Watch Gamers: Hands of Fate online for free for August

Gamers: Hands of Fate poster

Behold! The great day has finally arrived. The long-awaited and epic sequel to Gamers: Dorkness Rising is here. While I'm in Indiana for the premiere of Gamers: Hands of Fate at Gen Con with the rest of the Zombie Orpheus cast/crew, you humans can stream the movie over at right now for FREE!

That's right...for the month of August the film will stream at no cost on their website. Or you can opt to purchase a digital copy to download for just $10.


EDIT: The film has since finished its online streaming run. Purchase the theatrical copy to stream instantly online here. Or you can alternatively subscribe to the Zombie Orpheus YouTube channel and watch the Director's Cut as it is released in episodic chunks weekly.

Gamers: Hands of Fate poster

Wiping the dust off this filmmaker's blog

Where did all these cobwebs come from? I thought I closed this place up good when I last left it. So I've been a bit absent from the posts lately, but that is all going to be fixed. Starting right now.

Some of you may be wondering what I've been up to lately. Others may just be wondering what it is that I do...period. How about I answer these with a quick update activity here.

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First of all, if you follow my comings-and-goings you may have known that last November I was in Seattle on the set of The Gamers: Hands of Fate serving as both co-director of photography (there were 3 of us for 3 separate segments of the film) and visual effects supervisor for the "epic" portions of the shoot (Hint: #00FF00 has a large part of it). Now the film is steeped in post-production goodness. Over the course of the next few months, I'll be working on compositing green-screen footage against some lovely backgrounds provided by the post-production's digital matte painter.

As with most projects, I have approached the directors and producers with the idea of putting together behind-the-scenes material of the visual effects work and they were receptive to it, so hopefully you can expect to see that. But, as always, they have the final say if they don't want anything released until the film is completed and screened. Always have to be wary of spoilers. But here's the teaser trailer cut with footage from GenCon last summer.

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In the meantime, there is a project that I'm a part of that you can see. As in right now. The web series Versus Valerie has launched and hit the interwebs with the force of a thousand suns! It follows the character Valerie Lapomme (whom you may or may not know as Sexy Nerd Girl from her ongoing vlog). This is a narrative story showing her life outside of the bedroom (mind out of the gutter, folks) and how she deals with her many day-to-day challenges with the odd escape into her imagination to help. Episode 1 launched on March 7th and a new episode is released every other week, each one styled on a different nerd sub-genre (eg. Star Wars, Star Trek, FPS shooters, etc.). I've been working in the visual effects department on Versus Valerie along with another vfx artist, Davin Lengyel. One of the areas you can see my work in are the title sequences for each episode.

Here's a breakdown of the first episode's title sequence. The episode itself was styled off of the BBC series Sherlock, hence the look of the title sequence here.

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One other role that I just recently took on was picking up editing for the comedy series, The Gate. This series was produced with a team of Toronto web series creators including Elize Morgan (Pretty in Geek), Jason Leaver (Out with Dad), Ash Catherwood (Microwave Porn) and Fraser Mills. The series follows St. Peter at the pearly gates of Heaven and the different characters he runs into. All of the episodes released to date were edited by Jason Leaver, but he's become busy with other production work and has made the decision to hand it over to someone else. Any fan of the Toronto web series scene would recognize that these folk are pretty much like The Expendables of web series around here, so just to be working on a project with them involved is a big honour for me.

Watch the first episode here and keep posted for when new ones will be released.

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That's it for, I'm going to be pretty busy for a while. What are you working on?

To receive updates on my work, follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page. Them's be where I post images and videos regularly.

What exactly is that slate used for on movie sets?

Slate for Gamers: Hands of Fate

Returning from a month in Seattle where I was on set for 'The Gamers: Hands of Fate' (there will be a good, long write-up about that experience soon), one of the first tasks after taking a breather and checking in with people is to go through the logging process. And no, this isn't the kind that involves trees, smart-ass...seriously, that wasn't even a good joke. What's wrong with you? Go sit in the corner. As I was going through logging all of the clips from the green screen portion of the shoot, it occurred to me just how useful a good slate is, particularly in the editing room. On set it is someone's job, typically the second assistant camera or a production assistant, to "slate for the camera". This involves filling in the information on the slate itself (production name, camera angle, take number, director's name, which film reel is being used1), reading the information aloud once both the camera and audio are rolling, and then clapping the slate before getting out of frame. This is all for two purposes, one of which most people may already know about.

First of all, this marks a point both visually and audibly that can be easily recognized on both the video and sound files that can be used to sync the two together. Video and audio are recorded separately for movies, so this "clap" is there for the folk working in the editing room to use to line them both up.

Secondly, the information on the slate helps label the clip so that all of the post-production crew (which can range from one man to dozens to even hundreds on a Hollywood-scale production) can easily reference clips later.

The camera doesn't start rolling until the slate is on camera and in focus, so that the first frame of the video file has the slate's information visible and the editor doesn't have to scrub through to find it.

It varies from editor to editor (or if there's someone dedicated to the job of sorting and backing up the footage, it would be the job of the DIT, or the Digital Imaging Technician) but this clip could be labelled ''. The prefix 'G3BD' is derived from the title 'Gamers 3' and the initials of the director to make it relevant only to this production. 'Sc9A' denotes the scene number from the script, and 'Tk1' indicates the take number.

It took me about 45 minutes to go through and change the name of each video file to it's proper reference within the After Effects project (see how much fun it can be?!), but now there'll be clear communication between the director, myself and others on which clip is which.

EDIT: As I've been reminded, it could also be used as an instrument of death in the right hands (say, Stephen Seagal?)

1 In the digital age a lot of the same film-specific terms still are applied. So a "reel" or "roll" actually refers to a memory card.