Friday, February 23, 2007

Photo Update

Got a few to share with you this time, so this might end up being a long post.

I've been trying my best despite the crappy winter weather and long hours at my day job to keep getting photos whenever possible. I just upgraded to a Nikon D80, so I definitely need to keep active just to get familiar with my new toy. It's rough though. I've only been in Toronto for 2 months so my contacts are few at best. I'd really like to start earning money this way soon, but I guess I'll just have to be patient.

Jess has been keeping me fairly busy though. She's been picking up the odd volunteer makeup job for student films and such, and of course her school has never had a problem with me hanging around catching snapshots for their student's portfolios.

Which brings us to some recent pics:

I accompanied Jess to a boxing club by the name of Sully's for a job she picked up on a student film. All she had to do was bloody and bruise a few actors so it turned out to be fairly simple and short. This one is a wide angle of the club's interior. I know it sounds cliche, but it really did remind me of something out of Rocky.

This is one of Jess at work. She started at the makeup station and added some light bruising and a couple of small cuts, then moved into the ring to gradually intensify the injuries between takes as the scene progressed.

This is one of the actors "warming up" on a heavy bag while the lighting and cameras were being assembled and positioned. He was playing the part of a boxer with a nasty habit of killing his opponents in the ring. He was a great guy. I caught him on camera once or twice hamming it up by standing on the ropes in the corner of the ring striking victory poses and calling for applause. It was totally Hulk Hogan.

The next three are from another visit to the School of Makeup Art. Tagging along with Jess to school is always fun, even if it smells nasty on occasion. I've learned not to volunteer as her guinea pig anymore though. I always seem to end up spending days nursing minor injuries or picking gunk out of my beard.

This is a set of fangs Jess is making for herself. I don't think I'll ever understand her fascination with vampires. I'm more of a zombie guy myself. I guess I just find the loss of free will scarier than the loss of my soul. I sold it years ago anyway. I'll let you guess what I got in return. (hint: it rhymes with "mock and bowl")

Jess showing off a tray of pre-fabricated bullet wounds. This will eventually become a template for mass producing gelatin applications. If you ask me, they totally looked like meteor craters. This board could double as a miniature moon set piece. Houston, the Eagle has landed.

This one is of a creepy looking fetal alien in what looks like a jar of piss. I assume it's supposed to be formaldehyde, but let's face facts. It looks like piss. It's amazing what one can discover when one gets to snooping in a special effects makeup school.

Well that's it for now. I've been gradually working my way into some interesting projects, so I'll be sure to keep updating as often as I can.


Thursday, February 8, 2007

An Apple A Day

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm in the process of switching from a PC to a Mac. I'm currently composing this on my brand-spankin-new MacBook and all that's left to do is transfer my useable data from my old machine to this one. Right now is my homepage, and will likely continue to be for some time as I'm just too lazy to change it. Although after reading this column from Steve Jobs yesterday, I think I might just leave it there indefinitely.

In light of the obvious success of the iPod and iTunes music store, Mr. Jobs took time to talk about what possible directions online music distributing could take in the near future, paying special attention to the issue of music piracy and it's current "nemesis", DRM (digital rights management). Mr. Jobs presented 3 possible scenarios:

Option 1: Steady as she goes.
Each manufacturer continues with the current setup of individual methods of copy-protection ensuring that the music they sell only works with their products. I don't know about you, but I can't see this working as a permanent solution. Without interoperability, consumer interest will either die out or revert right back to illegal sources.

Option 2: Share and share alike
Apple and other manufacturers license their DRM technology to each other in an attempt to achieve the aforementioned interoperability. Sounds good, but Mr. Jobs is quick to point out that the details of the DRM methods would leak faster than Valerie Plame's secret identity, hence making it incredibly difficult to maintain their respective agreements with the big four record labels in regards to said copy protection. Again, this sounds less than ideal.

Which brings us to option 3:
Do away with DRM altogether. This seems to be Mr. Jobs' ideal solution (as well as the ideal solution for consumers), and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with him. His argument is that DRM systems have thus far been completely ineffective in stemming the tide of online music piracy. Why even worry about protected songs purchased from iTunes when you can buy a completely unprotected CD which you can then rip to MP3 and distribute as you see fit? A strong argument indeed, however I'd take it a step further.

The so called "problem" of online music piracy (in my eyes at least) seems to be a drastically overstated one. I'm not saying that it doesn't happen, I'm just saying that it isn't even remotely as damaging as the RIAA would have us believe. Remember the introduction of the cassette tape? They insisted that it was being used to breach copyright laws and that it could lead to the downfall of the recording industry. That never happened. Remember when the first VCRs hit the market? The MPAA made the same argument and again the foretold apocalypse never materialized.

If anything, both industries greatly benefitted from both innovations when they stopped fighting progress and found a way to exploit these new technologies. Sooner or later they will have to wake up to the fact that trading music online is tantamount to the kids in the 80s and 90s that swapped mix tapes with their friends on a regular basis. And if online piracy is truly as destructive as they claim, where are the dismal sales figures to back up such a bold statement? Last I checked the local HMV outlets in my town were in no danger of having to close their doors.

But I digress.

The reason I'm twice as giddy about becoming a Mac user now can be found by checking out these Google search results for opinions on the new Windows Vista DRM features. Steve Jobs has the balls to point out how useless DRM is, while Bill Gates suckles at the teet of entertainment bureaucracy.

I've never been happier about being a turncoat.