Film making, Cinematography and the Blues Harmonica.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Tuna Shake Baby

A few months back I helped work on the short film Tuna Shake Baby written and directed by my friend Adam Hill (contact him here) We've worked on a couple of films together and I plan on working on a lot more with him over the next few years. The film showed to a good reaction at Hull Truck Theatre during it's first screening. Let me know what you think.

Tuna Shake Baby from Nish Hill on Vimeo.

Paranormal Activity 3

At home my girlfriend's never been the best at choosing films, ninety percent of the films she buys or picks end up being disappointing, she falls asleep and I end up stuck watching them through to the end. She's a horror fan and I've always liked a good horror film the difference is she can get drawn in by a gory looking DVD case or a grisly sounding title and it takes a little bit more to rise my interest. Just being gory or having some random loud noises to try and make the audience jump doesn't do much for me. Last night she convinced me to go and watch Paranormal Activity 3, it doesn't usually take me much convincing to go to cinema but in this case I hadn't seen the second film which I thought might effect my understanding of this one. I needn't have worried as there was very little story at all. Obviously as I have not seen the second film and honestly remember very little of the first film in the series I will not review the trilogy and instead look at the film as it's own entity. What can I say? You can change the venue but you cant change my girls luck when it comes to picking films, needless to say I was disappointed and judging by the groans at the end of the film across the cinema, I wasn't the only one. The film starts off slow, moves along slowly, slows down a little, stops for a break, sets off again but then trips over and the credits roll. I may come across as harsh but put it this way, my girls a jumper, when we went to watch Insidious she was flying above or hiding under her seat more time than she was sat on it. That was what I call a good horror film using suspense to create real fear in the viewer. Paranormal Activity just didn't deliver in any way, there were times when she was bored and she jumped only a handful of times at the stock sudden loud noises, I half jumped once, again at a sudden loud noise.

When trying to find something positive to say about the film a few things where OK, I did generally like the male characters in the film and the Bloody Mary scene is the strongest of the whole movie by far but there is just so much wrong with the rest. I may be a little bit more tuned in than the desired Paranormal Activity fan-base but I couldn't believe how easy the end was to predict, not so subtle clues throughout trying to be clever but failing completely. In fact I thought the whole movie was predictable. The Mother character was such an idiot by the second half of the film you just wanted to shake some sense into her, actions with no apparent consequences where a common occurrence which really gets on my nerves.  Maybe it's just me, getting cynical in my not so old age. My 14 year old brother and his friends liked it but then would he have been cool if he had said he hadn't? I guess if you like the other Paranormal films there will be no stopping you but to everyone else who's not sure, save your money and go watch a film worth watching.

Also I was planning on putting a trailer for the film at the end of this review, but pretty much every shot in the trailer was not in the film! What's that all about? I checked twice to make sure I was watching the right trailer on IMDB it's ridiculous, especially as the trailer was more enjoyable than the film.

Let me know what you thought of the film and don't be afraid to disagree with some or all of what I've written, I wont take it to heart.  

Friday, 28 October 2011

Factory - Canon 60D HDR and RAW Photography

The weather wasn't too bad today so I decided to go for a random drive with my camera and tripod sat shotgun. I ended up at a spot we call circles which I hadn't been to in a while. A few years back me and some friends tried to skate around here and it's always been one of those places you could go shooting your air rifle with no bother, made cooler by the post apocalyptic feel of the place. Good times for borderline rebellious kids who where too nice to actually piss anyone off. Anyway here's the first few photos which I've had time to process, probably will add a few more over the next few days.

The Tower

HDR view from the Tower

Partially desaturated HDR view from the Tower

Between the two HDR images which do you prefer? Feedback is greatly appreciated.

Take it easy, Chris

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Canon 60D HDR

Really hoped for some better weather today and a nice sunset but it never came. Still went out and captured what I could and here is the finished result. Not so sure about the sky, will have to go out again on a better night and try again. It's all good practice I guess. The more I look at this image the more it seems to portray a statement about pollution, because of this new way of seeing the picture I am warming more to the result.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Interior HDR attempt Canon 60D

First attempt at creating an HDR image indoors, using a window as my main point of interest. Let me know what you think.

Canon 60D HDR 

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Canon 60D HDR Attempt

This is my first attempt as making an HDR image, which is basically an image made up of several photos taken at the same time at different exposures to create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) I'm fairly impressed with the outcome for a first try and I will certainly be trying this technique again. The picture was taken in my garden using a Canon 60D on a Manfrotto tripod, uploaded and converted using DPP and then edited using Photoshop CS5. Let me know what you think.

My Garden - Canon 60D HDR 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Suzuki Manji

It's been a while since I've posted about my other love, after Shelley, Cinematography and Photography there is the blues harmonica. By no means am I a musician, the world famous Yorkshire blues man Chris Ulliott, yeah in my dreams. But I do love my 10-hole diatonics and I play a mean solo set in my kitchen or in the bath tub. My playing is at least a lot better than my singing, I'm still waiting on that bluesy vocal tone which I hope comes with older age. Anyway lets get to the point of this post, I recently bought a Suzuki Manji for around sixty quid on Amazon. This is the first time I've ever spent so much on a harmonica, usually playing mid-level harps from Hohnor, Lee Oskar and Seydel, and I have to say I am enjoying playing this 'professional' mouth organ. Was it worth the extra money, I don't know, will I buy another? Probably when I can afford one. It's definitely easier to play on the higher notes than the equivalent cheaper models. I bought this harmonica when I was going through a 'Key of D' stage and therefore purchased it in a D and it does sound really nice however looking back maybe a C would have been a better choice. I could be tempted with a different pro-harmonica next and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

My Harmonicas

So what's good about the Manji? It's a little bit louder than all of my other harmonicas which is cool. It's also nice to venture into the high notes with more ease than I've ever personally experienced. It looks pretty cool and according to Suzuki it should outlast any other harp so if that's the case then for a pro-harp I guess it's good value for money.

Suzuki Manji

What I don't like so much, bending the second draw doesn't sound as strong as I would have hoped and within just a couple of weeks I've already slightly bent the casing whilst it's been, admittedly unboxed, in my pocket. I presume the open back design creates more volume at the expense of weakening the structure. Also the spacing and size of the holes are slightly different from my other harps so it's taking me a while to play as cleanly as I know I'm capable, practice makes perfect I suppose.  

Bears prefer the Manji

Maybe one day I'll post a video of me playing, not today though as I'm going red just thinking about it. Anyway take care guys, keep on keeping on and remember the wise words of Willie Brown 'If you don't play no harp, you don't get no pussy'.

Friday, 7 October 2011

60D Photo of the day

I recently bought a Canon 60D DSLR camera and thought I might start a series of blog posts showing photographs which I am especially happy about taking. This is a photograph taken of one of my family's many Pygmy Marmosets and I like the composition and layers in the shot. I've messed around with the levels a little bit on Photoshop to make the image more dramatic. 

Pygmy Marmoset

A few weeks after making this post I decided to have another go at the post processing on this picture and here is the result, which I think is an improvement.

Pygmy Marmoset

Monday, 3 October 2011

Last night's film 'S.F.W.'

It was getting late last night and as usual I couldn't sleep so I started my usual ritual of searching through the films showing on my Sky HD box. This night I stumbled across an unusual film called S.F.W.made in 1994. I'd never heard of it before but the synopsis intrigued me so I put it on and stayed awake until the credits rolled, which I guess is a good sign. It's a hard film to explain so I've nicked the plot summary from imdb because I'm lazy like that and my Dinner's ready soon.

 Cliff Spab is a guy who doesn't really care about anything. He gets held hostage at a store for 36 days by terrorists, who demand that the entire thing be broadcast on national television. Cliff ends up taking a bullet for fellow hostage Wendy - making him a national hero. The two are the sole survivors of the ordeal, and soon become prisoners of the media. Cliff escapes it all, only to find himself being pushed further away from Wendy when he needs her most
That's a pretty shit summary to be honest and I could do better if I had more time/motivation but I don't. Anyway the point of this post is that I liked the film and think more people should know about it, presuming that I wasn't the only person who had never heard of it before. It's definitely the kind of film I used to be into a few years back,  a View Askew kind of feel but not as many obvious and crude jokes. It even stars Joey Lauren Adams a Kevin Smith regular. The characters actually seem like real people who I'd quite like to hang out with and the story is pretty cool. This film in my opinion sums up the nineties and questions the ridiculous media obsessions in western popular culture in a way which kept me entertained and made me laugh. I recommend it to everyone, especially those who grew up in the nineties.

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