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Archive for the ‘media’ Category

“Problem + Chainsaw = No Problem!” – the inspired animation of VDA Studios

In illustration, media, video on 13 August 2009 at 12:52 pm

A couple of mates, Rob Moffett and Benjamin Baker, were passing the time of day at work while making shipping pallets by kicking around ideas for a cartoon.

Their first idea was called Helpy the Helpful Turtle. “It was a faux-educational show about a man-sized turtle who spends each episode being abusive and failing miserably in his attempts to help children,” Ben says. “After a few voice recording sessions it was clear that making a cartoon based loosely on our own exploits was far more appealing.”

That cartoon became Friendcore, a few minutes of Flash animation they put up on MySpace and some blogs every couple of weeks. It was spotted by animator and visual effects artist Doug Bayne – from Double the Fist (he plays Mephisto) and The Chaser’s War on Everything – who was scouting for animated contributions for the ABC’s jtv, and in 2007 Friendcore started airing on national television.

jtv’s producer called about doing something similar for the new video game show, Good Game.

“At the meeting they asked us if we knew how to use After Effects,” Rob says. “I said, ‘Sure!’, and signed the contract. Then I had to do a crash course in After Effects.”

“We sort of jumped in the deep end on this,” Ben says, “but we figured learning a whole new program couldn’t compare to the hell of converting Flash animation to TV-compatible footage. Turns out it opened way more doors than we had anticipated.”

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Newcastle’s thriving zine scene

In media on 11 August 2009 at 9:06 am

Newcastle is home to two amazing resources for zine makers and readers. A zine is — well, I’ll let this typewriter explain.

zines 1

The community arts and media organisation Octapod houses a library of zines that the National Library of Australia assessed in 2004 as a “collection of national significance”.

It started when one of Octapod’s projects, the National Young Writers Festival, put out a call in 1998 for zines to be included in an anthology called The new pollution as part of the Loud media festival. Those first submissions formed the core of a collection which today is estimated at somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 zines from 1990 to the present – and it keeps growing.

zines 2

Unlike many other zine archives around the country, Octapod is committed to keeping its library accessible. Cataloguing and archiving the library is an ongoing project, with a work-in-progress online catalogue of the library available here.

In June 2008 Jessie Lymn, a PhD student at the University of Technology Sydney, wrote a well received strategy for preserving and maintaining the library. You can read her full report here.

zines 3

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Two ideas that will change the way we read

In media, technology on 9 June 2009 at 8:07 am

Two new pieces of technology are about to change the way readers can have words delivered to them.

iceberg

The first was demonstrated during Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference keynote address this morning.

The Iceberg Reader, by ScrollMotion, brings an experience similar to Amazon’s Kindle reader to users of the Apple iPhone and iPod touch, with the addition of more tactile page-turning, skimming, search and other options. And, of course, colour. With 40 million iPhones already in use, the uptake of the Iceberg app will be faster than sales of the single-function Kindle.

ScrollMotion have already partnered with Random House, Hachette, Penguin Putnam, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Simon & Schuster. It’s not difficult to believe that they’ll have more publishers looking for partnerships soon. The book demonstrated at WWDC – Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers – was $9.99, although there’s no word yet on pricing.

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