Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Way to Make Your Move While Watching a Movie with a Girl

Lots of those young teens who are new to the dating scene always ask questions about how to make a move on a girl while watching their favorite actors and actresses in a movie.

While such an action isn't really something that you should make a habit of, it may help to know how and learn a few tips from the experts so that you do things the right way and without any trouble. What follows is a video that may prove to be useful to you guys out there who are in need of advice.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Easy to Do Homemade Death Ray Special Effect

Every young science-fiction fan at one time or another have wished that they could make some sort of death ray or laser special effects just like in the movies. It's an old cliche yes, and stereotypical for science fiction weapons, but it's still exciting to see visually.

Old Hollywood movies have made us of a variety of props to achieve the effect. Some have even used a sheet of cloth that's pulled quickly out of the muzzle of a handheld weapon. Quick cutting and sound effects help to make the visual play convincing.

If Hollywood was able to do that for commercial films, then why not you? As a movie fan, you deserve the right to make your own mechanical special effects without the criticism of your peers. Just tell them how these things were done before computer graphics and animation and that it takes more creativity to pull a convincing one off. Here is a do-it-yourself video (DIY) in which you can learn how to make your own death ray-gun for your home movie. Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reclaiming the Blade Documents History of the Sword Using Cinema

What do you get when you bring together some actors from Lord of the Rings in a documentary movie about the history of the sword? You get a movie called Reclaiming the Blade and it takes you on a ride through time.

Narrated by John Rhys-Davies, this movie is for fans of sword and sorcery movies like Excalibur. It takes you on a fascinating ride showing the facts, fiction, and fascination behind the sword. The movie shows how the sword was once an icon of defense, war, and honor and how it's now used as a symbol of the same in movies like Star Wars, Beowulf, and Lord of the Rings or simply as a prop to inspire those who still believe in it's mystique.

It features prominent swords master and stunt coordinator Bob Anderson (left), who has taught the likes of Errol Flynn and tutored contemporary actors like Viggo Mortensen in swordsmanship.

If there's a real Obi-Wan Kenobi, it's Anderson. He was Darth Vader in some lightsaber fight scenes with Mark Hamill (top).

It's a little secret few people know about. But now you know, and there's more to know about the secrets of the sword in the documentary movie Reclaiming the Blade.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

DIY Movie Knife Throw Special Effects Are Easy to Do Safely at Home

In the movie Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (above), which stars Rhona Mitra, there are lots of bladed weapons being swung and thrown.

In horror movies like this (left picture is a scene from Halloween), there's almost always the popular knife-throw special effects. You know, someone throws a bladed weapon and it sticks into something - like a wall.

Well, one way of duplicating this effect is to have the blade already placed beforehand in the spot of impact. It works quite well with long, thin blades, like those used in wushu, because you can make the blade quiver before the camera pans to it from the direction of the blade thrower. This is ideal if the sequence starts with the thrower and the camera "follows" the flight of the blade (which should be just for an instant), unti it hist the target. It takes timing, but it's doable and easy.

Another knife throw effect that's easy to do is to prepare the point of impact to receive the blade. Only this time, the blade would be coming from the other side of the target (like a thin wall). The thrower pretends to throw the blade, but what he really does is to drop it behind him and just goes through the motions. In time with the action, a stage hand drives the "real" blade from behind the wall, giving the illusion that it was the one that came from the thrower's hand. This technique is a favorite of stage magicians, but if also sometimes used in movie shoots as a mechanical effect.

Here is a video where you can learn more about do-it-yourself knife-throw special effects in filming.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

4K HD Technology Used in My Bloody Valentine 3D Movie

We all thought that high definition movies are just that- high definition. But apparently, there are different levels of high definition. They typical is 2000 pixels. But the remake of the 1981 horror flick, My Bloody Valentine, uses 4000 pixels.

This means the new My Bloody Valentine is very, very sharp and with more detail captured. Such a level of definition is ideal for 3D and indeed, this version of My Bloody Valentine is in 3D. You'll get to see every small detail of faces of stars like Jensen Ackles and Jamie King.

“Lionsgate’s doing a great job of being involved with these films that are really taking it to the next level, so I’m really excited about that,” says King, who adds that it's (My Bloody Valentine 3D) not the typical gore, horror film because it's character-oriented.

Trailer of My Bloody Valentine 3D

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

J.J. Abrams's "Kelvin" Signature Appears in Star Trek 9

Did you know that director J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) uses the name "Kelvin" in his movies? In fact, he kind of "drops" it in all his projects. You think it's strange? It's a common practice - Disney has its Mickey Mouses, Marvel has its Stan Lees - Abrams has his Kelvins. In Mission Impossible 3 for instance, there's a scene where a letter is seen addressed to a certain H. Kelvin. In Star Trek 9, there's a starship called the U.S.S. Kelvin (top).

But who is this Kelvin, anyway? Abrams reveals that it's his maternal grandfather, Henry Kelvin, who was a big influence on him as a child, and had owned an electronics company. No doubt Kelvin inspired the future director in many ways and sent his imagination soaring - a characteristic befitting of a successful director.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

How to Summon a Ghost to Scare People Using Visual Effects

What's a good thing to do for Halloween? Make something scary of course. Here's a trick that's been used by stage magicians and movie makers for decades to produce an illusion of ghosts. Mind you, this trick has scared audiences due to it's convincing effect and some of the magicians have been jailed for practicing black magic - even though it's simple movie special effects magic!

In old magical stage shows, there used to be this trick in which a ghost is summoned in a box (sometimes it's a coffin). Sometimes, this ghost changes form, it's flesh seemingly dissolving until only the skeleton is left.

Other times, the ghost transforms into a monster with fangs and all! It's a trick that has scared young and old alike and is indeed very convincing if there is a crowd that reacts to it. How is this done?

It doesn't take much to do this as long as you have a digital camera, a computer, a slide projector, some way to generate flameless dry ice smoke (or a large sheet of transparent plastic), and the slide of your "ghost." What you do is to take a picture of a really scary ghost with a dark, plain background (you can paint it yourself if you have the talent, otherwise, get one from an obscure book).

Take your computer and projector and pick a nice, scary place for your ghost to appear at night (preferably beside a private but scary-looking private "haunted" house). Make some dry ice smoke (or set up your plastic sheet), turn on your projector, and make the image of the ghost appear on your improvised smoke or plastic screen!

Note that the dry ice smoke generator should be set up at an elevated place since the curtain of smoke will flow down to the ground and not upwards.

Now that you know how to do the trick, you'd probably like to know how you can make things convincing. That's simple. Just perform your scary trick when people least expect it. That makes it more believable. Just don't do anything that can get you shot for being mistaken as something dangerous!

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Ragnarock Promoted in Max Payne Movie

Max Payne is really a video game turned to a movie. The story revolves around a cop who's family is murdered and there's plenty of references to Viking mythology particularly about Ragnarok, a series of events that ultimately lead to the death of specific Norse Gods.

While this is all part of the world of Max Payne, viewers would see the word "Ragnarok" (see 2nd pic from top) as a reference to that Korean multiplayer game Ragnarock. There are lots of shooting here as is expected from an adaptation of a third-person shooter. The movie stars Mark Whalberg and Mila Kunis.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Claus von Stauffenberg Photo Doctored to Resemble Tom Cruise but the German Officer Does Resemble the Actor

It's funny how Hollywood movie marketing people like to tweak the visuals of actors and actresses to make them look larger than life (or at least make a few physical assets bigger). But in the case of the publicity photo for the Tom Cruise film Valkyrie, it was the photo of the historical character the actor plays (Claus von Stauffenberg; at left) that was retouched.

The side-by-side profile photos of Cruise and Stauffenberg created a stir when the original photo of the Nazi officer was released and it wasn't the same as the one used in the publicity layout. See how the three compare below. The one on the left is the original archival photo; the middle one is the one used for the movie publicity; and of course that's Cruise on the right.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Antigravity Movie Is for Charity

You might think that the Australian movie Antigravity is all about profits - especially since it's a labor of love by the production team led by Director Ian James Colmer- who has spent 18 months of previsualization and art conceptualization.

But it really has a soft spot for charity. For those not aware, it has an Antigravity Film Fund, wherein the developers have chosen to donate 20 percent of their personal profits from the film to help children in need all over the world.

In the official site, they have this to say: "It is our intention to set up systems whereby clean water, food, shelter, and energy can be provided to areas where children are in need around the world, and it is our pleasure to be able to announce this film fund."

Antigravity is based on the true life story of UFO/Antigravity expert Bruce L. Cathie and experiments by Nikola Tesla (a favorite of science-fiction writers). Its soundtrack, by George Kallis, makes the movie-watching experience even more real. This one should be an intriguing watch and the charity angle makes it even worth watching even if you're not a science-fiction enthusiast.

What is anti gravity yoga?

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quarantine Movie Experience in a Game

The movie Quarantine is your Blair Witch Project inside an apartment building. The plot isn't really important.

What you do get is a pretty reporter - played by Jennifer Carpenter - and her cameraman trapped inside a residential building that's been quarantined due to some virus - which of course, changes the occupants inside into bloodthirsty monsters.

It's the perfect scenario for a first person shooter game with the firepower, freaks, and creeps. In fact, producers have provided the means for you to experience the movie in a game in the official Quarantine movie site. It's the kind of marketing movie makers do these days.

You wouldn't want to play the game at night while alone in your room wearing surround headphones. It's an immersive and scary game that's really a movie preview that works together with the trailer. Don't play it if you value your sanity.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Terminator: Salvation Trailer Hidden Subliminal Cues Revealed

Much of the visuals of the Terminator movie series are meant to be realistic. After all, they are really a reflection of what we fear could happen to the world - or what is happening right now - no matter how distant the events are from our homes, where we feel safe and secure.

Television, and the news we watch in it, are our only connection to dire events like the wars and suffering that are part of the life of other people, who may be at the other side of the world. Such happenings are, for the most part, beyond us but the news makes it real for us.

Interestingly, the trailer of Terminator: Salvation seems to attempt to give this sensation of realism or relates the visuals of destruction and violence against humans and nature real through a subliminal message using a word, flashed for a fraction of a second in between teaser scenes interspersed with static effects. Viewers will not see it, but the theory is that the mind still sees and interprets it - giving a sense of reality to make-believe scenes - if you can believe that stuff.

Here are the stills where you can discern the hidden word. Can you read it?

This last one is an enigma. What do you see in the static snow?

Watch the teaser here

In memory of Stan Winston
Terminator: Salvation is made in remembrance of special effects wizard, Stan Winston, who passed away this June while doing work for the movie. Winston was the one who designed the original Terminator "skeleton" of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Read the remarks of director McG about Winston in his post in the Terminator: Salvation blog,

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Virtual Mars Rovers Created with Hollywood Sfx

These two "photos" of Martian rovers look unerringly realistic, as if another rover or astronaut took the pictures. But no, they're not real. They're composites made using rover models and actual photos of the Martian surface taken by the real rovers on Mars.

The colored picture is that of the rover Spirit on the flank of Husband Hill on Mars. The black and white picture is of the same rover in the Columbia Hills. They were made using the Virtual Presence in Space technology developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. It is a mix of image-processing technology, visualization, and cinema special effects.

Developers say the "synthesis gives a virtual presence to viewers which can help in space mission planning, to accustom people in navigating in an alien environment.

In a related visual technology, scientists are now able to experience the surface of other planets like Mars using Hollywood 3D technology which was used in one of the movies in the Nightmare in Elm Street series. You can view the picture below of the Martian surface in 3D using special movie house red and blue glasses.

Click here to explore more of outer space in 3D. Requires red-blue 3D glasses.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Hellboy 2 Creatures Trimmed Down Due to Production Limitations

When Hellboy II was first envisioned, producers say it had plenty of creatures and most of them weren't even supposed to be rendered in CG. A lot had to be fleshed out using traditional prosthetics, makeup, and the usual costumes and silicon over skin. One of the creature subcontractors, Creature FX says there were originally thousands planned in the script---the movie's secondary title is, after all, The Golden Army.

The studio had to rethink things and ended up toning down on creatures and physical effects. But in spite of the trimming down, it was still one hell of the job for the effects team--- and the actors of course, who had to endure hours of production time waiting in full makeup just in case they were needed on a take. Doug Jones, who played Abe Sapiens was reportedly in full "fish" outfit for 108 days during the shoot.

The effort put in by the effects and makeup people can really be appreciated in the Troll Market scene, where creatures you've never seen before are made to walk, talk, and hawk.

Get a piece of Hellboy! Order this action figure while it's hot!

Interview with Ron Perlman in full Hellboy 2 makeup

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Parasomnia Movie Poster Has Nude Version

The publicity poster for the horror movie Parasomnia is morbidly striking, but it is for general viewing. However, the designers of the artwork have a darker and more R-rated version of it which shows partial nudity (the flowers and arm repositioned to reveal more).

You can see where the modifications were made using brush tools. Here it is in all it's glory. Compare it with the general patronage version. Which one do you prefer?

Both versions of the publicity art may be viewed in the official Parasomnia movie website. Upon opening the page, the first image viewed is the "demure" version, but then the left arm of the figure changes and moves up to reveal more. This happens quickly so you'll have to keep your eyes glued to the monitor.

Cherilyn Wilson stars in Parasomnia

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Secrets of A Scanner Darkly

The movie, A Scanner Darkly, directed by Richard Linklater, didn't really embed itself into public consciousness, but it did get the attention of artists and animators. The question that a lot of people lucky enough to watch it is: How did they make a live-action film look like an animated one?

The answer can be summed up by one word: rotoscoping. This technique is an old one which was popular prior to the days of computer graphics. You can see it in action in such classics like Star Trek (the original series). It's basically tracing an object to be placed onto a different background or given a different texture.

In A Scanner Darkly, digital video footage was overlaid with animation to give the resulting "unreal" characters a fluid motion with shifting patches of color hues. Linklater used a software called Rotoshop, which was also applied in a previous project called Waking Life.

The Rotoshop was developed in the late 1980s by Waking animation director Bob Sabiston. It lets an animator with a Wacom tablet to trace over characters in DV footage, skip a few frames, and let the software do the tweening, or in-between rendering.

Basically, A Scanner Darkly was shot and edited like a normal film (in DV), an then it went into production for the animation overlay. Producer Tommy Pallotta says it's like making the same movie twice.

Shown in the pictures is actress Wynona Ryder as she would appear as a Rotoshopped cartoon.

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