This would be Naoko, amazing artist, prized ZPZ technician, and dart wizard. Wowweee!

09:41 am, BY zpzwatercooler


Hot on the heels of our last huge post, we’ve dialed down the production value a nub. For your consideration, Raphy Thompkin sings the Monday Night Football song

04:08 pm, BY zpzwatercooler


Finally! I been itchin’ for the show to air so I can share these.

Here’s some of the extra timelapse and B-roll shot by myself and Brian Griffo in the Desert for Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Thanks to the crew and everyone involved in helping me get the gear out there and finding the time to do shots like this.

Lone wolf, haunting desert music by Josh Homme. Listen for some great Queens of The Stone Age Stuff on tonight’s show too! 

***Also Keep your eyes out for freaky, hand-held video projector loops courtesy of Naoko Saito, Raph Tompkin and Christian Mazza

12:34 pm, BY zpzwatercooler[34 notes]


Ok, So maybe there is no production value to this. Just wanted to reiterate how fun the job can get. While making radical TV out in the U.S. Desert, Nick Brigden and I got a chance to Jam out at the studio after all the tequila had been poured. Prepare yourself for messy chords, broken solos and overmodulated audio. This is what happens when Tony leaves for the night….

05:57 pm, BY zpzwatercooler[1 note]


We went ahead and nabbed a GoPano. This is a test using it on my trusty 60D. Also a couple shots with the Dot 360 (prototype) I wonder if we will have some kind of new Bourdain venture to try it out on…… hmmmmmmmm………..

Editing by Christian Mazza

12:43 pm, BY zpzwatercooler[5 notes]


5 hours into my brief sojourn with the ABNR gang into Cajun country, and I’m already gripin’. This time, your pernicious VFX Cherub is having a bit of headache getting a tripod screw to thread into the stage zero dolly. Pretty sure we got a good shot out of it. 

Video by the wonderful Diane Schutz

10:21 am, BY zpzwatercooler[2 notes]

Round n’ Round

Hi readers. Check this out:

(image: Engadget)

I saw this cool toy by Kogeto a couple weeks ago. First time doing a kickstarter throw-down, but look at at this thing! Awesome huh? I already see myself showing the folks around the new apartment, and making groovy, “That 70’s Show” pot circle parodies with my friends.

Tell me this, gang……

1. What would you do with a nifty, snap on device like this? 

2.(Disclaimer: I’ve already researched this question and have found some interesting solutions on the web, I wanna know what YOU think)

What do you guys want to see in a pro-style, HD-enabled version of a 360 setup? How would you design it? 

'til next time

11:17 pm, BY zpzwatercooler


In my endless quest to make sure we’re all busy and earning our keep, I ask the Design and GFX staff just what the hell they are up to. The short answer is that they are all busy and I am annoying them.

01:47 pm, BY zpzwatercooler[1 note]

02:49 pm, BY zpzwatercooler[8 notes]

Depth Maps for Recorded Imagery

*Above post is the video reference

So. Here’s one. You may have played with lens blur before in AE and noticed the depth map twirl-down. Other tutorials have gone through how to use this with gradients and even bringing in depth data from 3d applications to add realism to your CGI stuff.

*** to the uninitiated: a depth map works like an alpha channel, where luminance values inform the compositing software. While alpha info is traditionally meant to carry transparency data, in the world of Depth Map, lightness and darkness indicate distance from camera. Among other things, you can use this data to “pull focus” on the backend of a project.

I am reviving an effect I worked on for a Bourdain episode a couple years ago. We didn’t end up using it, but I think we’ll make another go of it this year.

The goal is to make a decent, hand-painted Depth Map and use it in a handheld shot. 

The shot in the above post was accomplished by first taking a sample frame from each stage of the pan, and stitching them together in Photoshop, just like a panorama. The it gets tricky.

In Photoshop, you start make new layers based on selections from the panorama. Flat objects like the building or bridge are assigned levels of gray based on their distance from camera. Things with gradated depth like the sky or a building from an angle should receive a gradient fill. You don’t have to commit to the grayscale value of all the objects until you have a layer selection for everything. 

Once you have selected and cut everything apart, the fun starts. Pick the furthest thing and make it black (or gradate to black), then pick the closest thing and make it white. Now, futz with everything and make it the right shade of gray. I wish there was a better way to say it, but that’s the procedure. The good thing is that if you import this PSD into After Effects as a comp, you can adjust levels in After Effects as you start previewing the shot.

To make the panorama match the handheld, just track the Pano-Depth-Map to the video of the pan. Turn off the layer’s visibility and select the Map from the Lens Blur effect menu. Tool around with saturation, blur level and focal distance to make everything look super tiny! Cool!

02:33 pm, BY zpzwatercooler[2 notes]

TimeLapse Enough At Last

Dolly Blog

It is 12:50 in the morning and I am at Bar Reis in Brooklyn. I’m holding myself to two beers, as I’ll be at the office in a few hours gearing up for the No Reservations U.S. Desert shoot. I kissed the girlfriend girl goodbye and headed here because if I take a two hour nap, for even a moment, I will become a thoughtless zombie that forgets to bring his wallet.

Read More

03:26 pm, BY zpzwatercooler[2 notes]


A custom built projection rig by Raphael Tomkin and Christian Mazza (our new Graphics Assistant). Try to guess what this will be used for next week when the crew goes to the dry, barren desert.

01:52 pm, BY zpzwatercooler[7 notes]