STAN 16 pre-vis

in the world of small-time/low-budget/online video, it really pays to plan ahead. because, especially when you work under ridiculous circumstances like (1) trying to get an effects heavy web-series to feel like a bigger production than it really is, (2)get a new video done once a month EVERY month, while (3) still maintaining relationships with friends, families and significant others AND (4) getting all the other work that needs to get done finished, reshooting can be difficult, to say the least.

in the past, i've mentioned storyboarding. storyboarding is a great way to convey an idea, plan a complicated shot, or just be able to express to your team what you have in mind.

but what if it isn't getting the point across for a VERY difficult sequence?

take these for instance. i know that in my head, the crude drawings on the left will look something like what's on the right.

but in terms of working out what needed to be shot from which angle and why, it wasn't quite getting across.

so that's where it's helpful to bring in pre-vis. knowing just how little time we had to complete the recent episode of "The Defenders Of Stan," i prepared this silly little animation

obviously, there are oddities about the above. 1. for the purposes of demonstration, theres no burrito gag. 2. i obviously google searched "building texture" and used a watermarked image from turbosquid 3. i added the audio from the episode to make the pre-vis less boring. 4. because of the audio timing, i had to slow down bits of the animation which is why the results look a little jerky. 5. it's funny that it's Captain Ultra and twins, i'm guessing, and that one of the twins sounds like a super pimp.

also, enjoy this rant:
the nice thing about pre-vis is that it can more easily make sure that everyone is on the same page, and in certain instances, be a real asset on the set. for instance, we were hired by a company to write/direct/star in/post a pilot for a web-series. going into the cold opening of the pilot, we had two options: build a giant prop or build a 3d model. in the end, we decided on going CG because we'd end up having a lot more control. knowing that, i was able to build the 3d model BEFORE the shoot, pre-vis the entire scene, and since we had this whole thing virtually mapped out for us, we could literally stand there with a monitor next to our camera LCD display and set up shots knowing all of the limitations of the 3d model beforehand. it made an incredibly difficult and complex shoot a breeze. and to take it a step further: since i'd already animated the 3d model, all i had to do was tweak the work i'd already done, compensating for differences in timing, angles, fluidity in movement, etc.

YAY. coming soon, props photos, etc.



STAN 16 production stills part 3

to finish up our production stills for this episode (before we move into props, pre-visualization, etc.), we have a BIG ol' entry. so let's get right into it.

It's pretty simple. Cop wants photo with Captain Ultra. Captain Ultra wants $20. Cop gives Ultra $20, so the two take a picture. I love that we actually took pictures while we shot. If i'd just paid twenty bucks for this, i'd be a little bummed.

now, to give you an idea of just how many takes we do of stuff, this is a little slideshow of all of the photos we took while shooting. man, that's like 240 bucks worth! i love the one where he missed Captain Ultra completely.

This is us setting up for the beginning of the satellite sequence. it's always fun to block half the traffic on a street, with no permit, while cars full of people yelling "superman!" at you drive by.

here we are white balancing, or checking focus or something. the mic isn't even up yet, so i can't imagine this is during shooting just yet. as i said previously, it's hard to shoot with just three people sometime. it's even harder when two of us are in costume (meredith lent his looking and clapping talents to this scene). so sometimes little things like, oh i dunno say AUDIO, gets neglected til the last second.

Our second pregnant super-lady of this episode! it's that time of the year i suppose...

Holy Rugby Vest and Super Pimp! Notice the greenscreen leaning against the car.

Taking off, or landing. I can't keep track.

When i land, our Super Pimp is holding one headshot, and our Super Pregnant Lady Part II is holding another. i'm not sure which is which. But they sure do make Captain Ultra look even douchier than ever.

I'm gonna go on a rant here: Kinko's really needs to calibrate their frakkin monitors! Seriously. I opened these up on one of the design stations because kinko's charges you extra if they open anything besides a pdf behind the front counter (they can only print on thicker stock papers from behind the counter). So i go to convert it to a pdf, and suddenly i look at them and go "man. these are really terrible looking. they're so lacking contrast! i guess i was tired when i put these together. better fix the color." so i do. and i hand them to the guy and he prints them out, and they look TERRIBLE. they look borderline two-toned (like JUST black, white, and maybe ONE shade of grey). so i have to go back, fix them, and have the guy REprint them. in the end, it would have been cheaper to just incur the non-pdf fee than the ordeal and time wasted. thanks kinkos.

The epiphany. The life-changing event. A nudie pen.

Faster than a speeding bullet.

Speaking of being dressed up like idiots: It's funny. If you do it alone, you feel ridiculous. If you do it in a group, you feel like you can take on the world. That's probably why so many superheroes in ridiculous costumes work in teams. They're crazy solo, but together they just look like they're having a good time.

Stan's "date" in the park. This is another one of those "oh crap, i forgot to take a picture while we were in the actual location doing actual shooting," mostly because i was too busy worried about angles and timing for all of the impending doom that would befall this unknowing super lady, so i quickly thought "let's run outside and snap one against some green leaves and stuff so it kind of LOOKS like we took it during the shoot." though there wasn't a house in the park. I'll fix it in post.

coming soon: previs, props, and anything else i have the time and energy to scrape together.

any requests?


STAN 16 production stills part 2

for me, production stills break into three categories:
1. stills taken WHILE shooting
2. stills taken before/after shooting (usually to highlight art direction, costume design, something slightly impressive that people might want to take a closer look at)
3. stills taken before/after shooting meant to look like they were taken WHILE shooting.

i wonder which category these fall into.

i'll go over playing poker, abiding by Capital City rules. 1. each player must have at least 8 cards in his hand at all times: even bathroom breaks.

2. third hands are a plus: helpful for snacking, scratching, and hiding cards under the table.

3. extra points awarded for showing off mad jug-band skills during a game.

4. the key to victory is a stern, solemn poker face. also, for whatever reason, you play counter-clockwise.

5. posing is a must.

6. if you lose all of your money, other types of chips can be substituted for poker chips in lightning rounds. oh yes. in Capital City, there are lightning rounds.

7. write a script, then play out the game in a totally scripted way so that everyone knows how much they will be losing that night.

hopefully this has been helpful in getting you up to speed on playing with CC's "finest"

more stills, etc. coming soon.



STAN 16 production stills part 1

hello, internet. at last, we meet again.

well, internet, my old nemesis. i have a few things to show you. for starters, i'll dazzle you with a slew of production stills. that's right, internet! you may have underestimated me, but we actually took photos this time! then, i'm going to pummel you with props pictures! and then, when you've already had enough, i might even do an effects breakdown, show some of our 3d pre-vis work, and maybe even a deleted scene or two. who the heck knows, i'm feeling nuts.

you still wanna rumble with me, internet?

fine. i mess you up.

as you can tell, blue face paint isnt the easiest thing to use, nor is it the most enjoyable thing to smear all over yourself. we usually try to do as little as possible, often times only painting half of a face, etc., based on the shot. (note the back of the neck). but we realized that this wasn't gonna work after all, so here our lovely makeup artist is ready to apply more liquid crib death.

this was a ROUGH shoot, trying desperately to cram all of the flashback into 3 hours of shooting. and usually, it's a little easier when you have all three of us there. but it was Meredith's birthday that day, so it was just Austin and I running around like chickens with no heads to do an extra person's amount of work. luckily for us, all of our actors are real pro's, and we love them.

Our cobalt pimp, in action. (it's a lot easier to pick up a chick if you're already married to her, apparently).

Capital City's newest LEAD anchor, Vicki Valiant. gosh, it seems like only episodes ago she was a field reporter. movin on up!

of any color, why would he paint himself green? the answer: because her dad is a racist, and he really wants to make a good impression.

so this is what it looks like when you take production stills after shooting one of the two scenes for that day, and between them an actress changes back into her clothes.

country love: Flamer and his baby mama on the vehicle of their first date. a sears tractor.

mmmmm. melted and charred whitmans sampler: sure to win over any angry, slightly violent, pregnant, hormonal super-ladies' heart.

so we have plenty more production stills coming soon. stay tuned, and maybe if you all bug us enough, we'll make Captain Ultra t-shirts.




hey hey hey everybody.

well. it's that time again, so prepare to be bombarded with behind the scenes photos, quirky and pointless references to how things were done, and tons of other stuff no one cares about!

SO. first off. "The Defenders Of Stan" episode 16-Royally Flushed screened at channel101NY on monday and took first place. the episode can be seen there (channel101NY), at THE BiG HONKIN' youtube, and at the official website in high quality.

we'll get with the production stills later. but first, here's the cover:





hey everyone, we are neck deep in post production on "The Defenders Of Stan" episode 16, and decided to put this video together to say "Happy Birthday America!"


(new "...Stan" on or around July 7th)