What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Tuesday Edition

This is our studio site. Among other things, we run two businesses:
Field Notes Brand and The Deck Network. Visit them please.

Coudal Partners

Literary Cage Match

To the Brackets!

Once again, our Field Notes Brand is the title sponsor of The Morning News Tournament of Books which is now under way! If you're not familiar with the ToB, Angela Chen has written this excellent Brief History of the Tournament to get you up to speed.

We need your help. We created a special Memo Book for the tourney and are raising funds for 826 National, an amazing seven-chapter network that provides under-resourced students, ages 6-18 with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills. Dig deep people.

Field Notes for Spring

Hardhat Only Area

No crew members were seriously injured in the production of the film we made to accompany our latest Field Notes release, The Utility Edition. Please don't report us to OSHA.

The Work of CP Labs


Yep, it's another year of being ignored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and another snub in the category of Technical Achievement for us. Sure the Steadicam was a pretty big deal, and drone-mounted gimbals have their uses, but where is the respect for our camera-system innovations?

Since its creation in 2008, our RinseCam9000 (left) has set the standard for Operating Dishwasher Interior Perspective (ODI-POV) shots. And now, after years of development, we recently unveiled a light-weight, comfortable and protective system (right) for shooting First-Person Construction (FPOV-C) footage. I guess being outside of the Hollywood system really makes it hard to get recognition. Maybe next year.

A Six Tone Scale

True to the Blobbiness

We've long-admired the dynamism of a mural that is hangs on the north side of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, on Ashland Avenue. Once we renovated and moved into our new studio space, we decided to track down who was responsible, with the idea of doing something similar for our main work space. The artists, Gwendolyn Zabicki and Kent Smith, were up for the idea, and also for us filming them painting the 12' x 8', 3-panel artwork. Thanks a million to them.

Choose to Go to the Moon

Over the Moon

It's not quite like faking the moon landing, but the film we made for the release of our Field Notes Quarterly Edition Lunacy, was made entirely using the same sort of practical, analog effects that you'd need to employ if you were going to stage that event, back in the day. So fun. So messy. BTW: The Lunacy Edition is now sold out.

Moco Fun at the new HQ

We Go Round in Circles

Steve bought a cool motion-control rig. We wanted to make some sort of recap the Field Notes Quarterly Editions from 2016. So we made this film. Added bonus, it provides a nice view of the new HQ.

JC at Creative Mornings

What Are You
Afraid Of?

Here's Jim's presentation from the inaugural edition of Chicago Creative Mornings. Thanks to Tina, Mig, Gravity Tank and everyone who showed up.

Because it's There

A Winter’s Tale

"One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen." —Rene Daumal. Why did we do it? Because it is there. Or was anyhow. Presenting Above the Sun, a true story.

New from Field Notes

Eternal, Shiny
and Chrome

Just in time for gift giving, a metallic embossed cover, a new binding and orange spine, plus Drapln-designed wrapping paper and a "To/From" sticker. Our Field Notes winter limited-edition is Black Ice.

A Cautionary Tale

Heed This Well, Young Costumed Beggars

Our annual warning to trick-or-treaters, in the style of Hilaire Belloc.

Faces Deserving of Props

Tight, in All-Caps with Almost No Line Spacing

Chauncey H. Griffith's Bodoni Poster Black was developed for Mergenthaler in 1929 and features strong verticals and shallow descenders. It's regularly employed for era-specific "Appearing Nightly at the Copacabana" lobby-card-ish announcements and by and large it's serviceable, if not particularly interesting. But, just in case you find yourself in need of a two skinny chicks whispering near the coke mirror, late 70's, Los Angeles sort of vibe, set it tight in all-caps with almost no line spacing. Suggested pairing: Univers Light Extra Condensed.

Guest Editors

Helpful and
Mostly Polite

A list of all the brilliant people who have helped us by guest editing Fresh Signals can be found here.

Other recent features are listed on Page Two.

Fresh Signals

Subnormality's great new animated series: People Watching. bb-today

Trailer for A Ghost Story ms-today

100 Years of Japanese Animation. jc-today

"This is the best thing that's happened to typing since electricity." jc-today

Ukiyo-e inspired manner posters for Seibu Railway. dw-today

King of Wings Hoodoo under the Milky Way. ms-today

Garden & Gun magazine takes a look at Thirty Years of Steel Magnolias. ms-today

Yesterday and today are The Morning News Tournament of Books Semifinals! An epic tournament so far. I'm thinking The Underground Railroad is going to be very hard to beat, but there's always the Zombie Round, so you never know. jc-today

Advice to young film makers (or pretty much anybody else) from Akira Kurosawa. jc-today

Chicago street gang business cards. jc-today

Happy Monday. ms-yesterday

There's a replica of the otherworldly bedroom from 2001: A Space Odyssey in a downtown LA warehouse. dw-yesterday

A look at the most beautiful black and white shots in movie history. ms-yesterday

Terrible, Awful, No Good, Really Bad Heavy Metal Album Covers from All Over the World. ms-yesterday

437 complete issues of Soviet Photo magazine. Yowza, great resource. jc-yesterday

Thin Lizzy vs Pixies. Nicely mashed. Thanks Marshall. jc-yesterday

A Fictive Flight Above Real Mars. Amazing, check the story of how it was put together too. jc-yesterday

"Being There is not interested in swiftly ingratiating itself or telling you what it's going to be. The world you're watching is private, and Sellers—an actor whom, in 1979, audiences would have watched expectantly, waiting for him to tell them it was okay to laugh—is a placid cipher, giving nothing away." American Cipher, by Mark Harris for Criterion. Their rerelease is a restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. jc-03.24

Trailer for the film A Quiet Passion ms-03.24

Gray on Pantone colors for Boba Fett. jc-03.24

Poster for Alien: Covenant. jc-03.24

Neighborwoods. dw-03.23

"This is just the fucking start." Three Billboards trailer. jc-03.23

Colorful art by SKWAK. dw-03.23

Long read of the day, Murder in the Lucky Holiday Hotel ms-03.22

Trailer for the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000. We are very excited for this. mcj-03.22

Someone finally melded Rogue One with A New Hope ms-03.22

"Spines for Senators (S4S) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that gives invertebrate lawmakers the transformational surgeries they so desperately need. For just the cost of a cup of coffee a day, you can sponsor a senator born without a backbone, by which we mean almost all of them." ms-03.22

A look back at Chicago's own (and long gone) Riverview Amusement Park. mcj-03.22

An interview with Caroline Weaver of CW Pencil Enterprise on the history of her favorite writing utensil. dw-03.22

"On the one hand, this is a serious time, during which we must measure the weight of our words and wield them only after careful consideration. On the other, judging this round is definitely the hardest thing a person has ever had to do in the history of human endeavour." We're in the Quarterfinals of the Morning News Tournament of Books, sponsored by our Field Notes. jc-03.22

So you know, the most unsatisfying video in the world ever made. Not for OCD types. ms-03.21

Very local note, my high-school daughter Grace organized this event to benefit Planned Parenthood at The Metro on May 12. You should come, and bring your kids. Voices For Choices. jc-03.21

"No cheating, faking, or posing. None of these films was chosen to impress the reader, or in an attempt to reflect a critical consensus, whether past or present. They're here because I love them, period." Great list. Sixty-One Years, Sixty-Eight Films, by Terry Teachout. jc-03.21

For MS and BB, Yuengling's butterbeer ice cream. dw-03.21

Hey Chicago, this Thursday ChiDM is hosting a screening of Between the Folds, a documentary that "chronicles 10 stories of fine artists and theoretical scientists who are abandoning more conventional career paths to forge lives as modern-day paper folders." Get your ticket here. mcj-03.21

Happy Tuesday. ms-03.21

"At its start, Chicago was a marshy outpost of hearty settlers who used the convergence of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River to their benefit." How It Grew, from Curious City. jc-03.21

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries have a unique trade catalog collection that includes about 10,000 seed and nursery catalogs dating from 1830 to the present. dw-03.20

This is wonderful, where Daft Punk get their samples. mcj-03.20

Page Two contains the previous 40 Fresh Signals, recent features, a key to the icons and the categorical archives.

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