Tag Archives: Video

Star Wars Battlefront Update!

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Finally we have some official news on the Star Wars Battlefront game to be debuted this April at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. I am super excited for this! As many of you may know I am a huge Star Wars Battlefront fan and if there was one video game to represent my life it would be Star Wars Battlefront II. The game was a huge part of my childhood and teenage years so to see them bringing it back is a huge excitement for me. Check out the full article here at Gamespot.com, check out the teaser trailer showing the creators of the game and what they did to put it together, and feel free to comment about how excited you are for the new game.

My Thanksgiving Story

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

     I know it’s a tad bit late but I just wanted to say that I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that hope no one got trampled or hurt during Black Friday. Here’s how my Thanksgiving went:

     The week before Thanksgiving I traveled a half hour from the college to spend the weekend with my girlfriend’s family. I got to meet the relatives who were all very excited to meet me as well, I was only a little nervous. Afterwards (the next day that is) we went to a baptism for one of her newborn cousins which was also a new experience for me. All in all the food was great and her family were very lively and fun to be around.

     The next chapter of this story involves Thanksgiving weekend. I packed up my stuff and left the college on Wednesday traveling through fairly heavy snow about half the way. One of my biggest fears is driving in the snow so my nerves were off the charts. Halfway there though the roads quickly cleared up and were limited to the water left behind by melted snow. Ironically though the only time I nearly got in any kind of collision was during this time when the roads were totally clear. A car, attempting to pass a car ahead of it as well as a semi truck, nearly hit me head on. Thankfully, though, my road went from one to two lanes right at the last minimal second giving me the chance to swerve to safety as the other driver quickly swerved back into his lane nearly losing the back of his vehicle to the semi he was trying to pass. We both went on our ways with our hearts in our throats thinking about how close that was.

     Once I had gotten home I went out to dinner with some friends, got some wings, and went home to sleep. The next morning I (relentlessly) got out of bed, unable to sleep any further due to my siblings making so much noise. Once up I took my usual morning shower before doing some various mixation of work and gaming on my laptop and phone while the Thanksgiving Day Parade played in the background. Finally my family showed up and things got loud . One niece watched South Park on her phone the whole time, and the others attempted to calm the dog who was forced to be barred into another room due to her incessant barking at the otherwise unknown humans in the house. As always mom’s food was delicious and we feasted till we were full, and then feasted some more. I’ve told my girlfriend Michelle before that no matter what else is being served as long as there is some delicious mashed potatoes and gravy I will be satisfied, and I was. Also were the other typical Thanksgiving trimmings: Turkey, Ham, Sweet Potatoes, Stuffing; as well as some less traditional items that are family favorites: Lime Pudding with Marshmallows inside on top of Graham Cracker Pie Crust, and Mini-Max (which is Acini De Pepe noodles with whipped cream and fruit cocktail, one of the most delicious things in the world). We filled up and laughed with the family all normal holiday tradition type stuff, while everyone kept tonight’s sport in mind (and by sport I’m referring to Black Friday Shopping not Football).

     5:00PM came fairly quickly once we had eaten, possibly because everyone wither took a nap, played games, or watched football. Once the clock hit that time my brother David and I were out the door. I had been planning for the Blck Friday tradition my friends and I always take part of for awhile now and was ready as could be.  We met at the back of the Taco John’s restaurant my friend works at (they were closed) which was right down the street from the Wal-Mart closest to my house (we have two in Sioux City). We jumped into my friend Quinn’s new car and were off. Our first destination was the mall, we went there and the first thing we see inside is a large group of people standing like a zombie horde piling over themselves at the locked doors. We decided to wait in the car, mostly because no one was really planning to get anything there (though I honestly wanted to get footage of the big crowd at the front door). Anyways once we let the car and went into the mall it was surprisingly quiet, and normally the saying would be “like the calm before the strom” but the entire 45 minutes – an hour we were there it never really built up. I bought a couple posters from FYE and we went on our way.

     Our next destination was Wal-mart (the one by my house) which is where things get intense. We went inside and there were people, LOTS of people. People lined up all throughout the store! I pushed through the crowds trying to find the laptop I was hoping to get. In the process I ran into some of my relatives who had come down for Thanksgiving who had carts full and were just as freaked out as the rest of the crowds. Apperently to get an item one of my older sisters started screaming about free vodka somewhere or something along those lines. Anyways I found where my laptop was supposed to be and found no line…I was confused. My laptop was not supposed to go on sale until 8PM and it was still only 7PM. I talked to the lady standing at the spot who was overseeing it and she simply stated that the item was all out. I was confused and upset, why had they sold the item when it still had an hour before they were supposed to sell it, THE AD HAD LIED TO ME!!!! I moved on making my way through the crowds back to the front to head to the next store. We went to Target, and on our way I looked over the ads thinking I had made a mistake, or at least hoping I could figure out another deal at another store.

     Target was fairly uneventful to say the least, we practically walked in and walked back out again. Eventually we were down to myself and my brother, and we had no idea where else to go, so we decided to hit the OTHER Wal-Mart in town. I had already had my hopes crushed so I tried not to build them back up, but I couldn’t help but hope that there was still one of those laptops left at this store. As I walked into the store my hopes flew, people everywhere were running around, swarming the saran-wrapped displays. The chaos was beautiful, now I don’t mean to sound creepy but honestly the attempt at organization at the other Wal-Mart with the lines etc was a waste of time and just made things confusing and a mess. This was the true Black Friday. Anyways I went to talk to the section with the laptop and there was a very nice woman there who simply had no idea where the item was. She suggested me to one of the other employees who said he was sorry to say they were all sold out, it was only 7:50PM. Again I was sad, but since I had already been let down before s it hurt less.

     I decided in my sadness that I would buy a treat: AE Egg-Nog one of the most delicious drinks of the holiday season. As I made my way to the food section I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, down the long aisle were little Black Friday sections with video games from Xbox to Playstation so I decided to check them out (by the way there were no other costumers in the aisle except one which I’ll mention in a moment). Anyways as I made my way down the aisle I noticed the helpful woman from before who was meeting with a customer, the two of them were looking an ad and I could see that they were looking over the page with the item I wanted on it. I walked over and started looking over their shoulders and on a pile of cereal next to them were laptops, about 8 of them brand new in their boxes stacked on top of each other. They came to the conclusion that these were in fact the laptops from the ads and I excitedly put my ad in my pocket and reached for a laptop. The other customer, a woman, was grabbing three and looked at me asking if I was getting one too. I said yes and she handed one to me and we gave each other a fist bump to congratulate each other on the awesome deal we sneakily got to, one that was currently hidden from everyone else. I went through the incredibly long line to the checkout and made my way home with a smile on my face. My story ended well.

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     On Saturday I got to go to my extended families house for the final celebration of the holiday. A great finish to the 2014 Thanksgiving.

Star Wars Episode VII AND MORE!!!

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

     It’s finally finished! Star Wars Episode VII, on of the most waited for sequels of all time, has officially finished filming. Obviously it’s not going to be released yet that’s being saved for next year, but knowing that this kind of progress is finally underway is so exciting!

     I know it’s still a big controversy on whether or not it will be good, we’re just not going to know until it comes out. And then there have been all the leaks, like the picture of a dismembered hand leading to the likeliness of the Luke Skywalker cloning storyline. The cast being brought back, etc etc. Basically, I’m excited!

     Aside from the movie I’m looking forward to seeing all the other shows, games, etc that inspire to the new movie being released. Star Wars Rebels, the new Disney animated series about a group of rebels being led by the Jedi Canaan, has already begun and as I stated before in a previous post has a possible connection to Episode VII. Seth Green is working on a series that was supposed to be released sooner (in 2013) but they put it off due to the new movie, but that doesn’t mean they quit on it and it was announced that it would be released eventually.

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     If you want to check out some of the teasers and trailers for Star Wars Detour (which I really suggest you do because it’s hilarious) just check out these links:

Star Wars Detours: Official Trailer

Star Wars Detours: Extrait #1

Star Wars Detours: Extrait #2

Star Wars Detours: Extrait #3

Star Wars Detours: Extrait #4

     What about games though!? Well great news for all you gamers out there! Currently in the making are TWO Star Wars based games that I’ve seen announced so far.

1. Free-World Star Wars Game:

     The name has been unreleased as of yet, but a game creation company in Canada has recently announced their work on a free-world Star Wars game! Whether it be RPG related I don’t know but nevertheless I’m excited. Check out this article on it for further information!

Gamerant.com

     ALso, and this is news I’m SOOOOOO excited about, and that is Star Wars Battlefront reboot!!!! My favorite games of all time are Dead Rising, Batman: Arkham City, and Star Wars Batllefront 2. Originally Battlefront 3 was expected to come out a long time ago but the company stopped production because of their focus on the Star Wars The Force Unleashed franchise (not sure what they were thinking there), but they have finally decided to get back to the amazing gaming franchise that is Star Wars Battlefront. Once again (and this was very recent) the game was leaked to come out again and was again cancelled. But now we have another company who plans to reboot Star Wars Batllefront!

     To read about the recent cancellation look here:

IGN.com/Cancelled Star Wars Batllefront III

     To see the available information on the reboot look here:

IGN.com/Star Wars Battlefront

Apologies

Hey everyone I just want to apologize for not posting anything these last few days. I’ve been on fall break so I got to go home and catch up with family and a couple friends so I was pretty busy and wasn’t able to post, but I want to say that I will be right back on my daily posts so thank you all for your patience.

     To say thank you for all your patience here’s a hilarious video a friend of mine showed me while I was on break so feel free to check it out! Hope you all enjoy.

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Banned Deck Commercial

Tips for Beginning Filmmakers

So you want to create visual stories? It’s a defining attribute of humankind to want to tell stories this is why we have social media, a direct link to the entire world; but making a visual story isn’t quite as easy as just pulling out a camera and waiting for one of those crazy accidents to happen like on America’s Funniest Home Videos, one must prepare to tell a story especially if they are going to do it with video.

1. Get a Camera

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How can one make a video without having something to record it on. Getting a camera can be easy, but getting the RIGHT camera is a little more…expensive. One could get any cheap $20-$100 camera from Wal-Mart but that’s not going to get you very good quality. What you’ll probably want to go with is a DSLR camera which you can get at almost any store and definitely at an electronics store like Best Buy. These cameras are reasonable priced at about $300+ but you can always get one used. One thing to note though is that not all DSLR cameras have video capabilities, so make sure you check before you buy. One of the great things about DSLR cameras, aside from being cheaper than a compact high-end video camcorder, is that you can do a lot as far as lenses go. With the ability to interchange between lenses you increase your quality and allow you to add depth of field to your shots. I suggest a 50mm lens for great depth of field.

If you’re really short on cash that’s ok you can still tell your story. use your phone or tablet (if they have cameras) or even a webcam, these will still let you tell a story but don’t expect the quality to be great.

2. Create a Story

Obviously you can’t make a story if you have no story. Come up with a concept, a theme if you will. Great ways to brainstorm ideas is to start off with a genre. There are many genres: Action, Horror, Adventure, Romance, etc and you don’t have to stop with just one. Also, look around you at the areas you have available for you to film at. When I was just starting out in high school I filmed a lot at a good friend of mine’s house. So take that setting and decide what you can do with that. If it’s night time and you’re stuck inside maybe make a horror video. Whatever the case is get creative and be original!

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Also, if you’re not too short for time create a script and a breakdown, and maybe even a shot list or screenplay. A script is the written out form of what you want your actors to say. This helps them to be prepared and it helps you, the producer/director, to have the story planned out so you’re not flying entirely by the seat of your pants. If you DO want to write a script use Word or Pages (depending if you’re a Mac or PC kind of person). Or go online and use Adobe Story which is a great way to write your script and make it look professional as well.

A breakdown shows all the aspects of your production as far as the where you’ll be filming and what you’ll need. This includes actors, costumes, locations, props, etc. Anything you will need for whatever scene is important to know ahead of time. Along with these you might want a shot list, which simply tells you what kind of camera angels, pans, zooms, etc you will be wanting for each scene. Get as detailed as you are comfortable with. If you aren’t intensely comfortable with terms and words for a shot list you can instead make a storyboard that illustrates your shots. Hey, you don’t have to be really artistic either so long as you can draw stick figures you’ll do just fine.

3. Get Together Other Equipment

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Maybe you want to do fancy pans, make you want to do dolly shots or jib shots, whatever the case you will need a tripod at the least. You can probably get a decent tripod for $10 or so at Wal-Mart (Note: this will be a very cheap tripod so be careful with it because it will break easily). What you want to do though is simply keep your shots in mind and prepare accordingly. If you’re short on money (probably from buying the camera) but you still want some cool Jib or Dolly shots (Both Jibs and Dolly rigs are incredibly expensive by the way) there are ways to either substitute (use a wagon instead of a dolly) or even build your own. If you go to YouTube you can always find some great DIY tutorials to build your own film equipment such as: Film Riot or Indie Mogul.

4. Actors

Our film professor at the college I’m attending once told me that actors will always be one of the hardest parts of making your video, and he was right. Finding people willing to act in your videos and then getting them to actually show up and take part is one of the hardest things in filmmaking, especially when you’re just beginning. Try getting everything else planned out first then plan a day when you need your actors to show up that way you have everything set and ready to go. If you’re using your friends that’s great, but one thing to remember is that people are easily bored so make sure you’re not taking their time to set up etc. This will lead to them becoming uninterested and want to leave.

5. Start Filming

So now you have all your equipment, your script, your actors and you’re ready to start filming. Hold on a second though, there are some things you want to keep in mind.

Lighting:

Light

You can have a great story and good actors, but when it all comes down to it if you can’t please the audience it won’t matter for squat. Make sure you have some kind of lighting in your video especially if it’s dark where you’re filming. Lighting can set moods and help in telling the story and making the audience feel a connection to the situation. Use lamps, flashlights, etc to add lighting to your scene and add mood.

Audio:

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If you went with my earlier suggestion and are using a DSLR camera, audio shouldn’t be too difficult. One can buy a shotgun mic or even a shoe mic online for around $20 which will greatly improve the quality of your audio. You can also buy lavaliere microphones and attach them to some kind of audio recorder or even one’s phone, then syncing it up later in the editing process.

6. Post Production (Editing)

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Alright so you’ve done it, you’ve gotten through the filming of your story. Congratulations that was the hard part, now on to the part that can be a bit tedious: editing. There are a lot of options when it comes to video editing software that all depend on what you’re used to or what you can afford.

Windows Movie Maker or iMovie

The most inexpensive video editing software are Windows Movie Maker or iMovie because they are free on your Windows or Mac. These will let you put your videos into a timeline and splice up the clips and move them around as needed. You won’t have a whole lot to do in the effects department, you should be able to do a little color correction but other than that you’re pretty limited.

Stronger Programs

If you’re looking to do some simple effects you might want to look into going a little higher end with programs like Adobe Premiere Elements or Pro. These will allow you to do some green screening and keying as well as stronger color correction. The kinds of programs will range from $50-$100 depending on where you get them, but are worth the cash if you’re looking to make your final product a little better.

Getting Professional

If you are really comfortable around editing or want to start learning early you might want to go with programs like Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro, etc which will allow you more freedom in effects. These programs will give your videos a much higher quality look (remember though that nothing can fix bad camera work) if done right.

7. Sharing

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One of the beautiful things about the technology of our time is social media, letting us share our thoughts and other content with people from all around the world. With film and videos this is a great asset to sharing your visual story, YouTube especially. Making it simple to upload your content YouTube is definetely the place you want to go to post your video, and hey maybe it goes viral and you can make some money off of it as well. Also are blogs and your social media such as Facebook.

Final Thoughts

You’ve succesfully created your video and now you can share your story visually to the entire world. Making a video can be a complicated process but bottom-line it can also be fun if you keep it that way. So have fun and share your stories with the world!

Group Assignments

I have mixed feelings about group assignments, sometimes I hate the idea and sometimes I think it’s useful it all depends on the circumstance.

The reason why I DON’T like group projects is that the majority of the time you don’t know the people in your group. Now maybe it’s the social state of our society in this day and age and the supposed anti-social attitude we young adults have in real life situations, but it’s just pointless when you put someone in a group of people they don’t know and they spend the majority of class time awkwardly sitting there waiting on someone to start the conversation or introduce themselves and even once that’s done it gets silent as soon as everyone knows everyone else’s names.

Once you’ve gotten past all the awkwardness you’re all going to have to work together, which becomes a mess. Similarly to the way they decided on how many people should make up Congress: if a group is too big then nothing will get done, yet if a group is too small then there won’t be enough people to get things done. With classroom groups the teacher typically doesn’t think about this factor and simply splits the class in half or has everyone number off. Either way the group is going to suffer because the professor put no thought into how the groups were being split up. This leads to people in the group getting left out especially if there are people in the group that know each other. The people who know each other are going to hit things off right away or their going to get distracted and be somewhat secluded from the group. The people outside of their group are left with a decision: they can either take lead of the project or they can be secluded themselves. This leads to bad grades for someone because they supposedly didn’t help or were pushed away by the rest of the group.

The times when I think group projects DO work would be in classes that are exclusive to a specific major. Take me for instance, I;m a Digital Media major with a focus on film, in my advanced video class we have 5 people and thus group projects work because we all have a similar interest and there’s not a whole lot of us. In my Basic Video Class we had about 20 people and the groups were split into 3 (about 7 a group) and we were charged to do a production, this worked as well because we were all interested in film and (and this is kind of the bonus of going to a smaller college) we all kind of knew each other from past video or Digital Media based classes and projects as well as clubs and organizations.

The times it won’t work is during General Education based classes. I’m in a government class doing a project with a group of people I’ve never met before and I have plenty of great information to share, but I’ve been pushed out so here I am writing my blog while the rest discuss the homework. I swear I’m not complaining or bitter I’m just using this example. Anyways, it made for a good chuckle when the professor came over to see how we were doing and told the group they were missing an important piece of information that I just so happened to have and would have been happy to share had they not all started discussing with their friends and those they know. The professor then went on to explain the piece we were missing. Maybe I’m in the wrong here, but I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying there’s a flaw in the group project concept.