Entries Tagged 'Tijn' ↓

My favourite diabolo videos from 2008

StepZ by Sigalit
OK, it’s mixed props – sue me. This video rocks. M4u’s insane diabolo tricks alone makes this video worthy to be in the list.

Useless Information by Quentin
Beautiful is the only word that really sums it up.

L.C.A.B. (Long Combos Are Boring) by Raphaël
After playing for nearly 10 years, Raphaël presents his first solo release. The video is packed with interesting material which is flavoured with his own unique style. I hereby declare the shot in the thumbnail as the best shot of the year. That composition is priceless. Looking out for your 2nd video!

CoNtInGeNcY by LaNgErZ
Langerz taking his yo-yo crossover insanity to the next level. Again. Introducing thumb slack and even more pretty figures with 2 diabolos.

Malte² by Malte & Malte
Malte ²
A nice showcase of two of the many juggling Maltes; Malte Strunk & Malte Peter or shortly Malte². Hardcore German diabolo and juggling!

Whirlcool by Ceri-Anne
Ceri-Anne presents "Whirlcool"
With flowing style, cool music, great editing, and a cool looking washing machine, Ceri-Anne shows us where a little creativity can take a diabolo video in her first solo release: “Whirlcool”. Ahhhh, yes, ain’t that fresh?

It’s Tricky by Pranay & Sergej
Its Tricky
The collaboration between Pranay and Sergej brings an awesome video with a great soundtrack, fancy dancing, butterfly stick releases and funny out-takes. One of my all-time favourites. More people should play their soundtrack while recording!

EJC 2008 Diabolo by Florian
EJC 2008 Diabolo
Ah, the memories. Even I made it in with my lazy ass. Excellent editing by Florian, awesome moves by everybody present and tons and tons of fun. Diabolo.ca says hi :-)

Horizon by Petit Lu & Clément
The French won’t ever stop, will they? Petit Lu’s and Clément’s awesome tricks, alternated with gorgeous scenery time lapses make this an excellent watch.

Leaves by Marijn
As an up and coming new school diaboloist, Marijn presents his first video. Lots of interesting stuff!

Stop n’ Dream by Grums & Axaros
Stop n' Dream
I’m a sucker for great music. Fun little tricks, awkward catches and complex body moves performed in a unique style.

Magic Wall by David
Magic Wall
The earlier-discussed Diabolotween concept finally found place. Inspired by the Magic Board skateboard collaboration video, Magic Wall was born from a London bridge meet-up. “Why wasn’t I present again?”

The Diabolo.ca Collaboration video 2008: “Work in progress”
I had mixed feelings about mentioning a video I have been involved in so much, but as this is a collaborative effort, I feel it’s justified! Not much to say about this baby – over 13 minutes of 40 diaboloists from 12 different countries, all mixed together on some great music. Not to mention the 13 page discussion thread it resulted in.

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Fair trade

I love how the diabolo community works. Take Jako’s integral suicide for example. Back in March 2005, Jako released a 3 part video which included insanely long combinations and cutting-edge tricks, such as his integral suicide. I have always liked the trick because of it’s uniqueness and simplicity. It was different from Eric’s popular integral suicide (a.k.a. Tomicide), which appealed to me, partly because I didn’t master Eric’s integral yet. I took the time to learn Jako’s integral and tweaked it to my own style. It still remained similar to the original though. After a while, people started exploring the trick a bit further and came up with great variations.

Last summer, I collected some material I was working on, filmed it, and put some time into editing together a practice video. “Dang-diggy-dang” was born. I then decided to release the video on the forum, as I hadn’t released anything publicly for a while. The last trick in the video was a 2 diabolo integral idea, which is basically Jako’s integral suicide applied to 2 diabolos. I thought of that trick about a year before, but only tried it every now and then. However, I lacked the technical skill to hit it – so I decided to put it out there and see if any of the new school kids were able to nail it. A few weeks after the release, two people had nailed the trick and Busk showed me a very nice variation at the EJC. Busk was playing around with his own slowcide variation, inspired by Stefano’s (a.k.a. P5yk0) sun variation on Jako’s integral. Inspired by my video, Busk then applied his slowcide integral to 2 diabolos.

Here’s a short montage of the evolution of Jako’s integral suicide and it’s variations — as a tribute to Jako the originator, the trick and our community. I included some of my favourite variations which I could get my hands on. I’m sure there are a lot more variations I’m not aware of though, so please feel free to share your own findings!

Pretty neat how this community-thing works, huh? Like they say; the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Sometimes you have to share your ideas and open them up to the public, before you will see them being explored way beyond your imagination.

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Crossover creativity

A good friend of mine and Circusplanet colleague Tim van Hellemont (a.k.a. Netwel) loves messing about with Photoshop. He’s been an active member and contestant of Photoshop Contest for a few years now and occasionally shows me some of his work. Go check out the website and Netwel’s profile. The contests are pretty amazing to say the least!

A few weeks ago, Tim showed me some Photoshop tutorial DVD’s from The Gnomon Workshop. Besides the amazing skill level, some of these guys use very interesting methods to push their creativity. One of them stood out for me in particular. I was immediately trying to think of ways to apply his approach to diabolo. I think I have succeeded and would like to share with you.

I am talking about Nick Pugh’sOriginality in Design” DVD. I’ll try to summarize his approach, but the DVD is just packed with great advice so go check that out in full if you can.

The approach
The starting-point of the DVD addresses the difficulty that many design artists face while trying to achieve originality in their work. He then describes his own method to get the creative juices flowing. He starts off with a huge amount of sketching — up to hundreds of pages. He explains how this process helps to shake all the cliches out of his mind and gain a mind state where he has a chance to explore a different angle and create something original. In the initial stages of sketching, he tries a variety of techniques and is definitely not trying to design anything in particular.

A great suggestion is to use both hands for drawing. This will (hopefully) split your brain into the 2 halves it’s made of and force you to use both to their full potential. The key here is that you don’t really want to be comfortable by doing the same you always do and following some sort of routine, or you’ll find yourself stuck drawing the same things over and over. You will have to explore new territory, which can be really exciting.

His last piece of advice is to avoid going back. Put away the eraser. Stack up your pages with sketches and keep on drawing until you feel like you’re done. Walk away and come back later to review your drawings. The majority of your drawings won’t be useful at all; however, if you discover only a few things that are actually really original and different, you have succeeded.

Applying the approach to diabolo
Creativity is applicable to a wide range of skills. Applying this approach to diabolo isn’t as hard as it may seem. The first issue you need to think about is how you are going to record the process. You can’t write it all down, so you will have to set up a video camera and film your session.

Go with the flow, use different techniques, try different kinds of tricks, and apply the ambidextrous approach. Let’s get the standard repertoire out of our system and gain a mind state where you can go to the next level without worrying about mistakes and drops — they’re a natural part of the trial-and-error process.

Don’t go back trying the same tricks and sequences over and over again. You’ll have the ability to review your new “hooks” after your session. You can stop recording after an hour or so, and come back later to review what you have filmed. The majority will be crap, but there’s got to be a few nice moves you can work out!

Dang. Dang-diggy-dang.
I recorded one of my practice sessions once (way before I saw this DVD), and reviewed it together with William (a.k.a. Crackers). This led to some nice tricks in the end! One of them being the trick at 1:36 in my “Dang-diggy-dang” video — the slowcide hit-back to wrapcide. It used to be this thing that evolved from an alternate infinite suicide exit. William pointed out he loved the look of it, so I worked on it a bit more. Having a second pair of eyes can help immensely when reviewing your recordings.

Please keep in mind this approach might not work the first few times and you don’t have to record for a full hour. Go try it out!

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Audiovisual design

I have been making videos for about 4 years now and I have learned a number of things throughout the years which I’d like to share. First of all, open up Final Cut Pro’s user manual (47mb PDF) and read pages 15-20: “Before you start editing, it’s helpful to consider how post-production fits into the overall moviemaking workflow.” Don’t worry, it’s not specifically about FCP. Done? Good. Now you know what you’re getting yourself into, let’s read on for some key features that make a good (diabolo) video.

Planning and organizing
It’s a good idea to do some thinking beforehand. What do you want to show your viewers; what tricks do you want to record; and where and how do you want to do that? What music are you going to use? Make notes and bring them along with you. A well-thought out video plan is half the work! 

Proper filming
You should have thought of some interesting locations to film your tricks in the first step, so when you go out to film, choose your camera distance and angle carefully and see what works best. Tune your clothes and props to the background to make sure you and your props are visible.

Use a tripod, unless you want to deliberately create shaky camera movements to achieve a certain mood. Most of the time, this won’t be necessary for a diabolo video.

Turn off the auto-focus on your camera. Since you will be filming moving objects, the camera won’t be able to focus properly at all times. It’s better to manually focus your camera.

Make sure the colours look real by setting a proper white-balance. Holding a piece of white paper in front of your camera to calibrate the white-balance might be the best idea. If you don’t know how to do these things, have a look in your camera’s user manual.

Last, but not least: check the exposure of your camera (not to be confused with the brightness of the LCD screen). It can often use a nudge up or down.

Execution of content
The beautiful thing is that you can film your shots over and over again, until you’re satisfied. So make sure everything looks just like you want it. I recommend getting yourself a cameraman who understands how you want to film your planned shots. Setting up your camera on a tripod could work, but it’s a lot easier to have a helping hand around that can adjust the zoom and angle of the camera for you (while firmly secured to a tripod, that is).

Supporting music
A good soundtrack can greatly improve your video project. I’m convinced that the audio matters just as much as the video, so spend as much time on the audio as you do on the video. Choose your music carefully before you start the editing and perhaps even before you start filming.

The choices I discussed in my previous Music in live performance article can also be applied to the audiovisual design field. A few extra features the post-production stage offers are cuts, transitions, filters, and effects, which you can synch with the audio, to give your video an extra dimension. An awesome mixture of music and video is what makes the difference between a good watch and an amazing experience.

The editing of your footage is where the other half of the magic lays. Now that you have carefully chosen your music and filmed your shots, it’s time to piece it together and create your work of art.

First of all, remember the rule of thumb: crap in = crap out. Although you can clean up some of your shots with the color correction, brightness/contrast, and smoothing/sharpening tools in your NLE system, you have to realize you can’t perform miracles. So make sure you paid attention to the steps above.

Secondly, take the time to master your editing software – it’s worth it. I didn’t bother and discovered all the key features of Sony Vegas throughout the years. I could have benefited immensely from some of these features earlier on. For example: enable snapping and learn how to use markers.

That being said… let’s start with the montage. The music to be more specific. Listen to it endlessly and think about what you could do with certain parts. Open up your editing software and place the music on the timeline. Try to isolate your environment by putting some good headphones on and closing your eyes. Listen to the track carefully, tap along with the beat and hit the marker key when the music changes. That should give you a framework to build your cuts around. Don’t worry about adding too many markers, you probably won’t be able to use all of them anyways. Start off with placing a few “key” clips on the timeline you know will fit perfectly. Then build the rest of your clips around those.

You probably want to use an opening title and perhaps thank some people at the end of your video. Choose a font and colour scheme that suits the style of the video. There are loads of websites where you can download all sorts of crazy fonts for free. Look for the more elegant, stylish, and subtle fonts (except if you’re really looking for the bold look).

Try to keep the credit titles as short as possible — while it can be a nice way to implement some of the bloopers and shots that didn’t make it, people will start discussing what they just saw or close down the video altogether when they see it has finished and all that’s left are the credit titles. Especially when there’s still 2 minutes remaining! When you go to the movies, do you sit through the final credits?

Last pieces of advice
People tend to remember the beginning and end of the video better than the middle. So make sure to put some of the better stuff near the beginning and end, but also build-up to the good stuff. Finish on a high!

Try to keep the fancy effects and cheesy transitions to a minimum. Simple cuts and crossfades will suffice. Flying titles and other over the top effects are probably good to avoid. Focus on quality content. Your editing software is merely a tool to assemble your video — a tool to create a whole out of the many parts — a tool to let the content shine. Worry about the initial steps and let the editing follow a natural path.

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