This past St. Patrick’s Day eve, my friend invited me to come hang out with him and his family to watch his new Celtic band Banna perform. Celtic music isn’t my cup of stout, but I had a good time. The band was good and festive and there was Guinness.
While the band performed, I took some pictures. Below are some of my favorites.
About five weeks ago, I posted a blog about the footage I shot for Stephen van Vuuren’s IMAX in a basement film In Saturn’s Ring’s presentation at the North Carolina’s Museum of Natural Science’s Astronomy Days event. After logging the footage, sitting on it, mulling it over and finally editing it, it’s been posted.
Here it is:
In Saturn’s Rings Promo from Ioannis "Yanni" Batsios on Vimeo.
I’m working on a promo video for In Saturn’s Rings and I needed to find music for the piece. Unfortunately, I can’t use what I like to listen to because it’s not going to be for personal use and just put on Vimeo. I needed music that I could easily get a license for.
Anyone that has to find the right music for a piece knows how difficult it is when you can’t use your own library of favorites. It’s such a drag to search hours and hours through creative commons licensed music because so much of it is pure crap. Then when you find a great song, you plop it in your edit and it just doesn’t fit properly and you have to go back to the drawing board. It becomes a dreaded chore.
So I spent the better part of a day looking through volumes of titles on Vimeo’s music store, The Music Bed, Audiojungle, Jamendo and even Moby’s gratis music (thanks Moby!). Ugh, so many bad cheesy songs out there.
Then I came across Dexter Britain. Wow. I was blown away. It’s without a doubt the best creative commons music I’ve come across. It has a classical contemporary feel to it that is timeless. If I was making a feature film, I wouldn’t hesitate to put this in.
Anyways, just trying to help fellow filmmakers out there with more options.
Give it a listen:
For more, click this soundcloud link for his page.
I live in a very nice, well-to-do suburbs in North Carolina. I love it here. It’s peaceful, quiet; safe. Everyone here is nice. The roads are maintained, lawns are well manicured and it’s only fifteen minutes to get to anywhere you want to go.
I used to live in Detroit. Yes, the REAL Detroit, not the suburbs that everyone calls Detroit. Detroit is not peaceful or quiet. If it wasn’t for the bars, food, music, casinos and sports teams, it would suck. The homes aren’t maintained, roads suck and it’s an hour to get anywhere you want to go. Yes, it’s the polar opposite.
It was an easy transition to make. I got sick of watching my back. Multiple break-ins, car being stolen and a gun to your head will do that to you. I miss it from time to time. Especially when the sports teams are doing well. But I’m glad I moved.
The only problem is that I’m used to danger. Excitement. So I have a hard time coming up with photography ideas while I’m home. I see the same stuff every day and it’s clean and neat and safe and I can’t find anything to photograph! That’s why most of my work is shot outside of North Carolina.
My friend told me to grab my camera and go for walks. He said I’d find something interesting to shoot. You just have to put in the hours.
So I decided to take his advice and have been walking around with a big ass lens making people uncomfortable. Only one person has said anything to me, and that was about the camera. He wanted one. Anyways, I’d be dead in Detroit already. No one wants you photographing their crack house.
I decided to make some fake memories of the life I never had. Or wished I had.
This past weekend, I spent my time documenting Stephen van Vuuren promoting his film In Saturn’s Rings (formerly known as Outside In) at Astronomy Days in Raleigh, North Carolina. For those that don’t know, In Saturn’s Rings is a film made by still photos from NASA space missions. It is being made specifically for IMAX theaters and dome theaters.
I have been a long time supporter of the film since he first told me about his idea in 2007. I have seen it transformed from many script revisions to what it is today. I’ve seen Stephen persevere through many pitfalls. I’ve seen the motherboard failures, hard drive failures and lightning storms fry computers. He’s also shown the patience to wait for new software to be developed and improved upon and for new photos to come in. I’ve also watched him develop new techniques to get his image on to the IMAX screen.
So to be there from the beginning and watch all the hard work pay off for a special weekend was nice. In Saturn’s Rings got a huge response at North Carolina’s Museum of Natural Science’s special event Astronomy Days. Both screenings were at standing room only capacity. On Sunday, we had to turn away as many as fifty people. The booth outside was visited by people of all races, ages, religions and genders. Everyone seems to love space exploration!
People lined up to see In Saturn’s Rings.
People lined outside the booth.
Kids love it!
Packed audience watching In Saturn’s Rings
I did some interviews with fans after the screenings and what seems to get people excited the most is that these are real photographs and not CGI. All the images in the film will be actual images taken in space. Below is a short clip Stephen posted a year ago. If interested, please click the link above and check it out. He’s still looking for supporters and volunteers.
In Saturn’s Rings 5.6k Saturn Cassini Photographic Animation – Expanded, Improved from Stephen van Vuuren on Vimeo.
Later, I’ll be posting more footage and interviews from Astronomy Days.
I think I’m done editing them. You can only play so much until you’re either happy with what you’ve captured or you set the photos aside until your skills improve.
I desperately wanted to make a killer panoramic print that has the entire gate complete with graffiti and teddy bears, but after many attempts, I gave up. For one, I shot it handheld and thought I could match it up myself (I couldn’t) and two, I took too many photos. I should’ve put my 24mm on and took fewer photos, but I wanted a certain look and opted for the 70mm-200mm and shot at 100mm. Bad decision. Oh well, learn for the next time.
It’s really two sets, the crucified puppets and graffiti, but I added them together. The stuffed animal photos are heavily saturated to give it a visceral effect. I wanted them to feel angry. I think it comes through. I put in the panoramic’s to show how they looked in their environment. If only I could’ve stitched them together….ugh!
Anyways, I hope you enjoy.
I see you
Cross to bear
Yellow Bunny #2
Sinners of Dekalb Avenue
Listen to me!
If you’ve ever read the book or seen the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, then you’ve almost certainly seen Sylvia Shaw Judson’s Bird Girl statue. Yes, it’s the one on the cover of the book and DVD sleeve.
My friend, Brian, has exquisite taste in art and many years ago he procured the rights from Sylvia Shaw Judson’s estate to recreate her statues. He had the foresight to know that almost everyone would love to have a Sylvia Shaw Judson statue in their yard or garden (we have several). Using state of the art laser mapping?? (I don’t know the technical aspects – but I know it’s state of the art) he searches out original Judson statues and has casts made so the statues you buy from him might as well come straight from Sylvia herself. If you’re interested in checking out his statues, stop by his website.
Recently, I went to Atlanta to a market show and stopped by his booth. I took some photos.
Boy & Dog
Potina market display booth
This past April, I drove from North Carolina to Kansas to pick up my mother and move her to Michigan to take care of my father. It would have been exciting if my father’s health wasn’t so poor, because my mother hated living in Kansas. It’s a desolate place where there isn’t much to do. My mom doesn’t have many hobbies, but she likes to play bingo and the nearest place to play was a half an hour away and she had to rely on friends to take her because she had no car.
I’ve been there numerous times to visit her over the past decade, but I hated going. Really, there’s nothing to do. There’s maybe two stores in town – a grocery store and a pizza store – and only the pizza store had VHS tapes to rent. Yes, VHS. And some DVDs, but their selection was very small and I’d mostly seen everything they had to offer. And most of the time, the store was closed – either seasonally or in transition of ownership; I didn’t care to know why, I wasn’t staying.
But there’s a weird thing about towns like this – they’re ripe for photo and video opportunities. I could shoot thousands of fantastic things out there if I had the time. Of course, you have to be careful; there are many people there that grow weed or make meth and they don’t like it when photographers start taking photos of their homes – as I learned. If I didn’t have a business card on me showing my website, I may have been in trouble.
Below are some photos I took while I was there in April and a short video I made to remember the town by. Most likely, since my mom moved, I’ll never be going back.
Hay, hay, hay
I told myself I wouldn’t do the movie/music reviews anymore (I used to on an old blog), because there are so many people out there doing that already (I recommend James Berardinelli), but I get asked a lot because I’m in the industry. So I thought I would just post a list of the best movies/music I saw/listened to this year. And these titles aren’t limited to release date, but what I actually discovered this year.
Favorite Movies/TV (in no order):
Silver Linings Playbook
Wake in Fright
The Man From Nowhere
21 Jump Street
The Cabin in the Woods
The Amazing Spider-Man
Jack Black in Bernie
Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike
Bérénice Marlohe in Skyfall
Silversun Pickups: Neck of the Woods
Lana Del Rey: Born to Die
The Lumineers: The Lumineers
fun.: Some Nights
Ellie Goulding: Halcyon
Beach House: Bloom
Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra: Theatre is Evil
Youth Lagoon: The Year of Hibernation
Diamonds by Rihanna
Angels by The xx
Heartbreak on the 101 by Band Of Horses
Too Close by Alex Clare
Paper Moon #5 by Jeremy Messersmith
Same Love by Ryan Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
If you think I’ve missed something this year, please comment. If I’m flat wrong, please tell me why. Remember, art is subjective.
*I left off songs from my favorite albums. There’s so many great songs on those, this list would have went on forever.
I just spent the weekend in Atlanta. Had a great time hobnobbing with the locals while watching the exciting Falcon/Seahawk’s game. Being a Detroit Lions fan, I’ve never had the pleasure of sitting in a bar watching the Lions win a playoff game. And I’ve had 16 years of opportunities to do so. How sad. What was I talking about? Oh yeah…..
I also had some time to look for photo opportunities and there were many. The graffiti in Atlanta was great. I wish I had more time to spend there. I haven’t finished editing my set yet, but here’s a little preview of what’s to come: