Gaffers and Grips – DIY Gaff Tape Key Fob


Today must be DIY in my brain, all I can think of is making something!  Ah, I miss having a workspace.

I saw this great project on Strobist — it’s a blog geared towards photography and studio lighting, but if you’re a grip or gaffer on a smaller project, this is an awesome thing to have on you at all times!  If you work in Entertainment Lighting or Film Production, you already know this thing would have to be the thickness of your thigh to contain enough gaff tape to really make a difference.  Still, this is a wicked little tool for anybody in Lighting!

For this project, all you need is some rigid wire, a pencil, and some gaff tape — but I’ll let the great folks at Strobist do the talking.  Check out how to DIY your own Gaff Tape Key Fob!



Must Watch Short: Luminaris

Juan Pablo Zaramella’s stop motion short Luminaris has won my heart! The film effortlessly dives you in to a world controlled by light, and one man’s big ideas about that.

It is absolutely wondrous.

Below is the trailer. There are also two behind the scenes videos online showing the tests Zaramella performed with light and stop motion, but please watch the film first! If you won’t heed my spoiler warning, though… click here.

LUMINARIS (Trailer) from Juan Pablo Zaramella on Vimeo.

Beware! The Blob

While not a 1970s scifi horror flick, Sunday Paper‘s spectacular short film Light is certainly haunting. For a fascinating and beautiful minute and a half short film, it certainly carries an elegiac note.



Just watch it!


Light from Sunday Paper on Vimeo.


Not Quite Light, But I Still Love Jean-Michel Basquiat

I saw a random article on Huffington Post about my absolute favorite artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat last week, and I just could not, in my right mind, not share this with you all.  Do you know who Jean-Michel Basquiat is?  He was callled a “graffiti artist” for a long time, but call him what you want – his work is moving and awesome to me.  Unfortunately he had this intimate relationship with heroin, and lost his life to the beast at 27 – but his work lives on.

I always wonder what the world would be like if people like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, and other artists dead before their times were up were still here to change the world of art and music.  From the HuffPost article:

Basquiat jumped into Manhattan’s fertile downtown art & club scene in the late 1970s, at first surviving by selling his images on postcards and T-shirts. Meanwhile he conjured a droll and recognizable street identity, SAMO, that raised the dialogue of street artists from I Was Here to the kind of ongoing piss-on-authority satire that made Banksy and his ilk possible. Meeting Warhol was almost unavoidable in that hothouse moment, and their friendship grew into collaboration (one more appreciated in retrospect than at the time). The meteoric fame and the inevitable drugs finally made Basquiat a poster child for the toll of premature success, but Davis’ film covers every aspect of his life and work along the way: music, black identity, class-shifting, love life, club culture, his child-like nature, his premonitions of death. It is a loving tribute to a raucous time and an indelible talent.

You have to take a few minutes to watch this video – Tamra Davis apparently had some Jean-Michel Basquiat footage in a drawer somewhere and drug it out – and it’s pretty excellent:

Tamra Davis talks about THE RADIANT CHILD from Michael Kurcfeld on Vimeo.

Happy Birthday, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson!


This guy William Kennedy Laurie Dickson (what a long name, dude!) is an important guy in our history – one of the many underappreciated peeps that I keep digging up and trying to give my little bit of credit on their birthdays.  Dickson was someone that got hired by Thomas Edison when he realized how talented the man was, and Billy-Boy here was set to working for Edison’s many business ventures.

It’s funny – the more I read into the detailed history of Thomas Alva Edison, the more I am starting not to like him very much.  It’s okay though, I can appreciate the man’s work and brain without liking him very much!

What William’s part in the Edison legacy was has to do with the development of something called a Kinetoscope.  Ever heard of the Kinetoscope?

It’s the first motion picture equipment!  Thomas Edison made the Kinetophone, which we’ve all seen or heard at one point in our lives, but a bit later he filed a patent for an idea he had about a device that would be “for the eye as the phonograph does for the ear.”  So after Edison got his Caveat, he hired William Kennedy Dickson to make the dream a reality – a moving film machine that was powered by an Edison electric light.

Dickson has several credits to his name, including 35mm celluloid film (for the Kinetoscope), the Kinetograph (the first motion picture camera, which Edison took the patent on), the first movie studio (called the “Black Maria”) as well as being an avid photographer on his own.  My research suggests that, in the development of the Kinetoscope, Dickson tried and tried to coat the drum type design from Edison’s Kinetophone (assumed to be at the behest of Tommy Boy Edison himself), with much epic fail.  It was only when Dickson discovered a roll of celluloid film did the process of inventing the Kinetoscope become a reality.  That goes to show you that Edison wasn’t always right, which is why he hired people all over the place to fix his errors and take their credit.

The Kinetograph – a machine known for not being very portable:

I obviously wasn’t there for this, but the word on the street is that after a while, Dickson got tired of Edison’s BS and left Edisonville for his own pastures, creating the American Mutoscope Company with three other guys.  The Mutoscope was another single-person viewer kind of deal – but people were getting sick of the novelty of the one-person peep show.  They wanted something that more than one person could see at a time – I mean, how lame is it to take a date to a one-at-a-time movie?

The Mutoscope – the most famous Mutoscope film was called “What the Butler Saw,” and it was a view through a keyhole of a woman getting partially undressed:

BUT OH HO HO, I found out – Dickson had been secretly collaborating with two guys, Otway and Gray Latham, who were part of the American Kinetoscope Company, a competitor of Edison Co.  Dickson was working on a projecting Kinetoscope, and what was developed was called the Eidoloscope.

So many scopes!  HOW on EARTH did they keep track of them all?!

Check out a few of Dickson’s movies – these are among the first movies, ever.

Record of a Sneeze:

This one below is called “Dickson’s Experimental Sound Film,” because it was a Dickson/Edison collaboration to make a movie with sound:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson!

Thanks IMDb, Victorian Cinema, The Edison Film, Essential Films, and Wikipedia!

FujiFilm is Developing A New Light Diffusing Film for LEDs

I found this press release interesting, and now I’ve been trying to find out more information about the product.  FujiFilm (yeah, that one) is working on a light diffusing film for LED sources – they’re set to release some prototypes in the late summer/fall according to a few of my sources, but we’ll see what happens.

This is a little teaser – believe me, I’ve been looking all over to find info on this product!

From the release:

Japan’s Fujifilm Corp. plans to enter the market for LED lighting materials with a new kind of light diffusing film which is thinner and offers higher illumination intensity than products now available.

The light diffusing film acts to spread out the light from the LED bulbs so they are not so bright. These diffusers are now typically made from acrylic resin materials which are milky in color and around 2mm thick. The thickness means they are hard to bend, and the milky color means that some of the light is wasted.

Fujifilm’s new light diffusing film is made by coating a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin sheet with an orderly array of micrograins of a light-dispersing material. The film is only 0.3mm thick so it is lighter and easier to bend and shape, plus it has around 30 per cent higher illumination intensity, which translates into a significant improvement in the energy efficiency of the overall LED lighting system.

Fujifilm will begin manufacturing prototypes this summer for distribution to LED lighting makers, homebuilders and contractors.

The Fujifilm Holdings Corp. (TSE:4901) unit hopes to begin commercial sales during fiscal 2011 and intends to develop this area of business into a major new revenue source.

Did You See The Giant Projected Dr. Manhattan?

On March 4 for the opening of the movie Watchmen a large water screen and projector were used to project a 100 foot Dr. Manhattan in the middle of the Thames in London.  Did you see this?  Did they at least blur out the big blue penis?

A press release governing the event and movie release gave some info, but not enough.  Hell, I don’t even know what projector was used!  What is THAT about?!

From the press release:

London, 4 March 2009 – To celebrate the Paramount Pictures UK release of the hugely anticipated and revered Watchmen (in cinemas 06.03.09), at exactly 8pm GMT, London’s River Thames gave birth to a Watchmen spectacle that was beyond the thinkable. Dr Manhattan, the blue skinned, super-powered being beloved of all Watchmen fans, appeared above the murky depths of the Thames to a height of over 70 feet and towered over all those who dared to attend.

This dramatic, one-off spectacle was created using the world’s biggest water screen projector. The water screen, moored especially for this occasion in the middle of the Thames between the London Eye and The Shell Building, created an enormous vertical screen of water that extended to 72 feet in height and 100 feet across. Specially created, never to be seen again Watchmen footage, was projected onto the screen to showcase Dr Manhattan’s translucent and shimmering form in dramatic and gigantic effect -an excellent and exciting medium to see Dr Manhattan in all his super human glory as he hovered over the city in true Watchmen style!

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, “Watchmen” is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the Doomsday Clock–which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union–moves closer to midnight.

When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the outlawed but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion–a disbanded group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers–Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future.

Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching the Watchmen?

My wife didn’t seem too pleased with the movie, but make your own opinion.  All I have is one question – why couldn’t he wear some kind of pants?

Thanks, DVICE!

Michael Marcovici’s Slide Lamps


These lamps are great – but then again, I love projected textures and layered light.  Michael Marcovici’s Slide Lamps are light sources with 35mm slides fastened together as shades.  The light itself is nice, albeit lower intensity; what I love about these is the treatment they give to the surrounding walls and ceiling.



Check out Michael’s other works on his portfolio site.  There’s some great stuff there.

Thanks, Make!

LDI – LRX’s Booth

LRX Lighting was at LDI this year – if you’re not familiar with LRX’s products, they do a lot of high-output fixtures and accessories for film and television lighting, mostly robotic.  The first picture I took here (well, and the second one too), with the fixture having 36 lamps, is the Scorpion.  The Scorpion is a fixture that has 36 lamps, and has pan, tilt, and trolley control either via their proprietary controller, or via DMX.

The other fixture is the LRX Piranha, which is another big punch HMI.

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