Gravity’s success put spotlight on Framestore and the people who worked on it and there are stories all across the web about our contributions; here are a few featuring me:
I can’t say this was a complete surprise after the fantastic run Gravity’s had in the awards season, but winning an Oscar is still something else. Seeing our supervisor Tim Webber walking up there and accepting the award and becoming a part of an Oscar winning project feels a little surreal. Visual Effects was not the only award but only a part of an outstanding night for the film, which saw it take seven awards including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, Best Cinematographer for Emmanuel Lubezki, Best Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Original Score.
What a fantastic ride! we worked extremely hard on it and now seeing it’s success makes all those long hours and late nights worthwhile. It is hard not to mention Alfonso Cuarón and his brilliant vision in bringing such gripping story to life and Tim Webber’s leadership in translating Alfonso’s vision into incredible images . Also I should mention the compositing supervision team; Mark Bakowski and Anthony Smith who were provided everyone with opportunities and support. To mark this occasion I’ve just launched my new VFX website at http://vfx.samsalek.net.
It’s been 6 months since I got myself a new wallet! and I’ve been on the lookout for another interesting design, but it’s not easy to find innovation in this area. My current wallet is still functional and despite the loosened strap, still does a good job, and the one before; the paper SlimFold wallet no longer exists and has reached its’ fate; recycled. A few weeks ago I received a package that I was not expecting; inside there was a new wallet that I had completely forgotten about.
Machine Era Wallet was a project I backed on Kickstarter last September. It’s a very simple wallet made of Aluminum or Brass depending on your choice. I wasn’t sure if the flat design could contain all my cards but thought this could be a could companion to my main wallet to provide quick access to the most essentials. I liked the minimalistic approach to the design and the idea of feeling something solid in your pocket so backed the cheaper Aluminum version for $28. In the few weeks of using it’s been exactly what I thought it would be and I only put most essential things on it. The lightness and built quality has made using it enjoyable and this little wallet has satisfied my new wallet cravings for the time being! until I discover the next good design!
It’s been such a long time since we finished working on Gravity that being reminded of it again in the award season kind of feels a little strange! Gravity has been a huge success and after winning many categories in the VES awards, just added one more trophy to its’ ever growing shelf of glory! British Academy of Film and Television Arts, BAFTA, awarded Gravity with the best visual effects, as well as 5 other golden status including Alfonso winning Best Director, Emmanuel ‘Chivo’ Lubezki winning Best Cinematography (calling us nerds in his speech!) and Gravity also winning Outstanding British Film, Best Original Music and Best Sound. What a night!
Yesterday I did two lectures for Kingston University students. I was a student there myself not long ago and graduated in 2009 from Media Technology Bsc. Going back to Kingston always brings back a lot of memories, mostly good! and I’m always happy to return and share my journey with the future digital artists. This time as well doing a presentation I also showed a special video.
Every time after I finish a talk I wish I could have shared more as all I’m saying is one person’s story and point of view and probably won’t apply to many.This year I wanted to change that with the help of my colleagues. I did a series of video interviews with Framestore artists from different departments and asked them to share their stories. I was faced with an overwhelming support, so much so that I was not able to include everyone in the project. The result was a video of the vfx artists generously sharing their unique journeys and how they got where they are. It took me four weeks to put it together and I really hope Kingston students found it helpful. I will make the original video available online here for a limited time and hopefully a shorter version officially online at some point in the next few months.
The film photography has been dying for years, it’s been battling with a cancer known as ‘digital’ but with each dying breath it leaves behind a legacy and a generation still discovering it.
The advantages of digital are just too many to ignore; you can take unlimited number of photos and you view the result instantly, just to name a couple of most important ones. There was a time that I was still using my film cameras for the experience, the design and controls as opposed to modern yet ugly designs of digital, but with the new wave of digital cameras in analogue inspired bodies such as the Fuji x series or even more recently released Nikon DF, that gap is closing fast. What is left behind is just film, the characteristics of a chemical process that produces a unique look, although you can mimic that with a little post work on your digital image to some extend.
The other day I took my Fuji X-E1 and Canon EX-AUTO out for a spin. My dad purchased this Canon EX-AUTO about 40 years ago and it was gathering dust for nearly two decades! so when I found it I had to try it out. EX-AUTO was Canon’s effort in creating an automatic analogue camera while maintaining full manual control, an idea point and shoot for everyone. Using them side by side there’s no doubt the when it comes to practicality and speed analogue doesn’t stand a chance, but there is still something magical about the film process. When you need to read the light, and choose the right setting, you almost need to get in a different zone and feel your surroundings in much more depth. The initial decision to whether the subject worth capturing is another interesting element too, whereas with digital you just keep snapping away.
It is hard to justify using film over digital, but as an hobby and just for pure enjoyment of photography, film gives you something that analogue by nature can’t; almost a transcendence! You become one with everything around you and with your camera, and then you’ll everything from distance before pressing the shutter button.
I think with digital, those moments when you capture something are erased from your memory and you only remember then through what you saw in the lens, but analogue captures it with you in them, if that makes any sense!
I recently moved to Bethnal Green. I’ve never lived or even spent much time in east London, so this was quiet a change of scenery or a good chance to discover a new part of London.Even though it’s been over a month, it was only a few days ago that I finally found some time to explore the area.
The view from my room to Cambridge Heath station
I walked down Hackney Road and there are two things that you will quickly notice; every few steps there is a bag/luggage store! I don’t know how much demand there could be!
And the second and more interesting thing is the street art and graffiti all over the place. Most of the street arts are actually quiet amazing and not really random but done by very well-known artists giving this area a very unique look.
I did not know that some of these are very famous pieces and done by internationally renowned artists until I started uploading some of my photos on instagram. Thanks to the enthusiastic community there the name of those artists were revealed to me and I’ve been looking into their works with fascination.
ROA is the pseudonym of a graffiti artist from Ghent, Belgium. He has created works on the streets of cities across Europe and the United States. ROA generally paints wild animals or birds in black and white. ( wikipedia)
Stik is a British graffiti artist based in London.Stik paints stick figure-like people as street art. He has worked in the northeast London area of Hackney, especially in Shoreditch. He liaises at the Central Saint Martins Graffiti Dialogues and has been funded to run graffiti workshops.He paints unauthorised art as well as pieces that are authorised.( wikipedia)
Pez’ (Spanish for ‘fish)(born 1976) is a Spanish graffiti artist. He started painting graffiti in 1999 in his hometown Barcelona. Specifically, he got into street art writing his signature, which soon took the shape of a fish. “Little by little his tags turned into the shape of a smiling blue fish, and he became a celebrity throughout Barcelona. During the last years, Pez has exhibited in Bogotá, Barcelona, Hamburg, Paris, London, NY, Portland and Los Angeles.Nowadays, Pez is showing his art in galleries, festivals, international art fairs and art auctions.( wikipedia)
and some work by ALO:
There are plenty more everywhere in Hackney/Old Street areas, very inspiring work and it’s hard to find out the identity of all these artists. Many of them won’t last long neither, I noticed a lot of STIK works are already gone when I tried to look for more. That’s a shame as all these drawings and painting have created quiet an amazing atmosphere in this area and there’s something to discover in every corner.
The discoveries continues …
If you are a food lover, London is one the best places to try different dishes from all over the world. This is made even easier by a lot of festivals and events featuring food as one of the main themes.
A few month ago I went to Soho Food Feast, a yearly charity festival supported by the restaurants in Soho area; a very colourful selection of different flavours and tastes! Upon arrival you can purchase food tokens each entitling you to a small platter, perfect size to keep you going and trying more dishes! and it’s all for a good cause!
This weekend another festival returned to London all about the land of Sun, suitably named Hyper Japan. This yearly festival, taking place in Earls Court this year, is promoting Japanese Culture and extremely popular. The queue for ticket holders was rather long and took 65 minutes to get inside! making you wonder how poorly this was managed! but I think it was worth the wait and once inside there’s no limit to how long you can stay. There was a lot going on in every corner and you need a good 3-4 hours to take a peak at everything and make sure to have cash! (up to £100 should be more than enough)
Amongst different demonstrations of Japanese culture, including a very interesting traditional dance and millions of handmade crafts, cooking, wine and sake tasting, food was of the reasons to be there! For most you still had to endure a long queue made harder by the fact you just came out of a very long one! But once you have a bite of that Takoyaki, it was heavenly!
There were so many new things for me and those you can’t easily find anywhere else in London making the experience even more exciting!
There are plenty more food related festivals happening in London welcoming food lovers every day! Don’t miss the opportunities!
After about 10 months I’m finally departing with my paper wallet! I enjoyed how slim and light it was and even renewed it once! But it’s time to try something new and what’s recyclable must be recycled! besides, finding a good wallet is no easy task so once a good one is discovered you shouldn’t turn your back on it! trust me the next discovery may not happy any time soon!
The replacement is of a similar concept, a flat foldable design but this time in leather! yes it smells good! There’s not much to see, three same size pockets with a red strap making sure nothing is going fall out, a nice compact wallet that can easily be the home to up to 9 cards and with a little push you can fit even more, but I like my pocket to be light and don’t really wanna feel it there, the keys and changes (coins) already making enough fuss there!
The only downside for me and in comparison to slimfoldwallet is you have to fold the cash notes too to fit inside the pockets which mean at time you need to take them all out to find the right one! not a deal breaker but design wise a small flaw.
Designed by Bandit Manchot, it’s currently being sold at London Design Museum shop for a very reasonable price!
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