Thursday, May 28, 2015

Anthem For Today - Raise It Up

Last week I shared about my current video project. This week, I present it!

I am fairly happy with how it came out. I'm slowly learning that most people are never truly happy with a finished product... unfortunately I am one of those people.

That being said, I'm still pretty excited about it!

A lot of credit needs to go to AFT's lead singer Pip Lucas. He help out a lot with cutting the words out.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Making A Mess And Having A Video Come Out

I can still remember the first stop motion video I did. I'm not sure what caused me to start experimenting with it. Maybe it was an old Christmas special? Something I learned in School? Not sure. Something caused a younger (shorter haired) version of me to dig out his favourite LEGO characters and make a 13 second video. 

It was nothing special. It was Doctor Octopus chasing spiderman on foot (totally not how it would play out in real life). However, it was enough to light a fire in my little mind.
Over the next few weeks I would construct more and more elaborate sets. It culminated in a man crossing the road of a small LEGO town. This would be my last stop motion project. It took 2 hours to process everything on the computer. Plus editing. I thought the computer was going to explode!

Fast forward a few years and I am ready to try it again.

I had the idea to do a lyric video for a song (really any song), with the words all animating on from all directions. Markers and crayons tumble across the screen in explosions of color. A Toy Story for art supplies. The only issue was I needed a song.

Thankfully, Pip Lucas (from AFT) loves stop motion as well. So when I made the suggestion, it was pretty much a done deal.

"'This should only take a few days'" said naive me with a big smile. Oh how wrong I was!

It started out with getting supplies. The goal was an explosion of color... so nothing that looked "normal" was allowed. 

Then we had to make the letters... Pip and I spent around 20 hours on that alone.... 
I'd like to think we're both going to be able to out scissor our kids at craft time in 15 years... I guess we'll have to wait and see on that.

After the cutting came production. That took approximately 14 days longer than the estimated 2...

I learned a lot about time budgeting and how bad I am at it over this project!

Normal film is 24 frames per second. That's like taking 24 pictures every second and then running them together really fast. Stop motion uses the same concept, but it's all manual. Move things a centimetre, take a picture. Move a centimetre, take a picture. Apparently that takes more time than I remember it taking when I was a kid!

After listening to roughly 6 Relevant Podcasts, multiple CDs, a sermon and a dozen hours of the Slam, the shoot was done!

As I finished, I turned around to see paper strewn throughout my work area... I guess I'm gonna need to clean that up...

Once I got it into my computer (different from the first one... thankfully!). It was time to makes some fixes. There were some wrong lyrics on the lyric sheet I had... which meant I had to use Photoshop and recreate some new letters... I also managed to misspell "Directed". Which I still think is hilarious. I never noticed. No one I showed it to noticed... until I had everything edited, and someone caught it. Thank God for that!. Stop motion takes a lot of focus apparently.

After all of that. We're done. I will have the video here to absorb into your visual cortex next week!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Everyone's A Critic

I'm about 20 hours into a video project. I think that estimate is more conservative than I care to admit... but I digress.

That's a lot of time on something. I'm very excited about it. However, I'm also very scared. I don't know how it's going to turn out.

Right now, all the footage looks great. However, I have no idea if I will get it open in post production (the step after production, usually editing) and realize I have wasted the equivalent of a day of my life on a failed effort.

It's scary.

Creative projects are like that. I love them. Being able to envision something and then make it happen is one of the most rewarding things in life for me. It's also the scariest. You're investing a part of yourself in something. Then, exposing that something to the world. For them to enjoy or hate. Love or reject.

I was thinking about this while spending a few more hours on the project. I am putting a lot of myself into this. What if it fails? What if no one likes it?

Then I got thinking about my own attitude towards other peoples art. 
I'll dislike a cd, and write it off as junk. Someone put a lot of heart and soul into it, and I'm writing it off. Same with movies... games... books. Someone spent hours toiling over this thing... and I'm going to hate on it?

Which is why I'm going to try and be less harsh towards stuff. Was that movie good? No. But someone tried really, really hard to make it good... and failed. They don't need us being negative. They need us being positive to encourage them to pick themselves up and try again. 

That's what's on my mind at least!

Hopefully next week I'll have a music video for you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My Hour In Fast Food

I have had a (from what I understand) unusual professional life. LIFE 100.3 is the second real job I've ever had. The first was as a "Produce Clerk." That's a fancy term for someone who stacks oranges and bananas in ways that promote sales. Because of this, I have never really been able to relate to the scores of friends and acquaintances I have that work in fast food. Sure, I understand it's busy. Walking into a Tim Horton's on any given day will tell you that. However, I've never been able to understand what that busy feels like.

That changed today.

I went to the McDonald's on Holland St. West in Bradford to help out with McHappy Day (One of the perks of radio, doing someone else's job for a few hours!)

I got there like a school child. Eager. Excited. Ready to take on the world... and wiping sleep out of my eyes from the hour I had to rise at.

They handed me an apron and instruction. You are on coffee. The coffee department? Before Noon?

Oh dear.

A nice manager came over and quickly began walking me through the process. This is what a tea order looks like. This is what happens with a coffee. This is how to do a shot of espresso. It was a lot to take in... especially since he was fulfilling orders while giving the lesson!

Then it was my turn. No pressure. It wasn't that busy, really. However, to someone who has never made a coffee in his life (seriously, today was full of firsts) having 3 orders for a double double come in at the same time can be overwhelming.

Thank God I wasn't on drive thru.

After a few miserable attempts at getting things together quickly, my mentor encourages me. "You're doing great! You're getting the hang of this faster than I did".

I believe he was lying.

However, after about 45 minutes, I am getting into a groove. "I've got this on lock down" I think to myself as I hit the button for a small cream on an order for a large.


I guess "lock down" was the proverbial pride before the fall.

After a few (believe it or not successful !!!!) orders, I was done!

Lock down achieved.

My career at McDonald's is over after an hour and a half. Part of me wants to try it again. To hone my new found coffee brewing/ multitasking skills. The other realizes how stressful that would have been 2 hours earlier and that my hands STILL smell like coffee pots. Ya, I'll stick with radio.

That said, I have a huge amount of respect for workers in the industry. It takes nerves of steel. Good for you!