on Christmas Day, we watched a few episodes of Long Way Round; a fascinating reality series about McGregor's adventure with his friend, Charley Boorman, as they travel around the world from London to New York on motorcycles.
The McGregor film fest wasn't planned but we noticed the pattern later. 2005. Year of the McGregor.
Nifty new Yoda Christmas stocking that is, hmmm. Wife to thank I have.
I've been helping a friend of a friend who owns a local truck detailing business. Mostly the job entails washing and detailing tractor trailer units, but it also includes washing construction equipment. Thursday afternoon, Chris (the owner) offered me a chance to drive one of these to get washed:
A John Deere 950c Crawler Bulldozer. PDF file with specs and more photos can be found here.
It's actually easier to control than I had previously thought (though this one looks pretty intimidating) since the 2 main controls (speed/direction and blade) are joystick-style devices. Much like you'd find in a jetfighter cockpit or arcade game. Though I've been around them before when I worked for a construction firm, I didn't operate any. For the washing/detailing job, we had to move it into the wash bay at the equipment firm. While I didn't plough any dirt, and there wasn't much clearance between the blade and the bay walls, it sure was fun!
This weekend, I was fortunate to attend the HD Production Conference here in Edmonton. I understand nearly 300 attended the 2-day conference in Calgary and around 200 packed the sessions in Edmonton. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces, meet some new ones, and learn about all the new HD productions from Albertans. And the two fantastic lunches were a bonus!
It was a little daunting to see some of the financial figures people were dealing with but since HD is a relatively new media, a higher production cost can be expected. The quality available through HD is outstanding and for those productions that want that clarity, detail, rich colors, and an immersive experience, HD is definitely the way to go.
Hopefully I will also have a production to add to the growing list.
As you're probably well aware, I'm a big King Kong fan. It remains one of the most engrossing variations of the Beauty and the Beast story. Almost no film today has matched the lushness of Kong's jungles, fierce Skull Island creatures, or emotion exuded by an animated lead character. King Kong is also a movie that proved to be the key inspiration to more animators, palaeontologists, archeologists, artists, and filmmakers than any other motion picture. And that inspiration continues today as each new professional inspired by Kong fires up the imaginations of the young viewing audience. Let's not forget King Kong came out during the The Great Depression, which makes its associated box office achievement and high praise even more amazing.
Over the Christmas holiday, I received a DVD Box Set of King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, and Son of Kong and finally had a chance to sit down and watch the new print of the film and included documentaries. RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World, is nothing short of outstanding. Arguably, it's easily one of the best "making of" DVD features yet and is on par with Peter Jackson's legendary behind-the-scenes material included on The Lord of the Rings trilogy and newly-issued Director's Cut DVD of The Frighteners. Despite having one of the greatest films of all time now available in a beautiful new presentation, the documentary alone was worth the long wait for Kong's arrival on DVD.
Found on the second disc of the King Kong Collector's Edition DVD set, RKO Production 601 features a running time of just over 2 and a half hours, (worthy of even Peter Jackson's new lengthy remake), and does an exemplary job of telling the story of the film's creation. Jackson, Ray Harryhausen, Phil Tippet, Alan Funke, Frank Darabont, Randall Cook, Ben Burtt, Joe Dante and others explain and analyze how the film was realized. From painstaking recreation of the King Kong armature and lost Spider Pit Sequence, to multi-plane set formation and projection, to the actual stop-motion animation process, and even the pioneering Max Steiner's score, the documentary is not to be missed by any true animation and King Kong devotee.
King Kong has become bigger than the lovable beast himself. Though he is considered one of the most recognizable silver screen characters of all time, the film proved to be the new apex of fantasy and adventure storytelling on film. So, when you head out to watch Peter Jackson's version, or the latest big-budget special effects blockbuster, think back to the incredible achievements of Willis O'Brien, Cooper and Schoedsack, and a giant ape, who was in reality, less than 20 inches tall.