Saturday, October 27, 2012

Love Like That Again

The story is this in a nutshell: Two performers try out for a role at a local theater but they come face to face with an enigmatic director who exposes their deepest relationship fears. With each step of the dance they take two steps into the dark side of love. 

Love like that again was a day dream brought to life by an awesome creative circle of friends. The musical artist was Josh Money  who worked with me on the Superman, Tiger Woods, MMA and the NFL Blitz video games. 

Josh Money

The concept of our video got rolling after we saw the Lindsey Stirling- Crystallize video  back in March. Josh and I had been considering doing a video of some sort for a long while but we didn't really know what the subject would be.  During a talk with Josh, the film Black Swan came up and the whole concept of a dancer transforming into a persona brought an exciting new perspective on our future video. I just so happen to know a couple of classically trained dancers and so my next phone call went to Tamara and Alonso Millar at Flamenco Del Sol.

Flamenco Del Sol has been performing in Orlando for years down at Universal Studios and many other venues in the Florida area. Josh sent Tamara the music to see if she would be interested in working with it as the style was about as far from Flamenco as it gets. Tamara and Alonso decided to accept the project to explore new territory as dancers.

The next meeting roped in Kyle Vest, a makeup and special effects artist from Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights and Florida Cinematographer Fernando Lopes . Now things were starting to get interesting so we really started to develop the story. This project was such a dramatic departure from the norm for all of us the energy and ideas flew like crazy. 

Tamara took several weeks to lay out all the Choreography and then presented it to Fernando and I to analyze for a storyboard. In July Fernando and I sat down and drafted the 54 scene storyboard and presented it back to the group. Now it was time to find the place to shoot.

The Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center is located in the historic district of Sanford Florida. It was an idealistic theater for the storyline with it's layout and old school charm. We worked a deal with the managers and were elated to shoot there.  

To prep for the special effects and make up I helped Kyle Vest make 35 feet of fake barb wire that was supposed to be wrapped around the lead dancers during the transformation sequence. The wire was made with simple string and white glue and painted silver

Barb Wire Prop

In late August, the dream started to become a reality as cameras fired up under the stage lights for what would be a 7-hour shoot.. yep 54 scenes with radical makeup adjustments in just 7 hours. 

Jesse & Alonso at shoot
Alonso and I going over the shots before the scene

Here is a little behind the scenes look at what went on the day of the shoot:

Footage courtesy of Bang Bang Productions 

Other photos from that day:

Kyle and Tamara
Kyle Vest preparing Tamara for her first transformation scene

Video Crew Shot - Love like That Again
The whole cast and crew

Kyle Vest
Kyle setting up the makeup station

Alonso and Kyle
Kyle faces his creation

American Gothic
And sometimes after a long day of shooting you just have to be silly

After the shoot, the long process of edit and color stylization began. 

Love like that again - Video Still 3
The "Scarf Fight" as we called it was one of the big action scenes on stage. We shot this from three angles, including one that involved me on my back sliding across the stage on a skateboard to get the shot.

Love like that again - Video Still 4
The emotion of the dancers was impossible not to feel on stage. I often found myself so focused on what I was seeing that it was easy to forget we were filming. 

Love like that again - Video Still 5
The director role was originally going to be played by Josh Money himself but he had moved to Detroit before the shoot so Bernice Chaberier took the spot. The character was supposed to be enigmatic with a dark side presence ...likely how most auditioners feel about the person judging them.  

Love like that again - Video Still 6
My favorite moment in the video when the couple become fully transformed into their personas. Visually I loved the light columns and the bleak feeling of the color palette    

A final edit emerged in September and though it hit all the storyboard points the 5:30-minute tune was simply too long to just be about the theater experience so a second storyboard was drafted up and shot in the forests of Florida.

Love like that again - Video Still 2
The outside scenes were filmed in the woods near Apopka Florida. I have always wanted to film a chase scene.

Love like that again - Video Still 1
Some still photographs were used in the video to show little details that helped the overall feel of the story.

And what is the story really? 

Well the concept here is that this couple is like any other couple in a long-term relationship, there is great chemistry, at first, a lot of love and passion but often as time goes on outside forces (in this case the director) influences their spirit. Things such as greed, jealousy, and control can take over to the point where the same two people become monsters to each other. Of course, sometimes, as in this story, things go too far and the male lead loses the one he loves and discovers he was equally as much a monster and chases his true love away but in his regret he cannot change what has happened, evil has won. At the end of the film, a set of clipboards fall and we see one says "Money" both for the name of the music artist but also to illustrate greed. You may have noticed the six other clipboards behind it...collectively the seven sins that the director illustrates into each the dancers lives, custom tailored for each act (to find the sin that breaks them). 

This is also why the couple we see running out of the audition at the start looks so distraught, it's foreshadowing of the evil this couple will soon face. Not a happy story but it's a beautifully danced metaphorical look at part of the human struggle of love and loss. 

Now here in October, the horror themed dub step/Flamenco dance video seems right at home for a Halloween release. We had a blast making this and hope the fans enjoy it.

If you like the music you can download it here:

Produced by
Jesse James Allen
Fernando Lopes

Directed and Edited By
Jesse James Allen

Dance Choreography By
Tamara and Alonso Millar
Flamenco Del Sol

Makeup and special effects by
Kyle Vest

Filmed at:
The Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center

Thanks for reading! 

- Jesse James Allen

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to build Portal Long Fall Boots

Portal Long Fall Boots

I am helping my daughter make a "Chell" costume and in doing so found a great way to pull together the Long Fall boots for very little time or money.

The boot effect itself is a sock that is on the market on a few sights (around $12):

The spring part is what we will be building..Parts will run you around $7

You will need a couple foam sheets:

You can find these locally at most arts and craft stores (like Michaels or Joann)

The two straps with clips are actually "Cat collars" that I purchased in the pet department at the "Dollar Tree" for $1 each.  They are adjustable and work great.

You will need a couple feet of fishing line and a sewing needed as well. 

A utility knife

A board or book to help cut straight lines

I used hot glue to hold things together.


Step 1:

Cut a small rectangle for the main support of the boot blade. The size may vary depending on how big your lower leg is but this one was about 3" across.


Step 2

Place the collar strap in the center of the cut foam sheet. Now you will only hot glue the lower white part and fold the foam over the collar so it can still slide freely for future adjustment. You are basically making a belt loop. 


Step 3

Cut the blades from the foam sheet I made these about 11" ...basically cut a two inch piece across the long end of your foam sheet. I used a spare wood block to keep things straight and from moving around.


Step 4

Hot glue the black blade to the white loop as seen in the photo above.


Step 5

Using fishing wire and a needle you want to create a little bend about halfway down the blade. I created a looped square from about 1" off the base to a little shy of halfway up the blade and pulled the lower part up.


Step 6 adjust the strap to your leg and snap over the sock and you are done!

Portal Long Fall Boots

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Free Radical EP Released

Inspired by Amon Tobin's work this is my new EP.

This is my demo track for the 8DIO Sample Library "Free Radicals" . The majority of the ambient, bass and sound effect elements in this track are sounds from that library. 

I was one of the sound designers who contributed to the "Free Radicals" crowd sourcing project.

The sounds I made for the instrument :

 Parasitical Risers - Long - Key F1  (sounds like a Tibetan Chant) 

 Bacterial Hits - Shot  - Bank 1 - D2 (The fan hit) 

Rhythmic - E0

 Parasitical Risers - Short - D#1

I was a great project, quite different than my normal video game sound design work.

Try "Free Radicals" for yourself here: 8DIO

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to build a Portal Personality Sphere

Space Core & Adventure Core

Are you looking to add an extra layer of cool to your Portal themed Halloween costume how about building a "Personality Core"?

I apologize for not taking more pics during the build up but hopefully with some links and basic drawings I can help you put together one of these cool props for around $50, sound good?

Step 1 get the basic parts:

What you need:

1x Oversized clear chinchilla ball  (about $17)

1x package of Sylvania LED coasters (you can find them for around $10 at Lowes)

1x 12x18 foam sheet

1x push button switch: (does not need to be this specific one)

1x small bungie cord

2x steel water hoses (common for household toilets)

1 foot of 3/4" PVC Tubing (used to wrap exterior handle) 

1x Electrical tape

5x  3.5 inches long 1/4" bolts

6x 1/4" nuts

1x ball of heavy string

Drill with 1/4" bit

1x 5" Handel or 5" long PVC pipe (probably around 1" thick depending on your hand size)

1x can of white spray paint

1x can of black spray paint

1x Package of industrial Velcro

1x Silver pinstriping tape

Step 1

Take apart the chinchilla ball - remove the 8 Phillips head screws around the ball.

Spray paint the INSIDE of the ball white 

Spray paint the OUTSIDE of one of the detachable tops black (this will be the eye)

Put the ball back together


Step 2

Drill four holes about 5 inches apart on each side around the opening

Screw on the 1/4" nuts to each bolt halfway (this will serve a purpose in the next steps)

To attach the braided hose simply thread the 3.5 inch long bolts through the back of the ball and screw them into the hosing from the inside of the ball (they will go in about halfway). These hoses aren't pre-threaded so the bolts will forcefully thread in the hosing (I have had it together for over a month and it hasn't broken)

Now to take up the slack simply turn the nuts to mount flush to the back of the ball. You will still have an inch or two of bolt below the nut and that is required for the next step.

Now to make the frame for the eyeball part. You should now have 4 posts inside, the remainder of your 3.5" bolts. Loop the string around each bolt and make a box by stringing each bolt together; depending how thick the string is that you are using it make take a few passes.

Now when you all done with the string, simply wrap the string with black electric tape. This will now function as the frame for the eyeball.


Step 3

Almost there but now we need to make the core eye. 

To make this you will need the ball top that was painted black, another bolt, nut, Velcro, switch and your LED coaster.

To wire the coaster so you can switch it on or off simply pop off the battery cover tab with a screwdriver and solder the wires: Red to the top part of the internal switch, black to the bottom as shown. 

If you don't know how to solder here is a 101 on that:

 Now you should be able to switch the LED on and off with your external switch. 

Drill two 1/4 holes in your black lid; one hole will be the switch mount and the other for the handle.

You can use 1" pvc pipe cut as a handle if you don't have something laying around.  Drill a hole through the handle and run the bolt all the way through the lid to mount it. 

To mount the LED use Velcro 

I used a small bungee cord to secure the handle to the ball by running the bungee through the handle center. This allows you to also move around the eyeball and still keep it bound to the frame.

Above the handle you can see my red switch to turn on or off the eye. 


Step 4

The front of the Core should look like this now:

I added two strips of Velcro over the top and bottom of the coaster to attach the eyelid shutter.
The shutter is made from the black foam sheet. Simply cut out two squares about the size of the coaster and attach to the top and bottom of the coaster using Velcro.


Step 5

Add the 1 foot of 3/4" PVC Tubing (cut in half) to the braided hose. I sliced the tube down the center, wrapped the pipe and zip tied the ends. 

To add extra polish you can use automotive pin-striping to create more of the core details. You can use a hairdryer to help heat the tape and bend it in circles.

Also a nice touch is a voice. You can download a Portal soundboard on your smartphone and place it inside the Core to make it talk:

That is it, now go have fun with it!  

Space Core & Adventure Core

Here is a little video of them:

Coming soon:

I have a Half Life inspired Gravity Gun in the works now :) Bwaahaha