3D Stereoscopic Mania

After the BO success of AVATAR as a stereoscopic 3D film, there seems to be a new virus in town- 3D stereoscopic films galore. All of a sudden the bandwagon effect has kicked in. Everyone wants to make a stereoscopic film, as if stereoscopy technique by itself will guarantee footfalls, not the story.

Admitted, there have been some interesting developments on the 3D stereoscopic front. Although, the theatres capable of 3D exhibition is limited, they have increased in sufficient numbers making it viable for Indian producers from a cost point of view to actively consider this option. Some technological breakthroughs and new techniques have evolved which enable existing 2D films shot with regular film cameras to be converted to stereoscopic imagery. This technique has been around for a while but being used increasingly for the past couple of years. The process is simple – cutting out travelling mattes (rotoscope) of elements and people and then placing these mattes in z depth (or z axis) at different points to create 3D depth. Although this technique is not without its flaws and limitations, it does a reasonable job of giving the illusion of depth. This technique doesn’t however match up to to the real 3D, shot with a stereoscopic camera as it doesn’t resolve actual 3 dimensionality but merely looks at addressing elements and characters in specific planes along z depth.

There is another limitation of this 2D to 3D conversion technique. While shooting an actual stereoscopic film, one tends to use the camera lenses and the angles to envelope the audience to offer maximum 3 dimension immersion. The 2D to 3D conversion technique can merely try to mimic this in its own limited way. Also it seems like an after-thought that films done in 2D being converted into 3D do not offer the same depth and contrast between the foreground and background elements.

To be fair, I have been placing my argument more like a film-maker, technician and a discerning audience. For the masses, in all likelihood the level of immersion is almost the same and they wouldn’t know the difference. Of course, the success of the movie is mercifully still hinged on the story and how engaging the film is for the audience. A case in point is to put our 3D films in historical perspective. We have seen the stupendous success of our first Indian 3D film Chhota Chetan a couple of decades ago. However, subsequent to that the “me too” runner ups didn’t register at all and were a bigger colossal loss, underlining the need for a good solid story as a foundation for the success of the film.

Recently 2 movies have been done using the conversion technique – Alice in Wonderland (partly shot in real stereoscopic) and Clash of the Titans, both did reasonably well at the box office. For me personally, the immersion for the latter was nowhere close to the actual stereoscopic imagery that one would get from the real technique. And the movies worked partly because of the level of technical excellence that had been already put in place by the amazing visuals and graphics. Tim Burton (Director of Alice..) is of course a master storyteller as well and his films generally do well. Alice.. has broken worldwide weekend opening records on its release, a lot of it attributed to the 3D effect and the overall audience curiosity/appetite for a 3D movie has gone up significantly.

To sum it up, doing a 3D stereoscopic film is purely a marketing decision. I strongly feel that if going the 3D route, the films should be planned and shot as per stereoscopic vision at the inception and pre-production level rather than be converted to 3D later on as an after-thought. Then again, whatever the marketing process may have been, if after-thoughts work in raking in the moolah so be it. The Box-office performance is the final yardstick to judge a film’s success.

Chronicling Narnia's Third Adventure

There were reasons to be both excited and nervous about this third instalment of the "Narnia" series, but luckily Michael Apted has made a fun, swashbucking family film.

Peter (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are stuck in Cambridge, England, living with their bratty and selfish cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter). Peter and Lucy long to return to Narnia; Peter has been rejected by the army for his age and Lucy, like many teenage girls, starts to have doubts about her looks. Through a magic painting the three youngsters are teleported to the oceans of Narnia and found by King Caspian X (Ben Barnes), leading a voyage to the Lone Islands. After freeing the people from a slave trader, Caspian, Lucy, Peter and co. have to go eastward to find the seven lost lords and stop a mysterious green mist.

Everything you would want or expect from a fantasy is here: sword fights, dragons, magic, legends, strange creatures, wizards and a quest into an unknown territory. The adventure was light-hearted and there is a great amount of humour. Poulter was excellent as the butt of the jokes as a spoiled child who is overwhelmed by his surroundings. He had a particularly good acting relationship with Keynes and Simon Pegg, the voice of Reepicheep. Pegg was able to inject some really comic energy as Eddie Izzard did with the role.

The action was well handled and the special effects were decent. Because of the smaller forces involved and the sea-faring adventure there are no massive battles between large armies but more smaller, quicker skirmishes. The final battle was very much like the final action scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, a small group of people fighting a sea creature. The costumes were very similar to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films and the filmmakers seem to be influenced by the "Harry Potter" series and the glowing sword from Lord of the Rings.

Apted paces the film quickly with no moments of boredom to settle in. The voyage to a number of strangle desert-like islands was very similar to classic adventure films like Jason and the Argonauts. The dry islands were very similar to the Greek islands. It has an old-fashioned style and feel, but that is not necessarily bad -- in fact it's pretty good. The cinematography and set designs are bright and colourful and this is a perfect film to take children to.

Whilst Keynes and Henley are a little unsteady at first in the film, they grow into their roles and becoming more assured. Barnes drops the Spanish accent from Prince Caspian and it helps him improve his performance. He was much more comfortable in the role and Caspian has grown up as character. He was more believable as a king then as a young prince.

A problem with "Voyage" is there is a lack of a compelling antagonist. This film is more about the "quest" than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian and there is a fresh amount of mystery, but the mystery has a lacklustre conclusion.



Writing a CV or resume is not as easy as it seems. Trust me, been there, messed that up! So before you start, here are 7 things you definitely want to avoid:

1. Apply for a job you can’t do: It’s not a lottery. Employers know exactly what they are looking for so don’t think you can outsmart them.

2. Your mission statement should help sell you not dump you: Employers are interested in how you can help them – NOT the other way around. Keep it short and sweet – focus on what you bring to the job position and how you will help the company grow.

3. Use the same CV for every job you apply for: Whether it’s a couple of lines or the entire thing, make the changes. Customize your CV before each interview – use words pertaining to that particular job but make sure it sounds natural and not “googleized”. It makes a difference.

4. The guessing game; skip it: The minute your interviewer looks at your CV, they should know how you will add to their company. Skip the flowery language ‘coz they aren’t interested.

5. Your past is not your past: Experience makes a difference. Figure out what you’ve learnt and how you can apply that to your new job. Think about it – if you never cut a cabbage, how will you make a salad?

6. The cover letter: Don’t take the name literally. It should accompany your CV not introduce it.

7. Be careless: Check it. Double check it. Triple check it. Grammar, typo’s etc. etc. could be what keeps you from getting that “perfect” job.

And that’s pretty much the broad idea. If you aren’t sure about your CV, go to someone who has the experience in writing one. There’s no shame in asking ‘coz your job depends on it.

The art of Madhubani painting

The art of Madhubani painting, is the traditional style developed in the Mithila region, in the villages around Madhubani, Bihar. Madhubani literally means a forest of honey. This style of painting has been traditionally done by the people of the region basically the women, though today men are also involved to meet the demand. The work is done on freshly plastered or a mud wall. For commercial purposes, the work is now being done on paper, cloth etc.
The paintings are basically of a religious nature. They are done in the special rooms in their homes (in the pooja room, ritual area, bridal room.), on the main village walls, etc., for ceremonial or ritualistic purpose.
Themes of the Maithili painting of Bihar revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga and Saraswati. The natural themes that are used include the Sun, the Moon and the religious plants like tulsi. One can also find paintings based on scenes from the royal courts and social events, like weddings. If any empty space is left after painting the main theme, it is filled up with the motifs of flowers, animals and birds or geometric designs.
Traditionally,this art was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, at that time remote people were unknown to written skill so they put their thoughts and imagination in those paintings.
I wrote this 'ARTICLE' on my basic knowledge gained from my hometown "Madhubani".I loved this art on cloths & walls, its the great craft of Mithila.