Let Buster Keaton Bust You Out of Your Holiday Shopping Pattern.

Already sick of holiday shopping, the endless garage of spam emails trying to get you to buy more crap, pumpkin spiced this and that, and holiday commercials? I know I am. I did all my shopping online a month ago, and am hiding out in a warm place until January 4th.

If you’re looking for a break from the Christmas Consumer Crush, look no further. Below is a short film from Tony Zhou on Buster Keaton, and how his silent film work from a century ago continues to influence film makers today.

Do yourself a favor, put the plastic back in your wallet and take a few minutes to watch this. Better yet, watch this, then jump over to Vimeo to see all of Tony’s films.

“Before Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson, before Chuck Jones and Jackie Chan, there was Buster Keaton, one of the founding fathers of visual comedy. And nearly 100 years after he first appeared onscreen, we’re still learning from him. Today, i’d like to talk about the artistry (and the thinking) behind his gags. Press the CC button to see the names of the films.”

Outer Space Portrayed in the Movies.

Since the dawn of civilization humans have always had a fascination with space. From that point where we first looked up at the night sky and pondered the stars and the vastness of the night sky, through today where we still explore the heavens. One of the more interesting takes on our fascination with the heavens and space is how it has been portrayed in film, especially in the last 50 years. As special effects have progressed from the ground breaking2001: A Space Odyssey”, to today’s blockbuster “Interstellar” the portrayal of space in film is one of amazing visuals and fantasies drawn out of human experience and imagination. The video below is wonderful edit of just how space has been portrayed in the movies. At almost 4 minutes in length it’s worth watching. Now can you name all of the movies referenced here?

“Criterion Designs”, Thirty Years of Movie History in 300 Pages.


For more than three decades, The Criterion Collection has released a steady stream of important classic and contemporary films. The Criterion Collection has been dedicated to collecting films from around the world and offering them in editions that feature high technical quality and award winning stories and content.


The Criterion Collection which began in 1984 started by offering laserdisc’s and VHS tape, moved to DVD, Blue-ray and now online streaming. With that they have amassed a massive collection of promotional and packaging materials which are now being offered in a lavish coffee table book.


The book features an illustrated look behind the scenes, that includes sketches, mockups, mood boards and reference materials, all pulled from the The Criterion Collection‘s in-house design department’s archives. The book was the brain child of Criterion Art Director Sarah Habibi and Staff Designer Eric Skillman, who assembled 300 pages of material into a hardbound visual feast creating a lush tactile experience for the true movie fan.


For me this is a must have book. It is a beautifully designed archive of thirty years of visual history, that documents changing styles, influences, and trends, from the movie industry and graphic design world.




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ICONS at 1988.

Designers Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman, also known as DKNG has a new exhibit of small works titled “Icon” currently on display at Gallery 1988 in West Los Angeles. The show features fifty works in Goldman’s distinct flat geometric style. All the works feature a bright but limited color pallet, and each image represents iconic places and things from some of your favorite movies and TV shows of all time. The image attempts to sum up an entire movie in a single 12 inch square.


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36 Years of VFX Academy Award Winners in One Place.

Just in time for the 2013 Academy Awards,   has editied together every winner since the First Star Wars film in 1977. The montage is a great tribute to the teams that made these movies the successes they were. See how many you can name, and if you can’t name them all don’t worry. He lists all the titles at the end of the sequence.

Monday Inspiration. Zacuto’s Great Camera Shootout.

Below are two interesting films from camera accessory maker Zacuto. They are from the “Great Camera Shootout” for 2012, and folks the results are really interesting. In the audience is Francis Ford Coppola, along with a number of other industry pros. They were shown eight short films each shot with a different camera and then asked to choose the best of the eight. They were not told in advance which cameras were used on each film.

The cameras used in the shootout included a Panasonic GH2, Sony F65, Red Epic, Canon C300 and Arri Alexa. The price range goes from less than a grand for the GH2 to around $75,000 for the Sony F65. Now here is the the kicker, that GH2 won. It is chosen more by this group of pros than any other camera. So does this mean it is a better camera than the F65? not necessarily. What it does mean is that the technology is getting so good, that in the right hands, a small crew can get some seriously amazing results. I continue to say this, and I will repeat it as long as I can breath. The gear you use will not make you more talented, it only helps improve the end result of your work. If you have the skills you can create magic even with an enthusiast level camera.

Watch these and be inspired. The industry is changing and you can make some magic too.

The Art of Film & TV Title Design. Off Book & PBS.

If you produce any form of video or animation based content for TV, Film, The Internet, Mobile and Tablet based devices, you need to watch this film. “The Art of TV Title Design” by PBS Off Book, is a great short film that features some of the heavy hitters of Title Design talking about their craft.

Opening credits are quite often the first thing an audience sees when they watch a great film or TV show. While they are very memorable, more often than not they are not talked about in great detail. Even though they help set up the story, and close it out.Good Title Design is an art form, as much as any other aspect of the broadcast and film industry. The designers that create title sequences are asked to invent concepts that bring the core story out, and enhance the overall production themes, to create a visual experience that pulls the viewer into the film’s world.

In the video below some of the most inventive people working in the field of title design today, including the creators of the iconic Mad Men sequence, the hilarious Zombieland opening and the stirring end credits from Blue Valentine, discuss what goes into making a great title sequence. Featured in the short film are Peter Frankfurt and Karin Fong, Jim Helton, and Ben Conrad.