Red Giant Software Goes Viral with Plot Device

Ok so this is pretty awesome. The people at Red Giant Software created this video with the help of an indie film maker in an effort to push their sweet software package, Magic Bullet. A suite of software used to create and manage color styles in film/video.

I have wanted to own their software for a while now but it is a little out of my price range, even though, considering the competition, it isn’t so bad. Here’s the Mashable version of how this entire production went down.

With less than $10,000 in their pockets but armed with a great idea and serious filmmaking skills, the company enlisted the help of indie filmmaker Seth Worley to create “Plot Device,” a viral video that topped 540,000 views on Vimeo and YouTube in its first two weeks.

via Mashable

Part of the fun in this video can only be enjoyed by the serious film-goer. I love that sort of stuff. It’s what sets these sorts of videos apart from the crap that other agencies put out there claiming “this will go viral”. It has to be at least one of the following to go viral:

  • Hilarious, like lol, side splitting funny.
  • Disgusting, see Two Girls, one Cup, or don’t.
  • So amazingly produced that your mind is blown, you forget it’s an advert (check).
  • Smart. Not like Studio 60 smart (dare to dream) but at least Robert Reich smart.
  • So racist/homophobic/sexist/stupid/ignorant that we can all universally laugh at it.
  • Super emotional, think It Gets Better
  • Lowest common denominator, a kick in the balls, so to speak.

This video exhibited at least three of these traits.

This is pretty much the first time a YouTube video has me lusting over a piece of software. Lusting over it as if owning it would give me the incredible mad skills required to make a video like this.

Though the color effects wouldn’t be so bad would they? Now if they could make a version for Final Cut Pro X, and that doesn’t cost $799 to own the entire suite. Yikes. A steal to the serious video professional but a barrier to entry for video guys like me.

Walking Dead Season 2 Trailer

If you watched the first season of The Walking Dead on AMC, then you are probably as excited as I am to get a glimpse of season two. Who knows how long this will be on YouTube before AMC takes it down but, here goes!

Kanye West’s Runaway Art Direction

Is it silly that I sat for thirty-five minutes glued to YouTube and my computer watching the latest, if not greatest, showcase of Kanye West‘s pleionosis? No.

Kanye’s new music video film shows off a handful of songs from his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy including the namesake Runaway and borrows heavily from the film styles of some of my all time favorite films. Continue reading

Elgato Turbo.264 HD Reviewed

Over the last year or so I’ve been doing more and more video editing. It started when I got my Kodak Zi8 handheld video camera. It shot pretty decent 1080p HD video at a stupid cheap cost of entry. Getting the Kodak Zi8 was a no-brainer but how to handle the files afterwards proved to be a bit more complicated.

Typical Justin-style, long-winded introduction and review of the Elgato Turbo.264 HD continues below. The short story is the Elgato Turbo.264 HD is worth every penny. Read on to be entertained, informed and generally over-educated on my process and thoughts. Continue reading

Night Light

What an awesome night tonight turned out to be. Twitter buddies @Airrun, @JHolman23, @jasetrevino and @Marris_Returns came over for wine, bread, cheese, and fun.

It was my first pseudo tweetup since moving back to San Francisco, the first time I had seen Jimmy since he moved here from Missouri and the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Jason or Aaron. We listened to music, watched some hilarious YouTube videos, talked about everything and nothing at the same time.

It was a pretty awesome night. Even Ryan got to join in on the fun which was such a pleasant surprise. Seems any other time we do something like this, his hectic work schedule gets in the way. Now I just can’t wait for the next time I have friends over for wine and a great time.

The photo of the day, way up there, is yet another one from the roof of our apartment shooting into the neighboring backyard. There is something about this particular apartment and their 6000 watt light that shines light pollution across the common grassy space between the buildings that is so romantic to me. It’s what I imagine a Gregory Crewdson photo would look like if he had a crew of one and a budget of none.

Testing out Apple’s iMovie 11

I had a few extra minutes (that’s a lie, it seems like I never have time anymore) and thought I’d give Apple’s iMovie 11 a try. Going on reviews, either iMovie 11 is “freaking amazing” or “Anything after iMovie 6 is absolute shit!”

I’ve been in the iMovie is awesome camp since iMovie 09 came out last year. Of course that probably has something to do with the fact that I never used iMovie 6 and that for the longest time, FinalCut Pro scared the living hell out of me. Not any more, now I lust for it, but still, iMovie 09 is pretty awesome considering what you get, for what price and at what skill-level is required to make great video.

So, yes, iMovie 11, what’s up? What’s new?

Better audio editing for voiceovers, music and audio from the video tracks. There are more and better sound effects, iMovie custom music tracks made especially for particular types of films, waveform editing and more. One of my favorite features is the ability to stretch out audio. Say you have a 1 minute clip of video, of which you must use every second, mixed with photos. You don’t want silence going on during your photo portions right? Either you put in a music bed or you spilt a video and audio track and copy the audio over. This works but is a little too obvious. With iMovie, you can just stretch the audio clip out and boom, great background audio for your photos! You can see that in the behind the scenes footage of a Drunk Driving public service announcement I’ve posted below.

The video was shot with my iPhone 4 with photos from my Nikon D700. I was capturing some behind the scenes stuff for the production crew making a drunk driving PSA. They were shooting with Red One Cinema cameras and then there I was with a freaking iPhone. Oh well. This video was really just a test of the audio features in iMovie, trying to get that NPR style.

There is also instant replay. Which is… instant replay. They add 12 special effects for these but nothing too crazy exciting. Well, except the “Jump Cut at Beat” effect. It’s basically the perfect effect for any garage band wanting to make a music video. Hmmm, garage bands… wonder if Apple makes a product for them. Oh yeah, GarageBand. How it works? Skips footage ahead to the beat of the music. Pretty fun effect.

Creepy, cool or revolutionary, you decide. The People Finder feature doesn’t really find or identify people like Faces does in iPhoto or Aperture, instead it does something that might actually be more helpful. It counts the number of people in a shot and can tell if the shot is a close up, wide shot or medium shot. Faces is already integrated into Aperture and iPhoto which are also integrated into iMovie so… best of both worlds? I’d wager so.

Themes. There are a lot of them. They are slick but also easily recognizable. Let’s leave it at that.

Distribution. This was surprising. Previously we had YouTube and MobileMe, now Apple has added Facebook, Vimeo and CNN iReport. The CNN integration is crazy. This is the future of journalism put into the hands of the people.

What is it they say?… Vox populi? This might be the biggest feature, if not the most under-represented.

But what feature will be the most overused of the bunch? Why the Trailer maker of course! In under 15 minutes I went through a gig or so of random footage and made a quick, mildly sardonic, trailer of my trip to Saudi Arabia last January.

I made this video to try out the trailers feature and to make some use of the video I shot last winter. It was incredibly easy, fast and surprisingly robust in features.

It’s easy, too easy really. I predict a flood of iMovie trailers flooding YouTube in 3…2…1…

Bottom line. iMovie 11 is solid, fast, surprisingly powerful and full of features, yet at a price that is honestly, laughably low. For $50 you get iLife 11 which includes a video editor that would otherwise be worth around $150, a photo library management software (iPhoto) that would be valued at around $50, a music creation and audio editing software suite easily worth $100-150 and iWeb (say $70), iDVD ($30) and this magical cohesion that brings them all together (priceless).