the less than subtle message of the movie, let me sum it up real quick: you better watch out, you better not cry, someone is looking if your naughty or nice.

So, It's pretty fun, in the sense it's basically a straight up chase movie centered around Christmas gifts gone bad. As usual, I am not going to give away the less than basic plot but it's all about the holiday giving and sometimes the giving invokes exploding buildings. Merry Christmas with a bang.

Some notable other reasons to watch this new holiday classic is the cast old and new. Will smith in one of his early staring roles that would eventually lead to his super stardom. Jack black, Seth Green, Jamie Kennedy, all up and comers showing glimpse of their comedic future in the confined of the Tony Scott stylistic extravaganza. Jon Voight as the villain, Lisa Bonet and Gabriel Byrns all add to the roster of the cast.

Most importantly , Gene Hackman reprising his role of Harry Caull, the sound expert from the 70's classic,  the Conversation. This movie is arguably Francis Ford Coppolas best movie. If you haven't enjoyed this masterfully crafted movie made/directed by Francis Ford Coppola (edited and sound design by Walter Murch!) and the cast and crew of film icons, you haven't seen or experienced true cinema.

 

Yes it's one of my favourite movies, I studied it and watched repeatedly throughout film school. Moreover, it is set in ... Christmas time. This does't really make the cut of a Christmas classic but definitely a Boxing Day screener. 

Please sprinkle these classics during you holiday break and have a safe and Happy holidays!

 

No Spoilers Episode 4: LETHAL CHRISTMAS MOVIE

Okay you watched the Grinch, Frosty and Rudolph the Red Nose Reject that you accept only when you need him. (interest moral in that story!?) Now the kids are all snug in their beds, time for some Grown up Christmas Classics with a Bang. Last year I put to rest the PENULTIMATE CHRISTMAS ACTION MOVIE (that ones for you @hotdogsladies) Time to go to one of the lesser know Holly Jolly Flicks. Lethal Weapon(1987 R. Donner).

I know, the trailer fails to market the Ho-Ho-ness of the film but revisit this movie or watch it for the first time with some Hot cider and chestnuts roasting over an open fire. It has it all the Holly Jollies: Christmas music bookends the story, Riggs goes to shop for a Christmas Tree and he even has a less than tasty holiday dinner with the Murtaugh family.

Fear not, there is all the grown up action packed sequences edited by Stuart Baird veteran cutter and Richard Donner great rhythm and directing style. Mel Gibson crazy performance as Riggs is brilliant (foreshadowing his future wackiness) as he tries to get through the day without killing a Bad guy. Also, it may be the best Black retiring cop & Crazy White guy buddy movies of all time.

Ask Santa for this one for your stocking. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! 

*Watch the Director's Cut, it has all these scenes that affect the pace of the movie by overstating Riggs Craziness. It is like watching Touch of Evil's Studio added scenes. Film akward.

No Spoilers Episode 3: Point Blank, Lee Marvin & Hard Hitting Cuts.

Any Tom, Dick & Harriette can continuity cut, takes a master editor/filmmaker to edit in a variety of styles. I stumbled on this great piece of filmmaking as I was digging throught the crates (aka DVD collections) as I prepare to re-design my home office and update my gear. POINT BLANK directed by John Boorman, edited by Henry Berman.

I won't pretend to remember all the different style names from my Film Aestetics Class I took in the 90's but POINT BLANK uses a mixture of techniques that should be watched again and again.

There is what I call a time-matchcuts that break the timeline of the film, smash-cut flashbacks and a great opening title sequence that echoes the main characters mood, imagine being in the mind of an angry Lee Marvin. My Favorite is the Time shifted editing; using dialogue or sounds from other scenes that span the movie timeline. Hard to describe but It's that Steven Soderbergh Limey style like montage sequences (which he admitily inspired the style of The Limey; haven't seen that one, that is another one to watch again and again)

I think this is one of the hardest techniques since it's like pig latin of filmmaking. It's a variation on the film language. So, you have to teach the audience the new languge code with limited time without loosing them. It is not for the faint of heart because your playing with fire. If you do it and it fails you lost your audiences trust and probably their interest. Point Blank succeds in not loosing you, as it jumps around aggressively, very echoing the protagonist.

I know your saying, this movie or that movie does that even better but this was before non-linear editing, made on a movieola or a Steinbeck. Imagine editing Momento, Pulp Fiction, The Limey... I takes a cetain determination and coincidentaly a Lee Marvin like resolve to introduce this style of filmmaking in those technical conditions.

I won't say that it goes on for the whole movie because it is doesn't. It is mostly a conventionally edited movie with strong composition and great late '60s style. Which is reason enough to watch this movie. However, watching how this type of editing techniques being used is like watching a tight rope walker, juggling, without a net. Bold.

PS. I haven't done one of these in a while but I have a feeling that I will in the near future, things are changing around the "old Republic" aka Gorilla Productions...

 

No Spoilers Episode 2: Last Action Christmas Movie

As the Holiday Season nears; I remember last year's Christmas eve, when my wife and I were preparing the house for Santa. I suggested to my wife that we put on a Christmas movie to play in the background. I was all Grinched out and I like to watch Albert Finney's Scrooge in the morning. So, leafing through my DVD binder. I stumbled upon a hidden gem. Yippikaye Santa!

Honestly, it started as a "husband joke" but the more I made my arguments the clearer it became Die Hard is a Christmas movie!

It' s got all the element of a Christmas movie.

1- The basic plot is about a Jimmy Stewart-like Father who is trying to run back to his familly after he realizes the mistake that he has made. (This sorta gets lost in the gun fire, running on glass and exploding Building.) Also, a little girl (aka Cindy Loo Who) who wants a Christmas miracle.

2- Lots of christmas music (Winter Wonderland, Let it Snow and the timeless Christmas in Hollis by Run-DMC, classic)

3- A Grinch like bad guy who try to stop Christmas from coming (The Germans and the Black nerd from Matlock) by stealing the loot/gifts.

The Studio's Scroogy greed is to blame for not releasing this Mistletoe classic in its rightfully season. I remember first watchting this movie in Summer Blockbuster season. Christmas in July?! Pure Greed. 20th Century expect a visit from 3 ghosts on Christmas eve.

It seems that I am not the only one that thinks this is a Christmas Movie.

Also check it out for it's great Speilberg hermetic story telling (John McTiernan) and Jan Debonts bold use of Anamorphic flares... but I wouldn't want to spoil this holiday classic.

Happy Holidays to you.