Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

UFOs sighted by Marines in Iraq

On the night of January 2nd 2008 a group of Marines on patrol in Iraq have a close encounter of the first kind with...?

2-6 Tetris From Russia With Love

This is the story behind the fiendishly addictive game, a tale of high stakes, intimidation and legal feuds set against the backdrop of Cold War tensions between East and West.

Director Interview

BBC Four: What was the attraction of this project to you?
Magnus Temple: I love stories where you look at something very specific but it says something about the general. You could make a programme about that time in Russian history but this reveals much more because it's about something surprising.

BBC Four: I'm not sure that many people will know that Tetris was invented in Russia...
MT: Exactly. Most people remember Tetris from the Game Boy but few know the context in which that came about and quite what a chance thing it was. I suspect that had Game Boy not been in development at the same time as Tetris was first getting popular then it would be just another obscure 1980s computer game.

BBC Four: This programme places it as a really interesting footnote to the Cold War...
MT: Very much so. To me, more than anything else I've ever looked at, it's really a game for its time. Everything about its development links so closely into that era's political and economic context. If it hadn't been for that moment in history Tetris would have been nothing. For a start it needed a certain level of technology to have ever been developed but it also needed that moment of political opening up to creep across the Iron Curtain and become a success in the West.

BBC Four: Despite those changes the documentary shows just how vast the gap was between the East and West...
MT: They were still very much stuck in the culture of the old ways. The institutions in the Soviet Union were only just being set up to deal with commercial enterprises. It actually took a few smart individuals such as our Mr Belikov. What struck me was how quickly they took up the game of capitalism and managed to play the different Western companies off each other in quite an audacious way. They were very open about the fact that basically, they were being complete sharks.

BBC Four: How did you approach structuring the film?
MT: It became very much the story of these four or five characters and that's very much the way we tried to play it - almost making them larger than life. You've got Robert Stein who almost became the fall-guy character; then there's Henk Rogers, who's the very smart, quick-moving American; you've got Belikov whose appearance is almost akin to a James Bond villain but ends up driving around San Francisco with his mate Henk Rogers. Finally there's Alexey Pajitnov, the guy who invented the game.

BBC Four: Considering the slightly shady business shenanigans that went on, was it at all difficult to get these people to talk?
MT: Alexey is a very unassuming guy. He likes the fact that the game is so well known but he's not really all that bothered by personal gain or fame. He had to be persuaded to get involved. You can imagine what it's like. He invents a game almost 20 years ago and it's the only thing people want to talk to him about even though he's still a professional games designer. He's had a lot of attention over the years but this was almost too much for him. Once he got into it I think he was very pleased.

Obviously someone like Henk Rogers was only too happy to talk to us because he becomes the kind of cowboy hero of the piece. Interestingly the same was true of Robert Stein. He doesn't come off that well from the wheeling and dealing that went on but was very open about his role. He has a very philosophical you win some, you lose some attitude.

Belikov was a much harder nut to crack. We didn't know we were filming with him until we got on the plane to Moscow and I'd had a lot of negotiations with his lawyer. The fear was that the government in Russia still has a lot of the same figures who were around at that time and for him to speak out about his role was a big deal - he was putting his head slightly above the parapet even now. He was tricky but once he said yes he was very open and friendly and told us the whole story. I'd imagined he'd be very guarded. Obviously his interview was in Russian so I hadn't a clue what was going but I could see from the translator's face that it was going very well!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Model Train Layout DVD preview "The Black Diamond Railway"

Visit www.toytrainsontracks.com to see more photos and video clips. This video is loaded with exciting model train action and construction techniques! See beautifully detailed scale engines, freight trains, and passenger trains from various manufacturers including MTH, Lionel, 3rd Rail and Atlas, operating on this magnificent 32' x 12' O-gauge hi-rail layout, The Black Diamond Railway. Learn about its design and how it was built so you can build and have a layout like this of your own! This video is in high quality widescreen format and is 73 minutes long. (more)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

CUPICtv Unexplained Phenomenon in the Air 3

Okay, I posted a series of videos that were test of CG FX for our upcoming CUPICtv series. Clearly in the description and the opening titles it states this. But there are idiots who don't read. I never said that these were real UFOs... If I had real videos of UFOs, I wouldn't post them in a stupid montage with production music.

Well here is video number three from way back February.

From the main description: More images of CG UFOs created for the upcoming CUPICtv web episodes.