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Album Review - Metric - Synthetica

"I make all that I believe, I set myself free. So take all the time you need, and let yourself be." "Artificial Nocturne" by Metric

Emily Haines and her band don’t hold back in their new album Synthetica. Not lyrically, not musically, and certainly not artistically. Overall it is a worthy successor to their groundbreaking Fantasies released back in 2009.

Let’s talk about what it isn’t: Synthetica is neither a re-hash of Fantasies nor a collection of “lost” songs thrown together and called a new album. It’s obvious the thought that went into creating each track, as they stand on their own individually while also flowing into one another in a full-album play through.

Their first single “Youth Without Youth” took some getting used to. It didn’t have the same depth lyrically as other songs. But once you memorized the beat and song, it grew on you. The flowing ballad of “Speed the Collapse” is a dark, stormy song full of Haines’ beautiful melodies and a powerhouse chorus that will leave you breathless.

("Youth Without Youth" music video - click to watch)

"Lost Kitten" is the most surprising track of them all, being something of a pop song without being that simple. It shows off Haines’ vocal range and is a nice break from the relatively dark tracks that precede it. Their title track "Synthetica" is catchy and far less dark than some of the other tracks. Rather their use of synthesized notes and a constant electric guitar evoke something of their neon-lit, electric inspiration Blade Runner.

(Emily Haines on set during the “Youth Without Youth” music video shoot)

Haines’ described Synthetica as being, “about forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection. Synthetica is about being able to identify the original in a long line of reproductions. It’s about what is real vs what is artificial.”

Filed under Metric Synthetica Album Music Review Review Album Review 2012 Fantasies Youth Without Youth Music Video Photography Emily Haines Single Song Speed the Collapse Lost Kitten 2009 Lyrics Band Blade Runner Inspiration

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Chalk It Up

"No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist." -Salvador Dali

Meticulous.

The word perfectly describes the process applied by designers Josh Luna & Alisha Noles in re-designing and re-making the menu board for the Silk Espresso cafe.

Let me take you through their work…

First they took detailed measurements of the wall they’d soon be painting with chalkboard paint. They then created an elevation in the wall using Autocad, which included all the measured elements.

Having made careful revisions, the final design was printed on a large format printer in black & white. They set this aside for later, and, along with a few helpful friends, painted the wall with three coats of chalkboard paint. The paint dried for 48 hours before any graphics were transferred.

They applied graphite (2B works best!) to the back side of the to-scale print, taking care to get good, thick layers for a clean transfer onto the wall. Once finished, the prints were taped to the wall exactly where the graphics were to go.

Using very hard (4H) pencils, they meticulously traced every letter and line of the whole design. This took a good while, but once finished and the prints were removed, it was exciting to preview their work finished.

Everything was re-traced over in chalkboard marker (Chalk-Ink brand is the best and has a wide array of colors) and left to dry for two hours. Once dry, traditional white chalk was rubbed over the entire wall to add a textural finish.

It’s probably best to simply visit the location for yourself, enjoy a cup of their new Stumptown roast, and witness the work of art for yourself. Because it is, truly, a work of art.

Filed under Advertising Autocad Chalkboard paint Coffee Design Espresso Film Gradient Gradient Productions Graphic Graphic Design Gresham Oregon Howto How To InDesign Photography Production Silk Silk Espresso Story Writing Pacific Northwest

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Innovating with the iPad

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." ~Steve Jobs

The world of production is an ever-changing environment.

In a constant state of flux, the period between an “industry standard” practice and a “revolutionary” one is diminishing. As in the medical field, technological innovations rapidly shift the way we work.

Ethan Borden, Cinematographer & VP of Gradient, has found his workflow radically altered using the iPad:

"With the Movie Slate App, it makes us probably ten times faster in post-production. It does a shot log which I can send out with an HTML or as a Final Cut XML document, and saves time and keeps us more organized because we’re switching from paper to digital.

We also have a Wireless Monitor App which allows us to connect to a computer that has the camera plugged in. It lets us control the camera and look at what’s being seen through the lense with a live view. We’re also able to walk around wherever on set and look at what’s being shot on camera. We see whats being seen through the DSLR.

I use the iPad 2 for a lot of workflow stuff on other projects as well: websites, Facebook, uploading photos that I’ve just taken on set.”

"In Post we use it a lot for labeling footage. It’s easy to make notes on set and then have our editor be able to refer to those while he’s working. It keeps everything centralized so that there aren’t 5 pieces of paper flying around with separate notes."

Nathanael Sams has found his workflow in Post-Production streamlined as well:

"The Slate makes all the difference because we work with separate cameras and separate audio (Zoom H4N). What can be a daunting task of syncing up video and audio is a lot more feasible and automatic when you have a slate that beeps, because the program automatically syncs it up for you. That saves hours of time of manually going in and making sure it’s synced up."

We aren’t shy in expressing our love of Apple products, and the iPad is no exception. It has quickly become invaluable on set, off set, and within our workflow.

Filed under Gradient Productions Film Production Design Writing Photography Graphic Design How To Apple Cinematography Editing XML HTML Final Cut Pro Wireless Monitor DSLR Canon D60 Facebook Slate Zoom H4N Steve Jobs iPad 2

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Make It Happen

"I was directing before I knew it was called that." -Guillermo Del Toro

Rebecca Noles:

       ”I’ve been directing & producing since I was 10 years old and putting on Christmas pageants in the living room for my parents. I’ve learned a few things along the way and am offering them as advice to anyone interested or pursuing either field. I do, however, reserve the right to change this advice at any time in future blogs.

Directing

Directing is about need: What the script needs, what the crew needs, what the audience needs.

As a director, your only job is to acknowledge all the different needs within each department and guide them toward a finished product. Sometimes all the Director of Photography needs is to feel like he has permission to try something new. There are times an actor needs the director to take his/her eyes off the monitor and simply have a conversation with them. Sometimes an editor just needs you to get out of their way.

Acknowledge the need and work to fulfill it.

Producing 

Being a producer at a small production company can be categorized into three main jobs:

  1. Make sure people have what they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
  2. Make sure everyone knows where & when to show up.
  3. Make sure the cast & crew members eat, sleep, are groomed, and stay caffeinated.

Being a producer is about serving the people who make the project happen.”

Filed under Gradient Productions Film Graphic Design Directing Acting Producing Christmas Winter Cinematography How To Photography Guillermo Del Toro Rebecca Noles Writing Coffee Editor DP Advice Quote Snow Chair