Monday, 22 November 2010

Plastic Bullet contest part 2!

I'm in the favourite submissions for day 2! Take a look:

Fingers crossed :o)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Plastic Bullet contest, which picture to enter!?

Red Giant Software are running a contest to promote their great Plastic Bullet app. I'd love to get my mitts on some of their software, so I've decided to have a crack at it. You don't have to have taken the picture on an iPhone, but you have to have used their iPhone app to process the pic, so I picked a few shots taken on my EOS 500D when in Greece over the summer and treated them, and have a shortlist of pics that I'm uploading here.

Only one picture per person though, so now I have to pick one...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

So... What exactly have I been doing!?

It's been a looong time since I updated my blog, too long. I have a big backlog of stuff to post and I'll be putting it up over the next few days.

In the meantime (on the off chance someone reads this!), why not have a look at my Movember profile and maybe donate a bit too? You can check out pictures of what my facial hair is up to and help me raise money for The Prostate Cancer Charity at the same time!

Oh, and I've put my blog in the Orange Ballonacy race. Not really sure how this works, but I'll put something up especially for it soon too.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Arch House, HDR photograph.

Tony Jones (sound recordist, photographer and occasional cameraman) and I were out experimenting with HDR photography yesterday, here's my results from that:

It's the park side of the Arch House deli in Clifton Village (excellent lunches, by the way!)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Old Tractor

Over the weekend I got to escape Bristol and visit the countryside, having my camera with me I got to spend a bit of time taking pictures, here's some of an old tractor that I'm quite pleased with:

Monday, 31 May 2010

Free "Scribbles" After Effects Project!

I saw a file for purchase on ( that gives a sketched look to footage, and I thought to myself, I could do that!

Here's a video as an example:

"Scribbles" effect in After Effects, turn an footage into a sketch style animation! from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

It's a bit blocky from the compression in the example above, still, if you'd like to use this for your own footage, you can download the project here. Just drop your footage into the "source" timeline, and you're done!

One other thing you'll need is a paper texture of your own, these are easy to make (just scan some paper!), or to find online if you'd like something a bit more exciting :o), just plonk it underneath the other comps and that's it!

If you find this useful I'd love to see what you've done with it, so please let me know.

Friday, 28 May 2010

More pictures!

I've been doing more Photoshop-painting kinda things again, for an upcoming project. I took the text off but one of them may give the game away...

I'm maybe not that great at people!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Nice way to spend an afternoon...

Here is a preview of something we're working on at ALP. It required me to do a bit of painting (in Photoshop and with photo references though!), and that's what I'm putting up here.

What could this be for?

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Photoshop brushes and what I've been up to.

Not posted anything recently, I've been busy at work finishing off our current BBC series, and also squeezed in an "animated comic" for a Teachers TV programme, which I hope to post up soon. In the mean time, here are some stills from it:

It's actually illustrating the story of a boy who I worked with on the Dhag Dheer project (although he's Turkish, not Somalian), and his family's trouble with immigration officers since living here. It's a powerful story.

Slightly less serious, I recently found a lot of really cool, free custom brushes for Photoshop online, and this is what I made playing with them:

It's kinda silly and gory, but, well the blog is called Monsters Are art, what would you expect!?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

I want CS5!

The Rotobrush tool in After Effects looks AMAZING!

Anyway, if you want to help me win it, or have a go yourself then click here.

Awesome, thank you! :o)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Sea Fever

We're putting the final touches to our latest BBC4 series at the minute, it's called Sea Fever and is three one hour programmes telling about the British relationship with the sea over the past one hundred years.

It's shaping up very well, hopefully it will be as well received as the rest of our stuff for the BBC.

Friday, 9 April 2010

More audio generated stuff!

This is a work in progress audio driven video piece I've been working on, the track is called Threshold Consciousness and is by Two.Seconds.Per.Sonar . Not much more to it than that, hope you like it :o)

Updated! Now the full length of the track, but needs a bit of work in the middle still.

Threshold Consciousness Audio-Generated Clip from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Dhag Dheer, complete and online!

Dhag Dheer is a film made in collaboration between Integrate Bristol and the City Academy, Bristol. You can see previous posts about it here.

Well, the final film is online now!

If you'd like to watch it you can go to the Integrate Bristol website, or click here.

I hope you all enjoy it.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Free Tilt-Shift After Effects Project!

I watched Dollhouse (binged rather, I also finished watching it the other day - both series) for the first time the other day, and the first seasons nifty tilt-shift title sequence reminded me I wanted to have a crack at replicating the popular tilt-shift look used here and elsewhere. This is the result of that:

Tilt-Shift Effect (+ free After Effects project!) from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Now, I've seen lots of tutorials about the place to do this, but most of them go about it in a way that to me seems a bit rubbish, that is, they fade the blur in rather than increasing the intensity of the blur. What I've done is create an easily adjustable gradient layer (a pre-comped mask) that controls the amount of blur on your image.

To use the project, import your clip and drop it into the "Footage" comp. In the Depth comp, turn off the focus visibility,  and use this to set up the mask on the layer "Blurred", but don't forget to turn on the visibility for the layer "Focus" again once you're done. Now you should have the tilt-shift effect visible in it's full glory in the "Mini-iser" comp, so you can export your video away!
 I won't go into a full run-down of how it works here, but I'm making the project freely available for you to play around with. I'd love to hear from anyone using it, and maybe even see some examples. If the response is good I might be inclined to throw some more bits up in the future :o)

Oh, and you can download the project here.

Note that I've used the lens blur filter, this is sloooooow to render (should be about a minute to render a second, but maybe my machine isn't too hot these days!), but looks so much better it's definitely worth the wait! Also, in my example, the blur flattens out at a certain point, technically this isn't accurate, but at the level it does this it doesn't really matter, if you don't want to in your own project it's simply a matter of fiddling with the mask feathering.

The music used here is a rough mix of a track called Plateau by the excellent Silver Pyre, check out his music on the website and maybe have a look at some of the other video pieces on here and my vimeo channel using his music. The video has been used by kind permission of Guillermo Soto, check out his stuff on Vimeo too :o)

Monday, 22 March 2010


Decided the book look wasn't for me, so gone back to the old look. For anyone that liked the book, you can see it forever more here:


I've changed it again! I think I'll be sticking with this look for a bit.

Silver Pyre visuals

I posted ages ago about the visuals I've made for Bristol musician Silver Pyre, things seem to be going quite well for him at the minute so I decided to post a bit more about the things I've made for him. These are some high-res stills from one of the visual sets I've made:

That's quite a few pictures, actually... These pictures are all stills from the visual sets I've made for Silver Pyre, and the way that they're generated has had me really thinking, because they're not planned stills, just the coincidences from setting a bunch of keyframes they're almost more like computer generated photographs than illustration pieces. I hope to explore this idea of generating pictures from the unplanned bits of video in the future, hopefully something interesting will come from it.

Here are a couple of the videos that some of these stills come from:

Silver Pyre - Calendar live visual sequence from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

That track is Calendar, and this one is Foghorn:

Foghorn from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

They're 4:3 because that size fills the back wall of a stage better than 16:9 (you can see some of a live performance of his with my visuals here), and they're only reacting to the music roughly as the tracks here are guide tracks (they're part of an upcoming EP release, and at this stage weren't finished), there would be no point having reactions to individual beats, etc when it could well change in the final piece of music, not to mention live performances always having a slight improv element to them! I've always been pretty happy with them though, can't believe it's taken this long for me to get them online!

Monday, 15 March 2010

In Search of the Perfect Loaf

In a quick break from working on our new BBC series, The Story of the Sea, I created the TX card for In Search of the Perfect Loaf:

The programme is quite fun, and it's interesting too. It also features quite a bit of a town I spent time in when I was younger, which was fun (and weird) to work on.

Read a bit more about this programme, here.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Blinking Lights!

More photography based posting, I've been taking pictures of lights out of focus... But bear with me! They look cool! Here are some pics to prove it:

And, I even made a video. Music by my mate Rich, although I wanted to use the track Blinking Lights by Eels, E didn't reply saying it was okay in time...

Blinking Lights from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Macro (ish) photgraphs

I bought a set of screw on "macro" magnifying lenses for my camera, to tide me over until I have a spare few hundred pounds (this alternative cost ten quid!). I'm pretty pleased with the results:


Dinosaurs and pixels, just for fun :o)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Audio responsive video.

I've been playing with making videos that are responsive to audio, here's an initial test:

Foghorn Audio Visual Response Test from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

It works okay with mixed down audio, but I should have the opportunity to do this with a piece of music that's broken into layers, which should give a more dynamic look to this technique.

This track is the first thirty seconds of "Foghorn" by Silver Pyre, who I've done live visuals for in the past and am currently working on a music video with (this isn't it!).


Woo! Been playing with this some more! I asked another musician friend to give me a track they had made but in layers (I mean all the different sounds, not quite sure what the right term is for this!), so I could get a better visual response to the music. Here is the first result of that:

Rich's Track from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

And then a bit more fiddling gave me this:

Rich's Track_3 from Michael Lansdell on Vimeo.

Rich (the musician friend), actually wrote this especially in an evening, I believe he's fiddling with it still so when I get something new off him expect another update!

Monday, 22 February 2010


Ha! I have an IMDB profile! I'm not sure how that came about, but here it is:

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Very exciting post about DVD menus...

At work we recently took on some work for Oxford County Council creating a multi language DVD about the Children's Centres they run. They'd requested that the language you were about to watch the programme in was highlighted from the main menu by highlighting a relevant flag.
The problem with this is that most DVD menus have one colour highlights due to limitations with the hardware and this would obscure a flag, so I had the idea of having all the flags in Black and White as default, and then having them move into full colour when highlighted, by using forced menu screen changes that weren't noticeable to the viewer. The effect is that you it just looks like wherever you have clicked to highlights into colour. The downside for me is that a very simple menu setup ended up like this:

The upside is that the menus looked very nice: