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.

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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!