I worked on a number of different production and development projects this month, and attended an anime convention for the first time in a long while! Our first attempt at a live-action narrative production started out well, but had to be put on hiatus, due to participants having other conflicts.
Cleaned up source-code for Lunatics Project, fixing SVG files that were broken due to a configuration problem with Git and LFS.
Created additional crowd billboard panels for Lunatice S1E01-LA shots.
Extensive preparation for a new live-action project, with the working title “Field Trip”.
I conceived this project as a way to get example material for demonstrating live-action workflow in Kdenlive. The project was to be produced by my daughter, Ariel Hancock, with director, cast, and crew from her college theater class contacts. I would server as a video editor and as an Executive Producer (which means, basically, the one who pays for equipment). My wife and business partner, Rosalyn Hunter wrote the script.
We wrote and revised a script, did location scouting locally, and worked on sets.
For this project, I did get some new equipment, most notably a boom and windscreen compatible with our existing AT2020 microphone, for location recording.
We got as far as a read through with some of the cast and the director, but sadly she had very limiting time-constraints and as she was the main contact for some of the cast, we had to put the project on hiatus, pending the opportunity to get a new director and cast together for it. Disappointing, but we’ll try again in the Fall, probably.
I finally recorded a clean commentary for the Space Bunny Ragdoll Rig screencast I recorded! I had all kinds of technical problems with this one, leading to a couple of false starts. But I finally got it done, and then edited it early in June:
I replaced the videos in my tests for LunaGen and got all of the existing tests passing again. I had originally used third party videos, and they had all changed to limit remote embedding, which broke my tests. So I created my own videos, instead, with me giving a straight-to-camera intro to LunaGen. First time in a long time that I’ve uploaded anything to YouTube or even Vimeo. I felt really uncomfortable about the process with YouTube. I forgot how hostile that experience is. Really makes me more satisfied with my decision to adopt PeerTube.
This month I also did a brief screencast testing a configuration for doing experimental work with the disk duplicator (for a software project I call “Bunsen”, because it’s intended to be a media burner with a web-based control system which I plan to write using the Python “Flask” web framework). The idea was to use the same webcam I use for commentaries to observe the machine in an on-screen window, while sending messages from a terminal application, and also recording the whole screen. This way I’ll get a synchronized record of commands sent and response from the machine.
I discovered some new sources for F/X samples, due to Archive.org announcing the acquisition of audio from “Sunshine Editorial”,recovered from old reel-to-reel audio tapes. These are effects that were used in film and television from roughly the 50s to the 70s.
They include some familiar effects, like the original “transporter” sound from the original “Star Trek” and the “Wilhelm Scream” which has achieved easter-egg status in films, due to so many sound mixers re-using it (it appears in many popular action movies, including Star Wars and all the Indiana Jones movies).
I was unsure about the copyright status, but Craig Smith, who recovered these sounds and provided them to archive.org also uploaded many of them as samples to FreeSound.org, using the “CC-0” tag, so he at least appears to believe they are in the public domain.
I also acquired copies of several national anthems (Canada, USA, China, Russia/USSR) from Wikimedia Commons and MusOpen, with public domain status. I may have some uses for short musical cues created from these, and I wanted to get source material I could use for that.
For the first time in a very long while, I attended an anime convention: Sabaku Con in Albuquerque, NM. This was a small con with an official attendence of 2,218 people. I discovered and met the band, “Kazha“, and attended an interesting panel with voice actor Matsuaki Madono, talking about his career path. I found it interesting, because he started fairly late, in his 50s. He’s probably best known today as the voice of the bear mascot character in “Bleach”.
I found that many of the titles popular today are unfamiliar to me. I’ve gotten more out of touch with anime than I realized.
This was a “target of opportunity”. We were really in town for a professional conference my wife was attending for work reasons (HAPS). But it was also a fun, low-key way to get back into the con circuit.
Video Worklog Summary
In May, I got back to working on shots for “Lunatics!”
As a warm-up, I created some of the billboard crowd panels that I needed for finishing up shots in the launch preparations sequence.
These were also among the files that I had to recover from Git problems.
I started work on the (re-)animation of the Soyuz pod-staging shot. This shot was previously done with a rig that limited how the pods could travel away from the vehicle. This has since been corrected, and I needed to re-do the shot with the new rig.
The Soyuz also has decal and texture detailing now. This is always stressful for me, because I liked the old shot, so I’m sort of competing with myself.
I discovered a new collection of film and television stock sound effects that are apparently in the public domain, which would mean we can use them.
There are a couple of anticipated uses of a brief “national anthem” signature to be mixed into some future episodes, so I also collected some public domain recordings of several different national anthem instrumentals to be edited, taken from Wikimedia Commons.
I made further edits to the “New Contributor Guide” on the website, including some project history.
My previous video-embedding tests for LunaGen used 3rd party videos which have since become unavailable, breaking the test. It was always my intent to replace those, so I did that this month.
It’s the first time I’ve uploaded videos to Vimeo in over a year, and the first time in several years for YouTube. I have to say, the experience reinforced my decision to use PeerTube primarily from here on out (I will still upload key videos to Vimeo for the next year, at least, though.
Using Git and Git LFS for storing and versioning production files has turned out to be a disaster, to be quite frank. Among the tragic outcomes, I somehow managed to get LFS placeholder files into a conflict with their antecedants, resulting in Git saving files to disk which combined them. This seems to have only happened with SVG files, but that’s a lot of the artwork for the project! Fortunately, it’s not too hard to unwind this damage, but I needed to write a script to crawl the source tree and fix them all.
This month was our deadline for principle photography on “Field Trip”, due to student commitments, and we made a brave try at it. We visited some more possible filming locations and the students worked on a “retro-low-budget-sci-fi” set for it. However, in the end we missed the deadline and the director had to bow out of the project. So “Field Trip” is on hiatus until we can make new filming plans with new crew. That might happen next year.
And as usual, I had some construction and maintenance work to do.
- 00:00 Summary
- 00:15 “Lunatics!” – Crowd Panels
- 00:23 “Lunatics!” – Soyuz Podstaging Animation
- 01:20 A video template for presentations
- 02:18 Sound effects collection from Archive.Org / FreeSound.org
- 04:10 Reviewing national anthem recordings from Wikipedia
- 04:18 New Contributor Guide
- 04:27 LunaGen Dev: Embedding Videos from YouTube, Vimeo, & PeerTube
- 05:42 Bunsen Dev: Tested reverse-engineering configuration
- 05:51 Script: Recover files damaged by a Git LFS self-conflicts
- 10:45 “Field Trip” – Location Scouting (Creek Location)
- 11:11 “Field Trip” – Set Building
- 11:33 “Field Trip” – Boom microphone for location dialog
- 11:47 Studio interior work
- 12:02 Shed lighting / electrical
- 12:50 Music Credits / Support URLs