A Stitch in Time
May 31st, 2010

Posted by Matt

The new video is up. Head on over and check it out!

Paul provided me his thoughts on the writing and production of this video. I’ve quoted him below:

“A number of years ago we made a video called One Minute Shorts that was a collection of vignettes, each exactly one minute in length. My favorite of these was one that dealt with someone time traveling one minute into the past, and ever since doing that short I have had the idea in the back of my mind to take that concept and expand it into a full video. The actual shoot went surprisingly quickly, considering all the split-screening involved, and I am very happy with the final product. I think the workshop really shows off the new camera well (especially considering that the lighting in the basement where we shot was not that good).”

Pictured below is the timeline for the video that Paul used to keep his writing on track, to keep the characters straight, and so that all the entrances and exits happened when they were supposed to. He also tried to use it to explain the video to the rest of us, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help.

If you think this video was confusing to watch, try writing it! (Click to embiggen.)


  1. paul 1 and 2 lines are the wrong way round in the pic

    Comment by sandfordj — May 31, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  2. Oh god…

    MY BRAIN! I think you broke it…

    Comment by Nimbus — May 31, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

  3. I actually understand the video LESS after having looked at that timeline. I’m going to go watch Back to the Future and tell myself that it will all be okay.

    Comment by Yaxley — May 31, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  4. Wait, Paul 2 was the original Paul who saw he was going to be shot and thought if he got another Paul to take his place he could avoid his fate? Or something like that.

    Comment by EnglishMQ — May 31, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

  5. Okay, the timeline is confusing but it makes sense if you know about the Trousers of Time and that Paul 1 and Paul 2 are actually the same Paul in different pant legs.

    Just go with me on this, okay?

    Comment by aqua — May 31, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

  6. I did understand the video before i saw the timeline, but not while looking at it :S
    It was a awesome video anyways!

    Comment by addeB — June 1, 2010 @ 12:42 am

  7. that image makes sense at the same t doesnt cause ‘paul’ you have paul1 and paul2 in the wrong colour just saying i love this video btw cause i too love space and time complexity

    Comment by OZITOMAI — June 1, 2010 @ 3:22 am

  8. I think Paul2 in the video timeline is different than Paul2 in the time travel timeline. The video timeline has the Paul’s going in the order of the video (Paul1 invents timewatch, Paul2 appears, etc.) and the time travel timeline has the Paul’s going in the order they should (Paul1 goes back in time after seeing the burglar, becoming Paul2, but still being the first Paul).

    So Paul2(1 in timeline) saw the burglar and went back in time to tell Paul1(2) to go forward in time to the burglar so he would get shot, saving Paul2(1). But after Paul1(2) gets shot, he goes back in time to try to warn himself.

    I guess this makes the universe end because Paul3 was Paul2(1) in the past, so when he died, Paul2(1) couldn’t cause his death, which made a paradox.

    Comment by DashP — June 1, 2010 @ 8:23 am

  9. @DashP – you sir have just blown my mind!

    Comment by cattonia — June 1, 2010 @ 8:49 am

  10. Sorry guys, I did indeed get Paul1 and Paul2 mixed up. Paul1 should be blue and Paul2 should be red.

    Comment by Paul — June 1, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  11. Hah I was right, Paul did destory the world with his awsomeness. ^_^

    Comment by ZehGeek — June 1, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

  12. Here is my take on what happens with my own fancy timeline graphic ^^ I’m not a big fan of the deterministic single-timeline-theory, so I used the sort of timetravel logic shown in Primer. Plays out nicely without any need for the universe to end ;-)


    Comment by Rosenfeldt — June 1, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  13. To quote Chief O’Brien in DS9…”I hate temporal mechanics!!”
    Good video though. I try not to think about it too hard :p

    Comment by PaulaG — June 1, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  14. I really hope these time-travel diagrams explaining the video (with corrections, of course) get included into the DVD release.

    Comment by Evil Jim — June 2, 2010 @ 1:11 am

  15. Ok, so I think it works like this:
    Paul invented the time watch using the variety of seemingly innapropriate tools and eye protection, then continued along just fine without meeting any other Pauls, surviving the burgular encounter.

    Paul then gets the idea to go back in time and talk to himself to help or whatever (because each Paul thinks that they are right, and goes with whatever idea they have in their head), which creates the different timeline which we started watching from and makes himself Paul 2 and the one we were watching into Paul 1.

    It continues on from there and the universe ends after Paul 2 causes himself to die. I suppose the universe could have ended as soon as Paul interfered himself, but the universe is pretty big and probably needed the slightly larger paradox to make it give way. Then of course the timeline skewed into this tangent, where everything is evil and corrupt, and Biff is married to your mother :P

    So I think that in the graph:
    Paul 3 can be done away with and coloured blue to stay Paul 1.
    The Paul 2 red timeline needs to be joined with the Paul 1 blue timeline until the point where Paul 2 appears to Paul 1. The Paul 2 red line then needs to diverge into a different Z-axis (so as not to be in line with the end of the universe) and continue on until at an arbitrary point it jumps back into the current Z-axis at the point where Paul 2 appears, and be at a different Y-axis, separate from the Paul 1 blue line, starting at the first solid red line that is already on the graph and continues as is.

    I think this works but to tell you the truth I’ve never made a time travel watch before and can’t be 100%

    Comment by Blinkey — June 2, 2010 @ 8:25 am

  16. Wait, hold up here. If the universe ended as Paul2 was saying, “Oh shi-” then how do you explain the after-credits portion? Where Paul concluded that his “time watch” was a $40 billion ordinary-looking watch?

    Maybe it’s…. PAUL4?!? (*dah-dah-daaaaaaaahhhhh*)

    Comment by Carlo — June 3, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  17. It’s simple, Carlo.
    As the universe reboots, clearing Paul2 from the discarded timeline because Paul1 died to never become Paul2, the universe says, “Fuck you, timewatch” and alters things so that it doesn’t work. Thus, we have a forty billion dollar ordinary looking watch.

    Comment by NekoDaimyo — June 3, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  18. Upon seeing this much Paul and Science together in one video, my brain has no choice but to explode.

    Comment by Veritasiness — June 3, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  19. The paradox created in this video is that of what violates the “Time Bastard” theorem, which states: “Time travel cannot be used to create duplicates of entities. It is possible for past and future versions of entities to exist in the same point in space-time, but duplicate entities from the same time period cannot coexist”.

    It’s a tough thing to wrap your head around, but it’s worth trying:

    Comment by Matt — June 7, 2010 @ 4:55 am

  20. Great video.
    Especially after watching Primer or Triangle.

    Comment by Thomas Wrobel — June 7, 2010 @ 6:32 am

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