Thursday, September 1, 2016

Until further notice...good-bye.

Hello readers,

It has been three whole years since this blog's inception. Now, fifty posts later, Rachel's Feature Presentations is being retired! [I will take this opportunity to admit I've always disliked that headline. Since this site was originally created for a college course, however, we students had to use our names as part of our titles so that we could identify each other more easily. Tch. I wanted to go with something much classier and alliterative, such as Long-Distance Drive-In, The Fabulous Flick Chick, or even something snappy like Genre Jaunt. Oh well.]


It was a nice, long run, but content has been dwindling down for a little while now, and real-life duties call. Along with my continued work as a freelance copyeditor, I will very soon be starting graduate school to study for an MLIS. So, for the foreseeable future, this blog is being discontinued. No worries, though: I am keeping the site up and will continue to keep an eye on things, so any & all comments are still welcome. I hope that you have all enjoyed my posts, and I would like to thank my readership for putting up with my often lengthy, usually obscure writings. :P

Anyway, who knows? Perhaps I will eventually resurrect this blog and publish once again.

Until then,

Rachel

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Direction: Detectorists

"[Follows] the lives of two eccentric metal detectorists who spend their days plodding along ploughed tracks and open fields, hoping to disturb the tedium by unearthing the fortune of a lifetime." —IMDB

Detectorists was written by and stars Mackenzie Crook—yeah, that guy from The Office, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Game of Thrones. The British series was also his directorial debut and something for which he earned a BAFTA TV award (Best Situation Comedy) in 2015. Season one is currently on Netflix, and since it's a lovely show featuring some gorgeous shots, I thought that I'd do a post full of pics & gifs.

All taken from episode one. Lots of pretty, pretty establishing shots.

Andy (Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones) working the fields. So panoramic. 😍

Still from S01's cold open. The writing is brilliant, too, and though kept to a minimum, it reveals a lot about these two characters.

End pre-credits, roll title sequence.

Jump to episode two for some B-roll and more est. shots.

Low angle 'hole' shot (see trunk shot).

Cold open from E03 using a long shot before transitioning into a medium shot with rack focus. 

Close-up on a Jim'll Fix It badge. Andy tosses the...interesting...find aside upon discovery.

The new age shop belonging to Lance's ex-wife, Maggie.
Despite the fact that it is full of clutter and tat akin to Lance's own metal-detecting finds, he seems out of place.

Rival detectorists, the Antiquisearchers.
Their placement within the shot suggests that they are a gang (of nerds).
🎶 Mise-en-scène, mise-en-scene...! 
🎶

Extreme close-up establishing shots for the pub quiz scene in episode four.

At the start of E05, Andy is alone due to multiple shenanigans that took place in previous eps.
The sense of solitude is overwhelming in these shots of places where he used to hang out with his old friend.

Yup.

Blending into the scenery, Lance obviously misses his best pal, too. Very atmospheric.

By the season finale our characters have come full circle.



You never know what's hiding underfoot...

The second season is rather good, as well, although I'm not one for bonus Christmas specials. Anyhow, hopefully it hits Netflix or another streaming service sometime soon. If not, I'm sure ya'll can get creative. ;-)

For more information:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Animation Techniques: Papageno

Little over a month ago I was trawling the web—as you do—and came across the daily Google Doodle. The animation was generated in celebration of German puppeteer Lotte Reiniger's 117th birthday. Having never heard of her before and being intrigued by the doodle, I began looking into Reiniger's work as a silhouette film pioneer.

Still from Papageno.

Using stop-motion animation techniques, Reiniger was a true artist and a prolific moviemaker who made close to seventy films (both original and as advertisements) by the end of her career. She is credited with having created the first feature-length animated filmmany years before Disneyand constructing an early form of the multi-plane camera. For a much more in-depth biography as well as a timeline of Reiniger's career, I suggest visiting this site.

The original Google Doodle for June 2nd, 2016.

The magic of Reiniger's puppetry craft has influenced generations of shadow theatre enthusiasts. Her skills as a designer, model maker, and director truly set the stage for favourite fairy tale interpretations like Snow WhiteSleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Aladdin, The Frog Prince, Puss in Boots, Thumbelina, and many others. Modern-day animation artists are still drawing from her techniques, and it can be argued that this woman's legacy has touched every animated creation since her first film was aired back in the 1920s.

Behind the scenes at Google HQ.

One of Reiniger's more well-known works is Papageno—a short set to and loosely based upon Mozart's opera, "The Magic Flute." The video below covers the methods used in that particular piece, including character design, scene sequence, and storyboarding. It also gives viewers a sneak peek into how Reiniger would trace and cut her figures before punching holes into their limbs, tying them together with wire hinges, weighing them with lead, and flattening them for easier movement.

The video also looks into the creation and use of an animation table, and Reiniger herself demonstrates how stop-motion animation is completed by first going through fractional movement and then onto camera specs, figure turning, close-ups, depth perception tricks, as well as background construction, layering, and movement. She even explains how her works are set to a music track and, toward the end, how she advanced the silhouette technique to include colour. Amazing stuff.

"The Art of Lotte Reiniger" by John Isaacs & Louis Hagen.

Released in 1935, Papageno is the story of a birdcatcher who longs for female companionship, gets attacked by a giant snake, and then decides to hang himself. After being saved by his fairy-bird friends, he plays his magical bells, smooches his new lady-love, and hatches a bunch of mini-me babies. Or something. Fairy tales are strange. Anywho, many of Reiniger's other films can be found on YouTube, so if you like what you see here and want to discover more...I would suggest starting there.

Papagena rides an ostrich and has an army of flamingos.
Yep.

For further information:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Filming Locations; Rachel's Audition for Fangirl Quest

Earlier this month, I took an Aer Lingus flight over to the UK. It was a trip that my mum and I have been planning ever since our return from the Republic of Ireland back in 2011, and starting in January of this year we began setting our plans into motion—booking tickets, hiring a rental, figuring out how Airbnb works, looking into tours, et cetera. I was assigned the task of working out our itinerary, which basically meant that I could load our schedule with places that were used as filming locations in some of my favourite movies and telly shows. Huzzah!

Also, I think that this is a brilliant opportunity to audition for Fangirl Quest: a travel blog site that features "screenframing photos from famous movies" and television series. The people who run it have visited England and Wales multiple times and inspired some of my own travels...so cheers, ladies.

*The photographs below are HD quality, so if you want an enlarged view you can left-click to zoom, right-click and select either 'view image' (Firefox) or 'open image in new tab' (Chrome), then left-click again to zoom even further.

A rough route of our travels over the duration of ten days.

We set out from Cardiff Airport in the Vale of Glamorgan, inside of which lies Barry Island where they shot parts of Submarine and S03 of Being Human. Also nearby is Cardiff itself—favourite filming location for series Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Sherlock. Not really in it for the cities, however, we drove in the opposite direction toward Carmarthenshire (How I Live Now).

Through the Black Mountain pass of Brecon Beacons National Park where they filmed Stardust.

Between our stop at Llanthony Priory and our BnB in Churcham were the Clearwell Caves and Puzzlewod. These incredible places can be seen in Doctor Who episodes "The Satan Pit," "The Time of Angels," and "Flesh and Stone," as well as in the series Merlin and Galavant. Some viewers might also recognize Puzzlewood from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We were on a rather tight schedule, though, and simply crossed the border to get to Gloucestershire.

Gloucester Cathedral features in scenes from the Harry Potter franchise,
including Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Half-Blood Prince.


Recently, The Hollow Crown series filmed some of "The War of the Roses" at the cathedral,
as did Sherlock for "The Abominable Bride."

After popping 'round to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare's birthplace (in honour of the Bard's recent 400th anniversary), we drove up to Warwickshire to visit Baddesley Clinton—the estate and grounds where the Granada version of Sherlock Holmes filmed "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" back in '86.

It is basically the best episode ever because it involves a treasure hunt,
a super-high Sherlock, and a very uncomfortable Doctor Watson.

Also, Jeremy Brett = pure <3

Back down to the Cotswolds, we spent the night at a BnB near Downton Abbey's Mallerton Hall from S06 (also the Swan Inn where Sybil and Branson stayed to plan their elopement in S03). Had to move swiftly on, though, because the next day we were in Oxford. It is clearly a popular place: Masterpiece Mystery's three series Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, and Endeavour have been filmed throughout the city.

Exeter College where (spoiler) Morse topples over onto the green after suffering a fatal heart attack.

The chapel where viewers first see Endeavour, singing in the choir.

Merton Walk, the lane through which Lewis and Hathaway ran after the killer in "Among the Fearful."

At the Buttery café, sitting where Hathaway parked his tookus in two separate episodes of Inspector Lewis.

The entrance to Broad Walk alongside Christ's Church College.
I
n Harry Potter, many of Hogwarts' interior shots were done here; we got to see
the iconic stairway and walk through the Great Hall that inspired the manufactured set. 

The Bodleian's beautiful Divinity School served as both the Hogwarts infirmary and
the room in which witches & wizards learned to waltz with one another in The Goblet of Fire.

Wrapped up the day by walking through Castle Combe. The village's churchSt. Andrew'sdisplayed a tri-fold poster for Spielberg's Warhorse but ever-so-oddly snubbed Stardust in this regard. <_<

The village of Wall, which gave unto the world(s) Mr. Tristan Thorn.

Bus-toured Bath the following morning. Pictured is the The Royal Crescent
where 'the kiss' scene in Masterpiece's adaptation of Persuasion was shot. :3

We passed through Somerset close by the town of Wells (Hot Fuzz + Doctor Who), and then we were on to Dartmoor National Park!

Hound Tor as seen in "The Hounds of Baskerville" during Sherlock S02.

Out of Dartmoor and into Bodmin—Poldark fans will recognize this atmospheric locale.

This is obviously a blog centered around the silver screen, but I am also a PC gamer and a huge point-and-click adventure game nerd fan. Real-world locations in and around Polperro & Looe influenced games by Shadow Tor Studios and Darkling Room, including Barrow Hill and The Lost Crown series.

The Pendruffle Wood near Duloe.

The Parish Church of St. Cuby's, AKA ‘Northfield Church’.

Poor ol' Nic Gurney has lost his hands.

Just down the street and across the lane is the Duloe Stone Circle
which acted as inspiration for the in-game Barrow. (Yes, that's me. Hullo!)

Took winding, hedgerow'd roads over to Causeland train station, Polvean Wood, Stocks Lane, and Windsor Wood, all of which are locations used by game designer Jonathan Boakes in his Cornwall-based creations.

In real life, Stocks Lane joins Causeland and Duloe, but in-game
it is ‘Raven Lane’ that goes between Northfield Junction (at Sedgemarsh Station) and the Ager House.

Harbour Cottage, The Bear, and The Lighthouse Café.
(Actually just Studio Cottage, an old warehouse, and the House on the Props Café, respectively.)

The gruesome Net Hut/Loft and haunted 'Saxton Caverns'/'Grindle's Maw'.
(Really the 'Willy Wilcox Cave', named after the ghost of a
yup, you guessed itnotorious pirate).

St. Tallanus doubles as the spooky 'Ulcombe Church'.

Even though most of the pictures I am sharing are exterior shots, the gutty-works were just as pretty.

The nationally-protected Kilminorth Wood, home to a certain radio station: 15.3, BHR!

The iconic banjo pier (Martello Tower), offering a view of Looe's beach and the ocean (Saxton shore), and the rocks off of Hannafore Beach (the maze-like Pinnacles).

An oddly familiar antique shop...

A few other productions based on the peninsula are telly series Doc Martin and Wycliffe as well as the 1979 feature film Dracula. The latter was filmed at various coastal locations including nearby St. Austell, Mevagissey, and Tintagel. For more info. about those places, check out my previous post.

Anywho, on our way over to Exmouth we passed through Plymouth where Tim Burton shot a portion of Alice in Wonderland at an estate known as Antony House. We then finally arrived at Agatha Christie's holiday home: Greenway.

The location for "Dead Man's Folly"—an episode in the final season of Agatha Christie's Poirot.

2016 marks the one hundred-year anniversary of Poirot's debut. Fancy that!

The Battery and the Boathouse (cookie for the comic reference).

We were quite near where the Agatha Christie's Marple episode "Endless Night" was filmed in Sidmouth, "Towards Zero" & "Sleeping Murder" in Salcombe, as well as scenes from Joan Hickson's "Nemesis" around Devon. Along the same coast lies West Bay where S01-02 of Broadchurch took place. Slightly more inland are a few of the buildings seen in Far from the Madding Crowd. Sadly, we did not have time to visit any of these locations. :'( Time to head home...

Having driven all the way back to Wales for our return flight out of Cardiff Airport, we passed near Caerwent where they filmed a few scenes around the Hydra base in Captain America: The First Avenger. Also of note is nearby Caerphilly Castle which was used as a stock image for Valencia (Princess Isabella’s home) in S01 of Galavant.

Fforest Fawr and the Three Bears Cave, AKA Dewer's Hollow in "The Hounds of Baskerville."
This clearly isn't actually in Dartmoor. It really was creepy as sin, though.
Also used as a location in Merlin's "The Drawing of the Dark."

Last stop: Dunraven Bay in Southerndown, known as 'Bad Wolf Bay' to fans of Doctor Who.
Seen in eps. "Doomsday" & "Journey's End."
i cri evryteim.
Thanks for traveling with us...though apologies for this post's slightly disjointed tone. ^^; It has been a busy couple of weeks since our return and, seeing as how June is nearly over, I had to cobble together something for the blog. Hope you enjoyed the pics regardless.

*All of the photographs featured in this post are my own. Please do not duplicate, repost, or use them in any way without my explicit permission. Thank you. 📸