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KH Martin

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KH Martin last won the day on May 31 2014

KH Martin had the most liked content!

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About KH Martin

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    Portland, Oregon
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    freelance writer on film production and visual effects

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  1. I've come round to the point that I wish more of my stuff was posted online rather than being print-only. Too many times print stories only wind up on sale in mag batches on eBay, and I'm kind of disappointed to realize now I don't have any access to past stories of mine where the mag never sent me a copy and/or they have since taken them off the website (which happened with my PROMETHEUS VFX piece and my Christopher Nolan/Wally Pfister interview for HD VIDEO PRO.) ICG only puts up cover stories now, but they used to always put up the EXPOSURE Q&As.
  2. I didn't know TFC was 2perf ... I've only seen it three times over 40+ years (was a big fan of Frankenheimer's sequel), but the last time I liked it a lot more, I do remember that. Imagine I'd pick up a blu- (not the Friedkin one, the latter one) if the price was right though, will have to keep an eye on Hamilton and my local pawnshop, which has all Blu-rays at a flat $2 (even whole seasons of tv.) Got Criterion BREATHLESS there last week.
  3. Go to blu-ray.com and you'll see fights and rants over the various transfers on this movie that make those FRENCH CONNECTION battles seem like kindergarten.
  4. Not taking the opposing position here, David, but I remember getting into a discussion like this someplace else 10 or 12 years back, and being forced to acknowledge that for someone trying to learn what works in terms of contemporary tech, that a study of classic techniques and masters was not as efficient a use of time as learning the how and why of current filmmaking trends. The point was made that light levels and film stocks of generations past alone made the art of cinematography something different technically, and so the creative choices were often derived from what was possible rather than what was desired. Personally I think there is an art to the somewhat heightened look that was mandated by slow stocks, and I seriously miss that. On MAD MEN, they seemed to step away from their established look in favor of an almost available-light look in later seasons (when they went to digital I guess) and I didn't like that at all. I suppose DPs always wanted to be able to do desaturation tricks without going to MOBY DICK extremes, but now with DIs they can go nuts with that -- but I think it is kind of nuts to go that route so often, or to lose the gorgeous contrast with beautiful blue skies and white clouds. But that's just an old guy talking ... I think the best way to be educated -- best of both worlds if you will -- is to study the masters of every era, then compare and contrast that with what is being done now, and figure out the WHY of those changes (and the why of those things that remain the same.)
  5. Ship of Fools is a super-cheap blu-ray; it is in the same case with LILITH, and when I picked mine up at Fry's Electronics it was $2.99 a few years back. Not sure why it was that cheap, but I think it is that way everywhere, that Hamiltonbooks.com has it for a similar price now. Didn't know from LILITH but it was pretty okay, too, but we really like FOOLS quite a lot. BTW, the buyer at Hamilton is really courting the blu-ray.com crowd, and is buying a lot of Kino titles and the like. Some pretty darn good price points, enough so that I'm sorely tempted to upgrade a lot of stuff I swore I wouldn't re-buy (again, after laserdisc and dvd) on blu-, like POINT BLANK and Vincent Ward's NAVIGATOR and orig TAKING OF PELHAM.
  6. Ashamed to admit I've only seen 40 of these (though out of those, there are a dozen that I've seen at least ten times.) Still can't get over some of the oversights (Jordan Cronenweth, Gordon Willis quadruple-COUGH!!), looking at the list makes me realize it isn't just VFX that goes for commercial choices over better work in better films
  7. Domestic video was an unvarying 30fps, so I always figured that is what we were seeing, though as I recall there was a lot of jitter like frames were missing. And they were certainly as fallible as any other camera - on Apollo 12, they had a color camera, but one of the guys accidentally pointed it at the sign and destroyed its ability to create viewable images.
  8. Except for most of the Saturn and Gemini launches, I didn't think there was supposed to be any archival stuff used for the spaceflights, that it was all done with the mockups and the miniatures. None of the folks I interviewed mentioned any archival space stuff with the LEM and CSM. There was an early push from the studio to minimize mention of VFX, which may explain why miniature effects supervisor Ian Hunter's name was never even mentioned to me during pre-release interviews -- in fact, it didn't turn up anywhere that I recall until it showed up on IMDB in early October as the film released -- but I never got the impression that anybody was pretending that the space stuff was stock footage, though they did try very hard to emulate the 'real' look by not putting starfields into most backgrounds. As for the other aspect you cite about Armstrong ... the real guy never struck me as being very interesting, and I was a prime space nut growing up -- the drawers of my desk at age 9 were filled with NASA FACTS pamphlets and my walls were covered with posters of astronauts and the VAB (okay, there was a Pete Rose one up there too, but nearly all space stuff.) Yet with me inhaling everything about the space program, literally the only thing I remember about Armstrong was his admission he treated himself to a cigar once per month ... and I can't think of any era where that would qualify as interesting, unless perhaps he had also turned out to be a marathon runner. I still haven't seen the movie yet (a part of me thinks a parody trailer about Buzz Aldrin called SECOND GUY needs to be made), but I do think Gosling is probably a very adequate choice. You could have gone with a character actor to duplicate Armstrong's goofy nerd-smile, but at the potential cost of what little box office the film did generate, and with very little gain.
  9. On a lot of the bigger films I write about, the 'leapfrog' approach seems prevalent, so you've got one of the operators and and AC setting up the next shot while the first one is getting worked on. Also, having 2nd unit working adjacent to the main unit, so it can pick up stuff that would otherwise put production behind schedule, though I realize most shows can't afford a second unit at all, let alone running one alongside the main shoot.
  10. Watching what I think was ep 7 (the one that Rufus Sewell is going to win an Emmy for is what we're already calling it) last night, we were laughing so hard and long that I think we missed a third of the jokes. It made me think of ANNIE HALL, where they had to keep adding more dead space after previews to keep the cocaine-sneezing laughter from wiping out the next scene!
  11. It's worth it. We're nursing it along one episode a night and 2nd season is even better than the first IMO. The stylization of the performances is on the verge of being too much, but isnt. It's something else!
  12. I remember preferring the MGM laserdisc release to the Criterion one. The MGM was from a 65mm source, but not Kubrick approved -- I thought it showed a lot more detail, especially in scenes like the red moonbase interior.
  13. Except for one background plate of the moon during liftoff that was digital, pretty sure nearly all of the moon stuff is Film IMAX, not digital acquisition. (and I talked to the DP, an operator, the vfx supe, prod des and guy who shot the miniatures, so that's not just idle speculation.) All the talk on blu-ray.com about the heavy shakicam throughout has made me reconsider seeing it in the theater, so I am kinda bummed right now (don't think I've seen a live-action movie in the theater since GRAVITY x3, except for a horrible press screening of BEGUILED on a dig projector that made the thing look abominable.)
  14. KH Martin

    405 short

    I was still working at Cinefex and after spending forever downloading the thing, watched it a lot of times and wanted to cover it in the magazine, but was too 'small' for them to want to bother. I was really blown away by the quality of the execution, especially compared to a lot of the CG work in high end features at the time. I'd say in terms of vfx-oriented folk, it was probably bigger than that PANIC ATTACK! short from about a decade back (the guy who made that parlayed it into a real career, doing the EVIL DEAD remake and ROBOCOP reboot, but I don't know if the 405 folks went on to anything. )
  15. It's a real shame that the E-E miniature from FC never saw any further duty, except for being scanned. Outside of the Phoenix and the old Klingon Bird of Prey, the E-E is the only Trek miniature I've seen in person, on stage actually, when they were shooting the reveal of it coming out of a nebula. They had set photographs mounted on slides inside the windows, and it all really looked gorgeous. There are a few shots of a CG E-E in FC, when the ship goes to warp (which looks pretty nice as I recall) and a less successful shot of it coming out of the time warp, but FC is the last time the filmmakers remained predominantly miniature-oriented (though several Starfleet vessels in the early Borg battle are CG.) DD did a few good CG shots of the E-E in NEMESIS, but most of that stuff only looked marginally better than the INS digital work to my eye. But DD was smart enough to go physical for the ramming scene.
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