Tag Archives: video

Take the book about movie stunts along on your mobile phone wherever you shoot action scenes

2018-01-22

The book Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts was originally published for the Apple iPad only. The reason was that it was the only ebook system that allowed video clips inside a book at the time. Well, times have changed since the original edition was published, and so has the book, which is now available for smartphones, tablets and computers.

Stunts, Scenes and Safety, book content pagesBook pages on a smartphone.
The concept for the book had been brewing in H-P Virkki’s head, who is an experienced professional stuntman, for a long time. When the iPad started the tablet revolution and Apple introduced the iBooks Author multimedia ebook design software, he knew his vision could be turned into reality. And so we did.

The one thing with Apple is that no matter how great its products and tools are, everything tends to work on Apple devices alone. Since many movie fans and aspiring stuntmen kept asking for the book to be made available for smartphones, Android tablets and PCs, we created a mobile edition of the book that works on practically all mobile devices.

In addition to the iBooks edition, Stunts, Scenes and Safety is also available as an EPUB and Kindle book. It means that exactly the same content can be viewed on a smartphone, tablet or computer, only the layout is different.
Stunts, Sccenes and Safety, book layout on a tabletBook layout on a tablet.
The book is available in all major online bookstores that sell ebooks, for instance:

Amazon.com
Apple iBooks (the iBooks edition comes with embedded video clips – be patient with the download)
Barnes & Noble
Google Play Books
Kobo

If you get your book from the Amazon Kindle Store, download the Kindle reading application from the app store. If you download your book from the Apple store, make sure you have iBooks app on your mobile device. Other bookstores let you read ebooks in a variety of apps. For instance, FBReader, Aldiko, Kobo and Google Books are popular reading apps.

The author of the book, stuntman and stunt coordinator H-P Virkki, has performed in many movies and he has trained actors, athletes and stuntmen at dedicated courses, universities and theaters.

More about the book here.

Below a couple of samples from the iPad edition of the book.
stunts, scenes and safety book on ipad
stunts, scenes and safety - ipad screen shot

The Library short film is for book lovers

2018-01-10

Even before the television show The Librarians, many movies and shows have used libraries as an environment for scenes in the story. Few stories, however, tell about a library or take place in a library. Jason LaMotte’s short film The Library is a tasteful story set in a beautiful English library.
The Library, short film
You can watch the 20 minute short film The Library here:

Jason LaMotte tells that all the interior scenes were shot at Bedales School Library in Petersfield, England. The library was built in 1921. Exterior scenes were shot at the Tonbridge School in Kent.

Two poems in the short film are from a play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostrand, and from Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

A Behind the Scenes video is also available for those who want to see hoe the short film was made. Watch The Library – Behind The Scenes video below:

Via Actualitte.

The new Helsinki central library features strong Nordic elements, and follows global trends

2017-12-24

When new libraries are designed, especially in large cities across the world it is remarkable how similar concepts are features in the design: large open spaces, areas where visitors can relax with or without books, cafes, music rooms, in other words a place that invites residents to be together. Finland’s capital Helsinki will get a new central library in December 2018, and the design features these contemporary concepts, but also strong Nordic flavors in its architecture.

Helsinki central library, Image by ALA architects
The new central library is being constructed in the heart of Helsinki, in a prestigious location next to the Parliament House, the central railway station, and other key buildings. A fairly large space in the city center was recently vacated from railway use (old maintenance and repair halls were moved away from the city center), and a number of modern buildings have been, or will be built into this space.

The new library is one of these modern buildings that will be closely inspected by all residents of Finland as well as by all travelers who visit the capital.

Here is a description of the library from the architects:

The key concept of the design is the interplay between the building’s three floors. The public plaza in front of the building continues inside, merging with the public spaces of the ground floor. This busy, constantly updated floor with a multipurpose hall, a restaurant and a movie theater, is suitable for quick visits and walkthroughs. The traditional serene library atmosphere can be found on the top floor—a calm area floating above the busy city center, offering unobstructed views to the surrounding cityscape.

The video below shows you around the virtual building (the real building will be ready in December 2018).

The architects who designed the Helsinki Library represent ALA, an architect firm based in Helsinki. ALA is run by its founders Grönholm, Nousjoki and Woolston, and employs 36 architects, interior designers, students and staff members, representing 12 nationalities.

If you are planning to visit Helsinki, take a look at a travel guide that shows you the best sights, neighborhoods, things to do, and events in the city.

Via The Journal of the American Institute of Architects.

A book about movies isn’t complete before it shows the action in video segments

2017-10-30

When professional stuntman H-P Virkki decided he is going to write a book about the work of stuntmen, he also decided that it would have to include video clips that show the action. He had to wait for the ebook technology to catch up with his vision, but once Apple had introduced the iBooks Author publishing tool, the long process of creating the book could begin. The exciting result is a available as an ebook Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts.

Tung Bui, stuntman. From book Stunts, Scenes and Safety
For a publisher, H-P Virkki’s vision for a book that comes with video clips is an ambitious one, since plenty of work is required to get all the pieces fit together. The distribution of the book must be managed as well, because delivering an ebook with a large file size and video content is not a trivial thing. Ebooks created with iBooks Author could be delivered via Apple iBooks Store, so there was at least one global distribution channel for the book.

Later, the book was also converted to EPUB and Kindle formats in order to reach wider audiences.

H-P Virkki rehearsing stunts at a course
The second key theme of the book – in addition to the introduction to the work of stuntmen– is educating young movie lovers about the requirements movie business sets for aspiring stuntmen. The book has plenty of valuable tips for anyone who is thinking of squeezing into movies.

Writing a book is one thing, but filming segments that actually show some of the key concepts of a book is a completely different thing. How can a writer create video segments for a book? Since H-P Virkki is a professional in the movie industry, he knew what he had to do in order to capture the film material he wanted for his book.

Here is an article by H-P Virkki where he tells how he created the movie segments for the book Stunts, Scenes and Safety.

H-P Virkki at Stage 32.

More about the book. download ebook: Stunts, Scenes and Safety

How to restore a book damaged by water to its former glory

2017-10-28

For paper books, water is a dangerous element. If a book gets wet, nothing will restore it to the same condition as it was before the damage was done, but it is possible to get quite close. Conservation experts at the Syracuse Library have produced a video that shows how a book can be saved.

saving a wet book by Syracuse Library
The tools required for saving a book should be easily accessible at every home (apart from the book press), except for the fan that is not a common household item in countries located in cool regions. What to do if there is simply no fan in the house?

Here is the book rescue video by Syracuse University Library’s Department of Preservation and Conservation.

The next thing related to books that I am going to buy is a waterproof ereader with a case that can take a few bumps and knocks.

Oolipo brings interactive ebooks to smartphones

2017-10-04

Oolipo is an ebook reading application for mobile devices that comes with a dedicated content creation tool. Authors can embed interactive elements into their ebooks, as well as audio and video. Once the new Oolipo ebook is ready to be published, it is delivered via Oolipo bookstore to readers who can view the book on their smartphones and tablets. This is not the first time when interactive ebooks get a dedicated system. What does Oolipo mean for ebooks?

oolipo interactive ebook reading app
Oolipo describes its mission as follows:

“We believe that reading today means watching images, gifs, and videos, listening to audio, sharing and chatting with friends, interacting with characters. That’s why we created an interactive multimedia format for mobile and tools that enable you to create new stories with them.”

Let’s study Oolipo’s proposal for rich multimedia ebooks from two perspectives: A) fiction and B) nonfiction.

A) Fiction. At the moment, all sample ebooks at Oolipo web site are fiction. The general description of Oolipo also focuses on storytelling as the primary focus for the application. If you download a sample ebook to your phone, you will find pages with text, pages with sound effects, pages with animation, and perhaps with a question which direction you want the story to take.

Oolipo is in sensitive zone here. When someone is reading a fictional book, he or she sees the book’s world her own way. Another reader may see it differently. Audio and video elements that are intended to complement the reading experience actually change the world the reader sees in her mind.

B) Nonfiction The natural application for multimedia ebooks is nonfiction and textbooks. They benefit greatly from elements like animation, audio and video. Also interactive elements like questions and answers can be very helpful to readers who are trying to learn and understand something that is new to them.

An obvious example of a remarkable tool for creating and reading rich multimedia ebooks are works created in Apple iBooks Author. It shows how interactive and multimedia elements really have a role in the future of books. Travel guidebooks, for instance, can show more about a destination with rich media elements.

oolipo bookshelf, interactive ebook library on a smartphone

Creating interactive fiction books inevitably brings the role of book closer to games and movies. It is not a bad thing – on the contrary, something new may be invented. The author has many tough choices to make if he or she wants to create a fictional book in Oolipo.

If you want to create an Oolipo ebook, you can apply principles of visual storytelling familiar from movies or illustrated narratives, use audio and voice for atmosphere, and interactive elements. The elements can be images, gifs, videos, sounds and audio files, text, animations, links to websites (or other episodes), and chat messages.

Here is a video that shows how to create stories for Oolipo:

Some day, someone will get this right – maybe it is Oolipo, maybe someone else. It is fascinating to see if we still call it a book or something else.

Choosing the right ereader device for reading ebooks is also a matter of size

2017-08-06

The most popular ereader, the Amazon Kindle, is available in one size – the screen is six inches, but many other vendors are marketing larger ereaders as well. Is larger better? What are the benefits of an eight-inch, or even a 13-inch ereader?
Kobo ereader: reading on a hammock
Let’s compare three ereaders – Sony DPT-RP1, Kobo Aura One and Kindle Paperwhite – that come with different screen sizes. The size differences between these three ereaders are considerable.

The dimensions of the Kindle Paperwhite are: 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″ (169 x 117 x 9.1 mm). It comes with 6-inch display.
The dimensions of the Kobo Aura One are: 195,1 x 138,5 x 6,9 mm. The screen size is 7.8 inches.
The dimensions of the Sony DPT-RP1 are: 8.82″ x 11.9″ x 0.23″ (224 mm x 302.6 mm x 5.9 mm) . Larger than tablets, the screen size is 13 inches.

Somy DPT-RP1 ereader: reading and making notes
So, the first big difference is portability. Are you going to carry the ereader with you? The second difference is the type of ebooks or documents you are going to read on the device. If it is PDF books and PDF documents, or ebooks and magazines with pictures, tables, graphs, the larger the screen is, the better the reading experience will be.

All this and much more is explained and showed in a video by The Ebook Reader. Take a look. Here is the video that shows the 13-inch Sony DPT-RP1, Kobo Aura One and Kindle Paperwhite ereader.

Those ebook lovers who want color displays can get a tablet, but also then, it is a question of size. Personally, I like my 10-inch tablet for ebooks, but most people who read ebooks seem to choose an 8-inch or 7-inch model.

Amazon Kindle ereader fits into a coat pocket

This is a travel writer’s most important tool on the road

2017-06-13

When any professional, for instance, a digital nomad or a remote worker, who is working while traveling, packs for the next assignment or destination, there is always the question if something could be dropped from the travel kit. The number of electronic devices seems to be gradually growing in my travel bag, at least. Which tools are the essential ones to get the job done, if the assignment is to write on the road?
digital nomad working at a terrace near fruit farms of Murcia

Here is the set of key tools for a travel writer according to my experience.

Maps.

Both digital and paper maps are crucial for planning. For navigation on the road I use offline digital maps, but I have good printed map books as a backup.

Laptop.

Most writers type their manuscripts on laptops, and so do I. Nonetheless, it is quite amazing how little laptops have developed if you compare them to tablets and smartphones that have gone so far in such a short time. Where is the touch screen in laptops? Decent battery life? Protective cases for taking them on the road?

Smartphone.

The ultimate communication tool for keeping in touch with collaborators or calling tourist information offices of the world. The camera on the phone is also a very useful and important tool for a writer.

Tablet.

I use tablet a lot for planning (maps, distances between distances, routing) and researching background information on destinations. On the road, it is the in-car navigation device instead of the dashboard GPS. Tablet is probably the first tool that many other travelers drop from their toolset, but in the future, I may even choose tablet and keyboard instead of a laptop.

prepaid SIM cards for internet access
Local prepaid SIM card.

Some travelers rely on Wi-Fi hotspots to get online, but the best way to have Internet access when you need it is to buy a local prepaid SIM card with data plan. Insert the SIM card to your smartphone, 3G/4G Wi-Fi router, tablet or laptop.

Backup disk.

The next backup disk I am going to get is a portable, wireless SSD disk. In the office, I can continue using USB hard drives that can store terabytes worth of data.

Camera.

I write and take photos for books, but even if you wouldn’t take pictures to be published in an upcoming book, camera is a vital tool for a writer. Photographs have many functions: they show how a place looks like, they help a writer to remember details of a place, and they can document objects.

I just realized that paper and pen are not included in the list of key tools. It is very rare that I use the trusted and reliable note taking technology, but occasionally I do. Pen and paper are usually somewhere near to make notes, for instance, during a phone conversation, but they are not vital tools anymore. Another thing I realized is that occasionally I need help. Hubstaff Talent is a service for finding remote talent.

mirrorless SLR digital camera with zoom lens
If I had to choose only one tool from the list above, which one would be the most important for a travel writer? Camera.

Yes, a camera. I am slightly surprised by my choice, but if I had to select only one thing I can take along for the next trip, it would be a camera. By taking a photo, I can document details of things I would have to write down. Overview photos of landscapes and city streets help me remember how a place really was. I can quickly document information boards that highlight the key points of a sight or a protected park. Video clips of local markets, main squares and pedestrian districts remind me of the buzz and feel of the place. A camera is also a handy note taking aid: I can record a video clip with a note to myself. If it is my job to take the photos for a book or an article, those images have to be taken as well.

Naturally, when the time comes to start actually writing, a camera won’t help anymore. But the photos and videos will.

Here is how an author assessed the pros and cons of working with a publisher

2015-10-21

H-P Virkki is a stuntman and stunt coordinator who has written a book Stunts, Scenes and Safety about the skills needed for creating action scenes for movies and home videos. The ebook includes not only plenty of tips for aspiring stunt actors, but also actual video footage on planning and performing stunts on a set.

Stunts, Scenes and Safety was published in April 2015. Recently, H-P Virkki realized that people tended to ask the same questions about his book. We asked the author what the most common question was and what his answer was.

hp virkki at a skate park

H-P Virkki


The most common question is: How did you find a publisher? Since it’s an ebook, would it have been possible to publish it without help?

H-P Virkki: “Yes, it is possible to self-publish an ebook, and hire an editing service to help with the manuscript. For me, it was clear that I wanted to work with a professional publisher.”

“In the beginning, I tried out Apple iBooks Author in order to see whether a multimedia book would really be plausible, and to see how illustrations, text and comics would interact. When I realized it worked all right, I focused on the content and trusted that when the time comes, I’ll find a good partner. Only after the manuscript and video segments were ready, I really started to look for a publisher. After I was convinced that I didn’t want a combination of a printed book and a DVD, I decided not to approach many traditional publishers, but rather look for a digital specialist.”

“Finding a publisher wasn’t actually very hard because for over two years, I had kept a close look on ebook experts who were active in the field. Klaava Media was an obvious number one from the very beginning – not least because they published articles about movies, music and other entertainment in the company blog.”

“The publisher quickly understood my vision, and we started working together almost immediately. I think the main reason was that the publisher found the multimedia aspect of the project visionary, and the movie theme was also down his alley. I just remember that we were both pretty excited because we felt we were doing something new.”

“I really should say a bit more about the benefits of having a professional publisher. It is tremendously helpful to work with a person who has practical solutions and helpful suggestions whenever you are unsure of which way to go. It is also important that someone whose area of expertise is outside your own field keeps asking questions about your own industry. Many things that are obvious to you and your filmmaker buddies are complete gibberish to a normal, balanced reader.”

“In a multimedia book, there is so much to do. You have to design the layout for each book format, take into account all different reading devices, and get the text, drawings, cartoons, links and video clips to work together. I think I was lucky to have a balancing teammate in the project.”


H-P Virkki performs an Aikido excercise at a skate park.

H-P Virkki’s book Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts available now.
download ebook: stunts, scenes and safety

Favorite photos from a travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand

2015-07-17

Writing a book is one thing, but taking all the photographs for the same book is completely different kind of process. When Klaava Media started out the book series Klaava Travel Guide, we decided it would have to be a concept for a visual guide. Information about a destination must be supported by photographs and videos, or even better: visual information is supported by textual information.
travel guide ebook: Pattaya, Thailand, Asia
Lately, we have been working with Erkki Leppänen, the author and photographer of the travel guide The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture. In some book projects, the author or the photographer selects the images that will be published in the book, in other projects, the publisher (a graphic designer) picks up the most suitable photos.

If the objective is to have about 150 photos in the guidebook, how many frames the photographer provides to the book layout process? Based on this and earlier projects, the rough estimate is that there is usually 10 times more photographs than gets picked up to the final book. Naturally, if the photographer or the author has previous experience on producing images for a travel guide, the number of photos delivered to the publisher can be the same as the number of actually published photos. Still, the photographer has probably taken 10 times more photos on location.
download travel guide ebook: Pattaya, Thailand
Video is a different medium, because clips can be cut, pasted and mixed in order to create a lively short film from multiple clips.

In any case, here are a few favorite photographs published in the travel guide The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture.

visitor guide to pattaya, Thai culture

tourist guide book: pattaya, sights

Travel guide book to Pattaya, food and drink

Klaava Travel Guide: Pattaya, Thailand, hotels

travel guidebook: pattaya, beach

ebook travel guide: pattaya, sunset

How Video Segments Were Created for a Book about Movie Stunts

2015-04-28

During the long process of writing the manuscript and directing the video scenes for the book Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts, author H-P Virkki continued working as a stuntman and stunt coordinator. Sometimes, his work in movie business and book writing project were a perfect match. Now, when the hard work of writing is behind him, H-P Virkki shares how two videos included in the book were created.
Graffiti in London Ontario Canada

A graffiti on a street in London, Ontario. This one was published in the book.

Your Move Program

An interesting project came up when I was traveling in Canada. In 2012, a campaign called Your Move intended to inspire Finnish teenagers and younger kids to find the joy of physical exercise. Tung, who plays the leading role in the videos of my book, was actively involved and visible in the project.

A few lucky coincident events happened. An aikido demonstration had been scheduled for the main event of the Your Move campaign, and my old friend Mari Wiklund asked me to consider writing and directing a short promo clip to represent aikido in the event. It was a perfect project for my purposes. I spent a month or so toying with ideas for the clip.

Later, at Aikido Bridge seminar in San Diego in the U.S., I got valuable advice from aikido master Christian Tissier on how to approach kids. His advice changed my mind on what should be shown on the promo video. We ended up leaving out all the knife scenes and baseball bats from the book as well (sorry, Mari).

We filmed the promo clip on a very tight schedule when I had returned to Helsinki.
We had fun during filming, and some of the material also ended up in the section “Whirling Around” in my book. I think the joy of movement can be felt in the short making-of video (watch it) and in the aikido promo clip (view the video). Being on a filming set really relieved my writing anxiety, and the experience was pure flow that I wanted my readers to feel in their own projects.

I also came across a very important contact: Pekka Sipilä He shot and edited the aikido promo clip, and I asked him to participate in my book project as well. Without his professional and always helpful attitude, the process of creating videos for the book would have got stuck in multiple occasions.

rehearsing stunts at a course

Camp Fire workshop was a real life opportunity to see if my ideas really worked – they did!

Whirling around the Camp Fire

The shooting of the video “Whirling Around” was my most profound test and also a point of contact to the main audience. My old aikido buddy Kustaa Ylitalo was one of the main organizers of a large kids’ summer camp called “Leiritulet” (Camp Fire). Kustaa asked me to join the camp for an afternoon session in order to teach stuntwork. I had only one condition: I wanted bring a camera crew with me and another stunt instructor, Tung.

I had already sketched the main ideas for my book, and was excited to see if participants found them interesting.

My teaching approach is pretty much the same – be it a professional actor, an aikido student or in this case, about 20-30 kids. First, I pick out an outcome which is realizable and whose success can be assessed as concretely as possible. Of course, everything we do has to be safe. Then, I have a variety of exercises which I can tweak as the situation evolves. I always want to take everyone’s learning style into account and teach as individually as possible. To be able to do so, I spend quite some time before the session to get to know the students. I also want them to know me.

The day before the camp started, I arrived at Vierumäki to acquaint myself with the group, and their way of dealing with new tasks. I decided to focus on the role of the camera in my teaching, and also I wanted to give everyone a real stunt experience. We were the very last session of a three day long course, and I knew the kids would be a little bit tired. Being last is challenging also because you really want to leave everyone with a good feeling.

So, I chose to be more of a stunt coordinator than a sports coach. I wanted to share my concentration and offer my knowledge and support in a way that would help them if they ever went to a professional filming set. Everything I did with them was “real”. They were immersed in the stuntwork and there was no need for patronizing talk. In my mind, we were on a set and they were just like real stunt performers. My responsibility was to ensure safety (physical and mental) and our common goal was to record good shots. How did it go? When you watch “Whirling Around” video included in my book, I think you get a glimpse of the atmosphere.

Written by H-P Virkki. View his profile on Stage 32.

Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts

Kindle Textbook Creator Ebook App Gets Video and Audio Enhancements

2015-04-21

Amazon Kindle Textbook Creator is a simple, but working PC application for converting PDF books into ebooks that can be read on Fire tablets and Kindle PC applications. The Textbook Creator was launched in January 2015, and now, three months later, Amazon has released an update to the application. The update is important: it lets you embed video clips, audio and pop up images into ebooks.

kindletextbook-video1

We tested the first version of the Textbook Creator, found it useful, and converted two books (Discussions on Electricity and Creo Parametric User Guide) that are on sale on Amazon Kindle Store.

Now, we tried out the new features in the new Kindle Textbook Creator 1.5. Specifically, we wanted to find out how to insert video clips and photographs into books. The results turned out to be a very different from, for instance, Apple iBooks Author.

First, you have to import a PDF book, or open an existing project. Then, you can simply insert any of the following multimedia elements into the book:
• Video: .mp4
• Audio: .mp3
• Images: .jpeg or .png

The Textbook Creator didn’t accept all MP4 files we tried to insert into the book, but we managed to get some video clips embedded. Here is the curious thing: the Textbook Creator shows only a small icon in the position where we inserted a video clip. Once the reader clicks/taps the icon, a video window opens for viewing the film.

kindle textbook creator, video

Klaava Media has published many ebooks that include multimedia elements, such as a travel guide to Sweden and France, but we will wait how the Textbook Creator develops before processing them through the application.