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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pulsing Lens Flare

This is a twitching lens flare, a compliment clip to the multi-element flare. Sometimes, for example, compositing over titles, you don't want a moving flare. You want a static one. A totally static image can be got via a freeze-frame - but that's the same. A little movement is good. Hence this clip.

You can download it in 1080p HD format from here:

I had to use h264 (but with the best quality it goes) to make it less than 200MB.

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these - or use them for commercial projects - then please donate a small amount and I can do some more -

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Classic lens flare sweep as HD download

This is a classic lens flare sweep, using a standard glass lens. As with a lot of my light leaks, they work better when sped up, but I present them at the original slow speed to give you the most options. The clip ends with a nice rainbow pattern that I captured as a bit of a bonus.

You can download it in 1080p HD, in Quicktime ProRes format from here:

Or go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

If you are super kind and get something out of using these then please donate a small amount and I can do some more -

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to plan an interactive story

I love a story chart. Let's admit that first. It was, in fact, the topic of my first ever blog post. Currently I'm developing a new interactive story so its time to start a new one! By interactive story I mean a prose project for android / ipad / iphone etc. Lots of people are using these devices to read stories now, but few stories actually use the new opportunities they present.

I won't go into the technical details here of how it will all work - that's for a future post. In a way that part of the project seems to be the (comparatively) simple element. The much harder part is planning out the story and characters AND adding the interactive elements to that story.

Work has started, as you can see in the photo, in trying to map it out. The hard part is in bringing the emotional together with the intellectual. What I mean by that is that you have two forces battling for control of the plot.
1 - the interactive decisions. There needs to be points where different things can happen, they need to make sense and they need to balance. Plus, certain exposition points need communicating.
2 - the emotional heart. You have to care about the characters and what actually happens and all that usual good stuff.

Either of these on their own is a challenge. Together, much harder. I'm working with a local student, Yogesh, on this. We decided that the heart should come first. If you don't care about the characters then all the fancy interactive gubbins can't save it.

As a project, its shaping up well so far. Its called "Uncertain" and help is on its way from some great colleagues. Games producer and writer Rudolf Kremers, interactive story doctor (and I mean he actually has a PhD in it, take note other story 'doctors') Jim Pope and hopefully astrophysics expert and writer Andy James Carter.

Its the writers equivalent of the Avengers!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

How to get emotion into a scene

Here is an interesting diagram, called the Plutchik Wheel - or the wheel of emotions.

Robert Plutchik was a psychologist who was attempting to measure and map emotions, this diagram is one such attempt.

Although I've only just come across it, I have already found it useful in ensuring a wide variety of emotions are spread out across a TV series. So, perhaps, not something to use as a formula, but a handy tool to have to help prompt ideas.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Spec project month, the two hour time method

February is my spec project month - aka, a self sabbatical. There are a number of interesting projects that I'm pushing forward on but a constant stream of work has prevented me from exploring them fully. Work's vital of course, but then so is self development. It harks back to the balance of the scriptwriters life diagram. So I've had to turn some work down to move these forward, people are waiting to hear more on several of them too, so they can't be put off forever!

A month probably isn't enough, but it is a really good start. I'm aiming to move forward on...

  • Friend Request - promoting the short POV film and then working on a poster and director's notes.
  • An interactive novel - an ibook / kindle project - part novel / part game
  • New spec TV show - mapping out the first episode and a few others. Hope to be getting into the first episode script by the end of the month for sure.

I know a lot of people struggle with putting aside time and getting things done. That is why there is always a talk or seminar on this topic at most screenwriting events.

I've gone for something simple, as simple ideas are more likely to work. Two hours on each, every day. That keeps things moving - and stops boredom. Sometimes I feel I could do more on a certain project, but I don't. That means next day I'm up for diving back in.

6 hours a day is a good target too, it still leaves times for emails and other bits of fluff.

Photo from

Monday, February 04, 2013

Podcast episode 26: Characters and VHSs

Myself and Danny consider the demise of retail stores such as HMV, chat about characters and how to make them interesting and deliver some interesting news for writers around new opportunities.

As I mention in the podcast, February is my self-sabbatical month. More on that in the next blog post.

Links to what we ramble about - Anna Karenina, Zero Dark Thirty, The Imposter, The Hunt, Utopia, Ripper Street

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