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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