Thursday, December 27, 2012

DIY DSLR gear


The best thing about the Do-It-Yourself process is you can keep discovering newer and newer ways of doing your own thing; in this case, building your own gear. Before we started our independent film 500 & 5, we fabricated quite a few accessories(with Youtube and DIY forums), one of them being a DSLR rig. But anyways, here's one more - http://diyphotography.net/diy-dslr-pvc-shoulder-rigSome of the other stuff we made were the track dolly, the table top dolly, the fig-rig or the wheel-cam rig, a camera mount and the steadicam. Hopefully soon, we will be updating stuff on how we made them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bronze Beauty - Goddess Tara

Tibetan Goddess Tara made by Tibetan refugees in Ladakh. Got her during our backpacking trip to the Himalayas. First set my eyes on her in Leh, Ladakh but finally got around to buying her in Dharamshala/McLeodganj. Lovely, enchanting and intricate art work. Pure love. Always had a thing for bronze beauties. The painting behind her was done by our very own Earthling :) 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shit...

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit! Fucking shit!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Voice for the voiceless

Many a times, I've been a closet activist and rebel regarding various issues. Of course, I guess there's a need to be shaken up and stirred before one can react and rebel openly against the system. Sometimes, it's the sheer energy expended trying to voice against something that you feel is so futile. But this time, I promised someone I'd do my little part about it. Case in point - recently heard a grim news through a good friend, Mahima who's also an animal activist(if I can say that) and voices out & DOES something about cruelty to animals. Every day, thousands of cattle are being trafficked for slaughtering about which we don't really know much. Well, I guess this documentary made by the Temple Worshippers' Society which she shared with me expounds on this gruesome act.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGHfPQGbUlc&feature=youtu.be
While I'm not sharing this from a religious POV, there's a bit of a humanist inside. From their Youtube Link "Temple Worshippers Society was formed with the twin objectives of Temple Protection and Cattle Protection. Since its inception, Temple Worshippers Society has been focussing on the Government's mismanagement of Temples, their properties and endowments, interference in worshipping patterns, total disregard to Gau Samrakshana, etc. We are committed to restoring our Temples and its endowments from the evil clutches of the Government, rightfully for management by Hindus themselves.
Towards achieving the second objective, this documentary is our first step to stop cruelty to cattle, while being transported in millions to Kerala. It is our earnest desire that viewers should protest strongly through emails and letters to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to stop allowing Tamil Nadu from being a transit point for illegal cattle mafia. All that we ask the Government is to enforce the rule of law - the laws pertaining to transportation of Animals, true to its words, spirit and content. The Government should rescue the animals and house them in Temple lands endowed by generous devotees for running Goshalas. Every temple in Tamil Nadu should house such abandoned cattle and nourish them through the rest of their lives in Goshalas earmarked as endowments for such purpose.
We made a documentary titled: "Their Last Journey" - Cattle trafficking to Kerala. This is the Tamil version.
Please forward it to as many people as you know. This would help in spreading awareness of this noble cause."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tamil film 500 & 5 - World Premiere at the IFFK 2012

Soooo...we got this bit of an exciting news to share! 500 & 5 has been Officially Selected to screen at the 17th International Film Festival of Kerala 2012, IFFK under the Focus Section's Top Angle-Indian Cinema category between 7th and 14th December in Trivandrum. This will be the World Premiere of our film, that is, the first-ever Public Premiere of 500 & 5, open to international audiences. Apparently, it's the only Tamil film among this year's selection. We are double excited because this is Accessible Horizon Films production's 2nd film to be screened there(earlier it was Metroxical New York at the IDSFFK). So folks, we guess the release of 500 & 5 is going to be after the festival screening. Delegate registration for IFFK-2012 begins soon at their website. So you can book your tickets through www.iffk.in.
The full list under the Focus Section's Top Angle-Indian Cinema category are Drapchi by Arvind Iyer, Koormavatara by Girish Kasaravalli, 500 & 5 by Raghu Jeganathan, Deol by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, Miss Lovely by Ashim Ahluwalia, The Ballad of Rustom by Ajita Suchitra Veera, Touring Talkies by Gajendra Ahire. Looking forward to Miss Lovely, which if you already didn't know is an Official selection at Cannes 2012.
For more info on the film, check out the film's website www.500n5themovie.com or the FB page 500 & 5 or www.AccessibleHorizonFilms.com

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting your movie ready for DCP

Getting your movie ready for DCP
Congrats you have come this far in making your movie and you are only few more steps away from watching them on big screens. 

A. Video
B. Audio

A. Video

For DCP, the movie needs to be of resolution 2048 x 858 for scope and 1998 x 1080 for flat. Assuming you have your video's resolution as 1920 x 1080, you need to modify its size to one of the above formats. Real Image in Chennai accepts only DPX Log files. I used After Effects to do this conversion and it was real simple.

If you have not conformed your video to 24 fps then read this article to convert your movie from 23.976 fps to 24 fps. 

Software Required

Adobe After Effects 

Steps

  1. Create a Composition with the following settings. Hopefully you have already converted your movie from 23.976 to 24p.


  1. 2. Import the movie clip to the timeline and obviously the width of the movie and the comp is different so you need to modify the clip's width as show in the image below.Transform → Fit to Comp Width


3. When you add this to Render Queue modify the Output Settings



And under the Color Management → Cineon Settings enable the “Logarithmic Conversion” and remember to choose an output directory with enough space on your disk and then render.




Note: Now after the DPX log files are created you can try and import the DPX log sequence into your After Effects timeline. Don't get panic when you see the images are washed out. The Log files are washed out and if you want to see the true color apply the "Cineon Effects" and you will see the true color.

B. Audio

Now that the video conversion is over, audio is lot simpler but it requires couple of softwares to get the work done. Refer to this article for other ways to convert.

Using Logic Pro

1. Create a logic project and set the Frame Rate under Synchronization tab to 24 fps. Import the movie that you converted from 23.976 fps to 24p whose audio will be in 48048 Hz. 



2. Open the movie
      File - Open Movie

3. Export Audio from Video
      File - Import Audio from Movie

4. Bounce
       File - Bounce 
      

Now you are all set and your movie (both audio and video) is ready for DCP. 





Thursday, October 25, 2012

Are all your eggs in the Facebook basket?

So it turns out that there's a storm brewing around Facebook's new policy decisions. This would primarily concern those who've used FB on a very regular basis and are trying to use it for professional or business or direct/indirect personal/business reasons or whatever. Before you read on, check out this article 'Facebook, I want my friends back' linked to the Dangerous Minds website. To be honest, we aren't really invested that much in Facebook even though we(AccessibleHorizon FilmCollective) started our FB account primarily for our artistic projects(I don't have a personal account for myself). We try and post regularly about our projects and 'hope' to get some traffic out of it. Our 'fan-base' isn't that much in the sense that we'd lose out on too many promotional opportunities, because we haven't gone full-out on Facebook.
But obviously, there are millions of people, who are FB users, that have been relying on it so much that virtually their 'online' existence depends on it. So, the 'bait-and-switch' model that it has implemented now, is inevitably creating a bit of a furor among users. I personally am trying to figure out whether this is a good thing or a bad thing; that is whether FB was right in their part to charge their users for their posts, or if they are wrong, like many users feel. As the post and the subsequent comments point out, it affects a lot of the smaller companies and people who are grappling with this change and trying to figure out how to go forward.
I ain't going into too much detail, coz we already know the pros and cons. And I don't want to take a cynic's stance and say 'it is what it is, so deal with it'. Of course, I imagine that's what it eventually would boil down to. But I figure just one underlying thing in all this free-market, business model approach or whatever - that as users, we have to ask ourselves the question of 'Are all our eggs in the Facebook basket?'. Meaning, whatever happens, are we going to or rather, should we keep and/or safeguard our eggs(our promotional, marketing or business out-reach) strictly and only within our FB basket? Time and again, the 'free-market' economy has taught us to be wary of things like this. So why fall for the same again? If we were to operate our ventures online, it would be smart to spread out on several platforms and keep Facebook as 'one' of the baskets. Kinda like spreading your 'investment' across several platforms. Just something to ponder about.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Save Indian Independent Cinema!

Folks, as many of you may already know of this or have heard about this, we still wanted to share this across to you in the hope of supporting Alternative, Independent Cinema in India. Recently we have seen a spate of parallel and alternative and experimental cinematic content oozing into the mainstream Indian film consciousness and we only hope it gets bigger and better. This has to be brought into the mainstream school of thought and we have to encourage people to support content that is typically created with minimal resources and under extreme circumstances. The article and the petition in itself has valid points towards helping Independent artists, performers, filmmakers, technicians et al, and what you can do to propagate it. So if you can take the time off to sign this petition, you may become a part of the change that you've always wanted to be.
Here's the link: https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/save-indie-cinema
Pic courtesy: Change.org

Monday, October 15, 2012

Converting audio from 23.976 fps to True 24 fps

We've often had problems getting the Audio ready for the final DCP output. This one took us a while to figure out, because we had to redo this after our submission for DCP syncing which didn't work out the first time. This is sort of a late post that we had compiled a while back.

Converting audio from 23.976 to True 24 fps (48000 Hz to 48048 Hz) 

Method 1: Using Wave Agent
Method 2: Using Logic Pro


Method 1: Using Wave Agent


Note: Do not try to verify audio sync in FCP or any other video editing software, always CHECK using Pro-Tools or Logic for True 24fps audio sync

Import the audio file (preferably make a copy of the original audio) you want to convert into the WaveAgent. After importing convert the audio, modify the Sample Rate to 48048 and Frame Rate to 24 ND. 


Fixing the sample rate from 48048 to 48000 using Barba Batch

1. Add the audio file that needs to be fixed from 48048 to 48000 Hz.
2. Click on the Conversion tab and select "Wave (.wav), 48000.00 Hz, interleaved
3. Click on Output tab and choose an output directory and click START.


Method 2:  Using Logic Pro

1. Create a logic project and set the Frame Rate under Synchronization tab to 24 fps. Import the movie that you converted from 23.976 fps to 24p whose audio will be in 48048 Hz. 


2. Open the movie
      File - Open Movie

3. Export Audio from Video
      File - Import Audio from Movie

4. Bounce
       File - Bounce
      
If you think there's a better workflow, please share it with us. We are pretty positive there must be, but...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hey '500 & 5'...whaz cookin'?

Guess this is one of the longest gaps in our blog this year, though a pretty intended one. Earlier, I had never believed in 'tunnel-visions' like when being engrossed in something that consumes you in your entirety. You know, the point when you start believing that you've figured everything about it until a huge wall stands in front of you, blocking you and daring you to go through it. Though you've encountered many like these and have virtually bulldozed your way around through sheer grit and work alone, there are a few stages where no amount of bulldozing or grit or bloody, sweaty work can get you through...except...yes, except a little detachment from it. 
A little time away from the madness of it all (the tunnel-vision), can help in getting some clarity as to where we are headed. Because that little time-out can show you perspectives you've never ever have imagined - the view from outside the tunnel, from the mountain above it and from way above the clouds that hover above the mountains - which I guess can show you possibilities and do the trick of razing down that wall and getting through it unscathed.
So I guess that's what happened after all with 500 & 5. Right after the special private preview show in Chennai a while ago, it felt like being inside a tunnel with little perspective. So we decided on this random detachment from all things 'work' and decided to hover above the mountains, almost too literally. And just got back from a wild and totally unpredictable ride around some of the most elusive and distant lands of India. 
This above pic was taken during a trek(with the Canon 7D) - by far the most difficult and can I say dangerous - in our lexicon of treks. But one thing is certain, if you ever think someone needs a lesson in humility, you should take them on an unplanned and reckless travel around the vastness and humongous-ness of the mountains that touch the clouds. Now that we are back, I ain't saying we now got all the answers as to what the next step would be, but the head feels clear and thinking afresh, my friend, opens up possibilities.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nothingness of the Other kind

What do you write when you got nothing to say or write? How do you put that 'nothingness' onto the paper or onto this....screen, when you know that it's not the 'nothingness' you got in there, but something...and that something just wouldn't come out. On the one hand, that something is either too small to manifest itself because it seems so insignificant or (on the other hand) too huge that you cannot possibly contain it in words. The most usual thing/s that you would do typically consists of the following. 
You wait a little. You take long pauses. You stare at something so long that it blurs out in your vision. Then you fix your gaze at something else. Blur out again. Then you make a feeble attempt at voicing out something which turns out to be crap. Then you erase it. You start all over again.
I guess this is that stage of nothingness of the 2nd kind - the nothingness that's loaded with that huge something which couldn't possibly be contained...ergo...can't be written about. So, as I contemplate on this and life's other meaningless shit, we, the collective, are working towards giving closure to the project that needs one. Can't really tell if this closure would be a definitive one...yet!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Converting the movie from 23.976 fps to 24 fps

To convert your movie from 23.976 fps to 24 fps, use the "Cinema Tools" application.

1. Open Cinema Tools application


NOTE: It is a good idea to backup the files before you confirm them. 

2. Batch Conform the folder where the movie file resides. A pop-up window will appear, choose 24 fps and that is it. Seriously that is it, all the movie files under this folder are already conformed to 24 fps.
File -> Batch Conform

3. Go to the folder that you chose in the previous step, you will see a conform.log file and a "conformed 24.0" folder, under this folder it will have all the movies conformed to 24 fps.

4. In order to confirm it, just right click on the movie and open with "Cinema Tools"
Under the "Analysis" tab see the details of the movie and if you see Frame Rate as 24.00FPS. Voila.


5 Tech. things we're onto right now for '500 & 5'


Though we are compiling other blog posts(for the tech-inclined) on various technical stages in detail, here's a little glimpse into the madness of the film's technical universe. For the last 3-4 days, 3 MacBook Pros are processing overtime simultaneously connected and mixed and matched to 7 to 8 External hard-drives. The following 5 is just a little peek into our state of mind.

1. Getting the DCP Log files ready for conversion
2. Updating the Censor warning Title cards onto the Reels
3. Readying up the DVD Compression files
4. Syncing and final Output of Audio Files for 24fps 
5. Syncing the Subtitles for Output to DCP

And much more...(The above pic is a 15-sec frame preview from the start of the movie - for Cigarette and Alcohol warning as suggested by the Censor Board - what we are adding now. If anyone needs to put it up in your film in the future, don't keep searching. Just download this and use it)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Enter the Censors - 500 & 5 scores a clean 'A'


Bells, Whistles and Applause!!!!! Folks...we got some 'A'mazing news...or should we say 'A'wesome news, or should it be 'A'stounding news. Alright, alright, alright too much drum-roll not needed for this...since we've never gotten 'A' grades in high school or college or where-ever...we figured we'd score an 'A' at least in...well...our film. Yes, my sweet, dear, lovely people...'500 & 5' just returned from the Censor Board for Film Certification this week and we've been awarded an 'A' certificate. Yes, not U/A, but a loud, unadulterated, clean 'A' without any cuts.

Our dear examining committee members from the CBFC were too nice a people. We had a nice long chat for almost an hour as to the justifications of what Indian society deems censorable or uncensorable. Obviously, we expounded on the necessity of certain scenes(like smoking, drinking, drug abuse, kissing etc - really basic stuff, hellloooo) and the significance of an open-thought-based society. The board members agreed to everything we said but eventually (and apparently) according to them, in Indian society, we can DO certain things but NOT talk(or make movies) about it openly on grounds of the usage of our most flaunted(but under-utilized) constitutional right - freedom of speech and expression - without the content being labeled 'Adult'. Seriously, who really isn't an Adult these days. I can probably write volumes on this but...please remind us later as to what the topic of our discussion/justification was, after you see the movie.
The board members said some surprisingly flattering things about '500 & 5' and that though our style of expression deserved a creative merit, it would not be understood the way it is supposed to be, by the society at large, and that was why it had to be for a restricted audience. Don't know if I concur on that, but in my opinion, in our current zeitgeist, our prevailing collective consciousness is by far the most intelligent it's ever been. So without any pretense of knowing what the audience or people in our society want, we want to just create and let it out in whatever way it can be possible. A mere 'label' or 'certificate' is not gonna change anything. So...anyways, since we don't really care about what certificate we get(it never really was an issue other than the fact that we are NOT tax-exempt), at no point do we(as creators) want to hold back because filmmaking, according to us, is first a purgatory and deeply personal Art form and then...everything else. The board actually did not want us to cut because they felt it would dilute the intensity of the expression.
Anywho peeps, here we are...crossing the next milestone of a 'seemingly' long journey. But wait, we have a moment for...Wooo-hooo! Can we hear you say it?....Thank you. And Actors and contributors and friends of '500 & 5'! You can now proudly and emphatically say that you are part of a larger grown-up, Adult movement that's happening in society and blah, blah...ok ok, again too much build-up not required. Sooo...Howzatttttt???!!!

(For all things '500 & 5' in our blog so far, please go to the '500 & 5' tag on your right, or click HERE)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

5 things you didn’t know about the Pre-production of ‘500 & 5’


Well, it all has to be in 5's right? So...here they are...

  1. The thematic core of ‘500 & 5’ was conceived one frustrated evening, in December 2010. Obviously, this frustration was a result of long, tiring periods of our ideological/philosophical ramblings about all things under the sun, especially creating a film independently and that too about money.
  2. Initially, since we planned on this being a low-budget, independent film/s(it still is), we figured we’d hardly cast 5 to 10 people to illustrate the story. But eventually, it turned out to be a 90-member casting coup.
  3. The entire script(actually 5 scripts with a total of about 90 pages) from ‘FADE IN’ to ‘FADE TO BLACK’ was completed in 15 days (my personal best in terms of speed, coz usually I take months of research, writing and rewriting). The script was finalized and greenlit on 11th February, 2011. Of course, the incubation process took a little longer and constant tweaking was done to the finished script till the shooting stage.
4. By early February 2011, we had started fabricating/designing and mechanically creating various equipments ourselves because we couldn’t afford to rent out from high-end production houses. With help from Youtube tutorials, local blacksmiths, carpenters and mechanical workshop technicians, Dass, Ramesh and Toot-machi over-saw and managed this entire mechanical process. We literally created Steadicams, Wheel-cam rigs, Track dolly and table-top dolly from scratch for real cheap but of awesome quality. For example, we made our Steadicam for a mere 5000 Rupees when the ‘Rental cost’ of a professional Steadicam is 10,000 Rupees per day in Chennai.

5. 500 & 5 is actually a crowd-funded film thereby reaffirming that this is a truly democratically-made film. The funding for this film was put together in exactly 9 phone calls. Though right now we can’t discuss in detail about it, we’ll share more later.

Pictures: 1. Dass testing the Camera-rig we made. 2. Our first shooting schedule in Bangalore for Adi(Me, Dass, Ramesh & Shankar). 3. Dopehouse scene with Dass holding the wheelcam rig that we created. (In it, me, Pradeep and King Sek.)

Jenny's Poem - 500 & 5 Tamil Film Song

Ganamaanadho Mounam - 500 & 5 Tamil Film Song

Panatha Mattum - 500 & 5 Tamil Film Song

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'500 & 5' 5K Run In Indian Express and Dinakaran

A big thank you to all our friends, family and friends of friends who joined us on the 5K Run on Sunday. We're super excited to share our celebration of 500 & 5's Audio Launch. And for those who haven't seen our Facebook updates, here are the pics of 500 & 5's coverage in the media in both Indian Express and in Dhinakaran.

The names in the Dinakaran article have been interchanged. Must have been Shankar and Lakshmi Priya. Nevertheless, congrats are in order for Deepak Sundarajan, Sivashankar Srinivasan, Living Smile Vidya, Chinnu Kuruvilla and TM Karthik Srinivasan and Lakshmi Priya :)
And here's the link to the Hindu article - http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/article3682418.ece written by Preeti Zacharia, who had joined us on the run too. So...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A purpose beyond realms...

RAJESH KHANNA...A soul amidst this chaos called reality..was brought into this realm..with a purpose..to bring to life many creative minds' ideas and visions to manifestation......and the movies..the thoughts that their works provoked, the emotions that were shared..the songs that he portrayed..the culmination of a lot many creative minds into many works..the characters so real..that each one who connected with the films had a bonding with..the face that brought all their ideas to the world..and made the manifestations so real in this otherwise mundane world...RAJESH KHANNA..a purpose fulfilled..and complete! The above song..is from the movie Anand..one of such works..which has touched million hearts..and is an all time inspiration! I feel connected! Many moments of my life owe their gratitude to his purpose!!Thank you universe for the experience.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Groovy - Whatever Lola Wants...

Whatever Lola Wants...by Sarah Vaughan. It's just groovy baby...!!!

A little tribute to the Cast of 500 & 5

Yeeeooowwww...here's our little tribute to 'almost ALL' the 'Actors'(Cast) who played a 'Role' in 500 & 5. See, the thing is, each of those words are loaded, that's why they're in quotes.
1. Because the people that are in this poster don't constitute ALL(coz we haven't included a bunch of 'hand' actors, who've showed only their hands in the film),
2. Because most 'Actors' here are not really actors, except those in our key/primary roles. They're friends, friends of friends ...and people...'real' people who just happened to be on the production set who just did it for the fun of it,
3. And 'Role' here means, even if an actor happened to show their face or body for a second, they are considered to have played a 'Role'.
So....a SPECIAL & BIG THANKS to all of you in our Cast because without you, 500 & 5 wouldn't have been possible!!!
(See if you can spot your friends :))

Friday, July 13, 2012

A time and place

You know, there're some things that never fail to transport you to a time and place. Sometimes, it's the haunting memory of something and other times it's a just an evocation of something lost. This video that we shot about 4 years back is one of them.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

500 & 5 - New Poster

Well, just got this out from our Photoshop press. Got a few more which will follow soon. Couple of vertical ones. Another one with the entire cast of 500 & 5, including extras and all. Let us know what you think and if you need to download this at a higher resolution, just buzz. (Above cast in order: Deepak Sundarajan, Sivashankar Srinivasan, Living Smile Vidya, Chinnu Kuruvilla and TM Karthik)

Friday, July 06, 2012

500 & 5's 5K Run/Marathon

How ‘bout another 5? Yeah folks, this time the ‘5’ is a 5Km(& 500 meters) ‘Run’ or Marathon.
You ask, “Marathon? You mean like running? Like exercise?”. And we say, “Well, not really, but if you wanna put it that way, you can.” See, let’s get this straight ok? You can run, walk, slow-jog, fast-walk, cycle or even crawl but you gotta reach the finish-line. No auto! So anyways, this is gonna be a 5K run with the Cast, Crew and Friends of ‘500 & 5’ and Accessible Horizon Films. Everyone’s gonna be there and we want YOU all to join in on the fun and a cause.
Why are we doing this and why do we want you with us? Really…well, there’re 2 reasons.

1. As many of you now know, ‘500 & 5’ is a feature-length ensemble of 5 short films with stories containing Gangsters, Romance, Reality, Dark fantasy, Social rebellion, etc. Despite all the ‘Cinematic’ elements that it contains, the underlying theme of ‘500 & 5’ deals with Money (as the omnipresent yet futile concept that rules us all) through the 5 main characters (and eventually envisions a world without money). Like many seemingly impossible things, this too starts with an idea. In a world where there’s a price tag to anything and everything including basic human-ness, we thought it necessary to shake things up a little. You know, break down the existing concept of Money and bring it down to its knees, at first theoretically, then through the film and eventually, maybe…maybe initiate a dialogue in that direction. We’ve tried to stick to this philosophy even for the ‘Making’ of ‘500 & 5’, which is why we’ve been able to do it independently and without major financial resources. And things like ‘Human-ness’ and the L-word (that ‘blasphemous’ L-word, Love, that we, as a society are embarrassed to use anymore) seem to have lost their meaning and have been replaced by the M-word. So we wanna give a shout-out against that change. How ‘bout that?
2. Now, now, since this is also a promotional campaign for the film ‘500 & 5’, we just wanna have some plain, unadulterated fun with the people who worked with us and made this project into what it is now. There have been tons of people, I mean, real people involved in this project with whom we’ve had too much fun during the making and we want to unwind a little after all that hard work we put in. We want you in on this because this film project is a labor of love made outside the confines of the studio system and we wanna share the euphoria associated with it at a ground level(literally) not at some big, staged, ticketed event.

So…if you’re even a wee bit interested or just wanna get off your uhh…we mean, couch, do join us. Since we'll have some special giveaways for you, we'll need a headcount, so please DO register (it's FREE)with your email at our website http://500n5themovie.com/5KRunRegistration.php. (And hey, if you can’t make it and wanna show your support, you can Like our ‘500 & 5’ Page. It’ll be a booster for our run.)

Event: 500 & 5’s 5K Run
Venue: Marina Beach, Chennai (Start point: Subramania Bharathiar statue)
Date: Sunday, July 22nd , 2012
Time: 6:30 a.m

For more information & updates, check out:
500 & 5’ film's Page on Facebook
www.AccessibleHorizonFilms.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

5 Updates on '500 & 5'


Yo Peeps, time for a little low-down on 500 & 5’s status quo. Things are sort of heating up again as we scuttle towards the finish line. If you’re wondering why the hell it’s taking so long to finish, we can only tell you one thing right now – that this is an Independent film project(which translates ‘You’ll have to do everything yourself’). Trust me, when I mean ‘everything’ and ‘yourself’ – I really mean it, in the dang-est sense of the words.  

1. Like already mentioned, there are 2 songs(1 of which has 3 parts) and 1 poem-track which can be considered a quasi-song if you want. We are working on the fillers (and final touches) for the 2 songs. Panam(Money) and Ganamanatho Mounam(Isn’t this silence heavy?). The poem-song is Nee Sethuki Sethuki(You sculpt...). Once those are done, the next step would be to integrate it into the final film – with the visual lockdown.
2. Getting things ready for the Censor Board Certificate application. A bunch of stuff like the Lab letter, Title certificate, NOC, completed film in the form of a DCP(Digital Cinema Package), Publicity poster clearance, etc have to be readied and submitted during application. Will detail them later.
3. Getting ready for marketing...and preparing publicity materials like Newspaper Ad, Street/City posters, Radio Ad, TV trailer and other miscellaneous online reach. We don’t know how much of it we’re gonna follow through but. Most of the posters are ready, just minor tweaks.  
4. We are thinking of some unconventional ways to reach out – going for something a little crazy and over the top. Basically, planning on the promotional campaign of 500 & 5. If you got any ideas, do give us a holler. More on this later.  
5. Currently in discussion about where and how we are going to get the film out there. As of now, we have something a little staggered in mind. I doubt if it’s gonna be a traditional release.  But until we complete the 1st 3 steps, I don’t think we’ll get a consensus on that.
So there you go. We’ll post up more updates after the next phase is done with. Till then, do spread the word if you want to support Independent art and film. Lots to be done. Have fun. (Pic: Our Acoustic engineer Rahmath at AH studios mixing the poem-track. Way back in the booth is our man Dass)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dazed & Confounded

So what's new other than being sucked up into another vortex of life? I warn you, before you go on - this is a bit of a philosophical/existentialist rant(like many of my other ramblings). There's enough things in this world to really throw you off balance just when you think you're figuring it all out. I sometimes really can't fathom whether to laugh at the absurdities of life or marvel at the irony of existence. On the one hand, I love this thing called 'life' because it offers you a perspective of the world that no one else can see. On the other, I hate the concept of it, because it's packed with affirmatives and negatives that are often juxtaposed together and gives you the feeling that life just doesn't fuckin' make sense. I mean, why? Why, for gosh sakes, are we really here? I mean, who cares? Say something happens to me or you, like right now. Other than the people to whom we really matter to, our existence is totally vacuous. Ok then you might say since there may be a few people who do care about your absence, it should make some sense. But then, they are gonna keep living on, maybe with you in their memory. So I feel like, why the hell should I be attached to things and people in this reality? But then, however objectively I look at life, the subjectivity of it all just screws up the knowledge and wisdom you've gathered. How much ever I feel like detachment is the way to go, there's something so strong that pulls you in the way of attachment. But then again, attachments don't matter eventually. So there, see I've put myself in this thinking-time loop. I think I get it and the next second, I don't get one bit of it. These days my cynicism seems to get the better of me. But something just keeps gnawing at your insides that I should be doing this or that. I feel good when I save a dog. Why? I jus' don't know. So despite all the negativity and chaos, I feel there's some purpose but can't put a finger to it. And that angers me, because there seems to be no focus. And you have to fight the good fight to live the life you want to. So I guess the only thing that gets me off is purging out these thoughts that get churned out by my thinking-time loop. And until I strike a balance and get off the chronos, you gotta put up with this existentialist crap. Have fun!

Monday, June 04, 2012

That 'Baaaeaaaa' thing

Dang! You know how sometimes you seem to have a lot on your platter but you're unable to do any of it. Those things keep hovering over your head but you just can't shift gears to do them. It's like there absolutely no motivation to 'do' things. No inspiration...zilch! I don't even know if I can or want to write this right now. You know, mindless meandering...I like to call this feeling 'Baaaeaaa...'. That Baaaeaaa feeling! The censor board awaits 500 &5, but we gotta transliterate this whole script. It's basically like rewriting the script all over again and typed it out in Tamil. Also, today was spent on looking and trying to get inspired from other people's work...that creative thingie that hangs around the universe. Don't know. But there's a higher purpose to all this, sort of. Like we got a responsibility to do stuff. Sometimes there's a need to be grounded in this reality and other times, this need to go where the dragons are...but you know you gotta strike a balance. Shit! Is this Baaaeaaa...gonna do the vamoose or what?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Trailer for Metroxical New York

Metroxical New York Documentary Film at IFFK 2012

Ok here's a bit of an exciting news for y'all! 'Metroxical New York' is having its World Premiere at the 5th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, between 8th-12th June 2012, at Trivandrum. It's part of the official selection under the Long Documentary Competitive section. Directed & Narrated by Kousalya, Co-directed by Dass, Co-created by Raghu & Ramesh Mourthy as part of the production of AccessibleHorizon FilmCollective, Accessible Horizon Films. Here's a poster.
For those who are wondering what, about a year and half ago, we shot our now, latest documentary film called 'Metroxical New York' in underground New York City(some of you know about it). Due to 500 & 5's production, it had taken kind of a backseat w.r.t editing and post-production. But now it's all done and ready. For more info, visit www.AccessibleHorizonFilms.com.

Monday, May 21, 2012

4 Basics before making an Indie film - Learning from ‘Ayynoorum Ayynthum (500 & 5)’ (Part 2)


(This is part 2 of the Indie filmmaking Series 'Learning from Ayynoorum Ayynthum (500 & 5). Part 1 Intro can be found here)
So you know, there’s this one time, in our lives, no actually, make that many times, where we realize there’s gotta be a line between ‘talking’ and ‘just doing it’. Many a times, we know we’ve been having this feeling of wanting to do something but never get around to it. But at some point, that ‘wanting’ to do it, turns into actually ‘doing it’ and for that to happen, especially when you’re trying to make an independent film, you need to have some basic things in place that’ll help you ‘decide’ to make that transition. Of course, like anything, there are so many other things that can tell you when you make that transition. Now coming to think of it, before we started production of Ayynoorum Ayynthum (500 & 5), we apparently had undergone these basics, without which we wouldn’t have been prepared for the next stages.

1. The 'Need' to tell the story
The word ‘Need’ is loaded. Maybe I should word it ‘desperate need’ to tell the story. I think you don’t get to that desperate stage before undergoing a lot of painful growing-up stuff. The need also stems out of a deep frustration that’s been lying within for a long time. Before getting to the need-to-tell-the-story-of-500&5 phase, I wrote other scripts spending months and even years to write apparently masterpieces that big studios would just swoop down and pick up. One of them even made it among the top 10 finalists of the IFFLA film fund development grant, but they were just sitting there, lifeless words unable to get someone to give them a soul, a form and make them into a living film. We tried getting those scripts through the gatekeepers, met up with reasonably well-known actors and did the whole nine yards thing. But something felt wrong, very very wrong. I/we spent 2-3 years getting ‘others’ to see our vision that we started losing our vision ourselves. The goal of making our film, was getting farther and farther. Then the frustration started to build up. Fuck, can’t we just keep it simple? Just freakin’ do it ourselves instead of waiting around for things to happen? Then we started talking, talking and talking…the want was becoming a need, to tell some story, any fucking story from within our sensibilities, the way we want it. Forget making masterpieces, forget star actors, forget the big monies, just tell it, damn it, let’s give the script a life! So there, we decided to tell the story about ‘money’ from a sort-of existential POV, which we’ve often talked about. The concept of money was a recurring theme in our discussions and so we made it the center of our film. Now, behind all the frustration, the seemingly wasted energies/time/efforts, came the ‘Need’, because if the desperate need is present, it will necessitate everything else, because it fulfils the question ‘why’? At that moment, we knew the need had to be addressed, no matter what. But of course, needing it and getting it have a long bridge in between them. So comes the next thing, the story.

2. The Story/Script
Do I need to state the obvious? Let’s face it. If there’s even a modicum of an evocative response to a film, it can only be attributed to its script. As any Joe Shmoe can tell you, a film is only as great as its story or more specifically the script. Everything else is secondary. The direction, cast, execution…everything. Of course, this is a highly subjective thing we’re dealing with here. But irrespective of how ‘good’ it is, it is one of the most personal stages of filmmaking considering how collaborative the entire process is. The writing process is by far the most intense experience that you can delve into without having to include anyone. The stage with total control in the otherwise chaotic filmmaking process. Considering my other feature screenplays that have taken months to write and re-write, 500 & 5 just took 15 intense days. Days and months of thought had already gone into it while the frustration was building up and when it was time to write, it all just exploded. A beautiful cathartic release. So if you have to get anywhere towards starting your film, you gotta have this part figured out. I could probably refer to millions of resources where you can find out more about the screenwriting process but personally, you really have to look within to get those words out. If you don’t connect with the story on an internal, personal level, then no amount of formulaic writing is going to help you achieve those needs.


3. The Team
One thing we realized, no matter what, the people that you are most comfortable with, are the ones you’re gonna be working with, if you’re gonna make a film(which usually takes months or years of your life). It’s not about experience or hiring union or whatever. Someone I knew used to say, “Work with people who are smarter than you” because with an ambitious vision at stake, you can’t possibly get into it thinking you’re the best brain at doing it the best way. The four of us, in our core team, knew how to do stuff, understood the process and all, but we weren’t the best at everything. Before we started production, we thought we had to hire only experienced film industry technicians and crew to get this made, because obviously this has to turn out damn good, right? And we did, but slowly things were falling apart for various reasons, mainly the comfort factor, for a project as unconventional as 500 & 5 and also, experienced doesn’t necessarily mean smarter especially with our use of more contemporary technology. For example, with a conventional film camera, you have lenses that are compatible with standard follow-focus rings that let you to easily manipulate the focus while in motion but with our use of DSLRs we didn’t have that luxury, so we had to use lenses without the follow-focus rings, which was quite a challenge. A traditionally experienced cameraman initially came on board with spiel after spiel of how he was the right man for the job but the day before shooting started, he bailed out, apparently not being to able to handle the challenges of Indie production. So within us, we had to learn stuff and ‘upgrade’ and get smarter and more adaptable people on board who understood what we were trying to do. Also, we had to resort to DIY(Do-it-yourself) filmmaking most of the time figuring out how to create things from scratch(more on that later). So basically, the point is to create a team of adaptable, understanding people(even if you’re a crew of just one or two) if you want your production to go smooth.

4. The Technology - The DSLR Revolution
Ahh, the icing on the cake. The word is DSLR or HDLSR. If you’ve heard this term before then you’ve heard of the revolution. The digital filmmaking revolution. Obviously, this is not something we invented because it’s been around the block, and quite a bit at that. I guess we’ve just been making it more popular and not without reason. It’s an abbreviation for Digital Single-Lens Reflex. Case in point, the Canon 7D, 5D Mark II and the more recent Mark III all unleashed by Canon. Indie filmmakers including us, have lapped up these cameras like there’s no tomorrow.
Even when you have the above three, the one thing that can keep you from starting production is the technology you are going to use. Obviously, we can’t all afford 35mm film cameras or the expensive Red or the Arri Alexa cameras. Thing is, if…if…you know (or learn to figure out) how to wield these cameras, they can be a boon especially when you consider their low-cost. A camera is only as good as the person wielding it. I’d written an earlier article on the use of DSLRs from the trenches here. But the main reason to put this out is how many people don’t realize the high price-performance ratio of the DSLRs. Before we started production, we compared the Canon 7D(costs around $1800) footage to the Sony EX1(around $6000) on the big screen, and there was no contest. The 7D’s image quality was far superior to the EX1’s. That’s how we decided to go with the 7D and its cousin the 5D. But as with any new technology, we had to understand its limitations and then work it to our advantage. At such a low-cost, a filmmaker has no reason to worry about the budget of making a feature-length film. In fact, as many feature filmmakers are resorting to digital cameras, the advent of the DSLRs can only help Indie filmmakers achieve their goals.

So when you have these 4 basic things figured out, there is an ample chance that you can jump from talking about making your film to actually doing it. Of course, there’s a ton of other chaotic factors involved, but this should give you the basic understanding, or sort of foundational signs that you may be in the right track.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Learning from ‘Ayynoorum Ayynthum(500 & 5)' – Indie filmmaking Series (Part 1)


If you want to learn ‘Indie(Independent) filmmaking’, there are probably thousands of resources and millions of ways to show you how to do so. But the thing about ‘learning Indie filmmaking’ from others is in itself a paradox. Because when you make a film in the true ‘Indie’ spirit of the word, you are actually going all-out yourself without much dependency on the traditional system or…just by Doing-it(Everything)-yourself, literally. Another thing is that it’s far too unstructured and chaotic to even try to learn it all with the amount of information deluge that hurls your way. But, at any rate…there’s nothing like experiencing the puzzling thing we call life, penning your thoughts down, taking your camera, getting into the trenches, wading through the shit, smelling the stench, finding the pearl and coming out with a unique piece of work. Or at least, ‘your’ unique piece of work. So, with the culmination of ‘Ayynoorum Ayynthum(500 & 5)’ ‘round the corner, we thought we could just share our perspective of making this film the ‘Indie’ way and add to the chaos, ahem! And maybe through this process, we intend to keep track of our own doings and maybe…maybe aid in the demystification of the process of Independent filmmaking in the digital and new media age.
One primary way of looking at filmmaking is that it’s mostly about learning through experience and eventually asserting your perspective in the world. Sure there are a zillion perspectives out there, but how is yours different. Your perspective may not or need not be the ‘best’ but is it different than the remaining zillion-minus-one of them? That’s what this whole thing’s about. Seriously, for someone who considers film school to be redundant – not because they don’t teach useful stuff but because of the concept of indoctrination of what constitutes good filmmaking – I certainly think twice about sharing and receiving ‘creative’ advice with others(not that we are all above it). Because, in the few years that we’ve been independently making films, I realized one thing. How could one contain the almost cosmic nature of the filmmaking process into a few nuggets of concise writing/advice in either book form or film school form? That’s why I repeat, what many truly visionary filmmakers have shown - filmmaking, to each his/her own – I mean, in perspective(for that matter, every film has its philosophy). And that’s why I even wonder about the concept of Herzog’s Rogue film school. By that definition, isn’t it also an indoctrination of how to be a Rogue filmmaker? But I guess that’s going too far out. But the point I’m trying to make is, getting your own perspective of things without being tainted by the usual suspects.
On the flip side though, we do feel the urge to share whatever we have learnt in a sort of organic way where one doesn’t teach but merely inform so that others can make decisions based on their set of experiences and subjective realities. More so, IMO, the creative process is best when cultivated from within one’s own universe, which I guess would more effectively bring out that unique POV. I know it’s hard not to be influenced by the variety of media and consumerist onslaught that constantly tells you what you need, to be ‘successful’ or ‘famous’ or ‘rich’, because if someone feels the need to be a filmmaker that arises from the need to be ‘rich, famous and successful’ in the traditional sense of the words, then I doubt if that could lead to creating true art. So anyways, as we near the completion of our project, with the background music(Re-recording) pending, we thought we’d start putting this out. This ‘learning’ is as much a learning for us, from our trials and errors as it is for others who are looking to learn themselves. If you’re even a wee bit curious, watch out for this series, as we’ll try our best to make it a weekly column or whatever. And hey, nothing in this series is meant to be an absolute so take it with a pinch of salt. And of course, if you have anything to share or contribute please feel free to add to the discussion.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sibling thingy..!!

Siblings are such a luxury..in this reality.. to fight with, to fight for.. to complain about, to complain to.. to share, to snatch.. to cuddle, to kick.. to cry, to laugh.. to judge, to appreciate, to find comfort in.. to seek advice, to play, to yell, to like..and most of all.. to LOVE!..and much more.. to all the siblings..to the universe for creating them.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Holding the tiger by the tail - 500 & 5

It's been a little over a year since we started 500 & 5 and guess what, it's not over yet. I mean, it is but it is not. In a lot of ways, we have come through a lot, done a million things, interacted with a gazillion people, met with next to impossible hurdles and stuff. But it's not completely over yet. The beast has only become bigger and more monstrous than ever...and as they say 'the last few miles are the hardest'. Well, tell me about it! The moment we started 500 & 5 in an unconventional way, we knew we caught the tiger by its tail. And till now, haven't really had a single moment to release it. Of course, we've been doing several other things but the thought of it, holding it and needing to wait until the right moment is ever present. So we're biding our time and are trying to figure out the next steps in the process. Until then, I guess it's gonna be one adrenalin-inducing trip. We try to stay calm as the tiger is struggling to break free and go berserk, but can't let it out, yet. Restraint, action and then release. Almost zen-like in mode.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PUZZLE SOLVED!!

One by one..the pieces make sense..and the end product..the purpose..realizes itself..through the beings.. the puzzle solves itself with our help?? or is the idea manifested in this reality..?? either ways..we completed something we started..and dear friends and loved ones..it was not about the end product.. it was the process all along!!! being parts of an infinite whole..makes us what?? mm..CONNECTED! thank you for your patience and love to sit through these 13 pieces..as i said earlier..please read & see between lines. For more..please visit.. http://500n5themovie.com/

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:12

Nature does not go on giving challenges..it also gives you the luxury to balance it all..to sit back and feel good about how you handled the issues of crisis.. woo-hoo..

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:11

Sharing bitter experiences eases the pain so much..hence, this piece..but wait! the universe chooses who stays in your purpose and who offers lessons..hmm..

Monday, April 30, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:10

You know why things go wrong? Because we'll know the difference when they're right. :) someone effortlessly said to me once..if you can take a "PRAISE" and an "INSULT" in the same sense..okay now, don't ask me how it is done..the person who told me this practices this too.. ..and then fell this piece..

Sunday, April 29, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:9

The social consciousness called Internet..and the many souls who help with the DO-IT-YOURSELF informations...who teach the world what they know..share resources...and the souls who believe that change is possible..and who encourage new ideas..with all due respect..with gratitude..

Saturday, April 28, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:8

How can one cell be independent of a whole organism? it is not possible right? but the cell has to perform its duty..and hence realize the purpose of its existence..society is one whole 'living' organism..the cells..we..have a purpose in its functioning..what do you think?? observe and contribute to the overall consciousness..

Friday, April 27, 2012

"500 & 5" - Official HD Trailer Launched

Dear Folks
Accessible Horizon Films has officially launched the HD Trailer of "500 & 5", an Independent, Alternative, Experimental feature-length Tamil language film project, that is an ensemble of 5 short films. For more information and updates, please visit:



www.AccessibleHorizonFilms.com
www.500n5themovie.com
www.facebook.com/acchorfilms
www.facebook.com/500n5

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:7

Why do we keep saying 'think out of the box'?? What if there was no box at all?? hmm..still getting used to the idea.. alternatives..alternatives..a million of them..in the ether..waiting to be absorbed and manifested..

Thursday, April 26, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:6

Do you ever take notice of the pieces as they come or wait for the end result to appear and then notice them..?? hmm..good question..i am thinking too..

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:5

The seed sown for stimulation of the thought process..within..the purpose of each piece..or is it that the purpose wanting to realize itself..through the design??

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

THE FILMMAKING PROCESS!! JIGSAW PIECE No:4

Grumpy pieces in between..it's alright! otherwise how are we to know the difference my friends..the puzzle in its process of realization.. let me tell you a secret..even these pieces have purpose..towards completion! hmm..