2012 in 2012 seconds

Well, it’s nearly 2012.

The year that has it’s hyped up apocalyptic ending, it’s world of change, the year that everything is happening. 2012 is apparently going to be the biggest year in terms of technical advancement, but also the year of global reset and financial strain. “It’s going to be a difficult year,” the politicians say, “businesses are going to have to try harder to stay alive.”

Already it’s not sounding great, and there’s only 2012 seconds left of 2011, (but now there’s far less, I don’t write posts in milliseconds.)

There’s all these people standing upon the social networking clouds, shouting down their feelings as the last moments tick by, “What’s your New Year Resolution?” , “Glad this year is over.” , “Bring on 2012.”  However, I’m not sure I follow this feeling of excitement, and as for a New Year Resolution? Another promise to try to keep with myself which I’ll end up forgetting after the hype of the new digits calm down.

To think that a year is just a name that we’ve slapped onto the Earthly rotation around the sun. Which doesn’t add up when you look at the time . . . because if that’s the case, it may already be 2012 technically, it may already be that the Earth has made its full rotation already, because we base days on the light, and the years on our position in the galaxy, they don’t match up.

But as much as I’d like to complain about my off-topic confusion, I have to question myself…

For right now I sound like an absolute full-blown nutcase, just reading back on my post I feel like it’s just a measly reason for me to say, “See, I was there the moment the year ticked 2012.”  I can feel my uncertainty, I want this new year, but I don’t want it, both forces crave but hate equally.

I don’t want this year to end.

Because I know, just like every year before, we’ll all change again.

We’ll all act differently, feel differently. Now that the hierarchy has shifted it’ll be a realignment of character, and as much as this intrigues me to see who we’ll become, what we’ll all act like. It makes me question if I am the same person each year, or if I’m simply a new person trying fill in, the acting replacement.


Thanks for reading this short piece, obviously my brain is degrading due to the oncoming turmoil of 2012 . . . may just be the lack of sleep.


Until next year.




VidLog: Kortal Mombat Action Scene

For the finale episode of NeWs!, a comedic school news show displayed in a few of the assemblies in 2011, we had an epic action scene in the style of a console game beat-em-up. We actually started this probably 4-5 weeks before we actually started preparing the final episode of NeWs!, and it’s just as well too, because the amount of time that went into this video was more than a thousand sponges could even dream of soaking up, well if somehow, some nuclear experiment went wrong and gave sponges the ability to soak up time itself…

Nonetheless, this improvised video took shape the more we filmed it. The brilliant action/comedic mastermind of Ollie was the true inspiration for the video, as we filmed he would include extra ideas, “Yeah I so Alex you can like run at him, and he’ll step back and then you have to stagger towards him okay?” When we all had all seen the foam head in the drama room, Ollie instantly knew we could use it as part of a violent effect. So working it all out on the move, I decided whether or not the effects were possible or not, and then figured out a way we could do them. Alex and Alex, our fighting aliases, recorded a series of grunts, groans and Aaaahhgghs for the “game”, I guess the fact that these sounds repeated throughout the video really helped it feel like a video game, although . . . didn’t really at all.

Now just to give you an idea of how much this video was mashed with effects and colour, look at the above photo!

Every single scene of video had to be individually motion tracked, then the sky would be replaced, the video would then be “cartoonised” slightly, followed by multiple harsh colour correction layers, a few little textures were added along with the HUD, which was made in photoshop, AND finally in a few parts of the video, a dragon was also added flying in the sky. Not many people noticed the dragon… oh well, but it still helped add some atmosphere to the video.

Surprisingly the beginning bit with the menu was made before the rest of the video, my reason for doing so is because that was the fun part.

Some other things that were added into the video, although it probably wasn’t worth adding them in, was a few castles at the beginning. In the video world this method of adding things into the background is called set extension, but it’s also known as matte painting. It’s where you merge a photo or video into one to make a new structure, landscape, etc. This method is used A LOT in shows like Merlin, Terra Nova, Doctor Who . . . But particularly Merlin.

The images I used for this are in Public Domain, this means they are Royalty Free, or in more simpler terms, I can use them for anything I want, commercial or otherwise, without having to worry about people suing my arse into a thousand pieces. Because I quite like my arse in one piece.

Normally if you’re getting Royalty Free images it will cost you, thankfully I found this great site: http://www.public-domain-image.com/ which has a wide variety of photos, free for use in anything. There’s also another large collection of stock photos at PacHD.com

“Ben, what about the awesome throwing effects?”

I noticed that everyone started cheering when Ollie tossed the first Kortal Mombat fighter into the air, so they evident ally thought it looked cool. So the question is, how did Ollie throw Alex that far into the sky?

Well it turns out, we didn’t throw nobody. The benefit of this kind of effect, is that it’s over pretty quickly, plus, because of the fast movement you can use a lot of blurring to hide your video editing tricks. As you can see in the image above, the shadow of Alex looks considerably dodgy, but because this shadow is only visible for about a second, it doesn’t really matter that much. All eyes are being drawn to the guy getting picked up. But that again is another trick.

I used a still frame of Alex lying down with his leg up and key framed (edited frame-by-frame in the video) the picture so that it followed Ollie’s clenched hands as he pretended to throw someone. Speed the action up enough, and hey presto! In fact, every punch, kick and swing in this video were sped up to make them look more violent, a technique also used in many action videos, a technique which I picked up by watching Freddiew‘s YouTube video “Whose gun is it anyway?

I bet you feel ripped off now! When Ollie ended the video with a dramatic head-kicking, it turns out that it was all a big rouse. As you can see in the image above, it’s that foam head I mentioned earlier in the post. Okay, so Ollie kicked a foam head instead of Alex’s REAL head, but what about his body? It’s clearly visible behind the head . . . and it is missing a head!

I’ll tell you now that we didn’t get a life-size replica of Alex and lay it on the ground with the fake head. We did something a lot more computery. (I make up words, get use to it.)

I got Alex to lay on the ground for a little bit so that I could get a single frame of JUST him. Then we got him out of the shot, making sure that the foam head was placed EXACTLY where his head was, (Though as it turns out, that didn’t really need to happen.) then Ollie kicked the foam head out of shot.

The still frame above of Alex lying there was motion tracked ONTO the grass, then with a little bit of rotoscoping and editing the effect of his head being kicked off was produced. Thankfully it was another one of those fast startling effects that allows you to be a little bit sloppy, you’ll notice in the image of the foam head the masking I did to add the still image of Alex in wasn’t perfect, because it didn’t need to be.

Well, hope you enjoyed this VIDLOG, another little insight into how much I really need to get a life.

I find it interesting that I wrote this VidLog on the 29th of December, when the first VidLog I wrote on the 29th of November… oh drat, actually not anymore, because it’s just gone 12:05 AM . . . that just screwed up my endnote. Anyways until the next VIDLOG…



Merry Christmas

Well, It’s officially Christmas day.

I really don’t feel like writing anything at the moment, yeah, pretty poor effort for someone that’s supposed to be a blogger. But if you are interested in reading something… here’s a SOSE assignment I wrote about the Christmas Ceasefire back in WW1. The task was to watch a movie called Joyeux Noel and then write a letter from one of the soldiers. We were trying to feel what they felt, see what they saw, and smell what they smelt . . . in about two pages.

My letter, I decided, was going to be from one of the Scottish soldiers, I even included traditional (as traditional as a Google search can conjure) Scottish language in the assignment, hope you enjoy reading it.

The Ceasefire
To my dearest children and my sweet Annabel,
I’m hoping that ye’ve been having a wonderful Christmas; hopefully ye don’t receive this letter at a time where Christmas has long come and gone.  It really shames me that I was unable to be there to watch each of yer gleaming eyes dart over that beautiful Christmas tree ye sent me a picture of in our last letter, it certainly looks far greater than any of the decorations we have here in the trenches. Then, there is a bit of snow. Yesterday there was the sound of crunching ice beneath my feet as I walked down the slimy mud floor of the trench, holding onto my cup of slightly-flavoured hot cocoa. I gazed around at all the small decorations hanging all around the pit that we’d been held hostage too, reminding us all that despite the war, it was Christmas, and we were somehow meant to feel festive about it.
“Want me to feel festive? How about they send us some decent food?” None of this scaffy rubbish I’ve been eating for the past week. I’m about to finish the last of my hot cocoa, and quite frankly I’m glad that’s the case.  Derek reckons that Continue reading “Merry Christmas”

NeWs! Finale

The NeWs! Finale ended off the series, and the year, with a creepy, yet loud and clear: “BANG!”

The NeWs! Episode Finale was shown on the final day of school in 2011. That’s December the 21st, and guess what, it was a great success.

In the NeWs! Finale there was:
  • Open Day Segment
  • Action Scene: Ollie the Hacker
  • Action Scene Preview
  • Athletics Carnival Segment
  • Randomie: “Bash Him”
  • Gavin’s Head Shaving
  • An Emotional Ending

Hosted by Mikayla, Sam and Alex, this year’s leavers, the episode ran us through the Open day, the Athletics Carnival, an all new Action Scene, Randomie, Head Shaving and a dramatic heart-touching ending. Without a doubt the most well put together episode of the NeWs! out of the entire 5-episode series, all the feedback we received was EPIC.

Thanks so much to everyone that supported us through the series, we do hope to return in 2012.

Episode Screenshots:

This show was hosted by:

-Sam, Alex, Mikayla

The dream of you that killed me

My eyes are bloodshot.

My vision is obscured by the

Tears that roll down my cheeks

And into this pool of sorrow.


My head screams at me.

Voices of hate and envy

Infultrate my mind.

I’m going crazy.


My longing heart is failing me,

These scars have been dug way too deep.

My love for you is killing me,

The tears I cry are making weak.


I fell for you but you weren’t there to catch me, instead you just let me fall,

Fall into this spiral of self loathing and hate!

And I fear that these scars won’t heal, I’m broken and I won’t heal.


This blade cuts into my heart

And I wait for your sweet, sweet stitches

To mend this wound that pierces so deep

As I sit and stare at your pictures.


I like these photos, your smiling at me,

That’s something I haven’t seen you do in a while.

I miss the days when you used to watch me

Then quickly look away when I caught your eye.


But those heartless vultures took me away

And locked me up because they thought I was insane.

Now trapped within these cold walls I will stay

Forever longing to see you again.


And as I sit by myself in the dark

I wait to be put out of my misery.

Alone with my thoughts and falling apart

I wait for you to come and rescue me.


What’s happening?

Why are you taking so long?

For you I’d wait forever,

But forever is almost gone.

The end is getting nearer the more time you take

Because unlike me, forever will not wait.


And I fear that these scars won’t heal, I’m broken and I won’t heal, I can’t heal.


And I cry…


I told them I didn’t love you any more

But they didn’t believe in my lies

Because that’s all they were,

Those words were just lies.


I fell for you but you weren’t there to catch me.

You just let me fall

Into this eternal slumber,

Where I dream.


I dream forever,

Like a movie in black and white

Stuck on repeat

Continually circling my mind.


I dream

A dream,

A magical dream.

This dream

I dream,

So magic it seems…


Alas, this dream is as it seems

This dream I dream is only a dream;

A contorted story my mind has conceived;

A memory, only make believe.


They locked me away and told me it was a disease;

A sick twisted fantasy.

The lie that I made my reality.

The dream of you that killed me.


So they fed me pills and doused me with lies:

An experimental game with death as the prize.

Too many of their pills left my tongue dry

And slowly, silently they took my life.


And as the echoes of footsteps on the tiles

And the plain white walls of the institution

Slowly faded from my mind

I knew that I’d found my resolution.


And even though my body’s dead

My heart, so black, still beats for you.

My vice, my love, my life, my death

In this night I only dream of you…