Sunday, February 26, 2012

"The Artist" - Best Picture.... Really?

[caption id="attachment_1387" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Artist (2011) Poster"][/caption]"The Artist" takes place in Hollywood in 1927 right at the beginning of the "Talkies". As silent movie star George Valentin ( Jean Dujardin ) wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller ( Bérénice Bejo ), a young dancer set for a big break.

Does "The Artist" deserve Best Picture of the year? The actors Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, did and excellent job. Uggie, the Jack Russell, was superb and deserves notoriety however did not receive any. Michel Hazanavicius did a tremendous directorial of this film. Cinematography by Guillaume Schiffman was right on the money with subtle camera tricks. However, "The Artist" does NOT deserve Best Picture from The 84th Academy Awards. NOPE... Here is why. I found myself bored and force fed throughout the picture. "The Artist" lacked an engaging story that holds the viewers attention.

For instance in "Speedy" the plot revolves around Harold 'Speedy' Swift's attempts to save the last horse-drawn trolley bus in New York. The film contrasts the speed of life of the contemporary city with the pace of yesteryear, represented by this non-motorized mode of transport. It was a very smart move for the story to be about a current day topic of the time engaging the viewer through a constant choreography of witty occurrences within the main story. "Speedy" was brilliantly done and more importantly it was the story that made it so captivating. This was the last silent film to be released in theaters. In the clip provided you'll see what I'm talking about. Please disregard the cheesy computer dialog, this was the doing of the person who posted the clip on YouTube. You'll find in "Speedy" the story delights the viewer to the level that they don't even want to blink because they will miss something poignant and funny.

"Speedy" is a 1928 silent film that was one of the films to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director of a Comedy. It starred famous comedian Harold Lloyd in the eponymous leading role. The film was written by Albert DeMond (titles), John Grey (story), J.A. Howe (story), Lex Neal (story), and Howard Emmett Rogers (story) with uncredited assistance from Al Boasberg and Paul Girard Smith. It was directed by Ted Wilde (the last silent film to be directed by him). It was shot on location in New York City. Incredible to see NYC at that time.

Here is an example of a short silent film I shot for a client. Interesting how the male character looks similar to Jean Dujardin of "The Artist"! I also used a dancer.... that's a coincidence. If you'd like to see the stop animation version go to my blog Magic - Stop Animation & Silent Film Video by Spencer Gordon

Do you have a film or photography project to be shot?
Contact Spencer Gordon today!

Related articles:

Oscar Nominations: The Artist, a big score for a very French Film.

The Oscars and Movie Awards Season - Carpetbagger Blog -

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MobileMe: How to save your MobileMe Gallery photos and movies

Have you been storing your original images on your MobileMe account? You did not back up your images and are now scrambling to figure out how to save all those precious images? You can download your photos and movies from MobileMe. Not to worry I got your back

About MobileMe and all your albums you have stored there I did a little research since you and I are in the same "Digital Boat". As you already may know you can not move your MobileMe albums to iCloud. However you can sync the albums back into your iPhoto or Aperture Library. Start now because as of June 30th, 2012 MobileMe will go offline. I suggest doing this in stages as some of you may have an extensive library of images.

Apple's MobileMe Sync to iPhoto or Aperture instructions are below.

MobileMe: How to save your MobileMe Gallery photos and movies.

Tips on backing up your digital media.

Back Up Your Media - LaCie Drives - Spencer Gordon - NY Photographer.

Need help with your digital workflow? Contact me I can help.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

East Yorkshire - Winter Countryside

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The countryside in the East Yorkshire is amazing! Quiet, serene and peaceful. I stayed in a village called Kilham. A quaint English village that has a convenience store, 2 pubs, fine art gallery, post office, butcher and a church all nestled inside of 2 blocks. The village is surrounded by farmland. One of the farmers even has an honor system produce stand. The brussels sprouts on the stalks were only 1 pound per stalk!

Walking through one of the fields we came across a cabbage field. They looked like purple brains in the snow.... a little eerie in the still quiet country cold air.

Also in the slideshow are a two shots of Bridlington Beach. My favorite shot is of the colorful changing bath houses.

The slideshow above if you click on an image it will take you directly to that shot on my website. All images are available for download.

Related articles about Yorkshire & Bridlington

"Yorkshire Coast - What will you find on the Yorkshire Coast?".

21 Jan-9 Apr: David Hockney and Yorkshire | Hello Yorkshire Blog.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Risa Binder "You Made It Rain." - Paper Heart Album

When singer / songwriter Risa Binder contacted me to shoot an off the cuff unplugged music video where she performs at a sweet shop. Intrigued with the challenge for this musician I opted to take on the assignment. At the dessert shop Risa reviews some of the sweets and then performs an acoustic guitar version with musician Ryan Bull of one of her songs, in this video Risa sings "You Made It Rain". We shot one cold rainy afternoon in Brooklyn, NY at One Girl Cookies. Since Risa was on tight budget I planned to do this assignment solo. The trick for me was how can I get two camera angles, be mobile, work fast and not disturb the customers with obtrusive video gear. I came up with the "J Rig".J Rig - Nikon P7000 - Hero HD - Bogen Magic Arm - Adorama Flash Bracket The "J Rig" consists of a Bogen flexible magic arm, 2 stud adaptors and 1 Adorama umbrella flash bracket. Mounted to this rig was a Nikon P7000, Hero HD camera and a Sony wireless stereo mic receiver. The rig worked perfectly allowing me to move freely and still be able to use the zoom on the Nikon P7000. I directed Risa to only look at the Nikon knowing that this camera will be the "A" footage. The Hero cam was set to it's widest setting R4 giving the "B" roll an almost fish eye look. This worked perfectly due to the tight space we were shooting in at One Girl Cookies in Brooklyn, NY. After filming for 2.5 hours and a major sugar rush from the incredible Whoopie Pies we had what we needed.

As I began the edit process I presented Risa the first cut which was just over 7 minutes. Risa informs me that her record label Warehouse Records, LLC and publicist Shore Fire Media after seeing the quality of the video wanted to use the video to promote the release of her album Paper Heart. The one requirement was we had to cut it down to 3 minutes so it could be used on the Official Facebook Music Page. After a few more edit sessions cutting the acoustic song of "You Made It Rain" in half we finished in time for Risa's February 14th release date of her album Paper Heart.


WHO: Risa Binder - Vocals; Doug Yowell - Drums; Ryan Bull - Guitar; Lee Nadel - Bass; Chris Lopresto - Keys; Nadia Ackerman- Background Vocals; Anthea White - Background Vocals

WHERE: Rockwood Music Hall

196 Allen Street

New York, NY 10002


WHEN: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 7PM

Are you a musician in need of video or still shots for your CD artwork, press kits and website? Contact me and I'll be happy to discuss your project in detail.

Related Links

Warehouse Records, LLC – Risa's Record Label.

Shore Fire Media - Risa's Publicist.

Whoopie Pies - One Girl Cookies Store.

Rockwood Music Hall - Upcoming Performances.