Of sound design and small cinemas

Being a big Coen Brothers fan, I saw No Country for Old Men last weekend. We headed over to the Phoenix, a great little two-screen joint in Jericho (as in the Oxford suburb, not the ancient West Bank city) partly to escape the horrific doldrums that are the twin Odeon Cinemas in Oxford’s town centre, but mostly to take advantage of Jericho’s great pubs. Next time you’re in Oxford, visit the Gardener’s Arms for the world’s greatest I-can’t-believe-it’s-a-veggie-burger.

Anyway, the film was/is fantastic – another Coen triumph which sits a lot closer to Fargo in tone and style than anything else in the brothers’ oevre (I cannot believe I just used that word). It’s an adaptation of a novel by Cormac McCarthy which I’ve not read, but may just have to seek out having seen the film. But the thing that struck me most about it was the sound of wind that permeated each scene in testament to the film’s desolate Southern Texas setting.

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Gallery updated!

I’ve added a whole shedload of images to the gallery, and updated the Catalyst Studios Gallery page to show a selection of the stuff we’ve done over the past 10 years. Updating the site was interesting as it let me see how far we’ve come during the last decade; even the oldest items bear a resemblance to what we do today (albeit with a lot less polish and some… ‘interesting’ anatomy issues) but I looked at some of the stuff and thought – did I really do that?

Anyway, take a look. The gallery will be updated with new artwork on a (hopefully) regular basis… and I’ll make sure we get a few more coloured pieces in there.


Virtual Reality… Wii-ndeed.

This is awesome.

This is the first time I’ve seen a 3-D Virtual Reality concept that would actually work in a home videogame scenario. It looks inexpensive to manufacture, and I can think of several ways that this could be used to create something totally unique – think Time Crisis but physically moving your body rather than pressing a pedal to hide behind objects (I remember playing a Konami lightgun game in an arcade in Luton a few years back called Police 911 which used a pressure plate to similar effect).

You’d still need to use the nunchuck to move around – running in place is just a bit too silly, even for your average Wii gamer – but if a developer can pull this off in a proper gameplay environment, the Wii might just win over a whole new legion of fans and become a true next-generation machine. It’s certainly something I can’t see being possible on either XBox or PS3 (at least as they stand right now).

Can’t take the credit for this one – found via Penny Arcade.


Like some futuristic beachcomber…

… I stumbled across an interesting little video whilst wandering the ‘net today, and thought – what’s the point of having a blog if I don’t write random things in it about stuff like this?

The “this” in question is a video released to promote a recent BBC Timewatch documentary. 3 graphic designers on a tiny BBC budget managed to recreate the Omaha beach landing almost as well as Spielberg, with approximately 996 less actors:

“Bloody Omaha” – behind the scenes

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A Huge Break From Drawing

Shock, Horror! After a whopping 7 years, I finally felt like drawing again at the end of last month. I’ve even posted what I drew in our gallery and below:

Now, I thought that by now I’d be rubbish – but the piece I produced was a really good effort. Much like this website that Mike’s created for us :-D . Thanks buddy, and hats off!

The only downside is that I have to think of something to write in this blog every week now. But luckily for me my life is so interesting. No paint drying round here… *ahem*

Anyway, what follows is a link to something that I wrote in the middle of last year. It’s the first draft of a “plan of all issues” that I like to do before writing something. The title of the piece is “Humanity: I think, therefore I am” and it’s a Japanese-style cyborg/android type thing. The PDF that follows is the “plan” (sort of first draft) of issue one (so don’t be too harsh ;-) ). Mike will be drawing this when I eventually get round to finishing it. I’m sure he’ll post some character sketches in the gallery soon (no elbow in your ribs at all mate – honest).

Humanity – plan

Also, I’ll be posting a couple of videos that I shot way back when and edited to music on our youtube account as soon as mike gives me the details. I’ll post links to those as soon as it’s done.

That’s all for now. But I’ll be back soon.