Crime and Punishment Behind-the-Scenes
February 20th, 2009

Posted by Graham

The main challenge with this video, as it is frequently, was finding the location.

We had a place in mind, but it didn’t pan out, so we had to revert to our standard procedure of “wander aimlessly around the university until we find something”, which we do all too often.We left Matt guarding all the equipment while we did this, and he fell asleep while doing so.

Once we found the place, we rearranged some desks in the middle of a hallway (you can see some more of the desks in the background, oops). I believe I had an astronomy class in that building at one point.

The actual shoot was very straightforward: Matt on camera, Paul and Tim swapping out boom duties, and all the lines going quickly and easily. I think we shot less than half-an-hour of footage in the end, which made editing even easier. It was a short video, and a good shoot.

Paul and I shot the merch ad in my laundry room, later in the week.

And now: photos!

Better (but worse) Search
February 6th, 2009

Posted by Paul

Ever since we switched over to having paginated video archives (300+ items, each with a thumbnail image was getting very large) I have been trying to figure out a good way to make the videos just as accessible as before. When they were all on one page, you could just use the search function of your browser to find any video you wanted, so I figured adding our own search function would solve the problem.

It was a great search function too: You could use boolean operators (like +, -, AND, OR), you could search for a specific phrase “using quotation marks”, and you could even you wildcard characters to find parts of words (like cheese*). To top it all off, it was backed up by a super fast fulltext index that was all set to scale up to hundreds of thousands of records without any slow down. The problem is that it wasn’t very useful. Turns out when you only have 500 records, no one cares about boolean operators, full phrase matching and wildcards and that specially optimised index that can scale up to 500,000 records, does so by excluding any words smaller then four characters. Back to the drawing board.

LoadingReadyRun’s new search function is the simplest possible system. Type in your search term and it will find every video that has that word anywhere in the title or description. No AND, no OR, no quotation marks. Type in the and you are going to get a whole hell of a lot of results. It will even find partial words. Doing it this way is not only less flexible, it is also way less efficient, but with the number of videos we have,  it seems more useful. In 10 years, when we have a couple of thousand videos in the database, we may need to revisit the problem but at the moment it seems to run just as fast as the old system.

The LRRcasts use the same system, BTW.

As always let me know if you experience any problems or wierdness.


cH05: Behind-the-Scenes
February 6th, 2009

Posted by Graham

Another full week of shooting for another full episode of commodoreHUSTLE!

It started on Saturday, a week before the video went live. Due to a strange confluence of scheduling, it was the only day that we would be able to have both Kathleen and James available for shooting, and James’ only shooting day before the video went up. We also had to be in Nanaimo (a 2-hour drive away) by 6:30 for the VISFF.

So, after breakfast and a quick read through the whole episode, we started with the first scene to take place at The Moonbase (Paul, James & myself). Doing it in only two long takes took us more takes than it probably should have, but it was worth it in the end. Following that we quickly moved to shooting the main bulk of the episode: the big argument scene.

To make things easier all around and avoid handing the camera between several different people, Tim shot the whole thing. In deference to standard shooting practices, the whole scene was shot largely in chronological screen order, rather than all of a given person’s lines one at a time. As the scene was broken up essentially line-by-line, shooting went quickly. And then it was on to the silly costumes.

James and I had bought a bunch of blue accent clothing from the second-hand store on Friday, and we had all put some prior thought into our individual outifts, but most of them came together right there. Tim stayed on camera so we could all be in the shot, and the entire montage was shot largely as a jumble of random footage in under 35 minutes. It was also really, really cold, which proved irritating for some of our more revealing costumes. When that was done, it was us bundling into a car, and away to the film festival. In costume, no less. Thank god we won something, it meant I could explain to the audience why we all looked so stupid.

The rest of shooting was really broken up, but luckily the majority had been taken care of. Jer’s horn flashback was done on Monday, Bill and Morgan’s 2Pac scene on Wednesday, the transformers/light gun scene on Thursday night.

The following Saturday we not only shot Matt’s toy shop flashback in the afternoon, but also Geoff’s introduction scene that evening, while shooting the following week’s video in between those things.

The last thing to be shot, was, of course, the first scene in the video. It was shot Sunday night, and plugged immediately into the already edited video.

Good times all around. Now, please enjoy these pictures of The Runners. More information on that whole thing coming soon.