Monday, February 21, 2011

The Making of Facebook Privacy: A New Approach

Hello everyone!  Jon here, returning from an extended, college induced, absence.  Now that I am finally in the swing of this new semester, I find I have time to catch up on our behind the scenes blog posts!  I begin today with a look at the making of Facebook Privacy: A New Approach.

The idea behind Facebook Privacy did not start as a video idea.  One day, while I was daydreaming, I realized that potential enemies would easily be able to discover everything about me if they could somehow get a hold of my Facebook data.  This disturbed me… What was I to do?  Should I delete my Facebook account and never looked back?  Should I unfriend everyone except my closest companions?  Then, the thought struck me: in time, my Facebook would become too disastrous for anyone to sort through!  Clearly, I should post more often rather than less often!  Eventually, I realized that I probably had nothing to worry about and I proceeded with my life, online and offline, as usual.  Still, the idea that posting more material on Facebook could actually help diminish the chances of incriminating data being discovered stuck in my head for several weeks.

Fast forward to the weekend of January 21.  Gary had just returned to college and Grant had gone with him to send him off.  Due to Gary’s college responsibilities, they were too busy to film a video.  Knowing this, I had begun tossing ideas around in my head.  After some thinking, I came up with a vague PSA-like video, expanding upon my earlier idea regarding Facebook privacy.  I began scripting.  With help from my girlfriend, I was able to come up with a first draft.  Unsatisfied, I made some changes and sent it to Grant.  Grant liked it, but thought it still needed some work.  I agreed and made more changes.

By now it was Sunday, January 23.  While on an unplanned visit to Wal-Mart to purchase salt for my icy driveway (which my dad had driven my car off of earlier that morning), I bought two packets of extra-sticky, neon colored Post it Notes.  After putting some salt down, I drove to the residence of my friend/employer, Bruce Cullen, to turn my script into a video.

Bruce is the best wedding videographer I know.  Part of what makes his videos so unique is his skillful use of his Steadicam.  After spending an hour sticking Post it Notes to the wall of Bruce’s guest bedroom, we were ready to start.  Bruce, Steadicam strapped on, filmed me as I repeated my lines.  It took me many tries to get the opening monologue, but, after that, the rest flowed smoothly.  When we finished filming, we watched the footage on Bruce’s giant TV.  I was excited and ready to start editing, but we made sure to record a few voiceovers before I left.

Upon returning home, I got right to editing.  It was a simple edit.  I had a first cut ready before the night was over.  I made some slight changes the next day and had it ready for Tuesday.

Thanks for checking out the Paperclip Films Blog!  I’ll be back soon with a behind the scenes look at the making of Facebook: The Status your Status could be like!

Have something to say something about the Blog?  Leave a comment below!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Making of Jim's Brain

Greetings everyone!  Jon here again with a behind the scenes look at this week’s video, Jim’s Brain.

On Tuesday, the 28th of December, Gary, Grant, and I met at The Obstacle and tried to make a video.  As is often the case, our efforts met with utter failure.  To make matters worse, Gary and I were both about to embark on trips to Maryland and the Chicago Suburbs, respectively.  Grant had an idea for a video, which he said he would produce in our absence.

Although I trusted Grant’s abilities, I had some misgivings.  Grant had never made a video by himself before.  While he had some experience with cinematography, he had never edited a video.  I decided I would try to make a backup video while I was away, just in case.

The reason I was traveling to Chicago was to visit my girlfriend, Theresa, and her family.  Theresa is another homeschool graduate with an interest in filmmaking.  Theresa, her sister Mary, and myself began tossing ideas around shortly after I arrived.  Eventually, Theresa said we should base a video on the brain of one of her friends.  The bloke Jim’s Brain is based upon does not always act like the smartest of fellows; thus, the plot took shape.  Mary and Theresa quickly came up with several lines and gags to insert in the video and, in no time, we had a two page script.

The next day, myself, Theresa, Mary, their sister Christi, their mom, their brother Michael, and their friend Beth made the hour long drive to rural Illinois.  On the way to our filming location, I realized that I had forgotten the tapes I had purchased the day before.  Luckily, there was a Walmart on the way and, after a long wait in line,  this problem was solved.  Finally, we arrived at the parish of Fr. Dan, a friend of my girlfriend’s family.  He graciously lent us his Church’s basement (along with every other prop in the video) and, with Theresa’s XH-A1 in hand, we began filming.

Filming went smoothly.  Most of the shots were complete within 1 - 3 takes.  We did have some trouble coordinating Beth’s fall, but that was not much of an issue.  Theresa and I switched off cinematography as necessary.  She filmed shots that I was in, and I filmed the rest.  We were all quick to remember our lines and filming was over in under an hour.  After we finished, Fr. Dan offered us dinner, which we devoured with vigor.

When we got back to my girlfriend’s family's house, I was ready to start editing.  My plan was to download a free trial of Sony Vegas 10 and begin editing right away.  Unfortunately, Theresa’s editing computer had not received any updates since 2007 and was still running the original version of Windows Vista.  To run Vegas 10, her computer had to be upgraded to Vista service pack 2.  I began the arduous process of installing updates, restarting the computer, and installing more updates.  To make matters worse, we had yet to film the opening and closing scenes in which Jim was asked a question.  We didn’t even have an actor to play this part!  It was Monday evening at this point and I had already decided I would stay up all night editing.  I planned to film the final parts in the morning with the first person we could find.

Luckily, Grant had successfully edited his video, entitled A Slap in the Face, and was had already uploaded a first draft to YouTube.  It was a good thing he finished this video, as Theresa’s computer was not done updating until Tuesday evening.  After I returned home, I began editing.  I filmed the opening and closing scenes with Grant and my brother.  After editing the footage together, the video was ready.

Thank you for visiting the Paperclip Films Blog!  Don’t forget that you can follow us on Twitter!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Making of A Slap in the Face

Hey, yo! Grant here again. Jon wasn't there for this production either. Actually, it was just myself and Luke, the pretty face who graced our the video with his presence.

This week started tragically, Gary and Jon were going to be gone for the week, on different trips, and we hadn't ourselves a video. We discussed our state of videolessness on the way to the airport, to drop Jon off. We even considered filming on the way. We came to the conclusion that either I would be making a video myself, Jon would be making one with his Girlfriend, or we would use an old unreleased video. Gary wouldn't have the ability to make anything on his trip. Not much of a conclusion, we know.
Jon and I began to plan.

Each option had it's worries. We were worried I wouldn't be able to produce something on my own, I've never taken part in the technical side. I've watched Gary and Jon edit a lot and have really tried to learn during our regular filming dates. My one hope was in a video that I had been planning on doing for awhile, the video we ended up releasing.

I was worried that Jon, without a plan, wouldn't make something funny enough as a side not to his trip.
I also just really liked the idea of making one myself. Jon's video will be out this Tuesday.

The last option, using an unreleased video, didn't seem like much of an option. We mainly had a twenty second clip that was funny, but not much of a weekly video.

I planned on making the video immediately. I contacted Luke and we were good to go. We shot on Monday, a day before it needed to be released. Luke and I met in a park and had a good time yelling at eachother. We were down video equipment due to Gary and Jon's absence. I had the Rebel T2i, a bucket, a wooden box, and a paper plate (to protect the mic from wind). We set up camera angles by balancing the bucket on top of the box on top of a park bench, it was very stable, but it wasn't as nice as an adjustable tripod.
I would like to give credit to Luke for his acting and humor. I think he did great. Without him, who knows how it would have turned out.

I stayed up all night editing and learning Vegas 10 (our editing software). I had watched Gary enough to know generally what I was doing. I uploaded the video between 1 and 3pm on Tuesday. Youtube has been glitching  on uploads for us. You will notice, again, the boxed nature of the thumbnail and the inability to watch in 1080p. The video was shot and rendered with the same settings as many of our other videos. We'll have to look into this.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the video! Thanks for watching! Have a great day!

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Making of The Tub

Guess what!? I am not Jonathan, I am Grant, and this is my first time posting on the blog!
Why am I here? Well, Jonathan wasn't present for the production of The Tub.
Why? I will tell all. I'll try to stick to the facts, my memory isn't quite as detailed as Jon's sometimes. 

Last week Jonathan, Gary, and I met at The Obstacle to shoot a video. We didn't know what we were going to film. After a long time talking it over at McDonald's we came up with only one idea, to have myself followed by a phantom car that disappears when I look over my shoulder. We weren't sold on the idea so we headed for the nearby Borders, in hopes we would come up with something. No luck. 
While in the Borders we heard some people discussing the subject of zombies. We listened for a little while, one young man was explaining the whole zombie fad. His main point was that the fad was based upon the fear of total helplessness and the loss of self control. We proceeded to waste time chasing each other like zombies through the Borders, hoping these conversationalists would see us. No luck. We only got awkward giggles from some random chicks sipping coffee.

So, we were at a strip mall and had no ideas. We decided to head over to the local SuperMarket to grab some much needed "Special Juice" for my sister. The juice is actually called "Simply Nutritious Mega-Antioxidant" and is some juice that my mom treats our siblings to when they're sick.

We headed back to McDonald's to talk. After a bit more discussion we settled on the phantom car idea. We shot it in the freezing, windy weather. Jonathan's camera-holding-hands were shivered to the bone. During the filming process some rowdy youth asked us if we were famous. The filming was done and we were set for Tuesday. But alas! The footage wasn't enough and the video didn't piece together nicely. To add insult to injury, I somehow didn't manage to download a certain clip from the camera's memory card (we found that out later). We had no video for Tuesday and it was already Monday morning!

Gary and I spent the day thinking of ideas. The ideas varied, I remember one about hanging meat off of a tree. My favorite idea was to have Gary and I each holding a dog and yelling at each other over who's dog is better. It wasn't until about 1am that we settled on sitting in a tub together. We had to wait until the next morning, Tuesday morning, to yell at each other in our small house, without waking anyone up.

The next day, Gary and I got up out of bed and started thinking out the video.
We started filming at about 11am, Tuesday morning. We didn't have much time, our deadline was 2ish!
The filming process went nicely, though we didn't know what to think. We were trying our best to pump out a last minute video. Finally we finished and brought the footage to the computer. Sitting down, we thought over the insanity of what we had just recorded. We had no confidence the video would turn out well at all. 
Gary sped through the editing process at lightning speed. We then realized that in our mad dash to record a video we had left our camera on the 60i, 720p setting. That simply means we had it on a lower level of HD shooting 60 interlaced frames per second, as opposed to our standard 1080p (full HD), 24 Frame per second videos. We figured we couldn't do anything about it and Gary continued to edit. We started the upload to YouTube at 2:30pm, still a bit embarrassed and confused at our own video.
Upon uploading the video had somehow boxed itself in! We freaked out for second. If you look at old videos like Anti-Social Episode 1 you will see the boxed in nature I am talking about. It turned out the video hadn't finished processing and it was fine after that had completed. If you look at the embedded player above you will see the remnant thumbnail YouTube left us. It is boxed in like the video had been.  After the excitement died down, the video began to grow on us. We made it public and the video was a hit!

Some people have considered our latest video a bit sketchy. It is meant to be taken like an awkward brother moment, nothing more. I am sure everyone with siblings has taken a mutual tub when they were little children, the video is about an older brother that hasn't grown out of that. Please understand that the lines are meant to be taken literally and innocently.

Have a great day! Thanks for watching! Check our Youtube channel every Tue. @ 2ish for more videos!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Making of Christmas: Imagine That

Happy Easter everyone!  It’s Jonathan again with a behind the scenes look at this week’s Paperclip Films Film: Christmas: Imagine That.

If you have read last weeks blog post, you already know where the idea for this video came from.  As I previously stated, our first attempt at turning this concept into a reality met with failure.  Still liking the idea, Grant proceeded to write a script based upon it.  After a week of writing and bouncing ideas off of me, he had turned out a five page, well developed plot.  With a few exceptions, we stuck exclusively to this script when we filmed.  On Sunday, We got our friends Peter, Christen, and Catey together and began filming.

Because this video was shot entirely in low light, we used Gary’s Canon T2i.  Due to this camera’s sub-par audio abilities, I dusted off one of my Sony PDX-10s to serve as a separate audio recorder.  We plugged my Sennheiser m/66 microphone into the Sony and were ready to go.  Gary was in charge of cinematography and I was in charge of audio.  My brother, Aaron, and Peter’s brother, Sam, served as boom pole operators.

We began by filming Grant and Peter’s scene.  Shooting it was challenging due to the lack of light.  Floodlights off the back of the house provided just enough light to see Grant’s and Peter’s faces.  We started with Peter.  Grant read him his lines and he acted them out.  After this, we went inside to warm ourselves (it was a very cold evening) then we went back outside to film Grant’s side of the conversation.  Next, we filmed a few wide shots and this scene was over.

After another break (did I mention it was cold?), we filmed the scene with Robin and her person.  At first, we were going to film under a street lamp, but the lamp’s dimness forced us to film in front of the house.  Catey and Christen did a great job, making it possible for us to get this entire scene done in just three takes.

A short time after this, Gary’s camera started flashing the low battery warning.  Gary had left his charger at his home an hour away, so we knew we had to finish shooting without a recharge.  We went inside, hoping the battery would warm up.  We did our best to plan the next few scenes, so as to conserve battery life.  Because of the speed at which we filmed these scenes, they were a blur to me; thus, I do not remember the exact details.  I do remember that, for the last few takes we shot, we had to let the camera run until the battery went dead, turn the camera off to let it regain a charge, and repeat this process.  Luckily, we just had enough power to get by, making the night a success.

I headed home, glad filming had ended before midnight.  I downloaded the footage onto my hard drive and began to edit.  I edited until I couldn’t stay awake.  I got up the next day and edited for at least five more hours.  After showing Gary and Grant my first cut they told me what changes to make and I made them.  Finally, at around 10:00 PM, the video as ready.  I began rendering and went to bed.  I woke up Tuesday and uploaded the video to YouTube.  Finally, my editing job was done!  Like a happy astromech droid, I made my way to the throne room, expecting to be commended by the queen for having saved the Naboo cruiser.

But commended I was not!  About eight hours after the video had been made public, I received a frantic instant message from Grant.  Despite the years of combined college experience among the cast and crew, we had used a word that, in spite of its textbook definition, was often used to describe things we did not wish to describe.  The fact that the entire cast and crew was made up of past and present homeschoolers most likely explains why we made this oversight.  Gary and Grant decided the video should be pulled off of YouTube until we could fix the problem by dubbing over the problematic word.

The next day, I drove to Catey’s house and recorded her voice over.  I was already meeting Gary and Grant at The Obstacle that evening so, when we were there, I recorded Grant’s voice over.  When I returned home, I dubbed in their voices and, after some editing magic, it matched perfectly.  I rendered the video overnight and uploaded it Thursday.  At last, the video was finished.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Making of Momma's Boys

Greetings, men, women, elves, ents, orcs, hobbits, wizards, bounty hunters, droids, Jedi, and imperial scum.  It’s Jonathan again with a behind the scenes look at Momma’s Boys.

Oh where to begin?  The process we went through to create this video is Paperclip Films at its best… or worst…  I don’t know really.

This past Saturday, Grant starred in a home school production of HarveyHarvey is a story about a man who is friends with a six foot tall, invisible rabbit.  Grant played this man.  The whole cast did a great job and it was very enjoyable.  While I was watching the play, I came up with an idea for a video in which my character would be at a party refusing to socialize.  This would be because he smelled bad, due to a lack of deodorant.  In the midst of his woe, an imaginary friend would comfort him and try to convince him to have fun despite his smell.  Grant loved this idea.  Grant had invited me to the cast party afterward, so we decided to film there.

When we arrived at the cast party, we socialized for a time and then went outside to start filming.  At this point, I had fallen from my earlier caffeine/attention induced comedic rampage and was having a hard time being funny.  Grant, my brother Aaron, and I tried to finish (or begin, for that matter) the imaginary friend video, but it was all in vain.  Having accosted two other members of the cast, Connor and Zach, to be in the video, we decided to come up with a different idea.  After all, we had to get a video done before Tuesday no matter what!  We went inside to warm our brains and think some more.

Inside, Gary and his friend Jen, from college, who had made the 5 hour drive to see Grant’s performance, were warming themselves by the fire and conversing with the multitudes.  We begged them to help with a video and they agreed, as long as we stayed indoors.  We conceded.  Now  myself, Grant, Aaron, Connor, Zach, Gary, and Jen began searching for a location to film.  Earlier, I had seen a secluded room in the basement.  After no other location seemed suitable, I suggested we film there.  Finally, aided by the wits of Jen, Connor, and Zach, we planted ourselves in this room and began to brainstorm.

And brainstorm we did.  At first, we decided we wanted to film an apocalyptic video in which Gary was in possession of the world’s last Triscuit.  Next, we thought it should be an apocalyptic video about how Jen was the last woman on earth and all of us men were trying to impress her.  After this idea was shot down, we realized we had too many characters and cut down the cast to Grant, Connor, and Zach.  After looking at the three of them, the idea of making a video about “a couple of posh bros chillin'” was tossed around.  Luckily for humanity, this idea was scrapped.  Humanity was not out of the water yet; however, as we then tried to film an interview with a boys band named “the cart boys.”  Grant liked the idea of it being an interview with lowly cart boys from a local supermarket, but again humanity was saved when we decided to stop wasting tape on both ideas

At this point, I was getting worried.  It was past midnight, I was an hour from home, and freezing rain was a expected.  Luckily for me, Gary had the idea to turn off the lights and have the boys lit by nothing more than a lantern that happened to be lying around.  We decided that the boys would be conducting some sort of group therapy session.  At first, we thought their problem would be marital issues, but we quickly such a problem would not affect teenage boys.  The obvious choice after this was problems with mother.  After about 30 minutes and one broken mug later (that crash sound at the end was not added in editing), we developed and filmed the video that is now resting peacefully on our YouTube channel.  My brother and I did not get home until 2am, but at least we had our video finished.

But wait!  Just when we thought everything was settled, there was a problem.  I had not turned the audio limiter on when I was filming; thus, Grant’s yelling went beyond the acceptable threshold, causing the ghastly clicking and popping sounds that are associated with this mistake.  It was abysmal… and unacceptable to say the least.  Monday night I made the impromptu decision to meet Grant at The Obstacle and record his voice again.  Grant’s mom was nice enough to drive him and we recorded his voice-overs in my station wagon.  Grant replayed the video on my ipod touch and shouted his lines after listening to them a few times, as I recorded him with the camera.  He did a great job, and I was easily able to match it up on the computer.

We filmed this video with the Canon HV-20.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Making of Chasing People

Jonathan here again, with a behind the scenes look at the making of Chasing People!

We filmed this short video last Saturday.  My younger brother, Aaron, and I arrived at Grant’s house at 9:45 and started shooting a film there.  The videos we film are often hit or miss, so we actually filmed three videos this day.  Usually, only one video from such a day actually makes it onto YouTube.

Anyway, after filming at Grant’s house, we began the 45 minute drive back to my town where we all were attending an event with my family.  On the way, we stopped off the interstate in the town where we filmed The Obstacle and Robin Hood Lives.  We film in this town a great deal because it is between Gary and Grant’s house and mine.  It is a picturesque, small, New England town with a generally laid back populace.  I even have an Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins in this town.  This all makes it an ideal place to film.

We ended up in the parking lot of a busy shopping center.  Here, we tried to come up with an idea for a video.  Grant wanted to make an action video.  I suggested a movie where Grant was chasing people for fun.  We all liked this idea.  Always having been obsessed with long, interrupted camera shots, I suggested it would be really cool if we could film the video in one shot.  Aaron agreed to be chased and we were off!  After the first take, we realized that we would need some sort of script.  We threw ideas back and forth for about 20 minutes and came up with the script seen in the video.  Grant, being exceptionally good at memorizing lines, remembered the entire script without needing to write it down.  We began filming.  Grant accomplished it on the first take!  We were almost done!  We shot the ending in a couple takes and were ready.

We climbed back into my car and looked at the footage.  To our horror, the immaculate first take had no audio!  The culprit was the external microphone.  Actually, the culprit was me.  I forgot to turn it on.  It was puzzling because I heard audio through my headphones while filming the take, but, no matter what, we had to re shoot.  We tried a few times, but we just couldn’t seem to get through it again.  I decided that Grant needed a rest.  Because the lighting had changed, we got back in my car and made our way back to my town.

On the way, we got off the interstate again at a Church with a huge parking lot.  We filmed several takes here.  We only managed to get through the entire script twice.  I used the second of these two takes for the video.  We were not happy with it compared to the take without audio, but it was the best we had.  Of course, our opinion of the first take was probably inflated due to the joy we felt when we accomplished filming right off the bat.

For this video, we filmed with a Canon HV-20.  It’s small size made it easy to hold for the long handheld shot.  Unfortunately, the need of an XLR - 1/8 inch adapter for the microphone probably led to our audio woes.

Check back next week for another behind the scenes look at our videos!