03 March 2010

The Sandpit

My friend recently showed me The Sandpit, a short film with New York City as its subject, using time-lapse photography with a tilt-shift look.  The effect is very cool.  By shooting from far away and above, yet having such shallow depth of field (achieved not by lenses, but in post), these massive cityscapes look like miniatures, like some sort of very complex model train set.  Read the interview with filmmaker Sam O'Hare over at AeroFilm's blog, where he goes into detail on just how he created this effect.

(Unsurprisingly, Mr. O'Hare is heavily influenced by the 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi, which remains a sort of breakthrough in pushing the limits of cinema.  This has got me wondering.  Ron Fricke, Koyaanisqatsi's mad scientist cinematographer, who had to invent much of the equipment needed to achieve his shots, hasn't worked on a project of his own since 1992's Baraka.  The last 18 years of his career have consisted of loaning out his talent to a small handful of films like Star Wars Episode III.  The fact that a guy like Sam O'Hare is able to achieve something like The Sandpit in such a short amount of time, mostly on his own, using widely available technology, has got me thinking that if Ron Fricke ever does release another film of his own, it's going to raise the bar to places I can't even imagine.)

02 March 2010

Inglourious Basterds Posters

"During the marketing for the film Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino, the production team partnered with Upper Playground to create a number of commissioned pieces based on the film.  The resulting batch of artwork included images by Alex Pardee, Sam Flores, David Choe, along with ten others. None of these illustrations were ever seen by the public until now."

I wonder if any of these will be available for purchase.  I've always preferred "alternative" and foreign movie posters to the more formulaic and uninspired ones you see on billboards and bus stops in the US.

01 March 2010

Berlin Alexanderplatz Criterion Art

I recently watched the first episode of Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz. It's pretty good/weird, but I've been slacking a bit on continuing with it. (15 hours is a bit of an investment)

However, the Criterion Collection DVD box art was love at first sight for me.

(Front cover)

(Inside fold-out booklet)

(Cover to included production notes booklet)

(These two only made it as images on two of the discs.  The second one is Fassbinder.)

Criterion always seems to have gorgeous DVD box art, but this one is a step above.  So I decided to find out who was responsible.  I googled "berlin alexanderplatz criterion dvd art" and found a great article on Criterion's website, written by the artist, Eric Skillman, detailing the lengthy process of designing the DVD art.  It really opened my eyes to how hectic a design process can be, refining and refining an idea before tossing it to try something else, then refining and tossing that to go back and explore the original idea more, etc.  Not surprisingly, German Expressionism and exhibition posters for artists like Egon Schiele were a key influence on the final product.

Crazy.  But then I guess that's why Criterion has the best box art.

Also be sure to check out Eric Skillman's blog, where he goes into even greater detail than his Criterion article on creating this look, and his website, featuring other DVD and book covers he's designed.

28 February 2010


These photos come from the Flickr group Looking Into The Past. It's a very simple idea: Hold an old photo of a place in front of that place now, line it up, and you've got what appears to be a window into the distant past.

27 February 2010

Stylistic Juxtaposition and Star Wars

I've recently come across two artists using Star Wars as inspiration for some unusual and very cool poster designs.

The first is the work of Justin Van Genderen, a graphic designer in Chicago. He's taken several key locales from the series and created these 1960's-style travel posters advertising them.

Interview at LA WEEKLY.
Artist's website here.

Then there's the work of comic book artist Cliff Chiang, who designed these three WWII-style Galactic Empire propaganda posters for a series of Star Wars trading cards.

So cool!

Artist's Web Site