October 17, 2010

General Musings for the week 17th October 2010

So. Night shoots.

I've never done night shoots before. I've done 'split-days' which is where you start mid morning and finish around 11pm or midnight, but I've never done a shoot that started at the end of the day and finished in the morning.

It's a bit weird (as you can imagine).

The first thing that throws you off is that as you arrive  in the late evening you find yourself presented with... brunch. Full English breakfast with all the trimmings at what your body thinks is actually dinner time (5pm in this case). Other than that night shoots are very similar to day shoots except that they are a good deal cooler and everything is lit with massive light rigs. In my case we had the new invention taking the film world by storm which is a helium filled white blimp with a black top that has lights embedded in it that diffuse through the white blimp material and spread a bright, even light everywhere below them. I couldn't get many people to see the irony of waiting until there is no natural light in the sky and then bringing in fake lights to illuminate the scene you were working on. Ah well.

We worked well through the night and I finally arrived home at about 5am, got to bed and was awoken at 11am by my cellphone which I had omitted to switch to silent. Darn!

In other news: Facebook. I've spent a lot of time looking round Facebook to try and work out the value. I have a number of friends (almost 150, in fact - ALL of whom I know personally), and I try to keep it updated as often as possible. But one thing I do like to do is have a look through the photos that folks have put up there. Generally (unless they belong to an actor who's had professional head shots done) they tend to be.. 'average' shall we say. For example one friends has put a profile picture up of himself. He's sitting in front of a large expanse of plain colour. The photographer has placed him at the bottom of the frame with 70% of the vertical space above his head .. and then chopped his feet off. So the subject of the picture occupies about 20% of the picture and is only showing 80% of himself. Particularly bad framing, in my opinion. Of course not everyone can frame a picture correctly (it's one of the things that a large number of people have problems doing) but if you get a badly framed pictures surely you wouldn't add it in as your profile shot? Surely?

I was also intrigued this week to read that Google have developed a self drive car. It can guide itself, accelerate, brake, stick to the speed limits, identify dangers ahead and allow the 'driver' to do all those things he shouldn't be able to do - like texting while driving. The technologist in me says 'That's a superb achievement and well done to Google for succeeding'. The realist in me says 'That's a law suit waiting to happen'. Luckily the driving laws in most countries are predicated on the fact that there is a human driving the car. Technology such as this is a number of years away from being implemented, but it does also start to beg the 'big brother' question. If your car is not being physically driven by you and the police want to stop you, how long before they have 'push to kill' switches which disable speeding cars automatically? Or worse - takes over the driving for you? The technology is almost there. I can see it happening.

On the subject of driving, my car insurance came up for renewal this week. The premium had, naturally, increased from last year even though my circumstances had not changed and I had no claims. I called the number on the renewal document and asked them if that was the best premium they could provide. After a few minutes investigation they confirmed that they were unable to produce a better (lower) premium. I told them that through a price comparison web site I had at least 10 premiums that were 30% lower.

"What would you do?" I asked the guy on the other end of the phone.
"I'd take the lower premium" he said.
"Thank you", I said.

And I did.

I've now saved  30% on my premium from last year AND have a lower excess (deductible). Thank goodness for price comparison web-sites.

Happy Birthday to fellow background artist Nick Tregenza. He's also an SFX maven in his spare time so if you want to see some of his SFX stuff check him out. He's still embarrassed from having all the background artists on the night shoot Thursday sing 'Happy Birthday' to him over 'dinner' (Actually eaten at midnight).

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