Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Big Ol' Belated Update Time

I haven't updated this production blog since I posted the briefcase teaser due to a mixture of college work, personal life, and general laziness. However, due to some recent developments regarding the series, I'd like to give a proper update.

First, let's backtrack. The first video in 'Season 2' of TribeTwelve called DEUS EX MACHINA, posted after the Live Stream Incident, was a massive undertaking for me. As you may have noticed, the effects in the video were a lot more dynamic and complex compared to previous monochrome videos I have made. There's a reason for that and the near 6 month hiatus that preceded it; I was saving up for some cleaner tools. Coming back from my junior year of college, I had a lot of planning under my belt for the next direction the series was going to take, but at the same time, the laptop I have been working on since the beginning of the series had begun dying on me, crashing regularly. The copy of Premiere CS3 that I had was beginning to give me rendering errors more frequently than ever and being unable to handle large projects. I knew if I wanted to keep the series going strong and realize my vision, I needed not just new hardware but exceptional hardware that could handle how much I lifted. And in the editing department, I lift a lot. When it comes to editing and performance, a well endowed PC is great, but not ideal whereas Macs are built for media creation in mind. A good analogy when it comes to editing and computing would be swimming and footwear: If PCs were sneakers, Macs would be flippers. You can still swim with sneakers, but flippers are far more efficient and make for a faster and overall better swimming experience. So, with the help of my parents and grandparents, along with money that I've saved over the years and from Adsense profits, I was able to procure myself three major things; A new laptop (my command center), a Mac Mini (editing powerhouse), and a legal copy of Adobe CS6 Production Premium for Mac (student edition, because I'm a college student and it's hella cheaper.) I really wanted a certified version so I can update for cheap and after pirating all these years, I felt Adobe deserved a proper thank you. With the money I pooled up I was able to afford a fully pumped up 250GB solid state Mac Mini with 16 GB of memory, and let me tell you, it runs like a dream.

To prove the remarkable synergy that this computer and I have, let me first explain the process behind DEUS EX MACHINA. I ordered the Mac Mini in early May and was hoping to receive it around May 20th. My plan was to set it up and put out a video on June 4th, marking the 3rd anniversary of my first video posted in 2010. However, the Mac arrived a week later than expected around May 28th. This gave me only one solid week to put out this highly ambitious editing project. The day I received that Mac, I immediately shifted into high gear. For a solid 7 days of editing, I slaved at that Mac slowly tracking motion, rotoscoping, and creating the effects that ended up in the current video. I stayed up late, slept little, woke up early, ate as much as I needed to, and just stopped for bathroom breaks. Needless to say, I was very satisfied with the end product's quality and surprised with the sheer ability I now had. With rendering times up to 10 times faster and beyond, difficult effects on my old laptop seemed trivial. Minimal lag and high processing ability really helped for my visions to come to life like in no other previous monochrome video. Just looking back at what I did with DEUS EX MACHINA and acknowledging that I was able to create such an amazingly polished thing in only a week makes me proud.

The months following, I began laying more foundations for the upcoming videos. I was originally going to film, edit and post Obituary and Extraordinary Circumstances in mid June but props were not ready and I didn't have enough time to get it all finished before my annual summer visit to Jersey. I hung out with the other Slenderverse creators and filmed a bunch of goodies that you won't soon forget once they grace your eyes in the coming months. For the Obituary video, I created Mary's newspaper article from scratch. The face of Mary is a mugshot of the late Mindy McCready that I warped to look like another woman (Note: My headcanon of Mary's face was a mugshot of Mindy McCready before she died. I didn't realize it was her until after her death). The car photos I used were from this article that I found. I printed them on glossy paper and scanned them for Twitter.

Extraordinary Circumstances was difficult in terms of getting the 100 grand. Yes, it's all fake. There are 10 stacks of 100 $100 bills. It took me a lot to get the dimensions exactly right, but the prop money looks damn real up close. I found HD scans of both sides of a $100 bill and edited four different versions with alternating serial numbers, one was even my birth date. Four of the ten stacks were printed front and back, one stack had only the top printed, and the rest were completely blank with a top and bottom bill. Printing, cutting and getting all that together took a good two weeks.

Now that those videos are posted, phase two is set into motion. This is where the recent developments come in; I am doing an independent study where I'm getting college credit for the production of two TribeTwelve episodes. Now, this is more of a personal gain because I've always wanted to get some sort of credit out of making this series, but hell am I excited that I get to have this opportunity. The episodes I make for this independent study may or may not be the ones that I post next, since I am still in the planning phases, but I just think it's real damn neat that I get college credit for making a YouTube series.

Phase two of this first arc of season two is something I've been working on for a few years now, the contents of which is first shown here in an earlier blog post. I think it goes without saying what it could be at this point, considering what I found in the briefcase, but it is not finished - far from it. Most of that document is for a different purpose later on in the series. I do plan to start a blog listing this important info, but it will not be public until I finish it and until the plot allows it. This may not be for a while. I need to set it up properly: a few videos need to be posted first to establish certain notions before it can be unveiled. That's all I'm going to say about that biz for now.

The next video will take a lot of organizing and scavenging of old forgotten files that are years old and I may no longer have due to hard drive crashes. Re-filming certain things is neigh impossible, so how the episode will pan out will be according to how many of these assets I manage to find / successfully recover. This may also take a while to get together, but not months. Just know that I'm working hard to secure many different parts of the series before I go balls deep in the next video.

Again, I greatly appreciate all of the continued support, but that's all the info I can give right now. But big things are in the works and I hope you stick around long enough for them to blow your mind.

Bye for now ~

Monday, May 20, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Fucked Up Dream: "Sanctuary 7"

Here's a very crazy dream I had about two weeks ago. I seldom have these kind of vivid dreams, but they always tend to coincide with me sleeping in past noon or under some sort of influence the night before. This one was particularly realistic and memorable, I have created a few photo-manipulated threshold renditions of scenes from my dream. Click them for a larger image.

Pictured here is the cargo hold that I woke up on among hundreds of kneeling bodies. 

I awoke in the dream in a white uniform, kneeling in a large cargo hold of sorts. Surrounding me were hundreds of other people with identical white uniforms lined up with their heads to the ground as if they were praying at a mosque. I stood up and noticed that there was an opening to the outside of the chamber, and I stepped over the crouched bodies to exit. Outside the craft, I find myself in a large metallic cage-like enclosure, the floor a large steel walkway suspended above choppy waters. It resembled something you'd see in a refinery or oil rig. All the surfaces of this enclosure were heavily rusted to a reddish hue and corroded. It was quite windy and cold, as various gaps in the metal walls allowed for wind and surf to blow through the metal construction. Beyond the metal, I notice that it is dark and stormy outside. Through the steel grating, a choppy ocean lapped at the supports a few hundred feet below. I walk out onto the platform and see that we were on what appeared to be a hollowed out cargo jet, somehow positioned at the mouth of the metal tunnel. At the end of this area was what looked like the mouth of an aircraft hangar door with large rusted text above it reading "SANCTUARY 7".

This is the entrance to Sanctuary 7 as viewed from the opening of the cargo hold.

I walked down a smaller walkway at the end of the large walkway that led to a path underneath it with low railing. There, I ran into a guy who seemed to be some sort of guard with black clothing and a strange elongated gun in his holster. He yelled at me, "Hey! You! Get back with the others! You aren't allowed down here!" He reached for his weapon and I dove at him. I knocked one of his legs hard enough to throw him off balance and tripped over the railing, falling over the platform. He fell straight down into the pitch black waters below. Luckily, he had dropped his curious looking gun before he plummeted and I picked it up to examine it. It was an odd weapon that looked like a cross between a small trumpet and an uzi carbine, with various buttons and other gizmos on it. I noticed that from it's design, I could collapse it into a smaller form, about 1/4th it's initial size. I collapse it to the size of a pistol and tucked it snugly into my pocket. I also see that he had dropped a small flashlight, which I also took and pocketed. I walked back up to the main walkway to find that everyone from the cargo had woken up and begun walking towards the large hangar door. I joined them and walked to the front of the hangar. Everyone around me looked my age. Half of them seemed really excited or nervous and the other half were pretty apathetic looking, almost like it was something of a routine or expected occurrence. The large door finally opened a bit and we were welcomed by a blast of cool fresh air and a smell resembling that of a freshly cleaned hotel hallway. Older people in white and black suits ushered us through the mouth of the hanger. Inside everything was and clean and orderly, a stark contrast to the grungy exterior.

This is the atrium that lied beyond the hangar door.

Beyond the threshold of the hanger, a gorgeous domed atrium with several stories of encircling balconies and windows. The large windows that composed the domed ceiling of the atrium weren't windows at all, as through them a bright cloudy sky could be seen. The floor was sectioned into four quadrants, divided by a depressed area shaped like an X. In the X, a myriad of toys of all kinds filled the spaces, which were around a meter wide. People were walking over and picking up the electronics curiously, examining them. Above the entrance a massive television broadcast a slideshow of several photographs of beautiful landscapes. The people clothed in white had formed into a few groups with one or two older black clothed individuals talking to them. I walked over to one of the groups and sat with them. Small squares were being passed out by the called "protein squares" which resembled beef jerky, but tasted a bit off. The emotions I remember seeing on their faces ranged from astonishment to sadness. In the dream world, I felt like I knew some of these faces, like they were friends that I had known for some time. Some of the things I distinctly remember hearing were "What happens when you graduate?", "Where do you go afterwards?", "I'm so happy to finally integrate!", and "They didn't tell us what graduation is, do you know?". Then, one of the people in black clothing was yelled at and told everyone to come with him. The group stood up and followed him to one of the smaller entrances around the atrium.

Here is the curved hallway we were taken to for "denaturing".

The room we entered was narrow but long, curving right as it went. Oddly enough, the whole place was carpeted with this rough fiber. There was a small stage to the right. The door to the room closed and the lady at the side of the projection announced with a smiling grin, "Ok everybody! Please form a single file line." A line was formed and she announced, "Welcome to graduation. You are all now going to be denatured." At this, there was a loud uproar of amazement. Half of the crowd was ecstatic, while the others were more apprehensive and nervous. Some of the people left the line. I asked someone what denaturing was, but they just said, "I didn't know it was happening so soon. This isn't fair." On the stage, a trap door slid away and a glass tube arose. "Please form an orderly line at the stairs," she said. A bunch scrambled right into the line, whereas the others and I stayed standing at the front of the stage. "Could the head of the line please step into the chamber?" An eager man ran up the stairs onto the stage. "Are you ready to be denatured?" said the lady in black politely. "Sure are!" he responded excitedly. A gap opened in the cylinder and he ran into it, excitedly closing his eyes and pointing his head upward. She grabbed the handle of a lever on the wall and pulled it. There was an electrical zap and bright flash as the cylinder filled with light. Once the light faded away, the man was gone and his clothes were wiggling on the ground. Out of the wiggling mass of clothes crawled out a child no older than three. It looked at us and began crying. The crowd gasped and began talking among one another. Some were looking very afraid, while others were ecstatic. "Next!" said the woman, as two men emerged from the curved hallway and moved the naked child to a small pen down the hall, dressing it in a small white outfit. The next person walked on stage. "Are you ready to be denatured?" He looked at her shyly, "No. I refuse this." There was a pause. "Take him away," said the woman and the two guards walked him down the curved hallway out of view. One by one, the people stepped up on stage and were turned into toddlers, each less eager than the last. Surprisingly to me, only a few people out of the group said no and were taken away. Once the last person remaining in line was transformed, there were about a half dozen of us left standing next to the stage anxiously. The two guards took out their guns and pointed them at us. "Form a line immediately!" they shouted. We all formed a line, I managed to get the last spot. This time, the more reluctant of us were being denatured. They walked up slower and less enthusiastically, yet most were still willing. These people asked her questions before they agreed to be denatured.
"Will it hurt?"
"You won't feel a thing."
"Will we remember anything?"
"You will know as much as you knew as a toddler. It's like rewinding your life."
However, regardless of eagerness, once their age was reversed they all seemed to behave the same; bewildered and confused as if they didn't understand where they were or what was happening. In front of me was this guy and girl who were holding hands, I'm pretty sure they were a couple. Once the three of us were left, the man hugged her tightly, as she was next in line. She hugged back at first and then abruptly shoved him away. "We've been given a chance to start over," she sobbed to him, "I've been looking forward to this all my life. I'm sorry, I love you, but I want to start over. I'm so sorry, goodbye." She walked up on stage as her lover screamed at her in sadness. "Are you ready to be denatured?" said the woman in black. "Yes," she said smiling, holding back tears. She entered the cylinder and looked at her friend longingly, placing her hand on the glass towards us. Light enveloped her, and in the blink of an eye she was a small child. She was taken away with the others and the man burst into tears as the men escorted him to the stage. "Are you ready to be denatured?" she said exactly as before. "No!" he shouted. "You don't want to start all over?" she said. "No! Never!" and with that he was taken down the hall by the guards. Once they returned, I was also escorted to the stage and asked if I wanted to be denatured. I hesitated. "...No. I don't want to." She gave me a look, "Are you sure you don't want to be a kid again?" I looked her straight in the eye, "I'd rather die." Her smile widened and she nodded to the men. I was taken off stage and escorted down the hall. As I passed the pen of new children, none seemed to realize what had happened to them, aimlessly exploring the small pen and playing with each other. We finally reached the end of the curved hallway where there was a slick white door. I was positioned standing next to the other people who denied denaturing. The woman in black came over and stood in front of the door, facing us. "Congratulations, boys. You've passed graduation." She began telling us the truth. Once we graduate, the majority of us are turned back into children due to population control. In this system, a human being is recycled in order to keep society under control in the sanctuary. We were all dumbfounded. She told us that we will now work for them and integrate into society. The two guards handed us black clothing and we all broke down sobbing, knowing that being defiant had saved us was just too much to take in. The next thing I remember is being taken across the facility. They told us that we were going to see the heads of the facility for debriefing. We all entered this large office and two women in black suits sat at a desk, a white woman and a black woman. They began telling us about the facility, most of which I don't remember. I do recall them saying that they ran one of the last surviving shelters for human kind left and showing a graphic on screen that displayed the profiles of the previous heads of Sanctuary 7. There were many people of varying genders and ethnicity suggesting a long history. They asked if we had any questions, and I rose my hand. "What year is it?" I asked humbly. "The year is no longer important. Only the survival of our species is important," they responded sternly. We were then all assigned our own mentor and sent off to different places. My mentor was a black guy in his late 30s. He took me to this room where he said that relics were being recovered. In the room there was this long table filled with old junk that people in white hazmat suits were cleaning. We walked to the end of the table and my mentor picked up something. He handed me an old super soaker. "Here is a weapon from a bygone age." I asked him if I could go outside to see what it looks like. He said ok, gives me a white hazmat suit, and shows me to an airlock.

This view is of the area directly outside of Sanctuary Seven that I observe when exiting the facility.

I stepped outside of the large airlock door onto a long boardwalk made of metal. A bleak sight of what looked to be a flooded city filled the horizon. The water looked black as ink and very rough. The majority of the buildings were skeletons of their former selves. Looking back at the facility as I walked, many white geodesic domes and tubular structures composed the exterior, many covered in antennae. A stormy sky loomed over the scene, clouds writhing fast. Horrified, I reentered the facility and removed the suit. My mentor told me that this perpetual storm has always been brewing. I accidentally brushed past him and he felt something in my pocket and told me to show him. I almost freaked, but remembered that I had the guy's flashlight. I took it out and said that I found it outside, luckily he bought it.

Unfortunately this is where the dream ends, as I was woken up by my alarm to go to class and I began writing. I plan on developing this concept further and writing a longer version with more detail, which may eventually turn into something worth publishing. Comments are appreciated!