15 September 2014

Rainbow Lightning: Nature’s Astonishing Bow and Arrow

Most people have experienced lightning. Likewise, ask people if they have ever seen a rainbow and most will answer in the positive.  Yet something which few have seen is the moment that a rainbow and lightning occur at the same time. 


14 September 2014

Meet The Loneliest Little Robot in the World


L3.0 is alone.  The streets of Paris have long since ceased resounding to the clamor of humanity and he is left to his own devices.  He spends his days writing notes on paper planes and jettisoning them over the city in the hopes that they will attract some company for him.  Yet one day something happens – he meets a living being and we finally learn the reason for Leo's solitude.  This animated short was created by a group of students at ISART Digital



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It is 2024 and a Fugitive Musician Makes a Final Online Appearance


This short film says an awful lot about the nature of modern martyrdom. Envoi (meaning the verse or stanza which concludes a ballad) was written and directed by Jeremiah Gonda and Adrian Traurig.  A musician, opposed to the totalitarian regime under which he lives, makes a final broadcast to his fans after the execution of his band-mates. As well as being a pertinent slice of science fiction it has more than a little relevance in today’s age of web broadcast executions.



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A Terminal Patient Comes to Terms with his Past Through the Redemptive Power of Music


In so many lives there is a point at which terrible news is imparted.  Then it’s coming to terms with it and trying for a positive outcome.  In terms of news about the imminent shrugging off of this mortal coil, how can death ever be healed? Here, a terminal patient comes to terms with his past and his transcendence through the infinite and redemptive power of music. Heal was directed by Fernando Leal with music and lyrics by Nick Schinder.



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The Svanetian Towers of Georgia

Encircled by peaks of up to 5,000 meters, Svaneti is the highest area in the Caucasus mountain system which people have settled.  In a land dominated by mountains divided by deep gorges, the Svan people settled this historic Georgian province almost two millennia ago and here they flourished.

Yet towards the end of the European Dark Ages, at around the end of the ninth century, the Svan found themselves in conflict with the northern Caucasian tribes on the other side of the mountains and with the Ossetians to the east.  Their solution to tribal raids has endured the centuries.


13 September 2014

Incredible Iceland Volcano Photo

(For those of you outside of the UK, Iceland is a supermarket chain which specializes in frozen food – no irony intended by the owners, we are fairly sure of that).  Never say that the British want to be left out in the cold when it comes to foreign affairs, eh? Now, thanks to photographer Paul Miller, they finally have a volcano to call their own!



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If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Amsterdam, You Will After Watching This


Visiting Amsterdam should always be a pleasure and this time-lapse and hyperlapse by Jack Fisher captures the city beautifully.  It was filmed at the end of last year and in the film are a number of exhibitions from the city’s annual Light Festival.  I particularly like the trip up the city’s canals in the evening which while usually a more languid experience are captured here at an almost breath-taking speed.



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How to Avoid Clichés in a Student Film by Using Them


Film students are always, always told by their tutors to avoid certain things but, quite often, they fall in to the trap of misusing and abusing any number of tired and not-to-be-trusted movie making tropes and mistakes.  The list might include tedious on-screen text expositions, filming on campus, using friends as actors – and many, many more.

Laurel Powers, a student at Columbus College of Art and Design decided to make a musical short filled with all the student film clichés she could come up with in just under three minutes.  There may be more errors of judgement to be made than just those that appear in  A Student Film (although there are quite a few) but she enters in to it with something approaching mischievous glee (quite infectious too) – and one can only hope that was how her professors received the final piece. After all, to render the unoriginal fresh once more is something of a feat - and we can all list professional directors who can't seem to manage it (or are too lazy to do so) - so hats off to Laurel.



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A Different Lens


This is a very cool montage of eyes in the movies – I had some fun trying to name all of the movies these very short clips are from (I don’t think I got even two thirds of them!).  However, it is made even cooler by the fact that it was edited by Bob Joyce for the Society of Camera Operator's Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2012 to benefit the Vision Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.



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The Sand Dollar – the Animal that Can Clone Itself

This somewhat strange looking specimen is a Sand Dollar and it is featured today over at our sibling site, the Ark in Space. It is a sea urchin which burrows and comes from the order Clypeasteroida – and you can see why it gets its name, as it resembles a coin.  Some joke that it is the only stable dollar in the world at the moment.  Humor aside, it does have one trick up its sleeve that we can only wish would apply to real money.  It can clone itself – creating a perfect copy.  Read more about the how and why over at the Ark.

Image Amanda Dague



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12 September 2014

The Cutty Sark Story


If you might  not get the opportunity to visit Cutty Sark, the British Clipper ship which is preserved as a museum ship in Greenwich, London, then this will get you a little closer, at least imaginatively.  Created by Beakus director Steve Smith for the Cutty Sark, it tells the story of the ship’s years of service as a tea and wool cargo ship, and its record breaking round-the-world voyages. It will screen on a loop in the actual ship's lower hold from September 2014.



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The Hórreo - Singular Symbol of Spain

If you travel through north eastern Spain the chances are that you will see something like above structure, pictured in Ourense in Galicia. Known as hórreo and often centuries old, these structures served a vital purpose for the local communities. Can you guess what they were for?


11 September 2014

The Light and the Little Girl


This beautiful and poignant insight in to the mind of a child is something quite special.  The moment when the immaterial is desired but cannot be possessed is pivotal in the development of self-awareness. This is captured, perhaps as it should be, without words - how, after all, can one express a glimpse of infinity with sound? It was written by Jih-E Peng and Guy Pooles. As one commentator has very nicely put it, this film is nine thousand, three hundred, and sixty frames of something we can never have again: a child's innocence.



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The Palace


A young boy, alone and terrified, realizes that his high shelter is about to fall.  Yet what waits for him below is perhaps even more terrifying than his predicament.  This stop-motion short about loss, fear, survival and hope in a dark and foreboding world was co-written, directed and animated by John Eyre and Robin Heap.  It’s great that filmmakers can still leave things to our own imagination.




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Ever Wondered What Happened to Your Favorite Toons of the 80s? Brace Yourself…


Jessica Rabbit lays it all bare about what came to pass after the cameras stopped rolling – and the years have not been kind.  As well as Roger and Jessica (plus daughter...), we get to see what happened to a number of 80s cartoon icons, including Garfield and He-Man. Where Are They Now? is the new short by animator Steve Cutts, a London based artist specialising in animation, illustration, painting and sculpture.



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Hofman’s Hippopo Hits the Thames

There is usually something new to see in London every day but this week there was a new addition on the River Thames unusual even by the standards of the English capital.  There was no need, either, to be particularly eagle-eyed to spot this visitor to one of the world’s most well-known waterways.   While Battersea’s famous power station is usually associated with flying pigs, thanks to the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 Animals album, this week it was a 21 meter long floating hippo which caught the attention of those taking a stroll down the river.


10 September 2014

Nebula


A young girl, alone in the forest, has a mysterious encounter with a strange creature.  This magical and beautifully produced animated short was created by a very talented group of students from Gobelins: Camille Andre, Marion Bulot, Clément Doranlo, Myriam Fourati, Jonghyun Jungboix, Alexis Kerjoss and Sarah Simon.  Again, a superb piece from one of the consistently best animation schools on the planet.



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What Can You Do When Your Date Turns Out to be a Sloppy Eater?


We have all had first dates that have gone wrong but hopefully nothing like this – when the object of your desire turns out to be something of a messy eater – to say the very least.

Wasted Night was directed by Joseph Catté and starring Pauline Helly and Joseph Catté who no doubt could not resist the fun that must have been involved in the making of this.



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Space Cat Hob


A genetically engineered flying cat (yup) crash lands on a planet only to find that he is surrounded by more even more danger than he has just escaped.  Will he survive this new hostile environment?  This animated short was created by Liok, a Paris based concept artist and independent film maker.  Incredibly it was done with a zero budget but completed through sheer time and love, after two years of work.  It was worth it!



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6 September 2014

The Trift Bridge: The Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge in the Swiss Alps

Climbers have to be fit and healthy to even reach Trift Bridge.  Yet once they get there they must be in possession of other qualities.  It is the longest pedestrian-only suspension bridge in the Swiss Alps and even the sight of it can render some people weak at the knees. It is 330 feet (100 meters) above the floor of the valley and a staggering 560 (170 meters) in length. Climbing mountains is one thing: clambering across them on a skinny bridge with a yawning chasm below is another feat entirely.

This is only the second bridge to be situated in this dazzlingly beautiful valley landscape.  In 2004 an enormous hydroelectric plant was built below the Trift Glacier.  The plant collected and controlled the run off from the glacier (yes, a whole plant just for the run off).  A bridge was needed to access the power plant below the glacier and so this precariously positioned structure was built.  Inevitably, the bridge attracted people who wanted to cross it simply for the thrill, rather than for reasons of employment.


Watch a Season Pass on a Farm from Sowing to Harvest: From the Earth


Many of us do not get the opportunity to watch what we eat grow from seedlings to crop – so here is your chance to see that process, thanks to farmers Adam Burns and his wife (who, Adam admits, does most of the work but doesn’t get a name check!).  From the beginning of the season to harvest time, this video is something of a joy to watch – a reconnection with nature.

Plus I think some of you chaps out there might enjoy the sight of the very  pretty farmer’s wife at her labors as much as the thoroughly engaging process of growth and harvest. Just saying what you’re thinking…



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Dark Side of the Earth


Something has gone wrong with the solar system – so badly wrong that it has been kept a secret from the vast majority of people. Yet one scientist is determined that the world learns the truth before it is too late. Written and directed by Aćim Vasić, this is very inventively done – a single stream of consciousness from a desperate man on the run with only seconds to get his message out.



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