Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Welcome to Trollville!

I'm highly amused by it, so I thought I'd share this ongoing mini-saga of the past few days.

I posted a thank you a few days ago on my Bambi Meets Godzilla video page for getting 100,000 hits. A day later, I get this response:

Round 1:

Sunday, 11:29 AM:
alphayourface: "That's desperate comment, don't you think? It's a bit transparent when a wounded person tries to pretend he doesn't care that everyone hates him (>.<)"

Well, that first part was almost a sentence. I responded, and maybe I shouldn't have, it was something like...

KindredCoda: "It's she, not 'he'. And I don't feed the trolls."

Then I deleted their douchebag comment (leaving all the others that were negative on my page)  and blocked the person. Of course, you can probably guessed what happened next. Same person, new account:

Round 2:

Sunday, 9:15 PM:
iHateBeingRich: "Wth. LOL. I wrote a comment saying that this guy seems insecure for trying to get negative attention, & what does he do? He deletes a comment that's truthful & people agree with (insecure much? - called it!) then just message to me say that you don't feed trolls?" (I deleted the original, but the rest said something about my gender being debatable, blah blah blah. Gee, I didn't see that comment from the domain of the narrow mind coming at ALL).

Again, I was baited. I told them in no uncertain terms that the reason I removed their comment was because they were being a colossal dickhead troll, and that I had left all of the other negative comments alone. I also informed them that I'd block every future post the troll would no doubt make. I found out afterwards how to make the comments on all my video pages approve-only, and still letting all other comments through.

Round 3:

I got this message a few hours ago:

Monday, 8:13 PM:
iHateBeingRich: "got you kicked off the front page; good enough for me"

I think each person's front page is personalized anyway, so if what this person says is even true (doubtful), and if they had that ability (even more doubtful), I didn't even know I was ON the front page. Also, since I didn't know, I didn't care. I wasn't interested in getting tons of hits, it was a fluke that I found any audience, and my likes and dislikes are about even in numbers. That only means half of everyone hates my video. :-) I must have done something right though, because my video is just hitting 200,000 hits by the time I post this, and I'm thankful. But I'm not going to take abuse from some neanderthal I've never even met.


My next response: None. The only thing that actually perturbs me about this whole thing is why some people like to be negative, why they delight in trying (and failing) to torment others. It's probably because they're so pathetic, they really don't have anything better to do.

I've also learned that in this world, you can't tell morons that they're morons. It's a bit like talking to a goldfish, and telling it not to swim in a certain pattern. It doesn't have the capacity to understand or listen.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

One month...

...or, four weeks, really. It's been 28 days since I've started hormones, to be exact. Given that a specified amount of time has gone by, as many people do, I'm feeling the urge be introspective.

Do I feel any different? Well, yes and no.

I haven't noticed any overt physical changes, although a partner has told me that my skin seems softer. There was some excitement a few days ago, when I had a small pain in my right chest muscle, but it turns out I had just pulled a muscle. I feel impatient looking into the mirror, seeing no change and a stubbly man staring back at me, but that's just my impatience. Some people start to see physical changes over a period of two months, some over a few years, some never. It's strange to wait to go through puberty all over again.

I feel less inclined towards visual sexual stimulation than before, but that's been on the decline anyway. When I do watch (and I'm now even more selective than I used to be), my imagination almost always puts me in the body of the woman in the video.

I feel somewhat more empathetic. I find myself crying a bit more, and not being able to control it as easily. There's also been stress from other factors, and I feel less able to simply cope with the stress than I used to.

Planning to do more to help myself feel more authentic is in the works, and I'll continue to do so in various small ways, but for now, I feel like I'm in a holding pattern. Living some more life is the only cure for this impatience.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bambi Meets Godzilla: The Making of The Re-Creation

I think the first time I saw Marv Newland's animated short "Bambi Meets Godzilla" on the big screen was in 1996-ish at the (now gone) Harwan Theatre in Mount Ephraim, NJ, shown before a midnight movie. I loved the short, thought it was fun, but thought the film looked incredibly beat up and could either use a re-make or a restoration.

Fast forward to late November 2012. Having completed a few small video editing projects using Sony Vegas, and being prone to geeky projects just for the fun of it, I decided to try my hand at re-doing this classic animation via computer.

I started out by finding the best possible material, which in this case was a video from Vimeo. Watching the video, as well as a dozen other copies scattered around the Internet, I noticed that all of them were skewed, as if the film was recorded looking up at a movie screen at an angle. I also found out that the video downloaded from Vimeo ran at 25 frames per second, as opposed to the 23.976/24 fps frame rate commonly used in the US. Since each frame of the original video was from a full intact frame of film, I then had the basis for my project, which I decided I would render in a 4:3 aspect ratio at 4K (2880 x 2160).

I desaturated and deskewed the video, and saved the finished project to a new file to have something to work from. From there, I output the video as a series of images, then used those images to copy the look and feel of the credits via Photoshop, using the same typefaces (mostly Helvetica and Futura) as the original. I ended up with 17 image files.

I then printed out individual frames of the original elements, used tracing paper to trace them, then scanned the traced images at 1200 dpi. From there, I overlaid each of the frames into the project, using the original film as my template. I had to take a few liberties with the new version, the largest being that my images are stationary, and the images in the original film unintentionally moved around a bit from frame to frame.

Once I was done drawing and overlaying the image of the field of grass and flowers, and animating all of the credits and Godzilla's foot, I was a bit burned out on the arduous process and took a break for a month or two.

I started up again in February 2013 by finishing the most difficult part of the project: animating Bambi. Bambi's animation consists of about 27 unique animated frames (yes, including the squished Bambi), used in different sequences throughout the film. I printed out the Bambi images, six to a page, then traced only the portions of the animation that differed from each frame before it, and scanned those in. I then used Photoshop to clean up and piece together my scanned images.

After that, it was simply a matter of assembling the frames in the correct order. Each piece of animation lasts for about three frames of film on average, but there were also many variations and anomalies in the original film as well. I went frame by frame and dropped each image in, again using the original video as a template.

Once the entire animation process was complete, I rendered my finished project to individual images (again at 2880 x 2160). I imported the image sequence back into Vegas at 23.976 fps, then got to work on the audio, which I decided I would redo in 48 kHz, 24-bit, 5.1 surround.

I again used the Vimeo video as my template for the audio. Since the audio, running with the 25fps video, also ran at that speed, I had to slow the audio down to the correct speed/pitch before I could use it.

I went on a hunt, looking for the same pre-1969 recording of the excerpt from Rossini's William Tell Overture that matched the one used in the film, but couldn't find it. I instead used a more recent version from a CD, and used Acid Pro to stretch and match up that audio with the original version's timing. 

For the final chord, consisting of a certain famous song played at half-speed, I found a 96 kHz, 24-bit 5.1 version of the song, and simply changed the sampling rate to half (48 kHz), getting the correct sampling resolution and roughly the required speed all at once.

I used Vegas again to replace the original audio, expanding the new William Tell audio to 5.1 by adding a small amount reverb to the rear channels, and then dropping in the other song as-is for the final chord. I thought of adding some outdoorsy sound effects or of adding a projector sound to the rear channels, but decided against it, because I wanted to leave the audio as close to the original as possible, while still adding a new dimension of sound to the proceedings.

Somewhere in this, I also decided the resultant 4K image was TOO sharp, and so I used Vegas to add a tiny bit of film grain, gaussian blur, and scratches before the final render.

Then, it was finally time for said render. I wanted to output the image to YouTube at 4K, but my hardware and software has some serious limitations, so 1080p is the best I could do for now. YouTube also only plays in stereo, so what you hear on the video is a 2-channel mixdown of the 5.1.

As I now have all of these files, someday I'd like to output the files to a DCP (digital cinema package) at 4K with 5.1 sound... but that's for another day.

EDIT: As of July 14, 2013, the render is in full 4K (2880 x 2160)!

Special Thanks:
Rhi - for being my cheering section through the process
Jeannie and Jeff - for more cheering, and for the use of the all-in-one printer-scanner