Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OK Go's Viral Video Hits

A rock band originally from Chicago is almost better known for their viral music videos then for their music itself. OK Go is composed of Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, and Andy Ross. These videos have earned them considerable fame despite their often-low budget and promotion over only the Internet through sites like YouTube. Damian has said, “it has always been our position that the reason you wind up in a rock band is you want to make stuff. You want to do creative things for a living.” Believe me after you watch their videos you will see the creative and imaginative things that OK Go does.

Their most well known video is for their 2006 hit “Here it Goes Again.” It involves a complex routine atop of motorized treadmills. This routine took seventeen attempts and was choreographed by the band and Trish Sie became a viral video hit. This video has received over fifty-one million views! This video even won a Grammy Award for "Best Short-Form Music Video" in 2007.

Probably my favorite OK Go video is their video for 2010’s “This Too Shall Pass.” This video was a massive Rube Goldberg machine that lasted the entire length of the video. The machine even played parts of the song that synced together with the video perfectly! Rube Goldberg machines are named after an American inventor and cartoonist and are deliberately overly complex machines that will do a very simple task after a chain reaction. The simple task in OK Go’s video? To spray the band with paint. One of the most impressive things in the video is how it is shot in one take. Many of OK Go’s videos are shot in one take which Matt Zoller Seitz of Salon Magazine claims "restore[s] a sense of wonder to the musical number by letting the performers' humanity shine through and allowing them to do their thing with a minimum of filmmaking interference." After the Rube Goldberg machine was completed the filming took place over two days with an estimated 60 takes. The first day had 47 takes with no successful completions and by the second day they had at least 3 successful fun runs. They then chose the best take from the three and posted it online. The video has now been viewed over thirty-one million times!

Another recent video combined the creative efforts of OK Go and the dance company Pilobolus. In “All Is Not Lost” the band and dancers dance across a glass floor to create shapes and letters with the use of their bodies. Users can create and send messages to friends by inputting your message into the engine before the video starts. To see another view of the video check out their appearance on America’s Got Talent where they perform the video live! (The video experience works best with the browser Google Chrome).

It is said that “video killed the radio star” and I think OK Go may have killed (or at least injured) conventional music videos. To compete other bands have tried their luck to create unique and imaginative music videos to stand out and hit viral fame like OK Go has. Whether it be groovin' with dogs, using time-lapse compression to reduce 18 hours into four minutes, or just performing a dance routine on their back patio, OK Go has raised the bar for music videos for years to come.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Look at my post, it's amazing

I'm getting to the point in the semester where I've stopped caring about everything because we have no time to do everything, so instead of cramming I'm procrastinating. That has never worked. Again, I've stopped caring.

Here's some animations.

I made that. I'm amazing.

How did you make it, Will? Painstakingly. I recorded the voices and pieced together the sound using Audacity, which is like Garageband without the instruments or cool effects or the nice interface. Basically, it's not Garageband. Then I used a program called Toon Boom Studio to create the actual drawings and animate them.

My style's very basic. Honestly, I don't like to dwell much on fancy effects. I'm a minimalist. Every element has a purpose. Explosions, 3D titles, etc.; it's not my thing. Arturo, I'm sure that you're balling up your fists in rage reading this, and I apologize kind of.

Here's another animation.

Every moving part in the animation is on a "peg." The face is on a peg. The head's on a peg. The camera's on a peg. I animate the pegs with keyframes. It's like Flash animation. If you've ever used Final Cut and made effects with transitions, you know keyframes.

The lip syncing is the hardest part. Every mouth shape needs to be exact, otherwise the whole thing looks like slop. It's like watching a poorly translated anime. Therefore, if one of your characters is a fast speaker, you'd better make sure that you can draw some good mouths.

These are both copyright under the Will Is Awesome Copyright Law Of 2011, and any thievery or shenanigans including the usurping of my intellectual property will result in your untimely flogging and force-feeding of crawfish.


Ithaca Casting: A Social Networking Site for Casting

While majors in the Park School are notorious for the minimal amount of gen-ed's they require, we Television/Radio majors need to take a business class in order to graduate. Having forgot this and scrambling to find a half-way decent course to take last minute this semester, I picked up "Intro to Business." For the final, we are required to get into groups and come up with a business proposal. For my project, we decided to create a proposal for an Ithaca-based casting social network site. I figured this might be of interest to this audience and would welcome any idea for improvement.

One of the biggest issues we as student filmmakers face is finding and organizing actors. I know on my own productions, actors have created huge problems in the time management and scheduling of projects. While holding individual auditions, trying to steal the illusive casting DVDs that keep changing hands, and begging friends to make time in their own schedules to act in our films have worked out in the past, I have always felt there should be a more reliable and structured way of getting decent actors to commit to film projects. And I am sure I am not alone in this feeling.

Ithaca Casting (a tentative name) would be an Ithaca-based social networking site, created to connect local filmmakers with local actors. Both student and local filmmakers can create project pages where they can describe their needs and schedules. Actors can create profiles where they can upload their reels, describe their experience, and include their availability. Actors will also be able to post audition tapes and comments on filmmakers' project pages. Think of Ithaca Casting as the beautiful love child of Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Kickstarter.

There are a few big projects that have used similar approaches to find talent. The Queen Extravaganza is looking for talented musicians to perform with the surviving members of the band for the celebration of Queen's 40th anniversary. Interested performers can post auditions tapes to their website to win a chance to perform in the show. Fox's Glee is using a similar format to find new talent for their show as well.

While my project is proposing that members pay a monthly or annual fee to be able to access the website, it's still up for debate. Are there any other elements you would like to see in such a site? Any other features you would think that would make the casting experience a little friendlier?


An interesting article on this sort of idea: Social Media is Changing TV Casting -

American Horror Story

So I realize I'm more than a little behind the times on this one, but within just the past couple of weeks, I've gotten really into American Horror Story. The first thing that drew me to the show was the obvious fact that it was going to be terrifying, (and considering I'm a complete horror movie nerd, that totally appealed to me,) and the fact that it got amazing reviews, despite its borderline-corny trailer.

After the first episode, I was hooked. Not only was the storyline intriguing, but all of the actors were amazing and had incredible chemistry with one another. Now, with just these characteristics, the show could have easily been just another spooky show, but one thing really set it apart from anything else I've seen before: the editing. One of the biggest things that I've noticed is that unlike other shows, American Horror Story does not avoid jump-cuts, but actually seeks them out. The cuts, combined with a perfect mixture of straight-on shots and POV shots make for a really interesting show that I would highly suggest to anyone who hasn't already seen it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

360 degree camera

So I was applying for internships in LA and I came across Social Animal. I didn't know much about the company so I looked into it. It turns out they use 360 degree camera to film for mostly advertising purposes. To call it a single camera is an understatement. it has 9 high quality cameras (something like $22,000 a piece) that reflect off of mirrors to eliminate over lap. Also each camera is hooked up to its own macbook pro. Yes, nine lap tops. They had a clip about it on Attack of the Show.

Now you maybe wondering what how do you view this on a computer? Well this is also ingenious. You drag across the scene and u can see any direction at anytime on the time line. Pretty cool.

If you are wondering yes I did apply, but I have not heard yet so fingers crossed.

Matthew Walker


I haven't been catching up with most of my shows lately but over break I was able to catch up on Glee and I must say this season is a lot better than the previous season. This season has what last season was lacking and that is story lines. Last season was about the big performances and cover specials on a certain artist. This season, however, we are seeing a lot more character development and actual conflict between the characters. I also enjoy the club breaking up because it is about time the less used singers stood up for themselves because they are just as talented as the ones who are deemed the stars. One this that hasn't gotten any better is the overdubbing. I still feel like it over dramatic, its already been three seasons and I feel like the cast should have mastered the art of overdubbing by now. It just looks so fake sometimes that I can't even handle it sometimes. Nevertheless I am pleased with the character developments and story lines. I think its about time we got story lines that went beyond someone trying to ruin glee club and it also good to see big issues like bullying and sexuality being tackled in this show.

Sound Foley With Foods

We already watched a video about professional sound foley. But, I came across a video that had a short 3 minute segment about sound foley for a quick fight scene by hooking the microphone up to your laptop and running it right through Final Cut Pro. Above the roomtone, they recreated the sounds of the door opening, footsteps, punches and shaking hands. The punches were done by hitting celery on top of a pillow and the rest just mimicked the actual actions.

The segment is from 4:25-7:45 (ignore the rest of the video, it's a little strange)

On the opposite end, here is a quick video about the sound foley for a dinosaur hatching during Jurassic Park. While these two productions are on opposite ends of the spectrum, they both use simple, every day foods to create sounds that have nothing to do with each other. But, the sounds end up fitting the scene perfectly.

This last video shows, again, how many different kinds of produce and other foods you can utilize to make sounds to fit a scene (starting around 40 seconds).

For other ideas for sound effects, there is a whole list of resources here.

Pixar's Knack

Last year in one of my classes we analyzed Knick Knack, one of Pixar's very famous short films that I'm sure most of you remember.

I love Pixar because most of its short films are interesting and appealing to everyone. Knick Knack in particular is the perfect example of a short story told in less than 4 minutes. It also proves that if you are creative enough you can make a simple story stand out from most films. Just like any other featured film, Knick Knack introduces us to a character with a defined objective, and many conflicts that prevent him from achieving it. The creators of this short film made an excellent job introducing the world of the film visually, and in less than 40 seconds. I also like that all the beats of the film are shown visually rather that by dialogue. This aspect of the film makes it even more funny to watch. Finally, another reason I love this short film is because like most good short films it has a little twist at the end. I feel that all of us can take this movie as an example when we work in future projects. It'll be great if instead of trying to tell a complex film with several plot, we would focus in a simpler story. I feel that if we do this we'll add to the creative value of our work.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Luckily for me I have a friend that works at a Regal movie theater and get to see a lot of free movies while at home. This means that if the movie ends up being bad I can walk away with no guilt. Being guys, my friends and I had to go see Immortals while over break. Roger Ebert called Immortals "the best looking awful movie you will ever see."