YouTube Poops… is there more than meets the eye?

PBS Idea Channel: The so-called ‘subversive remix’ is not a new phenomenon. Artists from all mediums have been destroying established cultural symbols for the sake of making a statement for decades. So does YTP also qualify as a “statement” of sorts? Is it a way to reclaim these pop culture symbols and create something that is truly our own? Or are they just the annoying byproduct of having video editing software and too much time on your hands?

See also

  • Wikipedia: YouTube Poop (often called YTP for short) is a type of absurdist video mashup, created by editing pre-existing media sources for the purposes of humor, entertainment, shock, and/or confusion.
  • YouTube: The Medium Is The MessageThe largest ingredient of online video is the awareness that every consumer is a possible creator.
  • How to make a supercutCo.Create interviews Nick Douglas about his supercuts videos.

The Chickening

An insane remix of The Shining by Nick DenBoer and Davy Force.

Official selection TIFF40 and Sundance 2016!

The Chickening poster

See also: Star Wars v. Star Trek & Bartkira the Animated Trailer

The Witness is an exploration-puzzle game currently by Jonathan Blow (Braid) and a small, independent team.

You wake up, alone, on a strange island full of puzzles that will challenge and surprise you.

You don’t remember who you are, and you don’t remember how you got here, but there’s one thing you can do: explore the island in hope of discovering clues, regaining your memory, and somehow finding your way home.

The Witness is out now on the PC and the PlayStation 4 and is coming to come to iOS in ‘some months’, and other platforms ‘a bit later’.

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The Witness: a gorgeous new exploration-puzzle game

The Witness is a single-player game in an open world with dozens of locations to explore and over 500 puzzles. This game respects you as an intelligent player and it treats your time as precious. There’s no filler; each of those puzzles brings its own new idea into the mix. So, this is a game full of ideas.


RetroAhoy: Doom

Stuart Brown: Doom is a massively important step in the development of 3D action games. One that defined the first person shooter and changed gaming forever.

If you had a PC — you had to have Doom.

See also

Craft and creativity

The story behind the NRO’s sinister octopus logo

MuckRock reports:

When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn’t get quite the response they had hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth.


Privacy and security researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a FOIA with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered. As for the question of “why a giant octopus,” the NRO offers up these two clunky paragraphs

Description of the NRO octopus logo

If that imagery comes off as somewhat forced, there’s a reason for that – an article for what appeared to be the ODNI’s internal magazine reveals the “secret origin” of the octopus…

NRO octopus patch design

That article draws from a speech made by the Mission Manager…

“It’s really neat to me. It’s kind of saying the enemy has nowhere to run.”

MuckRock: “A little sinister!!” The story behind National Reconnaissance Office’s octopus logo

See also

  • The patches of US spy satellite launchesA purple-haired sorceress holding a fireball. A three-headed dragon wrapping its claws around the world. A great raptor emerging from the flames. No, these are not characters from a Magic: The Gathering deck. They are avatars depicted on the official mission patches made for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
  • MuckRock is a collaborative news site that brings together journalists, researchers, activists, and regular citizens to request, analyze, and share government documents, making politics more transparent and democracies more informed.
  • What does the red swoosh in NASA’s ‘meatball’ logo mean?The distinctive red shape wasn’t just a designerly flourish…

Composition In Storytelling

Lewis Bond: The cinema screen is just another canvas for an artist to create images. Composition is the tool that gives those images structure and purpose.

See also

fxguide talks to the visual effects artists who worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

fxguide’s John Montgomery sits down with Industrial Light + Magic in San Francisco to discuss their stellar work on The Force Awakens. Hear from senior visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett, visual effects supervisor Patrick Tubach, animation supervisor Paul Kavanagh, environments supervisor Susumu Yukihiro, compositing supervisor Jay Cooper and asset build supervisor Dave Fogler as they run through key scenes from the film.

The Force Awakens has been heavily marketed as a move away from the synthetic CG-fest that the prequels were and as a return to the spirit of the originals with practical effects work being used whenever possible. However it is pretty clear watching the VFX breakdowns in this video that computer generated effects were used extensively throughout the film.

“I’m very happy if people honestly believe that a lot of this stuff is done in-camera and they believe all of those things are really happening, but the truth is it’s just a massive amount of work.”


Update: ILM just posted these VFX breakdowns onto their YouTube channel.

See also

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The visual effects magic of ‘The Force Awakens’

fxguide’s John Montgomery sits down with Industrial Light + Magic in San Francisco to discuss their stellar work on The Force Awakens.


Anatomia typeface

Anatomia is a quirky grotesk typeface designed by Jacopo Atzori, Vicky Chinaglia and Matteo Giordano for a type design course at Poli.Design in Milan in 2013.

“We found this old anatomy book (from which the name, Anatomia) printed in the early 20th century, set in this ugly scotch face with exaggerated details that made it work in small sizes. Our idea was to bring the skeleton, the proportions and some characteristic aspects into a grotesk–formula based typeface, being that the historical evolution of these modern faces.”

“Big serifs and strong details for the small sizes would become characteristic elements in big sizes.”

“The design of the typeface followed the rule of keeping the counterform shaped as the original design, while building the outside of the letters in a more geometric way. What comes out of this process is a grotesk typeface with a characteristic dynamism through the texture, with an accentuated stroke modulation.”

See also

  • Recovering The Doves Type from the bottom of the ThamesIn 1916, the Doves Type was seemingly lost forever after it was thrown into the River Thames. Almost 100 years later, and after spending three years making a digital version, designer Robert Green has recovered 150 pieces from their watery grave…
  • A detailed look at Apple’s new San Fransisco typefaceSo is San Francisco really the perfect system font for Apple’s products? It’s complicated.
  • Making of a typeface: GT Sectraoriginally designed for the long-form journalism magazine “Reportagen”
  • Neue Haas UnicaMonotype’s revival of a typeface that has attained almost mythical status in the type community. Unica was an attempt to create the ultimate sans-serif – a hybrid of Helvetica, Univers and Akzidenz Grotesk.


Use your words

Anatomia: a quirky grotesk typeface

A grotesk typeface born from the skeleton of an old Scotch Roman used in an anatomy book printed in the early 20th century.


10 Cloverfield Lane Trailer

After surprising audiences with numerous cinematic twists over the years, Paramount Pictures and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot have pulled another fast one on fans with the trailer release of the studio’s mystery movie, which is tied to another Abrams hit.

During the casting process, the project was first titled “The Cellar” and then changed halfway through pre-production to “Valencia” before taking on it’s final name, revealing it to be “a blood relative of ‘Cloverfield.’”Variety

This ‘Tor Flow’ visualization shows information flow between relay servers of the Tor network for a selected day.

The Tor network is a group of volunteer-operated servers (relays) that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tor’s users employ this network by connecting through a series of virtual tunnels rather than making a direct connection, thus allowing both organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.

(via Boing Boing)

See also: Drone strikes: an infographic; Edward Snowden on freedom; ‘1984’ stealth fashion for the under-surveillance society; Paranoid Android: Silent Circle’s Blackphone 2.

Life on the Internet

Tor Flow: Mapping the Tor network

“Torflow is a visualization of the vast amounts of traffic streaming between its many nodes, delineating a map of the internet as it can’t otherwise be seen.” — Rob Beschizza, Boing Boing


Russian designer Evgeny Kazantsev has created a series of surreal illustrations that imagine what the world would look like once natural disasters and technology drastically alter human existence.

See also

Shape of things to come

Artist illustrates how technology might doom and save the planet

In ‘Cataclysm Happens’, Kazantsev constructs an eerie picture of the effects of climate change on humanity. In ‘Past in the Future’, he goes on to imagine a world in which humans have used technology to transcend the constraints of nature and—quite literally—engineer new and improved lives.


The Problem with Trailers

Now You See It: Why do all trailers feel the same? How do great trailers stand out? Let’s look at the structure of trailers over time and see how they’ve grown, and why some are practically identical.

(via Laughing Squid)

Other posts on this blog about movie trailers

Editing as Punctuation in Film

A video essay by Max Tohline:

In January 2014 Kathryn Schulz published an article in Vulture called “The Five Best Punctuation Marks in Literature.”

It got me thinking about what the five best “punctuation marks” in film might look like. I wanted to assemble a video essay with a rapidfire list of nominees of great moments of editing-as-punctuation in film. But as I started putting it together, the project grew into a twofold piece: an analysis of and response to Schulz’s article as well as an attempt to spur new insights about editing by examining it through the metaphor of punctuation.

So, here it is: 20 minutes long, clips from 100 films (101 if you count that Woody Allen quotes Duck Soup in Hannah and her Sisters), and, I hope, an inspiration to anyone else who loves film on a formal level and believes, as Bazin did, that the language of cinema isn’t done being invented yet.

See also

  • Film School’d on movie editingIn less than 7 minutes (and plenty of cuts), we’ll show you just how important editing is to the creation of film: from the first stop trick to today.
  • Pudovkin’s 5 Editing Techniques — A brief look at some of Vsevolod Pudovkin’s theories on editing as well as some examples from more recent movies.
  • The Editing of MAD MAX: Fury Road — By using “Eye Trace” and “Crosshair Framing” techniques during the shooting, the editor could keep the important visual information vital in one spot… the Center of the Frame.

(via All of history’s greatest figures achieved success in almost exactly the same way. But rather than celebrating this part of the creative process we ignore it. A series of video essays by Adam Westbrook.

The Long Game Part 1: Why Leonardo DaVinci Was No Genius

Do you ever have that feeling that everyone else is more successful than you?
If you think that’s bad – try being Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Long Game Part 2: The Missing Chapter

This missing chapter in the story of success reveals the secret to doing meaningful work. But in the modern world, full of distraction, do we have what it takes to do great things?

The Long Game Part 3: Painting in the Dark

In this new video essay, I’ve taken a look at the forgotten difficult years of another celebrated artist and wondered what it means for creative people working today.

See also

Craft and creativity

The Long Game: The struggle for art in a world obsessed with popularity

A series of video essays by Adam Westbrook: All of history’s greatest figures achieved success in almost exactly the same way. But rather than celebrating this part of the creative process we ignore it.


Wrath of Khan on vinyl

Mondo presents the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan score on vinyl! A special extended 50th anniversary release of James Horner’s score for the second original Star Trek movie, with art by Matt Taylor.

Brith.Movies.Death. I have this set and it sounds glorious, even on my dinky record player. This is possibly James Horner’s greatest and most iconic work (in my humblest of opinions) and is one of the most beloved soundtracks of our time. Now you can listen to it while gazing upon some legit, hot shit art.

See also

Craft and creativity

Extended score for Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan… new on vinyl!

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry’s immortal contribution to science fiction and American culture, and Mondo is starting the party off with some music – specifically with a vinyl re-release of James Horner’s score for Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.” — Birth.Movies.Death.


Let’s Play Dark Souls

This is a let’s play series on YouTube for a feindishly difficult game called Dark Souls. Markus (aka EpicNameBro aka ENB) is currently 50 episodes into a comprehensive walkthrough and discussion of the game, with tips for players and discussion of the game’s lore and development.

Catarina armorWhile Dark Souls is famous for its difficulty, I was mostly fascinated with how the game designers managed to balance that difficulty, never letting the player feel that they were unfairly cheated out of a victory. The way the game designers handle backstory is also very interesting. The lore of these lands could be almost entirely ignored by the player if they chose not to pay any attention to it, but Lordran has a rich history that can be pieced together from item descriptions and NPC dialogue. Even then, much is left to interpretation as characters the player meets are often untrustworthy or ill-informed.

The monster designs are also pretty freaky. My favourite reveal has been that of the Gaping Dragon.

Currently Markus is nearing the end of his playthrough, but he intends to replay it to show how the storylines can branch and the alternative endings that can be achieved, as well as play the original Japanese version of the game to discuss some to the translation choices that were made.

I’m terrible at these kinds of games, but I have been so fascinated by this world I have bought it for my PlayStation. I have not gotten very far…

At this year’s CES Kodak announced a brand new 8mm film camera, of all things. The industrial design is by Yves Béhar (the man behind the Jambox and OLPC) and his team at FuseProject. It’s a fascinating thing to look at.

The Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative reaches far beyond the introduction of a new camera. The company has built a roadmap that includes a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more. “It is an ecosystem for film” said Jeff Clarke, Eastman Kodak Chief Executive Officer.

Shooting analogue has never been so easy. When you purchase film you will be buying the film, processing and digital transfer. The lab will send you your developed film back and email you a password to retrieve your digital scans from the cloud so you can edit and share in any way you choose.

The Verge: The (non-working) prototype is on display at CES. Kodak plans to ship limited edition of the camera in the fall for somewhere between $400 and $750, according to the WSJ. A less expensive model is expected in 2017. Processing the film should cost $50 to $75 a cartridge.

Wired: Those seeing the new camera at CES have been quick to call it “old-school,” but Béhar dismisses the descriptor. “This is not a retro design job,” he says. “I was not interested in being directly inspired in what was done back then. The reason it looks retro is the size and the mechanical restraint of using a [film] cartridge.”

The 8mm camera return explained by Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke

The Verge’s Sean O’Kane talked to Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke about how it works, why JJ Abrams loves it, and why the company is going retro.

See also

  • The History of Aspect Ratios — John Hess traces the evolution of the screen shape from the silent film days through the widescreen explosion of the 50s, to the aspect ratio of modern digital cameras
  • The acclaimed documentary Tangerine was shot using the iPhone 5S (three actually), $8 camera app Filmic Pro, a Steadicam rig and special anamorphic lenses made by Moondog Labs
  • AMPC: A modern computer built inside a case inspired by older amplifiers
  • All trousers: The Novo digital cinema camera

…and other posts tagged ‘filmmaking’

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Kodak’s Super 8 Camera revival

“The hope, at Kodak and according to Béhar, is for the new Super 8 to be something of a bridge, not just between film and digital, but between entry-level and professional movie-making.” — Wired


5 Secret Hidden Truths Behind Movie Trailers

The Inception foghorn; the bass drop; the ominous voiceover; the montage; the final gag.

Screen Rant: Nothing gets movie fans talking like an action packed trailer, which means the first public look at an upcoming film really can mean the difference between a runaway blockbuster and a box office disappointment. It’s not all that shocking that movie trailers – just like movie posters – have become an exact science, with the same colors, poses, and tricks used by every major studio. But once you take a closer look at blockbuster trailers, you may be surprised at just how similar they really are. Here are Screen Rant’s 5 Ways Movie Trailers Are All The Same.

See also

Prelude to Axanar

Axanar is the independent production that proves a feature-quality Star Trek film can be made on a very modest budget — approximately $80,000 in the case of the short film that you just watched — and outside of the studio system.

This 21-minute short film, Prelude to Axanar, premiered Saturday, July 26th, 2014, at San Diego Comic Con, and features Richard Hatch, Tony Todd, Kate Vernon, JG Hertzler and Gary Graham — Gary reprises his role of Soval from “Enterprise.” The makeup and hair was designed by Academy Award winner Kevin Haney and Star Trek veteran Brad Look of Makeup Effects Lab in Hollywood. Top that off with the amazing visual effects of Tobias Richter of The Light Works, and sound by Academy Award winner Frank Serafine, and the result is Prelude to Axanar.

The visual effects in this are very impressive in this short — especially the stuff in the last half — though I wish they had upped the tempo a bit. The talking heads documentary format works surprisingly well too. I would totally watch a film like this, if they can get it made…

Star Trek Fan Film Makers Didn’t Know They Were Being Sued … Until They Read the News →