Old News

Welcome, brave traveller, on a voyage into the dim and distant past, a journey through what once was, taking a quick detour around what might have been if only there were about twelve more hours in the day.

A digital time capsule, if you will...

As short as short can be

Tough Questions

Two cops. One suspect. Fifteen seconds. Anything could happen, and probably will!

As long as it's quick.

Tough Questions

We are a dotcom

Not content with carrying out a sweeping redesign in the space of ten days, the crack team of technicians at Oblong Pictures have been working round the clock to set the site up as oblongpictures.com, making it far more universal and fantastic than it was before. The .co.uk address should still work as well, for anyone who wants to keep things English.

Now where's all this venture capital I've been reading about?

Let joy be unconfined!

Screenshot

So here it is - the exciting new design. It's my first attempt at all this xhtml/css stuff, so here's a picture of what this page should look like. I've checked it on a handful of browsers but if it looks significantly different on your browser, do let me know.

The redesign isn't quite as redesigned as I thought it might be, but it's not bad considering I've had to teach myself about 10 years' worth of new web technology in 10 days. If anyone wants to explain a standards-compliant way of including inline images, I'm all ears.

Anyone visiting the site for the first time as a result of the CSS Reboot project is more than welcome to come in and have a good poke around. There's films and everything.

Finally, true to my word as always, I've added a page for The Brick Gulch Chronicles, the film I made back in November and didn't bother telling people about. You'll probably get more out of it if you've seen the popular web series Red vs Blue. You'll certainly have a better idea of how little of my own original work is involved in it.

Ever wonder why we're here?

Shame. Shame on me. This film was actually finished six months ago, but for one reason and another I never got around to updating the site. So, without further ado, here's the old new old film: The Brick Gulch Chronicles.

Any similarity to a well-known popular web series is entirely intentional.

Something wicked this way comes...

Over the last few days I've been reading about the web standards movement. Actually, I don't know if it's a movement as such. It's mostly web designers getting evangelical about a structured approach to designing web sites. In a nutshell, you create the content separately from the presentation - the content goes in the html and the presentation goes in a css file. This makes your site easier to maintain and more compatible with a wider array of browsers.

Having spent all of three days reading about this stuff, I'm thinking that it would be a good idea to redesign this site (if you look at the source html, you'll see what a big mess it is at the moment) and get it all standardised and structured. To make things even more interesting for myself, I've decided to sign up for the May 1st CSS Reboot project. So there you go - in about 10 days, on May 1st, you will be looking at a shiny new Oblong Pictures. I might even go nuts and finally add a page for the Brick Gulch Chronicles film that I made 6 months ago.

Now I just need to learn how CSS works...

For those about to rock...

Good news, everybody! There's a new film to download. This latest effort is quite possibly the most pointless one yet - two minutes of dialogue from the intro to an '80s music video. It doesn't get much more obscure than that.

The film page is here. Let's rock.

Server Problems

It appears that some of my files are unavailable for the moment. I'm looking into the problem and hope to get them back up as soon as possible. In the meantime, all the Quicktime versions (and anything else hosted on oblong.brickfilms.com) should still be available.

New Non-Lego Stuff

Well, I've had to put away my "studio" temporarily to make room for some work-related stuff, so I've been entertaining myself in other ways. The results of this new pastime can be seen on the new Other Videos page (or you can go via the Misc page if you prefer the scenic route).

This is basically just me messing about with Ween songs and some old TV shows. There's no LEGO here and if you're not a fan of the band, I doubt you'll get much enjoyment from it. Consider yourselves warned.

As You Were

It's taken a while, but I've finally got round to putting the hi-res versions of my bigger films back online. So if you're one of the people who emailed me asking when they'd be back then run, don't walk, to the Films page. Knock yourself out.

Since I was tidying up anyway, I've taken the opportunity to fix some of the broken links - the old test films in the vault and a couple of other things here and there. Nothing new or exciting to look at though.

I should also mention that work has begun on Out of Time II, the long-awaited sequel to my debut feature. There's a sneak peak preview thing here (DivX only, I'm afraid). I wouldn't get too excited, mind.

Happy Anniversary, Doctor

I'm about two weeks late with this, but here is my 40th anniversary tribute to Doctor Who. It was really made with the hardcore Doctor Who fan in mind, so don't expect it to make sense.

The film page is here. Enjoy.

Fame!

The November issue of Wired magazine features a short piece on yours truly. It doesn't mention the address of this site though, so if you're reading this as a direct result of having seen the article, congratulations on some solid detective work.

An unfortunate side-effect of this unprecedented media frenzy is that I'm in danger of exceeding my bandwidth allowance for this month, so I've had to restrict the file format of my films to Quicktime and replace the larger films (Out of Time and A Wasted Journey) with lower resolution versions. The high res versions will return early in November (EDIT: Sorry folks, held over to the new year), if anyone is really desperate to see them.

I did a nice picture of Geoff reading the magazine. You can see it here if you so desire. The cover of the magazine, specially created for this photo session is here.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Regular visitors may notice a few changes to the site. Well, it's about a year since I started making brickfilms, so I thought this would be as good a time as any to have a bit of a spring clean.

I've tried to structure everything a bit more logically and I've added some stuff behind the scenes that should make it easier for me to make updates when I've got a new film to add.

Words of Wisdom

Another new film. This one was actually finished before "Where'd the Cheese Go?" but I had to keep it super secret until the closing date of the Brickfilms Words of Wisdom competition. It features Mike, Geoff and Rod from "Out of Time" in a calmer, more measured film.

Words of Wisdom

Cheese?

I seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment. After finishing A Wasted Journey, I've gone on to complete my entry for the Brickfilms Words of Wisdom competition (held back from public release until Sept 15) and this little chap: Cheese.

Oh, and while I'm doing an update, the Alpha Team film I was talking about somewhere down the page is cancelled due to me realising that it was a really stupid idea. The thing with the guy in the construction hat is still in the pipeline, but a really long way back.

Finally, a new film

After months of false starts and dashed hopes, I've finally managed to finish a film. For more info, head on over to the Wasted Journey page.

New Developments...

Wow, it's been a while since I updated this page. I don't have anything exciting to share with you right now, but rest assured that things are happening behind the scenes. I'm currently working on what I hope will be my entry in the BrickFest 2003 animation competition. It all depends on whether I can get the thing finished on time. Here's a tantalising sneak peek at a mock up of a test shot of a scene from the film...

Stop! Hammer Time

OK, this is nothing at all do do with LEGO or stop-motion animation, but it's something I believe deserves some publicity. See the banner up there? Here's what it's about...

For those who don't remember it, "Sledge Hammer!" was an acclaimed eighties comedy show that spoofed the Dirty Harry/Hunter renegade cop style of show. If you've never seen it, you really don't know what you're missing.

Due to international demand, an official website has launched at www.sledgehammeronline.com

Additionally, series creator Alan Spencer confirms that not only is there interest in putting his series out on DVD, but he's also in talks about turning "Sledge" into a feature film ala "Austin Powers," "The Pink Panther" and "The Naked Gun."

The official site now has a message board for fans of the show to reminisce, talk about the proposed new movie and offer suggestions as to what they'd like to see on any future DVD release. Mr Spencer is currently trying to gauge the level of interest in a DVD release. The best way to make your interest known is to post on the message board. This is your chance to have a say in shaping what could be the DVD release of the year (whichever year it gets released in).

There's also the first part of a brand new Sledge story (text only, unfortunately) written by Alan Spencer.

Chickens and Wallpaper

Long time no update. I haven't had much animating time lately, and that trend looks set to continue for a while longer. I did manage to find time a couple of weeks ago to squeeze out a quick entry for the Brickfilms Informal Chicken Dance competition. It's not my first choice of music, but it was an interesting challenge.

I've also put what little spare time I have to good use by fiddling about with my camera and taking a few pictures. The results are now available in the brand new downloads section.

More Special Features

I've started a new job, so I don't have as much time for animation as I'd like at the moment. However, I've found time to update the Out of Time Special Features page with a couple of new things: a behind the scenes photo gallery and an outtake. Enjoy.

Out of Time premieres

It took far longer than I ever imagined it would, but I finally got OOT finished. It took the best part of a month to record the voices, do the animation and edit the whole thing together. Check it out here.

A new idea

I'm still plugging away at OOT. I've got 1 min 14s left to film, then it's off to the editing suite to tidy it all up. In the meantime, I got a couple of Alpha Team sets in a sale a few days ago and came up with an idea for an Alpha Team short. This is now distracting me from OOT because it's shiny and new and doesn't involve lots of tedious dialogue.

Here's a couple of mock-ups of shots that I did in a spare moment. See if you can guess what the story will be for this one...

Charge in his robosuit

Charge in his robosuit outside some kind of mysterious portal. Wherever might it lead?

Ogel and minions

The evil Ogel and his minions plot some heinous crime against civilisation.

Orson Welles, eat your heart out

14 January 2003

Today I have been mostly working on a single nine second tracking shot.

I spent a while yesterday building the set and today I finally got down to blocking, timing and filming the big tracking shot. Nothing exciting happens, it's just Mike and Geoff walking down a street. The filming itself took something in the region of three and a half hours and by the end I was tearing my hair out but by crikey it's one smooooth track.

OK, I know it's not much to look at in still form but I'm pretty pleased with the finished product.

Minor Update

12 January 2003

Just added a couple of new things to the site. The main one is my new tips page. It's interesting that I feel qualified to offer tips to people even though I haven't actually finished a complete film yet. Some might consider that a little presumptuous.

I've also added the films page I meant to add last month. There's not much to see there at the moment, but I'm sure it'll become a vital resource in no time at all. Just as soon as I actually make a film to put on it.

While I'm on that subject, I've finished scripting and dialogue recording for Out Of Time (pending a replacement voice for one character who sounds rubbish at the moment) and have filmed a massive two minutes of footage so far. All that remains is a four minute outdoor scene complete with tracking shots, special effects, giant monsters and carnage on an epic scale. I'm hoping to get it finished in time for the Brickswest 2003 comedy competition.

Mike and Geoff's Christmas Message

The Christmas message is done, but it's only a fraction of what I'd intended to put in it. When it gets to midday on the last day of production and you're still finishing the first minute's shots, you have to bite the bullet and start thinking of ways to cut it down a little.

The lesson we've learned in the last few days is that the run-up to Christmas is not the best time to assign yourself a mammoth stop-motion animation project. I'm not particularly happy with it, but at least I got it out before Christmas day.

Free at last!

Finally, I've finished work until the new year, so I'm free to get on with the all-important business of animating plastic toys.

First up is this minor redesign. Nothing special, but I've added a few more pages so that everything is arranged a bit better. I'll still post all the links to new stuff on this page, but there will be expanded info on other pages. You'll get the hang of it.

Anyway, enough yakking. Now it's time to get on with Mike & Geoff's Christmas Message. It'll just be a short piece - I got the idea for it while trying to figure out some camera angles for OOT and I'm hoping to have it finished in a couple of days.

"Out Of Time" trailer released

OK, so I lied. My first proper film has a name now - "Out of Time" (OOT for short). You can download the trailer now by clicking the picture above. Please note that this trailer is completely made up, doesn't really tell you much about the story and contains no actual footage from the film. Enjoy.

The music at the end is from "Jesus Built My Hotrod" by Ministry, fact fans.

Quick teaser

A couple of publicity stills from my current project. I'm not going to hype it any more than this until it's finished, so make the most of it.

The cast (left to right: Red, Yellow, Mike, White, Geoff)

A scientific looking prop - whatever can it be?

Early tests

These were all done under poor lighting conditions with a cheap l'Espion digital camera, so bear with me. They're mostly tests that I did to get the hang of animation and/or effects. They're all encoded with DivX 5.0.2, which you can get from www.divx.com. I don't think any of them are over 10 seconds long. Enjoy.

I should probably mention that I have next to no lego. If you've downloaded these files, you'll have figured that out by now.