For twenty years, novelist Cormac McCarthy (The Road, No Country for Old Men) has been an unofficial "editor-at-large" for the Sante Fe Institute, where he is a trustee. McCarthy has helped numerous scientists improve the writing in their technical papers about theoretical physics, complex systems, biology, and the like. In the new issue of Nature, theoretical biologist Van Savage and evolutionary biologist Pamela Yeh present a distillation of McCarthy's advice on "how to write a great scientific paper." I think the suggestions are applicable to any kind of non-fiction writing. Here are a few of the tips, from Nature:
Read the rest
• Use minimalism to achieve clarity. While you are writing, ask yourself: is it possible to preserve my original message without that punctuation mark, that word, that sentence, that paragraph or that section? Remove extra words or commas whenever you can.
• Decide on your paper’s theme and two or three points you want every reader to remember. This theme and these points form the single thread that runs through your piece. The words, sentences, paragraphs and sections are the needlework that holds it together. If something isn’t needed to help the reader to understand the main theme, omit it.
• Keep sentences short, simply constructed and direct. Concise, clear sentences work well for scientific explanations. Minimize clauses, compound sentences and transition words — such as ‘however’ or ‘thus’ — so that the reader can focus on the main message.
• Don’t over-elaborate. Only use an adjective if it’s relevant. Your paper is not a dialogue with the readers’ potential questions, so don’t go overboard anticipating them.
Topher Grace, creator of the famed Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back that recut the prequels into a single film, has now released a trailer that combines material from all ten Star Wars films. I'm going to send this to the two people I know who have never seen a single Star Wars movie. Not that they will bother to watch it, of course.
Ralph Jay Triumfo's official title for this piece is "1% Guitar Skills 9% Chopsticks Skills 90% Editing Skills."
Read the rest
In this BBC News clip, a child seems to materialize just behind the woman speaking. WTF. Unfortunately this isn't likely a fun glitch in our simulated reality but rather something with much more insidious potential. From WAXY:
If you watch the woman’s face at the same time the boy appears, you can see her expression morph into a smile.
This technique is known as a Morph Cut, a feature added to Adobe Premiere Pro in 2015, intended to smooth transitions in interview footage, removing unwanted pauses, stutters, and filler words (“like,” “um,” and “uh”) without hard splices and cuts.
The results, when used appropriately in interview footage without a changing background, can be nearly seamless.
It’s likely that BBC News used a morph cut in the clip above to tighten up the interview without changing its meaning. But it’s also ripe for abuse and fully capable of altering the meaning of an interview, and in many cases, undetectable.
Another demonstration of the technology:
VanTassel2 posted a fantastically weird series of ridiculous horror and science fiction B-movies with all appearances of humans edited out. Above, is the MST3K favorite "Attack of the Eye Creatures" (1965), without people. Below, "Curse of Bigfoot" (1976) aka "Teenagers Battle the Thing" and "The Mad Monster" (1942), without people.
(via Weird Universe)
Eclectic Method writes:
Read the rest
I made a house music video remix using only sound effects clips from the Indiana Jones movies. The sound design is made by Ben Burtt who also made the iconic sounds for Star Wars. So some of the sounds are the same as the Star Wars SFX Remix I did. You might notice how much a plane engine from Indiana Jones sounds like a laser from Star Wars. Whilst making this I also noticed the same punch sound occurring in 3 of the Indy movies. I'm pretty sure Han Solo and Indiana Jones' fists make the same sound.
And if you don't know, now you know. (The Hood Internet)
Read the rest
2 Pac, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Afrika Bambaataa, Audio Two, AZ, Beastie Boys, BG, Big Pun, Biz Markie, Black Rob, Black Sheep, Blackstreet, Bobby Shmurda, Boogie Down Productions, Busta Rhymes, Cali Swag District, Cam'ron, Chamillionaire, Chance The Rapper, Clipse, Common, Craig Mack, Cypress Hill, David Banner, De La Soul, Dead Prez, Digable Planets, Digital Underground, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, DJ Kool, DJ Quik & Kurrupt, DMX, Doug E Fresh, Dr. Dre, Drake, Eazy-E, Eminem, Eric B. & Rakim, Funky 4+1, Gang Starr, Geto Boys, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, GZA, House of Pain, Ice Cube, J-Kwon, Jadakiss, Jay Electronica, Jay-Z, JJ Fad, Juvenile, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill, Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys, Lil Kim, Lil Troy, Lil Wayne, LL Cool J, Ludacris, Madvillain, MC Shan, Meek Mill, MF DOOM, Missy Elliott, Mobb Deep, Montell Jordan, MOP, Nas, Naughty By Nature, Nelly, Nicki Minaj, Notorious BIG, NWA, Ol Dirty Bastard, Outakst, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Petey Pablo, Pharaohe Monch, Public Enemy, Puff Daddy, Quad City DJs, Rich Boy, Rick Ross, Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Run-DMC, Salt N Pepa, Scarface, Schoolly D, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Skee-Lo, Slick Rick, Snoop Dogg, Soulja Boy, Sugarhill Gang, T La Rock, T-Wayne, T.I., Terror Squad, The Fat Boys, The Fatback Band, The Fugees, The Game, The Pack, The Pharcyde, The Roots, Three 6 Mafia, Tone Loc, Tyga, UGK, Usher, UTFO, Warren G, Whodini, Wreckx-N-Effect, Wu-Tang Clan, Ying Yang Twins, Young Gunz
Few are scandalized by the BBC adding sound effects to documentary footage, as it's somewhat obvious and the intent is to bring the viewer to a truth that might otherwise be obscured. A lot of other storytelling magic is at hand, though, not all of it so ostentatious. Simon Cade illustrates some of the techniques, among which editing is among the most powerful. Read the rest
"To The Right" by Candice Drouet. With scenes from:
The Shining / The Darjeeling Limited / Holy Motors / Inherent Vice / Jackie Brown / Juno / Drive Ex Machina / Delicatessen / American Psycho / 2046 / Rebel Without A Cause / Little Miss Sunshine 1984 / The Neon Demon / The Big Lebowski / Collateral / Donnie Darko / Bronson / Catch Me If You Can Marie-Antoinette / It Follows / Lost River / Trainspotting / Still Alice / Cape Fever / Amelie Poulain The Grand Budapest Hotel / Blue Is The Warmest Color / Nightcall / Only God Forgives On the road / Boogie Nights / One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest / Saint-Laurent Reservoir Dogs / Wild Tales / O’ Brother, Where art Thou ? / Fight Club / Black Mass Twelve Years A Slave / Memento / Hail, Caesar ! / Upstream Color / La La Land
Planet Earth is not journalism, and the BBC is open about the various tricks and techniques it uses to create compelling stories from wildlife footage. So Pohjankonna Oy's video retiming these jumping birds isn't really a gotcha. But it sure is cool to see how the sausage is made. Read the rest