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Occasional Journal

Some recent film screenings

February 26th, 2015 Comments off

There have been a lot of opportunities to screen small-gauge films lately. Temple Bar Galleries have hosted two such events this month.

Maximilian Le Cain – Image Turned Down (Super 8mm)

This film has long stretchs of leader and black, cutting to rapid montages of heavily-treated and untreated film – challenging to show!

And David Gatten’s BASE-PLUS-FOG, What The Water Said, Shrimp Boat Log and The Great Art of Knowing (16mm). These were shown on a rented projector from Film Base. I was assistant projectionist on this one, threading the film and loading the reels. Just as well, as the projector was tempermental for the first few minutes.

Categories: uncategorized

The Moving Crib

September 16th, 2014 Comments off

The weather turns cold again and it seems a good time to post this short film from last year. This is the moving crib on Parnell Square; an amazing menagerie of mechanical animals, people and angels. To truly capture the spirit of Christmas I think it is necessary to incorporate a spooky atmosphere and the crib succeeds admirably at this. The automatons are taken out, repaired and arranged every year, in time for a new generation of children to be taken down to the basement where the squeaking gears and cogs compete with distant reverb-laden carols.

A reminder of God's promise never to destroy the world by water again.

Despite the biblical theme, the haircuts and colours clearly come from the early 1960s and these days the children are being taken to see the crib by their grandparents rather than their tv-reared parents. So now, enjoy the clockwork technicolour world of the moving crib!

Categories: uncategorized

Darkroom Photographers Exhibition at the Third Space, Smithfield

August 30th, 2014 Comments off

I went to have a look at the photographs before the end of the exhibition and took in the excellent portraits and some prints of Lutyen’s Memorial Gardens. Here’s a picture of me and my Super 8 optical prints.

Prints at Third Space in Smithfield

Categories: uncategorized

Japan Cinemagraphs

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

I finally got the telecine of the films I shot in Japan. I have used Microsoft’s Cliplet app to make short loops of some of the landscape shots.

Categories: travel

Photo Exhibition @ Block T

July 27th, 2014 Comments off

I’ve just framed two pictures for an exhibition of work from the Darkroom at Block T next Monday. The pictures are optical prints from my film ‘Invocation of Ireland’ [2012].

And here are the details of the exhibition, which runs for two weeks;

Categories: film

How to recover from a WD Live Duo Mirrored RAID

May 7th, 2014 Comments off

These steps are cobbled together from various sources on the web.

  1. Get a USB SATA enclosure. The one I got said it supported drives of up to 2tb, it had no problem mounting a 3tb drive.
  2. Take one of the drives (doesn’t matter which) from the WD Live Duo enclosure and mount it in the new enclosure.
  3. Plug the newly-mounted disk and a second external disk (to recover to) into your Linux box. I just used a Raspberry Pi.
  4. Log in as root
  5. Make folder to copy data into ‘mkdir /mnt/dest’
  6. My spare disk was Ntfs so I needed a driver for that;
    ‘apt-get install ntfs-3g’
  7. Mount your destination disk  -
    ‘mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sda1′
  8. Check your disks with ‘parted -l’ – you should see something like

    1 4624MB  3001GB  2996GB  ext4         primary
  9. Note the drive id above this entry, in my case it was/dev/sdc
  10. start debugfs (note the large sector size setting of 65536)debugfs
    debugfs: open -b 65536 /dev/sdb4
    debugfs: cd /shares/Public
    debugfs: ls
    debugfs: cd ..
    debugfs: ls
    debugfs: rdump Public /mnt/dest/
  11. Handy trick when debugfs is running; ctrl-z to suspend it, ‘bg’ to start it again and ‘disown -h %1′ to detach it from the terminal process
  12. ‘ls /mnt/dest/ | wc -l’ will show updated copies
Categories: code

Photos from the Super 8 festival in Block T

May 5th, 2014 Comments off

Thanks to everyone who took part and everyone who came along.

The mixtape films included the Super 8 Darkroom Student films (Mella/Daniel/Dennis),  ’O Cribs’ & ‘Invocation of Ireland’ (Dennis Kenny),  Trailers (Vivienne Dick), ’Pow Wow’ (Deirdre Mulrooney),  Torso (Una Quigley) and ‘Money Spent At Night’ (Maximilian Le Cain).

‘The End of The Earth Is My Home’ and D1 footage by Alan Lambert with live music by Alan & Junshi on Harp.

16mm and Turntable installation by Fergal Brennan & Sharon Buckley.

Kuchar introduction and films by Willie (Hunter’s Moon) and Daniel Fitzpatrick.

Categories: film, personal

16mm Projection for the Experimental Film Club in the IFI

April 25th, 2014 Comments off

Rehearsing and projecting at the IFI during the week.

Categories: personal

Games of Chance

March 31st, 2014 Comments off

I took these pictures of Roman and Babylonian dice at the Pergammon museum in January.

Although these are from very different time periods, they share a lot in common; the arrangement of the dots on each side, the circles around the dots – they’re basically the same die, thousands of years apart.

It struck me that these dice must have been much in demand, but that they are easier to test than they are to make true. To find out if a die is fair, you simply throw it as many times as you can and record the distribution of results.

To make it fair, you need to pick a geometry to match the number of face you need, carve it as accurately as you can and then keeping tweaking the weights and filling in the holes until it rolls evenly.

Once the die has been corrected, there should be a 1/6 chance of each side showing up. We’d use a chi squared test nowadays to check this;

? (observed – expected)^2/expected

Obviously, the more throws, the closer you get to an even distribution. This remains the most accurate way of testing dice, particularly hand-made dice which may contain eccentricities from uneven weight distribution or face geometry.

But then here’s a chinese die I bought in Burma – this is a different approach to solving the same problem – you spin it. It’s only made of wood, but it should give more random results than a slightly uneven bone die.

Only one way to find out really, I’d rather someone else did the throwing though.

Categories: travel

Printing 3d Models

March 28th, 2014 Comments off

These models are from the short film “Beasts of the Free Enterprise Zone” from 1998. They’ve been printed using a Makerbot2 printer, sanded, filled and given a grey undercoat.


This creature was supposed to have a luminous eye to aid hunting prey in the original film, something I dropped due to the rendering time for volume lighting back in the day. To recreate this effect I overpainted the whites of the eyes with phosphorescent paint from Revel.

It can be hard to work out which areas of white have received the phosphorescent paint and surprisingly it’s easier to do this overpainting in the dark, as the brush and paint pot are also clearly visible.


I bought some bell jars to put the models in, just to increase the taxidermy effect. Maybe I can drop them off at the Dead Zoo some day and have them added to the collection.


Categories: personal