On the festival circuit: Greetings from Durango

March 1-5, the Durango Independent Film Festival.

It seems that each festival I go to is a better experience than the last, but I don’t know that Durango can be topped.  They treated the filmmakers so nicely there, and it being 6 hours away from me, I decided to stay for the entire thing, which was definitely worth it.  I stayed in the General Palmer Hotel (living in Colorado Springs for so long, I could stay nowhere else) which looked largely untouched by time.  There were lots of activities I to do around town (like a trip on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad), plus a special filmmakers only-lounge in the basement of the local Irish pub…assuming you didn’t watch films, and I did try to catch as many programs as I could.  The best part though, was that the entire festival took place in the space of two blocks in downtown Durango, making everything nice and easy to get to.  I forged some great relationships with people and will definitely be going back in the future.

Scoring Session: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Aka “Too Many Hats!”  I wouldn’t consider these the absolute best pictures ever, but it’s hard to be the composer, conductor, and music producer, and also try to take a few pics on the side.  This is the recording session for a new ballet film based on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  As a ballet, I had to compose the music and have it recorded by a certain date, without having seen any footage.  Now that it’s recorded, I’m hard at work mixing, mastering, and polishing, while my director Felicity works on the choreography.  While I’d like to say that I drew a great amount of inspiration from Wilde’s novel, reading it would have taken much time away from actually composing the music; I watched Albert Lewin’s 1945 film adaptation instead.

This marks the first time I have used the Canon 7 since Fall of last year, and I’m out of practice: there are one or two rather glaring focus errors, and while I think I would have been better suited with an SLR, I’d say that I really focused on the music first (pun intended), and only snapped a few here shots here and there when not actively recording.  The camera was lying around in a few different places and not all of the pictures were taken by me, as evidenced by the fact that I’m in some of them.  The main visual component was shot by the film director as a “making-of” documentary, so at some point there will be a video of the recording session floating around the internet.

The pictures are almost current, as the recording session took place just a week and a half ago, and a few days later I was on my way to the Durango Independent Film Festival.

Family Gathering 2016

The main event.  A much more joyous occasion than two years ago, we met in Manassas, VA for my cousin’s wedding.  He’s the last cousin to get married, which probably means my brother’s and my days are numbered…

At least we’ll be able to put them through a long plane flight like the ones I’ve had to endure the last few years!

The trial and error continues.  Since last spring I’ve made it a point to shoot and get the hang of Ektar 100…it still hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight that skews the color temperature, or the fact that with a manual camera I’m not getting a proper exposure, or that I didn’t perform a whole lot of color correction in post.  Whatever the reason, the unsatisfying results are just one more reason that I’ll shoot keep shooting the consumer-variety films.

Love those trains

Well actually, my brother was the train buff when we were growing up, but my fascination with old technology has worked its way to these wonderful contraptions.  Especially steam locomotives: properly maintained, they can work for centuries and besides that they look wonderful.  Engine 169 from the Denver & Rio Grande railroad is a good candidate for restoration, and had been saved and preserved in Alamosa, CO.

William Jackson Palmer was born and raised a Quaker in Pennsylvania, went into the railroad business, but felt so strongly about the cause of Abolition that he joined the Union Army during the Civil War, and suffered consequences of that from his family and church.  He served with distinction, rose to the rank of General, and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Lincoln himself.  After the war, he went back into railroads, came out West, and founded his own railroad running North-South.  The D&RG intersected most other railroads there at the time, and connected many mining towns along the Front Range that had sprung up supplying miners going into the Rockies looking for gold.  General Palmer founded the town of Colorado Springs and lived there the rest of his life.  I was happy to see a Springs connection in Alamosa when I went there for the Southern Colorado Film Festival.

There was a railroad that I considered riding after the festival, but ended up not having time for unfortunately.  I did go into their yard and take a few pics of some of their engines and cars; some are in better condition than others.  What I didn’t see and wish I had was a mid-century diesel engine, though there were later electric engines, though perhaps they were in a different spot.  Alamosa seems to be a repository of old train cars and I hope these will end up being preserved as well.

It’s growing on me…

I’ve always been more a fan of Fuji when it comes to color, even with Ektar, which really, I’ve yet to get the hang of.  However, I’ve seen so many good results for Kodak Gold 200, thanks to its popularity on the Pakon F135 users’ group on Facebook, and I decided to give it a go myself.

I have to say, I’m quite happy with what it can do so far.  As a plus, it’s readily available at the grocery store near my mom’s house, at a price of $9.00 per 3-pack no less.  I’ll definitely shoot more.

Ektachrome returns!

Because there is a God.  Having kept up with Facebook communities, I know how much demand there was for this, so I’m happy that it’s finally happening.  Kodak Ektachrome will be coming back to motion picture and still photography.  I’m so happy I’ll be able to shoot this film in a year or so.  Read the official press announcement here:

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/Press_center/Kodak_Brings_Back_a_Classic_with_EKTACHROME_Film/default.htm

I remember hearing an interview with Jeff Clarke where he said that Kodak wanted to bring back Ektachrome, but had to choose between that and the new super 8 camera, as to which one first.  Well, it seems that we didn’t have long to wait after all.  A year from now, we’ll be shooting brand new Kodak Ektachrome.

Long live film.

http://www.kodakalaris.com/en-us/about/press-releases/2016/kodak-alaris-reintroduces-iconic-ektachrome-still-film

Super is better than perfect

Great tagline, makes me swell with pride, so good going, Kodak.  It’s time to be done with digital perfection.  Here’s some new footage from the new prototype super 8 camera, right from Kodak’s new Youtube channel:

Merry Christmas to me.  Except for the part where it isn’t out yet, because its release has been pushed back to Spring 2017…the wait is interminable.  But so much for not posting in December, I found time after all!  And speaking of Christmas presents, if you haven’t been keeping up with the progress Ferrania is making, check out the brand new image from their first coating test:
http://www.filmferrania.it/news/2016/firsts
There is a future, faith manages.  Merry Christmas.