Archive for May, 2013

VFX Tutorials-The Wit and Wisdom of Andrew Kramer

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on May 30, 2013 by PoPS blog

As I said in the last update, the untrained VFX-jockey relies on internet tutorials like HBO relies on nudity and violence. You’re just not going to get any traction without them. When it comes to the absolute height of VFX tutelage, you just need to go looking for one man–the prophet of AE, the wizard of 3ds Max, the soothsayer of specialty, short-cut plug-ins, the voice of–Andrew Kramer.

Not only does Andrew Kramer know how to pace a tutorial for maximum clarity and speed, but he also makes it entertaining. He thinks he’s funny. He makes ridiculous little ad-libbed asides in the middle of his tutorials where you can tell that he thinks he’s being hilarious. And so help me…he is. The PoPS VFX Coordinator, Ryan, and I talk about it all the time. We trade Andrew Kramer throw-away lines constantly during post. His introduction to this tutorial is an excellent example. Just the first 15 seconds:

Amazing. Andrew Kramer. How can you not love this guy? He gives you tons of valuable information and he entertains you. Plus, he does the main title sequences for Fringe, Star Trek, and Super 8. How cool is that? Too cool. And you can clearly see that this is the tutorial I used to create the Cinematic Study Guide title card in the first 10 seconds here:

If you’re looking to create some kind of visual effect in After Effects, odds are on you can adapt one of the tutorials into what you need. Good grief, that sounded like a paid recommendation. Seriously though. PoPS started looking good when we started listening to the wit and wisdom of Andrew Kramer.

Thanks for reading.


PoPS update 157-Accepted into Gen Con

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on May 27, 2013 by PoPS blog

Camera Phone Clean Up 2013

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th, Non Ep Specific on May 23, 2013 by PoPS blog

The only really good community-oriented YouTube idea I ever came up with is the Camera Phone Clean Up. Every spring–’cause that’s the time for spring-cleaning–it’s time to purge the camera-on-our-hip of video clips and find out what we thought was worth documenting within the last 12 months. The advent of high quality camera phones has obviously lead to more people shooting video then ever before, but it also serves as a very personal statement of what draws your interest. According to my camera phone contents as seen in the update’s montage, for me that consists mostly of my wife, quirky things we come across, dramatic landscapes, fun with friends, and, I guess, squirrels–which I think just indicates how much time I spend looking out windows.

Then I ask everybody in the community to do the same. Either edit it together or choose their favorite clip they find in their phone and post it as a video response. I get a bunch of great stuff and post a few of my favorites here. Side note: I’m biased toward the first clip in particular. It’s my wife’s first YouTube upload and features our cat, my sister, and her husband. Onto the camera phone clips:

Thanks for reading and participating this year.


PoPS update 156-Camera Phone Clean Up 2013

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on May 19, 2013 by PoPS blog


Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on May 15, 2013 by PoPS blog

One of the standard tools of YouTube audience building are collabs. Collabs, I’m sure you’ll be hyper-shocked to find out, are the abbreviated form of saying collaboration videos. You find someone else on YouTube with similar interests or a similar style of content and you collab…orate. Usually without being in the same place. You each shoot your individual parts and the person who suggested the collab has to edit everything together, it goes up on their channel, and both channels promote it in the hopes of fostering audience crossover and growth for both channels. BOOM. These can be hard to organize. People are super busy. The more subscribers they get the busier they get. I recently tried to get a collab going for a Cinematic Study Guide and though the folks I reached out to said they were up for it, our schedules never aligned.

I’ve used the spirit of the collab in PoPS newscasts. In episodes 4 and 5, whenever a newscast comes on, those are other YouTubers appearing as newscasters and witnesses. I think they all did a great job, but I also think it’s hilarious the way the microphones keep changing. I don’t know why that’s so funny to me. I’ve been able to arrange some fairly prominent cameos thanks to the help of my buddy Craig using his clout to reach out to them. I also had contact with an author I’m a big fan of, J.A. Konrath, he’s at the forefront of the e-books movement and has made a lot of money through self publishing and speaking out against the parts of traditional publishing he has a problem with. I sent him an email asking him to be a lynchpin character in episode 7. He said he’d do it if I would agree to a rewrite he did on his character. He did a hilarious rewrite that enabled it to be more of a crossover with his social media persona and I loved it, it was just too much of a departure from the series so that was another collab that didn’t work out. Several times I’ve agreed to be part of collabs where I wasn’t entirely pleased with the end results. Interactions like that leads to many people distrustful of sending footage in to any collab. But here are a couple of examples of collabs that I think are great.

Thanks for reading!


The Great Gatsby & Strictly Ballroom/Baz Luhrmann Study Guide

Posted in Cinematic Study Guide on May 12, 2013 by PoPS blog


Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on May 9, 2013 by PoPS blog

Okay. The next logical step in crowd sourcing appeared a couple days ago and it makes perfect, beautiful sense. As artists back in the day had patrons who sponsored their ongoing work, so appears the website Patreon.

This dude Jack Conte is an awesome YouTube musician. He built his audience around a format called video songs. He would perform all the parts while recording it on video and create big collage-type videos where you’d watch him actually create the song. The difference between this and a music video is that these are actually clips of the actual parts being recorded. His covers are amazing. I first came across him because of his Aphex Twin/Bright Eyes mashup:

Then a couple months ago he uploaded a couple new videos with a completely new sound, style, and format. It was clear he had a few cameras and was doing these videos in one uninterrupted take that he would just edit together, but it was essentially a live performance. It was awesome. Then his machine announced a new project. (Warning. This Thrift Shop remix has a TON of F-bombs. But the video itself is amazing.):

The music video he announced at the end went live two days ago. It’s for an original song. The song is great, the video is amazing, and the robots and sets and everything are all practical. At the end, an exhausted and apparently mildly nervous Conte announces Patreon: a site where people can pledge a certain amount of money to Conte’s videos PER VIDEO. Every time he uploads a video, someone who’s pledged 5 bucks has 5 bucks deducted from their account and deposited into his. It’s a way he’s going to sustain his musician/video creator lifestyle sustained simply by the small ongoing donations of hundreds or thousands of his core supporters. It’s ideal for the musician or the short video creator. They make lots of little things instead of one big thing. It brilliant. And people can create their own Patreon pages for their projects on the site. Simply awesome. Here’s the video and a link to his Patreon page where he explains the whole concept himself:

Thanks for reading, guys.