Sunday, January 11, 2009

You know, going FTL does imply time travel

Back in the 20th century, I got into my head this crazy idea to make a mockumentary about how my friend Bryan had invented faster-than-light travel. It was based on an offhanded comment he made once, about how he wanted to change the world by doing something really big, and which he now denies. WHATEVS. It was a good excuse for me to spend $2,000 on new toys.

So I got D to help me produce it, and his wife Karin helped us rope a bunch of his friends into giving fake interviews, looking back on the historic event--because this documentary was, after all, being shot in the far future: 2004! We didn't tell Bryan about it, because it was a surprise birthday present for him. We also didn't finish it in time for his birthday party, but we did manage to put together a 90-second trailer:

After that, it was a simple matter of dealing with Windows 98 crashes (remember those?), Adobe Premiere crashes, Pinnacle video capture hardware problems, and a gigantic 10GB RAID array. Did I mention this was 1999?

We only managed to output three-quarters of the movie we wanted, because we couldn't get the finished project to render completely unless we removed one of the sections. But after months of dealing with computer issues, both D and I were just about ready to re-enact a scene from Office Space, and we had to stop. (Now, I have a Mac. HO HO HO)

The world premiere of Superluminary: The Notorious BHB took place on April 1, 1999, which seemed like an appropriate date. It also aired on public access cable in Palo Alto a few times, and now, you can watch the whole thing online. Be warned, it's 25 minutes of inside baseball:

(Trivia: The entire film was supposed to be widescreen, like the trailer, and we composed all the shots that way; but it was taking way too long to render the edited video with the cropping effect, so we scrapped it. You can see the microphone at the top of the screen during my interview, and probably some other things here and there.)

I still have all the raw footage on VHS, and I'm toying with the idea of putting together a "special edition" for the 10th anniversary. But only if I can include an interview with Bryan. He's a busy guy, you know.


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