VidLog: The Future Of Cheating

Welcome to my first VidLog! To be honest I just kinda made up the word VidLog . . . probably someone else out there already using it, but nonetheless. I’ve decided it’s in both mine and this site’s interest that I actually write about the videos I produce, it’s more interesting to you, more interesting to me so everybody’s happy.

This is one of the videos that I filmed last holiday when I went to Tasmazia. Although the video didn’t exactly turn out as I’d imagined it, it’s still pretty neat and gave me some practice for effects I’ll probably do later on. I won’t give you a run down of the story line, basically because at 1 minute it’s really not a long twisty-curvy blockbuster.

Watch “The Future of Cheating” here:

Okay now onto the basic stuff about it!

The Process

I first had the idea of a maze-y video when my family informed my of a holiday trip we’d be going on in the school holidays, Tasmazia, a large activity maze in Tasmania’s northern half. I had the idea of the maze retracting to the sides, the maze ripping apart to form a passageway . . .

As it happens, the film making process results in many of your ideas going down the toilet. What you imagine and what you end up filming and editing are two entirely different things. This video didn’t turn out as good, nor as visual as I’d hoped. For example, instead of having the maze rip apart to form a doorway I went for the cheap easy option of just blinding the viewer with so much white light that it covers up the fact there’s no real decent vfx.

Nonetheless. Unless you work with Adobe After Effects the rest may seem a bit bizarre, I would explain it further, but meh.

The first thing I did was import all of the footage I’d filmed while I was on holiday and cut it all up in my video editor to set the basic idea of what I wanted, I could always adjust it later if I wanted to remove bits. The next step was to colour correct the footage to add more depth and really set the feel of the film, as you can see in the image below, it really changes the look of things from that home-filmed cam video into that defined movie-look.

Here’s another example of how much the colour correction can make a bland dull video into a sharp characterized image, just the amount of colour in the leaves and floor gives the video more life. After the colour correction I moved onto the effects, the bright light was just a shape with a feathered mask, and a blend mode of add. Then I added a few distortion effects in an adjustment layer so that the whole video reacted more to the supposed cheat.

I also added various elements to enrich the video further, these include smoke elements, dust and debris to make maze look like it’s misty, also to add more life to the massive gateway being formed within the maze.

Next I set to work on the futuristic holographic display. Above is an image of the first version, a real simple interface, which I actually prefer to the one I ended up adding to the video. On my iPod Touch I quickly opened up a drawing program and on a black canvas, drew 3 white dots that I could use for tracking. I really only needed two in the end, but I’ll now know that for future reference. The reason I drew the tracking points on my screen is so that I could track both the rotation and the scale of the iPod as I held it in my shake hand.

After applying the tracking data to a null layer, I created several 3D objects, and using the null layer I’d just created, made these objects stick to the iPod effortlessly. Then I just needed to animate them by turning on motion blur and also by setting the opacity to “Wiggle.”

I just had a major deja vu moment while writing this. . . . whoaoaoaoah!

So after all that I just fixed minor problems and started adding the sound.

I recorded the computer’s voice myself, using a freeware program called Audacity. Using a combination of equalization and high-pass filters you can make a radio-electronic sound. But apart from that I made sure that anything I said twice sounded exactly the same as last time.

Finally using a mix of free sounds from, along with those from my royalty free collection, I added swishes, beeps and ambience to the video.

So there we have it! Hope you enjoyed both the video and this VidLog, do subscribe to me on my YouTube channel or create an account on this website if you enjoy this content!

See you next time,


MyState Film Festival: VOID

I briefly mentioned the MyState Film Festival in my last post, and here’s the official follow-up.

This year MyState Financial ran its student film festival again, I do believe it’s their 10th consecutive festival so far, but I could be wrong about that. Anyways, this year I started work on my entry, starting on it a bit later in the year than I should have.

Before you read any further in this post, I suggest you actually watch it, that way I won’t tell you anything about the story that will ruin it for you. =) Here it is:

Titled VOID, my film leaps into the empty space between parallel universes, a sci-fi theory about “Universal Bubbles.” This clear zone if you like, is said to contain absolutely nothing. Empty nothingness, referred to as the Void. Now that you’ve seen the video already you may even be thinking:

“Ben, there was dust and mist floating around outside in your video, did you make a mistake? Shouldn’t it just be pitch black?”

Technically yes, but since it’s sci-fi, anything’s possible. I like to think about the dust and mist as a transportational [made up word] side effect.

The Orb Explained

If you’re one of those science y people who for some reason want to know how a non-existent, fictional device works, well. I’ve written here my little blurb about what the orb is, and how it works.

The main idea with VOID is that the orb is an inter-universal transportation device, which teleports all lifeforms within the container of presence into the void, and from there you can teleport into any universe you like. The void essentially acts as a junction. The reason the students were still inside the classroom when transported into the void is because the orb sustains a “static image of the last container of presence,” basically the room is just a still hollow snapshot to ensure that the passengers don’t get too alarmed, keeping in mind that this device isn’t intended for use by the human race.

The orb has a few fail safes in place to ensure that the ‘flight remains safe.’ One of these safety features is the container lock down. Since the orb is sustaining the life of all passengers by emulating the previous container of presence (I bet you’re getting sick of that phrase), along with being the only way to actually exit the void, it has a built-in fail safe to prevent it from leaving the room. Should the orb pass more than 20cm beyond the container an energy field will kick into action, assuming the worst, the container fully locks up, preventing any exit from the container. Although this feature seems to be in development, as the orb was catastrophically propelled away from the barrier.

The orb emits an electronic current to keep the virtual room stable, and if touched by a life form with an electronic current of its own, the orb will quickly change its method of power to ensure that no harm comes to the life form holding it. As clever as this may be, depending on the life form the method of power the orb changes to might not be strong enough to sustain the container. Luckily this wasn’t the case for our universe travelling homo-sapiens.

There really is a lot of interesting things to spot in this video, (apart from the many glitches and cast members vanishing here and there) one of the things that many don’t notice at the end, is the change of cup. The reason Jake notices that they’re in the wrong universe, is because the teachers coffee cup changes, and although it didn’t really come through in the video, he also noticed that the teachers handwriting was a lot neater.

But apart from that the story-line is actually quite interesting if you can figure it out. I’ll probably do another post about the video after the film festival is over. Those that never noticed will probably go, “Oh yeah! I see!” . . . Who knows, maybe you’ll just yawn.

I really would like to revisit this project at some point and correct all of the errors that I couldn’t correct in time for the due date. But nonetheless, I hope you enjoy/enjoyed watching VOID, and good luck to everyone else entering the competition.

I personally don’t expect to get very far in the competition at all, yeah there’s a nice story line if you can pick it, and yeah there’s a decent effect or two, but it’s not consistent, some parts are so shabby and the sound quality is terrible . . .

Anyways, until next time readers.


(P.S. This is what I was talking about in my last post, I really want my posts to be more interesting like this one, this is the direction this site is heading from now on)

Time to fix that

Hey there!

Whoooah . . . rather excited/nervous . . .  basically because MyState has finally uploaded all the MyState Film Festival entrants to their YouTube page, and mine happens to be one of them. As shabby as it may be, and as much as it annoys me to see every little glitch and hear every little sound problem; there’s simply nothing more to do then to accept your effort and hope for the best.

But I won’t talk about that now . . . I’ll write a post about the film festival later on, for now I wanted to talk about this new change to the site, not just the visual change, but also in what I actually want this website to be.

You’ll notice the new theme, it’s bright, clean and lightweight. A look I’ve actually been trying to get for a long time now, when I’ve had the time to procrastinate of course. I tried many different lightweight, bright themes, but the problem is many of them simply weren’t the right layout for the content that this site produces. One of the themes I tried out is this one here:

 Yes it looks rather nice doesn’t it?

It’s a beautiful theme called Minimatica made by One Designs. I really loved this theme a lot, and actually considered ditching my entire site and just starting clean with it. But it really wasn’t a very thoughtful option considering I had many other authors using the site. Along with the added problem that every post requires pictures a picture for it to really look good . . . since I don’t usually post pictures in my blogs it would have been an extra inconvenience, resulting in fewer blogs. Nonetheless I fiddled around with this theme for a considerable amount of time, trying to integrate it with the social platform BuddyPress, which controls all the snazzy friendship, profile and wiki features on this site. However, finally I decided to just forget about it. I had things priorities elsewhere (the MyState Film Festival being one of them.) and really needed to just leave things as they were, leaving my dreams of clean, shiny interfaces aside for another day.

The current theme I’m using is a self-modified version of Frisco by David Carson. I stumbled across this theme the other day, the first decent looking BuddyPress-compatible theme I’d seen . . . ever . . . I added the theme, made a few tweaks . . . then decided I wanted it EVEN CLEANER.

So OFF WITH THE HEAD . . . er!

I removed the logo, the category navigation bar from the header, and placed them so that they only appear on the main page. One person kindly said that “it’s bad web design” to have the navigation and logo only appear on the main page. But I actually disagree, and also ask the question . . . Why?

What makes it bad web design? Why must we see the logo on every page of the website? It actually speeds loading times up by not having to load my jQuery logo slider (vSlider) on every single page, besides, it gives the site a great clean feel, and a quite unique feel at that. If you’re logged in, I urge you to click on your name in the sidebar, just look at how nice the profile view looks. No silly logos or non-relevant navigation bars in sight, just a beautiful large profile that actually makes you want to use it. It just feels right, no distractions.

For those that think I’m silly for setting the site up like this, that I’m “Doing it wrong” obviously haven’t heard this inspirational speech about being different by Steve Jobs When Steve passed away the other week I was shattered, he is without a doubt one of the most influential people this planet has ever seen. I don’t care if you have a thing against Apple, I don’t care if you have no interest in technology, and I don’t care if you don’t care. Without him this world would be a very different place. If you think otherwise then leave this site, because you’re obviously an ignorant prat.


Basically the one thing that’s been annoying my about this site, is that unless I’ve got something to rage about, there’s not really that much content on here. I actually think it’d be a lot better if I actually wrote about things like videos I’m working on, songs, filming, photographing. Whatever it is I may be doing.

I want my posts to be more intriguing and interesting and less, raging and ranting.


Well, hope you enjoyed this “short” post better get back to work, I’ll post some cool stuff when I get more time. =)




Candlefuse – Fighter Lyrics

I’m holding on to everything they want to take away

I’m standing strong against the grain
Against the words they say
I’m falling from the way of man
And crawling there to stay
I’m letting go of me
Greater is He that lives within meI’m a fighter strong and brave
Won’t you run with me?
I’m pursuing a life of faith
Because I believe

Stranded, no strength to pray
But I can’t walk away
No reason to be afraid
Gotta take a stand and be the man
That I’m supposed to be

I will hold my head up high
I will sing this battle cry

Frank MacDonald – Memorial Prize – Essay

Hey there, sorry that I haven’t been posting recently folks.

As it happens, people such as myself that produce videos and media are in high demand all of a sudden. Perhaps it’s the film competitions that are on at the moment, or maybe they’re just requesting my assistance because they feel sorry for me. =) Nah, I’m too good for that. *conceited*

Now I don’t like leaving my website all alone in the dark . . . especially with no new content for weeks . . . and whilst thinking, “I should probably write a post soon,” I came across a brilliant idea. I think I’ll phrase it like this:

Maybe I should just upload that essay that I entered in that competition that I lost.

You see, last school holidays, like any normal school kid [Pffft] I set off to write an 1000 word essay on Tasmania, and World War 1’s effect on it’s society. Well, apparently the judges don’t like you writing about the society’s change, instead of writing about the entire change on the history of Tasmania, they obviously prefer something more personal, but never mind that, apologies for my lack of personal connection you judge folk.

Might as well just post the essay here right? They won’t use the same question again next year, and it’s an essay that didn’t place or get any mention whatsoever, an unimportant waste of time. So, here you go. Enjoy the read.

Continue reading “Frank MacDonald – Memorial Prize – Essay”