Bad news, my go to day to day digital camera decided to stop powering on. One day while shooting happily out by a lake it decided it no longer wanted to be by my side. Rather than try and spend money repairing it I feel like a better use of money would be to move on and look to an updated body.
I was daydreaming a bit as an M9 crossed my mind then the new Fuji GFX but reality came rushing in and reminded me how expensive the past year has been with new baby and house in our lives so it’s probably best I set my sights on something more realistic. Right now its a tossup between sticking with Fuji and an X-Pro2 or moving back into the world of DSLR clunkers and go with a “modest” Canon 6D. It will be a while before I can sell off a few things and put together enough to make a move but it’s fun to consider new gear and hope for a boost of inspiration from a new point of view.
In the mean time I will be borrowing YoungDoo X100T here and there like I did this past weekend while exploring the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on the campus of Duke University where it accompanied my Hasselblad. Spring is starting to show up early this year so while many things were still waiting to bloom to life, there were a number of early bloomers like the magnolia tree here in the photo above, welcoming everyone to the new season with open arms.
I have not spent much time with the X100 cameras but I have to say it’s been a joy to shoot with and I can easily see why so many photographers have gravitated to them. I look forward to spending more time with it as I try and decide which direction to take with a new body. Opinions?
Tomorrow Mondo will sell Tyler Stout’s new poster for Captain America: Civil War. This is a 24″ x 36″ screenprint, has an edition of 750, and will cost $65. The variant has an edition of 325 and will cost $110. The vibranium metal variant has an edition of 80 and will cost $350. These go up tomorrow (Thursday, February 23rd) at a random time. Visit Mondotees.com.
The Internet: it’s still doing crazy things with MIDI.
Just in the last few days, we’ve seen MIDI musical inventions go freshly viral. And keep reading even if you’ve seen some of that, as we’ve got a little bonus for you to get in on the fun.
It started with producer Aleksander Vinter, aka Savant – whose work extends to popular game scores. He created patterns like this one that double both as recognizable picture (a bird, reminiscent of vintage text art), and as compelling musical figuration. Behold:
Alexander Huang also gave us a clever tutorial, of course, so you can try this yourself:
What makes this particularly unique is really that the musical patterns generated are all tonal – doodling images that double as contrapuntal fantasy. But maybe that leaves you wanting something more, well, primal.
Erson Rybod writes CDM to share his own tool for just that. (He even gives us a quick bio, “i have no face, i also like to play with hacks.” Our kinda person/alien/thing/whatever, Erson is.
Erson urges us to “see no evil” (really, that’s in the email) but to download a free Mac-compatible app for making your own black MIDI:
i uploaded my diy app i made to turn any picture into midi file (black midi)
you can download it here i also puted a midi exemple with aliens
There isn’t one music production tool that fits everybody. What’s special about Steinberg’s Nuendo is that it is uniquely poised for high end production workflows. And maybe more than any other developer, Steinberg seems to be catering to the needs of A-list game scores.
That says something not only about Steinberg, but about the changing face of music production. Once, there was the studio world, and “pro” releases meant the Audio Engineering Society (AES) show. You know, for people producing records. Now, odds are, you’re going to laugh when you open the statement from your label showing how much you made on record sales or Spotify. But music for games easily rivals Hollywood scores for creativity and craft.
Nuendo 8’s Randomizer looks like a nice creative tool – and something very valuable to game scoring.
So, sure enough, Steinberg will show its latest flagship release, Nuendo 8, at the Game Developers Conference. I miss GDC – it’s long been a rich environment for cutting edge sound engineering and ideas about spatialization and interactivity, irrespective of how much you care about games. And it seems the perfect place for this release.
Nuendo has always been ahead of the curve with surround sound and a number of other workflows and functionalities critical to high-end game production.
But the specific hook here is to Audiokinetic, developer of Wwise, a leading audio “middleware” platform. That is, Wwise is a way of handling lots of assets and musical cues and delivering them interactively in a game. This contrasts with the more improvisatory way some indie games work, where a game composer might even be a programmer. Audiokinetic lets you add interactive music without disrupting the production workflows of a game developer, even in very large titles.
So, in the previous version of Nuendo, Steinberg provided the ability to export mixdowns directly to Wwise (plus handle version control with Perforce).
Nuendo 8 goes deeper. You can actually produce an entire interactive music composition directly inside Nuendo. So all your cycle and cue markers, all your individual audio and MIDI tracks, everything that makes up a song gets exported natively to Wwise. That makes Steinberg’s tool the de facto choice for interactive composition.
Okay, so you don’t use Wwise – is there anything else here for you? Yes.
Offline processing and rendering. Steinberg calls this “Direct Offline Processing with Live!Rendering.” Basically, it means you can take frequently used processes and apply them offline in a plug-in chain, all in real-time.
Batch rename events.
Auto Renamer Batch rename events.
Sound Randomizer plug-in creates instant variations of sounds’ pitch, timbre, impact and timing.
Sampler Track, MediaBay.
Sampler Track As seen in Cubase, this turns any sound in your MediaBay into a working sampler.
Retrologue 2 synth.
HALion Sonic SE 3.
More effects. 80 of them now, including a new eight-band fully parametric frequency EQ.
Mixer history. Again, an essential improvement to Cubase, now you have a history right in the mixer.
New video engine.
Improved plug-ins and performance, zones.
And of course all of that is relevant to game audio – and a lot of other production, too.
It looks lie a good release. If Ableton Live is dominant in the onstage and beat production realms, and Logic and Cubase duke it out as mainstream DAWs, Nuendo has steadily gained against Pro Tools as the high-end production platform and the “picture-to-audio” choice to beat. (Hey, someone had to say it.)
If you are a thrifter or a hand-me-down furniture lover take heed, your life is about to change. Meet your new lover Danish Oil.
You know when you buy an older piece of furniture and it just looks tired? The finish is dull, there are nicks and chips and marks all over it, and though technically it is the same piece as the one on 1st Dibs for $5000, it looks like its had a rough go at life and maybe got the short end of the gene pool in the Herman Miller family.
This is where Danish Oil comes in. When you have a piece that is struggling in the finish department sometimes it seems like the only option is to strip/sand/restain it. But ITS NOT!!
He sure didn’t start out like that. I mean we’re talking a “She’s All That” style facelift (I’ll love you forever FPJ!)
So what is this voodoo magic?!
Danish Oil can best be described as 1 part conditioner and 1 part stain. It comes in different colors that you best match your piece’s finish to (don’t worry if your between shades, it miraculously morphs into what it needs to look like!)
Using a clean cloth you rub in on all over the piece, concentrating on the areas that have issues.
Check out this piece- see how all of the scratches stand out like a sore thumb?
With a quick wipedown of Danish Oil they just disappear. The wood looks alive, there is more color depth and its now protected against water, kids, and general grossness.
Look at the bottom of the legs:
So, if your furniture is looking a little lackluster, you’ve got help on the way!!
Danish Oil comes in a bunch of different colors, most are linked below!(My favorites are the Natural and Medium Walnut (which is sort of the most perfect color for almost any midcentury piece you can throw at it!)
Have you used Danish Oil? Do you love it enough to get a D.O. tattoo with me?
There are great American films made every year, but most of them aren’t nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, an accolade that really only suggests the film will probably be watchable and well made.
This year, however, the field contains one extraordinary film and five very good ones – even if Free In Deed, the best American film from last year, didn’t receive any nominations. Several other of the year’s best films – I’m thinking of Elle, Captain Fantastic, Suntan, The Commune – are underepresented, or not represented at all in the larger ceremony.
Hell or High Water, directed by David Mackenzie, is a conventional cops and robbers tale set in a broken Texas scarred with rusty machinery, fast loan billboards, and foreclosed houses and farms. The narrative follows a pair of brothers, nicely played by Chris Pine and Ben Foster, as they rob a series of branches of the same bank in order to pay off their deceased mother’s debt. Meanwhile, hard-boiled Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) along with his Indian sidekick Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) hunt them throughout the state.
Bridges, who perfected this kind of role in films like Cutter’s Way and 8 Million Ways to Die seems to be straining a little hard here, and his performance is unconvincing. Nonetheless, Hell or High Water effectively ticks all the boxes for a modern western. It’s replete with guns, prostitutes, gambling, boozing, lots of sweat and dirt; Pine is a down on his luck robber with a heart of gold; his brother is a wildman hothead; there’s a final bloody shootout and so on. The highlight is the excellent score, co-written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
Intelligent science-fiction alien film Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is quite a surprise. At first it seems odd that it has been nominated for Best Picture – the opening 20 minutes or so recall disaster films like Deep Impact. A series of alien ships arrive around the world, and a team of experts – linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) – are assembled by the military to try to understand the aliens’ motives.
As Arrival develops, its intellectually rich conceit comes to the fore. It is premised on the idea that the aliens speak a language that functions, unlike human language, synchronically (ie it develops without taking its history into account). Thus, if one learns this language, all of time will unfold before one like a map that can be altered at will. This is, of course, an impossible wager for a narrative – which, necessarily, unfolds in sequence – and, as such, the film inevitably fails to be entirely convincing.
The endearingly weird La La Land is another strong genre film up for contention. However, whilst Hell or High Water and Arrival engage reverently with generic conventions, La La Land tends to tear them apart.
After an impressive opening number on the Los Angeles freeways that could be from the High School Musical series, the film becomes rather un-musical, with its genuinely strange photography – it is filled with shots from wide angle lenses that disrupt conventional photographic perspective by distorting straight lines – and its melancholy ending that makes it more akin to a Dancer in the Dark than an Oklahoma! The charisma of stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone anchors what might otherwise seem a superfluous exercise in cinematic style.
Other solid best picture nominations are Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, a low-key, slow-burn drama punctuated by moments of hilarity, following grieving Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) as he comes to terms with the increased responsibility of caring for his nephew after his brother’s death, and Fences, a film about blackness in 1950s America, meticulously made by (and starring) Denzel Washington.
Moonlight: my pick for Best Picture
These five films are good, but Moonlight is extraordinary. It is one of the most beautiful films of recent years across every level, and is my pick for Best Pic.
The film, written and directed by Barry Jenkins, follows the life of Chiron as he tries to come to terms with his sexual identity while growing up in urban Miami. The pristine structure follows Chiron at three different periods in his life, from youth to adulthood, with each section brilliantly performed by three remarkable actors: Alex Hibbert, as a young pre-pubescent boy coming to terms with a sense of his difference; Ashton Sanders as an alienated teenager who has his first sexual experience; and Trevante Rhodes as a successful drug dealer who is finally able to find some peace.
It is peopled with exquisitely drawn and performed characters – drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monae), who take in Chiron when his drug addict mother is unable to adequately care for him, his best (and only) friend Kevin (played by three actors), who appears in key moments across the three parts, and his mother Paula (Naomie Harris), who despite her faults, never becomes a simple target for the viewer to despise.
This is the most stylish film of the nominees, one of the most stylish I’ve seen. The cinematography by James Laxton combines virtuosic camerawork with stunning, painterly tableaux, fluctuating between the expressionistic and the naturalistic.
Nicolas Britell’s hypnotic score sustains the tension of narrative and image without appearing overbearing or shrill. Moonlight offers, in short, an entirely engrossing sensory experience.
Furthermore, it manages to navigate racial, sexual, and class identity without ever appearing self-righteous, which is rare indeed for Hollywood cinema.
Mel Gibson is a good actor who has appeared in some great films, but, a little like Clint Eastwood, he is less impressive as a director. Hacksaw Ridge is a stock-standard war film – it seems almost quaint in this day and age – that is watchable enough, but not particularly memorable.
Hidden Figures, about three black women’s impact on the NASA space project, seems almost kitschy in its apparently unconscious support of American imperialism (ie the space project). It is thus tense with the contradiction between supporting imperialism and condemning America’s history of slavery and abuse. The whole thing strikes one as rather mindlessly sentimental.
Many people similarly adored Lion, but I found it schmaltzy and ill-conceived. For a film that finished with a message about the virtues of international adoption, it approached the subject with little depth, nuance or complexity. Even though it is based on a true story, it also tries to send a political message that is, ultimately, reductive and fails to take into account the complex cross-cultural and economic dynamics of adoption in the context of global capitalism.
Still, six out of nine good films for Best Picture is rare for an Oscars. So let’s praise the Hollywood machine and hope next year’s fodder is as good.
Ari Mattes does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
Most magazines post editorial mission guidelines to define their target audience for advertisers and content contributors, explain their editorial focus and how it differs from other magazines in the same category, etc. Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour fall into the women’s fashion and style category, but each has its own unique perspective and tone of voice. Outdoor, Runner’s World, and Sports Fitness each cater to a specific demographic. Occasionally, a magazine will fudge its guidelines – like Sports Illustrated’s “swimsuit” edition, which is a stretch to claim that it has anything to do with sports or swimming, but would leave muscular jocks in tears if that issue was ever cancelled.
Lately it has been interesting to observe that a lot of magazines have strayed from strict adherence to their editorial guidelines and run articles touching upon Presidential politics. Teen Vogue, Scientific American, and Allure are just a few publications that found a way to fit a Trump story into their story format. GQ (Gentlemen’s Quarterly) recently came up with a clever way to stay true to its editorial position as the premier authority on men’s fashion and style by critiquing Donald Trump’s attire — a twist on the “Emperor has no clothes” tale, but in this case, the “President wears the wrong clothes.”
TypeTogether is one of our long-time partners. Run by José Scaglione in Argentina and Veronika Burian in Czech Republic, the foundry brings together a wonderful collection of type by designers from all over the world, and we are very pleased to have their typefaces available in our Library and Marketplace.
We recently added three of their new families to Typekit Marketplace. All by acclaimed designers, each one creates its own niche in the collection.
Designed by Dr. Gerard Unger, Sanserata is an expansion of Alverata in sans form. It is a perfect companion to Alverata but also stands comfortably on its own, with flared terminals and a large x height lending it a friendly feel. It’s a sans with enough character to differentiate itself without looking forced, and looks especially vibrant when pairing multiple weights together.
Fino is striking at first sight, designed by our friend Ermin Međedović as a theatrical display Didone. The options are endless, with Fino Sans and Fino Stencil as companions and the choice between Title and Regular in each family. Check out the alternates and ligatures, too, which are full of surprises — like the wide O and the UM ligature.
Garalda, Xavier Dupré’s Garamond reinvention, is constructed for pleasurable long-form reading at text sizes, but also reveals some interesting shapes at display sizes. Note the slab serifs on letters such as the uppercase H, and the thick notched serifs on the lowercase ascenders. These details give the typeface a feeling of sturdiness, which is balanced by the high contrast and traditional humanist forms preserved from Dupre’s original inspiration, a Garamond version from 1914. And that is just the beginning — wait til you play with the swashes on the Italics!
The New York Times published its first issue on September 18, 1851, but the first photos wouldn’t appear on the cover until the early 1900s over 60 years later. This visual timeline by self-described data artist Josh Begley captures the storied newspaper’s approach to layout and photography by incorporating every NY Times front page ever published into a single one-minute video. The timelapse captures decades text-only front pages before the newspaper began to incorporate illustrated maps and wood engravings. The liberal usage of black and white photography begins a century later and finally the first color photo appears in 1997. What a fascinating way to view history through image, over 60,000 front pages in all. If you liked this, don’t miss Farewell — ETAOIN SHRDLU. (via Kottke)