Watching independent film rather than mainstream cinema

When I saw the Wired headline below I was happily going to say that I haven’t been to see a film at the cinema in years but that isn’t strictly true. As you have seen from my blog I have been an active appreciator of independent films. I was at FIFAD earlier this month and I was at the Montagne En Scène a few months ago. I have been to a few film screenings at the Graduate institute among other places.

I have been to see quite a few films this year
I have been to see quite a few films this year

I love watching good films and I love going to the cinema but at the moment there isn’t a single mainstream film that I want to see. Every single film is filled with CGI and fantasy and as I have joked about why would I spend 25 swiss francs on a film ticket to go to a film screen at a specific time when I could watch youtube gameplay videos and discover the story at the same time as the youtuber.

Last week I decided to stop my netflix subscription for two reasons. The first reason is that the content is crap. As they have a selection of films that have recently been shown at the cinema there is nothing that makes me think “That’s what I want to spend the next 90 minutes of my life watching.

Imagine if Netflix showed more extreme sports, adventure, environmental and other films. Imagine if they showed films that make us dream and aspire to more. Films need to be for other people than sci-fi geeks. They need to be for sports enthusiasts, for people that follow current affairs and for people that live in the real, rather than fictional world.

When I was living in the South West of England I went to the cinema ninety times in 9 months and what burned out was not my passion for the cinema but my ability to watch the same story line over and over again. The lack of creativity and originality is destroying people’s desire to go to the cinema. I have no reason to go to Pathé or other cinema complexes around Geneva because they do not show the films that I want to see. They do not address my niche.

Montagne en Scène, FIFAD and I think the Coupe Icare film festival fulfil my desire to watch films. They cover topics that I am either interested in passionate about.

Les Icares du Cinema 2015 from coupeicare on Vimeo.

Doesn’t the trailer for the film festival make you want to go? Don’t you want to watch people pushing themselves to the limit of their courage and endurance? I watch a trailer for an event like this and I definitely want to go. It fills my desire to challenge myself through the sports I do but also to see beautiful scenery and lanscapes. Why would I want to go and see CGI films when I can see extreme athletes challenge themselves and their equipment to the limits. Watch the video below.

Coupe Icare 2016 from coupeicare on Vimeo.

I watched this video at least twice and you see that whilst hollywood is filling its films with make believe the independent sector is documenting those with a real adventurous spirit. Imagine going to the event for the film festival and staying for the aerobatics.

For years now the film industry has been re-hashing the same content with no appreciation of societal changes. As a result they fail to capture our imagination and our desire to spend money. They need to inject new blood and find new creative directions that will make us want to go to the multiplexes rather than independent events. I enjoy the multiplex experience but the content dissuades me.

A Nonverbal Autism Video Interview

I saw Horyou share a link to Speechless with Carly Fleischmann. This is a Nonverbal Autism Video Interview carried out via typed words on a tablet.  The text is read out electronically. The interview is warm and convivial.

It stands out because it does not use a fast talking or energetic host. The interviewer does not talk, in the conventional sense. They could easily have inter-titles rather than synthesised voice. It is because they show the challenge of this interview that it is interesting. It shows that charismatic fast talkers are not the only people with an opportunity to interview artists. It shows that given the right circumstances anyone can interview artists and that desire and interest are required but that solutions can be found for other challenges. It opens up the world to a diversity of people. Imagine video interviews in sign language for example. There is no reason for a specialist channel not to take on this challenge, to fill this niche.

Three things make this possible: Video production costs have gone down so it is easy to find the budget to record such an interview, technology makes communication for nonverbal people much simpler and finally Youtube makes content distribution to an audience easy. This video has three and a half million views.

I will find more videos like this. I believe that they play an important role in modern society where we believe that everyone should be treated equally, to have equal opportunities. It is too easy to idealise the charismatic radio presenter who has a way with words and forget that charisma can be found in people’s intellect. You see it through the laughter in the interview, you see it in the way the interviewee is so relaxed. It’s a shame that there is just one interview. Imagine it as a weekly show.

Flowing water – a visual experiment

Flowing Water – A visual experiment is a simple one minute video. The first images were filmed at the Arboretum in the Jura and the timelapses show clouds playing above the Jura near La Dôle. La Dôle is where the doppler radar is located. That radar shows rainfall and precipitation so that air traffic controllers can advise pilots of weather conditions.

With the amount of rain that has fallen over the last six or more weeks every river is full of water. As a result of this they are flowing fast and debris can be seen. When rivers flow fast they are fun to watch. The next step would be to capture waterfalls over a period of minutes or hours. If we stopped recording just as the rain stopped we might get interesting results. The peak wouldn’t appear until soon after the rain stopped.

I was lucky with these clouds because they moved quickly from one side of the screen to the other. They also formed and dispersed quickly. As a result I could set the interval to take images every few seconds. I could quickly see the result and adjust. When I filmed the clouds I filmed the ground and the trees as they came in and out of the shadow of clouds, I filmed a tighter shot where you could see the transmission mast and then I pointed to the sky and tried to capture the movement of clouds with blue sky as a backdrop. Some moments are fun to watch.

The Immersive Video market is coming of age

I see this as a good, not a bad thing. It means that 2016 is the year where we can experiment on what content and story types work best for VR. It gives us time to establish workflows and intuitions about what subjects will work in VR and which ones are better left to UHD HDR.

People did speak about how VR is more demanding, how short content currently works better than long form content. I think that adventure sports will fill the demand. Climbing videos are five to ten minutes long. They’re ideally suited for VR goggles because content is usually short and the content is dynamic. Base jumping, rock climbing, windsurfing, kayaking, snowboarding and other sports are well suited to the format.

Immersive videos are coming of age with dozens of headsets being made available. Samsung Gear VR costs 109 CHF, the Homido 79 CHF and the tepoinn around 19 USD. HTC Vive and the Oculus rift in contrast cost hundreds of CHF each and can be driven by one percent of computers currently on the market. (source)

Gopro Omni
The Gopro Omni will be sold for 5400 CHF.

The Gopro Omni, currently available on Pre-order is being launched at 5400 CHF. Contrast this to the Ricoh Theta S, available from about 390 CHF and you see why I settled for the cheaper solution. The Theta S is ideal to have with you at all times to experiment with whereas the Gopro Omni is ideal for facilities to rent out with an experienced camera operator. Software has been written specifically for this hardware solution which will simplify the workflow.

I look forward to when this technology comes of age, when people feel normal about watching certain types of content via VR goggles. I could easily see events where there is a VR goggles experience available. I also see content and goggles being made available at climbing gyms and sports shops to inspire people to make purchases based on the experiences they would like to experience themselves.




Mountain biking is a sport that is growing in popularity. We see that technology is keeping up with the riders. Between suspension, specialist tires and safety equipment the sport has had the freedom to become more adventurous. Bigger jumps, more travel, stronger components all allow the sport to become more extreme.

Usually there are three ways to get to the top of a mountain. The first option is to ride up but with a mountain bike that can be tiring. I have an area where I can mountain bike near home but it’s a 12.7km ride up with a 10 percent grade. It takes two hours to get to the base. I could of course take the car up and cycle around at the top but this requires removing the front wheel and putting the seats down. Another option is to head to specialist resorts where the remontée mécanique are equipped to take bikes to the top of the slope. The third option is to walk up and push the bike.

In this video we see a fourth option. An electric mountain bike. I like the idea of mountain biking this way. I like the notion that the mountain bike will assist with getting up the hill more efficiently. Several times I have cycled up a 10% gradiant for a distance of 12.7 kilometres. With the mountain bike I use it takes 2 hours of almost non stop pedalling. It leaves me with little energy to enjoy going off road at the top. With a flyer I’d let the bike get me to the fun part and then use my own power to play up there.

I won’t buy one of these bikes but the video is interesting to watch.

First World War Via Ferrata and the tunnels dug by soldiers.

For two years I have been doing research to find as much information as possible on the topic of via ferrata. Visiting the via ferratas which date back to the 1914-18 war would be interesting. In this short video recording we see some of the tunnels dug in to the mountain as well as where soldiers would have slept.

Via ferrata is not just a sport to see nice landscapes. Historic exploration is also possible.

The Decelerators

The Decelerators from Mark Slutsky on Vimeo.

An interesting look at life and the moment that people choose to remain in. They say that it’s about time, but for me it’s about a sentiment. It’s about life and how it continues and as everyone else reaches their stop we feel that we are left alone. It is not about solitude but rather about finding the moment that we want to preserve. Not Nostalgia, as the moment is preserved.