Tagged: Pi Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:05 am on September 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 30 Rock, , , , , Die Hard, Jane Krakowski, John McClane, , Kenneth Cole Productions, Larry David, Louisiana, Massive Dynamic headquarters, , , , Pi, , , , , The Birth of a Shoe Company   

    Cinematic New York 

    When you live and work in New York, you spend a huge amount of time on tv and movie sets. Most of the time the sets are abandoned by the shooting crews, but very frequently tv or movie magic is happening as you are walking by.

    Why is New York so overrepresented on screen? Part of it is because it’s New York. But it’s also because the city government is also very friendly to the moving picture industry.

    When I worked on a website for Kenneth Cole, I learned an interesting factoid: the real name of this fashion powerhouse is Kenneth Cole Productions. It turns out that in the early days they abused a perk that the city gives to movie people: ability to park their huge trailers in places where normally only city services vehicles can linger. Cole applied for a permit to shoot a movie called “The Birth of a Shoe Company”, parked a huge truck in front of a hotel where a major shoe show was taking place, and proceeded to sell enough shoes while cameras were rolling (sometimes even with film) to start a company.

    While watching a movie or a show set in New York I get a lot of “oh, hey it’s” and a lot of “hmm, where’s that?” moments. Sometimes a movie or a show becomes more memorable just because its locations are so familiar to me.

    Let me give you some examples about how cinematically impregnated my environs are. Take, for instance 30 Rock. I spent 7 years working in two buildings that are behind 30 Rock, and every little thing in, under and over Rockefeller plaza is seared in my brain. Also, I have the same last name of one of the actors (is Jane Krakowski a relative? Probably not).

    The 47-50th Street/Rockefeller Center subway station that I got out at almost every day for those 7 years (unless I missed a few stops while reading or sleeping) is the one featured in a key scene in Darren Aranofsky’s “Pi”. The Brighton Beach bus stop in “Requiem for a Dream” – one of my first American jobs was right there, handing out fliers for a gypsy psychic. One of the buildings where I worked, 1211 Avenue of the Americas was very subtly featured as Sideshow Bob’s prisoner number in a Simpson’s episode.

    Sterling Cooper corporate headquarters are famously located at a non-existing 405 Madison Avenue. On the other hand 415 Madison Avenue is a very real building where my wife used to work.

    When I go to and from work now, I pass a grating which John McClane ripped off in one of the Die Hard movies to jump on the top of a moving train. The building where I work? Well, it doubles as the Massive Dynamic headquarters on “Fringe”. They do a lot of shooting at the floor where I work. You can see our big conference room called “Jail” in a number of commercials. You know, Doctor House, he’s supposed to stay in New Jersey, but one time he slept on “my” couch at the office after shooting a commercial there. The butterflies of doom from Fringe also live in “Jail”.

    Ironically, the only famous person who went to my hight school is Larry David, the co-creator of a certain show about nothing set in New York, but shot in LA.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:43 am on April 26, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Independent films, J/Z, , Pi, R, Rachel Weisz   

    Darren on the Train 

    Since we are on the subject of lookalikes, a couple of weeks ago I thought that I saw Darren Aronofsky on the train. It was on the BMT Brighton Line which is featured so prominently in Pi, and he got off at 7th avenue, which would make sense as well.

    If I were to talk to Darren Aronofsky, I’d try to persuade him to film The Lady Who Sailed The Soul or Scanners Live in Vain. Rachel Weisz could totally be Helen America. That would have been awesome.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 7:12 am on January 3, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , beautiful car, , Chrysler PT Cruiser, , , Golden ratio, Golden rectangle, Icosahedron, Pi, Proportionality, Rectangle, Rule of thirds, Scion xB, , ,   

    Phi, Spongebob?! Phi !?! 

    Probably the easiest way to dramatically improve your snapshots is to learn about the rule of thirds. You know, divide what you see in the viewfinder by two lines into thirds horizontally and vertically and try to get more interesting parts to roughly be either where the lines cross or on the lines themselves. If your picture did not come out like that, you can usually fix it later with a crop.

    Rule of thirds is actually a rough approximation of the golden ratio which is very well explained at Wolfram’s website. The pictures will look even better if you will use lines that are conforming to the golden section.

    Just a crack of a difference: fat lines are thirds, thin lines – golden mean (I did not use the plugin when I cropped the photo).

    I was playing around today with a plugin that renders golden rectangles, spirals and triangles. I checked some of my old photos – many seem to follow golden mean rather than the rule of thirds.

    I was also thinking about writing my own Photoshop plugin like that (that one does not look like it’s worth 32 bucks to me), but Adobe has draconian new rules about who gets the SDK. So instead I decided to write this post.

    I ordered a book about golden mean and related stuff from Amazon. Helpful Amazonian electrobrain is suggesting the movie Pi. The dang thing is pretty smart.

    Meanwhile I got kind of curious as to how appealing the golden rectangle actually is. Let’s see.

    Things that are strangely appealing. Spongebob Squarepants. Yep, the golden section cuts straight across his weird little belt. It’s also interesting to note that he is almost always drawn kind of sideways – in front projection the proportion would be off.

    The Greek cup (about which I wrote at length before and mentioned in probably the only poem which I ever wrote. Yep, it roughly conforms to the proportion and “to serve you” is right at the division.

    Now, let’s see. Ugly things. That picture of one of the ugliest buildings in Brooklyn. It’s waaaaay off. And so is the SUV in front of it. The older house on the left is good though.

    Cars are tricky though. The most beautiful car that I know is Tucker Torpedo. It does not fit a golden rectangle either. But it roughly fits two. I tried to fit two rectangles onto the SUV in the picture and to the Scion xB, which is jarringly boxy. No go. Let’s see, but Chrysler PT Cruiser, a car which I actually like, fits two rectangles also.

    This is all terribly crude and unscientific, but might hopefully be useful to you.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel