Preview – August 4th
July 31st, 2008

Posted by james

So we are shooting this weeks video tonight. Basically last weeks preview picture was enough for you guys to figure out that we were green screening. Good luck with this one.

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LRR.Comunity Update: July 28, 2008
July 28th, 2008

Posted by Jeremy

In an effort to keep our community informed of the various goings-on in the land of the LRR, I am starting the LRR Community Update Project: a weekly update on what you may have missed from the expanded LRRosphere. I figure not everyone has time to read the forums, but there’s no reason that should keep anyone from staying informed!

Today’s update will cover the last couple weeks because, being the first of its kind, it seemed fitting.

Blogapalooza 2008

The last couple weeks have been big ones for blogging. James, after attacking the rest of the crew-members with pointy sticks, finally got them off their asses with enough momentum to get to their keyboards; now, he, Graham, Matt and I have all committed to update the blog more frequently. This has also seen the rise of two new “regular” columns: “M@ Movies”, Matt’s semi-regular movie critique series, and the LRR.Community, Update which you are reading now.

Feeling especially inspired, Graham, James and Matt have also started their own private iPhone blogs:

Graham’s blog
James’s blog
Matt’s blog

Aristocratic Profile

Proudfoot published the second installment of his ongoing community profile project this week, this time interviewing semi-regular video contributor Tensen01. The community profile project continues to be an entertaining listen, and comes highly recommended by . . . well, me.

Download the latest episode here!

Love to Hear the LRRies go Tweet-Tweet-Tweet?

Remember Graham’s twitter feed from a while back? Well Matt and James have also started twitter feeds to perpetuate internet stalking and keep you vultures going between blog updates. Honestly, the iPhone may well be the greatest ever advent in LRR community management. You should all thank Apple.

[Update: Graham informs me that he and Matt may not twitter as much anymore now that they have iPhone blogs]

Graham’s twitter
James’s twitter
Matt’s twitter

Mannish Cooking

While it’s been a long while since Morgan put out a Man Cooking short, several of our forum members have decided to fill the void by constructing their own largely substitutes. Check out the thread here, or have a look at Yamaro V2’s Man Cooking Knock-off.

They Really Love Us!

Last week’s two topical LRR videos were not only successful, but apparently flattering! Bungie’s Luke Smith posted a link to The Superintendent’s Sorrow on Bungie.net, while Bizarre Creations‘ Ben Ward sent us a lovely letter with regards to Geometry Wars 2: Developer Spotlight.

While we consider parody and satire to be high forms of flattery, to have such things recognized by the creators of the original works makes me feel all gushy inside.

And thus the circle continues! (cue music)

A Picture is Worth . . . A Forum Rank!

I’m happy to report that King Kool was the winner of our latest LRRcast challenge. This contest, which had our forum members photoshopping green-screened pictures of us into amusing situations generated some fantastic entries, all of which must absolutely be viewed here.

Desert Rumblings

Reisgar42 has announced his intention to run a fan-based Desert Bus elimination tournament. I hope that he knows what he’s getting into, as he could be in for a long slog. I personally see such a venture as intrinsically chess-like, 90% of success in Desert Bus is based on patience in the face of attrition as opposed to skill in the face of adversity. Hopefully, we will hear more on this soon, but in the meantime, check out this thread.

And Finally, On a Related Note

In case you missed it, Graham semi-officially stealth-announced Desert Bus 2 late last night. This comes hot on the heels of the original Desert Bus becoming recognized on the GameMarathons.com as not only the first internet-broadcast gaming marathon, but also the longest and most financially successful (accounting for over half of all game marathon charity earnings so far to date). So begins the ramp-up to an event that will reportedly “surpass the lofty expectations of our community, and the internet as a whole” (quoth I).

Accused of sounding like Bungie, it was suggested that we bring in the Superintendent onboard to help us market Desert Bus 2 . . . but this would be ridiculous, as everyone knows ARGs are for losers.

Cheers and beers, folks!

–Jer out

[email protected]: The Goddamn Batman
July 25th, 2008

Posted by Matt

As Ben Affleck said it in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, “The internet is a communication tool used the world over where people can come together to bitch about movies and share pornography with one another.” There’s still one niche there you’ll have to look elsewhere for, (though possibly not much further than Morgan’s MSN info), but I got to thinking that there’s no reason I can’t make an attempt at filling the other.  As a result, [email protected] has been born. (Please forward all complaints about the choice of name to [email protected]).  Putting the cheesy puns behind us though, [email protected] blog posts will come along whenever I’ve got something I want to say about a film (or just films in general).  It might be a review, it might be an observation, it might be a complaint.  You’ll just have to keep your eye out for them to see what every update brings.  For now, though, On with the show…

Batman.  At this point, it’s safe to assume that most of the world has seen The Dark Knight.  A fantastic film that everyone should enjoy.  (Well, unless you’re Keith Uhlich – Seriously?  Thinly veiled endorsement of the Bush Administration’s surveillance policies?   I’m pretty sure batman has had a big bank of computers that let him watch Gotham long before Bush was in office.)  But that’s not what I want to talk about.  Graham pointed me in the direction of a YouTube video last night featuring a clip from the fourth season of Batman: The Animated Series.  The clip surrounds Joel, a flambouyantly gay batman fanboy, enamoured of a pink feather boa, expressing his adoration of Batman’s “fabulous” rubber muscle suit and car, while standing in front of a store named “Shoemaker’s”   (Check it out, funny stuff).  This obvious dig at Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies naturally inspired a great deal of debate about the batman film franchise (and by debate, I mean swearing and poorly-spelled insults), as well as the inevitable ranking of the films.  Typically, the rankings went like this:

  1. Batman
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Batman Returns
  4. Batman Forever
  5. Batman Begins
  6. Batman & Robin

Now back up the batmobile a second here.  What?  Why is Begins at the bottom of that list?  When did this happen?  Last time I checked Begins was everyone’s favorite.  Aside from laying the foundation for Dark Knight, which is singularly the best comic-book movie I’ve ever seen, it provided a compelling and believable origin story for Batman, and revitalized a franchise that had seen some serious damage done to its credibility. To rank it down with Forever and B&R makes a big statement.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that the Joel Schumacher Batman films employed art direction and a consistency of style the we have rarely seen since.  I hated it, but at least it was comprehensive and complete.  (I put it forward to you that Schumacher’s films were going for a very specific goal – a revisit not of the previous films, but that of the 1960’s Adam West Batman.  In that regard they were a total success – the campiness, the rogues glalery, the whole bit.  It was neon colours and crappy pop music instead of comic-book sound effects and the Bat-Dance, however the end result was fundamentally the same.  This topic could probably constitute an entire post of it’s own though.) And in fact, the film Batman & Robin was brobably the breaking point for that style.  After a film that bloated and overwrought, who could ever hope to pull that style off again? (And who would want to?)

For reference:

We needed the reboot of the franchise that Christopher Nolan gave us, and I’m sad to see that it’s not getting the kind of respect that it deserves.  The film was a credit to everyone involved, and if the Dark Knight’s box office take is any indication, it made us care about old bats once more.  So, when constructing your best-to-worst lists, don’t just remember what Batman Begins was as a film, but what it meant for the franchise it rescued.

See! Now youve made Batman sad. I hope youre all happy.

See! Now you've made Batman sad. I hope you're all happy.

-M

Preview – July 24, 2008
July 24th, 2008

Posted by Graham

Now that four of us iPhones, there’s really no excuse for not doing these preview pix now. Remember when we did the preview pix?

Here, Morgan is relaxing with Paul’s iPhone during a lull in shooting. He’s wearing this summer’s latest fashions: a woolen sweater.
Look for upcoming, extensive behind-the-scenes coverage of this video.

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The Return of The Bill
July 23rd, 2008

Posted by Graham

Ooo, new blog back-end. Shiny.

This video was shot over two days, as it was fairly special effect intensive for me. Thank god we shot all the green screen stuff on a Tuesday. It gave me a vastly longer amount of time to work on the ninja fight (not that I wasn’t still up at odd hours on Sunday night, but hey!)

We shot all of Paul’s green screen shots as the five ninjas he played first. I’d storyboarded the whole thing the night before, and good thing too, because that way I knew exactly what needed to be shot. However, by-and-large the actual choreography we all came up with at the time. Matt spent most of this time practicing his Naruto hand-signal malarkey.

It’s always difficult for me—who edits the videos and has a mental picture of them in my head—to articulate accurately where I need people to stand for a given shot. It’s even worse on the green screen because ordinarily, I’d move the camera to get a different angle, but that option isn’t present. So I have to explain things like, “Okay, now that way is forward, so you’re looking this way, even though it’s the same shot.” Very strange for the people on camera.

Nate showed up before dark (praise be to summer hours), and we shot all the exteriors. Now Nate… the guy goes from a running gag of never having actual dialogue to one of the longest soliloquies this side of Story Guy, and hadn’t read a word before showing up on set. Sure it took it some time, and some takes, but the dude nailed it. Props to Nate. I mean, Bill also had some tough lines, but he wrote them.

After we were done that, it was pretty dark. But we still needed to shoot Nate’s green screen shots, and Matt’s whole Naruto segment. After that was done, it was off to White Spot for some desert.

A couple days later we got together at Jer’s new pad, and shot the opening and closing scenes. Jer’s bed—as you can see from the photos—is on a loft, so Bill had a bit of a… standing issue. But we figured it out. That whole shoot was fairly straightforward. The only bit we didn’t shoot there was the shoot of Bill and Jer in the really “happy” picture of the two of them. We had meant to do it then, but didn’t have a picture. In fact, that insert was shot on Sunday, at my place, and that’s actually me in the red shirt. See? We don’t tell you everything in the LRRcast. Because I forget to.

The editing took me a great while, with the most complex shots having up to 7 layers, with colour correction and motion blurring as well. Keep in mind that Paul is playing all 4 ninjas in those first shots. One or two shots were split screen, but most were composited. Bill’s script called for a ninja fight “as complex as Graham is willing to do” so I brought it on myself. On Saturday I sent a rough-cut to Alex, who never ceases to impress when it comes to awesome audio. And he continued never ceasing. Further props to Alex.

But most props of all to Bill, who not only fought off the ninja scourge, but wrote his first video for the site, and is back in videos again. Hurray!