The Restaurant

Our dad is reading us The Hobbit every night before we go to bed, and it inspired us to make this movie, since The Hobbit has two different unexpected visits in it, which we tried to use as the basis for this video’s storyline.

We were on a vacation to Florida when we filmed it, which explains the dramatic change in scenery from our house. (There aren’t very many palm trees where we live!) We shot it in the rental house we were staying in, and  this is our first movie to be  shot “on location”!

I didn’t bring a tripod on our vacation, so all of the shots where the camera was still were shot by propping my camera on stools, tables, books, and other such things. Even the moving camera shots turned out pretty good, since my D3100 is so much bigger than the cameras we’ve used to film most of our previous videos. Its weight and size make it much less likely to jolt all over the place when its being moved. Several of the static shots were also shot without support, such as the three outdoor shots, but they turned out very smooth since the camera is much easier to hold still. My 18-55 mm VR lens (the one I used to shoot this video) has vibration reduction, which really helps as well.

I hope you enjoy our latest video!


Camera Review: GoPro Hero HD

Our family recently took a vacation to Florida, and our dad bought us a GoPro before we left, so we could record what we did on the beach without fear of ruining any of our cameras. The GoPro worked like a charm, capturing shots underwater, above water, and on the beach, and I decided to review it.

The GoPro has only two buttons, and a 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch screen, which makes complicated shots and settings impossible, but on the beach that was almost a good thing. With the 170 degree wide-angle lens (which shrinks down to 127 degrees when you record 1080p video), you capture everything you point the camera at, and since the camera has so few settings, it becomes much less intrusive into what you are doing. You don’t have to be actively worrying about keeping your subject in frame or of getting your camera ruined by having it dropped, dunked, or splashed, so you can relax and have more fun with the people you’re around.

You have 5 different resolution options when you record video: 30 fps at 1080p, 30 fps at 940p,  60 or 30fps at 720p, and 60fps at VGA, and picture mode lets you record 5 Megapixel stills individually, in 3 shot bursts,  2 to 60 second intervals, or on a timed delay. Their is distortion from the wide-angle lens, but it’s not that noticeable unless the picture or video you shoot has lots of straight lines in it.

The only real con that I saw while using the GoPro didn’t have to do with anything the GoPro did or didn’t do, it just had to do with the fact that, except in certain cases, it isn’t that useful. If you went to the beach or on a river trip, or wanted to mount a camera on your bike, go-cart, or body, then the GoPro would be an amazing camera to buy. The original GoPro is currently selling at only $130 apiece, making them a very economical option for people that like to go to places that would be inhospitable to a normal camera, but if you wanted to record in “normal” conditions, you’re better off spending that $130 on a good point-and-shoot camera that records decent video, rather than buying a GoPro.

Comparing a GoPro to a normal camera isn’t really like comparing two models of normal cameras. The areas where a GoPro excels rarely overlaps to include the areas where a regular camera would work well. The GoPro works well in more extreme situations, while a normal camera does not. A normal camera works well taking pictures on dry land and on solid ground, while a GoPro doesn’t. It isn’t really fair to compare a GoPro to a normal camera- it’s almost like comparing a skateboard to a surfboard-They both work well in the situations they were designed to work well in.

My final verdict is this: If you’ve ever wanted to go to crazy places with your camera, then the GoPro is the camera for you. If not, it’ll probably end up being a cool toy that you use a few times and then forget about. If you can’t think of why you would need a GoPro, you probably don’t! (It’s still a pretty cool camera to have around though)

Rotoscoping in Blender

I said I’d post a tutorial on this, and I have!

30 Day Superfit Training Program

Paul is at the stage where Isaac was at the beginning of our moviemaking careers- he is, as our Mom would say, “cute”. (Just please don’t tell him that I said that!)

He enjoys having fun, especially when people applaud him for having fun, so that’s one of biggest reasons he likes to be in our movies (besides the fact that he gets cheese after he’s done acting!)

I hope you enjoy our latest video! I might post a tutorial on how I attached the weights to Paul’s “weightlifting bar” soon!

Camera Review: Nikon D3100

I mentioned in my last post that I had recently bought a Nikon D3100. It’s a very nice camera, with tons of features that point-and-shoot’s and regular camcorders don’t have, but, like all cameras, it’s not perfect, so I figured I’d do a review on it.

First, picture taking ability: I really like to take pictures, and although that’s not the reason that I bought the D3100, I’ve got to say that Nikon really did a very good job of making photography enjoyable. It has an extremely wide range of options for every aspect of shooting: The shutter speed can be adjusted from 1/4000 of a second up to 30 seconds at a time, and the ISO can be adjusted all the way from 100 to 3200. With that being said though, I haven’t really adjusted too many of the features as I take pictures- the automatic settings are that good!

Everything about using the D3100 feels good, from the way it fits in your hand, to the way that the shutter clicks when it goes off (I know that sounds weird, but you have to try it to know what I mean). While my last camera, a Sony Cybershot, had the same resolution (14 megapixels) as my D3100, the D3100 takes much clearer shots, since, with it’s larger image sensor, it filters our much more noise than any other camera I’ve ever had. This means that you can zoom into the shots that you’ve taken almost 1500% before you begin to notice any graininess in the image. Megapixels sound cool, but once you get above 7 or 8 megapixels you’re better off looking for a camera with a large image sensor or nicer lens options.

As far as the cons for the picture-taking mode go, I haven’t found that many yet, my only complaint being that occasionally the camera will freeze up, and it won’t take a picture, but instead will just keep shifting focus back and forth between the background and foreground. That’s not that big of a deal, as it’s only happened to me 3 times so far, and it can be fixed by switching to a different mode on the camera and switching back, but it has been annoying when it has happened, since you either miss your shot or have your subject get restless from standing still so long. It’s not that big of a deal, but, like I said earlier, no camera is perfect.

I’ve been using for about 3 weeks so far, and have been very impressed with it’s video so far. One of the main things that I like about shooting video is that it is basically the same as snapping a picture. Rather than having a dedicated video mode like many cameras, the D3100 just has a red record button on it’s back, which you can push to record video in whatever mode you happen to be in, which means that it’s much quicker and easier to get nice looking shots. The only annoying thing I’ve found with the video mode so far is that it doesn’t shoot clips longer than 10 minutes, but that’s rarely an issue, unless you were to record an event like a church service, concert, or wedding. For most of what I (and, I assume, most other filmmakers) do, I never need a camera to record for more than a few minutes at a time. If you really wanted to film clips longer than 10 minutes, you could install third-party software on your camera to extend recording time, but, that would void your warranty, so I wouldn’t recommend it, especially since Nikon put the 10 minutes limit on the camera so that it’s CCD wouldn’t overheat.

I’m sure that hardcore photographers and videographers would want something nicer than the D3100, but for it’s price (A kit, which includes a 18-55 mm lens, normally runs between $500 to $650, depending on where and when you buy it), it’s an amazingly capable video and still camera,  and once you buy it, you’ve gotten to the point where you would have to spend an extra thousand dollars or more to get any noticeable improvement in video or picture quality. You also have to think that, if today was 2004 or 2005, you probably couldn’t even buy a camera as nice as the D3100! Once you buy a camera of this quality, you’ll be good for quite a while!

Dry Ice

My dad is an electrical engineer, and he has encouraged and/or shown us how to do all sorts of cool science projects. The latest ones have used a lot of dry ice. I’ve videoed all of the experiments that we did with it- but mainly the ones that make a bang- and I hope that you enjoy watching them. This video is our first video ever to be in 1080p HD, since I just recently bought a Nikon D3100. It’s awesome, and you can look forward to more HD videos coming soon!

Pool Opener 3000

Enjoy! Rachel and I filmed this video almost a month ago, and I just forgot to make it public.

Blimey Cow contest

The results are in and…….. we didn’t win. It was still a great learning experience though!

Rube Goldberg Machine 2.0

Several months ago, I made a large Rube Goldberg machine, and filmed it. Doing it was so much fun, that I decided to make another one. This one is slightly smaller, but, unlike my last Rube Goldberg device, which often used the same parts in different shots, this one could theoretically work (“Theoretically” being the key word!).

I still filmed it in multiple sections though, because I didn’t have the patience to set everything up over and over again because one small section of my machine had malfunctioned. I still ended up having to though, due to wind and faulty construction, so the raw footage for this movie amounted to over 18 minutes!

Our Entry to the BlimeyCow 72 Hour Film Festival

Yesterday morning Rachel and I saw that BlimeyCow was hosting a 72 hour film festival (although, as you can see, it only took us about 36 hours to get our video completed). We decided to enter it, and immediately wrote a script that fit into the guidelines that were on their Tumblr page. We filmed almost all of it on Friday, choosing  Silent Film as our genre (I shot down Rachel’s idea of choosing a romantic comedy as soon as she saw that it was a genre that you could choose), a piece of fruit and a stack of books as our objects, and using the phrase “This is going to be messy”. We also had to include someone shaking hands, so we did. Filming a silent film was so much easier to do than many of the other “talkies” that we’ve done in the past, since we didn’t have to tell everyone to be quiet (If you listen closely to our other movies, there’s always at least a little bit of unwanted background noise) and I could edit the clips together without any worries as to whether the sound matched or not.

This may be the best movie we’ve done yet, since, to our Mom’s delight, we spent over an hour cleaning the house in preparation for filming, and we removed any  unnecessary objects from the shots we filmed. We also had to remove any unnecessary clips, since we shot well over 20 minutes of raw footage, and needed to end up with a movie that was under 4 minutes, including intro titles and ending credits.  But probably the main reason that this movie is any  good is because my Mom was in it. She’s a great actress (and an awesome comedian, but I won’t put together her bloopers reel since I want to be able to keep making more videos) and an even greater Mom, and it was a great pleasure to have her in our movie!

My sister and I had a lot of fun filming this movie, and we hope that you have 1/8 as much fun watching it as we did making it! Enjoy!

Exercise video

This afternoon Rachel, Isaac, and I worked on filming this movie. It was a lot of fun to do, as there wasn’t really any restraints as to what we could or couldn’t do, and as to whether what we were doing would fit into the rest of the movie continuity-wise. The lighting also turned out pretty nice, since the whole time we filmed, there were clouds overhead. I hope you enjoy it!

P.S. Isaac can’t really do one-handed pull up’s. I was pushing him up and down off screen =)

Coruscant render

One of the opening shots of our Star Wars movie will be a shot of Coruscant at night. I’ve been working on building it for quite a while, and have scrapped several versions of it, but I think I’ve finally gotten onto something.

The big black things in the picture are untextured buildings, and the smaller, textured ones were automatically made by the Suicidator City Generator plug-in for Blender. It’s not done, but it’s getting there!

Ollie’s Organic Amazing Oatmeal

This video didn’t have any script at all. We were just having oatmeal (with raisins) :~} for breakfast, and I was just goofing with Isaac and said some of the advertisement, and Isaac said, “Hey, we should make that into a movie!”. And so we did. I made the whole thing up as I went, including the name. Enjoy!

Star Wars Props

The past few weeks I have been concentrating my efforts on props for our movie. So far I have made about half of the weapons we’ll need for the movie, out of things such as 2×4′s, PVC pipe, old scooter frames, and other bits and pieces of “cool” junk. I’ve also started working on some leather pieces for costumes, but I’ll post pictures of them later, when I have more things completed.
Here’s a lightsaber handle that was made out of an old scooter steering post:

And here are some “blasters” I made out of PVC pipe and  2×4′s:









They’re not all that impressive, but they’re a start!

Textured Droid Overseer

Here’s a textured render of the droid that I posted about last week. It’s still not complete, but it’s getting there!

The Thing in the Grass

So here is our latest movie! I know it’s only been two days since we posted our last one, but since it is summer and school’s out, we have a lot more free time, which means we can make a lot more awesome (?) movies for you. It has a lot of the same storyline as Isaac and his Lightsaber (A.K.A. bat), but  with a twist. Making this movie was very fun, but it was also very, very, very itchy, as we all had to walk through that (to me) hip deep grass. I got the worst of it, since Luke, John, and Isaac also dragged me through it with my feet tied to a rope. It itched, but it was worth it! Enough complaining– here’s the movie:

Droid Overseer

I just started working on a model for the Droid overseer this morning. It’s still pretty rough, and it isn’t textured, but I’ll keep working on it in the days to come. The proportions will stay roughly the same, but I’m going to do a lot more work on the head, which is’t that great looking at the moment, so it’ll look more like a Star Wars droid than a robot that came out of some 1930′s sci-fi movie. Stay tuned for more updates!

Everybody Likes Cheese!

As all of those who have read our blog for a while know, we like cheese. This will be our second movie totally dedicated to it, and here’s how it started: We were sitting around with nothing to do this morning, and Rachel suggested that we make a short movie. I agreed, Rachel wrote a script, and we filmed it. The chroma-keying of the last shot was somewhat crazy, as all of the people that were in it were either wearing green or blue. That meant I had to switch my set-up around a few times, but it all worked out in the end. I hope it didn’t look too cheesy!

Star Wars audio clips

We haven’t started actually filming the Star Wars movie yet, but I’ve been able to record the audio for several of the characters that are either CG or voice-overs. Enjoy this little taste of what is to come!

Here are some lines for a droid. The voice is mine:

Prepare for our…

Here are some lines for Yoda. One of the many awesome guys that were at the theatre, Aiden Olivea, voices him:


There’s more lines for both characters, but I have to leave you with some reason to watch the full movie when it comes out!


Play update

Unto the Least of These is finally over! It was a tremendous amount of fun, but I guess all good things have to come to an end. =( Since we won’t spending 15+ hours a week doing the play, we’ll have more time to work on the Star Wars movie. Stay tuned!


Hello everybody! The pre-production of our Star Wars movie is almost done, and I thought I’d show you some test renders of the models that I’ve made to use in this movie. They are all pretty basic, and need a good chunk of work, but I hope that you get a feel of the great (?) things that are to come!



Movie coming soon! (?)

I have been working on a Star Wars movie for about a month now, and have had the script finished for about 2 weeks. Now I am just working on making the many CG models that this movie will require, and recruiting actors, as this film will require more actors than are in our family. We probably won’t start doing any actual filming until the play is over, but stay tuned for more updates!

(P.S. I said in the title of this post that a movie was coming “soon”. That might not be quite true, but a movie is coming. Whether it goes public sooner or later remains to be seen!)


This is a report that I needed to write for school, and I decided to post it. Enjoy!!!!!

Peanuts are peas, not nuts. Like peas, they have seed container pods,(shells) for the peanuts. There are usually two or three peanuts in each shell, which can be eaten alone, or put in candy, cookies, and other dishes. Peanuts can also be used to make peanut butter, and for industrial uses. Peanut plants are unusual because its pods grow underground. Peanuts are also called groundnuts, goobers, goober peas, ground peas, and pindas. Peanuts are an important crop, especially in warm places. 19-22 million tons of peanuts are harvested around the world each year. Africa and Asia grow about 85 percent of the world’s peanuts. Leading peanut growing countries include India, China, The United States, Sudan, Senegal, and Indonesia. The leading peanut
growing states are Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Florida. When roasted or made into peanut butter, peanuts have more energy-giving calories than a piece of beef steak that weighs the same amount. Most peanuts are used to be eaten. But in industry, low quality
peanut oil is used to oil machinery, and also as ingredients in soap,face powder, shaving cream, shampoo, and paint. Peanuts are also used in making
nitroglycerin, which is an explosive. The solids left from making peanut oil are used as feed for livestock. Nothing is wasted, and even the shells are ground into powder, which is used in making wallboard, cork substitutes, and
abrasives. Peanuts are 47.5 % fat, 26 % protein, 18.6 % carbohydrates, 5.6 %
water, and 2.3 % other. The peanut plant is an annual that grows 2 and 1 half
feet high, and 3-4 feet across. There are two types of peanut plant: The Bunch, and the Runner. Farmers must harvest the peanuts at just the right time, or the peanuts might not be ripe, or they could be too ripe. At the processing plant, large, unshelled peanuts are cleaned, polished, whitened,
and marketed. To whiten the peanuts, they remove their dark outer skins. They also roast and salt them, or use the peanuts to make peanut oil. To make
peanut oil, the peanuts are run through machines that grind them into little bits, and then they squeeze out the oil. I hope that this article inspires you to try a new recipe that uses peanuts.

Play trailer

Here is a video of Unto the Least of These. Luke and I didn’t end up in it, since we’re not in any truly dramatic scene (unless you count a scene I’m in where somebody (come see the play to figure out who) “dies”, which wouldn’t really make that great of a trailer!), but my Dad is in the very first clip (he’s 6 1/2 feet tall, so he’s easy to spot) and Rachel is in the clip where the orphans run out on stage (she’s in a pink dress and pigtails). I hope you enjoy this short trailer, and I hope it makes you want to come to the Stained Glass Theatre and see more!

Static tutorial

I’ve kicked around the idea of making tutorials for quite a while, and I finally decided that I should start making some. I decided to make my first one pretty simple, so I made one on how to create a static tv effect. I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll probably be making more soon!

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