July 2012


“RESURRECTED GRAVEYARD HAND” by BLAKE POWELL

Hello, my name is Blake Powell and I have been making movie and video projects off and on since the late 70’s,  I was a big fan of  CINEMAGIC  magazine and of course John Cosentino’s articles. These days I shoot and edit a television horror host show called Midnite Mausoleum.  Hope you enjoy my  “Resurrected Graveyard Hand” video. You will find details and photos  about the making of it  presented below the link to the video.

In 2002 I began work on a project which was never completed under the working title RESURRECTED.
We shot everything on HI 8 video with a Sony Handycam and edited with Adobe Premiere 6.0 .  I cut  together this 40 second sequence that establishes the Graveyard and “something” that happens there…
Although the movie was never completed I always really liked this sequence.  I’m really not going into detail on the computer effects portion here because I am much more of a “nuts and bolts” physical effects type of guy.
(Frame 1)
First We see the establishing shots.  I used the Handycams rudimentary “manual focus” wheel to focus on the stone in the foreground. I did all  of these shots at a long distance and zoomed way in with the camera.  This little trick gave the shots a much more “cinematic” shallow depth of field. They turned out pretty good for Hi 8 video
(Frame 2)
Next We see the “meteor” , this is actually a standard lens flare effect in premeire and I used the “motion” effects controls (under video options) to make it move across the sky. It is sort of a super basic form of animation.
(Frame 3)
The glowing ball of light is also a lens flare effect which again uses Premeires “motion” options  in order to  not to make it move across the frame this time I used the zoom (over time) function so that the glowing ball looks like it is growing in size. I still use this nearly 10 year old version of premeire to edit the television show Midnite Mausoleum.
(Example)
and finally the “Zombie Hand”  this one shot was done in my backyard.
(Setup 2)
I placed a patio block upright so that from the camera point of view it looked like a portion of a gravestone.
 I also placed other objects ,a planter, some bricks,  and cement blocks  in the background (from the cameras point of view).  Since they are in the distance and not in focus it helped make my backyard a “graveyard” at least for this one shot.
(setup 1)
I took a 4′ x 4′ piece of  “R-board”  (rigid foam insulation) and cut a hole big enough for my hand to go through,  right in the middle of it.  I laid it at the base of my patio block / gravestone with the side toward the camera propped up by a couple of 2 gallon primer buckets.  I  then laid a few twigs and leaves over the hole. After doing that I covered the entire thing with a shallow layer of loose dirt.
(smoke wrangler)
I also placed a smoke machine just out of the cameras view. The camera is sitting on a tripod and is at a very low angle (just below where this photo was take from), I hit the button to give a burst of smoke and tried to break it up a bit because I didn’t want a HUGE blast of smoke.
(in progress)
Camera is on and rolling: I  hit the smoke and just waited while the smoke was disipating and then   put my  hand up through the hole in the board.  There You have it!  I  managed to get this shot in 2 takes. I cut this clip together and it occurred to me that after it was done and rendered that I had planned to add a lot of blue to the color balance of the last shot so it would have more of a night time feel since it was literally shot in the middle of the day in my backyard.
If anyone wants to check out the show I do You can find it at
http://www.midnitemausoleum.com/
Note from JC: Thank you Blake. What a well organized and easy to follow article and a great little video.  I am sure that we all  appreciate the time you spent to present such  detailed piece.
Note: Who else out there in blogland might want to give it a try? Please see the previous blog article ” Coming Attractions To Paragons Blog” . It’s you. Interested? Email me at cosentinocarpet@gmail.com

 

DEMO HAS 3 PARTS:

FIRST: SOME OF THE MAGAZINE ARTICLES I DID.

SECOND: A REPEAT OF VIDEO #1 THE FOUR MINUTE SHORT TEASER.

THIRD:CLIPS FROM ALIEN FACTOR ,  MOST OF THE THINGS THAT  I DID OR ORGANIZED.

THE PLAN

My intention is to show behind the scenes and making of things photos related to the Demo video while waiting for the 18 minute adjusted sound clip of Paragon to be prepared.

Also during the wait and forever thereafter  there is  : THE ARTICLES BY “YOU” THE READERS AND SUPPORTERS OF THE BLOG.

The first one  is already done.  It was  done by Blake whom you will meet very soon in an upcoming blog article that contains a short video by him and great photos explaining how he shot the video. Now onto the  current demo video and the article about it.  My video will help newcomers to Paragon quickly about my beginnings.

PART ONE: MAGAZINE ARTICLES

I wrote  many articles with some being “How to do it’ and others were simply stories about what occurred during filming. If you’ve read my posts, then you have come to know some of my stories.

My  method of how to present a how to do it article has been copied by others for many years. I left no stone unturned and told exactly what to do and where to go for supplies and even the cost.

It took me one year to develop better sentence structure, but when I got it I got it! My cousin Larry helped me re-learn sentence structure. Who whould’ve  thunk I would’ve needed English skills? Certainly not me in high school or college.

PART TWO A REPEAT video OF THE SHORT  PARAGON TEASER.

It is there because it came that way when I had the transfer made so I could run it on the blog. The fewer the edits the less it cost me. So please bear with it to get to the Alien Factor material.

PART THREE IS ABOUT “THE ALIEN FACTOR” MOVIE

ALIEN SPACE SHIP

This miniature space ship  was made by Ted Rae. I took it and the “Inner man alien” that I made out to a friends property in Rochester Michigan and set up a “forced perspective”. Look close and you can see the man in the center of this clip photographed off the blogs movie.

It was raining when we filmed the above  scene and the motorcycle thing below.  Everyone thought we would have to go home. However I remembered that in a light misty rain the drops can not be seen on film and told them no problem. I hoped that I was right. I was!  No one ever noticed who saw the movie.

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT SCENE

The cycler is my brother Rick. He was our Richard S Kirk in Paragon’s Paragon. Notice it is dusk in the movie and he has sun glasses on to be “cool”. “CooL” is a word that has managed to stay “cool” even in this day and time.

The Michigan film material lasts, from the Alien spaceship and Alien transforming, up the the blue ray that heals the girl. It  was an “AD ON” time extension.  The reason is because the finished movie was too short , not long enough in minutes.  No distributors  would look at it. And it also needed to be blown up to 35 mm from the 16 mm that it was shot in order to spark interest.  Money talks and you know what walks. The blow up cost almost $ 15, 000 dollars.

The movie was dead in it’s tracks. So  I wrote an “insert” scene , rented equipment, and had a private showing  in Michigan of the short version to raise the money for the blow up which came from friends and relatives.

BLUE  RAY ALIEN HEALS ACCIDENT VICTIM

This was a simple double exposure. A hole was cut in a black poster board and a solid piece of black cardboard was slowly moved to send the beam down at the girl. It was done blurred and out of focus. It was done in our back yard.

Back in the day! The effects could not be viewed until the film was processed overnight. If  the effect failed then it had to be done over .  It was like shooting at something blind, and waiting to see if you hit the mark the next day or not. Nothing like shooting video now a days.

Well this is getting kinda long so I’ll talk about some other Alien Factor shots taken off my blog video on an upcoming post article after Blakes article.

John

Note: Who else out there in blogland might want to give it a try? Please see the previous blog article ” Coming Attractions To Paragons Blog” . It’s you. Interested? Email me at cosentinocarpet@gmail.com

John

YOU ARE THE COMING ATTRACTIONS

“Come and join us and let the Paragon blog be a corridor to imagination”

VIEWER PARTICIPATION ARTICLES AND VIDEOS

If you have been following my Paragon blog then you may have noticed that little by little I have introduced material about other projects besides Paragon.  Once I got involved with doing the blog I actually started to really enjoy it and the people who write me about it.

I love sharing this space with other people. The projects are interesting and encouraging. Hopefully this not only will be a place for Paragon’s Paragon, but for others to meet and congregate an learn of each others projects.

“Inspiration begets inspiration”

Not only with the articles/videos be diverse but they will have the flavor of the old Cinemagic magazine that I used to write for many years ago.  Tip on how to do it, or how it was done. Funny stories that come from doing film/video/art/etc. I see this as an “any medium” place to be seen or to  share and learn. From beginners to advanced.

I do admit it is an experiment. Time will unfold the layers of this endeavor in whatever manner it sees fit.

Let the call go out. If you would like to be a part of this then let me know. My email address is

cosentinocarpet@gmail.com

However you can also make a comment about this post and the idea on the Paragons Paragon blog.(below)

Paragons repairing is a slow moving project and therefore it gives me the perfect opportunity to share the blog and make it a meeting place for creative minded people. There will still be Paragon articles and that 18 minute video in the works, but there will be other interesting things in this blog.

One new article by a fan  is done and two others are in the works. Please do not feel that you can’t write (I’ll help if you need it). If you can’t take photos then ask someone to do it for you. Please do not feel that your projects are too amateur (let me decide). Life is full of risks.  Everyone has to start someplace.

I will be the first to have an article and video about some of my other projects . It is the thing I have been calling a “demo” video that I made years ago. In a future blog post article I will share some of my very first attempts at film making during grade school and high school years. They are pretty bad and disasters but I keep trying.

Sincerely,

John

“BEAM ME UP” TRANSPORTER SHOT OF THE “actual  MOVIE FRAME”

Sellek is matted in by my optical printer (shown below). The miniature that I built  is also shown below and I am holding it. Details about the effect  are demonstrated in the “Making of Paragon’s Paragon” video number # 2. If you haven’t seen the Making of Paragon video #2 what do you think the twinkles were, or the explosions as seen on the # 1 teaser video?

Yes, by hand hundreds of silhouettes outlines were traced out , frame by frame, and then inked in with a black marker,  so that the actor could be fit into it frame by frame. For more info see the post on the optical printer.

AN AVAILABLE LIGHT SHOT OF THE TRANSPORTERS  PANEL

A couple of views of the transporter room are shown below.

Notice the blue jeans? If a part of a costume would not be visible on camera then it did not matter what was worn. By the way due to budget reasons we only had three pairs of Star Trek type boots. I purchased two normal sizes and one really large pair. Often actors would be wearing a boot that fit them like a clown shoe because it was too large. As camera angles were changed ,sometimes the boots had to be changed from person to person, because there were not enough boots to go around.

Once again that’s all for this week. Just a simple short article. Hope you all had a nice 4th of July?  Next week a short video post showing some of my old projects to give newcomers to this post a quick update on how it came about.

John

BEHIND THE SCENES SCENES

ELEVATOR

Our elevator was tricky to use. The light for horizontal or vertical travel on the ship was a slit in a large drum that we rotated by hand. It revolved on wood to wood and needed constant greasing. Thick black grease was packed onto the hub. Often right in the middle of filming a loud “squeak” would happen and we would have to re-shoot the shot.

How about that “evil eye” defensive Sellek staring down Kirk?  Is Kirk afraid? Watch the bloopers and see what happens with our total control of his emotions  Vulcan known as Sellek.

That’s me on the left and my brother Bill loading the drum up for a grease job. Bill was our Doctor C0sta in the movie.

OTIS THE ORGANIAN  ORGANTIPUS

“Otis” was the illusion monster. He was named Otis because it was made in  Otisville Mi. where Ted Rae lived at the time. It was about one foot tall. Ted did the armature. The cotton/latex build up I think was done by me?.  The illusion  shot of Otis  did not need to be complicated. Just something simple.  I knew the scene would be short and animated by me. Animation requires patience and an eye for detail.  I lack patience for animation. Ted also did a miniature model space ship for Alien Factor and the head of the Lizard man in Galaxy Invader. These were projects that I let hem help me out with so he could get started with some film credits of his own. This was before  he moved to CA. and became a top notch professional. His first jobs were with  Roger Cormans studio where he got lots of experience and training in sci-fi  film making.

Ted at home working on something or other.

A SHORT NOTE ABOUT ANIMATION

One of my Paragon followers and an old Cinemagic fan: Wallace, has a blog that is like a video version of Cinemagic magazine. In the blog he shows how to make a simple armature and monster to use in stop motion. He also explains how to do it in a clear, organized, and simple manner to follow and duplicate.  If you want to have some fun with a simple beginners hands on project give him a look.

He also has three links to other stop motion sites.

Wallaces blog is at stopmotion.moonfruit.com

CAVERN MINIATURE

The cavern was paper mache” and plaster of paris. It was constructed over a moonscape that Larry Gerardi had made for a theme park demo model. A park that would let you feel like you were on a vacation on the moon. The project never happened.

Lighting and special effects done in my  Optical Printer made the cavern look special.

SHUTTLE ENTRANCE DOOR

Shooting  things like the shuttle door is what makes movies really fun to do. The illusion works. The panels of the shuttle door were set up in my mom and dads family room on top of buckets.  It was the best landing pod we could come up with in the middle of winter with a foot of snow outside.

That’s nuf fer now.  If you are a newcomer and want to learn more about me and how I payed for the movie film and materials go and check out my carpet repair site.

JUST FOR FUN this  is the ORGANIAN ORGANTIPUS under construction for one of the illusions. More about him in an upcoming post. Any creature made for a movie “must” have a name right?! This guy is “OTIS”, so named because he was born a city called “Otisville” in Michigan,  not to far from Flint, MI. My home state” Michigan” is the state that looks like a mitten up near Canada if you give a hoot.

HERE IS part of an update note FROM MY SOUND FIXER-UPPER  “STEVE” concerning Paragons Paragon.

“Hi John,
I wanted to let you know that I’m making some headway finally. I was having an issue finding a way to reduce the amount of inherent tape hiss that was in the original soundtrack. Basically, every time I tried to enhance the equalization of the dialog I was turning up the hiss.
After doing some web research I discovered that since I did a computer upgrade last January, I had a piece of software that I didn’t know I had. So I was able to diminish the hiss down below the level of being a problem.
Once I’ve “de-noised” and enhanced all of the dialog sections we should be able to render you out a suitable copy of your video.”
Thank you  Steve.
I consider myself lucky to have people interested enough to help out with making Paragon more presentable.
Your friend,
John
p.s. That goes for all you die-hard Paragon and Star Trek  fans that have come to visit my blog.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.