Adding a text with ImageMagick

This one-liner might be helpful if you need to add a text over an image on its right-bottom corner, according to its EXIF data:


convert your_original_file.jpg -auto-orient -fill white -undercolor black
-pointsize 100  -gravity SouthEast -annotate +0+5  " your_text "
your_modified_file.jpg

Credits to Maurizio.

Shortening 17 years

Taking the idea from this post, I list here an unordered selection of nontrivial facts regarding the last 17 years of my life (1994-2011).

  • Screwed up at least four relationships;
  • got a MsC degree;
  • established three companies;
  • visited four continents (yes, me too); :)
  • became father;
  • wrote and directed a short film

…and I still listen to Drake too much.

Simple hints for novice directors

I’m not a real film director but life is strange and I have written, produced and directed a very short film – we’re still editing it, I’ll keep you informed about its next step. :)

There is a lot of good advice on the Internet: let me add here a few naive hints. :)

  • I had just one day to shoot so I previously wrote a detailed script and created many tables that group takes (with their length and the like) in scenes, scenes in sets etc.: it won’t be enough but it helps. Of course, during the day, I changed things – and their order – a few times but a film is a project, right? Your film crew is like a team (twelve people in my case) and I’m an engineer in real life so being a producer/director is not that far from being a project manager. :) I supposed that eleven hours would have been enough: I was wrong. It took fifteen hours, and you can’t stop the sun, of course. :) But we completed what I had planned: imagine what would have happened without a good schedule.
  • Even a simple make-up requires more than half an hour for an actress and a few minutes less for an actor: that’s a lot of time that you have to count in your time table. The setting up of the camera and the sound take time too but these are easy to understand.
  • Special effects: that’s post production, of course, but try to keep the number of VFXs as low as possible.
  • Find a good cinematographer: he helped me more than what I’d have expected from a DOP… being smart, fast and creative is essential. :) Your two arms are, first, the DOP and, later, the Editor. :)
  • The story is the core but a good camera, lights, location and many other things can make the difference: they are not cheap but if you want to try to be admitted to some festival around the world, even if you are not a real producer, I’m sorry but you have to spend a bit of money. :)

Then, don’t forget a few rules taken from a previous post. :)

36 hours

  • four flights;
  • an interview for a TV channel;
  • a speech during a street protest;
  • another interview, in English, for a Swiss German newspaper;
  • one more video interview for a web channel;
  • a talk in a conference;
  • a bunch of new friends and an incredible ghost town, among other things. :)

Pentedattilo

Filminute 2011 critics

Filminute is the International One-Minute Film Festival and for its 2011 edition, I’ve got a deal with them: writing twentyfive “short but tweet” sized reviews, one for each candidate.

I’ve watched all of them: the quality clearly increased since the previous edition. It has been hard to choose a candidate to vote for… and I suppose it’d be even harder to join them next year. :)

My rules to find my candidate are:

  1. Be humble: don’t try to do things your budget can’t afford.
  2. Be original: don’t use third-party works; plot/sound/music/dialogues/whatever must be yours.
  3. Be impressive: writing, directing and editing are the core of Filminute.
  4. (optional) Show me a bit of love: violence is not surprising anymore.

These are the reviews:

  • Adventure Girls III. It’s a great candidate but a lot of blood is not easy to get and, due to Sailor Moon, it failed my 2nd rule.
  • Aftermathematics. Perhaps it’s me but I didn’t get it and I didn’t like it either. The last take is too long too.
  • At the Opera. That one made me cry. Its music has a problem with my 2nd rule but I can close an eye. Two puns, sorry. :)
  • Bunny vs. The sweet iron cat. Did they really use Times New Roman? I’m too old for these 3D animations or the like. :)
  • Cara o Sello. The girls are pretty but the first take is too dark and the noise of the coin doesn’t follow its twisting.
  • Chit Chat: the more I watch it, the more I like it and that’s even true for its yin-yang brunette. :)
  • Dans l’ombre: frankly, I didn’t understand the reason of this French “hommage” to M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder.
  • Dot in the line is a funny short: there are joggers in the background at its 48th second… additional turtles there? :)
  • Evil weed: that’s what violence is… inseparable from civilization as we know it; we can even imagine it in plants.
  • Family portrait is the long take I like most: no dialogues, no music, just the saturated air of a daily horror. Great.
  • Foolproof has the best title and credits design. The light on the man is so different and the voice is a little too fast.
  • Garbage: after the well-known trunk shot, at its 38th second we have something closer to a… dumpster shot, indeed! :)
  • Grassy Knoll Edge: two dudes on a riverside are brainstorming about movies… until “pet porn” comes to their mind. Deal! :)
  • Hamburgz: a surreal story with a very interesting way of telling it. The music literally drives this filminute. Bravo. :)
  • Honfoglalas: I liked a couple of takes of the cars and their wheels but, unfortunately, that’s it.
  • Level 13. A monster lives in a UK multi-floor parking deck: is it a long-term drawback of a wrong-side driving country? :)
  • Loop has tricks of all kind: many of us think it’s the beast to beat. That’s for sure a Top 5 candidate.
  • Masks and mirrors is definitely a candidate that showed me some love, as I was asking for: we have a great Dad here.
  • Naufrago: a seashore wave puts on the sand a bottle of wine and a castaway with a corkscrew finds it. What a lucky day! :)
  • Never thought has an original location and I felt like him many times. Though its usage is against my 2nd rule, Bach rocks. :)
  • No man’s land has the greatest monologue of this edition and one of the best sound editing. The noise of a fly is a classy touch.
  • Oblivion has 30 takes if I’m not wrong. I still can’t find any mistakes and I should learn from its mid-part editing.
  • Rêverie. Very good idea. The smile of the girl at the 37th second is worth the filminute. I liked the little Ronaldinho too. :)
  • The days before that. I think they used old tapes… being sly as foxes. :) That is a good idea but it failed my 2nd rule.
  • The Fallen. Hat off. Its quality is something in between real movies and TV prods. Isn’t it closer to a trailer than a filminute?

My top 5 candidates, in alphabetic order, are:

  • Hamburgz
  • Loop
  • Masks & Mirrors
  • Oblivion
  • Rêverie

It has been very hard to choose my winner: I used a single round-robin tournament within my top eight favourite films and while waiting for the official winner, I can announce that my winner is Rêverie. Congratulations to Jaro Minne. :)

On Yeti Tracks

A summer ruled by blue mood is not the right thing to turn me into a hungry reader so “On Yeti Tracks” is the only short novel I can write a few lines about. What I liked most of this pleasant typical Chatwin story, with his unique mix of searching and telling, was the beginning: from Sydney, he called his wife up in Boston, asking her “to meet me in Nepal”. Who of us could have such a call? And who has a wife ready to accept it?