Double Fine
Light-based media

Double Fine Adventure!

This behind the scenes documentary was initially for Kickstarter backers, but now the first three episodes have been released on YouTube.

1. A Perfect Storm For Adventure

A three-year journey spanning eighteen (and counting) episodes, the Double Fine Adventure documentary chronicles the creation of “Broken Age,” from a germ of an idea in Tim Schafer’s notebook to a finished game and beyond. Along the way, the team is confronted with production delays, internal strife, and outside controversy in what is the most honest, in-depth look at video game development ever created. Previously exclusive to Double Fine’s Kickstarter backers, now everyone can share in the passion, humor, and heartbreak of this landmark documentary series.

2. A Promise of Infinite Possibility

3. Codename: Reds

There will be new episodes released on YouTube every Tuesday and Thursday, or you can buy the rest of the episodes DRM free for $10.

Univision 3-perf
Light-based media

Univisium: Vittorio Storaro’s universal 2:1 film format

I’ve recently binge-watched the first two seasons of House of Cards on Netflix and one of the first things I noticed was the black bars showing on my 16:9 television. Why would such a modern show be filmed in anything but the most common modern aspect ratio?

'House of Cards' aspect ratio

This odd aspect ratio turns out to be the brainchild of a famous cinematographer:

Univisium (macaronic Latin for “unity of images”) is a proposed universal film format created by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC and his son, Fabrizio, to unify all future theatrical and television movies into one respective aspect ratio of 2.00:1 (18:9).Wikipedia

Storaro writes:

Vittorio Storaro In the jungle of different aspect ratios in today’s Cinema and Television, the upcoming advanced High Definition Video system will introduce yet another one, an aspect ratio of about 1:1,79.* For a while, we will have three different visual proportions, and therefore three different compositions, of the same movie.

I don’t know who made this decision for a new aspect ratio, since it doesn’t resolve any past, present or future problems for a common composition between different media. I am not aware of any Directors or Cinematographers who have been asked for their opinions about the possible new area or new composition for future audio-visual systems.

[…] Considering High Definition and 65mm, I think it would therefore be sensible to propose a new standard for both. A new aspect ratio that will fit future, present, and past compositional needs. Currently 65mm is set at an aspect ratio of 1:2,21 and High Definition at about 1:1,79, so, if we remove the 0,21 from the 65mm, and if we add the same number on top of High Definition TV, we will have a perfect balance between the two: that is, 1:2.

Though this new standard doesn’t seem to have taken off yet, House of Cards is far from the first the first film or television series to adopt Univisium. The first seems to be 1998’s Tango and the first television example is 2000’s fascinating mini-series of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Storaro was responsible for the cinematography of both.


Will Stephen: How to sound smart in your TEDx talk

In a hilarious talk capping off a day of new ideas at TEDxNewYork, professional funny person Will Stephen shows foolproof presentation skills to make you sound brilliant — even if you are literally saying nothing. (Full disclosure: This talk is brought to you by two TED staffers, who have watched a LOT of TED Talks.)


(via @ianisted)

Wooden Enterprise by Michael Kretschmer

This 36 inch wooden model of the old school Starship Enterprise is made of maple, black walnut, padauk, osage orange, ebony, and yellow heart.

Kretschmer has also written about the making of this model: The main hull is made of maple. All major components were turned on a wood lathe. The saucer is 16 inches in diameter. The warp engines are made of maple as well, with black walnut and padauk pieces glued together.

Also: Take a good look at the original Enterprise shooting model, currently being restored at the Smithsonian and check out this amazing 68″ Lego Enterprise model!


Gorgeous wooden USS Enterprise model

The goal was not only to create the epic vessel, but to do it in original style not seen anywhere else… exploiting the natural grains and colors of the woods used. There is no paint or stain in this. It is coated with clear gloss polyurethane and rests on a 3/8″ stainless steel rod fixed into the black walnut base sporting the starfleet emblem.


Flipped Iceberg: Shooting in Antarctica

Alex Cornell: This is a behind-the-scenes video of the flipped iceberg photos we shot in Antarctica. The video includes an overview of the gear used, a Lightroom editing screencast, some unreleased video of the iceberg, and a brief rundown of press outreach and monitoring viral analytics.

Flipped iceberg in Antarctica -- Alex Cornell

(via Daring Fireball)

Blue Snowball
Life on the Internet

Making podcasts: Great advice from the professionals

Various professional podcasters talk about how they make great podcasts…

Jason Snell is a tech writer who hosts several podcasts while guesting on many more. He has written several excellent blog posts about podcasting, starting with some general advice: Don’t be intimidated.

“The great thing about podcasting is that anyone can do it. You don’t need to have access to a broadcasting company’s radio transmitter and studios packed with equipment. You can reach people with your voice right now.”

QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is a great podcast recording tool, and it’s on every Mac.

Jason then followed up with How I podcast: Recording and Editing, two posts full of practical advice.

“Not to get all philosophical on you, but editing audio is a lot of work, and depending on what kind of a podcast you’re producing, most of it is probably not necessary. Just because you can edit a podcast within an inch of its life—clearing out pauses, removing every um and uh and awkward pause and spoken digression—doesn’t mean you must.”

Marco Arment has some strong opinions on the importance of improving the technical quality of your podcast:

“Making your podcast easy to listen to is worth some effort.”

“Just as blogs need sensible fonts, colors, layouts, and spacing to be comfortably readable, podcasts need to be listenable. And you can’t make easily listenable podcasts without at least basic equipment and production.”

Dan Benjamin is founder of the 5by5 podcast network and has shared a great deal of information at There’s a comprehensive equipment guide, a series of podcasts (of course) and this video on proper microphone technique

Alex Blumberg is a public radio producer known for his work with This American Life and Planet Money. He recently co-founded Gimlet Media, a podcast network. Alex documented the early days of his new company in the network’s first podcast, StartUp).

Tim Ferriss interviewed Blumberg for his own podcast: How to Create a Blockbuster Podcast. It’s a special two-part episode, and the second part is a 40 minute excerpt from a masterclass Alex taught on creativeLIVE, on the art of the interview, what to ask, the power of the right question, and more.

Amongst other things Blumberg advises that you don’t ask yes or no questions, instead ask “tell me about the time when…” or “tell me the story of…” questions.

Those links again:

See also: How to script and record narration for video.