Archive for the Non Ep Specific Category

PoPS video update 200-200 Weeks

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th, Non Ep Specific on March 30, 2014 by PoPS blog

PoPS video update 196-A Lot Goes Into 30 Seconds-Making …Jack

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th, Non Ep Specific on March 2, 2014 by PoPS blog

Vidcon 2013

Posted in Non Ep Specific on August 8, 2013 by PoPS blog

The video below is our step-by-step jaunt through Vidcon last week.Vidcon was a lot of fun. We saw a lot of people and discovered some awesome new ones. I heard some of the people who had been there previous years voicing concerns that at 12,000 attendees, the conference had gotten too big and impersonal. That wasn’t my experience at all. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. I think they were talking primarily about having less one-on-one time with the bigger YouTube personalities, but even then there are opportunities through panels, signings, and main stage performances to at least get brief face time. It might not be the best environment for in-depth conversations, but those are pretty rare anyway when you meet someone for the first time. Having said that, we had the opportunity to speak at length with a few people and it was outstanding. Most of my longer interactions included some version of this, “Why don’t you have more views? You should market yourself better,” or “Why don’t you get your show on TV, you should talk to the TV people.” Those things always make me realize that I’m seriously handicapped in the promotion, marketing, and business side of this new media thing, and it makes me feel like I’m being crushed and like it’s hard to breathe. So that’s probably a good thing. Then I stop thinking about the entire world of online video, the money raising, and the self-promotion, and just narrow my focus back to telling our one little story.

So, yeah. Vidcon was fun, but did nothing to assuage my promotional anxiety. It just helped me realign my priorities again as I realized that we’ll always be a little channel. But as long as I keep focused on the storytelling, we’ll be a happy little channel.

Thanks for reading and watching, guys.


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.


Internet Forever?

Posted in Non Ep Specific on January 17, 2013 by PoPS blog

I’ve been thinking about the internet as a gateway to the industry old-guard. Many of us internet video guys think about the content we’re putting on the web pretty much as a reel with an audience attached. It’s very clearly worked out before. Take, for example, Fede Alvarez. The week YouTube introduced their HQ [high quality] button, he uploaded this awesome short film:

It blows up, gets him in a room with Sam Raimi, and he just directed the new Evil Dead remake that comes out in a few months. Which, by the way, looks so brutal and amazing. He had the idea of pitching a version without Ash. That was a really smart take.

Then the news came down this week that the film adaptation of one of my favorite graphic novels ever Y: The Last Man found their director, this dude, Dan Trachtenberg, who made an outstanding fan film based on the Portal video game series called Portal: No Escape:

BOOM! Welcome to the bigs, man. Other than excellent craftsmanship, sweet effects, and selectively desaturated color palates, what do these shorts have in common? MILLIONS of views. So that’s a hard thing to just manufacture. And the internet is rife with Batman fan films that don’t launch their directors onto the backlots, so it’s not necessarily a formula for success. Trachtenberg has also directed a number of commercials for brands like Lexus and Coke and Nike already, so he must also be good in the room talking to execs, which is an altogether separate talent outside of directing.

Then there’s the other side. I just read on twitter that the creators of this popular web comic called Cyanide & Happiness have been brought in by three different cable networks to talk about turning their comic into a TV series. Each time they walked away because of ownership negotiations. Now they’re just going to Kickstarter their way into producing it themselves and put it online. Best selling author and internet personality, John Green’s response to this was essentially–Oh yeah. Every time we’ve talked to TV we walk away over ownership as well.

I find it hard to believe that a network or a studio is ever going to fund something that they don’t ultimately own, so there’s always going to be this ownership gulf between studios and creators used to the ownership and creative control of coming up on the internet.

I think many actual content creators are going to back away from the studio system for the properties that they develop themselves, but studios will still be able to cherry pick the internet for directors and writers for their adaptations and reboots. As for myself, I’ve always considered myself in the sell-out-in-a-heartbeat camp. More than anything, I’d still love to roll onto the backlot and work in the system. Sounds like the best thing ever to me. I know I’m over-romanticizing a system that creatives have been pulling their hair out over for generations, but I can’t get the sepia toned newsreel footage of glamorous people making MOVIES in studios out of my head.

Anyway, just stuff I’ve been thinking about. Thanks for reading.


Why Video Editors Try Not To Make Declarative Statements

Posted in Non Ep Specific on January 3, 2013 by PoPS blog

Okay. I think it’s getting here for real. I’m about to finish all the non-PoPS video work (NPVW) I had outstanding. That means I FINALLY get to start editing episode 7. Finally. I thought I finished all the NPVW on New Year’s Eve, but the next day I found a tape that slipped through the cracks. Tonight…I finish. Or maybe, I mean, I hope I do.

Here are some examples of why video editors try not to make declarative statements. I was editing this video that I had shot on tape. 14 hour-long tapes, 13 of which I had imported piecemeal over a series of days so that the computer wasn’t just sitting there for 14 hours straight. Over the New Year’s four day weekend, I suddenly decided that it was going to be me or this project. It was time to battle to the end. I had about 16 hours of editing left to do and one tape left to import. So Sunday, I sat down and edited for 14 hours. Once I had finished all the footage I had previously imported, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was dazed, my eyes were tired, and my head felt really heavy, but I thought–Final round. I’ve got this thing on the ropes.

I decided to import the last tape and call it a night. Then the rule of video editing happened. Whatever you thought your easy last step was going to be is going to fight you tooth and nail. A long editing project is like a wounded animal. It knows it’s cornered and if you’re going to finish it it wants you either wounded or run ragged to the point of exhaustion. Victory must be earned.

So how did the wounded NPVW enact it’s death throes? The external hard drive wouldn’t recognize the camera. Fine. It must be tired from a marathon day. I tried to eject it, but it won’t spin down and eject. I verified that all programs were closed, still nothing. So I shut it down cold and took the “you must eject your hard drive first” slap on the wrist from the computer. I swear, it always makes me feel like child protective services is sweeping in to let me know that my child might have brain damage from then on. Mixing metaphors now, but why would child protective services be interested in my wounded project-animal? Just roll with it, guys. I turned on the video camera, checked the connections, restarted the drive, and opened the project. The camera was recognized, the final tape loaded, ready to go. I started the capture process only to find over the course of many minutes–it was about 1 a.m. now–that the tape recorded glitchy. Luckily, it was only B-roll. Very important B-roll, but this project involved a lot of subject interview. If any of that had been missing we would have had to re-record. Instead, I just had to hover over the importing process. When the timecode gapped, I jumped in, stopped importing, and re-started importing after the gap. For awhile it would only import footage in alternating 6 second and 9 second increments. I thought I was going crazy. This method of import then caused the program to crash. I restarted the program, continued on, and eventually the glitches stopped and the last 12 minutes imported as one stretch.

The next day, I cut the remaining footage together and declared victory over the project. Something felt off though. I began exporting the video sequences as dvd files. It’s the equivalent of field dressing the now dead project-animal, the hunt complete, preparing for delivery.

The next morning, I realized that one hour of footage was missing. The project limps on. I found the tape, imported it, and got a half hour locked up last night. I should be done with the rest tonight. Still, I hesitate to count on that. I wonder why.

Thanks for reading, guys.


Never Be In Production Over the Holidays

Posted in Non Ep Specific on December 19, 2012 by PoPS blog

Look, crazy. The holidays are busy enough, all right? You know what else causes mind numbing busyness? Production. Guess what happens when you combine them? You lose it. Like a weekend in Vegas, you lose it all. Like a weekend in Vegas during a zombie apocalypse, you lose it all and just wish for the sweet comforting silence of the grave.

This year, thankfully, we are not in the midst of production. We learned this lesson last year, where a brief sojourn to my Twitter account informs me that we were completing shoot days up until  December 22nd. No, for real, guys. December 22nd; the sleigh is all but loaded up, the wise men are just about ready for a pit stop, that lunatic inn owner is about to commit the world’s biggest no vacancy fail in history (Can you imagine the kind of business that place could have done if he let them stay there? Color TV, air conditioning, birthplace of the Lord), but we’re still knee deep in the mixed metaphor mud of production. It was not a great plan. I almost lost my whole mind.

Still working on non-PoPS stuff. One of which was this charity video I made for A Safe Place, a domestic abuse shelter in northern Illinois, which I used for the YouTube community charity day this year:

For those of you who may not know, the charity day is called Project For Awesome, initiated by the Vlog Brothers a few years ago. Everyone is supposed to make a video for charity and over one or two days everyone shares them with each other while raising a bunch of money. This year, through sponsorship and donations, they raised $446,000. Boom. Take that, devastating gun violence news I hear on the radio every day.

Hope everyone is having a calm and happy holiday season.

Thanks for reading.