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 ~