video

Here’s a video we made for Skype about their home phone product. It was a tricky one to concept, you plug this bit of kit into your router and your phone line and you can then make normal phone calls over Skype using your normal phone… so it’s just like making a normal phone call… how do we make that look fun? We cut off the front off a house that’s how.

It was a bit of an evolution for us for the Skype videos – we chose to tell the story with a family rather than a big cast of characters, and used the occasion of moving into a new house (they just need to repair that missing wall and it’ll be lovely, honest) as it gives us a good setting to make lots of phone calls.

It was a pretty technical shoot, we only built a one story house, dressed at as the ground floor for one day, then pulled out the stairs and dressed it as the top floor on day 2. With some tricky camera positions, and a fair amount of computer graphics we plonked the 2 shots on top of each other, added a roof and made a house. Watch out for the slowly tidying house and lighting changes throughout, to help tell the one over arching story of the family’s first day in a new house.

We made this video to announce the new integration between Skype and Facebook. We used a much more realistic feel for this one, and told the story from footage shot actually in the Skype the client…. Well, it looks like it’s sure in the Skype client right? We actually shot most of the scenes across Skype, so the actors can perform with their fellow characters, which helped us get much more believable conversations.

 
Skype wanted to launch group video calling with a lot of fanfare. So we made this short video with loads of examples of how people might use the technology. A very hectic shoot over 3 days with about 17 sets to be built and struck as we went along. Hectic, but fun!
 

O man, we totally visited Roswell, New Mexico. It was never one of those ‘I MUST GO THERE ONE DAY OR I WILL DIE WITH A SAD FACE’ kinda places, it just happened to be on the way between New York and California, so we popped in. And boy were we glad we did, it’s silly, and a bit serious/mental, and then silly again. Here’s some things:

 

First thing we did was Alien Zone, Areas 51 – a place with about 20 alien scenes that you’re encouraged to climb about and take silly photos.. SOLD.

 

Then we thought we should get the ‘real’ facts and checked out the International UFO Museum and Research Centre just up the road, it was closing for the night so we ran about and took photos instead of actually doing any reading or learning (we’re on holiday, why would we want to do a thing like that?).

 

And the next day we had to go and see what all the adverts we kept seeing around town for the Roswell Space Walk were all about, they boasted a Paisley-Horvak TVG9000 (no, me neither), how can you refuse? Luckily it was silly, quite silly.

 

We organised a tour with some random dude of the ACTUAL HANGER where an alien may or may not have had it’s bit’s cut out by sinister looking military types. We got to the car park next to the hanger and looked for a car with a large inflatable alien tied to roof (as arranged) but our tour was a no show, damn it, the truth is still out there.

 

Here’s many more photos of our time in Roswell:

 

You like aircraft right? You like lots or aircraft right? Then you’ll LOVE the aircraft boneyard we visited in Tucson, Arizona. You can get a coach tour around this massive military facility (we shot the video above through the coach window) and hear everything there is to know about the 4,400 or so planes, helicopters and missiles they have parked up there (most of which are ready to have their protective white coats stripped of and start flying and shooting things again), or like us, you can ignore most of what’s being said and take lots of photos:

 

To get an idea of the size of the place, check it out from God’s eye view:

View Larger Map

 

If you’re planning on taking a visit, pre-book your tour with the PIMA Air & Space Museum.

 

What does it look like to sit in the front of a car and drive across America in 15 minutes? A bit like this I guess.

 

This is a 3,920 mile road trip that takes in New York, New Jersey (via the Northlandz, world’s biggest model railway), Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia (Mark Cline, one of life’s winners), Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California (quick Disneyland stop ‘natch) and Nevada (they have guns there).

 

It all started with a surprise sound track on a mysterious CD found in the hire car we picked up in New York, without this I don’t think the Boob would have survived (yes the Boob did all 3,920 miles of driving, what a trooper):

 

 

We’ve got more videos to come from the trip, and photos… so many photos, I’m not sure the Internet is big enough, we might need a new one.

Skype asked us to do a little promo film for the snazzy new feature that allows you to video call people straight from your TV. We decided to have a bit of fun with the type of things people might do with a giant Skype screen sat in their living room. Using a 360 degree set we created 2 rooms from the opposite sides of the world. We changed the lights from one scene to the next and had our actors run around like mad changing outfits and dragging on props. It’s a bit abstract, and you can see the camera track and crew (look really close in the TV’s camera view) but that’s all intentional. If it’s not real, we didn’t want it to pretend to be anything other than what it was, a promo.

 


 

A few week’s ago we visited Northlandz the World’s largest model railway, in New Jersey – we tried and failed to visit it a few years ago on our first trip across the states (tip: It’s closed on Tuesdays).

 

So we knew it was going to be big, but honestly, we didn’t expect it to be anywhere near as big as this, it is genuinely awesome. I wowed out loud at least 3 times. After about 15 minutes wandering through it, taking many photos, I noticed a sign saying “you’re only 2% through Northlandz” and they weren’t joking. Bruce Williams Zaccagnino started building it in 1972 in the basement of his house and finished it in 1996. It’s got 8 miles of track, 4,000 buildings, half a million trees and of course over 100 trains. It uses enough timber in it’s supporting structure to build 42 large houses.

 

Dad built us a train set in the loft when we were kids – Dad needs to up his game.

 

www.northlandz.com

This was a tricky product to describe, so we came up with real life examples of how a business might use Skype Connect to save money and get more customers. Really enjoyed designing these big sets with things like a NY Cab cut in half and room full of printers, old servers and geeky stuff.

 

A steam-punk styled adventure through time in the Fangorium. With 18 months of building and preparation it was by far our most ambitious show to date. When you pick a theme like steam-punk you can’t do half measures. This has enjoyed some massive Internet fame when Cory Doctorow called it “jaw-dropping awesomesauceular” on Boing Boing, which was of course totally awesome.

As an added bonus this year we’ve made a behind the scenes video, we’ve called The Engineers’ View. It’s a complicated beast to watch, but I guess that’s kind of the point… good luck.

Here’s the invite video:

 

…and some photos (more here):

 

…or check out all the behind the scenes production photos – here’s a few now: